Southern Drakensberg: Beauty in the mist

06.07.2014 | These are my first rainy days in South Africa. The landscape of Southern Drakensberg below the Sani Pass unfolded a special misty beauty yesterday when I was on a one-day hike to see some bushman rock art.

Southern Drakensberg is part of  the World Heritage uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park where hundreds of bushman paintings were found. Bushmen have been living here for at least 10,000 years till about 150 years ago. Philip, our tour guide, led us on this 13 km walk to visit three bushman rock art sites.

Due to the mist we could not see very far on our hike, only some hundred metres. We could spot some protea trees and rocks of different sizes and shapes. In this altitude (ca. 1,600-1,900 metres), the mountains consist of sandstone and are now covered with yellow dried (but not dry!) grass.

We also saw black stripes in the landscape – areas of burnt grass which are common here in KwaZulu-Natal where they burn grass on purpose to create fire breaks. Natural fires have always been part of nature here and therefore many plants, e.g. protea trees, are not only fire resistant but need fire to grow.

As we were walking through quite high wet grass for some time on our hike our legs and shoes and feet in the shoes became wet after a while and we were happy to arrive back at Sani Lodge. We enjoyed the fire place in the main living room while telling our stories of the day and drying our shoes.