(2) The 12,000 ft. Snowy Drakensberg Mountains, Coastal Plains, and Lakes Of KwaZulu-Natal

Updated: Jun 27

This is mostly a winter scene with snow above the 9,000 ft. contour,

but even in midsummer THIS may happen at 6,000 ft!

Ski-scape at 11,000 ft.

Eland in Summer. These big antelope diminish in stature against the backdrop of the 10,381 ft. Cathkin Peak on the right.

Eland is the icon animal of the Drakensberg foothills and up to 9,000 ft. elevation.

Winter eland below the snow line. Compare the body shape and colouring of the eland in the centre of the photo with the ancient rock painting below:

The eland has been South Africa's icon animal for thousands of years. San First Nation Rock Art in Drakensberg caves.

Running eland bull.

Pregnant eland cow. The whitish neck may originally have been the grey-blue of the front ends of these animals.

The tropical coastal plains:

The forests of the coastal plains is habitat for a wide variety of bush animals: lion, leopard, elephant, Cape buffalo, zebra, kudu, nyala, blue wildebeest, bushbuck, eland, bushpig, warthog, duiker, etc.

It also is home to the beautiful, equally lush green mamba.

And it is the historical venue where the white rhino was saved from extinction by Umfolozi Chief Ranger Dr. Ian Player, brother of the gholfing legend Gary Player.

There were twelve white rhino left in the wilds in Natal and diminishing, and no breeding effort was successful no matter which bull was secluded with which cow - because there was never such an attempt before.

Dr. Player said "we do not have enough information, not enough money for research. I am going to offer the oldest, biggest bull for hunting and use that money for research". The greenies went apoplectic but he went to the USA and auctioned that impressive trophy for $100,000. He made no bones about the reason for the hunt. A medical doctor from Texas bid quite in excess of the $100k and came to hunt the rhino with Dr. Player.

That $100,000 in those days was worth R50,000 in the very strong economy SA had until 1994, and it served its purpose well. A very capable young man on his team was appointed as project leader and in the end their finding was that a rhino cow, just like lionesses, needs TWO bulls with her, and until they fight and there is a clear winner she would not ovulate. All remaining individual white rhino bulls from around the country was brought to Umfolozi. Two cows got pregnant and today South Africa has 20,000 white rhino all over the country and supplies the whole of Africa.

The coastal plains is home to scores of private game reserves, some very secluded and upper class and some with basic but adequate and tranquil amenities. This one is at "M'Thembu" (mother elephant).

View from the inside. (No, she is not in the bath hiding out of view - she took the photo!)

The lakes at Kosi Bay Estuary on the border of Kwazulu-Natal Province with Mozambique.