Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Mellow-Dramatic Mountain Retreat

My family has a tradition where we spend a holiday away every year in the majestic Drakensberg Mountains. This year, the Mont-Aux-Sources Resort and Hotel was the retreat of choice for 30 members of my family and I. The resort is situated in the heart of the Northern Drakensberg, with panoramic views of the world famous Amphitheatre. It is named after the highest peak in this area, Mount-Aux-Sources, which stands at an impressive 3282 meters. It was discovered in the 1830's and aptly named 'Mountain of Springs', as it forms the source of three major rivers; the Tugela, Vaal and Orange.

The formidable task of climbing Mount-Aux-Sources will provide you with a breathtaking view of the cascading Tugela Falls, which plunges at 948m (3110 feet), making it the 2nd highest waterfall in the world. I was amazed to find out that we have such an incredible natural wonder right on our doorstep. This spectacular sight,
situated in Kwa-Zulu Natal, is one that every South African should see. See for all the stats.

The scenic Tugela Falls

The Resort

We stayed in the self-catering chalets, where the d├ęcor can be described as, er, shabby chic. I guess when you choose to spend time in the Great Outdoors, 5 star luxury is not to be expected. The hotel rooms are in slightly better condition. Next time, I must remember to pack bug spray – there are giant ants the size of grasshoppers and all sorts of zzzing, flapping, flying and buzzing things, waiting to strike while you sleep.

Images of the Orion Mont-Aux-Sources Resort and Hotel

The scenic view from the front porch of our chalet set the peaceful atmosphere in this marvelous mountain locale. Of course, no holiday at the Berg is complete without some drama. There was a Christmas crook on the loose, hopping in and out of chalet windows, stealing everything in sight; wallets, shoes, glasses and even all the food from the fridge! Must have been one hungry barefooted thief. A few policemen were kind enough to leave their Christmas dinners and investigate the crime scene. The last we heard from CSI:Drakensberg, there were no leads. Word of Note: Even though there's no air-conditioning, do not sleep with the windows open; you rather suffer from heatstroke than have your snacks stolen.

Things To Do

There's something for young, old and the in between at the resort and surrounding areas. For the outdoorsy types, there's horse riding, mini golf, swimming, tennis & squash courts, trout fishing, volley ball, hiking and mountain bike trails. A 4.5km walk down the windy mountain pass to the gushing Tugela River is quite energizing and a great way to experience nature. But I really wouldn't know, because I was wise enough to drive there to pick up all the hikers who couldn't make it back up the hill.

Other facilities include a restaurant, pool tables, darts, kids activity room, jumping castle, jungle gym and a life size chess board. 

If you drive 10km out of the resort, you will find the farmstyle Tower of Pizza Restaurant. Appetizing Italian food is served in this quaint countryside venue.  We had towers of different pizzas, naturally, and the most delicious basil pesto with tagliatelle. Visit their website at

Countryside Cuisine at The Tower of Pizza

Our nights were entertained with boardgames, braai's, karaoke and competitions. Now, you get those who sing karaoke like true Idols and then, you get the karaoke kings and queens who keep the wildlife away. One more mortifying rendition of Hotel California and The Eagles are going to sue. My ears were in actual physical pain after being tortured by a petrifying performance of Abba's Dancing Queen. Trying to hit those high notes is a health hazard. 

Guests staying at the hotel could also participate in a megafun music trivia competition. Families were grouped together and played musical Trivial Pursuit for a grand prize. I am proud to announce that our team, The Outlaws won.  Applause  To clear things up, we didn't win because we had the largest team of em..14 or is it 15 members, we won because good teamwork pays off. Cheating (by Googling the answers on your Blackberry) doesn't...hope our rival team, The Police are taking heed of this.

If you want to get away from the city traffic, busy streets, clamour and crowds, then the tranquility of this rustic mountain resort is the remedy. 

The Glorious Drakensberg Mountains and Tugela River

Criminal offences, run-down rooms and rainy weather could not put a damper on our fabulous family getaway. It doesn't really matter where you are, as long as you have great company and a sunny state of mind.

For further information on the Mont-Aux Sources Resort, contact the General Manager on 
(036) 438 8000 or visit

1 comment:

LaTasha Bunting said...

I found them! Beautiful post hun! It's so nice to read about this place and the pics are beautiful love! :)