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The source of South Africa’s longest river, Mont-aux-Sources and the Royal Natal National Park.

Updated: Jun 20


Two French Protestant missionaries, Thomas Arbousset and Francois Daumas, explored the mountainous highlands of Lesotho in 1830. After a difficult journey they penetrated to the eastern edge of the great mass of basalt and found themselves on the plateau summit of a mountain known to the Sotho as Phofung ('place of eland'), but renamed by the missionaries Montaux-Sources ('mountain of sources') because on it they found the sources of many different rivers and streams. The plateau of Mont-aux-Sources is 3 048 metres high. The tremendous cliffs on the eastern edge form a massive curve known as the Amphitheatre. Set back westwards on the plateau is a hillock-like summit which crowns the whole mountain and reaches an altitude of 3 282 metres. On the slopes of this summit, the Tugela River has its source. The infant river flows to the edge of the Amphitheatre and then plummets 2 000 metres in a series of sheer falls and cascades. This is the highest waterfall in South Africa. In Winter the upper part of the waterfall freezes into a pinnacle of ice.

Close to the source of the Tugela is a second spring, which is the source of the Elands River. The two streams are separated by a low, boggy ridge which is the east-west watershed of Southern Africa. The Elands veers north off this ridge, cascades from the summit in a series of falls for 1200 metres, reaches the Central Plains and flows off to join the Vaal River and through it the Orange River.

It reaches the Atlantic Ocean at a point on the west coast 2200 kilometres away from the mouth of the Tugela River. On the northern side of Montaux-Sources, the northern end of the main Drakensberg is marked by the Sentinel, a great landmark 3 165 metres high. The south-eastern end of the Amphitheatre is marked by the 3 009-metre Eastern Buttress. Between this buttress and the Amphitheatre is a jagged pinnacle known as the Devil's Tooth—one of the most dangerous climbs in the Drakensberg.

The 8000 hectare area at the foot of Mont-aux- Sources was proclaimed a national park in 1906 and in 1950 the 794 hectare Rugged Glen Nature Reserve was added to it. The ‘Royal’ part of it was tacked on in 1947 when the British royal family stayed here during their visit to South Africa. The Royal Natal National Park is one of the great scenic show-pieces of Southern Africa. grey rhebuck, mountain reedbuck, grey duiker, bushbuck, blesbok, klipspringer and gnu live here, as well as dassies and baboons.

Our https://www.amatungulu.com/cape-to-kruger safari can take Tourists to this spectacular Mountain and Park.

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