Help with visit to Drakensberg

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Nov 29th, 2004, 09:51 AM
  #1
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Help with visit to Drakensberg

I am still working on planning my trip to SA in early April. The focus of my trip is to visit with my daughter who is moving to J'burg in February. However, along with visiting her, I am planning two 3 -4 day "loops" from Jburg. The first is to Kruger and the second is to the Drakensberg (I am saving a trip to Capetown until I return to SA in October.) I need some advice on where to stay in the Drakensberg.

One option is to spend 3 nights at Montusi Lodge or Cathedral Park. The other option is to spend 2 nights at one of those places (or somewhere else that might be recommended in the Northern or Central Drakensberg) and then 2 nights in the Southern Drakensberg so we can do the trip to Sani Pass.

Has anyone had recent experience in the Drakensberg and can recommend places to stay and whether it is worth the extra travel to see the Sani Pass?

Thanks.

Cokie
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Nov 30th, 2004, 08:52 AM
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Hello Cokie,

I feel Sani Pass is worth it. I understand the drive up the pass requires a 4x4, and there are companies that offer day tours out of Underberg and Himeville.

Unfortunately I don't have recent experience of commercial accommodations in the Drakensberg. I hope someone else may be able to advise you on that point.

If you don't get answers here at Fodors right now, I don't think you have to worry about it. April is not the prime tourist season in the Drakensberg. It doesn't coincide with the South African summer school holidays, for example. I feel you will be safe if you make your reservations closer to the time.

Once your daughter and son-in-law are living in Johannesburg, they'll have access to locally available information, and that will be helpful.

I can't remember from your previous posts whether or not you're interested in history. The KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, the rolling hills between the Drakensberg to the west and the coastal plain to the east, are particularly rich in history.

If you're interested in pursuing this, you can read how Shaka (1785-1828) expanded the Zulu clan into a powerful nation by conquering and absorbing neighbouring clans.

Not too long after that, Shaka's successor, Dingaan, encountered the Voortrekkers (white people of Dutch ancestry who were travelling northwards in ox-drawn wagons to escape British rule in the Cape Colony). The most notorious clash between Dingaan's Zulu tribe and the Voortrekkers was the December 16, 1838 battle at the Ncome River, which became known as the Battle of Blood River.

The Voortrekkers' northward migration not only brought them up against black tribes who were living in these territories, but it didn't give them much peace from the British either.

The British followed not too far behind, and Zululand was home to battles between the British and the Zulus (primarily during the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879) and subsequently between the British and the Boers (people of Dutch ancestry) in the form of the Anglo-Boer War (1899 - 1902).

I mention this because your route from Johannesburg to the Drakensberg would take you through, or close to, the sites of battles that are as well known to South Africans as Gettysburg is to Americans.

As you probably can tell, I enjoy finding out about the history of an area when I travel through it.

Anyway, good luck in finding accommodation.
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Dec 2nd, 2004, 12:32 PM
  #3
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Judy - Thanks for the encouragement and history lesson. Yes, we are quite interested in history and I look forward to doing some exploration of the KZN Midlands. Like you, I believe that having an apprciation of the history of a country or region adds immeasurably to the experience of visiting.
As far as accomodation in the Drakensberg is concerned, I think I will defer making decisions until my daughter arrives in-country and she can "pick the brains" of some of her journalist colleagues.
Thanks again.
Cokie

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Jan 13th, 2005, 12:00 AM
  #4
 
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I spent a week in a timeshare resort (Mountain View)in the Southern Drakensberg in December. The area is known as Drakensberg Gardens and is about 20 km from Underberg. The resort is one of a cluster of resorts that surround a hotel. Unfortunately I can't remember it's name (it's probably Drakensberg Gardens Hotel) but Underberg is so small you won't have any difficulty getting help from their info centre. We had a few drinks at the hotel and based on appearances I'd recommend it. BTW you will be able to book a trip to Sani Pass from the info centre and another BTW you'll need your passport.
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