The Drakensberg has some stunning (and uber luxurious) lodges and resorts, which show off KwaZulu-Natal to perfection. But, just because your budget won’t allow for five stars, spa baths, and signature dishes that are nothing short of art sculptures doesn’t mean that you can’t get the most out of this magnificent area. In fact, the Drakensberg and its surrounds have plenty in the way of affordable things to do, see and enjoy while you’re in KZN.
Some budget-friendly attractions in the Drakensberg:
Can you picture the scene? Sitting on the banks of the dam, surrounded by the breath-taking grandeur of the mountains, with only the warm sunshine as your company, and the birds as your backing track. Penwarn has five trout dams and two bass dams, and they supply the boats and rods to make your fishing excursion that much easier. The uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park also offers excellent fishing. There is a small entrance fee to the park (R40 at the time of publishing) and fly-fishermen will need a permit (R100 in 2018).
Hiking and Walking
You’re going to battle to find places with more beautiful hiking and walking trails than the Drakensberg. It’s kind of its thing. These trails range from short, easy walks for the whole family, to much more challenging trails for more experienced hikers. This is an absolutely stunning way to experience the unspoilt beauty of KwaZulu-Natal.
The uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park
This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is awesome for travellers on a budget. In 2018, it cost only R40 per adult to enter. It is famous for its ancient caves and their rock art, which are thousands of years old and magical to see up close. The park is also home to animals like rhebok and eland, as well as loads of bird species.
Places like Sani Spoors offer keen cyclists awesome places to test their skills and feed their biking bug. They wind through pine forests, follow the course of rivers, and take cyclists up steep ascents, only to plunge down the other side. This is all kinds of fun.
All over the Drakensberg, there are places to go bird-watching. And avian enthusiasts are spoilt for choice when it comes to the species they may see too. The ones that get most birders excited are the mountain pipit, Drakensberg siskin, Drakensberg rockjumper (aka the orange-breasted rockjumper), and the bearded vulture. But, there are also Cape parrots, blue swallows, secretary birds, and blue-crowned cranes.
Visit the Himeville Fort and Museum
This museum dates back to 1900 and is in the little town of Himeville, which is at the foot of the southern Drakensberg Mountains. Artefacts, fossils, remnants of the Boer War, and exhibits of World War I and II are all on display. This isn’t only an educational experience, but also a deeply touching one. Admission to the museum is free, but donations are welcomed.
Accommodation and Accessibility
The Drakensberg is only around 175 to 200 kilometres from Durban, making it really easy to access from this metropolis. There is loads of accommodation in Durban itself, as well as in and around the greater area of the Drakensberg. These include a massive variety of guest houses, B & B’s, lodges, hotels and apartments.