History

Albert & Doreen van der Riet

Many visitors drive the long winding road to the hotel, tucked into the mountains under the towering lava faces of the Drakensberg, unaware of the history whispering in the winds - this is the story of the splendid mountain resort of Cathedral Peak Hotel...

the Cathedral Peak Hotel is nestled in the valley where the San (Bushmen) people once hunted, is one of the most popular family resort Hotels in the Natal Drakensberg. Its popularity owes as much to its magnificent surroundings as it does to its founding family - the van der Riets. It exists through the vision of one man - Albert van der Riet.

At the turn of the century the Cathedral Peak area was leased by a farmer by the name of Buys. Philip van der Riet (father of Albert) farmed at Oliviershoek near what is today 'Oliviershoek Police Station'. Philip, with Albert's encouragement, bought the farm from Buys and in 1936 the first developments of the hotel began. Albert, living in the only building on the property - a small cottage - started by quarrying stone on the site where the hotel would be. Together with a handful of Basotho stonemasons, a start was made in 1937.

The actual building of the hotel was, however, only part of their problems. Cathedral Peak Hotel is quite remote today, but in those early days, before motorised vehicles were as fast or as popular, this was even more of an obstacle. The closest road to the site was from Bergville, but this went only as far as the Emmaus Mission Station.

Early Beginnings

Early Beginnings Undaunted, Albert tried his hand at road building and succeeded. Cathedral Peak Hotel opened its doors to welcome the first guests on Christmas Day 1939. During World War II it was a popular recuperating spot for injured troops from up North, and the hotel was also host to Prince Pahlevi, son of the Shah of Persia.

Situated on 400ha of pristine mountain grassland, Cathedral Peak Hotel is unique in that it falls within the boundaries of the Cathedral Peak Nature Reserve, and nestles right up against the spectacular Cathedral Peak range of the Drakensberg mountains.

Visitors are able to enjoy the solitude of the mountains without the disruption of many other tourists. Despite all the odds stacked against the Hotel in those early days, the van der Riet family has always been able to extend warm hospitality to their guests and Cathedral Peak Hotel has grown over the years into one of the most popular and successful family resorts in the Natal Drakensberg wonderland.

The Hotel is now owned by William (son of Albert van der Riet) and his wife Belinda.