Thursday, June 21, 2012

Spear Barrier

Since I was priviledged to finally (after several "attempts" through the years) experience the Northern Drakensberg part in brilliant (instead of in rainy, misty or cloudy) weather about a month ago, I've wanted to share that on this blog.

Called "Drakensberg" (Dragon Mountains) by the first white settlers reaching these parts of South Africa, the local Zulu nation, in contrast, calls this almost 1 000km long mountain range "uKhahlamba" - a barrier of spears. However this particular part I'm "highlighting" today is also known as the Amphitheatre - an approx 5km long geographical feature widely regarded as 1 of the most impressive cliff-faces on earth.

This particular area is also "depicted" by various other "descriptions", e.g. Mont-Aux-Sources (so named by French missionaries in 1836) because it's the source of several important rivers, of which the Tugela Falls is also the 2nd highest/tallest waterfall in the world (approx 947m of 3/5 consecutive "leaps" down the Amphitheatre wall) > the tallest: the Angel Falls (in Venezuala, approx 979m high).
The Amphitheatre is also part of the Royal National Park, a UNESCO proclaimed World Heritage Site. The Drakensberg mountains in this part of South Arica forms the border between the KwaZulu-Natal province & Lesotho - also known as the "roof of southern Africa". A visitor/tourist to this area is "well-catered for" by many a hotel, B&B, etc.

Last but not least - a "look at" what I've experienced through the years before the latest visit a month ago - since most of the basalt-covered peaks of this mountain range are over 3000m above sea-level, snow often falls here in winter - the season, which is "with us" here in South Africa right now.

So tonight is the LONGEST night this year for us living in the southern hemisphere :)