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Tuesday, 22 March 2011


In my last blog I said I would explain my choice of name for my blog, Drakensview. I do most of my fishing where I can see the Drakensberg, thus Drakensview.The school where I'm the librarian is also called Drakensview. From the windows of my library I have a clear view Of Giants Castle, one of the major peaks in the Berg. Drakensberg means Dragon Mountains, the name given to the mountains by the Voortrekkkers, the Afrikaans pioneers who crossed over from the western side in the 1830's. Some say the name comes from the mountains looking like the spikes on a dragons back, others say the name refers to a legend that said there were dragons living in the mountains. One never says Drakensberg mountains because that would be tautology, locals just talk of the Berg. Berg is the Afrikaans word for mountain and draak the Afrikaans for dragon.

The Zulu name for the mountains is uKhahlamba, Barrier of Spears, very descriptive. From the eastern side the sharp peaks jutting up into the sky look just like a barrier of spears.

From Mont-Aux-Sources in the north to Giants Castle in the south, is wilderness area. Several years ago it was declared a world heritage site. As early as 1903 the the Natal government saw the value of protecting this unique area and proclaimed the Giants Castle Game reserve.

I decided to do some research on the Berg to get my facts straight, so I took a book called, Barrier of Spears. Drama of the Drakensberg. by R. O. Pearse, from the school library. R. O. Pearse was headmaster of Estcourt High school   in the 1960' to 1970's, I'm not quite sure of the exact dates. Pearse knew the Berg like the proverbial back of his hand. He hiked, and climbed almost every inch of it and spent most of his spare time in the Berg.

Quote from Pearse's book. p.iv.

"Is there behind it all, a purpose, a guiding intelligence? I believe that the evidenceof planned order, of inexorable law, of careful thought, of divine imagination is far too overwhelming to permit of any other explanation. I believe that this vast universe, which is our home, "with all its mighty throng", as the New English bible puts it, down to the tiny gnat which buzzes around your candle flame, started as an idea in the mind of God.

And what more majestic or noble language could one find to describe those mighty cosmic events in the dawn of time than the sonorous organ notes of the first chapter of Genesis. "In the beginning ... the earth was without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep, and the spirit of God moved upon the waters.""

Then he goes into geological detail about the formation of the Drakensberg. But more of that next time.


Desiree said...

This is most interesting, Phillip. Thank you!

Joyful said...

This is interesting. I enjoyed hearing about the Africaan and Zulu word/s for the area.

Gaelyn said...

I can certainly understand the Draak name after my hike to Keith Bush camp. I liked being protected by the towering bergs. Look forward to hearing about the geology.

Shoreman said...

Good post Phillip. You can spend a lot of time touring the world through our blog friends. Places that we'll probably never get to, but do via blogs. Your's is one of the unique ones because we don't have many from South Africa. I'm looking forward to your future ones.


Jo said...

Ah yes, Phillip. I've always loved the Drakensberg. Good post. Blessings. Jo xxx