This lovely husband of mine got me a really sweet surprise and he took me to Drakensberg the weekend before the moving of apartments. I had not much idea what it was.. berg, mmm mountain in german, Drankens..mmm a mix of Dracula and Frankenstein.. Honestly I didn’t know what to expect.
Waking up in Drakensberg
We arrive well in the night and in South Africa places, whether cities or villages, are not too well illuminated. We were tired so khalas! We fell in the bed like a brick.. Chum! Zzzz.. In the morning, the light was coming through the window of the room and it woke me up. Then is when I saw the place.. and I am still in awe. This area is just so beautiful! (Please don’t mind my sleepy face.. It is my policy not to use make up while I am on holidays.. and when I am not, just to use the bare minimum.. lol)
Drakensberg is very impressive with mountains in funny shapes and very charming valleys with gracious rivers and dams. I felt so full of gratitude in that balcony early in the morning. God really did an amazing job here.
We were staying in a very nice hotel, it says it is 5 star, but it must be in african standards. I would give it a 4 and the location makes most of the 4 still. The hotel is called Champagne Sports Resort and has swimming pool, spa, golf course, a business center and a buffet restaurant. There are two main options in the hotel.. Hotel rooms and little cute chalets. If you are going there with your family pick the chalets, they are gorgeous and more isolated. The landscape there, the nature will inspire you for some good quality reflection time.
The hotel is very well located, on the main road.. you just have to go up or down to find most of the activities and attractions. Let me share with you my discoveries.
Activities in Drakensberg
There are canopy tours, abseiling, white water tubing, quad and mountain bike riding, scootours (like the fat bikes for the desert but you stand on them and with no motor), a reptile center, zip lines, king swing, flying trapezes, paintball, bungee bounce, falcon shows ( yes, here there are falcons too!) and even helicopter tours. There is a boy choir and a bakery that seemed to be very successful too. Well, I just wanted to go up and down the valleys like in my good old days.. by horse (no, no trekking this time, I was so unprepared). Of course there were also horseback riding tours. We choose the one departing from Dragon Peaks and it was very nice. Too bad the horses are all so trained they don’t follow your orders but the orders of the guide. I have done some horse riding before in my life – i’m not an amazon, but well, I know a bit- just trying to get the horse to stop to ride along my hubby was such a fight. The guide told me they are trained to go in a line and they know who is in front and who is in the back.. no changes allowed. After that, I decided to relax and just let the animal take me wherever.. The area around Dragon Peaks is very pretty and has some water ponds and little rivers. The views are amazing. Nature is really generous and the best decor of whatever picture you might think.
After the horse ride, we went up and down discovering Monks Cowl, Champagne Castle Hotel, up the mountain and later down the mountain.. Scrumpy Jacks, a place that says to offer the best cheesecake and honey products. I must say that to me, it was the most delicious cheesecake ever.. fresh and flavourful with some honey taste. If you go try it. Also I am in love with some other things we bought there.. Raw Honey, Propolis Balm and Propolis to take.. I am testing them and I can tell you so far all of it is positive.
Kwazulu Natal is the province or region where Drakensberg is located and it is very historical. The place is full of battlefields.. Here everybody fought everybody.. the british the boers, the boers the zulus, the zulus the british.. I lost track of all the battles but there are museums and some memorials where you can get explanations. I saw some poster with some battle reenactment that happened some months back.
I love history but this sounded a bit spooky to me, I decided for something totally different for our last day.
What about Ballooning? First of all, I must confess that I am scared of heights so it took me some swallowing before accepting. Now I can tell you that it is something you have to do, even if you are scared of heights, you don’t feel scared up there. The balloon glides, it doesn’t shake or anything.. It felt like if you were in an elevator raising smoothly.
Ballooning in Drakensberg: Best experience ever!
The views from there- we went over the kilometer high- are to die for. Luckily my iphone was fully charged and I took so many pics and videos that now I can share with you. There is a game reserve close by and we got to see animals roaming around, drinking water and running around.
Not sure if there are other companies but I can recommend you 150% the one we picked. It is called Drakensberg Ballooning and they know their thing. They even compete in Balloon competitions, Danie and Daniel, father and son, are the soul and hands, both pilots. There are other pilot too that took the other balloon you see on my pics. In that balloon very important things were happening, as the guy was proposing the girl to marry from the skies. Romantic or what! Danie told us they knew of a rejection.. It was some time ago another pilot proposing to his girlfriend in the balloon, the girl said no.. the situation was so uncomfortable, they had to do an emergency landing. Happily this girl said yes and I wish them lots of luck in their life together.
When coming down, we did a Truck landing, .. lol.. yes, we landed in the back part of the truck that came to pick us up and we got a cute champagne bottle to celebrate the experience. after that a hearty breakfast prepared by the wife and mom of the house.. sausages, eggs, yogurt, I eat as if I wouldn’t eat any more in a decade. To go in the balloon you have to wake up very early, and so at 4.30 I was up (without wishing to set a precedent, I am not a morning person at all) but it is worthy to see the sun rising from the heights.
After the super powerful breakfast we said bye bye and drove back to the hotel, in front of the entrance there is a little shopping area and there I discovered two shops.. one of cheese (I love cheese!-called Macedonia Cheese and co, they have gorgeous cheeses and even locally produced halloumi!), the other shop is in the sweet business of Chocolate..The Drakensberg Chocolate Memories.. Run by a serbian married to a south african, they bring the chocolate from belgium to mix it with local milk and do their magic. I bought one bar of each “darkness” because I tried them all and I like them all.
This was my lovely trip to Drakensberg mountains, if you have the chance to go, do it, you will not regret it.
One love from Drakensberg,