« Back to Glossary Index

**Geology of Drakensberg**:
– The Great Escarpment formed during the breakup of southern Gondwana.
– The Drakensberg extends over 1,000 kilometers from the Eastern Cape Province in South Africa.
– Southern Africa has experienced significant uplifting in the past 20 million years.
– The Drakensberg escarpment forms part of the international border between Lesotho and KwaZulu-Natal.
– The geological composition varies along its length, with different rocks like quartzite, Ecca shales, Beaufort rocks, and basalt present in various regions.

**Geography and Biodiversity**:
– The Drakensberg is a mountain range in Southern Africa, stretching for about 1,000 kilometers.
– The highest peak is Thabana Ntlenyana at 3,482 meters, forming the boundary between Lesotho and South Africa.
– The region is home to various ecosystems, unique plant and animal species, and the Maloti Minnow fish.
– The Drakensberg is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its alpine grasslands and woodlands.

**Conservation and Cultural Significance**:
– The Maloti-Drakensberg Transfrontier Conservation Area spans across Lesotho and South Africa, aiming to protect biodiversity.
– The region houses Bushman and San paintings, contributing to its cultural significance.
– Drakensberg is recognized for its importance in conservation due to its unique ecosystems and biodiversity.

**Tourism and Human Habitation**:
– The Drakensberg is a popular tourist destination offering hiking trails, rock art sites, and various outdoor activities.
– The area has accommodations ranging from luxury resorts to camping sites, contributing significantly to the local economy.
– Towns and cities in the Drakensberg area include Matatiele, Ladysmith, Maseru, and Tzaneen, with diverse urban and rural settlements.

**Research and Resources**:
– The Drakensberg offers opportunities for scientific exploration, providing insights into paleoclimates, archaeology, and geological mapping.
– Various research studies have been conducted in the region, making it a valuable resource for studying Earth’s history.
– The mountain range is known for its rich geological composition and diverse landscapes influenced by lightning.

Drakensberg (Wikipedia)

The Drakensberg (Zulu: uKhahlamba, Sotho: Maloti, Afrikaans: Drakensberge) is the eastern portion of the Great Escarpment, which encloses the central Southern African plateau. The Great Escarpment reaches its greatest elevation – 2,000 to 3,482 metres (6,562 to 11,424 feet) within the border region of South Africa and Lesotho.

Highest point
PeakThabana Ntlenyana
Elevation3,482 m (11,424 ft)
Coordinates29°23′S 29°27′E / 29.383°S 29.450°E / -29.383; 29.450
Length1,000 km (620 mi) SW to NE
EtymologyDragon's Mountain (modern day) and Crazy Carriers Mountain from Voortrekkers (historical)
Native name
CountriesSouth Africa and Lesotho
Type of rockBasalt and Quartzite
A map of South Africa shows the central plateau edged by the Great Escarpment and its relationship to the Cape Fold Mountains to the south. The portion of the Great Escarpment shown in red is known as the Drakensberg.

The Drakensberg escarpment stretches for more than 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) from the Eastern Cape Province in the South, then successively forms, in order from south to north, the border between Lesotho and the Eastern Cape and the border between Lesotho and KwaZulu-Natal Province. Thereafter it forms the border between KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State, and next as the border between KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga Province. The escarpment winds north from there, through Mpumalanga, where it includes features such as the Blyde River Canyon, Three Rondavels, and God's Window. It then extends farther north to Hoedspruit in southeastern Limpopo where it is known as 'Klein Drakensberg' by the Afrikaner. From Hoedspruit it extends west to Tzaneen, also in Limpopo Province, where it is known as the Wolkberg Mountains and Iron Crown Mountain. At 2,200 m (7,200 ft) above sea level, the Wolkberg is the highest elevation in Limpopo. The escarpment extends west again and at Mokopane it is known as the Strydpoort Mountains.

« Back to Glossary Index