The uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park is a recognised UNESCO Word Heritage Site
The spectacular Drakensberg mountains took their rightful place on the international tourism stage when the 243,000 hectare uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park was proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site on 29 November 2000.
In addition to recognising the unique natural beauty of the Drakensberg, the World Heritage Site title also focuses world attention on the mountain park’s rich collection of rock art, the last visible signs of the San Peoples.
With an abundance of birds and plants, as well as some of the worlds’ most stunning scenery and rock art, the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park is one of South Africa’s premier tourist attractions and holiday destinations.
Nestled in a tranquil and secluded valley in the heart of the Drakensberg, Cathedral Peak Hotel offers unrivalled access to some of the Drakensberg’s most magnificent peaks, beautiful hiking trails, and many San rock art sites.
In order for any site to be included in the World Heritage List it must meet one or more of the Natural or Cultural Heritage Property criteria.
The uKhahlamba Drakensberg satisfies two natural criteria and two of the cultural criteria:
1. Unique richness of biological diversity
The park contains an outstanding species richness particularly of plants in terms of diversity and endemism is of global importance in terms of endemic birdlife. The diversity of habitats is outstanding, ranging across alpine plateaux, steep rocky slopes and river valleys. These habitats protect a high level of endemic and threatened species.
2. Exceptional Natural Beauty
The park has superlative natural beauty with soaring basaltic buttresses, incisive dramatic cutbacks and golden sandstone ramparts. Rolling high altitude grasslands, the pristine steep-sided river valleys and rocky gorges also contribute to the beauty of the area.
3. Human creative genius in the form of Rock Art
With some 600 rock art sites, collectively representing over 35,000 individual images this rich collection of rock art in the Park is better preserved than any other region south of the Sahara. The oldest painting being 2,400 years old while more recent creations date back to the late nineteenth century.
4. The inhabitants of the area
The San people lived in the mountainous Maloti-Drakensberg area for more than four millennia, leaving behind them a corpus of outstanding rock art, providing a unique testimony which throws much light on their way of life and their beliefs.