Drakensberg Hidden Gems For Outdoor Adventure

joanstewart @joanstewartAugust 2019 · 6 min read

Brackenburg Trout Retreat, Cleopatra Farmhouse and Highmoor

Missing in action during the last week, mentioned why in the footnotes at the end of this post. Hope you enjoy going off the beaten track, let me show you why I am excited knowing we will be returning there in October, hopefully better weather will prevail, well better than on our first visit.

Visiting an area on the foothills of the majestic Mount Lebanon in the heart of the Kamberg Valley, three options to motivate you into the Drakensberg where nature abounds in peaceful solitude, with plenty of hiking if you love trekking around on foot.

Brackenburn Trout Retreat


Comfortable accommodation where you take provisions with you for a great getaway from suburbia. Three dams on the property stocked with trout (daily rod fee) a wonderful view down the valley. Comfort off the beaten track for young and old to enjoy here https://www.brackenburn.com/


The river winds down at the edge of the property to enjoy the gurgling water, wild flowers, an abundance of birds along the way, also on offer is a bird hide to see into the trees.

Owners are super friendly, giving good warning to not walk through certain patches of grass to avoid ticks, leaving you to enjoy their wonderful quiet haven to enjoy and unwind.

Flowers around the homesteads....



Birds in the tree top singing across the valley.

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The Zulu name is ugaga and in Afrikaans, gewone Janfrederik. Cape Robin-chat

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Double-collared Sunbird

The river walk was full of surprises, an eagle flushed out of the trees, too fast to capture him close up, only caught it much higher waiting to come back in, not sure what is was either!



Wild Flowers captured along the riverside walk. Possible observation on names, never 100% sure.

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Moraea alticola - African iris

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Moraea spathulata - African iris

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Cyrtanthus tuckii is a species from the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal that is difficult in cultivation. It is found in grassland and wet areas.

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Wasonia latifolia (perennial), or possibly a Disa amoena (Orchid)

Another interesting home we found was possibly that of a porcupine..


Antelope leg remained behind, who knows what hunts here ...


Walking along quiet country roads we collected pine cones for a braai (BBQ) to not only warm us up, but to enjoy the bliss of the cold damp outdoors from the verandah.


Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse

A video showing an aerial view of the area of their site, with an introduction with what to expect indoors

For those seeking a romantic gourmet getaway the Cleopatra is literally around the corner, offering sumptuous food with a rustic but stylish ambience (a lot more pricey), however well worth a visit for morning tea enjoying the amazing environment on offer for relaxation.


Next time we visit this lovely piece of history hidden in the valley I will be sure to take a proper camera, the first visit photography was all on a smartphone, a wonderfully well preserved farmhouse weekender only two hours from Durban city.

Extremely welcoming, oozing old world charm with a taste of luxury all rolled into one, while still enjoying the great outdoors with paths leading down to the river or onto more elevated walks.

The vegetable garden was staggering in what they are able to grow fresh for their guests, a gardeners dream paradise!



Highmoor the immense space of Mkhomazi Wilderness Area in the Maloti-Drakensberg Park. Camping is offered, apparently the highest camping grounds in South Africa, here is the link to find out more if this interests you http://www.kznwildlife.com/


Unfortunately we arrived in drizzle, overcast weather ensued most of the weekend, did not deter us from enjoying what was on offer. As you wind your way up to Highmoor you notice the great big rocks stewn around the mountainside, like some big giant had a tantrum hurling rocks around.

Trees at the top were dripping in not only rain, with airplants dangling from the branches like a spooky story for a dark night under bright stars (I can only imagine how the stars must light up a nightsky, in the crisp cool clean altitude with no city lights or pollution to spoil a dazzling show above.)


Moss and lichen hanging around....


Moisture turns the old rock into a fairy tale....


Trees in the area had blooms starting to show, hardy trees to sustain the wind and cold at this altitude.


That giant I mentioned throwing rocks around like in the Flintstones series, well trees seem to be in opposition to them, growing between crevices, slowly breaking the rock into two. Mother nature has a way of dealing with everything it is opposed to.


The race is on, tree now slightly taller than the rock, which way to spread itself further?


For @steemitworldmap I have used the coordinates to the Highmoor since everything else is found within close proximity leading off of the same road taking you up.


Weekenders, quick escape to the great outdoors I hope you enjoyed this read and thanks for visiting. All photography is my own taken with a Canon PowerShot A530 or Innjoo smartphone at the farmhouse.

Thought for today: A man gets to the land of spirits when he passes seven rivers, seven forests and seven hills. ~ African proverb

My lack of entries to #TreeTuesday hosted by @old-guy-photos ~ #WednesdayWalk with host @tattodjay ~ Sharing some cheer with flowers for @dswigle ~ Loving @theluvbug ~ #FeatheredFriday another I missed with @melinda010100

A week that came and went, one great achievement was the church across the road have gracefully revoked consent to the 36 meter Telecommunications Base Tower being built across the road from our residential area. Standing together as a community does count!

My recent spots are slowly fading with better health returning, no actual result from blood tests nor biopsy, our world is obviously becoming more virus/germ infected, no one actually knows what is going on. Hold onto your health no matter what.

*Blockchain Social Media or Blogging Shared using Kryptonia

Communities I Support: #qurator #steemitbloggers #teamsouthafrica #steembuilder

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lizelle @lizelleAugust 2019

Oh how I long for those mountains, it's time to take a trip there some time! I have not actually been to this area, looks stunning with all the natural flora and fauna, thank you so much for sharing!
We've both been through the wars, hope you're on the mend soon!


Getting sick from time to time comes with the territory of being human, I hope feel better soon as well Lizelle.

This area is stunning, I highly recommend the self-catering option at Brackenburn, spotless and delightful! Cleopatra is much more expensive, if you have a caravan perhaps a visit to Highmoor.

A long weekend is ideal and not a long trip from where you live, have a lovely weekend!


What a fantastic post and place, @joanstewart. Even your "bad" camera takes great shots when you have such a good eye.

I wonder if the Double-collared Sunbird is a type of hummingbird?

I love all the rockscapes. Nature always finds a way.

And I am so, so happy for you are getting the tower idea to go away. This is the best win you could have :)

Praying for you and your health to go on being strong.


The sunbird and hummingbird are not related, but they have similar features due to their lifestyle demands! Nectarivores – Nectar feeders. Meat eaters are known as carnivores; plant eaters are known as herbivores. Diurnal – opposite of nocturnal; active in the day. - https://www.thefascinatingworldofforestry.com/in-sumatra-we-have-sunbirds-not-hummingbirds/

Hopefully this October when we go up the sun will shine for us to get photography of rocks, formations are amazing in the area.

Trust you are enjoying Bangkok and travel back home safely, thanks for the well wishes, yes that tower not being erected is a great relief!


Thanks for that very pleasant walk (except for the poor antelope's leg, poor thing!) It's great to see such different scenes here on Steemit!


Circle of life is never ending, we see amazing things in the wild when out walking. Thanks for the visit and enjoying @dmcamera.


I know. We all eat to survive. 😊


A lovely post here Lady Joan and how I long for those mountains.
But then again I also long for the Magoebas Kloof mountains and we are now here surrounded by the Hottentots Hollands mountains.

Imagine that! In our "modern" medical system a none diagnosis is once again delivered. Many hopeful ideas about what it might be, but no solid conclusion.
I am forced to drink a cortisone pill every day since my skin problem started in 2012 and I have to use a 3 mix, patly cortisone cream on the itchy spots also daily.
I have seen many doctors, dermatologists, skin biopsies (all benign) and heard a lot of thumb suck ideas about what it might be.
The end result is that we think my immune system is faulty. We, not the doctors.
Of course the costs almost bankrupted us, all for nothing!


Modern medical aid systems know how to bleed funds out of one quickly with doctors not solving issues most of the time. After paying into medical aid funds all your working life you would think they would give pensioners a better footing in the latter years, alas they still screw you exactly the same as taxman!

You live close to amazing mountain passes, I miss seeing the Cape but am in two minds of ever returning to wipe out wonderful memories I have of the region with modern development destroying so much.


Such beautiful flowers scenery and birds, thanks for sharing this lovely area with us


Thanks JJ, appreciate your visit!


Always a pleasure to visit ;)


Wow, those photos are amazing. Seems like you had a lovely vacation.


First visit was cut short having a sick dog back home, hopefully in October we will be able to explore more in this region.


Beautiful nature shots. That Cleopatra retreat is amazing, looks like from a different time and space. I am enjoying your posts @joanstewart 😊


A great retreat in very warm surroundings with wonderful nature on your doorstep @starjewel


A fascinating place as there are so many interesting plants and flowers in the area. Very interesting to see the wildlife that thrives in the area. I'm curious about that hole there, you mentioned porcupines. I wouldn't want to take a peek inside. Loved the photos.


I was not willing to peek inside the dwellings, porcupine quills were evident in the area. Flowers in the area are spectacular @watersnake101 very healthy soil in the valleys.


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Appreciate your visit @for91days life is one big adventure @travelfeed so glad you enjoyed my part of the world.


We did!! If you have a moment, check out the new updates for our platform travelfeed.io … we updated the editor .. it's awesome and the best thing is, we take zero beneficiaries when posting through us!!!


Amazing photos @joanstewart. I felt like I was there with you. 💕


So glad you enjoyed this region @wonderwop