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uKhahlamba / Drakensberg Park
Site number:
Type of site: Mixed
Date: -
Date of Inscription: 2000
Location: Africa, South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal
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Description: The uKhahlamba – Drakensberg Park has extraordinary natural beauty with its elevated basaltic ramparts, razor-sharp dramatic cutbacks, and fair sandstone fortifications. Also contributing to the splendor of the site are its undulating high altitude grasslands, the immaculate steep-sided river valleys and rock-strewn gorges. The site's habitat diversity secures a high level of endemic and globally threatened species, in particular birds and plants. Many caves and rock-shelters also sprinkle this impressive natural site, boasting Africa’s largest and most concentrated group of paintings south of the Sahara, created by the San people over 4,000 years ago. The rock paintings are stupendous in their intricate quality and subject diversity as well as in their animals and human being depictions. They characterize the pious life of the San people who no longer inhabit this region. --WHMNet paraphrase from the description at WHC Site, where additional information is available.
  The Drakensberg (Afrikaans: "Dragons Mountain") mountains are the highest in Southern Africa, rising up at Thabana Ntlenyana to 3,482 m (11,422 ft) in height. In Zulu, they are referred to as uKhahlamba ("barrier of spears"), and in Sesotho as Maluti (also spelled Maloti ). They are located in the eastern part of South Africa, running for some 1,000 km (600 mi) generally southwest to northeast, with a northwesterly bend forming the northeastern border of Lesotho with South Africa. They are drained on the west by the Orange and Vaal rivers, and on the east and south by a number of smaller rivers, the Tugela being the largest. The range thus separates KwaZulu-Natal Province from Free State Province, looming over the nearby coast of Natal. Tourism in the Drakensberg is developing, with a variety of hotels and resorts appearing on the slopes. Most of the higher South African parts of the range have been designated as game reserves or wilderness areas. The uKhahlamba or Drakensberg National Park, located in KwaZulu-Natal, near the border with Lesotho, was listed by UNESCO in 2000 as a World Heritage site. The park is also in the List of Wetlands of International Importance (under the Ramsar Convention). Geologically, the Drakensberg is a remnant of the original African plateau. The mountains are capped by a layer of basalt up to 1,500 m thick, with sandstone lower down, resulting in a combination of steep-sided blocks and pinnacles. Caves are frequent in the sandstone, and many have rock paintings by the Bushmen. Snow falls regularly in the winter, while rains and mists can occur year-round. --Wikipedia. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.
Reference: 1. UNESCO World Heritage Center, Site Page.
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