For the Tourism Trade and Visitors to the Drakensberg
Summer 2021/ 2022
Copyright: Cathkin Booking and Management Services

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Grey  Male Rhedbuck (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

 

Summer is the time of the Dragon and the festivities of 'Shires' in the Drakensberg. This region is the perfect setting, particularly its summer, to imagine that one is in the destination of Tolkien's masterpieces. Few areas in South Africa emulate the striking electric storms of this destination. The 'wrath' of 'The Dragon'. They are a spectacle to behold and will certainly take your breath away.

The valleys of this mountain are also the perfect location for 'Hobbit Shires'. The lower slopes of the Drakensberg take on a dark green hue and are the ideal outdoor venue for the festivities of Christmas and New Year.

This edition includes overviews of the:

Drakensberg Summer

 

 

 

The Grey Rhebuck

Drakensberg's most commonly noted antelope ranges across the entire area of this escarpment, particularly in its high lying grasslands. Distinguished by its grey thick woolly coat, short straight horns (males) and long ears. A mediumly sized buck of some 30 kg. Revered by the San as a 'rainmaker'. It is a pleasure to observe one on the Drakensberg's many hiking trails.

(Grey Female Rhebuck Source: Pixabay)

Drakensberg Photographers

Kierran Alenn

Kierran Alenn is one of KwaZulu-Natal's prodigies of photography. He was one of the early creative and innovative adopters of drone footage. His 'Enter Durban' film clip was acclaimed as one of the best efforts to promote this metropolis in the last decade. Kierran spent two years collecting drone footage to finally put this masterpiece together. Please see this clip on YouTube.

His efforts to capture the splendour of the Drakensberg have been equally spectacular. You will be mesmerised by the Amphitheatre.

Kierren Allen owns and operates his own photographic agency, 'Kierran Alenn Photography'.

Gatberg and Zulu Cave Hike

This is a moderate hike of some 26 kilometres in total. It is possible to complete this trail in a day; however, you need to be very fit to do so. The more leisurely and recommended approach is to spend two nights in Zulu Cave. The first day is spent hiking to Zulu Cave. The second day to ascend and descend Gatberg and the last to return to Monks Cowl Camp.

 Hiking Tips

Sign the mountain rescue register;

Wear sturdy hiking boots and carry a walking pole;

Wear a light rucksack even in the case of a walk;

Ensure it contains food items for at least one day, warm clothing and a poncho (the weather in the Berg can change suddenly), sufficient water, a small medical aid kit, a cell phone, map, torch, whistle and a box of matches; and ideally a bivy bag;

If you encounter a bushfire, try to get as quickly as possible to a small grove of trees or light a fire break around you. At worst, run directly through the fire and roll;

If caught in a lightning storm, urgently head for a forest. At worst, squat over a piece of insulating material and ideally cover yourself with a poncho or raincoat. Discard any metal items and leave your backpack a distance from you. Do not lie down or stand under an isolated tree; and

Walk in a group of at least three persons.

Dingaan's Shelter

Dingaan's Shelter is a good example of the many San rock art sites that are located in rock overhangs or caves in a sandstone 'belt' that runs across the length of the Central Drakensberg. This shelter is located on a privately owned estate, 'Fernwood'. Special permission needs to be obtained from this estate to view this site, and you should be accompanied by a San Rock Art Custodian or guide.

The panels have excellent examples of Eland paintings. Moreover, Rhedbuck

Eland the most common element of San Rock art. Regarded as an intermediary to the spiritual world. Rhedbuck are associated with rain.

Bleek and Lloyd's contribution to the interpretation of San Rock Art

Wilhelm Bleek and Lucy Lloyd composed one of the most comprehensive ethnographic accounts of the San of the late 1800s. Although they were not anthropologists, they conducted an extensive series of in-depth interviews with Ixam San. The interviews were conducted with Ixam prisoners that worked on the Bleeks farm. They also learnt and described the language of the Ixam.

These efforts culminated in some 13,000 notebook pages of illustrations, genealogies, maps and narratives. This collection is housed at the University of Cape Town, the National Library and Iziko South African Museum. This collection is a national treasure and a United Nations Site of the Memory of the World.

These works have been used extensively to interpret the cultural manifestations of the San, such as their rock art.

Drakensberg's  Trees - The Tree Fern (Cyatheaceae)

The Forest Tree Fern and Grassland Tree Fern are two of the most attractive trees frequently noted in the Drakensberg. The Forest Tree Fern is found along streams and in marshy areas in the Drakensberg's forests. The tree can grow to five meters, and its leaves can extend to some three meters.

The Grassland Tree Fern is a smaller specimen and rarely reaches heights of more than three meters. It occurs along open grassland streams and on the fringes of the Drakensberg's forests.

Tree Ferns have trunks that are very dark and fibrous. The leaves of these trees are compound and are heavily divided.

 

Drakensberg's Tourism Market

The Central and Northern Drakensberg has several major resorts that accommodate more than 100 guests and a significant concentration of smaller self-catering, B&B's, lodges and Guest Houses. These are easily accessed from this regions core markets, namely Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. This area is about a four hours drive from Gauteng and two and a half hours from Durban. It is possible to fly into Pietermaritzburg and cut down the driving time into this destination. 

The Drakensberg is positioned at the consolidation or mature stage of Butler's Tourism Area Lifecycle model in terms of domestic tourism and the exploration phase concerning the foreign market. The domestic market is mainly made up of leisure holiday tourists that self-drive to the area. They tend to be couples or family groups. There are the occasional conference and incentive group that visit the area. Particularly to resorts such as Champagne Sports Resort, Alpine Heath and Drakensberg Sun. These are the 'Well-to-do Mzansi Families', 'Spontaneous Budget Explorers' and 'Seasoned Leisure Seekers'.

Foreign tourists are predominantly self-drive young and middle-aged adventure seekers (Next Stop South Africa's and Wanderlusters from the Millennial and Generation X groupings). They are attracted to the area for hiking and other adventure opportunities such as ziplining, hot air ballooning and helicopter flips.

According to South African Tourism, some 65,000 foreign tourists visit the Drakensberg on an annual basis. This segment is approximately 8% of the foreign tourists that visit KwaZulu-Natal and 1% of all foreign tourists to South Africa. This portion seems to be a growing market as some 47,000 were estimated to visit this area in 2016.

It can be assumed that the nature of this market is in line with the foreign makeup of the KwaZulu-Natal overseas tourism market that predominantly comes from the UK, Germany, USA and France.

Tourism KwaZulu-Natal has determined that some 186,000 domestic tourists visit the Drakensberg on an annual basis. The key markets are the provinces of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

The overall Drakensberg tourism market is worth in the order of a billion Rand per annum.

 

Drakensberg's Weather Charts

 

Drakensberg Tourism Directory

Download the Drakensberg Experience Map

Adventure Operators

Active Escape

All Out Adventures

Berg Adventures

Cathkin Trails for Mountain Bikers

Drakensberg Ballooning

Drakensberg Canopy Tours

Drakensberg Hikes

Drakensberg Mountain Bike Trails

Dragon Peaks Resort

Four Rivers Adventures

Hot Air Ballooning SA

Scootours

The Northern Horse

Ushaka Horse Trails

Westline Aviation

Battlefield Sites

Bloukrans

Colenso

Doornkop Laager site

Elandslaagte

Fort Durnford

Rensburgskop Battlefield

Siege of Ladysmith (various)

Spioenkop

Thukela Heights (Various)

Vaalkrans

Weenen

Willow Grange

Winston Churchill Capture Site

Zaailaager / Saailaager

B&Bs

Alkamia B&B

At Home

Bell Park B&B and S/C

Bingelela Restaurant / Pizzeria & B&B

Cathkin Cottage B&B

Easby B&B

Itumeleng B&B Bergville

Nzima B&B

Tugela Fall B&B

Backpackers

Amphitheatre Backpackers

Drakensberg Bush Lodge

Inkosana Lodge

Booking Agencies & Tour Operators

Africa Ignite

Berg Adventures

Cathkin Booking & Management Services

Cathkin Park Reservations

Golf got you

Ron Gold Historical Tours

Camping & Caravanning

Mountain Splendour Eco-Resort

Dragon Peaks Mountain Resort

Monks Cowl Camp

Royal Natal Camp

Injisuthi Camp

Coffee Shops & Restaurants

Mac's Coffee Shop

Berg Air Lifestyle Centre

Bingelela Restaurant / Pizzeria & B&B

Canaan Coffee & Gifts

Canaan Coffee & Gifts

Chefs Junction

Chocolate Memories

Chocolate Memories

Drakensberg Brewery

Pig & Plough

Scrumpy Jack Farmstall

The Coffee Patch

The Griller Restaurant

Thokozisa Restaurant

Valley Bakery

Waffle Hut

Conference Venues

Alpine Heath

Alpine Heath

ATKV Drakensville Resort

ATKV Drakensville Resort

Cathedral Peak Hotel

Champagne Castle Hotel

Champagne Sport Resort

Dragon Peaks Mountain Resort

Little Switzerland Hotel

Sandford Park Country Hotel

The Nest Hotel

Wits End Mountain Resort

Craft Shops

BergAir

Cedarwood Village Shopping Centre

Chocolate Memories

Farm Friends Farmstall

KwaZulu-Natal Weavers

Sandra's se Winke;

The Oaks Supermarket

The Outspan

Thokozisa 

Game Reserves/ Conservation Areas

Kwaggashoek Game Ranch

Slievyre Game Farm

Spionkop Nature Reserve

Weenen Nature Reserve

Zulu Waters Game Reserve 

The Drakensberg World Heritage Site

Golf

Hlalanathi Berg Resort

Champagne Sports Resort

Cathedral Peak Hotel

Monks Cowl Golf Resort

Guest Houses

Ashtonville Terraces Guesthouse

Monte Vista

The Riverhouse

Lodges, Hotels & Resorts

Alpine Heath

Ardmore Guest Farm

Blue Haze Country Lodge

Cathedral Peak Hotel

Champagne Castle Hotel

Champagne Sports Resort

Cheetah Ridge Lodge

Dragon Peaks Mountain Resort

Dragons View Lodge

Esiweni Lodge

Ezulwini Berg Resort

Hlalanathi Berg Resort

Inkungu Lodge

Kwaggashoek Game Ranch

Little Switzerland Hotel

Mackaya Bella Lodge

Monks Cowl Golf Resort

Montusi Mountain Lodge

Sandford Park Country Hotel

Spionkop Lodge

The Cavern Resort & Spa

The Nest Hotel

Museums

Ladysmith

Sandra se Winkel

Winterton

Other Attractions

Cathedral Peak Wine Estate

Dragon Rock Reptile Centre

Drakensberg Boys Choir School

Drakensberg Brewery

Falcon Ridge Raptor Centre

H and D Honey Products

Public San Rock Art Sites

Injisuti Camp, guided tour to Battle Cave

Main Cave, Giants Castle Camp

Self-Catering

Accommodation at Trek Trips & Trails

Alpine Heath

Alpine Heath

Ama Casa Self-catering Cottages

Amphitheatre Backpackers

ATKV Drakensville Resort

Bell Park B&B and S/C

Birdsong Cottages

Celtis cottage

Champagne Cottages

Champagne Lane Resort

Champagne Valley Resort

Dalmore Guest Farm

Didima Camp

Drakensberg Dream Cottages

Drakensberg Hikes

Drakensview S/C

Fernwood Shareblock (Pty) Ltd

Giants Castle Camp

Glenside Farmhouse

Goodhope Country Escape

Graceland Self-Catering Cottages

Highbourne Cottages

Hill Billy Cottages

Ihophe(Turtle Dove)

Ihophe(Turtle Dove)

iKhaya Lodge

Ikhayamalafu Mountain Hideaway

Ikhunzi Cave

Ledges Retreat

Little Acres

Linglela Lodge

Nambiti House

Oak Cottage

Ondini Guest House

Ouma se Opstal

Peak View Cottage

Pumeleni

River Crossing

Rockwood Earth Lodge

Slievyre Game Farm

Sungubala Eco Camp

Swallowfield Rondavels

Tendele/ Royal Natal

Vultures View

Wits End

Spas

Alpine Heath

Champagne Castle Hotel

Champagne Sports Resort

Monks Cowl Golf Resort

Spoilt Green Eco-Spa

The Nest Hotel

 
 
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