020809 A fine proposal… Fancy a getaway to the Drakensberg? Read about our Tribune Travel Club offer – and you can win a prize “… because I love this |spot and I love you, but don’t forget I love you best of all and I want you beside me. Ruth, my darling, I plead as never before. Put your trust in me, marry me and be my mate in building up a home and a farm second to none in South Africa.” This is how Bill Carte proposed marriage to Ruth in June 1940. Anthony Carte, their youngest son, treasures the few memories of his father, who died in 1954 when Anthony was only six, but the letter of proposal greatly influenced the boy. Bill and Ruth built The Cavern Berg Resort – and true to Bill’s dream, it is one of the finest holiday spots in South Africa. Then Anthony and his family seized the opportunity in 1994 |to build a home to follow his father’s dream. The Drakensberg is a romantic, wild, secretive place and it is here that Anthony’s family changed a wattle-infested wasteland into an indigenous conservation area – home of Montusi Mountain Lodge … Ant’s dream … “a home and a farm second to none in South Africa”. Montusi has a beautiful setting in spacious open gardens with spectacular views of the Amphitheatre of the uKhahlamba Northern Drakensberg Mountains. It is an idyllic escape to space, comfort and peace. Unlike many of the bigger, more established Drakensberg holiday resorts, you will not find conferences, crowds, loud music and a bar offering shooters. The family welcomes local and international guests and thoroughly enjoys the pre-dinner banter in the bar where opinions are exchanged and the problems of the world are solved. To ensure that guests have privacy and peace, each of the 14 individual garden suites, which have their own patios and panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, is positioned at a distance from the others. The thatched suites are decorated in the earthy colours of Africa. King-size double beds with warm winter sheets and hot water bottles are provided for those crisp winter nights, while percale fine sheets offer cool comfort on those balmy summer evenings. Each suite has a bath and separate walk-in shower, a lounge with a fireplace, TV, drinks fridge and tea and coffee facility. Many guests are inspired to climb to the top of the Amphitheatre from the car park To Page 3

Durban - Conservation groups have reacted cautiously to the latest plan to build a 7km cable car route to the top of the Drakensberg-uKhahlamba range.


This follows the release of a government-funded feasibility study earlier this week that suggests the project could cost about R500 million and attract up to 300 000 cable car visitors a year.

Garth Barnes, the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (Wessa) conservation director, said the society supported sustainable development and looked forward to working with the Department of Economic Development and Tourism in the environmental impact assessment (EIA) process.

“Wessa does not believe in a preservationist approach that seeks to ring-fence nature for nature’s sake,” he said.

However, it would be important to ensure there was a stringent EIA process.

It was also essential to ensure the project was economically viable and would benefit communities.

Wessa supported responsible projects that could strengthen the economy and expose more people to the beauty of nature, stimulating a greater will to conserve.

The Mountain Club of South Africa has not commented yet.

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife said it was aware that an 80-page feasibility study had been done, but added that it could not comment yet.

“Ezemvelo will study the report and be guided by the recommendations made,” said spokesperson Musa Mntambo.

But Johann Krog, the DA’s provincial spokesperson on economic development and tourism, warned that the project could become a “pie in the sky” scheme that could cost taxpayers a lot of money.


“The proposed cableway must be privately funded and form part of an integrated tourism development strategy within KZN – one which combines private, provincial, municipal and foreign investment along a long-term trajectory.”

The DA said it did not doubt that the provincial government had good intentions and hoped to see KZN thriving as a tourist destination.

However, he government first had to ensure the basics were in place to stimulate tourism in the region.

For example, the road between Winterton, Bergville and the Oliviershoek Pass had became “a notorious stretch of road due to a lack of basic maintenance”, Krog said.

l The report on the proposed Drakensberg cable car route in The Mercury yon Wednesday stated that the base station would be located in the Mnweni Valley. The project consultants have pointed out that the recommended site is an abandoned quarry at the western end of the road through Busingatha Valley, and not in the Mnweni Valley. - The Mercury


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