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Why go camping?

There are eight camping options within Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, each has its own unique charm and reason why you would want to camp here. While many have a favourite camping destination, some of us have never tried camping or may have tried once and not enjoyed it.

So why should you go camping and why do some of us love camping so much? The answer is simple, it's the memories.


As a teenager it's the memory of going on this big adventure with the folks who are so excited, (maybe not mom as much but who to this day fondly treasures the memories with her children) it's seeing the pack of  marshmallows your mom packed and it's the time spent with your folks in an environment outside of normal daily life, you really do have moments of connecting with your parents.

It's the stolen bottle of sherry you as a teenager shared with your friends and cousins in your tent at Injisuthi with the adults in the text next door in the middle of winter, a memory that connects you all.

It's learning about the stars and night photography from your eldest cousin, the start of a life-long passion for photography.

It's the time spent with parents, uncles and aunts on a day hike while camping, getting very lost and having to scramble down what then seemed like a large mountain (which is small in hindsight). My dad to this day is reminded of this trip by my aunts every time they see him.

As a young adult it's the excitement of preparing, organising and having a braai and beer or glass of wine with your friends at Monk's Cowl while the sun sets, an experience you will always remember.

It's the memory of the time the hail came down on the first afternoon in Highmoor, shredding one of the tents and everyone coming together to help fix the tent and offer (not always good) advice.


It's the memory of breaking your toe while playing soccer with your children and still going out on a day hike the next day (not as fast as usual) to everyone's amusement.

It's the morning sunrise with a cup of coffee, sometimes by yourself and often with your loved one, a moment that's never forgotten.

It's the cold showers in the morning when the gas stops working, how awake you feel afterwards!

All of these and many more camping experiences make irreplaceable memories which connect you with your children and wife and stay with you forever. Go out there and give it a try with your family and friends and you will all create a treasured memory to value forever.


All the Ezemvelo KZN Reserves can be viewed here.

Featured Hike


Bushman's Nek Camp to Thamathu Cave - 7km (636m elevation gain) to the Cave

Starting at the Bushman's Nek Office, where you fill in the mountain register. You pass the South African border post and then cross the stream twice and turn right (if you go straight you are heading towards Tarn Cave and would cross the stream a third time) thus walking with Bushman's River on your right. To your right on the other side of the river you will see Bushman's Nek Hut as you walk along a slightly upward path.

thamathu cave

After 300m where you turned right after the 2nd river crossing the path has two options, straight ahead which takes you to Bushman's Cave and left up the hill in front of you, this is your route, turn left and start up the hill.

After climbing the 1st hill the path flattens out for a short breather, then up the next hill. The path is visible all the way as you wind up this hill on the left-hand side. At the top you have now done 3.2km, the views start to show themselves all around you.

A nice flat section is next and then up the next hill. You are heading in a West / North West direction all the way from here until just before Thamathu cave. The gradient over this next hill is pretty similar to what you have already climbed. At 5.8km (you only have 1.1km's to go) the path again has two options, a short steep uphill (this path is not well defined) of about 150m uphill or to continue straight along the contours of the hill you are on. Both will get you to Thamathu cave.

Choosing to go left and up the hill now means that after this uphill the rest of the hike to the cave is along the contour path. Choosing to go straight at this point seems easier but your last 300m will then be uphill to the cave. The choice is yours.

This is a great family day hike (kids over ten). Enjoy your lunch and stunning views from the cave.

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Featured Accommodation

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Lake Naverone Holiday Cottages

Arrive with family and friends, leave Lake Naverone with family you are friends with, and friends who are family.

Located on the foothills of the Southern Drakensberg, Lake Naverone Holiday Cottages is set on large estate with two lakes and 7 km of river frontage.

It offers picturesque stone cottages with magnificent views. The cottages are fitted with a stove, microwave, fridge, a well equipped kitchen and patios with lovely views. Some of them are situated at the lakeside. Each cottage comes with a rowing boat to venture out on the water.


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If you are a resident, business owner, worker, or other stakeholder of the Champagne Valley, this is your
community newsletter, with information that affects and interests you. It complements the daily buzz of our
Facebook page with full-length articles about our people, our environment, our businesses, and much more.

Please click here to read the Autumn 2019 edition of Champagne News.

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Hiking Checklist

We have compiled a comprehensive hiking checklist to assit you on your hike, be it a day hike or overnight hike. This checklist highlights the ten essential items that every hiker should carry. The food suggestions are our personal favourites from many hikes over the years, a little bit of luxury we think is deserved when hiking through these magnificant mountains.

Before you go on any hike no matter how easy or short make sure your backpack has the ten essentials.

When hiking you are responsible for your own safety and any one of these ten items may help to save your life. The total weight of your backpack will vary but should not be more than 20% of your bodyweight and 15% for children.

The hiking checklist can be read and downloaded here...


Featured Hike & Accommodation


Sehlabathebe National Park Lodge

It's not often you have the option to hike to a lodge in Lesotho. Your hike starts at Bushman's Nek and it's 20km to the lodge with an elevation gain of just over 1km.

Along the route you go past Cedric's Pool, Tarn Cave, Irish Cave and what is known as Jonathan's Lodge (this lodge is being converted to a Museum). Once you reach this old lodge, you have the option of walking along the "road" which keeps to the mountain contours or a path (not always visible) which is more direct.


The lodge can accommodate up to 40 people (18 rooms) on a self-catering basis. Camping with separate ablutions within the Lodge is also available. Contact details are +266 5899 7307 (Mabari Lebamang).

The rates are R250 per person per night. The phone number above is the only way to currently make a booking, no emails are guaranteed to be received due to the remoteness of the location. You need to take your passport and get it stamped at Bushman's Nek before starting your hike and on your return.


The gps track for this hike can be downloaded here. This gps track shows the "short cut" instead of going along the "road" from Jonathans lodge. If you feel unsure or it is misty then rather walk along the road to the lodge after reaching Jonathans lodge.

The gps track if used and hike is at your own risk as per our standard disclaimer.


Featured Activity

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Drakensberg Canopy Tour

What can we say, your adrenelin level definitely goes up, yes it's a bit scary and yes it's a lot of fun. Something people of all ages should try at least once. I did the canopy tour with my children and it was an absolute thrill, kids are fearless and keep us parents going till the end.

The guides are friendly, helpful and very knowledgeable making the experience something you will never forget!

Boasting Africa’s first elevated rock face walkway with a good mix of both cliff face and treetop platforms, and cable slides over the forest up to 60 metres high, the Drakensberg Canopy Tour® must automatically go to the top of your “must do” list.

The inspiring nature of the majestic Drakensberg, the ancient indigenous forest, waterfalls and the cascading stream make this an opportunity not to be missed.



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Hiking Tents


The number of manufacturers and options when it comes to a hiking tent are seemingly endless and which is the "best" tent generally ends up being a personal preference.

Our favourite is the Berghaus Peak 3.3 Pro Tent. The full specs can be viewed here.

What makes this our tent of choice (we are not sponsored or paid, this is a personal opinion) is detailed below and will hopefully assist you when deciding on what to look for when buying a hiking tent.

  • A 3-man tent that only weighs 2.9kg's (thus less than 1kg per person) with lots of space for 3 backpacks to also fit inside.
  • 5000mm hydrostatic head and ground sheet. You won't find many tents that go above 3000mm.
  • The tent has withstood winds in excess of 80km/h on the escarpment top (pic below shows the tent in 80km/h winds).
  • It is a warm tent and copes well in the cold winter months.
  • It only takes 5 minutes to pitch the tent.
  • The tent can be pitched in the rain and the inside section stays 100% dry (double wall tent).
  • Three colour coded lightweight alloy poles that can easily be replaced if damaged.

Which tent do you have or would you buy?


Featured Hike

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Mafadi/Ntheledi peak is the highest peak in South Africa @ 3450m. The original Sotho name Ntheledi meaning "Makes me slip", refers to the nearby stream and it is considered by some to be a more relevant and correct name.

This is a 3 or 4 day hike and you need to be fit for this one.

The most common route is to Centenary Hut on day one and then up Corner Pass or Judge Pass on day two. Sleep at Injisuthi Summit Cave (upper Injisuthi Cave) and summit Mafadi early on day three and then hike down Leslie's Pass and sleep at Marble Baths Cave. A short hike on the final day back to Injisuthi Campsite. The total hike is roughly 45km and 2.5km elevation gain.

If planning to do this hike a guide is recommended. Hiking Guides can be viewed here and some of the scheduled guided hikes offered by hiking guides can be viewed here.

Featured Accommodation

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Witsieshoek Mountain Lodge

If planning to go up the chain ladders and view the Amphitheatre and Tugela falls from above, then this is the perfect starting point.

The lodge offers affordable Drakensberg accommodation, ideal for families, hikers, large or small groups visiting the area. Expect to enjoy spectacular views on all sides of the lodge and comfortable beds to welcome you after a day hiking.


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North Durban Schools' Principals recently attended a conference at Champagne Castle Hotel in the central Drakensberg.

During their stay, they very kindly donated educational aids, stationery and books to the Drakensberg Experience Proud Schools Project. Below are pupils from Phumelelani Primary School and Mjwayeli Primary School with some of the donated items.

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Proud Schools 6

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Bambanani school is one of the schools in our Proud Schools Project.

It is a small school with 420 pupils and is situated in the Northern Berg on the Dukuza road which runs from Bergville, behind Woodstock Dam and joins the Royal Natal road.

There is no signboard to the school and it is off the main road, on a beaten track that looks as if it may just lead to some houses.

The principal is incredibly enthusiastic and takes a great deal of pride in his school.

The school was rebuilt many years ago and only one of the old classrooms remains but is in a shocking state.  A look at the photographs below shows how the school grounds and gardens have been steadily improved over the last few years.

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Bambanani a few years ago small


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