Monday, May 17, 2010

Mountain Splendour


From Old World Charm to the natural splendour of the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Mountain Range, one of our World Heritage sites. This "barrier of spears", as the amaZulu call it, consists of mountains reaching altitudes exceeding 3 000 metres. Mist covering the area, is a natural phenomena - with a charm of its own - even if it frustrates visitors hoping to view the towering peaks.

With such high altitudes, it should come as no surprise that during winter, snow will "cap" the mountain tops. Situated in the central region of this mountain range, Cathkin Peak
(3 147m) is the most prominent feature.

Dominating the cliffs and plains of the "Little Berg", the towering Giants Castle
(3 314m) prominently juts out. This area is well-known for its realistic cave museum, where lifelike San figures bring alive scenes of an era past and a magnificent number of San paintings adorn the cave-like walls of rock.

Golden Gate derives its name from the orange-coloured sandstone cliffs of this area. It acts as a kind of sentinel and is best photographed in the warm glow of the sun late in the afternoon.


Apart from the mountain splendour, rolling hills, grassy plains and many a Zulu village are "part and parcel" of the charm found throughout the KwaZulu-Natal province.


Other than mist and snow, thunderous weather occurs regularly, especially during the summer months. From a photographer's point of view, the heavy clouds covering most of Cathedral Peak
(3 004m) and the Bell
(2 930m) next to it, also has a charm of its own.

Next to the Dragon Peaks Park and Monks Cowl, the world renowned Drakensberg Boys' Choir School is situated. It is said that the choir draws inspiration for its exuberant performances from the beautiful surroundings. During school terms, a concert is held every Wednesday afternoon in the school's auditorium - an experience I highly recommend!


By way of "demonstrating" the charm of this region - 2 photos of the same setting taken during "contrasting" seasons: this one photographed as autumn sets in ...







... and this one of summer in full swing.