Drakensberg, South Africa and Cathedral Peak Hotel

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December 17th 2011
Published: December 17th 2011EDIT THIS ENTRY

For my free weekend I decided to visit an area in South Africa called Drakensberg, and stay at the Cathedral Peak Hotel. The scenery here is easily the most beautiful I have ever seen and if you like the outdoors and activities such as hiking and mountain biking you have to come here at least once in your life.

The Drakensberg mountain range is the highest in South Africa, and it has also been listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage site. It's located in South Africa but some of the mountains extend into Lesotho, which is a country that's actually located totally within South Africa. The area has developed quite a bit in the past 10 years or so and now has several resorts and hotels in the region. I decided to stay at the Cathedral Peak Hotel which is one of the nicer ones, and it's also located at one of the more remote locations. I've been all over the Caribbean, Canada and Costa Rica and this area easily has some of the most beautiful landscape I've ever seen. You are completely surrounded by mountain ranges and the weather is absolutely gorgeous all of the time. It's a dream location for anyone interested in outdoor activies, and the ones that are available here are hiking, mountain biking, atv trips, helicopter tours, golf, horseback riding and canopy tours.

The drive from Pretoria took about 4.5 hours, and while most of it was on the highway the last 90 kilometers or so was on a 2 lane road that took you up into the mountains. When I say this place is remote, it's REMOTE and the only things I passed on the way up here were small villages, cows, goats, and the local people trying to hitch a ride. The scenery on the way up was spectacular and I had to be careful not to crash my car as I tried to get a few shots. I passed several hotels and resorts on the way up, and the Cathedral Peak Hotel was the last one on the road. The hotel itself has been around since 1939, and while the rooms and some of the decor is a bit dated the whole resort is really gorgeous. There are about 10 or 15 hikes located right off the grounds and they also have horse stables, a helicopter pad, a 9 hole golf course, pool, gym, spa and a place where you can rent mountain bikes and atvs. I got in kind of late so I had dinner, a beer and hit the sack for an early hike the next day.

There are at least 15 hiking trails that are accessible right from the hotel. They range from 40 minute jaunts around the golf course to 9 and 10 hour, very difficult hikes/climbs up to the actual cathedral peak. The hotel offers a few guided tours every day but most of them you can do yourself, so I decided to try a90 minute hike to a place called Doreen Falls. It was a pretty tame jaunt but it gave me a chance to enjoy the scenery and take a bunch of pictures. The trail was well marked and it was a very nice hike, and the waterfalls at the end were pretty cool. I thought about going for a swim but there were some people in there already and it looked COLD - so I passed.

After my hike I decided to try some golf, so I drove down, rented some clubs and started my round. It was a pretty
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Monkeys are cute, but they steal golf balls.
nice course considering how far out it was, and you can tell by the pictures that the scenery is to die for. The thing I love about the golf courses here is that you always see monkeys, and there was a whole family that seemed to hang out at a couple of the holes. They're very cute, but they'll also steal anything they can get their hands on - including golf balls.

After my round of golf I went to the bar, had a couple of beer and surfed the internet for a bit. I'm going to try some of the longer hikes so stay tuned for updates on those in the next couple of days.

Additional photos below
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