The Northern Drakensberg area runs along the Lesotho border between the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal. This is an area of spectacular mountains and deep forests, of quiet streams and fast flowing rivers. This area is most popular with those seeking to get away from the trials and tribulations of life in the big metropolis of Johannesburg, and is only a three-hour drive from the city.
The area has masses of excellent accommodation of all grades, from mountain hotel resorts to guesthouses and self-catering units. The area abounds with National Parks and other Nature Reserves. In the north is the Sterkfontein Dam Nature Reserve; while in the west lies the Golden Gate Highlands National Park. This is a haven for climbers, hikers and other nature lovers, while for the historian there are the many battlefields of the Anglo-Boer wars around the town of Ladysmith. The mountains in the Northern Drakensberg house some dramatic caves and shelters where a mass of bushman paintings can be seen.
Guests visit to Northern Drakensberg
We're headed for the Northern Drakensberg of KwaZulu Natal. Although there's tons of excellent self catering chalet accommodation available throughout the Northern Drakensberg we also considered options from hotels and bed & breakfasts. This year we chose the Hlalanathi Drakensberg Resort - a holiday resort in the beautiful Mont-aux-Sources area. The views of the Drakensberg Amphitheatre and Tugela River are incredible, and at day's end, while the kids enjoyed the on-site activities, Roy and I would sit outside our thatched self catering chalet and soak up the beauty, staring in awe at the Drakensberg Mountain Range.
Hlalanathi was the base from which we hiked at the Royal Natal National Park - Roy joined the brave who climbed up a chain ladder to view the Drakensberg escarpment from the top, the kids and I explored the forests, and splashed through the Berg streams.
Roy also hiked to Surprise Ridge, and the 'Cannibal Cave' (where tribal people had to resort to cannibalism whilst hiding from Shaka Zulu, as he purged the Drakensberg area of his enemies).
Another wonder of the world lying in the Drakensberg Royal Natal National Park, is the Tugela Falls - apparently the second largest waterfall in the world - spectacular sight!!
Another "must do" was our visit to the Kamberg National Park. In the Kamberg area lies some of the best examples of Drakensberg San Bushman rock art, and being a bit of a dabbler in oils myself, I was blown away by these beautiful paintings.
Our self catering accommodation at the Hlalanathi Berg Resort turned out to be an adventure all on its own - we golfed, played tennis, volleyball, swam and fished (I caught a pretty decent sized Bass) .....all of this on the actual premises of Hlalanathi Resort.
Although the Hlalanathi Drakensberg Resort offers self catering accommodation, on the days that we were too lazy to cook, the Hlalanathi Berg Resort's restaurant and pub provided us with great meals.
During the week we took a day trip out of Mont-aux-Sources to meet up with home-town friends who were staying on the Oliviershoek Pass. We also took a drive through the beautiful surrounding Northern Drakensberg areas, including Little Switzerland, Bergville and the Putterill Valley, where we ended the day at the Montusi Mountain Lodge.
Seven wonderful days - The Drakensberg is like no place on Earth!
Dianne and Roy Thomas