Montusi Mountain LodgeNorthern Drakensberg, KwaZulu-Natal
Montusi Mountain Lodge offers genuine hospitality in the tranquility of one of the most beautiful settings in Southern Africa. Space, comfort and peace are what you will find when you treat yourself to the natural splendour and peaceful, romantic ambiance of this Drakensberg haven.
Situated in the KwaZulu-Natal Drakensberg, halfway between Johannesburg and Durban, Montusi Mountain Lodge is the only upmarket destination in the area with a full and uninterrupted view of the Drakensberg's most famous part, the Amphitheatre escarpment. Our guests enjoy this spectacular scenery in the comfort of their private individual garden suites.
Activities include hiking, horse riding, trout fishing, golf, swimming and even trapezing. We also do guided tours to the surrounding tribal areas, all still authentic.
The Montusi Mountain Lodge
Montusi Mountain Lodge consists of a large and beautifully thatched main building (with reception, restaurant, terrace, bar, lounge and meeting room) and 14 spacious, tastefully decorated, individual garden suites which are among the most luxurious in the Drakensberg.
Each suite stands alone in the garden and has a comfortable bedroom with en-suite bathroom (bath and walk in shower), a lounge with a television, gas operated fire place and private patio. Tea and coffee making facilities, including a bar fridge for fresh milk, are provided. Bar service in the suite is available upon request. All suites have a car port for one vehicle. Honeymoon suites have a kingsize double bed and a corner tub for two. The suites all have panoramic views of the Drakensberg’s Amphitheatre. The peace and quiet, like our homemade chocolates and bread, are quite addictable!
Self Catering Cottages
We have a limited number of self-catering cottages on the estate, providing space for between 4 to 6 visitors per chalet (which includes all persons over the age of two; the number of visitors per chalet is fixed). The cottages are generously furnished and equipped with stove, fridge, freezer, microwave, under floor heating, etc. Bedding and towels are provided. The cottages are serviced daily but does not include dishwashing. Guests must bring their own supplies.
Montusi Swimming Pool
Our fenced swimming pool looks out at the escarpment. The surrounding rocks have provided inspiration for this unusual and beautifully crafted pool which makes it the guest's favourite place in summer. Here, we have built a thatched pavilion, great for braais or functions, and more shade is provided by old gum trees, and thatched umbrellas.
Montusi Lounge and Bar
Our comfortable lounge is a focal point for local and international guests. We meet for chats, a game of scrabble/trivial pursuit/jenga or the occasional event e.g. slide shows, talks, etc. The "Ememeli" Bar has a pool table and darts area upstairs as well as plenty of room downstairs for drinks and animated discussions.
Montusi Mountain Lodge welcomes children of all ages by arrangement. However, tranquility is one of main attractions and we do ask that children are closely supervised by parents. We have early mealtimes for families with small children. Baby sitters by prior arrangement only.
Things to do while at Montusi
Doing nothing is probably the most favourite past time at Montusi. No pressure, no wake up calls (in fact no telephone in the room), hot water all day long. Montusi is the best place to simply wind down and relax. Just enjoy our little bit of paradise and recharge the batteries.
Hiking is the most important active past-time in the Drakensberg. We provide daily morning walks on the 1000 ha. estate (with a guide free of charge). Popular destinations are the top of Montusi Mountain, Bushman Cave (with paintings), Waterfall Cave and various streams and rock pools (with summer swimming). There are also a number of self-guided trails, both at Montusi and at nearby sister resort The Cavern and Sungubala. The uKhahlamba National Park (formerly Royal Natal National Park) is about 15 kms away with the Tugela Gorge walk and a number of other well-known trails. On request, we will organise day hikes to the top of the Amphitheatre, an experience you will never forget and do-able for all those of average fitness and unafraid of heights (the last ascent is via metal chain ladders).
Exploring the Berg on horseback is even more spectacular than on foot. We have stables on the premises and a number of thorough bred horses. Three rides a day are provided for various levels of proficiency, including absolute beginners (rides bookable in advance at reception - rides are open to non-residents). Special group outings, including overnight safaris, can be organised with advance notice.
Overnight horse safaris to Sungubala Mountain Camp can be arranged on request. Leave from Montusi at a respectable 9:30am and ride a full day through spectacular scenery to the tranquil Sungubala Mountain Camp. En route picnic lunch is served. Arrival at Sungubala in time for a leisurely stroll to the Silent Woman, a famed local artwork depicting a rather well endowed lady. Enjoy dinner under the stars and spend the remainder of the evening around the campfire, before retiring to the comfort of your tent (complete with beds and linen). Another full day of riding brings you back to Montusi in the mid afternoon. All levels of experience can be accommodated, and routes can be varied to accommodate less saddle accustomed behinds!
Luggage is transported to and from the camp by our staff.
Price is inclusive of all meals and accommodation. Drinks are charged on consumption. This outing can easily be tacked on to the beginning or the end of your stay at Montusi.
Anyone approaching Montusi will not fail to notice the impressive high flying trapeze and safety net as well as a number of other “structures” used by our on site team building and adventure specialists All Out Adventures. The now famous Flying Trapeze forms part of the Adventure Center, operated by All Out Adventures at the Farm House, just 500m from the Lodge. Activities offered include Flying Trapeze, Bungee Bounce (trampoline and bungee system), Zip Line (Giant Foofy Slide) and Paintball (two parties shooting at each other with paint). Activities are run with an emphasis on safety, and are achievable by participants of all ages and fitness levels. Unauthorised use of equipment is (naturally!) prohibited and indemnity forms must be signed. All Out Adventures also organises Circus Workshops, Eco Challenge courses and a host of team building activities both on and off site.
We have two dams on the property stocked with trout (and with beautiful view) as well as several mountain streams. Permits for trout fishing are required and can be purchased at reception. Fishing rods can be hired and flies are for sale. There is an additional charge for trout caught and not thrown back.
The nearest golf course is about 10 km away: the nine-hole and beautifully situated Amphitheatre Golf Course at Hlalanathi. Please call at Hlalanathi reception before commencing your game.
4x4 tracks and Mountain Biking
We have 4x4 trails starting from the property (not for the faint-hearted!) which are used by mountain bikers as well.
With some notice we will take you to the nearby tribal areas, for a visit to a traditional doctor (sangoma), school and a general insight into contemporary rural Zulu life.
Sterkfontein Dam and the vulture restaurant
Just behind Montusi across the Oliviershoek Pass lies the large and stunningly beautiful Sterkfontein Dam which forms part of the Tugela Vaal Water Scheme which supplies water to Johannesburg. The clear water of this large dam is suitable for watersports such as sailing, windsurfing and waterskiing. Overlooking the dam is a spot where the conservation authorities leave carcasses for the Cape Vultures | a vulture "restaurant".
Basotho Cultural Village, Golden Gate National Park and Clarens
At approximately one hour's drive from Montusi is the interesting Basotho Cultural Village which gives an overview of Basotho culture and building styles from the past to the present. A good spot for tea and a guided tour. Then on to the spectacular scenery of the Golden Gate Highlands National Park with immense sandstone cliffs and lots of smaller game and birds (hiking and scenic drives both recommended). Clarens is also worth a stop, a pleasant village where many artists have settled. Good curioshops and art galleries can be found here.
Spioenkop and the Battlefields
The Spioenkop Battlefield and Game Reserve is approximately an hours drive from Montusi. Here you can relive the Battle of Spioenkop (1900) where the British army on its way to relieve besieged Ladysmith was involved in heavy fighting with the Boer Army. After heroic persistence on both sides, the Boers eventually occupied the summit | but with heavy casualties for all. The nearby 6000 ha Spioenkop Game Reserve is based around a dam in the Tugela River. There are rhino, giraffe and antelope in the reserve and it is a popular spot for picnics and day trips. With advance notice we can organise (guided) tours to other points of historic interest e.g. Kerkenberg and the Kaalvoet Vrou Monument, 4x4 excursions through the magnificent Mnweni valley right throught to Mike's Pass (Central Berg), etc.