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Drakensberg 2016

In January 2016, we travelled to South Africa to explore the Drakensberg Mountains, which form the spine of the eastern part of the country. This area has a completely different flora to the Western Cape: at c.3,000m above sea level, Drakensberg is home to true alpine vegetation.
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Plants from Drakensberg have been brought back to Europe where they’ve flourished in cultivation, including species of Satyrium, Holothrix, Eulophia, Disa, Pterygodium, Brownleea and the special genus Huttonea, with its fimbriate lips, which is found only in this area. It’s also home to a diversity of orchids – an excellent destination for plant enthusiasts!

Read on to see highlights from the tour.


The group travelled from Durban (the largest city in the KwaZulu-Natal province) up to the iconic Sani Pass. Here, they stayed at a pub on the top of the pass in Lesotho, surrounded by Kniphofia caulescens.

Ntsikeni grassland

Here’s our tour group enjoying the Ntsikeni grassland. Ntsikeni Nature Reserve is an area of unique natural beauty with diverse habitats, including grasslands, wetlands and rocky outcrops. The grassland is a truly beautiful place, filled with many orchids.

Giant’s Castle

Giant’s Castle is a mountain peak in the Drakensberg scarp which forms the boundary on the east side of Lesotho with South Africa. There’s fascinating ancient rock art in the cave shelters.


Passing through Golden Gate Park, our explorers entered Lesotho. Staying in Oxbow, they saw enormous stands of  Kniphofia.

Photos: David Haselgrove