By: Beverley Dias
Drakensberg (Afrikaans for Dragon’s Mountain) was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO on 29 November 2000. The park is 240 000 hectares large with a wealth of rivers, wetlands, indigenous forests, grasslands, valleys and cliffs with a variety of endangered plant and animal species inhabiting the area. It is a vacation destination for all seasons with accommodation and activities to suit all tastes. Here are some of our top selections for places to stay:
- The 3 star rated Gooderson Drakensberg Gardens Golf and Spa Resort is a retreat to relax and unwind which offers hiking, horse riding, canoeing, trout fishing as well as an 18 hole golf course in the Drakensberg area. Biking enthusiasts also have the luxury of a 12km track which traverses the resort’s dam and pine forest and bikes are available for hire at hotel reception. The resort is just two and a half hours from Durban. For guests in larger groups, there are four and six sleeper fully equipped self-catering units available as well as babysitting services for guests travelling with children.
- Nestled in unspoilt beauty and the shadow of the Drakensberg mountain is the 4 star rated Cathedral Peak Hotel which is a mere 250km from Durban and 400km from Johannesburg. Accommodation varies from luxury en-suite bedrooms to the Mponjwane Presidential Suite. This room boasts a fireplace, spa bath, underfloor heating with a verandah which opens up to majestic mountain views in an exquisitely decorated room. Activities range from horse and bike riding as well as a host of child friendly activities and facilities. Dining is quite an experience with an extensive buffet at breakfast and dinner prepared by the hotel’s top class chefs.
- Champagne Sports Resort boasts spectacular views of Champagne Castle and Cathkin Peak and is a cosy hideaway offering the very best in luxury accommodation. The top 30 ranked 18 hole golf course has been voted as South Africa’s most beautiful in recent years. With outstanding sporting and cultural activities, this resort offers the perfect balance for sports enthusiasts and guests seeking relaxation. The herds of roaming blesbok and impala as well as the many bird species add a special ambience and guests who have stayed before always return.
- Didima Camp is situated in the Didima Valley, south of Monk’s Cowl and boasts some of the most magnificent rock art by the San people housed in the Rock Art Centre on the property. Accommodation at the camp is in the form of luxury bungalows and chalets uniquely styled after the cave dwellings of the San people who once lived in these mountains. While all chalets have fully equipped kitchens, the main dining area offers three sumptuous meals a day, prepared by some of the best chefs in the country.
- Alpine Heath Resort took top honours at the 2016 Lilizela Tourism Awards in the Regional Self Catering category. This stylish four star self-catering mountain village is surrounded by crystal clear streams and offers activities from horse riding and squash to hiking and mountain biking as well as a luxury spa for guests to unwind and enjoy being pampered. Alpine Heath is renowned for its superb kiddies activities. For guests who don’t want to slave over a stove while they are on vacation, there are a number of restaurants on the property as well as the Tavern Bar which serves light meals and has a bar which serves every type of drink imaginable.
- The Drakensberg Sun Hotel is one of the world’s most scenic holiday destinations and a family friendly establishment from which to explore the Berg and Cathkin Park. The Drakensberg Canopy Tour is close by where guests can enjoy exhilarating zip lining as well as take guided tours of the Boer War battlefields. The Spoilt Green Spa offers a range of treatments for guests who are on a mission to unwind and only the best organic products are used. The Lakeview Restaurant and Grotto Bar offer guests delectable cuisine to suit all palates and drinks to quench every thirst.