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Spring Edition of Berg Times

This section provides a link to the Spring Edition of Berg Times.

“Berg Times” is a Drakensberg e-newsletter or a Drakensberg Newletter. Furthermore, developed to improve the knowledge of the tourism trade or tour operators, professional conference organisers, and incentive organisers.

Secondly, it is useful reading for the the individual tourist who is interested in visiting the Drakensberg. So download the following editions:

The Drakensberg’s 2019 Spring Events

The following is a list of upcoming Spring Events in the Northern and Central Drakensberg. In addition, other events that will be taking place over the next few months are also indicated. Please note the regular events at the end of this list:

4th – 6th Oct: Grindrod Bank Berg and Bush Descenwww.bergandbush.co.za
8th – 10th Oct: Grindrod Bank Berg and Bush Great Midweek www.bergandbush.co.za
12th – 13th: Grindrod Bank Berg and Bush 2 day www.bergandbush.co.za
26th Oct: Collaborative Charity Golf Day, Goodersons Monks Cowl Golf Resort, to support Rural Education. Jennifer: 0837026309

2nd – 3rd Nov: Dumbe Trail Run at Drakensberg Mountain Retreat www.dumbetrailrun.co.za
2nd – 3rd Nov: Trail Warrior 4. At Cayley Lodge www.trailadventure.co.za
2nd Nov: Winterton Street Festival. Ronel 0845678802
15th November: Winterton Pre-Primary School Golf Day at Champagne Sports Resort.
Enquiries: 0364881218
21st Nov – 1st Dec: Drakensberg Extravaganza in Bergville. Sphe 0743519032

6th – 8th Dec: Christmas in The Berg at Drakensberg Boys Choir School www.webtickets.co.za
29th – 31st Dec: Smoking Dragon New Year’s Festival. Amphitheatre Backpackers www.smokingdragon.org

2020
30th Apr- 3 May: Music in the Mountains at Drakensberg Boys’ Choir School 0364681012

Regular Events

Every Wednesday during Term time the Drakensberg Boys Choir Wednesday Concerts – Every Wednesday during the school term at the Drakensberg Boys Choir School – Info: 036 468 1012. Ticket Bookings: www.dbchoir.com;
Every Saturday: Winterton park run at 8 am at The Waffle Hut. ww.parkrun.co.za Cannibal’s Cave park run at 8 am at Lizzie’s Store near Royal Natal National Park;
Every Tuesday: 7 am in summer and 8 am in Winter Champagne Valley Walking Club.
Cathkin Trails for Mountain Bikers and Trail Runners:
Remember to pay your way to get your wristband. No Helmet, no ride! Remember to sign the indemnity. For more info, visit our Facebook page. Enjoy the trails.
The Cathbrew Trail Run takes place on the last Friday of each month at 17.00 in summer and 16.30 in winter.
(Source: Ann Gray)

Special thanks to Ann Gray for this list of events.

Winter 2019 Issue of “Berg News”

This section provides dedicated link to the Winter 2019 edition of “Berg News”. Berg News is a publication, which is produced by Cathkin Booking and Management Services. Furthermore, this periodical aims to provide tour operators, incentive organisers, professional conference organisers and individual tourists with insights into the latest developments in the Northern and Central Drakensberg area, as well its surrounds such as the KwaZulu-Natal Battlefields.

Autumn 2019 Issue of “Berg News”

This section provides a dedicate link to the Autumn 2018 edition of “Berg News”. ” Berg News” is a publication, which is produced by Cathkin Booking and Management Services. This periodical aims to provide tour operators, incentive organisers, professional conference organisers and individual tourists with insights into the latest developments in the Northern and Central Drakensberg area, as well its surrounds such as the KwaZulu-Natal Battlefields.

San Rock Art and the efforts of KZN Wildlife’s Honorary Officers to preserve this treasure

Eland's Cane (Photo: James Seymour)
Eland’s Cane (Photo: James Seymour)

 

The San were one of the last Late Stone Age people to live in South Africa. They were hunters and gatherers, who had a keen ability to live sustainably from their natural environment. The exact origin of the San is not known, but it is believed that they, together with a pastoral people, the Khoikhoi herders, were the earliest modern human groups to live in South Africa. They were living in South Africa thousands of years before the arrival of the peoples from Central Africa and finally the colonialists from Europe. One of the most significant areas where small bands of San lived were the Drakensberg mountains.

The ability of the San to survive was challenged on two occasions, firstly in skirmishes with the Iron age Nguni peoples and finally the Europeans. Unfortunately, a large number of the San were driven out of the Drakensberg and South Africa. The San are known to have existed in the Drakensberg up until the early 1900’s, a fresh bow and quiver have been found on a high ledge in Eland Cane in 1930.  Another explanation for their disappearance is that they integrated with the surrounding Nguni tribes. Traces of Bushman genes were found in 1931 when 3 old graves were excavated in Gabar’s grave and taken to Wits University for further examination. The bones were found to be an admixture of Bushman and Nguni and showed signs of cannibalism. The San continue to exist in the Kalahari Desert of Namibia. In the 1950s, several thousand San people were still hunting large game with poisoned arrows and gathering plant food in this area. One group, the IKung, lived in an area called Nyae Nyae (pronounced ny ny, rhyming with high), near the border between Namibia and Botswana.

The San were masters of artistic expression on rock faces. Art critics have revered their ability to express human animation, their religious and day-to-day activities, and nature through art. The largest concentration of rock art and specifically San Rock art are found in the Drakensberg mountains, with over 30,000 examples of this art have been found in rock caves and overhangs in this region. Most of it is protected from normal public visitation, although there are some important areas, where it is possible to view the paintings of these maestros, good examples being Main Cave, in the
Giants Castle Camp and through a daily guided hike to Battle Cave in the Injasuti Camp area.

It is a tireless job, to try and protect the many examples of San Rock Art in the Drakensberg. This task has largely been taken on by a group of volunteers, who try to assist the under-staffed Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, the nature conservation agency of the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal and Amafa AkwaZulu Natalithe cultural conservation agency. These volunteers are known as KZN Wildlife’s Honorary Officers.

One of their tasks is to meticulously monitor the state of San Rock art sites in the Drakensberg and remove man-made obstacles and litter from these sites.  More information on the San, their way of life and the theories behind the meaning of their art will be featured in future editions of this periodical. Please watch the video, “In the steps of the San”, on YouTube.

ROCK ART PROTOCOL:

  • only AMAFA registered open sites may be visited;
  • visits are with the approval of the custodian of the site. Custodians are the landowners or other appointed bodies (e.g. Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife) who have a responsibility of maintaining the integrity of the site.
  • visitors must be accompanied by an AMAFA registered guide, and
  • no more than 8 people may enter the site at a time

 

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The Drakensberg: So much to do… so little time to do it.

The Drakensberg, particularly the Central Drakensberg, has seen some exciting new tourism developments, that together with the existing attractions and services of this area, the Northern and Central Drakensberg and surrounding Battlefields and other tourism areas, offer a particularly distinctive
experience for leisure groups, conferences, incentive programmes and the
individual domestic and international tourist.

These developments include the Cathedral Peak Wine Estate, an estate that was established in 2008. This exquisite venue which, offers an excellent wine tasting experience only did its first wine pressing some 3 years ago. Its Pinotage then proceeded to secure a gold award in 2016 and 2017 at the
Stellenbosch Wine Show.

In addition to this wonderful wine estate, the Cathkin Valley now has its own micro-brewery – 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. Children will love watching the occasional glider, landing at the airstrip where this brewery is based.

In addition, to these developments, the 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.

It is also important to be aware of the fact that the Central Drakensberg has its own walking club, which meets for day hikes every Tuesday.

This Valley also offers a Park Run, a 5km experience from the Waffle Hut near Winterton. Guests are welcome to join this community spirit and engage with locals over waffles and coffee on Saturday morning. The run starts at 08h00.

There are also some special hidden gems in the Valley, which are very special attractions:

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, and many of the goods in the museum are still in their original packaging.

The valley continues to offer some exciting must-do activities, including: