Situated in a valley surrounded by mountains, forests and lakes, and home to great sporting and entertainment facilities, the family-friendly Drakensberg Sun Resort is one of the most popular resorts in the Central Drakensberg area of Kwazulu Natal. It is spread over eight hectares in the picturesque Cathkin Park area, within a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The resort celebrated its 30th anniversary last year and this year it received a TripAdvisor Travellers Choice Award as one of the Top 10 Hotels for Families in South Africa.
We arrived at the hotel after a four-and-a-half hour drive from Johannesburg, and immediately began feeling the calming effects of the surrounding natural beauty. The sprawling gardens interspersed with wooden bridges and benches, coupled with the extensive use of rich earthy colours and natural materials indoors, make Drakensberg Sun one of the most attractive country resorts in South Africa.
On checking in, the receptionist handed us a copy of the leisure and entertainment schedule as well as a list of the abundant activities available. My daughter and I enjoyed a leisurely boat ride around the resort’s private lake while my husband and son challenged each other at outdoor chess. We then enjoyed sundowners on the Lakeview Terrace, where we were joined by a friendly cat, to my kids' delight. Later, the boys played table tennis while we explored the vast property.
Many guests chose to cool off at the swimming pool, some played sports, while others opted to get pampered at the spa. They all had one thing in common - they were enjoying themselves.
Guided hiking trails of various lengths and difficulty levels are offered on most days. There are a myriad of other on-site activities including tennis, trout fishing, paintball, horse-riding, adventure golf, and canoeing, but as we were only staying for one night, we didn't have enough time to experience them all. I found myself wishing that I was there for longer. A week would have been lovely.
There is a variety of accommodation including en-suite rooms and self-catering chalets of different types and sizes. Our family room consisted of two double beds, a couch, a table, a TV, a mini-bar and a closet. Sliding doors opened onto a small balcony with panoramic views of the gardens and the majestic mountains.
Dinner at Lakeview Restaurant consisted of a huge buffet of delicious dishes. Vegetarians and pescatarians were well catered for. We were spoilt for choice at each course and ended up having to sample a little of each dish in order to taste as many of the culinary delights as possible. The desserts made any ideas of a diet disappear in a flash while the kids enjoyed the ice creams. Breakfast the following morning was also a treat.
The staff were friendly and helpful. One staff member told us that he had been at the resort right from the time it was built in 1987. It was easy to understand why he wouldn’t want to leave this beautiful place.
The resort also hosts conferences and team-building events. Corporate guests usually occupy the resort during weekdays and as they leave towards the weekend, leisure guests arrive to be relaxed and rejuvenated for the week ahead.
Whether you are looking for an all-encompassing family resort which will keep you entertained or just a vacation destination where you can relax with tea, scones and a good book, surrounded by nature, Drakensberg Sun will exceed your expectations. Personally, I can’t wait to return with my family.
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