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A Brief History Of Drakensberg Mountain Retreat

When Dave was about 50 years of age, he bought the farm known as “Vergezient” (the name dates back to the days of the “Voortrekkers” evident by the number of Historical sites and monuments in the nearby vicinity dedicated to these brave pioneers.) The farm was situated in the Northern Drakensberg area. Prior to this, Dave had speculated with cattle farming and had leased some grazing land for this purpose. However, when the lease was nearing the end of its term, he decided to acquire his own farm for this purpose. He had always wanted to own a farm as he and his siblings – sister’s Dorothy (Dolly) and Rosemarie and brother Charlie – had spent many happy holidays with relatives in the Bergville area. His paternal grandparents had also farmed in this part of KwaZulu-Natal which was another reason for wishing to acquire his own farm in this beautiful part of South Africa. When Dave was originally shown the property by the selling agent, he realised it was not ideal for cattle farming as it was covered in Wattle Trees with no buildings or other facilities provided. However, it was only when he and the agent walked to the end of the plateau from where incredibly beautiful views of a vast section of the Drakensberg are to be seen, that he decided to buy the farm even though it would be difficult to manage grazing on the top ridge and further grazing down below, which was difficult to get to. He started developing the property by building 4 sheds as cattle holding facilities. One of these sheds was...

Visit The Golden Gate National Park, Just A One Hour Drive From Our Resort!

There is an abundance of activities available on offer at the Drakensberg Mountain retreat and its surroundings…there are plenty of day trips and excursions to enjoy within proximity to the Drakensberg Mountain Retreat. One of the favourites being a trip to the Golden Gate National Park. We have found that over the last few years, the majority of our guests (most being foreigners) like to take full advantage of the area and visit The Golden Gate National Park and enjoy all that is on offer there whilst staying with us. The Sandstone cliffs of the Golden Gate National Park lie 2200m above sea level and provide visitors with plenty to do and breathtaking views to soak in… MORE ABOUT THE AREA AND ITS SURROUNDS • Roughly 120 km south east of Bloemfontein and 15 km south of Wepenar on Route 701, lies the Golden Gate National Park, through which the Caledon River flows. • The park is also home to the Welbedacht Dam (southern parts of the reserve). • The Basotho Cultural Village which forms part of the park will take you back more than 400 years. Take note how European settlers influenced life and culture of these people today. • You may even have an opportunity to meet/consult a Sangoma (traditional medicine man)! Nestled in the foothills of the Maluti Mountains of the North-Eastern Free State lies the Golden Gate Highlands National Park. The park was named after the shades of gold that shoot from the sun onto the prominent sandstone cliffs in the afternoons. This magnificent highland habitat is home to several animals you will definitely want...

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...