Durban - There is something for everyone in the Drakensberg. It might sound like a cliché, but testing this theory was precisely what my weekend away was about.
First for a bit of R&R; I settled in at the romantic Three Cities Alpine Heath Resort in the northern Drakensberg, and when it was time to let my hair down the Sani Pass Hotel, just outside Underberg, didn’t fail to thrill.
Alpine Heath has a number of luxurious chalets, all with mountain views.
There’s nothing but the sound of birds – and if you listen closely, crystal-clear streams – to fill your days.
The fresh mountain air and vast landscape are soothing and, while you might jog or walk in the afternoons, it’s a pleasure simply to enjoy your own home in the mountains.
Each chalet is equipped with a self-catering kitchen and a dining area big enough for the whole family to prepare and enjoy a meal together.
There is satellite TV and good cellphone reception, but one of the sheer delights has to be the fireplace.
Mornings in the Berg are glorious, so different from waking up in the city – the picturesque mountains and the birdlife really make you feel at one with nature.
But at night the vast expanse is utterly beautiful. I always like to arrive early, so when the sun set while I was still en route it left me disheartened.
I didn’t realise that the moonlight introduction would be the best possible one.
If you’re really not up to cooking, the buffet dinner at the resort’s Umziki Boma is highly recommended.
We were entertained by traditional Zulu dancers and served by staff who clearly go the extra mile for their guests.
The thatched roof and smoke from the burning firewood outside the dining area took me back to tales from my grandparents’ time when there was no electricity.
The following day we proceeded to the nearby All Out Adventures for a day of fun and games. The King Swing – a 17m free fall and swing from a tree top suspension – was the highlight.
Other games included the bungee bounce, flying trapeze and zipline.
The adventure continued at Sani Pass Hotel the next day. Accommodation was varied, with either rooms in the main hotel or free-standing rondavels.
The emphasis, though, was clearly on the array of indoor and outdoor activities that were on offer.
I most enjoyed quad biking up the mountain to a point where we could see the Lesotho border.
There was so much that went into this weekend, but the resounding message is that there is so much more to our home, or “backyard” in KZN, than we realise.
Whether you’re seeking leisure or adventure, you can find it at home. - The Mercury