The Drakensberg Mountains, which rise to 3000 m and extend 180 km along the western edge of KwaZulu Natal, form the backbone of the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park, and determine the border with Lesotho. This formidable mountain range is one of South Africa’s most staggeringly beautiful destinations, and in 2001 it was awarded the status of a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, both for its diverse flora and fauna and its impressive San rock paintings.
The mountains were formed as part of a geological process that began around 140 million years ago when Africa was still part of Gondwanaland. Massive eruptions of lava spread from an area near where Lesotho is today reaching as far as the Natal coastline. The lava flows solidified over sandstone and have gradually been eroded over millions of years. Today the bands of rock revealed by the erosion show layers of different coloured sandstones capped by basalt.