The Drakensberg extends from just north of Hoedspruit in the Northern Province 1,000km (620 miles) south to the mountain kingdom of Lesotho, where a series of spectacular peaks some 240km (149 miles) long creates the western border of KwaZulu-Natal -- it is this border that most refer to when they speak of the Drakensberg. Known as uKhahlamba (Barrier of Spears) to the Zulus, they were renamed "Dragon Mountains" by the Trekkers seeking to cross them. Both are apt descriptions of South Africa's premier mountain wilderness -- the second-largest range in Africa and, thanks to the haven it provided for the ancient San people, the largest open-air gallery in the world, with more than 35,000 images painted at 600 sites.
The main range falls within the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park, a 243,000-hectare (600,210-acre) semicircle that forms the western boundary of the province. Of this, the northern and central sections are most spectacular, with majestic peaks surrounding grassed valleys fed by crystal-clear streams and pools -- a hiker's paradise. But you don't have to be a keen and fit walker to appreciate the San rock paintings, or spot rare raptors, or simply enjoy the chance to breathe the air in the aptly named Champagne Valley or Cathedral Peak. To enjoy the benefits of this World Heritage Site, all you need is a couple of days, a car, and the following information.