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The Drakensberg Mountains of South Africa or uKhahlamba (the Barrier of Spears) is a 200-kilometre-long mountainous wonderland and world heritage site. The largest proportion of the Drakensberg area falls in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. The Zulu people named it Ukhahlamba and the Dutch Voortrekkers The Dragon Mountain. The Drakensberg Mountains, with their awe-inspiring basalt cliffs, snow-capped in winter, tower over riverine bush, lush yellowwood forests and cascading waterfalls, form a massive barrier separating KwaZulu Natal from the Kingdom of Lesotho. The only road access to the Drakensberg is via Sani Pass, which at the top, boasts the highest pub on Africa, 3 000 metres above sea level. The inscription in late 2000 of uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park as a World Heritage Site brought long overdue recognition of its universal value to mankind. Meeting the criteria for both natural and Cultural listings, the site can now officially boast superlative natural phenomena and beauty, unique richness of biological diversity, the conservation of all-important endemic and threatened species plus masterpieces of human creative genius in the form of 35 000 San rock art images Combining sheer natural beauty with a wealth of biological diversity, this 243 000 hectare mountainous region known as the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park has been preserved and venerated for eons since the San people or bushmen roamed these slopes. Tens of thousands of paintings depicting their daily life can be found on the rock faces, and in December 2000, the park received international recognition and was declared KwaZulu Natals second World Heritage Site. And of course, there are the mountains, which must be conquered. The fearless may choose to try sheer rock or ice climbing, or they may prefer the adrenaline rush provided by abseiling, white water rafting or taking a helicopter ride to view the Drakenberg mountains from above.
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