The Drakensberg Escarpment of South Africa is one of the world’s most dramatic landscapes. Known by the Zulus as uKhahlamba, the Barrier of Spears, the escarpment hosts colossal cliffs, jagged ridges and the world’s second highest waterfall, Tugela. The watershed forms a border with the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho. The route we backpacked made its way through these rolling hills before emerging at the end of the day to spectacular views. The area is farmed by local Basotho shepherds, usually teenage boys, who look after sheep, goats, cows and donkeys. The Drakensberg is also the source of many of South Africa’s great rivers and rainfall here is critical to communities around the country. In the summer months clouds bubble up in the morning and by the afternoon thunderstorms crash around the surrounding peaks.
This footage was captured on a 9-day unsupported hike through the area with two friends, Hougaard and Steve, and a guide. Our route took us from the Amphitheatre to Rockeries, down Mweni Pass and up Fangs Pass before returning to where we started. With 70% of the oxygen at sea level and 32kg of camping kit, food and camera gear, the hike was challenging but made enjoyable by excellent weather and inspiring scenery.
The track ‘uKhahlamba Drakensberg’ is performed by Insingizi and produced by Kurt Adametz.
Video by Alex Nail