South African’s have yet to become better informed about it....”fracking”. It burst onto the scene this year when the South African government halted plans for drilling for gas in the Karoo by oil company Shell. A moratorium was imposed on fracking allowing the government to better understand the environmental consequences it will have. In the meantime prospecting taking place in other parts of the country, including the Drakensberg has had less media coverage. Should we be surprised?

AMAFA/Heritage KwaZulu-Natal has embarked on a programme of cleaning up graffiti that has defaced some rock art sites in the uKhahlamba/Drakensberg region.

And it has also set up a system of access control.

Long term negotiations have finally culminated in an application to have the Mnweni ("Upper uThukela Location") declared a Wildnerness Area! This is with a long-term view to have this area included in the Drakensberg World Heritage Site.

Amafa, the provincial heritage body responsible for Drakensberg rock art, has closed the Lower Mushroom Cave Damaged rock art at Cathedral Peakin the Cathedral Peak area because it has been subjected to three attacks by vandals over the last three years.

The paintings in this cave, which are said to be about 5000 years old, were last vandalised in June by security gaurds from the Cathedral Peak Hotel. They were each fined R1500.

Two other rock art sites in the area remain open to the public and more are said to be opened in co-operation with the local community.


Source: The Witness

I have been hiking in the Berg for some years and it has always irritated me that “people in the know” keep the location of rock art a secret. After all these paintings are part of our National Heritage and why should we all not be able to view them. I always saw this practice as akin to a piece of stolen art residing in someone’s basement and only them being able to view it rather than the greater public at large.


We recently became aware that a certain tour company is advertising four by four trips to Mont Aux Sources, Tugela Falls, Sentinel and Amphitheatre. We would like to bring it to your attention that all these areas fall within the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site (UDP WHS) and that any unauthorised vehicular access is in contravention of the law.

This year marks the first ever International Vulture Awareness Day to be held on the 5th of September 2009. Vulture numbers are decreasing dramatically all over the world, and it is not only specific to one or two species, rather it is across the board. This event has been arranged and co-ordinated by EWT's Birds of Prey Working Group and The Hawk Conservancy Trust.

Some 150 Yellowwood trees were “accidentally” cut down by a contractor to the Working for Water program.