After being locked in the Gauteng Province for almost a month, we desperately needed to get our wanderlust on. So what better way than to head to the boys favourite location … Drakensberg. An easy 5 hour drive and we arrived safely at Cathedral Peak Hotel which has been rated as an amazing family destination with old school charm. The big question was whether the 82-year-old establishment would live up to its reputation.
Cathedral Peak Hotel – Drakensberg
The popular destination is beautifully nestled in the gorgeous surroundings of the Drakensberg mountain range. Known as one of South Africa’s premier resorts, Cathedral Peak Hotel has been around for more than 8 decades. That in itself speaks volumes about the establishment that is located in a World Heritage Site. Upon arrival we were all in agreement that we had found ourselves a little piece of heaven. The crisp mountain air rolled over the snowcapped mountain peaks as the sun glistened on the sprawling lawns confirming that South Africa is an ideal tourist destination. We were a day late for the snow, but we were hoping it would snow again during the course of our stay.
Cathedral Peak Hotel’s Covid protocols were impressive and a provided a huge relief. Especially seeing as many people have taken advantage of the current specials, we were concerned. Our luggage was sanitised by the Porters on arrival before being taken to your room. Dispensers could be found throughout the resort and in our rooms. Our temperature was taken every time we went to the dining room to eat and a lovely touch was the fact that guests were issued with a table for the duration of their stay. Normal Covid protocols were in place for the duration of our stay.
Due to safety protocols the following facilities and activities were unavailable during our stay:
- Outdoor Chess
- Board Games
- Squash Court
Perfect accommodation for a family with teens
Options aplenty when it comes to the type of rooms to choose from. As a family with teens, we stayed in the Superior Rooms which accommodate 2 guests in either twin or king-sized beds. The boys stayed in a room adjacent to ours and the awesome thing is that the superior rooms have an inter-leading door. Each room has an en-suite bathroom, tea/coffee making facilities, mini-bar fridge, flat-screen television, fan, under-floor heating and private veranda. We thought the boys would love their space, but they actually spent the majority of their time in ours. When they did spend time in their room, Ash squeezed in some school work and Sky watched some movies. The Wi-Fi was somewhat intermittent during our stay but not really a problem for us’
Other room options are the Standard Room, Standard Inter-leading Room, Standard Thatched Room, Executive Honeymoon Room
which doesn’t permit children and the Presidential Suite
If you are a foodie like us, then Cathedral Peak Hotel is the place for you. A breakfast buffet, lunch buffet and dinner buffet are all included in the price. But wait, there is more if that is even possible. You can join for a morning and afternoon tea while sitting on the terrace that faces the mountain range. We were spoilt for choice and definitely ate to our hearts content. The quality of the food was exceptional. There is also a trout dam on the property and you can on occasion expect freshly caught trout that will be cooked to your preference. I’m allergic to fish so had to give it a miss , but Cliff said the trout was amazing.
All, I can say is expect to return home a few kilos heavier. Jokes aside, you will absolutely not go hungry. We also recommend you try the house wine which ticked all the right boxes. Cliff and I aren’t big drinkers so we didn’t visit either of the two bars available on the property.
You will be spoilt for choice by the staggering array of facilities, activities and adventures during your stay. One of the key features that make this the perfect family destination. Here is a super long list of activities you and the family can sign up for:-
- Pony rides available daily
- Tennis and badminton
- Mountain bike trails
- Gym with steam room
- Heated swimming pool
- Kiddy pool
- Floodlit mini adventure golf
- Beach volleyball
- Lawn chess
- Guided mountain climbs and walks
- 10m climbing tower
- Jogging route
- Trail run
We are huge fans of adventure golf so we couldn’t miss the opportunity to get in a game. As we played, the bush buck casually walked by. They are super chilled and unphased by the guests.
The gym is dated but has everything you will need for a killer workout. The four of us smashed an early morning workout before heading to breakfast, because life is all about balance. I must admit that I rather enjoyed being able to workout without the pressure of big city life and clock watching.
We had the best fun playing bowls and despite the snow capped mountains, the weather was pretty amazing. Mom gave the guys a run for their money, to their surprise.
We are absolute water babies and would have loved to have spent our time in the pool but it was a tad cold. Aside from this massive pool, there is a kiddy pool and a heated pool. In summer you will be spoilt for choice because aside from these 3 pools there are also 2 natures pools. Reasons for us to absolutely return to Cathedral Peak Hotel.
- Scenic helicopter flips
- Quad biking
- Horse riding
- Golf – 9 holes with alternate tees for an 18 hole game
Activities were really awesome and we couldn’t get to everything we would have liked to. There is just so much to do and we love the fact that majority of the activities are free. While we didn’t have to spend a cent on activities we opted to, purely because we wanted to enjoy some of the activities that are our absolute fav.
Family quad biking was a must and presented the most incredible views. It was the toughest and most challenging quad bike trail we have done to date, but so much fun was had. That ride was set amidst the most picturesque setting. Think snow capped mountains, the warm African sun and free roaming wildlife. We had so much fun that Sky was ready to quad bike again the following day. I must say that we were pleasantly surprised by the price as we normally pay double for quad biking.
Cathedral Peak Hotel is a hikers paradise with 18 walks/hikes. The hikes are graded so you will know what you are signing up for before heading out. We managed to fit in two hikes, with the first being Belinda Falls. It was a quick yet steep descent and accent. It was a fun hike despite not much going on down at the falls.
Next we took on a guided walk to Doreen Falls which included a trip to the Bushman San Art site. In the freezing cold weather we couldn’t resist a swim in Doreen Falls. Yes, we did because YOLO! There are guided walks/hikes that leave the hotel daily, just check the activity roster at reception. If you are an adventurer at heart and would like to head out on your own, grab a map from the shop and let reception know that you will be going on your own and go create some awesome memories.
Ashton really wanted to complete the Cathedral 4 Challenge but time did not permit. Basically you need to complete 4 beautiful trails through the Drakensberg, from easy strolls to vigorous hikes, and receive the Cathedral 4 Award complete with a medal and certificate. We managed to complete one, so the plan is to go back and complete the other 3. We are definitely adding this to our bucket list for sure.
Of-course mom went to the spa, because what is vacay without some pampering. I had a pedi and boy was the timing perfect. My legs and feet seriously needed some attention after all that hiking and quad biking.
CATHEDRAL PEAK HOTEL Staff
The absolute highlight of our stay has to be the staff. I can’t express enough how amazing it was to be looked after by super friendly and happy people. The staff at Cathedral Peak Hotel smile, dance and sing as they work. This is not even an exaggeration. The service was always friendly and efficient, making us feel super welcome. Many staff have worked at the Hotel for several years and to them this is more than a work place … it is home.
Family destination with old school charm
Cathedral Peak Hotel is not just an amazing family destination. It is also well suited to singletons, adventures, couples in search of romance and even more mature clientele. Our stay was one for the books and as an adventuring family this vacation was really a true reflection of our lifestyle. We had such an incredible time that we have plans to return this summer so that we can swim in waterfalls and nature pools, complete the Cathedral 4 Challenge and fill our cup in one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Here are our tips should you vacay at Cathedral Peak Hotel:-
- Potholes litter the road from the small town of Bergville, so drive slowly.
- African traffic is a really thing so be on the look out for cattle, sheep and goats who tend to run across the road at the most inopportune time.
- Call ahead to book the quad biking.
- Cathedrals Peak Hotel does not take cash.
- Research the hiking trails and plan for them accordingly.
* Disclaimer : Though we were hosted by Cathedral Peak Hotel, our review is an honest and unbiased opinion of our experiences during our stay. The paid activities we partook in, where not sponsored.