The Maloti Drakensberg Route is an exciting example of collaboration to grow tourism across an international and national boundaries. It is an initiative bringing together tourism operators in South Africa and Lesotho to increase benefits to the people of the region. The value of these mountains on the Maloti Drakensberg Route is recognized internationally through the World Heritage status of the Maloti Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site. The Maloti Drakensberg Transfrontier Conservation Area is funded by the government agencies of both South Africa and Lesotho. On the following pages you will find information on the 4 regions of the Maloti Drakensberg Route.
Culture and History
The captivating human history of these mountains dates back thousands of years with much of the San rock art still intact. Wars and migrations have led to the area being occupied by many different people over the centuries, reflected in the fascinating and diverse cultures of the people who live in the region today. Embedded in the sediments of the geological history is a rich fossil record.
A vital water source
The Maloti Drakensberg Mountains represent one of the most important water catchment areas in Southern Africa. The province of Gauteng in South Africa has approximately 50 percent of its water needs met from these mountains. This has been made possible by a transfrontier water transfer scheme – The Lesotho Highlands Water Project – which traps water in huge dams high in the mountains and delivers it to where it is needed via a series of tunnels and canals. It is estimated that by the year 2030, 70 percent of the people of the region will be reliant on water from these mountains.
biodiversity of the region
The Maloti Drakensberg route is renowned for its rich biodiversity. It contains many species of fauna and flora that are found nowhere else in the world. The lush indigenous forests offer cool respite from a hot day’s hiking. The grasslands contain an amazing array of flowering plants and small animals. The grasses alone display great diversity, being represented by more than 100 species. Among the larger animals are baboons and antelope such as Eland, Oribi and Rhebuck. If you are lucky you could see Black-backed Jackal, Serval and Caracal. There are at least 24 species of snake. The route is also rich in bird-life, with over 350 recorded species. It provides homes for at least 10 internationally threatened bird species and 40 species which are found nowhere else in the world.