Tag Archive for Drakensberg

Creation of new nature reserve protects important bird habitat in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa

The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) is celebrating the publication of the Notice of Intent to Declare the Beaumont Nature Reserve in the Swartberg region of KwaZulu-Natal.  

Southern Bald Ibis 

“The proposed Beaumont Nature Reserve is 1050 ha in size and forms part of the Thule Conservancy, which was created in 2012 ,” said Cobus Theron, the EWT’s African Crane Conservation Programme’s Southern Drakensberg / East Griqualand Stewardship Facilitator.

“Many of the properties in the conservancy will also be proposed as Nature Reserves or Protected Environments in the near future. Nature Reserve status represents the highest category in the Biodiversity Stewardship Programme and the Beaumont Nature Reserve will become the first declared nature reserve that EWT has negotiated.”

The Biodiversity Stewardship Programme is a national governmental initiative that aims to complement the expansion of protected areas in the country with particular focus on private and communal land. The programme, which is a process that landowners voluntarily enter into, consists of legally binding agreements with government to enter their land into the protected area network and manage it for biodiversity.

The programme also allows for legal recognition, assistance and improved management where landowners are committed to conservation on their land. Currently the EWT is promoting and implementing the programme in the Southern Drakensberg, East Griqualand and Mpumalanga regions with the aim of securing valuable habitat for cranes.   

The declaration of the Beaumont Nature Reserve will afford the property the same status and protection as any other national or provincial nature reserve. In addition, Beaumont Nature Reserve may qualify to be incorporated in to the Maluti World Heritage Site.    

According to Theron, “The announcement of the Intention to Declare is exciting news for the EWT due to the importance of this reserve.” Beaumont Nature Reserve consists mostly of scenic, mountainous terrain and is considered one of the upper catchment sources for the Umzimvubu River – the largest undammed river in South Africa. 

“It provides valuable habitat and foraging grounds for species such as grey crowned cranes, secretary birds, southern bald ibis and a variety of antelope including grey rhebok and common reedbuck. Both cape and bearded vultures are regularly seen soaring over the farm and there are unique examples of rock art on the property.”  

Furthermore, the property is of strategic importance as it will contribute to conservation efforts to expand the Maluti Drakensberg World Heritage Site in KwaZulu-Natal and Lesotho westwards towards the Eastern Cape Border. It will also safeguard valuable catchment services, feeding many of the wetland systems in the Cedarville Flats and ensure the protection of biodiversity and cultural assets.


Article courtesy of www.wildlifeextra.com

Cableway plans extended to AfriSki, Lesotho

Kwa-Zulu Natal Drakensburg - Amphitheatre, one of the finest view sites in the world.Durban – Plans for a controversial 7km cable car route to the top of the Drakensberg have changed with a new proposal to extend it by another 5km to link it to the Afriski ski resort in Lesotho and indirectly to a failed golf estate near Bergville.

This follows a meeting last week between Mike Mabuyakhulu, the KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Economic Development and Tourism, and his counterparts from Lesotho and the Free State, where it was agreed that a new technical committee would be set up to discuss potential cable car partnership opportunities. Read more

The Drakensburg Cable Car – Pie in the sky?


MEC Mr. Mike Mabuyakhulu

A cable car that takes tourists to the top of one of the worlds most dramatic and unspoilt mountain regions might sound like a gem of an idea and one that could grace glossy travel brochures the world over, but do we really need it?

The surprise announcement that the province was planning a cable car in the uKhahlamba Drakensberg could take the local tourism industry to new heights. One of the preferred sites for the cable car was in the Mnweni Valley near the Royal Natal National Park and North of the popular Amphitheatre section of the World Heritage Site. Read more

Ice Climbing in Lesotho

While Ice Climbing may not be on everyone’s list of things to do during the winter months, the popularity of ice climbing as a sport is on the rise from both local and international climbers alike. Ice forms every year and is usually climbable from mid June till mid August.

With more peaks per square kilometre than any other country in Africa, Lesotho is sometimes referred to as the “Switzerland of Africa” as it is blessed with spectacular cliff faces, ridges and chimneys.


Ice climbing in the Drakensberg was first properly probed by British climber, Jeff Ingman while on a work contract in South Africa. Ingman and various partners made the first ascents of some of the major water-ice routes of the Giant’s Castle area. From that time until the late ‘90s only a handful of enthusiasts continued climbing these routes. Then towards the end of the millennium the shorter and more accessible routes of the Sani Pass area were climbed. This development coupled with the publishing of all the winter routes in an addendum to the Rock Climbs of the Drakensberg, sparked a big interest in the sport. Read more

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