Cathedral Peak and the San
The San were the first people to settle in the Cathedral Peak area. This occurrence could have been as far back as 3,000 years before the present or BP. Rock art in this area bears testimony to their existence and is regarded as being among the most concentrated and most detailed in the Drakensberg Mountains. The Patterson’s are renowned for diligent efforts in the late 1960s and 1970s to record and replicate the details of these frescos. The University of Witwatersrand’s Rock Art Research Institute (RARI) stores their canvas panels. Their rare book is titled, “A Documentation of the Rock Painting of the Ndedema Gorge”. This book is also a collector’s item. It is thus not surprising that Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, the conservation agency for the province of KwaZulu-Natal, decided to locate a rock art centre at Didima.
The Amangwane were the next people to settle in the Cathedral Peak area. They referred to Cathedral Peak as Aba Mponjwana or ‘Ridge of Horns’. The Amangwane were renowned cattle pastoralists and were part of the Nguni groups that settled in this area some 1,000 years ago. Their settlements or Imizi are a prominent feature of this community.
The Van der Riets
The Van Der Riet and Zunckel Families are renowned for being the founders of the hotel sector in the Drakensberg. Both families farmed in the Oliviershoek Pass region. In 1937 Philip van der Riet purchased the farms Inhoek and Schaapkraal. He had the vision of establishing a hotel on one of these farms. However, all he did was take his son Albert on excursions to this area. In 1938, Albert selected the site for the internationally renowned Cathedral Peak Hotel. The Van Der Riet family continues to own and oversee the management of this magnificent facility. This hotel is famous for hosting weddings, honeymooners, small conferences and family holidays.
KZN Wildlife has also established a magnificent self-catering camp and conferencing facility, Didima, in this area.