In the constant hustle and bustle of everyday life it has become increasingly difficult to find time to calm the mind and reconnect with oneself and nature. Time for you and your family is incredibly important to function at the optimal level and just for your own sanity to be kept on track. To this end, there is nothing quite like a trip to the Northern Drakensberg to restore balance. Surrounded by the sprawling mountain range and the crisp clear air, it makes you realize what a truly beautiful and awe-inspiring country we live in.
The Get – U – Noticed recently headed out on a trip to the mountains. Our destination was The Cavern, a gorgeous getaway that nestles gently in the foothills of the towering Northern Drakensburg. It has belonged to the Carte family for 75 years and each generation seems to have poured their love into this magical home from home haven. It all started with a letter from Bill Carte to his girlfriend Ruth just before WW2. “Ruth my darling. I plea as never before. Put your trust in me. Marry me and be my mate in building up a home and farm second to none in South Africa.” Ruth accepted Bill’s proposal, the farm became a thriving resort and is now undoubtedly one of the most popular get away spots in the Northern Berg.
We were there for the ambience – and the Yoga. . An early morning yoga session is the perfect way to ease into a day of exploring what lies ahead. Well known North Coast resident and Yoga Guru, Helen Weaver was the instructor for the Yoga Retreat weekend, and for those not familiar with yoga, but determined to give it a try, Helen was able to work at all levels – from the novice to old hands.
Steeped in rich history and a National Heritage site, there is so much to see and experience in this part of the Drakensburg – and at the Cavern itself. They have considered everything – from fine dining and wine tasting evenings, to tennis and bowls and walks in the forest where there are three species of Yellowwood (some are the oldest in the land) that make up a large part of the Fern Forest walking tour. Our guide Sphile Mlangeni was a fountain of knowledge on the walking tours in helping to identify the total of 2153 species of plants and 298 species of bird life of which a large number are endemic to the area.
One of the longer hikes is to the fascinating Cannibal caves. Many years ago the local tribe in the area were driven to starvation as a result of being overrun by Shaka’s impis and invading legions. They hid in the caves and resorted to cannibalism in order to survive.
This part of the Drakensburg is also rich in Bushmen paintings and age old rock art, and one can still spot the antelope that have roamed the region for thousands of years – the well- muscled, graceful Eland.
The Cavern is situated literally a few hours – three in fact – drive from either Johannesburg or Durban. As well as being a Yoga retreat, it has also become popular with art groups. Check out their web site – www.thecavern.co.za for your next family getaway.