Giants Castle Slackpacking Trail

Giants Castle Slackpacking Trail

A 3 night luxury trail through the foothills of the Giants Castle Valley and Zulu Waters Private Game Reserve. Accommodation is in lodges, your luggage is transported and its fully catered.

Day 1:Antbear Lodge is about sustainability. Here you will even find homemade cheese from their own milk. Hiking starts heading up to the top of the mountain with spectacular views looking out over the Drakensberg Mountains towards Giants Castle.

Day 2: Leopards Lair is full of family atmosphere offering a real agri-tourism experience. Your walk from here starts off easy and then drops back down into the Mbogta Valley after which you enter the Zulu Waters Game Reserve

Day 3 Shaka Lodge offers the lapse of luxury including your own private chef. Almost your whole day will be hiking inside the reserve where you might see rhino, buffalo and so much more.

Other addon activities include the Giants Castle vulture hide, a star gazing hammock camp, horse trails, abseiling and game drives

The Nest Hotel

The Nest Hotel

The Nest Hotel provides exquisite Ukhahlamba Drakensberg World Heritage Site views. The Drakensberg is an area rich in history and adventure and is a much-loved destination in the Cathkin Valley of the Central Drakensberg of South Africa. The Nest is unique and one of the favourite hotels in the Drakensberg.

The Nest Hotel Activities  include on and off-site pursuits that guests can enjoy.

The Nest Hotel is set in acres of beautiful park-like gardens. Our rooms offer a peaceful escape from busy city life and include an en-suite bathroom, a TV with selection of DSTV channels, radio, telephone and coffee/tea making facilities.

Free internet is provided in the public area.

The Nest Hotel is one of the few remaining Resort Hotels in the Drakensberg offering a sumptuous Table d’Hote menu. This means that we serve three carefully selected meals per day: hearty breakfasts, light lunches, six course dinner as well as morning and afternoon tea, all included in the tariff!

So visit the “Grande Old Dame” of the Drakensberg. A fine country hotel.

ON-SITE ACTIVITIES

  • Tennis
  • Table tennis.
  • Volleyball
  • Bowls on Championship greens
  • Revive Spa
  • Swimming pool.
  • Hiking and MTB Trails
  • Free Wi-Fi in public areas.

OFF-SITE ACTIVITIES

  • Canopy tour
  • Glass beehive tour
  • Falcon Ridge interactive presentation
  • World-renowned Drakensberg Boys Choir
  • Four Rivers rafting adventures
  • Helicopter scenic flights
  • Hot air ballooning
  • Quad biking
  • E Bike Valley Tours
  • Mountain bike trails
  • Hikes and trails
  • Tranquil river walks
  • Arts, crafts and cosy restaurants
  • A 9 hole and a Championship  golf course
  • Horse riding
  • Swimming
  • Ziplining
  • Paint Ball
  • Archery
  • Reptile Centre
  • Scootours
  • Macedonian Cheese factory
  • Interactive chocolate factory
  • Battlefield tours
  • KwaZulu Weavers
  • Didima Rock art centre

Cathedral Peak Hotel

Cathedral Peak Hotel

Nestled in a tranquil and secluded valley in the heart of the Drakensberg lies Cathedral Peak Hotel, providing premier accommodation and entertainment surrounded by the magnificent peaks of some of the World Heritage Site’s most impressive and iconic mountains.

When Albert van der Riet first laid eyes on this valley in the early 1900s, he had a vision of a secluded hotel that would be closer to the mountains than any other hotel at the time. For the past 80 years, the van der Riet family have been offering the ultimate Drakensberg experience and it’s a privilege to look back on this unbroken history.

Guests are accommodated in 104 spacious and well-appointed rooms, ranging from standard, family and superior rooms to Executive/ Honeymoon Suites and the private Presidential Suite, providing the ultimate in luxury for up to 254 guests.

With a staggering array of facilities, activities and adventures on your doorstep, you’ll never want for entertainment at Cathedral Peak Hotel. Unrivalled access to the Drakensberg mountains sees 18 stunning walks and hikes leaving from the hotel, ranging from gentle riverside strolls to scaling the summit of the Cathedral Peak itself. Those looking for more speed will revel in mountain bike trails, jogging routes, horse rides, quad biking and a helicopter for nearby sightseeing flights.

The whole family can enjoy sport in the sun on the hotel grounds, with on-site facilities including tennis, beach volleyball and badminton courts, bowling green, children’s playground, mini golf course, a climbing tower and both heated and cool swimming pools.

The crowning jewel is the hotel’s very own 9-hole golf course, with alternate tees for an 18-hole game, ranging a glorious 5542m through the valley and ending at a beautiful clubhouse with panoramic mountain views.

For those looking for indoor entertainment one will not be disappointed. Wet weather days are taken care of with a games room, table tennis, squash, a fully-equipped gym, and if you’re seeking inner peace, look no further than a pamper session from professional therapists at the hotel’s Wellness Centre.

A team of top-class chefs ensure a delicious array of culinary delights, with extensive buffets at breakfast, lunch and dinner. And once the day is done, guests can relax and reminisce at Albert’s Cocktail Bar, or keep the party going long into the night in Harry’s Bar with pool table, dart board and big screen TV’s.

For idyllic mountain weddings, our charming 120-seater stone-and-thatch chapel is set in beautiful natural gardens, and has an expansive window behind the pulpit boasting breath-taking views of some of the Drakensberg’s most magnificent mountains. Revel in stunning views as you say your vows and begin your new life together with an unforgettable wedding.

Year-end functions, team-building adventures and professional conferences are all catered to with comprehensive equipment, unforgettable experiences and a stunning environment that will leave your attendees feeling energised and excited.

Whether you’re looking for a family get-away, a romantic wedding or honeymoon, or a motivating conference, our dedicated team look forward to welcoming you to the ultimate Drakensberg experience.

Cavern Resort and Spa

Cavern Resort and Spa

The Cavern Resort & Spa, named after the infamous Cannibal Cavern, is nestled in the foothills of the Northern Drakensberg in the Amphitheatre World Heritage Site area. A place of captivating beauty, it is surrounded by majestic, lush indigenous forests and clear ‘berg streams. Once a humble homestead, rustic and simple, today The Cavern is a comfortable home-from-home for many families who holiday in these majestic Drakensberg Mountains.

The Carte family has owned the Cavern for 75 years and from the outset have given guests memorable family holidays – not just a stay at a good hotel. At The Cavern we appreciate that it is people who make your holiday – people with whom to laugh, share a drink, and participate in all the many fun activities. Without obliging anyone to do anything, we encourage our guests to mix on outings and activities. Friendships form here and folk come back time and again – hence the slogan originated by our guests in 1958: “The resort of many happy returns”

The Cavern is a Drakensberg holiday resort offering two types of accommodation – standard and superior.

Rooms are set in landscaped gardens where a vibrant mix of indigenous plants attracts hundreds of birds that fill the days with birdsong and the evenings with the sounds of crickets, frogs and other friendly creatures. Superior suites overlook an ancient fern forest and each unit has its own private patio where you can relax in the sun, listen to the forest streams and unwind in the peace of untouched mountain wilderness.

Zulu Hut and Inkunzi Cave

Zulu Hut and Inkunzi Cave

Situated in the foothills of the Central Drakensberg mountains, in the beautiful Champagne Valley, are three totally unique self-catering units. Inkunzi Cave has a San theme, with rock art and carvings on the walls. The Zulu Hut has an African theme and is decorated in true Zulu style and Diddly Squat has a “squatter” theme!

Each of the three units has a braai facility and is completely private from the main house and other units. Roads are tarred all the way. The area boasts several places of interest, as well as shops, restaurants and loads of adventure activities. We are situated only 2.5 hours from Durban and 4 hours from Johannesburg.

The pools on the property are not fenced and as a result children who cannot swim are not accommodated.

Self Catering Accommodation

Inkunzi Cave (sleeps 4)
Inkunzi Cave has a rock finish inside and out, with rock art and carvings on the walls, ensuring a real “bushman” experience. It is fully equipped for self-catering, with a cooker, microwave, fridge, electric fireplace heater, DStv and sound system. The lounge / kitchen area has a double sleeper couch and separate toilet and “rock” shower, and the main bedroom has a toilet and amazing rock bath.

The large rock pool adjoins the cave which makes it unsuitable for families with toddlers or very young children. It sleeps 2 couples comfortably although it only has one separate bedroom. Uninterrupted views of the mountains and the surrounding hills are amazing.

The Zulu Hut (sleeps 4)
The Zulu Hut is like a traditional ‘mud’ hut, but the additional bathroom and large double shower are done in a unique rock finish. It has a cooker,fridge, TV, microwave and electric fireplace heater. Lie on the bed in the separate bedroom and watch the mountain change to a champagne colour as the sun rises.

There is a double sleeper couch, as well as a suspended single bed, in the lounge / kitchen area. This is ideal for families with children. There is a lovely little splash pool outside the hut.

Diddly Squat (sleeps 2)
Our third unit, Diddly Squat, is ideal for couples wanting to experience something really different. It has a double bed in a bed-sit style single room, with shower and toilet. The most exciting feature is the old wood stove for cooking, although there is also a 2-plate gas cooker and a large fridge.

There’s no TV so bring along your laptop with lots of movies. As you lie in bed, or sit in the ‘kitchen’, you’ll be able to see Champagne Castle and Cathkin Peak perfectly through the window. There’s also a small splash pool outside where you can cool down after your hike up the mountain! Enjoy a ‘budget’ style stay at real budget prices.

Injisuthi Camp

Injisuthi Camp

Injisuthi lies in the central part of the Maloti-Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site and is a four-hour drive from Durban and six hours from Johannesburg on the N3.

Cradled between the Injisuthi and Cowl Fork Rivers at the head of the Injisuthi Valley, the resort is surrounded by spectacular scenery dominated by Cathkin Peak, Monks Cowl and Champagne Valley.

The Mdedelo Wilderness Area immediately north of the resort is a unique, wild and remote mountain wilderness without any direct human impact.

This spectacular mountain landscape contains many rock shelters containing the largest and most concentrated group of San rock art in Africa south of the Sahara. These paintings were created by the San people over a period of at least 4 000 years and are of outstanding quality. The paintings depict aspects of the everyday and spiritual life of these vanished people.

Battle Caves, with its wide sandstone overhang, is one of the best-preserved San rock art sites in southern Africa. Guided walks are available to the cave daily (advance bookings essential). Injisuthi is the starting point of several extensive hiking trails leading across the mountains northwards to Cathedral Peak and south to Giant’s Castle.

Guided Walk

 

  • Guided walks to the Battle Cave, famous for its San Rock art, are booked in advance and are limited to a minimum of four and a maximum of 20 people.
  • Please contact +27 (0)73 353 1459, email: umhafatours@gmail.com or or +27 (0)82 216 9974, email: buffaloguides@lantic.net

 

Hiking

 

  • Overnight hiking routes extend deep into valleys and forests of the area and up onto the main escarpment, ensuring a pure wilderness experience with breath taking views and scenery.
  • Day hikes and walks consist of routes that are graded from easy to difficult. Some of them have gloriously refreshing rock pools to swim in leaving you feeling completely rejuvenated.
  • The weather can change suddenly and become very cold so hikers are advised to be well equipped. It is strongly recommended to hike in parties of four or more.
  • Please note: The Mountain Rescue Register must to be completed before you begin your hike. Make sure you sign out again when you return. Ensure that you complete the Mountain Rescue Register correctly and in detail. It is very often the only information the rescue team has to go on if you have an accident or get lost. When you leave the park, it is essential that you record your return in the Mountain Rescue Register. Failure to do so wastes valuable time for managers during rescue operations. Your life may depend on this information.

 

Trout Fishing

 

  • There are several kilometres of trout waters for fishing.
  • Trout anglers are required to pay a daily rod fee, which can be paid at the reception office.
  • Please note that only recognised trout fishing tackle and techniques are permitted.
  • Fishing is available all year round.

 

Caves

 

  • There are five caves, which are ideal overnight stops for hikers.0
  • Cooking may only be done on portable stoves whilst in the wilderness area.
  • Advance bookings must be made via the central Reservations office +27 (0) 33 845 1000
  • The Lower Injisuthi Cave – Maximum of 12 people, + 6 hrs/12km
  • Upper Injisuthi,Cave – Maximum of 10 people, + 8 hrs/15km
  • Grindstone Cave – Maximum of 10 people, + 3 hrs/5km
  • Marble Baths Cave – Maximum of 10 people, + 5 hrs/10km
  • Wonder Valley Cave – Maximum of 12 people, + 5 hrs/10km

 

Giants Castle Camp

Giants Castle Camp

Giants Castle Game Reserve is home to the mighty eland as well as the rare bearded vulture and is situated within the Central Drakensberg region of the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site. Giants Castle camp is positioned on a plateau overlooking the deep valleys running down from the face of the High Drakensberg. Giants Castle provides fantastic views for walkers, ramblers, hikers and enthusiastic mountain climbers. Giants Castle’s superb rock art is one of its many unique attractions. The popular vulture restaurant is open during winter for anyone wishing to observe the rare bearded vulture and other endangered species feeding. A visit to the Main Caves Museum at Giants Castle for an intriguing view of the past way of life of the San people is highly recommended.

Leopards Lair Lodge

Leopards Lair Lodge

Leopard’s Lair is a guest house located near the Drakensberg world heritage site near to Giant’s Castle and the Kwa Zulu Natal Midlands. The Buys family is the magic behind Leopard’s Lair. You aren’t just a guest, you’re family! Leopard’s Lair’s mission is to turn your stay into a memorable experience. This is a “real, working farm”, offering all kinds of agri tourism attractions. You can bottle feeding lambs. Meet Lallie the tame Eland. Collect eggs from the free range hens. Children delight in petting the animals and watching some of the farming activities. Life is lived at a gentler pace, take time to chat and to pick your own vegetables from their organic vegetable garden. Strawberries taste best eaten directly as you pick them.

Leopard’s Lair offers affordable family accommodation on a dinner bed and breakfast basis. Accommodation available for up to seven persons. Self Catering accommodation options available too.

Our two boys are our best ambassadors and can’t wait to share their fun and adventure with guests and maybe a little touch of naughtiness. Let your kids try their hand at fishing or canoeing. Outdoors is the best source for fun and your kids will be  entertained for hours while  you finish reading your book in peace.

The Midlands Meander, with its arts and crafts, breweries and cheese tasting starts right here. The Mandela Capture Site is also around the corner as is everything that the Drakensberg Mountains offer

Fordoun Hotel and Spa

Fordoun Hotel and Spa

Fordoun Hotel and Spa is an award winning five-star luxury boutique hotel and spa located near Nottingham Road in the scenic KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. It is a family owned and managed destination with a history dating back to the 1800’s. Fordoun has a strong ethos on personalised hospitality and authenticity. The hotel comprises 22 luxurious, comfortable individually styled rooms and the relatively new addition self-catering farm village offering 9 fully equipped cottages, a chapel and a wedding/conference venue.

With panoramic views of the Drakensberg, in a tranquil country setting, the feeling of romance is almost tangible.  Fordoun was created with the vision that every guest should leave feeling rejuvenated, find value in their Fordoun experience and change guests’ lives!

Fordoun is located in the rolling grasslands of the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, where the air is crystal-clear and smog and traffic are echoes of another lifestyle. Guests can enjoy gentle walks around the grounds, visit the herb garden of Dr Ndlovu, or ride on mountain bikes along designated routes through the Fordoun estate. Fly-fishing is available on three still water dams at Fordoun or in season; in the pristine waters of the nearby Bushman’s or Mooi River. Golf is available at the magnificent Bosch Hoek or Gowrie Farm courses which are both just a few minutes away.

We offer three categories of rooms namely: Luxury, Deluxe Dam Facing and the Superior Mountain View rooms offering panoramic views of the Drakensberg.

Fordoun Hotel encapsulates the grandeur of a bygone era while embracing all modern life’s creature comforts. With only 22 individually-styled bedrooms, attention to detail and personalised service reigns supreme.

Fordoun Spa is in the heart of Nottingham Road, Midlands Meander and boasts a team of experts that include skilled masseuses, Reiki and Bio-energy specialists, a traditional African Healer and highly trained aestheticians.

The spa features internationally acclaimed treatments such as the rasul, (a Turkish steam and clay treatment room), a saline Floatation pool, a indoor and outdoor swimming pool, a gymnasium, sauna, steam room, hydrotherapy, and two couples treatment suites. One of the couple suites offers a hydrotherapy bath.

Treatments include:

  • Aromatherapy body and bath treatments, using exotic blends of essential oils to suit each customer’s needs
  • Totally unique African treatments which include the Indulgent African Earth Experience and the Inkomfe (African Potato) healing wraps
  • Hydrotherapy baths and showers
  • Various massages, including Deep Tissue massage, Ndukuduku massage, Swedish and Aromatherapy
  • Feet and hand treatments (Reflexology, Manicure & Pedicure)
  • Waxing
  • Lash and brow tinting
  • Body scrubs and spray tanning
  • A range of facials tailor made for every skin type
  • An array of high intensity slimming treatments that target all parts of the body
  • Pampering massages and treatments for our “Mums to be”

Shaka Lodge

zulu waters - your own private game reserve

Zulu Waters Game Reserve offers you the exclusive use of its 3000 hectare estate, your time here is tailored to create the experience you want from South Africa. Situated in the peaceful malaria free foothills of the Drakensberg Mountain range in KwaZulu-Natal, Zulu Waters Game Reserve promises a uniquely intimate experience with the African wilderness. Whether you want to take a horse back ride up close and personal to the herds of wildebeest and buffalo or fish for wild brown trout in the 8km stretch of Bushman’s River, Zulu Water’s blend of exclusivity and adventure makes for an African experience unlike any other. Those who spend time at Zulu Waters Private Reserve are left with a sense that something in them has changed – they are perhaps a little more fulfilled – a little more inspired.

Based in the heart of the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, making it a 4 hour drive from Johannesburg or a 2 hour drive from Durban – Zulu Waters is a perfect escape. Due to our stunning location summer days can go above 30°C whilst winter days reach 18°C. We are also in a malaria free area and incase of medical emergencies we have trained first aiders on site. The nearest hospital is an hour away but we do have access to helicopter emergency services nearby.

Sycamore Avenue Tree Houses

Tree house accommodation natal midlands

Sycamore Avenue Treehouses is a family business that started in 2000 and is now owned by Gary Els, of the next generation, who together with his team of hosts and staff will ensure that you enjoy the unique experience with us exploring your childhood fantasies!

Ever since Gary first saw Halley’s comet in 1986, he has been a keen amateur astronomer and member of the Astronomical Society of Southern Africa. Sycamore’s location is blessed with clear, dark skies, with fantastic view of the Milky Way. When he is at Sycamore – and skies permitting – guests can be treated to a guided tour of the night sky, accompanied by eye-popping views of planets and the cosmos through his large telescope.

Enjoy the stunning star panoramas, as well as surrounding Drakensberg vistas and sunsets that can be photographed from Sycamore Avenue Tree House Lodge.

Our guest register at Reception pays tribute in almost every entry to wonderful hospitality – and to our legendary food. Florence, our resident (and genius) cook, conjures up the most delightful set meals, from starters to main courses, followed by mouthwatering desserts.

Stay a few days and you will experience a variety of starters: soups such as butternut, mushroom or pea to name but a few, or her rich quiches, stuffed eggs or a host of other delights.

The main course of the day is a set meat-of-the-day – you can anticipate roast lamb, roast chicken, beef curry or a favorite: ox-tail stew

The main dish is accompanied by three prepared vegetables, and usually by roast potatoes and gravy.

We can cater to your requirements if you are diet-restricted, fish, vegetarian or vegan eaters, provided that you give us advance notice when booking.

If you have room left, you can try to squeeze in the dessert of the day. This could be any of Florence’s many homemade delights: cheesecake, tipsy tart, apple pie, strawberry flan, milk tart, trifle, tiramisu, Crème brûlée or hot malva pudding and ice-cream. Yum !

In the morning, a full English breakfast is served. A selection of yogurts, fruit and cereals is available to begin with. We then serve a plated main course consisting of eggs prepared to your liking, and sausages, bacon, tomatoes, mushrooms and beans. Alternatively, try an omelet. To top it off, enjoy some home-baked scones with your filter coffee, tea or fruit juice. After this start, you should have plenty of energy to do some Meandering!

Qambathi Mountain Lodge

Qambathi Mountain Lodge

Luxury Accommodation

3 Superior Suites have private covered decks with hanging chairs from where you can enjoy the surroundings and views of the mountain
2 Luxury Suites are situated in the main building and are equally equipped and offer easy access to the dining and entertainment areas.

All rooms are non-smoking and have under floor heating, hairdryers, lodge stationery, a room safe, separate bath and shower with bath consumables and tea/coffee making facilities.

Our Services Include

The Chill Lounge and Pool Deck area offer panoramic views of the gardens and Kamberg mountain, ideal to enjoy a late afternoon sundowner or to simply relax in the sun in one of the amazing hanging chairs or loungers.

At night a Boma fire creates the perfect setting for star gazing. A well stocked wine cellar is on offer next to the dining and library area.

Own transport is recommended although transfers from anywhere in the country can be arranged.

Self-catering unit

Our self-catering unit offer sleeping for four persons in two rooms. It is situated close to the lodge yet private. Meals can be booked at the lodge. View on gallery page.

The Kamberg Mountain Reserve & Kamberg Rock and Art Centre is only a short distance away with the Midlands Meander only a few km down the road.

Enjoy wine tasting, cheese making, candle dipping and many more sight-seeing adventure tours available to visitors in the area. Whether you are looking for a wedding/honeymoon destination, luxury retreat or adventure, Qambathi Mountain Reserve offers tourists to KwaZulu Natal a holiday to remember. Sink into total comfort of the meticulously designed rooms defined by a blend of natural colours and contemporary use of natural materials with luscious textures. Local and renowned S.A artists such as Bron Stofberg, Hillary Grant Curry, Clive Hatton  and Franco Esposito to name a few.. have been commissioned to complete this stylish getaway.

Set in a wildlife reserve against the backdrop of the majestic Drakensberg Mountains, Qambathi Mountain Lodge is not just a beautiful and unique honeymoon destination, but also offers fabulous wedding venue options. The boutique barn with its large fireplace, boma and stunning mountain views is perfect for summer and winter weddings. Another option is a forest wedding on the pretty timber deck tucked into the indigenous forest with a little river running through it, and then there is the main lodge, which has a gorgeous chill deck overlooking the gardens. Qambathi Mountain Lodge also offers you the opportunity to tailor make your wedding to include a special weekend of bush dinners, picnics, game drives in the mountains, fly fishing, hiking, horse riding and golf.

A maximum of 80 guests can be accommodated in the venue. An old sandstone church is situated less than 10 minutes from the lodge or the gardens offer many options for the ceremony. The entire lodge form part of our wedding packages, with fully catered or own caterer options.

 

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