Maloti-Drakensberg Park is both a natural and a cultural landscape of great importance:
The Maloti-Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site is a transnational property spanning the border between the Kingdom of Lesotho and the Republic of South Africa. The property comprises Sehlabathebe National Park (6,500 ha) in Lesotho and uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park (242,813 ha) in South Africa. Maloti-Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site is renowned for its spectacular natural landscape, importance as a haven for many threatened and endemic species, and for its wealth of rock paintings made by the San people over a period of 4,000 years. The property covers an area of 249,313 ha making it the largest Protected Area complex along the Great Escarpment of Southern Africa.
The Maloti-Drakensberg Park range of mountains constitutes the principal water production area in Southern Africa. The areas along the international border between the two countries create a drainage divide on the escarpment that forms the watershed for two of Southern Africa’s largest drainage basins. The Thukela River from uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park flows eastwards into the Indian Ocean. The rivers of southern Maloti-Drakensberg including Sehlabathebe National Park drain into the Senqu/Orange River which flows westwards into the Atlantic Ocean….
With its pristine steep-sided river valleys and rocky gorges, the property has numerous caves and rock shelters containing an estimated 690 rock art sites, and the number of individual images in those sites probably exceeds 35,000. The images depict animals and human beings, and represent the spiritual life of the San people, representing an exceptionally coherent tradition that embodies their beliefs and cosmology over several millennia. There are also rock art paintings dating back to the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, attributable to Bantu-speaking people.
Extending along most of KwaZulu-Natal’s south-western border with Lesotho, the property provides a vital refuge for more than 250 endemic plant species and their associated fauna. It also holds almost all of the remaining subalpine and alpine vegetation in the KwaZulu-Natal province, including extensive high altitude wetlands above 2,750 m, and it is a RAMSAR site. The uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park has been identified as an Important Bird Area, and forms a critical part of the Lesotho Highlands Endemic Bird Area. (UNESCO World Heritage Centre #985)
You can find a gallery of additional photos of Maloti-Drakensberg Park on the World Heritage Centre’s website.
World Heritage Sites are cultural or natural landmarks of international significance, selected for recognition by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. More than 1000 such sites have been recognized in over 160 countries, and we feature one every Wednesday, drawn from one of our homeschool countries-of-the-week. You can find a complete list of World Heritage Sites online at the World Heritage Centre and in Wikipedia.
The World Heritage Centre also has a free and comprehensive World Heritage education kit for teachers, as well as a wonderful full-color wall map of World Heritage Sites, available for the cost of shipping. Why not add them both to your own homeschool library. 🗺
What world treasures have you been exploring in your homeschool this Orion Term? 😊
❡ Books in the running brooks: You can always turn to your River Houses almanac, atlas, and history encyclopedia for more information about any of our countries-of-the-week. The almanac has profiles of all the nations of the world on pages 752–859; the endpapers of the atlas are indexes that will show you where all of the individual national and regional maps may be found; the history encyclopedia includes national histories on pages 489–599; and you can find additional illustrations, flags, and other mentions through the indexes in each of these volumes. For an ideal little lesson, just write the name of the Weekly World Heritage Site on your homeschool bulletin board, find its location in your atlas, read the WHC’s brief description aloud, look at a picture or two, and you’re done. Over the course of the year, without even realizing it, your students will absorb a wealth of new historical, geographical, and cultural information. 🇱🇸
❡ The great globe itself: This is one of our regular Homeschool States & Countries posts featuring historical and natural sites of international importance. Download a copy of our River Houses World Heritage Calendar and follow along with us as we tour the planet, and add your name to our weekly mailing list to get great homeschool teaching ideas delivered right to your mailbox all through the year. 🌍