In October 1998 Charles & Gardi Major opened their doors and started Major Adventures in Underberg.
I grew up in this area and spent much of my youth on the Sani Pass when my father Arthur Major was a partner in Mokhotlong Mountain Transport (MMT), now Sani Pass Tours. My father was involved with the building of the Sani Top Chalet while with MMT. I began driving tourists up the Pass when I was only 19 years old.
I always wanted to return to live in Underberg again and hence Major Adventures was born. We started with one vehicle – an old Toyota Landcruiser (Uncle Bob) which I drove every day. Uncle Bob eventually had to retire and now 18 years down the line, we have a small fleet of vehicles, all driven by qualified, passionate guides.
Back in the early days we relied on walk-ins and coping with four or more people was challenging. Now numbers can escalate to as much as a hundred people plus, in a day. The business has grown tremendously and it has taken years of hard work, persuading Tour Companies to come to the Southern Drakensberg for a night or two, instead of spending it in Durban. We pride ourselves that many tour companies in South Africa now book their Sani Pass day trip with Major Adventures. A large portion of our business is referral with lots of repeat business.
Our tourist information office is open 7 days a week and is a busy office which receives many visitors to Underberg needing information on what to do, where to stay or simply how to get to their destination. We offer a wide variety of local brochures including other areas of KZN, Wild Coast, Lesotho and many more. We stock postcards, maps, curios and books.
MAJOR ADVENTURES would sincerely like to thank all those that have supported us and helped us to grow our business during the past 18 years.
The Southern Drakensberg area has a diverse population of birds, mammals and reptiles. The more common larger mammals that can be found are mountain reedbuck, grey rhebuck, grey duiker, eland, klipspringer, bushbuck and oribi. The main predators in the Drakensberg are leopard (found in very small numbers), black-backed jackal, caracal, serval, clawless and spotted neck otter, various species of mongoose and genet. Troops of chacma baboons, porcupines and colonies of rock hyrax are also found throughout the area. Approximately 54 mammals are found in the area.
Snake Species & Lizards
There are around 25 types of snakes that live in the Southern Drakensberg Region and of those, only four are potentially dangerous. The Puff Adder, Berg Adder, Night Adder and the Rinkhals. Avoiding danger from these 4 snakes comes down to common sense and applying the rules of the bush. Remember that these snakes live here and play a vital role in our ecosystem and will only try and bite you if they feel threatened. If you come across one of these four sakes, retreat slowly and quietly (easier said than done ladies, but running quietly will help) and remember that the Rinkhals can spit up to 3 metres. Do not try and chase him or her away, the consequences might be fatal. Generally, snake bites are extremely rare in the Southern Drakensberg area, having said that, always be aware of the more dangerous species.
Sani Pass Bird Species
There are more the 150 bird species to be found on the Sani Pass and in the Lesotho Highlands.
Elsa Pooley said, “The dramatic broken landscape of the escarpment and the harsh climatic conditions of the highland of Lesotho account for the remarkably diverse plant life with about 2200 species and almost 400 endemics”.
One of the reasons the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg area was declared a World Heritage Site was for its rich diversity of plant life. There are many interesting plants to be seen at any time of the year and the flowers are usually at their best just after the spring rains and throughout the summer months, from November to February. Listed are only some of the flowers that you are likely to see up the Pass.
Indigenous Trees in the low lying grassland areas of the Southern Drakensberg are few due to the cold weather and bushfires. Along the rivers and up the mountain slopes into the high lying areas, our trees become more prolific. We have listed 24 indigenous trees that grow in and around the Southern Drakensberg region.