Message from the general manager

Winter in the Drakensberg is a magical time of year. We have had five light snowfalls on the main mountain range since April and look forward to hopefully receiving a heavier dusting in the months ahead. SnowReport are constantly keeping us up to date with the latest cold front forecasts, so keep an eye on our social media pages for snow announcements. Our webcam facing the Cathedral Peak spur can be viewed on our website and gives you the opportunity of seeing the snow for yourself.

The winter months bring with them magnificent sunrises lighting up the mountains with an orange hue and brilliant pink sunsets perfect for enjoying a sundowner in Albert’s Bar. Fresh, chilly mornings turn into beautiful crystal-clear days that are ideal for hiking, playing a game of golf or just relaxing with a hot cup of tea or coffee and a good book on the terrace.

The aloes have begun to flower, and many a sunbird and sugarbird can be observed in and around the hotel grounds. Take advantage of our bird-watching walk, with an experienced guide, every Tuesday morning to get a glimpse of the incredible variety of birds resident to our area.

With the school holidays in full swing, Cathedral Peak Hotel is the perfect place to bring your children for a much-needed break from the city. Adults and teens can take advantage of our daily entertainment programme, whilst kids are kept busy by our fantastic Entertainment Team and full kids’ programme, including our very popular tractor rides, pony rides, bug hunts, movie nights, bookmark and card-making sessions, and so much more.

We hope you will join us for cosy nights by a roaring log fire, crisp mountain walks, comforting food, and endless entertainment and relaxation in the heart of the Drakensberg!

Bruce Botes

Message from the Proprietor

It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of my sister, Helga Prosser nee van der Riet. She passed away peacefully at her home in Wales on 25th May at the age of 89 years.

Helga was the daughter of Albert van der Riet and Helen Marssas, sister to Irene, Sandra, Carolyn, Fenella and I, mother to Michael and Ingrid, and grandmother to Daniel, Erik, Robbie, Lottie and Tabby.

She was an integral part of our family and visited the hotel on a yearly basis for either Easter or Christmas and New Year up until December 2019, just before COVID-19 took the world by storm and changed so many lives.

She was an incredible woman with an exceptional talent for art, specialising in bronze, steel and ceramics. Another of her great artistic passions was watercolours; she would spend many an hour on a chair in the hotel’s old vegetable garden or on the golf course greens painting the mountains that were so close to her heart. A number of these adorn the walls in Reception leading up to the lobby area above.

My sincere condolences go to my niece Ingrid and her family at this very difficult time. She will be sorely missed by my family and staff team. To pay tribute to her life, we flew our hotel flag at half-mast until the 25th June.

May she rest in eternal peace.

William van der Rie

Exciting upgrades continue

A few more upgrades have taken place over the last two months which we are so excited to share with you.

Our luxurious Presidential Suite has had a new jacuzzi bath installed, with eight jets and eight air bubble jets complete with an elegant Rhodesian Teak deck. This is the perfect way to unwind and relax after an adventurous day out in the mountains, so book your stay in this suite next time you visit.

Having recently upgraded the Children’s Playroom with woodlands themed wall art, mom and tots facilities and plenty of new toys and games, we thought the kid’s bathroom could also use a little TLC of its own. A small children’s toilet, new hand basin and accessories have been installed, surrounded by fresh new tiles with a hint of colour for a clean finish. We look forward to welcoming you these school holidays to take advantage of this great space!

Enchanting winter wonderland

With a chance of snow-dusted peaks and fresh, crystal-clear days – winter in the Drakensberg is truly an enchanting wonderland. Immerse yourself in breathtakingly beautiful surroundings, enjoy hearty buffet-style meals and cuddle up by warm log fires with our Winter Special, seeing a 20% discount off rack rates for adults and 50% off rack rates for children 12 and under, when sharing with an adult. Discounted rates start from just R1445 per adult per night and R290 per child (4-12 years) per night, inclusive of all meals. Valid until 31st Aug ’22, excl. 5th to 9th Aug ’22.

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

Hiltonian 50th Reunion

Towards the end of April, we welcomed the Hilton College Classes of 1971 and 1972 to celebrate their 50th School Reunion. This was an extra special occasion for our Proprietor William van der Riet (class of 1972) and his son Byron, who both attended Hilton College.

Old Boys travelled with their families from overseas and all across
South Africa to celebrate their reunion at the hotel and partake in the school’s 150th anniversary celebrations in Hilton.

Our Entertainment Team put together a fantastic programme, which included snacks in Albert’s Bar, a spit braai at the golf clubhouse, golf, a bowling competition, a guided hike to Doreen Falls and much
more. We are delighted that so much fun was had by all and look forward to welcoming the Old Boys back in the near future!

On behalf of Cathedral Peak Hotel, we would like to wish Hilton College a happy 150th anniversary!

Meet the Cathedral Peak Hotel Team

We are so privileged to have such a wonderful team who work together to provide our guests with the ultimate Drakensberg experience!

Our hiking guides, Happiness, Zweli, Samson and Mandla, are an adventurous group who enjoy the outdoors and our stunning mountain backdrop as an everyday office. Having served up to 15 years at Cathedral Peak Hotel, they are experts on our surrounding terrain and thoroughly enjoy teaching and learning alike from our guests. They love meeting new people from different places and cater for all hikers, young and old!

Many of our guests enjoy a stroll through our beautiful gardens and
compliment our grounds regularly. This is all thanks to our very hard-working Gardens Team! Our supervisor Faya is an expert on the local flora and enjoys the summer months when there is an abundance of rain to water the gardens. Faya is one our longest standing employees, with 36 years of service, and had the honour of being trained by Doreen van der Riet. He keeps her spirit alive with the work that he does and particularly with the fresh flowers he arranges in the dining room.

Our Bar Staff are passionate about customer service and are quick to offer you a speciality shooter or warm beverage on a cold day. From enjoying a cocktail in Albert’s Bar while taking in the breath-taking views, to a fun night playing pool in Harry’s Bar sipping on a Castle Draught, this team offers service with a smile! They enjoy interesting conversations with guests from different parts of the world and love an opportunity to share aspects of their own lives, living environments and stories about their various walks of life.

TripAdvisor Winner 2022

We are extremely grateful to you, our incredible guests, for having placed us amongst Tripadvisor’s Traveller’s Choice for 2022. This award celebrates businesses that have received great reviews from travellers around the globe on Tripadvisor over the last 12 months. As challenging as the past year was, we stood out by consistently delivering positive experiences to our guests.

“Congratulations to the 2022 Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice
Winners,” said Kanika Soni, Chief Commercial Officer at Tripadvisor.

“The Travellers’ Choice Awards recognise the best in tourism and hospitality, according to those who matter most: your guests. Ranking among the Travellers’ Choice winners is always tough — but never more so than this year as we emerge from the pandemic. Whether it’s using new technology, implementing safety measures, or hiring outstanding staff, I’m impressed by the steps you’ve taken to meet travellers’ new demands. You’ve adapted brilliantly in the face of adversity.”

Please continue to rate your stay and leave your comments on Tripadvisor, as this feedback is vital in ensuring that we continue to provide all our guests with the ultimate Drakensberg experience.

Charitable causes

On 11th May, HR Administrator Zama Zwane and Assistant General Manager Sifiso Dhlalisa met with the local counsellor to hand out donations at the Mhlwazini Hall. Items of clothing, shoes, blankets and other winter essentials were distributed amongst the elderly community. Thereafter, they headed to Impumelelo Creche to hand over the generous donations of maize meal, toys and puzzles.

On 12th May, HR Administrator Zama Zwane and Assistant General Manager Sifiso Dhlalisa met with the Principal of Isibuko High School to hand out school jerseys and t-shirts kindly donated by Mark and Mandy Hayward from the Uniform Shop at Hillcrest High School.

Thank you for all the generous donations and continued support, we are extremely thankful to be able to pass these on to the community.

Bat Box Project partnership

In conjunction with the owl boxes we recently had installed, we have now installed a Bat Station in support of the Bat Box Project. Some species that one is likely to find in KZN include the Cape Roof Bat (Serotine), Yellow House Bat, Egyptian Free-Tailed Bat and Little Free-Tailed Bat.

Bats are the primary predator of night-flying insects and small bats can consume up to 100 mosquitoes an hour!

This initiative aims to support resident bat populations by providing an environmentally-friendly alternative to pesticide use, reducing the need for chemical control and naturally enhancing the balance in your garden, farm, orchard and neighbourhood, to benefit both the bats and the community.

We are thrilled to show our support and hope to see some bats visiting soon so we can peacefully observe them.

Hiking tips

Hiking through the Drakensberg can be one of the most beautiful
and rewarding experiences if done right. Make sure you’re ready
to enjoy a safe hike with these essential tips!

1. Sign in and out on the Hiking Register at reception – this is
highly important and ensures that we know where you have gone.

2. Carry a cell phone and save the hotel’s number in case of an emergency. Signal is not available in all areas in the mountains; however, if you walk back towards to hotel you will eventually get signal.

3. Walk in groups of at least three wherever possible and especially for longer hikes – if someone is injured one can stay with the injured person and the other can get help.

4. Hiking boots are always an advantage on any hike; however, these become essential for longer, more challenging hikes as they provide support for your feet and ankles and have the grip you need for the terrain.

5. Being out in the sun all day requires you to wear a hat, sunblock and sunglasses to protect your face.

6. Wear clothes that can keep you warm and always take a waterproof jacket with you. It is important to be comfortable and prepared in case the weather turns.

7. Bring at least 2 litres of water per person and extra snacks to stay fuelled and keep your energy levels up!

8. Even if you know the route you are taking, it is a good idea to take a map, a first aid kit and a whistle to catch attention in a crisis.

9. Stay on the path – do not think of taking a short cut. The paths are the safest and easiest routes.

10. Leave only footprints. Make sure you take out whatever you carry into the mountains

11. Keep an eye on the weather as conditions change quickly in the mountains, causing rivers to rise
and flood rapidly

Challenge yourself to a climb up to Baboon Rock

An unusual formation of rocks showing the profile of a baboon’s forehead and muzzle is prominently visible from the hotel grounds.

Baboon Rock is a challenging hike on steep, narrow paths that can take up to 5 hours from start to finish. You’ll traverse grassy hills, clamber up rocky areas, pass indigenous forest and be rewarded with spectacular views from the top of the baboon’s ‘head’. Don’t forget to bring a camera, as there are some fabulous photo opportunities along the way. Join this guided hike leaving early every Saturday morning and enjoy the novelty of tea, coffee and rusks in the mountains.

This hike is one of our Cathedral Four Challenge, so don’t forget to sign the register at reception and complete the other three walks to receive a medal, a certificate and your name on our Cathedral Four Fame Board!

Veld fire alert

The dry winter months bring with them an increased risk of veld
fires. There is some indigenous vegetation in our area that has
adapted to fire, and now depends on these fires to ensure the germination of seeds. One such example is the Protea. Prescribed
veld burning is a commonly used management practice in the Drakensberg and is implemented in order to maintain grassveld
and decrease soil erodibility.

The vast grassveld surrounding the hotel and Didima is at greater risk of runaway fires, and as a result, we burn firebreaks in conjunction with Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife annually. During this time,
we urge hikers to be aware of any firebreak activity in areas where
they plan to walk.

Please keep a lookout on our boards at Reception and outside the dining room for the latest updates with regards to fires before planning your hike.

The Cathedral Peak Hotel Story continues

The birth of the hotel began with the building of a gravel road and several bridges over the streams from Emmaus Mission Station. The road was built by hand with the use of picks and shovels, and some of the bridges were hand-built by Albert and his labourers. This is the same road, now tarred, that one travels to reach the hotel today.

With the land being 45km from the nearest railway station in Winterton, Albert used as many local materials as possible. With the assistance of the timber merchants, Hunt Leuchars, the plan for the hotel was developed. Blocks of sandstone were blasted and cut from a quarry which is now Lake Byron and Basotho stonemasons were employed to dress the sandstone and basalt river rocks from the Umlambonja River. The land was levelled using dam scrapers drawn by teams of oxen and extensive black slate beds, present close to the site, were used as the foundations of the main building. In 1938, the first dressed stones were laid.

The main hotel building construction continued with a beam being built out of concrete to support the roof across the dining room. This concrete slab was cast in one piece and filled with old pieces of iron and ploughs which were found on the farm. Hunt Leuchars, the timber merchants, sent carpenters to construct the roof from imported
Oregon pine. Ceilings were manufactured by Steel Ceiling Industries in Johannesburg and erected by them.

Two matching half round lounges with fireplaces adjoined the dining room, and the current dining room extension (excluding the large window section overlooking Tryme) towards the carpark was the reception and bar.

The present dining room still boasts the original concrete slab, imported Oregon pine roof, sections of steel
pressed ceilings, one half-round area with fireplace and a section of original stone wall near the window section overlooking Cathedral Peak.

The ideal wedding destination for any season of the year

Autumn is a popular time of year in which our foliage turns to shades of burnt orange and hues of yellow and gold. The hotel gardens that are full of aloes begin to flower and, with the rains coming to an end, you can expect beautiful warm sunny days with cooler evenings. This is definitely a very colourful season perfect for dreamy wedding pictures with Cathedral Peak, the Bell and the Horns as your backdrop!

Winter can be ultra-glamorous and magical with the chance of having a winter wonderland wedding with snow-capped mountains. Log fires, thousands of fairy lights and an abundance of candles create endless romance during the colder months. Our rich, hearty wedding buffet menu paired with our extensive wine, port and sherry selection are ideal for a winter wedding celebration.

Spring, the season of rebirth and new beginnings, is a beautiful time of year to tie the knot. Our gardens reawaken with blossoms and the mountains start to turn green and come alive with a rich abundance of flora and fauna. The days are longer and warmer, making for exquisite drinks and canapes on the lawn or at our Swimming Pool Boma before entering the reception venue. Hire our helicopter for some unforgettable wedding photographs right in the mountains!

Summer means lazy days full of bright sunshine, warmer temperatures and incredible thunderstorms. The flowing rivers can be heard from the hotel and the surrounding mountains are blanketed in bright green. The gardens are alive with blooming flowers and resident Bushbuck with their offspring. Longer days with warm nights mean longer celebrations and perhaps a few night caps at Harry’s Bar after the venue is closed.

We offer fully inclusive wedding packages that are tailor-made to suit all budgets. Our experienced and professional on-site banqueting team will ensure your wedding and reception runs smoothly and flawlessly. At Cathedral Peak Hotel, you can plan the wedding adventure you’ve always wanted.

Guest Reviews

We are thrilled to continue to receive amazing reviews from our faithful regulars and our many first-timers. Giving our guests an idyllic and enjoyable experience is what we live for, and we look forward to welcoming you back again as soon as possible.

“Cathedral is my favourite place in the berg. Been there many times and always come away relaxed and happy.
There is something for every age group. The food is amazing, the beds comfy and everything is clean and tidy. Love it.”


“Amazing & unforgettable – This was the highlight of our 2-week trip to South Africa. The resort is an absolute one of a kind – the friendliness and warmth of the staff was incredible, making us feel so welcome. The setting
and location is second to none – absolutely beautiful, while the hotel grounds are perfectly maintained. There is personal care put into everything. Food of course is beyond description – you will never go hungry for a
minute :-)”


Escape to the mountains at discounted rates with these special offers

Winter Special

Snow in the Drakensburg

Valid until 31st Aug ’22, excl. 5th to 9th Aug ‘22

Immerse yourself in breathtakingly beautiful surroundings with a 20% discount off rack rates for adults and 50% off rack rates for children 12 and under, when sharing with an adult. Discounted rates start from just R1445 per adult per night and R290 per child (4-12 years) per night, inclusive of all meals.

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

Spring Special

Valid from 1st Sep to 31st Oct ‘22

Whisk your family away for an unbeatable springtime adventure with our Spring Special, seeing a 15% discount off rack rates for adults and 50% discount off kids (aged 4-12), inclusive of all meals. Discounted rates start from R1530 per adult and R290 per child per night (sharing)

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

Stay 3/4 Nights or Stay 5+ Nights

Valid until 31st Oct ’23, excl. peak periods

Enjoy an extended mountain getaway and immerse yourself in the wonders of the Drakensberg at discounted rates.

Stay 5 or more nights and you’ll receive an incredible 20% discount off rack rates. Discounted rates start from R1445 per adult and R465 per child (4-12) per night until 31st Oct ’22, and R1515 per adult and R490 per child (4-12) per night until 31st Oct ’23.

Stay 3 or 4 nights and you’ll receive an incredible 15% discount off rack rates. Discounted rates start from R1530 per adult and R490 per child (4-12) per night until 31st Oct ’22, and R1610 per adult and R520 per child (4-12) per night until 31st Oct ’23.

Rates include accommodation and all meals, including mid-morning and afternoon tea, coffee and bakes. T’s & C’s apply.

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