uKhahlamba / Drakensberg Park - A World Heritage Site
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Posted 06 May 2011 - 05:55 PM
The park is the largest protected area on the Great Escarpment of the southern African subcontinent. It is located in an inland mountain along the eastern border of Lesotho. It comprises a northern and a significantly larger southern section.
It contains significant natural habitats for in situ conservation of biological diversity, and has outstanding species richness of plants. It is recognized as a Global Centre of Plant Diversity and endemism, and occurs within its own floristic region: the Drakensberg Alpine Region of South Africa. The rock art is the largest and most concentrated group of rock paintings in Africa south of the Sahara and is outstanding both in quality and diversity of subject.
The fauna includes a total of 48 mammal species, 296 bird species, 48 reptiles, 26 amphibians and 8 fish species. The invertebrate fauna is poorly known but includes many species endemic to the region. A number of globally threatened faunal species occur in this area, including the long-toed tree frog, the yellow-breasted pipit and the Natal Midlands dwarf chameleon.
The Drakensberg region is one of the most important archaeological areas in southern Africa. Archaeological sites from the early, middle and late Stone Ages and the late Iron Age indicate that human occupation in this mountain region may extend over the last million years. It was, however, the Neolithic settlers who arrived around 8000 BP that were the ancestors of the San. They were hunter-gatherers, often living in caves or rock-shelters.
Paintings are to be found in diverse sites, ranging from large rock-shelters containing over 1,000 individual images to small rock overhangs with only a few paintings and the vertical sides of boulders strewn along the steep valley slopes. Many of them displayed painted scenes of hunting, dancing, fighting, food gathering, and ritual or trance scenes of hunting or rainmaking. Most of the human subjects were depicted naked, but the sex was indeterminate for most of them. Dressed figures were clad in a variety of garments, in some cases of European type.
To read more about the Ukhahlamba Park please click here.
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