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Where the mountains work magic

Kwa-Zulu Natal

Gemma Blair

 

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The Alpine Heath Resort nestles in the hills of the northern Drakensberg.Guests not into walking or riding, can relax at the pool.Horse riding is one of the attractions at Alpine Heath.A delicious gourmet burger and chips enjoyed on the pool deck.The chalets at Alpine Heath resort.

Durban - The allure of the northern Drakensberg, including the famous Amphitheatre, which is one of the most prominent features of the Dragon Mountains, led us to choosing the nearby “aha Alpine Heath Resort” for our long weekend getaway.

Situated 45km from Bergville and exactly half way between Durban and Joburg, also made it an obvious place to meet our Gauteng relatives.

Our reunion and traditional family get-together was long overdue and we decided to ditch the camping and settle for the winner of the family resort category of the 2016 TripAdvisor Traveller’s Choice, as our place to return to after gruelling daily hikes.

With all the distractions that the resort had to offer, our traditional berg hikes carrying frugal snacks of biscuits, fruit and chocolate in our back packs were all but forgotten.

The first day started with a morning walk, with every intention of reaching The Gorge, but we returned as half the party wanted to horse-ride and others wanted to laze by the pool... and I was really looking forward to a massage. At least we were all together in one resort.

We regrouped in the afternoon for cappuccino and excellent espresso lattes in the coffee shop and enjoyed relaxed chatter and the superb view. We decided that this was the place to return to for buffet dinner.

I felt really decadent going for a massage, instead of tramping the rocky path of our usual mountain mission, but the beautiful setting and stylish self-catering units of this wonderful mountain village, was working its magic on our family-bonding.

There’s definitely something to be said for a spacious lounge and dining room, open patio and welcoming fireplace to provide a relaxed and social environment to get together with friends and family.

Although there are 100 units, plus all the trappings that go with a four-star conference venue, we found the environment very peaceful and rather special.

The on-site village and market deli takes the stress out of self-catering... and when we were really lazy, there were a variety of restaurant options to choose from.

Retreating to the mountains, with television, satellite TV and good cellphone reception, actually encourages relaxation as certain member s of the family need these facilities in order to relax or maintain whatever contact they need in cases of emergency.

Alpine Heath Resort is now managed by aha Hotels and Lodges, which is the tourism property management company of Tourvest’s Accommodation and Activities division. And there certainly are an array of activities, including tennis, table tennis, squash, putt putt, pool, darts and the Wow Kids Zone offering arts and crafts, play station, treasure hunts, biscuit decorating – who said that the berg is just for hiking?

Small wonder that Alpine Heath Resort is ranked in the 25 top family destinations in South Africa.

l Call 036 438 6484 or visit www.aha.co.za/alpineheath

Sunday Tribune

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