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The History of the Drakensberg Mountains

How lucky are we that South Africa’s main mountain range is practically on our doorsteps! Just a two hour drive from Durban and a 3.5 to 4 hour drive from Johannesburg. Covering a distance of 1,125km and reaching heights of 3,475m, this magnificent mountain range is definitely something South Africans have to boast about! In the year 2000, the Drakensberg Mountains were declared a World Heritage Site, giving us even more reason to be proud! Drakensberg Mountains Facts: Source of the great Orange River Separates Mpumalanga and the Free State Main watershed of South Africa The “Drakensberg” – derived from the Afrikaans name, “Drakensberg” meaning “Dragon Mountains” is the name given to the Eastern Portion of the Great Escarpment. These mountains (mainly in the Lesotho regions) are capped with snow during the winter months and make the perfect challenge for those interested in trail running or mountain biking too. Approximately 180 million years ago, a mantle plume under the Southern Gondwana caused bulging of the continental crust – this later became South Africa. 20 million years passed before rift valleys formed on either side of this bulge – the steep valleys’ that formed here shaped escarpments. Most South Africans speak of the Drakensberg when they are in fact referring to the Great Escarpment (this forms the border between Lesotho and KZN). The Drakensberg Mountains (Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Lesotho) have a rough appearance due to erosion and resistant upper surfaces. The KwaZulu-Natal – Free State Drakensberg comprise of softer rocks and therefore have a softer appearance. Perhaps the biggest historic treasure of these magnificent Drakensberg Mountains is the rich rock...

Dine at the Drakensberg Mountain Retreat Private Dining Room – Baloo’s

If you wish to celebrate a special occasion or simply feel like a romantic, private dinner alone with your loved one, we have an intimate dining room available – Baloo’s Dining Room. Whilst dining here, the only other person who may enter the room is your waiter. So if it is peace and quiet you’re after then this is the answer. So, why the name “Baloo” you ask? The late owner of the Drakensberg Mountain Retreat, Dave George, owned a precious Staffordshire Bull Terrier named “Baloo” and because she became an integral part of DMR, our exclusive private dining room was later named after her. Baloo’s story began a few years ago when Mr George’s mum heard of a Staffie in Harrismith needing a home.  Once Mr George has picked Baloo up, they became inseparable and developed a unique bond. Whether Dave was at The Barnhouse, The Lodge, or strolling through the rolling hills on the hikes at the DMR, Baloo was never too far away! During Dave’s terminal illness Baloo kept a constant vigil by his side. She was a faithful, friendly and loving little dog whose memory will live on at the Drakensberg Mountain Retreat forever! Guests that are interested in making a private dinner booking at “Baloo’s” may do so on arrival or before, at no extra charge (first come first serve basis). Book your stay at the Drakensberg Mountain Retreat today....

Mountain Bike Race and Accommodation in the Drakensberg

Are you and your family looking for an adventure? Are you into the outdoorsy/active stuff like a Mountain Bike Race? Take a trip to The Drakensberg for a fun weekend packed with activities for the whole family! Date: 18 and 19 April Time: Whole Day Event Place: All Out Adventures (GPS S 28 38.58 E 29 01.07) There are plenty of races to choose from (see poster for details) depending on your fitness! Opt for a friendly race or if you are the competitive type, go ahead and enter the 50km Extreme Classic Race. Spectators and children can enjoy all the attractions at All Out Adventures, including a supervised Kids Zone to keep them busy while you race. The Drakensberg offers some of the best views in South Africa and makes the perfect backdrop to a race and weekend away! For some great mountain biking tips follow this link: https://www.foldingbikezone.com/mountain-bike-tips/ Find accommodation close to the race location Enter and find out more about the Mountain Bike Race Now...

Trail Runs in the Drakensberg…

In early February 2015 Drakensberg Mountain Retreat hosted its second Trail weekend and numbers were significantly up from the first Trail weekend held in October 2014! The longer distance trail runners set off in misty conditions on Saturday morning to do a 26km trail (550m of ascent) across the Drakensberg Mountain Retreat and neighboring farms. This was great run for those looking to get some serious training in for the AfricanX Race in March this year. The mist soon lifted as the morning wore on and the great weather that was promised on the forecast, arrived. A few of the historic sites were incorporated on the run to make it even more enjoyable, this included Retief’s Pass and the Kaalvoet Vrou Statue. The other runners set off on various shorter trails of 6km to 9km around the Drakensberg Mountain Retreat. The rest of the day was spent admiring the views, going for shorter walks and enjoying a refreshing swim in the pools at DMR. The morning of Day 2 started early and a lot warmer than Day 1…with a few tender legs too. A number of the trails on the DMR farm were combined to make up a run of 15km. The going was extremely tough as the day went on to reach temperatures of 30°C. Runners were relieved to reach the waterfalls where they were able to stand underneath the cascading water and cool off before continuing with the second part of their run, back to the lodge. The shorter runs provided the groups with well-marked fun trails around the farm. For those who weren’t keen on running,...

Northern Drakensberg History – Places to Visit Whilst Staying at DMR

When visiting the Drakensberg Mountain Retreat, there are plenty of activities for you and your family to do and many beautiful heritage sites and berg views to visit and enjoy. One of the views you will want to experience is the view from the Piet Retief Pass. This is the pass through which Retief’s party of Voortrekkers descended the Drakensberg in their quest for freedom and a land (Natal) of their own. This group of men consisted of 66 wagons and these were the first ever wheeled vehicles to enter Natal. The trail carved by these wagons is known as Retief’s Pass and was declared a national monument in February 1977. Another Heritage site, which is a “must see” is the Kaalvoet Vrou statue (pictured below). The Afrikaans title given to the statue directly translates to “Barefoot Women” in English. This statue is situated near Bergville at the Voortrekker Pass and is just 1 ½ km from the Drakensberg Mountain Retreat. This historic monument stands as if walking away from Natal and is in memory of Susanna Smit, who in 1837 declared that she would rather trek barefoot back over the Berg than live in Natal under British rule.                       Another site you will want to add to your list of sites to see is the location where Piet Retief’s’ followers camped while their leader went to Zululand to parlay with the Zulu Chief Dingaan for land. The Site is named Kerkenberg because the Voortrekker’s priest, Erasmus Smit, deemed the cluster of rocks at its base was worthy of...
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