Helpful Hints to Remember When Visiting the Drakensberg


Helpful Hints to Remember When Visiting the Drakensberg


Climate

The Drakensberg experiences hot summer days and refreshingly cool evenings. However its winters are extremely cold, sometimes with heavy snowfalls.

Please remember, if hiking, climbing or just going for a walk in any of the Drakensberg Mountain reserves, that you must sign the Mountain Rescue Register upon entering the reserve. This is for your own safety, and also makes it easier and faster for the rescue team to locate you should you have a problem.

Mountain road through the snow


The following table provides the maximum and minimum temperatures in centigrade and average rainfall figures for the Royal Natal section of the Drakensberg:

MONTH MAX TEMP MIN TEMP AVERAGE RAIN
(mm)
JANUARY 26.2 15 241
FEBRUARY 25.8 14 231.5
MARCH 24.2 12 171.2
APRIL 22.6 9 68.1
MAY 20.4 5 26.1
JUNE 18.8 2 16.1
JULY 18.3 3 11.5
AUGUST 20.2 5 34.1
SEPTEMBER 24.4 9 56.6
OCTOBER 23.8 11 108.5
NOVEMBER 25 12 151.5
DECEMBER 26 14 195.1

Although summers are warm, snow has been experienced in the mountains in every month of the year so be sure you take appropriate clothing and equipment for your stay.

Distances

To Estcourt from:

Cape Town 1413km
Durban 165km
Johannesburg 423km
Port Elizabeth 943km

To Underberg from:

Durban 199km
Johannesburg 642km
Pietermaritzburg 122km

Population

Official Languages

There are eleven official languages in South Africa. In the Berg, Zulu, English, Afrikaans and German are widely spoken

Banking

Banking hours are from Monday to Friday 09h00-13h30

In the Northern and Central Berg there is a First National Bank and an ABSA Bank in Bergville. Winterton has a First National Bank, ABSA and Standard Bank.

Estcourt and Mooi River have branches of most of the major banking groups that are found in South Africa. This is similarly the case with the Southern Berg towns of Himeville and Underberg.

Sunrise, South to Sehlabethebe

Credit Cards

Most departmental stores, shops, hotels and restaurants accept international credit cards i.e. American Express, VISA, Diners Club, Mastercard.

Currency

The currency in South Africa is the Rand. Bank notes currently available are R200, R100, R50, R10 and coins of R5, R2, R1, 50c, 20c, 10c, and 5c. There are 100c in R1.

VAT

14% tax is charged on most purchased goods and services. However, foreign tourists are able to reclaim this money on their departure from the country provided that the goods purchased exceed R250. Ask for more information at the airport on arrival.

Hospitals/Medical Care

The telephone numbers of doctors in the Berg are obtainable from police or hotels.

Ladysmith Provincial Hospital (036) 637 2111.

Important Telephone Numbers

Police:
Bergville (036) 448 1095
Winterton (036) 488 1502
Himeville (033) 702 1300
Underberg

Mountain Rescue Service: (082) 990 5877

Or Contact the Search and Rescue Section of the Mountain Club of South Africa: KwaZulu-Natal Section, directly on 082 990 5877.
 

SOUTHERN DRAKENSBERG

Airports

King Shaka International Airport :
King Shaka International Airport is situated approximately three hours' drive away from the Berg. It handles international flights as well as domestic flights to and from all major centres throughout South Africa.