The Drakensberg is home to the second-largest antelope, the Common or Southern Eland. This magnificent creature is often seen on the slopes of this escarpment, especially in the Lotheni, Giants Castle and private estates in the Monk’s Cowl Camp area.
The distinguishing features of the Common Eland are its size, straight spiral horns and dewlap. Their colour is brownish-yellow, which lightens with age. The average height of these browsers and grazers is 1,7 metres. They weigh some 700 kilograms.
The San revered them, and they formed an essential component of these people’s diet. These people believed that Eland was an intermediary between God and their ancestors. Eland could assist them in engaging with their ancestors and God. Eland is often depicted as entering a crack in a rock face. San believed that rock art sites were ‘veils’ to the spiritual world. These sites are thus sacred and should be treated with respect.
Eland are prolific ‘jumpers’ and can even clear fences of 2,5 metres in height.
They wander as individuals, small groups and occasionally large herds. Adult males are often solitary. They are found on the higher grasslands of the Drakensberg in summer and in larger groups. In Winter, they move to the lower grasslands and mingle in smaller groups.