The Southern Drakensberg Mountains offer a unique blend of enchantment and splendour, making it an idyllic destination for a getaway.
According to Shaun Lamont, Managing Director of First Group Hotels and Resorts, though the Drakensberg is renowned for its winter allure, the region proves equally magical in the summer months.
“There is no doubt that the Drakensberg stands out as the best winter destination to enjoy a snow experience nestling by the fire and savouring glühwein or hot chocolate, whilst gazing at the snow-clad mountains, however, the charm of the Berg doesn’t fade when the snow melts,” he said.
Lamont said that summer unveils its own unique appeal, presenting a different opportunity to make magical, lasting memories with loved ones.
He said that if you opted to avoid the frenetic festive holiday season before taking a well-earned break, now is the perfect time, especially for parents of tots or those with adult children, who are not constrained by school holidays.
Here are seven reasons why you should head to the Berg before summer ends, according to Lamont.
1. Flora and fauna diversity
Lamont emphasised that summer in the Drakensberg unveils a vibrant spectacle as the mountains transform into lush, green landscapes that come alive with a mass of wildflowers.
“This picturesque backdrop of colours is unrivalled in its splendour and beauty and coupled with rare plant and animal species, it is a must-see,” he said.
2. Moderate climate
An added bonus about visiting the Berg is that it generally has a more moderate climate, ideal for those who prefer milder temperatures and a respite from the intense summer heat and humidity, he added.
3. Early starts and afternoon naps
“Make the most of the temperate mornings with an early hike or leisurely cycle through the breathtaking scenery. As the day unfolds, indulge in a leisurely lunch and retreat for an afternoon nap, sheer bliss after the hustle and bustle of city life,” said Lamont.
4. Water wonderland
“Experience the pleasures of summer as you cool off in the unspoilt water wonderland that this region offers,” said Lamont, adding that you can also enjoy a picnic next to crystal clear streams or natural pools, plunge beneath refreshing waterfalls or relax poolside at top resorts like Bushman’s Nek.
When it comes to birding, Lamont highlighted that bird enthusiasts will find the Drakensberg a haven for rare and incredible birdlife like the mighty bearded vulture.
“The region boasts a unique collection of avian species, making it a top destination for birdwatchers eager to spot these feathered wonders,” said Lamont.
6. Bushman paintings
Lamont also revealed that visitors can explore the rich cultural heritage of the Drakensberg and visit ancient rock art sites left behind by the San people.
“With approximately 40 000 rock paintings across 600 caves and overhangs, this magnificent legacy is deserving of its World Heritage Site status,” he said.
7. Outdoor adventurer’s paradise
And finally, he said that for active people, the Drakensberg is an outdoor adventurer’s paradise. “Take on the spectacular and majestic Sani Pass 4×4 trail, join a quad bike tour or experience horse riding in the mountains. You will run out of days to enjoy everything the beautiful Berg has to offer,” said Lamont.
He said that one of his favourite places to stay is Bushman’s Nek Berg and Trout Resort at the foot of the Southern Drakensberg as it offers both hotel and self-catering accommodation and a host of activities such as fly-fishing, adventure golf, paintball, cycling, hiking trails, archery and badminton for the whole family.
“It’s a stunningly beautiful and peaceful place to unwind, guaranteed to help you get your mojo back as you reconnect with nature and share unforgettable moments with family and friends,” said Lamont.