The towering Basalt peaks of the Drakensberg Escarpment forming the eastern boundary between Lesotho and South Africa are incredibly rugged and beautiful. Formed some 180 million years ago, these mountains have captivated my attention. Mostly accessible on foot, the mountains hold many secrets I wish to discover and photograph in ways that portray the true essence of this mountainous wonderland. In northern areas close to Tugela Falls, sheer vertical cliffs drop-off for more than 1000 meters straight down. Standing on these edges will make you feel like you are on top of the world.
The last remnants of sunlight quickly fades on a stormy afternoon over the iconic and picturesque Amphitheatre in the Drakensberg mountains. A slow flowing Tugela River reflects the amazing fiery sunset colours, oranges and reds, bringing to an end a great day in the Berg.
The Falling Mist
This was one of my finest mornings of landscape photography I have ever experienced. A bland sunrise turned into an epic display of wind and mist coming from Lesotho and falling over the escarpment edge for more than an hour. The falling mist engulfed the landscape emphasizing the dynamic cliffs and pinnacles of a treacherous and beautiful Drakensberg amphitheatre landscape.
The Madonna at Twilight
The basalt cliffs of the Drakensberg Escarpment are impressive, but near the top of that list is this formation high up in the Mweni area at Fangs Pass. Termed the Madonna and Her Worshippers, these seemingly small spires or peaks are in fact at least the height of ten busses. Heavy snowfall adds dramatic character to this landscape as stars faintly glow signalling night fall.
Afternoon on the River
The Bushmans River slowly flows past, as clouds tower over the peak of Giants Castle seen in the distant background.
Dawn Light and Shadow
Heavy mist builds below the peaks of the Drakensberg Escarpment, swishing back and forth under an impressively colourful sunrise sky. The Eastern Buttress and Devils Tooth protrude above the vast expanse of low cloud. The blue tinge in the top of the sky is a shadow, possibly caused by a distant cloud bank blocking the light from the sun.
Heavy snowfall covers the high peaks of the Drakensberg Escarpment, slowly thawing out and filling small rivers that flow through the beautiful mountain valleys of the Mnweni region. The glow of dawn twilight paints the tranquil scene in soft golden colours and illuminates the high snow-covered peaks around Fangs Pass. The river here is the Mubudini River which joins the Mnweni river a few kilometers down stream.
Inversion And Light
A beautiful cloud inversion covers the world below as the first rays of sunlight catch the peaks of the clouds below with an intense pink light. This was the start of a magnificent 3-day adventure into the Drakensberg mountains.
Burning Milky Way
The Milky Way burns bright over a small tree in the Drakensberg mountain region of South Africa.
Mist falls over the escarpment edge originating in the highlands of Lesotho, creating dramatic conditions and showcasing essences of this dynamic and rugged landscape. Standing on what feels like the edge of the world looking across this scene was a moment I will never forget and felt very privileged to witness.
Striking sunrise colours illuminate high clouds over the grassy valleys, characteristic of the Drakensberg mountain range in South Africa.
Cathedral Peak Star Trail
Stars streak across the nocturnal sky over the Cathedral Peak mountain range, an exposure of 32 minutes creating the effect. The warm glow in the sky is created by the very last few rays of astronomical twilight.
Heavy snow falls overnight onto the Dragon near the Giants Castle area, captured using a telephoto lens to compress the scene together.
Heavy snow falls on the peaks of the Drakensberg Mountain Range, supplying crystal clear water into the Bushmans River on a crisp winters morning.
From the Witches
A beautiful autumn morning high up in the Drakensberg mountains. Inversion below, high clouds above and dappled sunlight hitting the dramatic landscape as seen from the view point near the Witches peaks. The Eastern Buttress, Devils Tooth and the Toothpick can be seen at the end of the Amphitheatre wall in the distance.
Golden Gate Sunset
Setting to the west, the sun illuminates the huge sandstone cliffs of the Golden Gate Highlands National Park, accentuating the golden colour of these deeply eroded outcrops.
Magical Sunset Light
Incredible sunset light peers over the Drakensberg Sentinal Peak behind, illuminating fast moving low cloud in striking contrasting colours. A slow flowing Tukhela River reflects these amazing colours beautifully.
Moods of the Berg
Dramatic cloud and sunrise light embrace the towering peaks around Monks Cowl and Cathkin Peak in the central Drakensberg.
The Devils Tooth
Through the heavy mist light falls, a view so epic and breathtaking, a moment in which you feel so alive and one worthy of those hours slogging up a mountain to get to this view. The mist closed in moments after this photograph was taken, and the opportunity of sunset was over. This momentary glimpse was all I needed to capture the true essence of the Drakensberg mountains.
View Across The World
Beautiful sunset light sweeps across the sky in hues of oranges and magentas, complimenting the dramatic and rugged landscape of the Drakensberg escarpment. If you look carefully, you can see the Tugela falls tumbling over the cliff on the left. The peak in the distance to the right is the Sentinel peak, and just left of that is the Western Buttress. This image was captured close to Ribbon Falls.
Fires from across the northern Drakensberg fill the atmosphere with smoke on a windy winter morning. The sun rises in the east, diffused by the smoke and misty morning, basking the Golden Gate Sandstone landscape in golden colours.
A massive storm cell moves in from the west, bringing dramatic conditions as the setting sun fades away for the day. Lightning strikes the escarpment in the distance under beautifully illuminated rain and storm clouds. Anyone who has been to the Drakensberg will understand the echoing effect the mountains have on thunder, it's an amazing natural event to experience whilst on foot in the mountains. The lightning in the image is real, no photoshop tricks were used.
Hazy air reflects falling light across the massive expanse of the Amphitheatre in the Drakensberg. The sun, obscured by heavy cloud creates an ethereal warm glow across the landscape.
Above The Summit
A heavy cloud inversion builds up and rises above the Drakensberg escarpment summit, engulfing the landscape in an impressive display of nature. These clouds danced around for hours, giving way to impressive views and then covering them up time and time again.
Heavy mist forms along the escarpment edge underneath very dark and dramatic storm clouds. The mist continued to form until I could see nothing. I then retreated to my tent for the remainder of the day.
Mbundini Abbey Sunrise
Standing below the peaks of Mbundini Abbey and Fangs Pass in the Drakensberg is an almighty sight. The flowing rivers create a beautiful foreground to the impressive sunrise-lit peaks of this area.
Camping Below The Milky Way
Camping high up on the top of the Drakensberg summit is magnificent, but underneath brilliant clear skies makes it magical! 2 hours after this photo was taken, we were hit by a massive storm lasting more than 2 hours.