The Drakensberg (derived from the Afrikaans name Drakensberge meaning “Dragon Mountains”) is the name given to the eastern portion of the Great Escarpment, which encloses the central Southern African plateau. The Great Escarpment reaches its greatest elevation in this region – 2,000 to 3,000 metres (6,600 to 9,800 feet).
A map of South Africa showing the central plateau edged by the Great Escarpment and its relationship to the Cape Fold Mountains to the south. The portion of the Great Escarpment shown in red is known as the Drakensberg.
The Drakensberg escarpment stretches for over 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) from the Eastern Cape Province in the South, then successively forms, in order from south to north, the border between Lesotho and the Eastern Cape and the border between Lesotho and KwaZulu-Natal Province. Thereafter it forms the border between KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State, and next as the border between KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga Province. It winds north, through Mpumalanga, where it includes features such as the Blyde River Canyon, Three Rondavels and God’s Window. It moves north again above Tzaneen in Limpopo Province, where it includes the Wolkberg Mountains and Iron Crown Mountain, at 2,200 m (7,200 ft) above sea level, the Wolkberg being the highest mountain range in Limpopo. It veers west again and at Mokopane it is known as the Strydpoort Mountains.