Attractions and Activities in the Drakensberg and Natal Midlands
The Drakensberg Mountains offer a lot and you will need to make some choices here. The choice is made depending on how far you would like to walk trail or hiking trail to be. Giants Castle offers some of the most dramatic hiking trails and view in the Drakensberg and lets you experience a Northern/Central Drakensberg aspect of the mountains. And this is probably the main reason you have traveled to this area. Kamberg Nature Reserve offers a Southern Drakensberg aspect also a stunningly beautiful part of the Drakensberg Mountains.
Take a walk down memory lane at The Battlefields
The Battlefields tourism region of KwaZulu-Natal stretches north from Estcourt to the border with Mpumalanga and contains the greatest number of battlefields and historical sites in South Africa. The Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) has many battlefields close to Antbear Drakensberg Lodge lodge including those involved in the relief of Ladysmith – Spioenkop, Colenso, Vaalkrans and Tugela Heights. Just outside Estcourt is the small town of Frere where Winston Churchill was captured from a British armoured train. Fort Durnford Museum in Estcourt has a large number of artefacts related to these conflicts. There is also a small Voortrekker museum in Weenen.
Unleash your wild side with a Quad Bike trail
There are few providers that offer quad bike trails. There are great quad bike options for kids too. The real quad bike trails are for children over 16 years of age and can be found various different parts of the mountains. A stunning quad experience, which includes a briefing and a scenic guided outride along the either the Puterill’s Stream or Tugela River Trail. The trails covers a range of exciting terrain, including a river crossings and hill climbs. This is a great introduction to quads for new riders, without being too dull for those with some experience. All riders receive a briefing and must complete a basic competency test before departing on the ride.
Drakensberg Bushman Rock Art
Bushmen paintings can be seen in the countless caves and overhangs of the Drakensberg.By far the best bushman rock art available to tourists is found at Game Pass Shelter at Kamberg Nature Reserve. The walk to the art takes 3 hours return and is easy. The quality of the rock art is exquisite and in good condition and there is a rock art guide to explain the bushman paintings too.
The Midlands Meander
The Midlands Meander offers a treasure trove of country arts and craft shops, dairies, wine tasting and much more. Take your time guided by a midlands meander map and slowly wind your your way through the country lanes to explore, idle, browse, shop and indulge. The Midlands Meander offers more than a hundred things to see, experience and buy. Art studios, herb and flower farms, tea gardens, country pubs, health hydros, craft, pottery and weaving workshops, breweries and wine barns. The top places to explore on the Midlands Meander are listed below
- The Woodturner (wooden bowls and artifacts)
- Groundcover (handcrafted leather goods)
- Lona’s Pianos (antique pianos)
- Craft Southern Africa (African artifacts and curios)
- Swissland Cheese (regional cheeses)
- Marrakesh Cheese Farm (Farm cheese tasting)
- Fusion Studio (Cloths, crockery and other fine things)
- White Cottage Books
- Ardmore Ceramics
- Shuttleworth Weaving
- The Wine Cellar (Wine tasting)
- Romesco Olives (Olive tasting)
- The Weavers Hut (rugs and carpets)
- The Lavendar Co (everything lavender)
- Meander Fine Wines (Wine tasting)
- Jim Green (Hand made shoes)
- Tsonga (hand made shoes)
- Mandela Capture Site (memorial and historical site)
- Nottingham Road Brewery (Microbrewery)
Horse riding and horse trails
Lovely slow and gentle horse rides overlooking the rolling hills of the Natal Midlands and The Drakensberg Mountains. The horse trail is scenic and ideally suited to beginners. The horses are calm an well trained and all the safety kit is in good condition. Our horse trail are guided by a trained trail guide. On request you can also take part in a horse riding lesson. A wonderful experience of nature for both beginners and more experienced riders. But if you want to go further afield a local game reserve offers horse trails inside the game reserve where you can see rhino, kudu, buffalo, wildebeest, warthogs, zebras and quite a bit more. For experienced riders Berg Trails offers a faster ride which gets you up into the mountains.
White Water Rafting
White water rafting is available on the Bushman’s and Tugela Rivers. Both rafting tips are dependent on water levels so the white water rafting season is limited from Nov through to April. The summer rains in the upper Drakensberg catchment turn the Tugela River into an particularly exciting stretch of white water. The water levels will decide of the type of white water raft that is used. Have fun with other guests riding the rapids on this two hour or all day white water rafting adventure.
Golf in the Drakensberg and Natal Midlands
The Drakensberg and Natal Midlands boast a number of golf courses some of which are world class. Boschhoek golf course has 9 holes which takes around 2 and a half hours to play. The Club hires out clubs and has a bar that serves Breakfast and Lunch daily. Gowrie Farm and Golf Estate offers a 18 hole golf course with besutiful scenery. The golf course is a walking course and no golf carts are permitted. Mooi River Country Club offers an 11 hole, 18 tee par 72, rating 71 golf course will provide a challenge to the most discerning golfer. Champagne Sports offers an 18 hole golf course which is rated as one of the best golf courses in South Africa. Monks Cowl’s 9 Hole 18 Tee picturesque Golf Course is both challenging and fun for the whole family or is suitable for a serious round of golf. Estcourt Country Club offers a 9 hole 18 Tee golf course.
The Drakensberg Boys Choir
The Drakensberg Boys Choir plays to an auditorium filled to capacity on most Wednesdays during the year. These Wednesday concerts and music festivals, which include Music in the Mountains are rated as one of the top festivals in the country which showcases the coral music of the Drakensberg boys’ Choir and features some of the country’s most popular artists. The initial part of every concert is given over to whatever the boys are currently working on. Classical music that includes Bach, Handel, Mozart or Beethoven and include hidden delights – jazz, folk, or music by Freddie Mercury – an array of what it means to enjoy music. The second half is consists of an Afrcan medly of different languages, gum boot dances, african musical instraments and vocal effects. This is not simple music by any means. The boys take on complex melodies and difficult rhythms, and rise to the challenge time after time.
Karkloof Canopy Tours & Drakensberg Canopy Tours
Wellness Spas in the Drakensberg
- Indigo Fields
- Brookdale Health Hydro
- Fordoun Spa
- Karkloof Spa
- Granny Mouse
4×4 trips in the Drakensberg
Take a scenic drive up Mike’s Pass at Cathedral Peak. A 4×4 is required. Or take a trip down to Himeville and venure up the Sani Pass. Remember you need your passport and the Sani Pass requires a 4×4. The Weenen Game Reserve is wild and undulating African savannah, thornveld valleys, spectacular river gorges and distant mountain peaks.
Game viewing in the Weenen Game Reserve
Weenen Game Reserve has an excellent road network and guided and self guided trails allows visitors to view a variety of wildlife species including black and white rhino, giraffe, zebra, kudu, ostrich, common reedbuck, grey duiker, bushbuck, steenbuck and mountain reedbuck. Over 250 bird species have also been recorded. Guest facilities include a game-viewing hide near one of the waterholes, a vulture feeding site and three picnic sites with barbecue facilities.
Hot Air Ballooning
Experience the awesome thrill and peaceful serenity of hot air ballooning over the Drakensberg region. Hot air balloon flights are offered principally on the edge of the Drakensberg mountains and we have a take off site right here in front of the Antbear Guest House and within sight of Giants Castle. You will meet at the hot air balloon launch site approximately 30 minutes before sunrise, your pilot will then give you a safety briefing. Once the hot air balloon is heated and you are in the balloons basket you will enjoy a flight of around an hour. Then you all return to a breakfast together back at the Antbear.
The Drakensberg is renowned amongst pilots of all kinds as one of the most pituresque and exciting places to fly in South Africa. The scenery is awe-inspiring and this is an experience never to be forgotten. You may even land on the little Berg and enjoy a picnic complete with champagne before continuing your flight and returning to base. Westline Aviation offer scenic flights helicopter daily from their base at the Dragon Peaks Mountain Resort’s Airfield. Transec Aviation offer Helicopter Rides from Cathedral Peak Hotel.
Fly Fishing in the Drakensberg
The Drakensberg Mountains are home to an impressive collection of crystal clear dams and rivers where there are plenty of bass and trout to be caught. In this area alone there are nearly 25 unique fly fishing locations – most of which, have more than 1 dam or river to choose from. If you would like us to recommend a good guide for a fly fishing day, we can certainly do so. For rivers it is the headwaters of the Bushman’s River (in the Giant’s Castle nature reserve) or the Little Mooi (in the Kamberg Valley). Both in the foothills of the Central Drakensberg. If you have never tried fly-fishing, it is a fabulous day out in beautiful surroundings. Fly fishing equipment can be hired in Nottingham Road.
Hlatikulu Crane Sanctuary
Hlatikulu Crane and Wetland Sanctuary is a Breeding, Rehabilitation and Rescue centre for all three of the Southern African Crane Species. The Crane Sanctuary hosts all three species in wild and captive situations and is listed as an international Important Birding Area and a National Site of Conservation Significance. Take a guided tour around the Hlatikulu Crane Sanctuary. It’s free. But donations are appreciated. There are only 200 – 300 Wattled Crane left (in the world) and they’re working hard to try and bring these magnificent birds back from the verge of extinction. This is a Drakensberg conservation effort that deserves your support.
Birds of prey display
Falcon Ridge is home to a wide variety of raptors, some of whom have been rehabilitated after suffering from injuries. Daily shows begin at 10.30 am (except Fridays) See these magnificent birds fly and feed off the wing. The show includes a presentation by the excellent handlers so you can learn more about these magnificent birds. During peak holiday season, and weather permitting, they offer a second show each day. An insight into Falconry is included in the show and the public will learn how these birds of prey use their wings and sharp beaks and claws to their advantage. This is also a great activity for the kids
Wagondrift Dam and Moor Park
Wagondrift Dam and Moor Park renowned for birdlife and spectacular views. Wagondrift dam and Moor park (8km from the Antbear) are two small conservation service nature reserves where bushbuck, mountain reedbuck, black wildebeest, zebra and impala abound. Moor Park is renowned for its bird life including a pair of nesting black eagles. A major feature of the park is the old Boer furrow trail which visitors can follow.
The mountain terrain is ideal for keen bikers to explore, offering gentle gradients with spectacular scenery, bring your own mountain bikes.
Hydro Electric Scheme
Visit the Eskom Hydro Electric Scheme at Jagersrust in the Northern Berg. Bookings to be made in advance.
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Experience the Drakensberg