Day 12 – Underberg to Giant’s Castle – 20 September

Our second day in the Drakensberge dawned bright and sunny and I was feeling so invigorated by the fresh mountain air that I went for a jog. Admittedly a very brief jog, but still! Mostly it was to check out the rest of the hotel grounds and to take some more pictures of the mountains in different light.


I was also keeping an eye on the various coaches to that was filling up the resort to see when they would leave so we’d be able to get to the breakfast buffet without having to fight for our scrambled eggs! As we discovered the night before, large groups of German tourists were on some or other coach tour and staying at the resort, but they were up early and gone by the time we went to breakfast.
After breakfast we went to check out and then the arguments about the room booking started. Gooderson claimed to not have had our booking for the night in question, or received out money for it, even though I showed them my credit card statement and it stated that the money was paid to them in May already. After an wasted hour of my life they eventually came to the conclusion that they somehow messed up and had my booking for June, so when we didn’t show up it was classed a no-show and we forfeited out money. While accepting that it was their fault, they also kept claiming that it was an issue with Booking.com that I booked the room through. Now, I’m not saying Booking.com is perfect, but millions of people use the site and I’ve used it quite often without any issues as well, so not sure they are at fault here! In the meanwhile Brian had gone to take some more pictures in the morning light as I thought one of us arguing and getting the hump was more than enough! I found it quite disturbing that a large hotel chain couldn’t find our booking, despite the references that I provided and took hours to figure out what was going on…
We set off for Giant’s Castle via Howick, where we stopped briefly to have a look at the Howick Falls – which was impressive, but not nearly as impressive as the people doing their washing just upstream from the falls!

We then stopped by the Nelson Mandela Capture Site, just outside Howick for a walk about, some history, and pictures of the famous head sculpture. The sculpture is really impressive and should be on everyone’s bucket list if you’re in the area.

We spent a bit of time reading about the history before setting off again. The mountains in this part of the Drakensberg looked different to me, and the areas we were driving though was very different as well. This part is much more rural with traditional huts and small towns scattered around the potholed roads, rather than resorts, holiday chalets and accommodation everywhere.

We arrived at Giant’s Castle Camp, part of the Kwazulu Natal Wildlife Portfolio and got assigned chalet 18, with a garden view. When I booked the chalet 4 months ago, this was the only accommodation available as all the mountain view chalets were booked out, and understandably so, as they have great views. The chalet was very well equipped with all the mod cons, as well as a very nice selection of stainless steel things like egg cups, toast rack and a sauce jug that you don’t usually see!

After unpacking, we went for what we thought would be a quick walk, as it was billed to be only 5km long. I came to the conclusion that they must use different measurements in the mountains as that was definitely more than 5kms, but we still enjoyed it and had nice views of the mountains as the sun set.

We had an early dinner – with some more Germans of course – and headed off to bed and the ancient TV, though at least it was working! Dinner at the camp’s restaurant (Izimbali Restaurant)was actually surprisingly good and they had a fairly decent offering of drinks on the menu as well. I was very impressed by our accommodation, the quietness and just the general vibe of the camp. Definitely a good place to stay and I would have happily stayed another night and just chilled in the chalet (that comes with a heater as well as a fireplace, so you can imagine how cold it gets there!).

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