The Berghouse and Cottages “a little mountain paradise”
After a four year lease, the property was purchased in 1996 as a cattle ranch. The property had been neglected for many years, the surrounding gardens were overgrown with grass approximately two meters tall in places.
The access road “driveway” was from the North off the R74, a goat track of a driveway that was quickly mended. Thereafter, an easy drive of approximately 2 kilometers made a beautiful approach to the homestead. Unfortunately, this crossed over a neighbor’s property who decided to block the use of the access.
The new gravel driveway winds itself up a175m vertical climb over a distance of approximately 3 kilometers, the views from the driveway are breath-taking, as the full panorama of the entire Central and Northern Drakensberg may be seen from here.
The site of the “Berg-House” was discovered after the farmer had watched where the oxen sought refuge during high winds and inclement, cold weather.
During this due diligence, water was discovered by way of a spring on the side of the hill above this location which made it a perfect site. The original owners of the property had terraced, with sandstone blocks, the gardens around the house, due to the hilly nature of the topography.
Due to ongoing cattle theft, the decision was made to convert the property into a holiday letting business for guests needing to “get away from it all”
This was an instant success as the tranquillity, scenery and wilderness worked its magic. Some wish they could bottle all three ingredients and take them home with them, others say that the “silence screams at them”
The “wraparound” views of the mountains that include the Amphitheatre Mountain, and the Tugela waterfall, the highest in Africa, (second highest in the World can be seen in the summertime with the naked eye from the cottages) the Central and Northern Drakensberg as well as the Maloti mountains in Lesotho.
One of the cottages was developed from a sandstone barn, the old vice left in situ bares testimony to this, and a 4 bedroom cottage was developed. We had to scout around Lesotho to find someone that could “dress” stone and use this stone for the development.
With teamwork from my wife, we developed “home away from home” country cottages with Italian and French flare. This boded exceptionally well given the mountainous surroundings while “touching the earth gently” causing the very least footprint possible.
During this time the habitat had returned to its original state, wildlife has returned in numbers including Leopard, Serval, African Wild Cat, Genet, Mongoose, Porcupine, Chameleon, Tortoise, Antelope, including the Eland, 190 counted in a single herd! As well as many species of birds that include the Ground Hornbill and Secretary birds.
Trails were established, these followed the trails left behind by the Eland and other antelope. Mountain biking, hiking, trail running are some of the activities that are performed on a daily basis.
With the Tugela River bordering the South East side of this property, fly-fishing is a very popular activity in the summertime, Otter frolic in the water as they chase fish at times, one needs to be very quiet and patient to witness this.