Realy great hostel in a large area where you can wander around, camping 75 Rand, dorms 125 Rand and rooms from 280 Rand.
Quite good restaurant, good selection of wines, they also have a kitchen where you can cook yourself (a bit out of the way).
Several daytrips including one to Lesotho and the rockpaintings there, if you are realy expirenced and have your own transport you can do them by yourself, but seriose climbing you should not do alone.
Getting there without your own transport you have to use either Baz bus or hitchike /it was easy 30 years ago, today i don´t know, getting to old for that).
By car from Durban take the N3 highway heading North. Go past the town of Estcourt (on the N3). Turn off to the left at the sign for the R74. Stay on the R74 through Winterton and Bergville. 21km after Bergville you will seethe "Amphitheatre Lodge" sign.
Or go with one of the mainline busses to Harrismith. If you arrange with Amphitheatre Backpackers beforehand the will pick you up for 100 Rand.
From Johannesburg take the N3 heading South. Travel into Natal down Van Reenen's Pass. After the Tugela Toll take the R616 turnoff. Head towards Bergville by crossing the N3 on the R616. At Bergville turn right onto the R74. 21km after Bergville you will the"Amphitheatre Lodge" sign on the left.
I recommend Sani Lodge as the best sustainable experience in Drakensbergen region. There are excellent hiking opportunities, good local food and a super friendly staff. Sustainable tourism is important here, so you feel less a tourist and more a traveller here.
The walls of the communal room are packed with detailed information about hiking trails, descriptions of local nature, guided day trips, trips in Lesotho or 5 day tours in Drakensbergen. The guides are well informed and I really learned a lot about the Drakensbergen and local culture.
Self-catering is possible, but only feasible if you have your own transport or yo have to bring all your food since there's no shops nearby. The restaurant is a good budget alternative. choco cake excellent!
Location is rural. The connection with bazbus can be problematic, since taxi
The place is small, so book a room in advance if you plan your stay in high season.
Great location in rural area, sustainable tourism and local food
Having been to the well trodden Royal Natal Park, Giants Castle, Cathedral Peak, and the Sani Pass region on previous trips, we decided to explore the "Dragon's Tail": the eastern highland region of the Berg, just South of Lesotho. We found a lovely B&B east of Lady Grey. Lupela Lodge is SECLUDED! You really feel embedded in nature with just the cows, the river, the mountains and peach trees surrounding you. We stayed in the two story converted grain silo. (There is also another self catering guesthouse that sleeps 6.) It was unique, cozy and had the best shower after a day of hiking. The grounds were also beautiful. Places to hike, river to swim in and fish in, but also to just relax and enjoy the sunset. The owners, Denise and Alf, were also lovely. Since we did not want to drive into Lady Grey for our meals, we got to experience Denise's fabulous home cooking. I am not sure if their food or their company was more enjoyable! We would highly recommend Lupela Lodge to anyone who want to get away from it all!
Most beautiful stay in Drtakensburg, in the centre of the Berg. Self catering apartments suitable for families.
Trampolene, in door swiming pool, outdoor swimming pool, kiddies play area, a tennis court.
A game room with table tennis as well a tennis court.
They have bicycles that one can hire, horse riding, and its all reasonably priced.
One doesnt have to go out of the reosrt to look for entertainment. It has a very relaxing, peaceful and serene atmosphere.
It's been ages since we travelled down to the Southen Berg. Things have changed somewhat. For starters, Ridgedale Trout Farm is now called THE OLD HATCHERY. It's looking really good. Craig and Shelley have really put a lot of effort into everything. There is now a restaurant on the property right next the trout dam and waterfall. The meals were amazing for a little country restaurant. I had the oxtail and my husband had a lamb shank - really brilliant. We stayed in Oak Tree Lodge, like we did last time and had a wonderful stay. Shelley says that the Lodge is often rented out to a big group of 10 - 12 people. All 6 rooms have en-suite bathrooms with shower and bath.
They also have little fishing cabins that sleep 2 each and they are pet friendly.
Having dinner in the restaurant was wonderful, the service was great and we felt so comfortable with our hosts chatting to us about all the local hikes and activities in the area.
I would really recommend this venue for its warm and friendly atmosphere.
This place was just lovely. It is located way up in the Drakensberg mountains where you are totally cut off from anyone - in fact the only way up is with a 4x4 since it is quite rough terrain - especially if it has just rained!
We got there when it was already dark, and we were welcomed into a nice warm lodge with a central fireplace burning and a number of oil lamps placed all around. It felt very welcoming, cosy and romantic after a long drive!
The Drifters lodge is eco-friendly - meaning there is no electricity. They use oil lamps, fireplaces or solar powered lights only. (This is also means there is nowhere to charge your mobiles, camera batteries, etc....so think ahead and charge before you get there!).
Accommodation is in Canadian styled log cabins, each en-suite, twin-room with its own fireplace. Meaning 4 people would share one bathroom, but have 2 separate rooms in the same cabin.
A main communal lounge, dining area, and cosy bar for socialising overlooks the Royal Natal National Park with amazing all round views of the mountain and below. There is also a small outdoor pool where you can relax and enjoy the views - or cool off after a day hiking.
The food was prepared by the staff and was very delicious and filling - and traditionally South African!
Overall, we had a nice stay and have no complaints. It is a nice place to get away from it all and just enjoy the nature around you.
Amazing views....not something you wake up to every day!
We happened to drive by looking for a place to have lunch, when Steve happened to be passing by; he invited us in for lunch and showed us the grounds and inside one of the beautiful self-catering cottages. Although we didn't stay here, we have a great deal of experience with Berg area stays (north, central and southern) and this would rank first on our list for our next visit.
We've found that the best accommodations are those with the friendliest, most flexible owners; this would be no exception. We highly recommend a stay at this cozy retreat.
The grounds are attractive, inviting and well maintained, there are ample amenities beyond just the excellent self-catering cottages, wonderful views, and we were pleased to see things of interest for young kids. The luxury log cabin, though beyond what we typically seek out, was stunning, with large open spaces and views overlooking the entry into the Umzimkulu River's Thrombosis Gorge.
This place is set up fantastically
One bacl mark against it though was the woman working there (Unsure of name and if owner) but her attitude was disgusting and we nearly didnt stay but was rescued by the fact we had a look round and another worker who was sound, convinced us
It was 150 rand for en suite dorm, but this was world cup price, usually it would be 85 rand
Its one of them places that so various day trips and make a lot of money from it im sure but if have your own car no need to sign up
they do dinners each night - 85 rand for 3 courses which was pretty good to be honest
they dont have a kitchen so in some ways have you by the balls
they run a tab system which is dangerous as they have a fantastic bar!!!!
they also have a sauna and jacuzzi and a cool chill out bit upstairs and internet
all this with loads of space in the garden to chill and just admire the stunning scenery!
its a little in the middle of nowhere though so difficult to get to with no car
The Cavern is one of those 'old style' family hotels that the Drakensberg does so very well: somehow this seems the wrong location for glitz and glamour! It has a stunning location in the Northern 'Berg, close to the Royal Natal National Park (which makes an ideal half or full day trip). These hotels were established at a time when the transport network wasn't as well developed, and aimed to provide a 'one stop' family holiday experience: as a result, you can have a marvellous time without leaving the property, although it would also make a good centre for touring the surrounding region. It has lovely grounds, and a gorgeous swimming pool with a water slide as well as a range of other sporting amenities.
As for most of the hotels in this area, the rate is all inclusive - that is, including three substantial meals a day, so the only extras you'll pay for are drinks and activities such as horse riding. This makes budgeting a lot easier, as there are fewer unwelcome surprises on your final bill! There are usually special rates available out of season - for example, pay for 3 night and stay 4 - so check the website for what's on offer.
The Cavern markets itself extremely well - which includes positioning itself beautifully in the niche catering for families. I should state that we would not usually choose to stay in hotels as a family, as we prefer the flexibility and affordability of self catering accommodation. However, if we feel like treating ourselves to a family holiday in a hotel in the Berg, this would definitely be our choice.
The Cavern is extremely family-friendly, offering lots of kiddy-oriented amenities and activities, as well as a separate dining room for kids, where they are supervised by trained staff whilst the adults eat in the grown up dining room next door. Having said that, there is no 'exclusion policy' - the days of South African apartheid are, after all over - so you are welcome to join your offspring in 'their' dining room if you don't want to entrust them to someone else.
Even more important, The Cavern offers several family rooms with interleading rooms, so parents can have the best of both worlds: proximity and easy access to their children, whilst enjoying the privacy of their own bedroom.
Look on their excellent website for other family-friendly offerings - they have an entire page on their website devoted to this, which tells you how seriously they take this aspect of their business, and it's nice to know that they really do deliver on this commitment. The other great advantage of spending time with your family in a family-friendly hotel like this is that there are almost always other kids around, which gives the little ones someone else close to their own age to play with (and their parents a bit of a break)!
One note of caution: the accommodation is located on a steep slope behind the main hotel building. This is fine for able-bodied adults, but can seem like a bit of a hike if you're pushing a pram, pushchair or lugging around heaps of baby paraphernalia, so try and ask for accommodation closest to the hotel building and plan so that you don't have to return to your room any more often than necessary! (the same comment would apply to guests with limited mobility).
The Cavern also offers a fantastic range of other activities - organised hikes, horse and pony riding, as well as 'theme' weekends, from their popular bird spotting programmes to stargazing weekends - again, see the website for what's on offer.
My husband and I spent a few days in Injisuthi in January 2009, a couple of days on our own and then with his family, who had come up from Cape Town.
I didn't think that much of the accommodation to be honest, there is a lounge, kitchen, 2 bedrooms and a bathroom, but they aren't fitted out so well, and although you can say 'well, this is a National Park, and a lot cheaper...' this is the worse we have come across in our travels in South Africa - we have stayed at many National Parks and this is by far the worse. The beds were also very uncomfortable.
Having said that, they were clean and serviced daily.
This area is right amidst the mountains, and is overlooked by Monks Cowl peaks. There are waterfalls, rivers and forests to explore and swim in... we had a lovely time fishing and being with family.
Please note the following!
(1) There is a little shop where you can charge your batteries as there are no electrical points in the huts!
(2) Lights go out at 10pm too every night, as they operate via a generator.
(3) There is no mobile reception here and the only landline (in the manager's offce) is not working as the copper wiring was stolen a few months ago!!!!
(4) The road to and from the camp is 31 kms of sheer misery too.. I highly recommend you drive a 4x4 to get here. The road was terrible getting there, while we were there, there were huge downpours, and some of the road was actually flooded and washed away...
(5) The camp recommends you do not drive the 31 kms of road when it is dark as there have been incidents in the past with passing cars... you drive through a settlement.
(5) There is a big baboon problem here... you have to keep all your windows closed at all times or else they get in... and there is no fan system inside the hut, so you boil inside.
(6) The shop is VERY expensive, get your supplies prior to coming. There is no fresh bread/rolls available here.
(7) I am a chronic asthmatic and had recently been hospitalised, so my lungs were still really weak when I came here and I have to say the thought of no communication and being so far away from medical help was a huge worry to me.
So... I would think twice before coming here again.. even though it is so beautiful and it happens to be a firm favourite of the inlaws.
Wits End is situated in Champagne Valley, amidst the Drakensberg Mountains. It is family run and is homely and comfortable. If you want a relaxing time away with your family, this is the place to come to.
We came here to celebrate my mum's 60th birthday... with family from England and South Africa getting together. My whole immediate family was here except for my brother and his family in the States. So it holds poignant memories for me, not only because it was a delightful place to visit, but because it was with my much loved and much missed mum and brother and his family.
They have a variety of accommodation available (all self catering cottages), and we had a large 8 bed cottage. It had 4 big bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a big kitchen with an ope plan lounge area. There was a covered patio area where e ate our meals together, out by the braai area, being overlooked by the gorgeous Champagne Castle peak!
We had a couple of big thunder storms (typical for the area), where they last for about an hour with tremendous rain and thunder and lightening... and one night we even had hail! The lights went out twice, and one night we had to do everything by candlelight :)
They have a 10 acre dam with rainbow trout and Natal yellow fish, and guests fish here plus canoe. My husband did a spot of fishing here from a boat.. the sides of the banks were too steep for him to stand and fish from (he does fly fishing), so the boat it was!
There are plenty of birds in the indigenous gardens which is a priority in their ecologically friendly policy. They also have a resident donkey (which we named Simon), 2 domestic pigs, a jack russel and some gorgeous horses, which you can horse ride on. It is a child friendly resort for sure.
There is a table tennis game area, darts, a trampoline and climbing gym for the kids, plus, for all the family... a gorgeous rock pool... whihc we practically lived in as it was so hot!
There are local hikes and walks and specific hikes through the local forest to find bushman art. You would need a guided walk for this, which the management can arrange for you.
We stayed in the Sani Valley Lodge, what a fantastic place, great location, beautiful and romantic, I was sad to leave it after few days.
The location in Sani Valley is just amazing.
Beautifully furnished, spacious self-catering cottages. They have large fireplaces, hi-fi equipment, TV and video machines, microwave ovens and spa baths.
Great views of the mountains.
Trout fishing available, and many more that you can do at the resort.
Fishing, Hiking, Birding, Swimming pool, Tennis, Golf (9 holes), Mini golf, Children's
playground, Clubhouse, Babysitting
Good self-catering accommodation. There are different options available, depending on what your needs are. We had a 3-bedroom with a well equipped kitchen, satellite TV. Great fire-place in the living area. The units are loose standing. Wits end is very centrally located, opposite to where the Drakensberg Boys Choir school is.
There is a dam on the property with canoes and boats available for rowing.
Tariffs: You pay per house (chalet) and not per person. We paid ZAR 780 (+/- 90 UDS) for a 3-bedroom unit per day. (2008)
The website is very informative and helpful.
We had a wonderful stay here, the staff were very friendly and helpful. The food was excellent, buffet service with fish, red meat , chicken and oriental available, there were 3 chefs on hand to cook the meat and fish as you like it, a very good service, I would definitely stay here again. The hotel was withing easy driving distance of Monks Cowl, Champagne Castle and Cathedral Peak and there were many hikes from the hotel itself with maps provided.
The luxury rooms offer great mountain views, the restaurant overlooks the resort's private lake. The resort offers a wide range of activities, sundowner cruises on the lake, pitch and put, squash, volleyball as well as mountain hikes and mountain biking. The Champagne Sports Golf course is nearb.,
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