Majestic Cathkin Peak revealed after a few days of rain and mist

March 2017  :  Champagne Castle Hotel

Our weekend in the Drakensberg was coming to an end.  Hubby and I were leaving the following day and up to this point we hadn’t seen the mountain peaks.  It would have been disappointing to leave for home without seeing a glimpse .. even for a moment.  But once the clouds cleared we were blessed with this spectacular sight until we left after breakfast the next day  (photo taken from hotel’s patio)

Below is the photo I took on our arrival a few days prior showing the outline of the mountain range seen from the hotel’s patio.  The plateau top of Champagne Castle (3377m) is almost hidden behind Cathkin Peak (3149m) .. .

As the last wisps of cloud drifted off, more of the range was revealed ..

Sun setting behind the mountains ..

Sunrise the next morning …

Sheer cliffs of Champagne Castle (flat topped on the far left) and Cathkin Peak now can be seen clearly behind the grassy mountains in the foreground ..

Bright sunshine – a promise of a good day ahead but for hubby and I, it was time to make our way home ..

The road ‘ follows ‘ the Drakensberg for miles …

The Amphitheatre ..

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Mountains and valleys, flowers and moss … and waterfalls

March 2017 : Champagne Castle Hotel

Early morning mist hung over the forest and clouds shrouded the highest peaks but the weather report was positive .. no rain.   The hiking trail to the Sphinx which hubby and I have done several times is classed as moderate, I think, and takes a couple of hours there and back so one can do it easily after breakfast and be back for a drink before lunch 😉

I didn’t take any photographs on the way up but couldn’t resist on the way down.  So … my photographic story starts at the Sphinx.  We keep saying we’ll walk further, beyond this point but never do … next time we MUST !!

The Sphinx ‘replica’  taken on our last trip here two years ago …

Hotel in centre of photo above ^  .. zoomed in to hotel below >

Crystal Falls cascading down crevice in centre  …

Crystal Falls ..

Nothing nicer than to scoop and sip a handful of crystal clear cold mountain water …

Ericas ..

Blue sky peeped through the clouds ..

I loved the pink flowers scattered everywhere.  They looked like Plectranthus (cheeky chimeni) ..

Photo is a little deceptive.   Rocks in the stream were unstable and about the size of hubby’s boots and further apart than it looks .. and water was ankle deep ..

Sunshine and blue skies …

What a change in a couple of hours !!!

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Waterfalls, bridges, steps and a forest

March 2017 :  Champagne Castle Hotel – Central Drakensberg

Hubby and I went for an afternoon stroll on Mike’s Path, a short circular trail passed the upper dams, through the forest and back to the dams …

We spotted a familiar lady with her dogs who’ve seen her every time we’ve stayed at the hotel.  She walks along the country roads and/or through Champagne Castle’s property with her dogs every day !!

This Lab so reminded both hubby and I of our Robbie ..

After chatting with her for a few minutes, she went on her way at a great pace !!!

Not keeping up with her, but in the same direction …

Where trees fall, so they stay (unless of course they’re dangerous)  Ummm wasn’t sure about this one as we had to bend pretty low to go under it ..

Depending whether you’re coming or going .. this was the end of Mike’s Path for us .. on the main path through the forest ..

The gnarled tree.  It intrigues me with all it’s knobs and I always take a photo of it when passing 🙂

Small red dot is a person in a red jacket ..

Circular route takes us back to the dams ..

.. and a bridge takes us back to the playground and lawns ..

…. and ducks  !!!

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Along a country road …

…. at the foothills of the Drakensberg.  Leaving the hotel gate …

Basket sellers outside the entrance to catch tourists .. and me !    When in the Berg buy basket ware, it’s strong, durable and made by rural women

The Sphinx in the distance, which is where we hoped to walk the following day (and we did as the weather cleared)

Our hotel …

Zoomed in …. our room in front row, upstairs, behind small tree …

Entrance to someone’s property …

Spoilt for choice !!!!

Walking sticks are made by an old man who sits in the car park ..

Walking back along the road ..

March 2017 :   Champagne Castle Hotel

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Horses at Champagne Castle

Hubby and I began on our walk along the country road from the hotel to Monk’s Cowl car park passing the kiddies farmyard and paddocks.   A road walk seemed a better option than hiking up the mountain with low cloud and a possibility of rain, plus slippery conditions (we were caught once before several years ago walking a trail in the Northern Berg when rain came from nowhere .. I ended up with a dreadful bout of flu)

On our return from our walk-along-the-country-road we stopped to chat to the horses again  ..

March 2017 :  Champagne Castle Hotel

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Champagne Castle Hotel

I am featuring the hotel (or part thereof)  in this post for those who haven’t seen my previous posts on our visits over the years.  The hotel is nestled at the foothills of the Drakensberg in the Champagne Valley ..  photo taken on our walk up the mountain

Reception courtyard ..

Lovely to see the hotel has kept the old rondavels which were hotel rooms back in the day ..

Our room : top left, thatched unit : magnificent view of mountains – although most rooms have mountain views.  I was very disappointed to see that the huge trees had been cut right down to nothing 😦  I suppose guests requested uninterrupted views.  Very sad.  I enjoyed sitting in their shade with a good book.  Must in hot in mid-summer, that’s all I can say !  Umbrellas are just not the same as a large shady tree

 

Self catering units and conference centre …

Conference centre ..

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Chapel in the mountains and mist

Who doesn’t love a wedding?!!  A perfect spot for memorable nuptials in the mountains of the majestic Berg …

 

I took this photo through the closed glass doors :  chapel was ready for influx of wedding helpers the following day ..

…. so was Conference Centre for the reception ..

Path to and from chapel .. .

Scattered rose petals after the ceremony the following afternoon ..

Sunshine and horses !!  The weather played it’s part and hotel horses are free to roam on wedding days  (there was quite a glare, hence photos picking up yellows in the grass.  I always forget to pack the sun glare lens cover.   Would it have made a difference?   It was actually very green)

March 2017 :   Champagne Castle Hotel 

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