This thesis identifies and evaluates driving forces of the land and soil degradation in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal and the Kingdom of Swaziland, which explain local degradation phenomena. Three sub-questions are formulated: Where? focal areas are located; What? phenomena occur and why? The selected method spectrum includes a remote-sensing based localisation and statistical highlighting of focal areas of degradation, a GIS-based analysis of the natural driving forces as well as an assessment of weighted hazard risk factors based on the RUSLE and a field campaign. In addition, cross-scale mechanisms of driving forces are evaluated. For both study areas applies that anthropogenic driving forces of topics of politics, law, social affairs and economy have a hierarchical effect, which leads to local degradation phenomena. The land tenure system is an important node of all pathways.