Nadia and Stephen are excited to welcome you to Qambathi
We are a owner run adult only boutique lodge and nature reserve nestled in the heart of Kamberg Valley, part of the beautiful Midlands Meander.
Qambathi has a magical atmosphere and it is a truly romantic setting surrounded by Drakensberg mountains and valleys. Excellent service supports the superb cuisine and is sure to turn any day into a fairytale experience. Great care has been taken to create unique and inspiring luxury accommodation, where you can sink into total comfort of meticulously designed rooms defined by a blend of nature’s colours and contemporary use of natural materials with luscious textures.
Enjoy the Qambathi forest trail taking you deep into one of the last remaining indigenous forests in the Kamberg valley or a casual walk on the existing game trails to enjoy the beautiful views where zebra and blesbok keep you company.
Qambathi can accommodate up to 10 guests, and is perfect for a small groups such as family reunions, company retreats, or just friends getting together. Please contact us to book Qambathi exclusively.
The Drakensberg offers a huge range of activities and attractions for your enjoyment. Its all about these unique experiences that make the Drakensberg Mountains the most interesting adventure activity destination in South Africa. Much of this can be attributed to the spectacular Drakensberg Mountains declared a World Heritage Site on two counts.
Gentle attractions and activities in the Drakensberg
Cathedral Peak Wine Estate. This is wine estate that was established in 2008 offers an excellent wine tasting experience
The Drakensberg Brewery, which is producing a range of exceptional beer types ranging from red Ales, blonde Ales, Indian Pale Ale, Pilsners and Stout. This brewery, which is open for light lunches and tasting, is a must visit.
The Drakensberg Boys choir– Sublime performances and should you find yourself in the Drakensberg on a wednesday afternoon this is something you should not miss. Start 15:30
The Champagne Valley also offers a Park Run, a 5 km experience from the Waffle Hut near Winterton. Guests are welcome to join this community spirit. Additionally, engage with locals over waffles and coffee on Saturday morning. The run starts at 08h00.
The Giants Castle Slack Packing Trail– This hike is a luxury trail and is perfect for those hikers who want to sleep in a comfortable bed each day, enjoy 3 course dinners, hearty breakfast, picnic lunches and tea and scones along the way. Its very much about taking things easy and at a leisurely pace enjoying the Lowlands Conservancy and Zulu Waters Private Game Reserve.
Day hiking trails through the Drakensberg Mountains– There is a lot to choose from here. easy half hour strolls right through to moderate half and full day trails for beginners. Giants Castle offers some of the most diverse day hiking options in the Drakensberg and the trails start 500m higher than the more popular Monks Cowl and Royal Natal just making things that much easier for yourself. Remember the higher you go the better the views.
“Sandra se Winkel” Museum on the way to Ardmore Guest Farm is a fascinating trip into the past of frontier life of the Drakensberg. It is a genuine trading store from a by-gone era. Many of the goods in the museum are still in their original packaging!
Mandela Capture Site – An incredible sculpture reminding the world of an incredible personality. Nelson Mandel has left a mark on South Africa for us all to be be inspired from and and thankful for.
Adventure attractions and activities in the Drakensberg
Scootours – A group of 6 adults going down a hill with scooters …. at first thought a NO NO . But is a great experience and fun going down on narrow pathways with a scooter. Great views, great fun and a great guide.
Drakensberg Canopy Tours, Situated in an indigenous forest of the Central Drakensberg, in the shadow of the towering Cathkin Peak, the Drakensberg Canopy Tour® awaits you. Boasting Africa’s first elevated rock face walkway with a good mix of both cliff face and treetop platforms, and cable slides over the forest up to 60 metres high, the Drakensberg Canopy Tour® must automatically go to the top of your “must do” list.
White Water Rafting – Zingela Safaris offers some lovely white water rafting options on the Tugela River.
Hot Air Ballooning – Hot air ballooning should be on your bucket list and there are few places in the world to fly in that’s as spectacular as the Drakensberg Mountains.
Hiking the high Drakensberg – There can be few more inspiring places on earth than looking out at the view from the top of the Drakensberg Escarpment. Getting up there is a slog and hiring a hiking guide that knows the places to camp and caves to sleep in can help alot
Cathkin Trails – Valley is becoming increasingly popular for mountain bikers and trail runners. The community of this area has seen the potential of those sporting pursuits and as a result, established has an extensive mountain biking and trail running trails.
Hiking in the Drakensberg Mountains is one of the top activities in South Africa. So whether you’re an international traveler or a local South African make sure the Drakensberg Mountains are part of your holiday plans. Actually you should just add them to you bucket list for planning future holidays. The Drakensberg is a must do once in a lifetime experience experience if you’re a nature lover or outdoor enthusiast. Its a remote wilderness isn’t always the easiest choice when you have a family with young toddlers. This non-camping and children-friendly Drakensberg hiking guide will change all of that
It’s easy to see why the Drakensberg is a natural heritage site, but why cultural? It is estimated that there are over 20,000 San rock paintings hidden across the Drakensberg Mountains. And these should be included in your Drakensberg holiday. It is the highest mountain range in South Africa at a maximum height of 3,482 metres above sea level.
There are an unlimited number of hiking trails in the Drakensberg. You can hike the Drakensberg all year round. However, the best time to visit the Drakensberg is during Spring (September to November) and Autumn (March to May). The temperature is more moderate during these months. If you love flowers and plants, November is the best month to see South Africa’s indigenous fauna growth. Summer (December to February) is great if you fancy swimming after your hikes. The rivers are usually full this time of the year and wonderful for swimming. Just be wary that summer is the rainy season and afternoon thunder storms may interrupt your activities. In the winter months (June to August) you’ll be able to enjoy hiking under clear, sunny days. . If you’re lucky, you may even see some snow capped peaks at higher altitudes. The views are always incredible
Unfortunately there are no direct flights to the Drakensberg. The best option will be to fly into either Johannesburg or Durban and rent a car. That will likely be the cheapest option for a family or group larger than 3 people to get to the Drakensberg. Depending on which part of the Drakensberg you’re heading to, it will take 2 hours to 5 hours to drive there.The drive should be pleasant and pretty easy to do. The roads are well maintained so you won’t need a 4X4 or 4 wheel drive to get to the Drakensberg. Just watch out for the occasional pot hole once you get onto the rural back roads.
Bus or public transport from Johannesburg and Durban to the Drakensberg is limited. There are Greyhound buses That will get you to the smaller towns. Uber does not exist here so you will then be reliant on the shared mini bus taxis and you might need to offer the taxi driver a little bit extra to get you all the way to the National Park Gate. There is also the Baz Bus which is a backpacker bus that drops off and picks up from a few of the backpacker establishments in the Drakensberg. The backpackers offer great options of tours to get out into the mountains. Still the best recommendation is to have your own vehicle or hire a car. If you not able to stay overnight in the Drakensberg but keen to experience some day hikes, you can join full day hikes from Durban. This is a great option if you’re travelling solo because the tour includes transfers from Durban to the start of the hiking trail. Another plus is that these hikes are guided.
The most frequently asked question asked in South Africa is “Is it safe?”. Well the Drakensberg does come with some risks of you plan things a bit and are aware of the risks you will not have any issues. You will instead wonder what all the fuss was about. Simply don’t create temptation by wearing flashy and expensive jewelry, hang your camera or smartphone around your neck, carry large wads of cash on you, wander around alone at night or pick up random hitch hikers along the side of the road. Drakensberg is relatively safe because it is quite remote and far away from big cities and towns, but it may still be helpful to exercise normal caution anyway. Go on guided hiking tours if you’re extra cautious. If you are a solo traveler its best to hook up with others at hostel or backpackers. Its just silly to hike alone. You might fall and need help in remote places where cell reception is scarce and alone you simply are left to your own devices.
Family-friendly Drakensberg Accommodation Options
The best way to decide where to stay with your family, is to start off by deciding which hiking trails you would like to explore and finding accommodation around that area. The Drakensberg region is huge, so if you plan on doing hiking trails that are far apart from each other, then plan a route and book short stays at hotels close to these trails. Some hiking trails will be directly accessible from your accommodation, whilst others will require a short drive. Make sure that these hiking trails can be completed in a day unless you want to brave camping in the wilderness.
The Cavern Resort & Spa– Situated in a beautiful mountain location, this hidden gem is a popular getaway resort for those seeking comfortable accommodation, great country cooking, outdoor adventure and attractions. Because the resort is located within a valley, each of the beautifully decorated rooms offer guests tranquil views of the surrounding nature and scenery. Families can choose from many activities for all ages such as a playground, a games room, horse riding, a bowling green as well as a swimming pool
Cathedral Peak Hotel – Cathedral Peak Hotel is an all year-round destination in the Drakensberg, offering visitors an experience of incredible summers to wonderful winter snow. The resort is extremely popular to those who love nature and the outdoors. Situated against the breathtaking Cathedral Peak mountain range, the 4* hotel attracts many travelers including families. Its array of children activities make this an extremely sought after family friendly property.
Antbear Lodge – They understand the importance of making sure your children are well looked after so that adults can enjoy a well deserved break. Antbear Lodge welcome children of all ages into a wonderfully child-friendly, safe environment, and with a selection of child friendly activities. Its clear your children will be sure to have a fun- and variety-filled country holiday. Youngsters will be occupied for hours exploring the grounds, visiting the farm animals, watching a cow being milked and riding horses. And they can also arrange a baby-sitting service at a reasonable hourly rate.
The Nest Hotel– One of the few Resort Hotels offering a sumptuous Table d’Hote included in your tariff. Wholesome six-course traditional dinners, full hearty breakfasts, light country-style lunches and morning and afternoon teas. And all in a child friendly environment.
Ardmore Guest Farm – Situated in the heart of the scenic Champagne Valley in the central Drakensberg mountain range. Surrounded by breathtaking views and fantastic opportunities for hiking and exploring the local area. Wake up to a traditional farmhouse breakfast (full English) overlooking Ardmore’s extensive gardens. Child friendly with lots of tame farm animals on the guest farm.
Drakensberg Mountain Retreat – A stunning destination in the northern Drakensberg with breathtaking views. Accommodation at the Lodge is fully catered for breakfast and Dinner. Lunch can be ordered and can be enjoyed on the patio or a picnic basket for your walk in the mountains. The rooms range in quality and size so chat to the management if you want something specific. There are 2 luxurious rooms for romantic couples wanting a totally private retreat. Our pet friendly rooms have enclosed gardens and our large family rooms are wonderful for relaxing with the kids. There are no fixed entertainment activities for the kids
Alpine Heath Resort – Situated close to Bergville, this family friendly 4* hotel is the perfect location for those in search of tranquility, relaxation and majestic views. For those who opt to venture out a bit, there are options of outdoor activities and nearby attractions. Families can enjoy their stay in one of the many luxury chalets with incredible views of the mountains.
Dragon Peaks Mountain Resort – Dragon Peaks Mountain Resort is a family resort situated in the heart of the Champagne Valley, Central Drakensberg. The resort offers a variety of accommodation types to suit the whole family. Our accommodation ranges from camping and caravan sites through to numerous self-catering options. We offer from our most affordable Drakensberg Park Homes which are 2* through to our newly built 4* Lakeside Suites.
Little Switzerland Resort – If you’re looking to bring family together from Durban and Johannesburg, then this holiday haven is perfectly situated in the middle of the two major cities. This 4* resort offers guests both peace and tranquility amongst the beautiful Drakensberg Mountains. Views of the surrounding nature and wilderness, as well as nearby waterfalls, streams and forests, allows for family to explore and enjoy the very best of nature. The resort is suitable for families and friends to share self-catering chalets with the ultimate comfort as well as a choice of a mountain, garden or pool view.
Drakensberg Sun Resort – This 4* resort in the Drakensberg, provides guests with the ultimate luxury and comfort. This also includes spectacular mountain views. Its great variety of both indoor and outdoor activities includes canopy tours, mountain biking, boating, horse riding, volleyball and trout fishing for families seeking adventure. Guests at the resort can also enjoy the views of a beautiful private lake.
Champagne Castle Hotel – This 4*family friendly stay is situated within a world heritage site offers exciting activities and attractions for the whole family to enjoy. This accommodation offers a window to some of the most beautiful mountains in the world. The resort is not short of activity options, such as horse riding for the teenagers, pony rides and animal farm with a petting zoo for the little ones, Trout fishing for mom and dad, tennis courts, bowls, volleyball, badminton, croquet, rounders, games room with table tennis, pool and football, board games, darts and hiking trails for the friends and extended family who have also been included in the family holiday.
Dalmore Guest Farm – Perfect weekend getaway. Nestled in the heart of the Drakensberg, this working farm offers luxurious accommodations, hearty, home-cooked meals and tons of activities for the entire family. Zip line and children’s play area
Sani Valley Lodge – A private nature lodge only 2 hours from Durban. It sits within the dramatic Drakensberg mountain range, borders a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the closest luxury lodge to the famous Sani Pass.
Inkosana Berg Lodge – The lodge is “eco friendly” and sustains itself from using resources of the land such as mountain water, fresh vegetables and herbs from the herb garden, solar lighting and outdoor eco showers, gas cookers and wood fired pizza oven.
Penwarn Farm Lodge -An Unforgettable Farm Lodge Experience. Penwarn Farm Lodge, in the heart of the Underberg, provides guests with that authentic farm experience, but without sparing any of the luxuries you’d expect to enjoy on your holiday. There a range of accommodation options available at Penwarn Farm Lodge, with choices to suit couples, friends and families alike.
Injisuthi Camp – Hiking and camping in Drakensberg parks such as this will be a memorable experience for older children and teenagers.
Family-friendly activities in the Drakensberg
Antbear Lodge horse trails – Ideal for beginners and children. The horses are very calm and rides are not about speed. For children the horses are led with someone walking with the horse or little children can get some exposure inside the round pen just to get used to things.
Falcon Ridge bird of prey show -Highly recommended (including a TripAdvisor Badge of Excellence), The Falcon Ridge Bird of Prey Center is found in Champagne Valley in the Drakensberg. Open every day apart from Fridays, the “shows” are thrilling; highlighting the power, speed and intelligence of the birds. An insight into Falconry is included in the show and the public will learn how these birds of prey use their wings and sharp beaks and claws to their advantage.
Dragons Rock Reptile center – An exciting tour that is fun and educational. Come and feel the reptiles and learn all about them. Anything from snakes to hedgehogs. This really is a gem of an attraction for families and children.
Scootours and kidies adventures– Down hill scooters are lots of fun even for the adult kids. Here You will find zip lines, tree climbing, paintball, King Swing @ One Venue in Central Drakensberg
African Bird sanctuary – Incredibly informative, beautiful birds and the only place in the world that has Bearded Vultures in captivity (they’re part of a breeding program to try up their numbers) in Pietermaritzburg, and watch some awesome predators like owls, falcons and hawks in action in an open-air amphitheater and learn their stories. Don’t miss the vulture feeding sessions, on weekends and public holidays at 12:30. Afterwards, visit the Kestrel Cafe for a cup of coffee and a bite to eat, while the kids burn off some extra energy at the jungle gyms or feeding the rabbits and guinea pigs.
All Out Adventures – Awesome activities to get the adrenaline pumping…nice coffee shop…safe…owner manages
Drakensberg Boys Choir – The Drakensberg Boys Choir School is one of the few South African Schools whose fame extends around the world. This school offers a unique educational opportunity for boys; it stimulates their spirit of adventure and exploration in our beautiful surroundings, while nurturing the development of the mind and expression in innate musical talent. Set on a 100Ha estate, the school draws its inspiration from the majestic Drakensberg Mountains, a World Heritage Site in KwaZulu-Natal, and is filled with the sound of boys singing, surely one of the purest of musical delights in the world. Don’t miss our popular Wednesday concerts at 15h30, every Wednesday during term time!
Piggly Wiggly Country Village – With various activities for the entire family, the Piggly Wiggly Country Village has something for everyone. The Candle Dipping Shop invites little piggies of all ages to create candle art by dipping their candles into different colours of wax while mom and dad shop or do some wine tasting at Meander Fine Wines. Kids can also play putt-putt at the Piggly Wiggly Putt Putt or get creative at the Zulu-Lulu Ceramic Boutique. Offering wholesome family fun and plenty of opportunities to bond with your kids, the Piggly Wiggly Country Village is a must visit this winter holiday. They also have great Kiddies’ Party Packages!
Karkloof and Drakensberg Canopy Tours – For an adventure activity that you and your kids will remember, go on a canopy tour with Karkloof Canopy Tours. Unleash your inner monkey by joining the Samango monkeys in the Karkloof forest canopy. Suitable for children from the age of seven, the two-hour eco-experience will afford you the opportunity to traverse from one platform to another along a steel cable suspended 35 meters from the forest floor. With nine platforms and eight cable slides, it’s a zig-zagging experience the whole family will enjoy.
Chocolate dipping at Cockolate Heaven – For a sweet experience that will certainly give you the parent-of-the-year award, go chocolate dipping at Chocolate Heaven. The chocolates are hand molded and are created with premium Belgian chocolate. It is an activity dunked in fun that will hopefully leave more chocolate in your belly than on your face.
Funtasy Toy Shop – After a term filled with learning and homework, don’t you think it’s time to reward your little bright spark? Funtasy Toy Shop offers a wide variety of different toys and games most of which are not found in commercial stores. The quaint toy store offers carefully handcrafted toys for both boys and girls. At Funtasy Toy Shop the kids can create their own special soft toy which has its own heart and passport. Hours of fun can be had with the unique bears.
Mandela Capture site – For an educational experience these holidays, why not visit the interesting Mandela Capture Site. Learn about how Mandela was captured on his return journey from Johannesburg and afterwards, have a snack at Truth Cafe. You can also visit the Impumelelo Bead Shop and sample the beaded artwork and jewelry produced by a group of women.
Hot Air Ballooning – This is one of the most romantic outings for adventurous couples. The ride takes you over the majestic mountains to have a bird’s eye view of the highest peak in SA. Breathtaking
If you have never seen bushman paintings this short hike suitable for the whole family is the one for you. One of the Drakensberg’s greatest treasures is cultural. Some 40 000 individual rock paintings have been recorded at 600 different cave and overhang sites between Royal Natal and Bushman’s Neck.
This three-hour guided trail starts at the Kamberg Rock Art centre, where you can watch a 20-minute DVD on the art and history of this famous rock-art site. As you walk, take heed of the poignant verse that is found on all the marketing brochures: “No more do we Bushmen hunt in these hills. The fire is cold. Our songs are quiet. But listen carefully. You will hear us in the water. Look carefully, you will see us in the rock.” And you will.
Leaving the centre, the trail heads south, then, after crossing a small stream, gradually meanders up the hill under the spray coming off the Waterfall Shelter. Shortly after this overhang, the path crosses a small river and then it’s a bit of a slog up a zigzagging path until, about 40 minutes from the start, you reach the gate of the shelter.
Most of the paintings in the shelter are complex polychrome images and the first ones you’ll see as you enter are imposing therianthropic figures (mythological creatures that are part human, part animal) clad in long black karosses. The most frequently depicted animal is the eland, the largest antelope in the Drakensberg. Apart from providing meat, fat and skins, eland had symbolic importance to the San, who believed they had supernatural powers. Archaeologists studying these paintings uncovered a vital key to understanding the symbolism of San rock art(how hunters gained power from the animals they killed) so, in a sense, they “cracked the code” – hence, the site is commonly referred to as the “Rosetta Stone”.
It’s then downhill all the way back to the centre, which has a few books, posters and videos, as well as limited snacks, tea and coffee for sale.
Walks are limited to groups of 10 people and leave from the centre at 9am, 11am and 12.30pm or by special arrangement with community guides based at the centre.
Highmoor is most probably one of the most underutilized hiking areas in the Drakensberg, but being able to drive just about all the way up the Little Berg makes it ideal for beginner hikers. The area is also the breeding ground for the Wattled Crain and well worth the visit for the avid bird watcher.
Aasvoel Krantz Cave is situated at the top of a small gorge overlooking the Tier Kloof special conservation area and there is a wellworn path all the way to the cave. From the main office follow the path to the Kamloops Dam and follow the route marker with Aasvoel Cave and then the path over the dam wall and up an easy uphill section. The path crosses a stream that eventually flows over the lip of the cave and is a convenient resting spot for everyone. The water is safe to drink straight from the stream and just below the path is a small waterfall. The path follows a relatively easy contour line to the cave and sections can disappear in thick mist so always carry your map and compass just in case. The path down to the cave is badly eroded so care needs to be taken when walking down, at the time of writing, there was a new path being cut to make entering easier.
The cave is actually a double story cave that can sleep 12 people with ease. However the top story is not that suitable to sleep in and has quite a drop so not suitable for small children. The bottom section is the best sleeping option and also gives you access to the waterfall and the pool. Care needs to be taken when allowing small children to go down to the river as it is quite steep and rocky.
It is a very comfortable cave however the water noise can make conversation a bit difficult but has the advantage of drowning out the snoring from the rest of the group.
Water is not a problem as the river flows year round and the pool is a refreshing swim and the water can be cold even in the middle of the summer.
The cave is east-facing and gives you a good view over the gorge and valley below, however to get the best views it’s better to climb back out to the top of the ridge to get the maximum view of the sunsets over the escarpment or sunrises over the valley below.
The Crane and wetland sanctuary contains all 3 SA cranes which are threatened with extinction due to a range of negative interactions with humans. The Hlatikulu Crane & Wetland Sanctuary works at managing these populations by captive breeding, rescue, rehabilitation and education.
Hlatikhulu Crane & Wetland Sanctuary is located between Highmoor/ Kamberg and Giants Castle in the Drakensberg
The Hlatikulu Crane & Wetland Sanctuary is a rescue, rehabilitation & breeding centre for southern Africa Crane species.
The Crane and Wetland Sanctuary hosts all three species in captive and wild situattion and is listed as an international Import Birding Area and National Ste of Conservation significance.
Interpretive walks are offered by Sanctuary Staff.
So, to view Wattled, Blue and Crowned Cranes, please contact 033 263 2441 or 082 804 9270 to make an appointment.
Highmoor is most probably one of the most underutilized hiking areas in the Drakensberg, but being able to drive just about all the way up the Little Berg makes it ideal for beginner hikers. The area is also the breeding ground for the Wattled Crain and well worth a visit for the avid bird watcher.
The trail follows an easy and well defined path from the Highmoor Camp Office passed the 3 high altitude trout dams. The climb is actually very mild and suitable for even the most unfit hiker. Once you have reached Windy Knoll, you can have a break to take in the spectacular view over the Little Berg all the way to the Giant. There are very few places where you can get so close and still enjoy the view.
An old folks tale tells us that when you point directly to the Giant, you will provoke the weather gods and this will lead to bad weather on your trip so be sure to make a point of not pointing directly at the Giant.
From Windy Knoll follow the path straight down to the bottom where you will be almost directly over the cave, to reach the cave carry on with the path to where it enters a rocky gully. Be careful here as it’s the most technical section on the trip, however it’s not too technical that you will need extra skills. This section is also very slippery when wet so take care with younger people.
After traversing back you will walk straight into the cave. The cave itself is actually a huge sandstone overhang with a smallish flat sleeping area that can sleep a group of 12 comfortably. Care needs to be taken with smaller children as the lip in front of the cave is steep and anyone falling here could be injured. In the rainy season there is a small waterfall falling over the lip of the cave that serves as a water source as well as a shower. In winter however, it usually dries up and the closest water is the small stream below the cave. On very dry years you might have to walk a bit further to get water.
The view directly from the cave is not that great, but if you walk back out to the steep section, you will be rewarded with a sunset to die for. Feel free to explore as far as you wish, make sure you tell the rest of the group where you are going and make sure you have a pre-agreed return time.
Please make sure that you follow the proper cave etiquette in regards to where and how to go to the toilet. No fires are allowed in any cave and you need to remove any litter from the cave, taking it back with you and dispose of it properly into a bin. By following these simple guidelines, you not only limit your impact on the environment but you also leave it pristine for the next group to enjoy.
Roman Baths is a real little gem of a hike and one that is not often talked about. Mostly its a pretty easy 6 km walk starting at the kamberg Nature Reserve at the trout dams with a very gentle mostly uphill along the base of the valley.
Roman Baths is a great spot for a family outing, picnic, a swim and lunch on the side of the river. The pools are beautiful.
If you venture into one of the little valleys the other side of the river bushman paintings may also to be found. If you have booked ahead a rock art custodian can give you a guided tour, but the site is usually locked to protect the art from vandalism.
Up ahead of you stretches Giant’s Castle on the skyline, with the Kamberg cliff face, in which there are fine examples of rock art, to your east.
En route look out for the perfectly undamaged toilet bowl (if it is still there) – all that remains of an old homestead that once stood in the reserve!
The Roman Baths are the ruins of old Roman Baths, just left of a series of giant tree ferns where the route splits 3.9 km after heading up the valley from the Kamberg Chalets (passing the trout dams to your left). From the dams there is a jeep track (pay no heed to the No Entry sign as this is aimed at vehicles).
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Most of the paintings in Game Pass Shelter are complex polychrome images and the first rock art paintings you’ll see as you enter are imposing therianthropic figures (mythological creatures that are part human, part animal) clad in long black karosses. The most frequently depicted animal at Game Pass Shelter is the eland, the largest antelope in the Drakensberg. Apart from providing meat, fat and skins, eland had symbolic importance to the Bushman, who believed they had supernatural powers.
Archaeologists studying these paintings uncovered a vital key to understanding the symbolism of Bushman rock art (how hunters gained power from the animals they killed) so, in a sense, they “cracked the code” – hence, Game Pass Shelter is commonly referred to as the “Rosetta Stone of rock art”.
The trail to Game Pass Shelter is a two-and-a-half, to three hour guided walk, via the spiritually moving Waterfall Shelter. It is nothing short of a world-class experience in Khoisan rock art and living Zulu and San culture. You need to arrive at Kamberg Nature Reserve before 11:30 to be able to do this otherwise the guide will have gone home.
Our top top tip is to preceded by a spectacular DVD presentation at the state-of-the-art Interpretive Centre that caters for a maximum of ten people at a time. But you need to request the video presentation.
Contact: Hospitality Manager Mrs. Khanyi Zuma 082 765 3025, Mr. Rowan Mweli 073 641 2371, reception at Kamberg (Nellie) 033 267 7251, Raymond Mweli 071 451 9557
Most parts of South Africa are well suited to solo travel. Locals are very friendly, and will often go out of their way to make single travelers feel at home. The Drakensberg in particular is suited to those who relish hiking trails, spectacular views, raw wilderness and the great out doors. Private accommodation options are better suited to single travelers than the national parks and larger hotels, since they tend to offer a more hands-on personalised service.
The Drakensberg is a must for solo travelers, and a lodge like Antbear Lodge it is a good base for exploring the gorgeous mountains . Some solo travellers prefer not to self-drive, which makes it difficult to explore areas that are off the beaten track unless you join an organised tour. Amphitheater Backpackers caters for this niche very well. Private game reserves such as Zulu Waters and Nambiti are particularly well-suited to solo travelers.
An excellent way for single travellers to explore South Africa and the Drakensberg is by using the combination of the Baz Bus and the many backpacker hostels that are scattered around its cities and other main sites of interest. The Baz Bus is an affordable hop-on, hop-off bus service that connects Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town and several other popular places of interest, and its clientele is dominated by single travellers who are receptive to making new friends and meeting like-minded travel companions on the road. Likewise, most backpacker hostels have lively communal areas where it is easy to meet other travellers, and they usually also offer affordable group tours to local sites of interest, as well as overnight tours further afield.
At a more luxurious level, most private reserves operate group game drives and many also encourage guests to dine together, which makes it easy for solo travelers to mingle.
In the middle range, solo travelers seeking personalised attention should consider booking into small B&Bs and other owner-managed lodges rather than larger and more institutional hotels.
There are no risks specific to solo travel in South Africa, but apply the usual common sense precautions.
Abseiling is a popular adventure sport that is sought after by adrenaline seekers. We offer a safe and controlled environment near to Giants Castle and Antbear Lodge to try your hand at this exhilarating experience. Stepping backwards over the edge and descending down the cliff unleashing an adrenaline rush and boosting your self-confidence.
Beginner abseiling is our specialty although advanced guests have just as much fun. No previous experience is needed. You need to wear closed shoes, have sunblock and water with a snack if you like. Abseiling is a fun family activity.
After a short drive to the abseiling site your specialist abseiling guide will set up the ropes, and give you a safety briefing. Then one at a time you will descend the almost 20m abseil. At the bottom you unhook and walk back up to the top. Each person gets to go as many times as they like.
Tranquility and beauty of nature
As a World Heritage site the Northern Drakensberg are very understated, they don’t offer hip entertainment, however the raw majestic beauty reminds one that it is a privilege to be on this planet and enjoy the sheer tranquility of Mother Nature.
A place to take in the fresh air and scenery and on a cloudless night the majestic starry heavens are breathtaking. A place to walk and refresh ones mind. There are loads of self catering as well as hotels in the Champagne valley. Just over three hours from Durban and four hours by car from Johannesburg, if you love nature spoil yourself and your family, the evenings have time to bond and day time share a walk or an adventure together as a family. We have been regular visitors for the last 20 years and never tire of coming back to have peace on earth, far from the noise of life. Three night here is like three weeks holiday at a coastal resort.
Peter MansfieldJohannesburg, South Africa
After being on my bucket list for quite some time my family and I visited Central Drakensberg. The majestic mountains and the host of activities in the area was beyond our expectations. We look forward to our next visit.
SuriahCape Town, South Africa
This, from my perspective, is the most beautiful part of South Africa, don’t miss it.
Here I visited the Nambiti Wildlife Preserve, The Champagne Valley Area with the amazing Drakensberg Boys Choir School, The Reptile Farm and The Valley Bakery, The San Rock Art and Vulture Hide at the Giants Castle Park and the Phe (hilltop) Zulu Cultural Center near Durban. Great Adventure.
Molly BosinMelrose, UK
Win a Drakensberg getaway worth R18 000This will leave your friends green with envy
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