Southern Drakensburg – Rhodes and Naude’s Nek
About the Birding
The beautiful Naude’s Nek Pass is one of the easiest places in South Africa to locate the full compliment of Drakensburg specials. Accessible from the villages of Rhodes and Maclear, the pass itself reaches a summit of 2920m a.s.l. at the southern limit of the Drakensburg range bordering with Lesotho. The views from the top of the pass are sensational, making the effort to get there well worth the trouble.
About the Birding Site
The dramatic Drakensburg Mountain range consists of a continuous, abrupt and rugged scarp or mountain wall along the national boundary between South Africa and Lesotho. Lesotho’s Thaba Ntlenyana (3 484 m a.s.l.), the highest peak in Africa south of Kilimanjaro, lies along this scarp. There are a number of other outstanding topographical features in this formidable barrier of cliffs and peaks, including, from north to south, the Amphitheatre, a semi-circle of high cliffs with a sheer drop of 613 m; Mont-aux-Sources (3 282 m a.s.l.), Cathedral Peak (3 004 m a.s.l.), Cathkin Peak, …
Other Related Information
From the village of Maclear, head north along the R396. The summit of the Naude’s Nek pass is 72km from Maclear, and 31Km from Rhodes. Alternatively, from the village of Elliot, turn north along the R393 before turning west onto the R396.
Access and facilities:
Note that road conditions are poor at best – especially after heavy rain and snow. Most areas of the pass are only accessible to 4×4 vehicles with high clearance, though it is possible to approach the top of the pass from the village of Rhodes in 2×4 vehicles with high clearance.