The Eastern Cape Highlands 

The Eastern Cape Highlands (The land of the Dragon - Ukhahlamba in Xhosa and Drakensberg in Afrikaans)

If its mountains that appeal, then this part of the Eastern Cape should not be missed.  Here in the northernmost part of the Province you will come face-to-face with the southern tip of what is colloquially called the Dragon’s tail.    Here the giant spurs and buttresses of both the Drakensberg and the Witteberg (white mountains) rise loftily above the sheep and cattle farms of Barkly East, Elliot, Rhodes, Maclear, Mount Fletcher and Matatiele.   It is remote country, with dramatic scenery, high mountain passes and few cars.  The lush green foothills contrast sharply with the forbidding blue peaks and the strangely honed sandstone formations around Elliot.  This is ‘adventurer’s’ country where hiking, trout fishing, mountain biking, bird watching, skiing and snowboarding (only in the winter months) would be on your list of ‘things to do’.   An artist’s brush or a photographer’s lens would be more than ‘at home’ here. Dinosaur tracks can be seen imprinted in the rock along the banks of the Pot River outside Maclear and many of the caves and overhangs in this area of the Drakensberg feature beautiful rock art sites of a narrative or anecdotal nature.

This region is in stark contrast to the arid Karoo to the west and south and again typifies the huge diversity to be found in the Province.   It’s probably best approached when driving south from Gauteng or when entering the Eastern Cape from Kwazulu Natal.  Accommodation is on farms or in small B & B’s with the village of Rhodes being a popular stopping off point.