Southern Drakensberg and Castle Rock Guest House

 

The Drakensberg got its name from from Dutch settlers who referred to it as the  Drakensbergen or Mountains of Dragons. This dates back to the mythology of Dragons or perhaps even to fossils found in the ‘Berg.

The highest portion of the 1000 kilometer stretch of escarpment between the Eastern Cape and Limpopo falls between Lesotho and KwaZulu-Natal is known as The Barrier of Spears or uKhahlamba in Zulu.

I was able to visit the Southern Drakensberg recently for a quick weekend break and some respite from busy city life. The aim of this escape was to relax and just enjoy the sounds of nature, allowing them to ease the overwhelming noise of general life. The amount of information and noise driven around us and at us daily can get to the point where it feels like overload is imminent. My resolution is to escape to less technology and more peace.

Of course, that being said, I am never without technology, and rarely without cell signal; but I can certainly cut down to a large degree on trips like this.

The Drakensberg is often a difficult place to find holiday accommodation. Especially if you are planning to have more than two people with you. Similar to big attractions in South Africa like Kruger Park, you need to book long in advance and hold thumbs that you find a place to go. This is why I enjoy visiting more personal establishments. Often they are a little hidden, like gems, generally away from the masses. I thought I would tell you about one of my recent trips with 5 aspects to ensure finding a good holiday destination in the Drakensberg.

Situated a mere 25 kilometres from Underberg, along the road to Gooderson Resort and Spa, is Castle Rock Guest House.

 

1. Fireplace

Yes people. It is always a few degrees cooler in the Berg and Underberg, especially in Winter. Mornings and evenings are generally crisp and encourage you to rule your bed and covers with a cup of coffee in hand. If it snows, not only is it beautiful, but it can get frigid fast. So a fire is both for your comfort and of course, for your enjoyment. There is nothing quite like watching natures tv crackle away while chatting and enoying a glass of red wine.

Castle Rock has a generous stone fireplace visible from all side of the open plan dining room and lounge. It heats the room quickly and is beautiful to sit and stare at. Really. I spent a fair amount of time doing just that on the big comfortable couch that enfolds you.

 

2. Views

One of the biggest reasons for going to the Underberg area is for the views. Whether you are hiking, sitting in a restaurant, or driving through the area, the vistas of the escarpment are hypnotic. This is definitely the case when visiting the Southern Berg and Caste Rock. The house is almost completely surrounded by the mountains. If you look up the valley along the glistening river, your eyes squeeze through the ‘V’ provided by the foothills onto the blue hills beyond right up to the mountains. As much as you stare, you also realise that to your left and right the land climbs up the green and brown hills to the rose pink rocks that form the cliffs of the mountains.

 

 

3.  Comfort

When you are on holiday, whichever kind it may be, it is important that you do your research and make sure you are comfortable. Whether camping is your thing, and hot ablutions are available. If its hiking, your pack has to be set up for your body. When it comes to holiday spots and guest houses, having enough warm blankets and a comfortable bed can be a deal breaker.

Castle Rock has this in spades. There are extra blankets, underfloor heating and electric blankets to make sure that your tootsies don’t freeze off.

Not only this, but the kitchen and pantry are well stocked with utensils and crockery to make sure you can get your Nigella Lawson or Jamie Oliver on.

 

4.  Space

No one likes cramped quarters. Make sure you have enough space for all your peeps to be comfy. This is not a problem at Castle Rock either. The house sleeps 8 people as well as an additional two in the cottage. The house has 2 en suite double bedrooms, another double and a room with two single beds as well as another one and a half bathrooms.

 

 

There is plenty of seating in the lounge, around the dining table and on the covered porch with additional seating stored on the porch too.

Another aspect to consider is the Berg is often booked long in advance. So do get in contact in advance (especially for the school holidays). Make sure you have your booking in to avoid disappointment.

 

5. Activities

You go on holiday to relax. But relaxing is different for everyone. For some its exercise, for some its an outdoor pursuit, for others it may be reading a book. The great thing about the Southern Berg is there are lots of activities in a concentrated area. You want to make sure you have a way to keep the family and friends entertained while sorting yourself out too.

At Castle Rock, you can hike, fish, run and relax.  With Drakensberg Gardens (Gooderson Resort and Spa) just up the road and Underberg a mere 25 kilometres away, you have plenty of other activities you can dig into. Or you can just grab that coffee, put your feet up and read that book.

 

 

So yes, as with any vacation there is planning. But it is well worth it to watch the sun set as the soft rose light filters through the dust like glitter to the ground while the sun slips behind the horizon. The stars glowing like distant electric fairy lights frozen across the sky. Do consider making the trip this year to the Drakensberg. Don’t leave it for the last minute after watching Snow Report South Africa.

Keep up to date with the happenings around Castle Rock on their Facebook page or Instagram profile.

You can email them on info@castlerockguesthouse.com or call Terri Lee on 082 060 6998.

You can also check out a video on the Guest House below:

 

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