Giants Castle - Drakensberg
is a 6 hour drive on the N3 from Johannesburg and 3 hours from Durban. Giants Castle - Drakensberg is considered the home of the eland as well as the bearded vulture.
Giant’s Castle Game Reserve was proclaimed in 1903 and is 34 638 ha in extent, lies in the Central Berg Region of the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park, a World Heritage Site, and is home to, among many other species, the eland and the majestic bearded vulture.
The original reserve, of some 7 000 ha, was proclaimed in 1903 mainly for the protection of the dwindling eland population of the Drakensberg. Today, Giant’s Castle forms part of the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park.
This is a scenic mountain wonderland tucked into the central region of the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park and it takes its name from the massive ramparts of rock rising above the lodge. The silhouette of the peaks and escarpment against the sky resemble the profile of a sleeping giant.
Management objectives in the Park are to maintain production of high quality water from the mountain catchments and to conserve the unique diversity of animals and plants. It ranges from 1 300 metres to 3 280 metres in altitude and is noted for its plentiful rock art, examples of which are on public display in the Main Cave Museum.
Like most other mountain destinations, the most popular activities are hiking, climbing, trout fishing, picnicking, camping and swimming. Overnight hiking trails and day walks into the mountains are popular activities in this scenically splendid area.
Giants Castle - Drakensberg is situated on a gassy plateau among the deep valleys running down from the face of the High Drakensberg, offering glorious views for hikers and mountain climbers. Wild flowers of the Drakensberg are the design theme of the Resort and Rock Lodge, and original botanical paintings feature in all the chalets and lodge buildings.
Superb rock art is high among its special attractions. The renowned Vulture Hide is open throughout the year for visitors to watch bearded vultures and other endangered species feeding.
Izimbali Restaurant and Bar provides guests with the option of fully catered meals in its warm and relaxed atmosphere.
Accommodation at Giants Castle - Drakensberg:
- Themed to the wild flowers of the Drakensberg, each accommodation unit has been named after a plant family and contains original artworks of the berg flowers by well-known artists.
- Accommodation consists of a 6-bed Rock Lodge with a cook in attendance,
- 37 two-bed-chalets with en-suite facilities, a lounge/dining area and fully appointed kitchens;
- 3 four-bed chalets with two bedrooms, a bathroom, a lounge/dining area and a fully equipped kitchen;
- and 3 six-bed chalets featuring three bedrooms, one bathroom (with a combination of bath/shower), a lounge/dining area and a fully appointed kitchen, and a romantic honeymoon suite.
- Giant`s Castle also has a 2 bed Paraplegic Unit.
- All units are equipped with satellite TV.
Facilities and Services at Midmar Dam:
Winter 06:00 - 22:00 daily
Summer 05:00 - 22:00 daily
The Reserve gates are kept locked after hours for the sake of safety – both that of you our guest and of the wildlife and environment.
RECEPTION AND CURIO SHOP HOURS
08:00 - 16:30 daily
You are requested to check in no earlier than 14:00 on your day of arrival and bring your booking slip with you.
If you are going to arrive after office hours, please phone ahead to let us know so that we can make arrangements. If you have arrived late, please check in the following morning, so that reception staff can register you.
Should you wish to exit and re-enter the Resort during your stay, kindly make arrangements at the office.
We request you to check out by 10:00 on the day of your departure to afford us sufficient time to prepare chalets for our next guests. Please keep your checkout receipt safe as it will be requested from you when signing out at the main gate. Should you require to check out earlier than 08:00, please make arrangements a day before by at least 16:30. Please be advised that should you not vacate your unit by 10:00 you will be charged the additional full daily rate. On checkout, please return your key to the reception. It is advisable that you follow the tar roads when leaving Giant’s Castle as the dirt roads, especially the Draycott Road, is not safe.
Your chalet will be cleaned at 10:00 every day – if you prefer not to have your unit cleaned, or wish to make alternate arrangements, please inform the office accordingly. Kindly report any concerns or problems you may have to reception.
Please ensure that your dishes are washed on the day of your departure and kindly report any missing items or breakages to the office. If you would like your dishes washed or laundry done, please liaise with your chalet attendant and pay them directly.
DO NOT DISTURB
If you do not wish to be disturbed, indicate this by hanging the "Do not disturb" sign on the outside of the door handle.
FIRES AND FIREPLACES
We provide you with a complimentary pack of firewood on the first night and free anthracite (in a receptacle outside the chalet). Firewood, firelighters etc for fireplaces and Braais are available at the curio shop. In order for the chimney to draw the smoke upwards please ensure that the chimney flute is left open. Be aware of the danger of veld fires. Do not drop lighted matches or cigarette ends.
Should you have concerns of any nature, we would like to be given an opportunity to address these at the earliest convenience, so please speak to the Duty Manager or Resort Manager at reception.
Should you find that something in your room does not work, please report it to the office or Duty Manager. The after hours number is 076 545 4520.
Although our water is treated and purified, after heavy rain and storms it can turn brown for a while, unfortunately this is unavoidable, but please be assured, the water is always safe for consumption.
Unleaded petrol is available at the main gate from 06.00 to 22.00 daily. The nearest towns are Estcourt and Mooi River, both approximately 65 km away from the Reserve.
There is a card phone outside the curio shop and phone cards are available for purchase in the shop.
BABY COTS / BABY SITTING
Baby cots are available upon request from Housekeeping. Should you require a baby sitter please make arrangements with Housekeeping as soon as possible and we will do our best to assist you.
LOST AND FOUND
All lost and found items are kept in our locked storeroom for safekeeping. All lost property is kept for a period of six months.
We request that you to report any breakages to reception.
Additional blankets are stored in the wardrobes, should you require extras please contact Housekeeping through reception or the Duty Manager.
ICE / CHARCOAL / WOOD
Ice, charcoal and wood are available for purchase at the curio shop.
Due to weather, the supply of electricity is occasionally disrupted. Oil lamps are provided in the chalets.
Should you have any concerns, irrespective of the nature, we would like to be given the opportunity to address them at the earliest convenience. Please ask for the Duty Manager or the Resort Manager
Problems are experienced with baboons invading chalets and cars searching for food. Please keep doors and windows closed at all times. Feeding baboons is strictly forbidden. Do not leave food unattended. Please keep all the windows and doors to your chalet closed thereby avoiding temptation for the monkeys. Displaying of fruit and food will tempt them to enter your chalet.
Feeding them results in the loss of their natural wariness of humans. They soon learn to take any food they can find and become bold, aggressive and dangerous and inevitably have to be destroyed. For your safety and theirs, ensure that your chalet is securely closed and that all food or edible refuse is kept out of sight.
Treat baboons with extreme caution, DO NOT threaten them in any way and DO NOT FEED THEM.
Visitor Activities at Midmar Dam:
- A scenic picnic site is situated close to Giant’s Resort and offers all the usual amenities.
- Day visitors must leave the reserve before sunset.
- A detailed map on Giant’s Castle may be purchased at the reception office.
- This map has a complete list of all the trails and walks visitors can enjoy.
- Izimbali restaurant and bar provides guests with the option of fully catered meals in its warm and relaxed atmosphere.
- Overnight hiking routes extend deep into valleys and forests of the area and up onto the main escarpment, ensuring a pure wilderness experience with breathtaking views and scenery.
- Day hikes and walks consist of routes that are graded from easy to difficult.
- Some of them have gloriously refreshing rock pools that beg to be swum in, the crisp berg water will leave you feeling completely rejuvenated.
- The weather can change suddenly and become very cold so hikers are advised to be well equipped.
The Mountain Rescue Register must to be completed before you begin your hike. Make sure you sign out again when you return.
Ensure that you complete the Mountain Rescue Register correctly and in detail.
It is very often the only information the rescue team has to go on if you have an accident or get lost.
When you leave the park, it is essential that you record your return in the Mountain Rescue Register.
Failure to do so wastes valuable time for managers during rescue operations.
Your life may depend on this information.
MAIN CAVES MUSEUM
The Main Caves Museum is an easy half hour’s walk from the resort.
An entrance fee is levied and is payable at the reception office.
A guide is in attendance to conduct tours around the museum.
These tours start on the hour from 09:00 - 15:00 from the Main Caves Museum gate.
No more than 20 visitors will be allowed at a time into the caves and museum.
The Vulture Hide is open year round.
A maximum of six people can be accommodated and advance bookings are essential.
Birds to be seen include bearded vulture, Cape vulture, black eagle, jackal buzzard and lanner falcon.
There are several kilometres of trout waters available.
Trout anglers must be in possession of a valid daily rod permit obtainable at the reception office.
Only recognised fly fishing tackle is permitted.
The Izimbali Restaurant offers a selection of a-la-cart meals and buffets.
Various bed and breakfast packages are available on request at reception.
Restaurant hours are between 07:30 – 21:00.
VITAL INFORMATION FOR HIKERS
- Please ensure that you always complete the overnight mountain register (available outside the reception area and at the entrance gate).
- Plan your route; describe this accurately in the register and stick to your plan! If you intend to use caves for over-nighting these must be booked with the office before you depart on your hike.
- For unexpected eventualities, always carry a tent suitable for mountain conditions, even if you have planned to stay in a cave.
- Never hike alone! An accurate map is vital.
- Detailed hiking maps from No. 1-6 are available at the curio shop at a nominal fee.
- If you intend hiking on the summit be sure to carry your passport.
- Never leave any equipment unattended and check that you have placed all your belongings inside your tent at night. All overnight hikers must keep their fee invoice with them.
- The day walks register must be completed, even if you are planning for a short walk.
- This is for your safety.
Beautiful scenery, trail to the mountain caves accessible for almost any age group. Food, cleaning service, facilities were very good. Just had to make sure doors were closed or watched because of occasional visits from baboons.
Enjoyed our stay.
A wonderful place to stay. Peace and quiet - just the sound of running water. Cottage 43 is just the best view of the mountains. Staff very friendly and helpful. We had difficulty finding the place - more detailed instructions would be helpful, especially for foreign (non-ZA) tourists. Tips for visitors: (1) the lighting of the site is subdued and does not always work - carry a torch, (2) the wifi does not work on Apple devices such as iPhones and iPads.
A fabulous place to stay. Rooms are first rate, staff is excellent, views are unforgettable.