Tuesday, February 10, 2009

"Closer to God" ..

.. that's what my Aunty Marjie (now in her mid-80's) always says about being in the Drakensberg. We have just spend a truly fabulous weekend at the Champagne Castle Hotel in Central Drakensberg .... have taken hundreds of photographs .. between hubby and me .. and three cameras!! (I always have my little one tucked away .. at the ready!!) What to choose ... what to choose ... ???? I think I shall split them into various posts, as we have photos of 'all sorts' .. from flowers to streams to mountains ... to horses, to farmyard animals, the hotel, our room ... a beautiful little chapel on the grounds where there was a wedding on Saturday morning ..... to mountain paths and mists ......

It's a truly beautiful part of the world (Drakensberg range of mountains is a World Heritage Site) and only photographs can do justice to the breathtaking scenery! Champagne Castle hotel is nestled at the foothills in the Champagne Valley. There is a well known golf course here, many guests lodges and B&B's, some hotels and it's also the home of the internationally renowned Drakensberg Boys Choir. There is also a Falcon centre where they have flight displays but only weather permitting ... gates were shut when we tried ... weather was not permitting! such a pity as we believe it's magnificent to watch.

Weather was generally good (not good enough for the Falcons though!) whilst there but cloud hung over highest peaks most of the time and we thought we would never see them. One guest suggested I buy a postcard and scan it!!! I did get the postcard - just in case - but we were lucky on our last afternoon there .. the clouds lifted .. and .. wow .. what a sight!

The morning we left, we were greeted from our bedroom window and balcony by this breathtaking view ...

.... shining in the early morning sun is Champagne Castle (3377 mtrs high) on the left of the bulky, dominating presence of Cathkin Peak (3149 mtrs), which viewed from the valley below, seemingly overpowers Champagne Castle. (It only made sense to us once we saw the whole range once the clouds cleared and the different levels were visible.) Gray's Pass is next (where it dips) and then it's Sterkhorn. The jaggered section going down to the right is Dragon's Back. It all makes sense when viewed with the naked eye as it looks like the spikes of a dragon's back going down to the tail.

Champagne Castle

Cathkin Peak

Dragon's Back

One of the trout dams at the hotel ...

Part of the mountain range above the hotel ...

The Hiker ...
Blue haze hangs over the Champagne Valley - Champagne Castle Hotel partly hidden by protea tree and mountain side ..
Along a mountain path with Champagne Valley below (hubby on far right!) ...
Champagne Castle Hotel nestled at the foothills ...

Beyond the trees, the valley stretches far and wide ..
In the letter that is given on arrival, with the keys to the room, is written : "Our sincere hope is that you will take home: a Happy Memory, a Rested Body, a Restored Soul, an Invigorated Mind, a New Hope for the Future and a Kilo about the Waist that you never had when you arrived." .... Umm .. yes - we got all those !!!!

As it was my birthday, my hubby gave me, for my prezzie, an hour of half of 'me time' here!!! Lucky me!!


  1. Ohh beautiful. You make me miss our farm in the drakensberg.....maybe we should go this weeked???

  2. It sounds like bliss. How I long for a holiday in the Drakensberg right now. The pictures are beautiful. I specially like the first two not that I don't like the others). The first one is a great scenic picture of the mountain looking all dramatic with the clouds on it while I always like fog photos. I am looking foreward to some more.

  3. Good morning..
    I've been waiting for this entry and I must say it was worth the wait..
    What a wonderful time you had and the photo's are outstanding...the reflection stands out for me as I love those sort of photo's...looks like a painting.
    I've never been to the Drakensberg, but know my sister and her family go often and love it there.
    Love the birthday gift....ME time is something we can never get enough of.
    Looking forward the next few entries about your weekend away.
    We had snow last night, so a magical white world today.

  4. Oh how beautiful! I love the misty look! I am sure you had a wonderful rest ... oh how badly I want to go back! Truly, one of the most beautiful parts of our country!
    Thank you for sharing!

  5. Oh my goodness, what beautiful photos, I'm from Texas, these are just great!

  6. Awesome reminder of where I spent most of my holidays in July as a youngster.
    I also went there for my honeymoon in 1990 and as a last reminder in 2005 before we immigrated to Australia. What a surprise to see familiar surroundings .Absolutely awesome, Champagne castle hotel is a wonderful place for a rest. Thanks for the memories