Wildflower & Nature Trips

The Drakensberg Escarpment and the adjacent Lesotho Highlands the Maloti (or Maloti) Mountains are remarkable not only in their splendid scenic beauty, but also for their diverse flora and fauna of which many species are endemic to this area, meaning they are found here and nowhere else in the world. As many as 36 different birds, several animals and at least 400 of the 2200 known flowering plants of this region are endemic to this dramatic landscape. The area is considered one of the world’s ‘hot spots’, a globally important centre of plant diversity.

The Maloti Drakensberg World Heritage Site was proclaimed in the year 2000, one of the few worldwide having met the criteria for both natural and cultural properties. The cultural aspect is the vast repository of San or Bushman Rockart, over 600 sites, found in these mountains. The Maloti Drakensberg World Heritage Site covers the 250km stretch of the KwaZulu-Natal Drakensberg escarpment and averages at 20kms in width, 5000 square kms in extent, managed by Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife. In a coordinated approach South Africa and Lesotho have been working to establish conservation principals in the montane bioregion straddling the border into Lesotho through The Maloti-Drakensberg Transfrontier Conservation and Development Programme.

There is no garden that equals this mountain region in its wild spring and summer glory. Tumbling crystal waterfalls surrounded by delicate blossoms, flowering plants cascading over inaccessible rock ledges, wetlands covered in orange Kniphofia spears, neon-cerise mountain slopes of Watsonia and grasslands studded with vibrant jewel-hued flowers including many ground orchids are a few of the stunning vistas awaiting the visitor.

Bearded Vultures soar overhead, high on free winged flight Black Eagles dance with Cape Vultures. Malachite Sunbirds chitter in the proteas and Ground Woodpeckers chuckle, sunning themselves on boulders. Spoor of jackal, porcupine, baboon and antelope are etched in the path. Small stream frogs flip into the grass verges. Nimble Ice Rats perch precariously on rocky outcrops, absorbing the sun’s rays.

Wander through the wilderness stopping to examine the myriad of flowers at every step, or gaze in wonder at the herds of Eland browsing on lush mountain grasslands. Winter and autumn have a unique beauty in the mountains, gold and red hues dominate in the grassland. Many birds move down from the high lying areas to the more temperate ‘Little Berg’, this is a wonderful time for birding and enjoying the scenic beauty of nature.