THE Maloti Drakensberg Route, the longest recognised route in southern Africa, incorporates the high-lying areas of the Eastern Free State, Lesotho and the Eastern Cape Highlands, embraces the fabled Maloti Drakensberg and the extended uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park, a World Heritage Site. Above this layer is the Molteno Formation of glittering sandstone where fossilised ferns are found in abundance. The region became far less hospitable about 200 million years ago when the drying climate reduced the water supply from the mountains, although silt was still deposited into the marshes from the diminishing rivers. The red-orange rocks of the Elliot Formation were the result. These three layers, the Beaufort Group, the Molteno and Elliot Formations, comprising sandstones and mudstones, were deposited in the marshes over a period of 260 to 190 million years ago.