Springtime

SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2021 newsletter

New solar power plant, protecting endangered species, World Heritage Status & more

Message from the General Manager

Springtime in the Drakensberg is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream, with the cold of winter starting to thaw and the unpredictable summer storms still a few months away. Typical Berg spring weather bestows upon us incredible sunsets providing picturesque photo opportunities, as well as being a great excuse for some lazy sundowners on the terrace or alongside the pool. The migratory birds will soon return from their winter exodus and the hills will come alive with magnificent flora and fauna.

Our golf course will be undergoing its annual spring treatment in early September (dates TBC) and is set to produce many more great rounds in the coming months. There is something very humbling about playing in such a magnificent setting; it’s as though the rugged mountain backdrop puts the game into perspective.

We have some exciting projects on the go at the moment, seeing an upgrade of our Trout Farm and the installation of a solar photovoltaic system to increase our green energy supply.

On the cultural side of things, we are looking forward to celebrating Heritage Day weekend with you, as our staff gear up for their annual traditional singing and dancing and our kitchen prepares for a South African-themed dinner feast.

As always, we have a wide range of amazing specials, letting you escape to the mountains at incredible discounted rates. Make sure you follow our Facebook and Instagram pages to keep up to date with what we have on offer. We look forward to welcoming you all to the Ultimate Drakensberg Experience!

Bruce Botes – General Manager

Spring Radiance

The first of September marks the start of spring, a time of regeneration and rebirth. As the winter-flowering aloe species starts to die back, others take centre stage. Crane Flowers (strelitzias) are in full bloom, the bottlebrush trees are a buzz of activity with sunbirds and insects after the nectar, and the weavers tear leaves for use in their nests. The Drakensberg mountains sport a high number of species of grassland wildflowers, and among them are some of the best-known blooms in the world. Venture out on one of our many walks and enjoy spotting the beautiful watsonias, white berg lilies, showy Arum lilies, delicate orchids, and proteas to name a few.

From 1st September to 31st October 2021 (excluding 23rd to 25th September 2021), adults will receive an incredible 20% discount and kids 12 and under will stay for free when sharing with an adult – discounted rates start from just R1445 per person per night, inclusive of all meals. T’s & C’s apply.

Celebrating our World Heritage Status this Heritage Month

The spectacular Drakensberg mountains surrounding our beautiful resort took their rightful place on the international tourism stage when the 243,000 hectare uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park was proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site on 29th November 2000.

In order for any site to be included in the World Heritage List it must meet one or more of the Natural or Cultural Heritage Property criteria. The Drakensberg satisfies two of the natural criteria and two of the cultural criteria:

1. Unique richness of biological diversity – The park contains an outstanding richness of plants in terms of diversity and endemism, which is of global importance in terms of endemic birdlife.

2. Exceptional natural beauty – The park has superlative natural beauty with soaring basaltic buttresses, incisive dramatic cutbacks and golden sandstone ramparts.

3. Human creative genius in the form of San rock art – With some 600 rock art sites, collectively representing over 35,000 individual images, the rich collection of rock art in the park is better preserved than those found in any other region south of the Sahara.

4. The inhabitants of the area – The San people lived in the mountainous Maloti Drakensberg area for more than four millennia, leaving behind them a corpus of outstanding rock art, and providing a unique testimony which throws much light on their way of life and their beliefs.

Join us this Heritage Month and enjoy our complimentary daily guided hikes to revel in the unique biological diversity, natural beauty and incredible San rock art that surrounds our hotel.

Our new solar photovoltaic system continues our drive for green energy

We are proud to announce the next phase in of our quest to increase our use of clean power. In addition to our hydro-electric plant, which is powered by water from our Mlambonja River, we have now added a solar photovoltaic plant which produces clean electricity from the sun.

The two systems will supply power at different times of the day – the water turbine will run during the early mornings and evenings producing up to 350kW of peak power, while the solar system designed and installed by Ample Power has a 275kW capacity during daylight hours.

Below are some of the environmental benefits of renewable solar energy:
– Mitigates air pollution – Solar panels create clean energy that won’t contribute to air pollution, dramatically reducing carbon emissions in the air you breathe, which improves your overall health.
– Slows down climate change – Generating electricity from solar panels does not produce any greenhouse gases and therefore helps to slow down climate change.

– Lowers consumption of fossil fuels – Fossil fuels are limited and cannot keep up with the increasing demand of energy. Solar energy, however, is abundant and can be endlessly harnessed to meet energy consumption requirements, reduce energy costs and ensure a stable energy future.
– Reduces carbon footprint – Solar energy is one of the cleanest forms of energy; for every 1 megawatt-hour (MWh) of solar energy produced, 0.5 to 1 ton of carbon dioxide is offset.

We are licensed by NERSA (National Energy Regulator of South Africa), which means that we are able to assist Eskom by exporting excess power to the national grid.

Saving the ‘monarchs of the mountains’

In southern Africa, a drastic decline in the Bearded Vultures’ range and numbers during the past century has resulted in an isolated population that is restricted to the Maloti-Drakensberg Mountains. Due to persistent threats, poisoning, habitat loss and degradation, decreasing food availability and quality, human disturbance, and collisions with energy infrastructure, the Bearded Vulture has been classified as ‘critically endangered’, with only about 350 individual birds and 100 breeding pairs remaining

These birds form an integral component of the environment, performing an essential ecological role as a scavenger. They are an economical way of disposing of carcasses, and in doing so they limit the spread of disease.

In 2015, the Bearded Vulture Task Force took the decision to implement a Conservation Breeding Programme. The aims of the Bearded Vulture Recovery Programme are to
ensure the long-term survival of the species through halting the population decline and stabilising the population at the current population size (approximately 100 breeding pairs) over the next ten years; and to grow the population to a realistic carrying capacity (150
breeding pairs) in the future while maintaining a positive population growth rate.

This year the Breeding Programme embarked on an intensive harvest strategy with the Bred 4 the Wild team having harvested 5 eggs from 4 nests in the Drakensberg and 1 in the Eastern Cape. A few more are required to be harvested in Lesotho to ensure that the ideal number of chicks is included in the captive breeding programme this year.

For more information, please visit Project Vulture – https://projectvulture.org.za/

Shay’iRound

At the beginning of June we had the pleasure of hosting a group of four local celebrities for a girls’ weekend. Their weekend was ‘gate-crashed’ by the film crew of local SABC 2 reality TV show – Shay’iRound, hosted by well-known Zola Mhlongo. The ladies and crew had a busy three-day schedule packed full of activities and adventures. You can see what they had to say about their stay on our Instagram page.

The finale episode featuring Cathedral Peak Hotel was aired on Wednesday 30th June and was well received by viewers. We are thrilled to have been part of the show and are so happy that the ladies had a wonderful time discovering our Drakensberg gem!

Become a member of our golf club

Surrounded by the uKhahlamba Drakensberg mountain range, our spectacular golf course offers golfers of all skill sets a unique game. Designed and built by Roly Taylor in 1994, this 5412 meter, par 70 course is great to play all year round.

Becoming a member of this family-orientated golf club gives you access to a beautiful club where you can learn the game at your leisure. Members will receive an official
handicap card and SAGA affiliation. You also qualify to play in Club Champs held annually in March.

Not only is this an experience you’re unlikely to find anywhere else, membership fees are some of the lowest in the country, with full membership setting you back just R1040 per year!

To sign up or for more information, please visit the Cathedral Peak Golf Club website.

Unbeatable views from Mushroom Rock

Mushroom Rock is one of the more popular walks at Cathedral Peak Hotel, and rightly so. The natural sculpture is the result of wind and rain erosion on the golden Clarens Sandstone. The 3 ½ hour return trip is rated C for Strenuous and the route is varied, including some small and steep ‘step’ climbs and ascending a short wooden ladder. Join our free guided hike every Wednesday morning or purchase a map from the TryMe Store and venture out on your own.

Don’t forget to take along a camera to make the most of the fabulous photo opportunities presented by this unusual rock formation, and beautiful views of the Cathedral Peak mountain range and valley below from atop the ridge, just beyond the Mushroom.

For those who are a little more fit and adventurous, continue on the path towards the main escarpment until you reach the ‘tarn’ on your left. A tarn is a natural proglacial mountain pool, formed in a cirque excavated by a glacier.

This inland pool is dry most of the year, only containing water during the summer months when we receive our annual rainfall. From here you will have incredible views of the entire mountain range surrounding the hotel

try your hand at bass or fly-fishing

Our three on-site dams offer you the opportunity to either fly or bass fish. Lake Jarred, a close 15-minute walk, is stocked with rainbow trout, and a little further afield, Lake Byron and Lake William both offer bass.

For both fly and bass fishing, the best time of the year is in spring from September to October, and in autumn, from late March through May. During these months the water is cooler and the trout and bass are more active feeders.

During summer, with its afternoon thundershowers, the fish are often most active in the early morning when the water is cooler. Dragonflies, caddis, and many midge species are all common during the summer months. In winter, the nights are bitterly cold and the days bright and clear, making fishing at dusk the best time, when the water tends to be at its warmest.

Fishing permits and rods for hire are available from our Reception desk.

Discover the ultimate Drakensberg experience at discounted rates with these special offers

Spring Special

Valid from 1st September to 31st October 2021, excl. peak periods

With spring just around the corner at our tranquil and secluded Drakensberg resort, you can expect to see the countryside bursting into vibrant life. Take advantage of the warmer weather perfect for hiking and our extensive range of outdoor activities and facilities for sunny days, and revel in the abundance of birds and wildlife emerging from the winter chill.

From 1st September to 31st October 2021 (excluding 23rd to 25th September 2021), adults will receive an incredible 20% discount and kids 12 and under will stay for free when sharing with an adult.

Discounted rates start from R1445 per person per night, inclusive of all meals.

Minimum 2-night stay. Valid for new bookings only. Excludes peak periods (23rd to 25th September 2021). Full prepayment within 48 hours via EFT only. T’s & C’s apply

November Special

Valid from 1st to 30th November 2021

With long days filled with perfect weather and the chance of epic afternoon thunderstorms, November is the best time for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts to relish in the wide
range of activities and unrivalled access to the Drakensberg mountains that our hotel enjoys.

For the entire month of November, escape to the Drakensberg for a well-deserved getaway in our tranquil and secluded valley with a 30% discount on all accommodation.

Discounted rates start from just R1265 per adult and R405 per child per night, inclusive of all meals.

Minimum 2-night stay. Valid for new bookings only. Full
prepayment within 48 hours via EFT only. T’s & C’s apply.

November Golden oldies Special

Valid from 1st to 30th November 2021

For the entire month of November, all guests aged 60 years and over will receive an incredible 40% discount on accommodation. Take advantage of our specially-designed entertainment programme allowing you to, amongst other things, relax and enjoy stunning mountain views, revel in bird-watching, and test your knowledge at our quiz evenings.

Feast on our scrumptious buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner. Enjoy a free round of 9 hole walking golf and join a complimentary guided scenic hike in the mountains, and much more!

Discounted rates start from R1095 per person per night, inclusive of all meals.

Valid for new bookings only. Full prepayment within 48 hours via EFT only. T’s & C’s apply.

We look forward to welcoming you
to the Ultimate Drakensberg Experience!

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