Adventures in Drakensberg

Today we went on an exciting excursion to the beautiful mountains of Drakensberg.  During our nearly four-hour long drive, we passed through a few nice towns along the way.  One such city was Pietermaritzburg, the capital of KZN.  I got the sense that this was more of an industrial center in the region, and it was here that I saw a noticeably large number of semi-trucks on the roads.  We also passed through a quaint town called Howick, where the gorgeous Howick Falls are located.  Due to the increasingly high cost of living in Durban, many elder couples in the area are now deciding to retire in this quiet  and more affordable town.

Once we arrived in Drakensberg, we walked along a difficult yet thrilling hiking trail.  During this hike, we had the opportunity to see a wide variety of indigenous flora such as aloe polyphylla.  We also relaxed for a bit beside a refreshing stream with cool, drinkable water!

Finally, we reached a point where a guide greeted us and showed us a variety of bushmen cave paintings.  Drakensberg is home to about 40,000 bushmen artworks, which is the largest collection in the world.  Our tour guide explained how the lives of traditional hunter-gatherers in southeast Africa changed over the years.  The first arrival of black farmers and European colonists up until the early nineteenth century increased the pressure of hunter-gatherers to either migrate or join the black farming communities.  Despite their continuous raids of stock owned by the colonists and farmers, the hunter-gatherer population completely died out in the region by the beginning of the twentieth century.  These cave paintings are invaluable reminders of the fascinating bushmen culture!

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