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Christmas in the Drakensberg Mountains

A blog about Christmas in September? Well there are exactly 111 days until Christmas and if the rest of the year is anything to go by, then it will be here before we know it! Christmas time means something different for everyone; children enjoy Christmas for more obvious reasons but the adults may appreciate the time with family and friends and possibly  associate this time of the year with holidays and adventures too! A South African Christmas, in particular is a unique holiday for us all due to the fact that our country comprises of so many cultures, languages and landscapes. Some South African families prefer an intimate meal at home with family. Others make a large event and throw a party where all are welcome. Those that dare, choose to leave the comfort of their own home and take advantage of their time off by taking a trip away from their “home comforts”. Individuals may not even celebrate Christmas but use the time to give their bodies the rest and relaxation they deserve after a long year. If you are one of the families or individuals that choose to take a holiday or break away from the city and everyday life then the Drakensberg Mountain Retreat may be the answer! We remain open all the way through to 2018…(yes, 2018 is around the corner and its scaring us too – how time flies!). WHO WANTS TO SPEND CHRISTMAS IN THE DRAKENSBERG? A family needing a central venue to meet to chill out and celebrate (we’re approximately half way between Durban and Johannesburg). A couple in search of a...

San Art And Bushman Paintings In The Drakensberg

Above: Some of the rock art available to view at DMR The intriguing and history filled “San rock art”, or more commonly referred to as “bushman paintings” are one of the main reasons tourists choose to visit the Drakensberg Mountains. And rightly so, the art has revealed a great deal about the history of the “San people”, South Africa and European colonists, all dating back to 26 000 years ago. The rock art can be found in various locations all over the Drakensberg Mountains, including here at DMR. The “New Beginnings” hiking trail at the Drakensberg Mountain Retreat features examples of these incredible pieces of art history. Features in the San Art at DMR include; – 14 meters of rock art – 282 paintings (in orange, red, bichrome, polychrome, yellow and black) – 145 human figures are depicted in these paintings – 111 animals are illustrated here History The name “San” originates from the Khoi word “Sonqua” (meaning “those without cattle”). In 1652 Dutch settlers described these same men as “hunter gatherers” and genetic evidence suggests that they are amongst the oldest people in the world. The bushman paintings depict a range of stories that reveal a lot about their lifestyle and history. There are many paintings of these people hunting and dancing. Their “rain dance” in particular is known for its spiritual power – they believed that dancing, besides for rainfall purposes, could be used for healing, hunting and removing societal tensions. Viewing these paintings for yourself is something one has to do to be able to appreciate the significance and history. The tourism value of the San...

Trail Running In The Mountains

Exercise is most definitely a personal thing enjoyed by many across a wide variety of ages. Some of us prefer the outdoors, some would rather go to the gym and others prefer an exercise class. Trail running on the other hand offers the adventurous ones a unique experience of both exercising and being outdoors whilst taking in some beautiful views…every run will be different and as long as you have your shoes with you, you are able to enjoy a trail almost anywhere in the world! It’s a great sport to incorporate in your holidays and not only facilitates a healthy lifestyle but allows one to see the world in a different manner too. Most of us like to spend a great deal of our holidays dining on gorgeous meals (made by somebody else and served to us)…well if one spends the morning on the trail exploring the great outdoors, then the meals can be enjoyed “guilt free” – you would no doubt have earned those calories and can then enjoy a relaxing dip in the pool and a refreshing drink! WHY HAS TRAIL RUNNING BECOME SUCH A TREND? In the USA, trail running has recently been listed as one of the six most popular extreme sports, this amongst paintball and snowboarding. Although its interesting to note that it is considered an “extreme sport” this still doesn’t answer the question as to why it has become so popular? One of the main reasons we can think of is the financial benefits. If finances are down and the credit crunch is getting to you or your family, running is a...

Winter, Snow and Hiking in the Drakensberg Mountains

Winter…not always a South Africans most favorite season but most definitely a season that can be enjoyed by embracing the cold and taking on new activities in the Drakensberg Mountains. Besides the cold, the Drakensberg is lucky enough (most years) to experience a gentle white dusting of snow. See below some photographs taken of the magically snow-capped Drakensberg Mountains. At our Retreat, snow is not something we’re used to nor something we wish to experience all year round but something we embrace and love for the couple of days a year that we get to experience it. Every year people from the surrounding provinces take a drive to look at the snow, perhaps for them or their children, this could be an exciting first, or they’re just making the drive to attempt to build a snow man – snow brings fun for almost all. But what about the hikers? Hiking in the snow is dangerous due to slippery conditions and not highly recommended but luckily, for hikers, as mentioned above – snow is not a regular phenomenon! Thus hiking can be enjoyed almost all year round (and we personally prefer winter hikes). WHY WINTER (between May and August) IS BEST FOR HIKING? For the most part, the Drakensberg winters are fairly mild and only require some “extra gear” which may include jackets, scarves and possibly a pair of gloves but none of the above will negatively impact your hiking adventures. In fact, we would go as far as saying that the winter hiking conditions are more pleasurable for the hikers. The cooler temperatures mean that your stamina is greater...

A Barnhouse in the Drakensberg Mountains

Dreaming of a rustic, relaxing Drakensberg mountain holiday? Or are you travelling in a large group and finding it difficult to find a suitable space for you all to stay? The Drakensberg Mountain Retreat offers two separate types of accommodation depending on the feel and style of holiday you are looking for. Our Barnhouse accommodation works extremely well for those travelling in large groups and wishing for more intimate spaces… ACCOMMODATION IDEAL FOR WHO?  Our Barnhouse in particular, provides guests with an open plan, rustic, barn-like space whilst still encompassing comfort and convenience as one searches for in a private holiday home. This accommodation is specifically well suited to catering to large groups (can sleep up to 25 people) for business trips, retreats or big family getaways. If you have a larger family or are bringing the extended family along, this accommodation allows you all to feel like you’re under one roof whilst still offering a degree of privacy. Our Barnhouse accommodation furthermore lends itself to creating a cozy and fun atmosphere, which bridal parties can enjoy for their destination weddings. WHAT ELSE TO EXPECT Views, views, views (the ones above are just a taste of what to expect)! Soak in the gorgeous panoramic views and allow yourself to relax in the great outdoors. Space for the whole family to explore, hike, bike relax and feast. Open spaces as far as you can see – surrounded by nature and all it has to offer, including our wild horses and birdlife. A relaxed atmosphere due to the complete lack of civilization (in a good way). No city hustle and bustle, no...
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