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Giant's Castle Camp (Giants Castle Game Reserve)

Giant's Castle Camp (Giant's Castle Game Reserve) - Central Drakensberg

Description

Giant's Castle Game Reserve in the central region of the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park takes its name from the silhouette of the peaks and escarpment that resemble the profile of a sleeping giant. Wild flowers of the Drakensberg is the design theme of Giant's Castle Camp and Rock Lodge and original botanical paintings feature in all the chalets and lodge buildings. The camp has 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(seperate toilet), a lounge/dining area and a fully appointed kitchen. Unit number 8, known as "Bride's Bush" has a double bed, a very private setting with a lovely view of the mountains which makes it an ideal honeymoon suite. All units are equiped with satellite TV. Rock Lodge is now a mini conference and wellness centre which also offers avariety of activities and tours as well as a wedding venue. Run in partnership with KZN Wildlife it makes a wonderful addition to the peace and tranquility of the wildflower garden that is Giant`s Camp. A perfect place to get rid of your stress and recharge your batteries. Izimbali restaurant and bar provides guests with the option of fully catered meals in its warm and relaxed atmosphere. A vulture hide allows unique birding in winter inclusively from May to September and the Main Caves Museum gives an insight into the past life of the San People.

Historic Giant's Castle Game Reserve, home of the eland and the majestic bearded vulture, lies in the Central Berg region of the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park, a World Heritage Site. Giant's Castle camp 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.

Superb rock art is high among its special attractions. The renowned vulture restaurant is open in winter for visitors to watch bearded vultures and other endangered species feeding.Visit the Main Caves Museum for fascinating insight into the past lifestyle of the San people.

Accommodation

Giant's Castle Game Reserve in the central region of the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park takes its name from the silhouette of the peaks and escarpment that resemble the profile of a sleeping giant. Wild flowers of the Drakensberg is the design theme of Giant's Castle Camp and Rock Lodge and original botanical paintings feature in all the chalets and lodge buildings.

The camp has 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(seperate toilet), a lounge/dining area and a fully appointed kitchen. Unit number 8, known as "Bride's Bush" has a double bed, a very private setting with a lovely view of the mountains which makes it an ideal honeymoon suite. All units are equiped with satellite TV.  Rock Lodge is now a mini conference centre as well as a wedding venue. Run in partnership with KZN Wildlife it makes a wonderful addition to the peace and tranquility of the wildflower garden that is Giant`s Camp. A perfect place to get rid of your stress and recharge your batteries. 


 

 

Giant's Castle Camp (Giants Castle Game Reserve)Giant's Castle Camp (Giants Castle Game Reserve)Giant's Castle Camp (Giants Castle Game Reserve)

Attractions

GIANT'S CASTLE - ACTIVITIES

 
PREHISTORIC ROCK ART:
There is a large sandstone cave containing prehistoric San rock art. This is one of the biggest and best preserved painted sites in southern Africa. This cave is an easy 45 minute walk from the camp office and regular guided tours are taken through this unique exhibition from 09h00 to 15h00 daily for a small fee.

DAY WALKS:
There is a variety of self guided day walks through the lower parts of the  park throughout the year, weather permitting. Routes are available from the camp office.
BIRD WATCHING :
Over 170 known species of birds, including many raptors such as Bearded Vulture and Black Eagle
THE LAMMERGEYER HIDE:
Offers excellent viewing of raptors from May to September - limited availability so booking through the Camp Office is essential.
HIKING AND CAMPING:
Throughout the year. Overnight hiking is suitable for experienced hikers. Tents are only permitted above the contour line, out of sight of the main hutted camp.
TROUT FISHING:
In the streams along the Bushman's River; in season only [closed season 1 June to 31 August].
SWIMMING:
Limited to parts of the Bushman's River below the drinking water in-take for Giants Camp. [Summer months only!]
GAME VIEWING:
Mainly Eland and other species of antelope, baboons, also some smaller mammals such as rock hyrax(dassie)and serval. Best sightings are in the winter months, but good throughout the year.
ICE CLIMBING:
Limited Ice climbing during the winter months only - contact the Officer- in-Charge for details 036 353 3616
MOUNTAIN BIKING:
Mountain bikes are only allowed on the 75 kilometre Mountain Bike Challenge route.
This is held annually on the last Sunday in April. To book for this limited prestige event contact WILDLANDS CONSERVATION TRUST on 033 343 2660
RELAXING:
Excellent opportunities throughout the year, irrespective of weather, particularly in the comfortable rest camp.
RECOMMENDED READING:
Barrier of Spears, Mountain Splendour, and Dragons Wrath, all by Reg Pearce; Field Guide to the Natal Drakensberg, by Dave and Pat Irwin; 120 Drakensberg Walks, by David Bristow; Cradle of Rivers, by David Dodds and "Giant`s Castle A Personal Experience" by Bill Barnes.

Hikes

From time to time, and for a variety of reasons, foot paths may be closed to the public. Your co-operation in only using the walks which are available would be appreciated.

SHORT WALKS
No.1 Main Caves and Col. Durnford's Camp

Follow the signposted path to the Main Caves Forest and Giants Hut. Approximately 2,5 km from the hutted camp the path enters a beautiful forest below the cave sandstone overhangs, which shelter the new Bushman museum. Several deep clear pools are to be found in Two Dassle Stream which runs througt the forest along this route and swimming is a pleasant activity on a hot day. Continue on up the boardwalk into the Main Caves Bushman Museum. The guide on duty opens the entrance gate on the hour every hour from 09:00- 15:00. The entry fee is R25 per adult and R10 per child under the age of 12. Leaving the museum follow the concrete path down to Two Dassie Stream and about 100 meters on the other side of the stream the path approaches a group of large boulders. At this point a sign reading "Rock 75" indicates the site of Col. Durnford's camp. It was here that members of the 75th Regiment camped in 1874 during the Langalibalele rebellion, the troopers here were under the command of Col. Durford R.E. It is believed that during their stay (June-September 1874) the regimental cook carved into this rock the figures "75" indicating that the 75th had occupied the spot. Continue along the main path back to the camp.

No.2 Main Caves Forest
Follow the signposted path to the Main Caves Forest and Giants Hut. Approximately 2,5 km from the hutted camp the path enters a beautiful forest below the cave sandstone overhangs, which shelter the new Bushman Museum. Several deep clear pools are to be found in Two Dassle Stream along this route and swimming is possible in these pools. Retrace the path back to the hutted camp (Approximately 5 km, 2 hours)

No.3 Grysbuck Bush
Follow the signposted path past the Main Caves museum exit above the Bushman's River. After the caves, the path forks. One sign reads Giants Ridge and the other reads "Grysbuck Bush" and "Langalibalele Pass". Follow the latter and approximately 1 km further on the path forks again. Do not cross the rustic bridge ahead of you (Langalibalele Pass) but continue along the path signposted "Grysbuck Bush". From here on you enter a fairly swampy grassland (during summer months), however the path is cemented to cope with the wet patches. On entering the woody area you will come to a rustic bridge. Cross this bridge and continue for another 20 minutes, The path now brings you to a series of beautiful pools. Swimming is possible but be careful of whirlpools after heavy rains. Retrace the same route back to the hutted camp (8 km, 3 1/2 hours)

No.4 River Walk (1 )
Follow the signposted path past "Rock 75" (Walk No 1 ). The river walk is signposted just before the rustic bridge. The path follows the east bank of the Bushman's River, through low-Iying grassveld and later on through light bush. Shortly after entering the bush the path forks. Take the path that reads "Hutted Camp". The path now crosses the wall of a small dam and then ascends to a gate. Go through the gate (please close after entering) and now climb up a steep paved path to the hutted camp. (Round trip 3 km, 1 hour).

No.5 River Walk (2)
Follow the directions for Walk No 4 as far as the signpost that reads "Hutted Camp" -"Bannerman's Bridge" -"Picnic Site". Now take the left arm "Bannerman's Bridge" -"Picnic Site". The path continues through thick bush (Eland are often encountered here during winter months).
On reaching "Bannerman's Bridge" rest for a while next to the magnificent pool. When you have rested and are ready to carry on, take the path that reads "Picnic Site" (a fairly steep climb) and on reaching the picnic site join the main road to the hutted camp. (Round trip 4 1/2 km, 2 hours).

No.6 Bergview Walk
Take the main road out of the hutted camp as far as the Conservator's house. On the opposite side of the road you will see a sign reading "Bergview Walk" -"Meander Hut". At this sign turn right and proceed towards a large corrugated iron shed. Just before the shed a foot path swings off to the right, take this path which is clearly defined, and continue up a steep slope. On completing the steep climb a sign reading "Bergview Walk" -"Meander Hut" - "Giant's Hut" clearly indicates the route you must follow. Swing left at this point (Bergview Walk) and continue for a while until reaching a stream. Now cross the stream and continue for a few metres where yet another sign reading "Bergview Walk" -"Meander Hut" is to be found. A left-hand turn brings you onto the "Bergview Walk". From now on this section of the walk affords one the most magnificent views of the Drakensberg to be found in Giant's Castle Game Reserve. Continue along this route until reaching a jeep track. At this point turn left and continue down the track until reaching the main road. From here on a left turn along the road brings you back to the hutted camp. (Round trip 5 km, 2 hours).

LONGER WALKS
No.7 Giant's Hut via Giant's Ridge and down Two Dassie Stream. Take the signposted path to the Giant's Ridge path past the Main Caves Bushman Museum. On reaching the "Giant's Ridge" sign turn left, a steep climb takes you past low sandstone cliffs. The path climbs up the side of the ridge overlooking the streams and forested valley below. The second and third rises are short but steep, while the intervening areas rise gently. The path now follows the spine of the ridge. At a rocky outcrop across the path it veers left, across a stream and bog, onto another part of the ridge.
The next steep rise is marked by a cairn, after which the path peters out. Further on a large cairn marks the contour path. At this point turn left and proceed along the contour path to Giant's Hut, situated above a small pan. It is advisable to rest for a while at the hut. When you are ready to continue, proceed along the old jeep track, cross the stream and climb up a short distance until reaching the site of the old hut (a concrete slab).
At this point a path strikes off to the left across the ridge. From here on a very steep descent brings you to Two Dassie Stream. The path then follows the west bank of the stream after crossing some boggy areas. In its lower reaches, the path crosses the stream several times. There are numerous delightful swimming pools in Two Dassie Stream. (Round trip 19 km, 7 1/2 hours).

No.8 Giant's Hut via Two Dassie Stream
Follow the signposted path out of the hutted camp to the Main Caves Forest on the path along the left bank of Two Dassie Stream. The path passes through the forest then crosses a rustic bridge. From here on the stream is crossed several times until, after passing through a boggy area, the stream splits. Now proceed straight up the very steep ridge ahead of you until the ground levels out, bringing you to the contour path. Turn right along the path until reaching Giant's Hut. After resting at the hut retrace the same path back to the hutted camp. (15 km, 6 hours).

No.9 Giant's Pass and Giant's Castle
(i) From the cairn on the contour path at the top of Giant's Ridge, walk along the contour path to the north, crossing four streams. Make a long track up the side of the hill for the break in the cliffs which marks the bottom of the pass. This route is made difficult because of the steepness and presence of landslides. After crossing some of the boulder scree there is a path to the right which leads to the summit marked by a small cairn (6,7 km, 4 hours). Avoid any gullies branching off to the left, which are impassable. (ii) Climb straight up one of the ridges to a level immediately below the cliffs then walk along to the pass. This is a long steep climb but easier than (i) in the long run. Proceed on up to the beacon at the top of Giant's Castle. Make a considerable detour around two ridges before reaching the escarpment edge. An easy climb of about 215 m from the pass brings one to the beacon. The land slopes back from the escarment steeply into Lesotho. (2,8 km from the pass to the Giant's Castle beacon. Now descend the pass by route (i). (Round trip back to Giant's Hut 19 km, 8 hours).

No.10 Bannerman's Hut and Bannerman's Pass
From the hutted camp follow the main road to the picnic site. Take the path down to Bannerman's Bridge and cross the river. Follow the path marked by a sign reading Bannerman's Hut. The path climbs steeply at first through the cave sandstone but once clearing the sandstone ridge it more or less levels out until you reach the contour path. Follow the contour path to the right passing a small pan after about 5 minutes. From here on the path crosses numerous small streams and traverses beneath The Thumb and Bannerman's Face. Bannerman's Hut is situated at the foot of the pass. (10 km, 4 hours). To ascend the Bannerman's Pass take the path that starts off directly behind the hut. It begins up the south side of the stream but briefly crosses to the north side before the gulley begins to narrow. Pass a huge rock in the narrower gulley. The path is usually well defined, but wherever difficulty may be experienced a small pile of stones has been built. In the pass the ascent is difficult because of boulder scree in the steepest sections. Near the top, the ascent is much easier. (3,6 km, 2 hours, 20 minutes for the ascent of the pass). The summit of the pass is marked by a stone cairn. Return by the same route but beware, it is very steep in places. From Bannerman's Hut return by the same route to the hutted camp. (Round trip from hutted camp to Bannerman.s Hut and back 17 km, 71/2 hours).

No.11 The Injisuthi Valley from Bannerman's Hut
From Bannerman's Hut follow the contour path north to the Injisuthi River. A section of the path, for four ridges east of the Judge Pass, has not been cut, but a rough track joins the two sections of contour path. Over this short section the going is tough. Immediately after crossing a wide boulder-strewn stream bed there is an indistinct path up the pass. (Judge pass, it is seldom used). Continue along the contour path to the foot of Corner Pass. (Also seldom used.) From here continue on the contour path, crossing a stream on a tributary of the Umtshazana River, with a waterfall. A short distance further on, after having made a wide arc, one gets one's first view of Scaly Peak and The Lion. Continue on an arc towards the escarpment to a point just before the end of the path. From this point the whole Injisuthi valley can be viewed. In the distance are The Triplets, beyond which are The Lion, Scaly Peak and the Injisuthi buttress, the Ape, The Old Woman Grinding Corn, with Cathkin Peak in the far distance. Down in the valley the beautiful wooded slopes of the Injisuthi River valley are to be seen. Now return by the same route to Bannerman's Hut. (Round trip 23,2 km, 10 hours).

No.12 Giant's Hut to Bannerman's Hut via the Contour Path
When leaving Giant's Hut the contour path traverses the reserve at an altitude of about 2 260 m. It is a fairly easy walk along a wide path which only becomes a little rough when crossing the mountain streams. Above, towards the Drakensberg escarpment, are the following prominent peaks as they occur in order: Gable, South Ridge, with its two holes when seen from Giant's Hut, Eastern Gulley, Giant's Castle, Giant's Castle Pass, Long Wall, Katana, Kambula, Mount Durnford, Potterill, Bond, Erskine, Langalibalele Pass, The Thumb, Bannerman's Face, Bannerman's Pass, and Gypatus Point. Below stretch the foothills with prominent features like Oribi Ridge, World's View and the Chimney Pot. The total distance between the two huts is 18 km taking 6 hours.

No.13 Langalibalele Pass
Take the signposted path past the Main Caves to Langalibalele Pass. The path follows the left bank of the Bushman's River after passing the Main Caves. Continue along this route until reaching and crossing a rustic bridge. The path now crosses two streams and then ascends a steep ridge travelling along the spine to the contour path. Continue up from the contour path negotiating the steep incline to a stone cairn. Thereafter there are another three inclines which are short but steep. The path then continues up the ridge to the final stone cairn, then veers slightly to the left along level ground and gradually descends to the river crossing. You are now at the base of the actual Langalibalele Pass. Rest for a while and when ready cross the river and proceed up the left-hand bank. The path is clearly defined right up to the summit, however this last section to the summit is very steep in places and regular short breaks should be taken. When reaching the top of the pass look up to your left where the Carbineers grave is situated. To reach the grave (marked by a large stone cairn and an aluminium cross) veer to your left and continue up the rocky ridge, a further 3/4 of an hour walking. Return to the camp via the same route. (Round trip 26,8 km, 8 hours). N.B. The common grave contains the remains of troopers Erskine, Bond and Potterill together with two local Africans, Kambula and Katana. These five men fell during the engagement at the top of the pass during the Langalibalele Rebellion of 1873 -1874.

No.14 World's View
From the hutted camp follow the road to the picnic site. Take the path down to Bannerman's Bridge. After crossing the bridge take the path to the right at the sign reading "World's View". Climb a short hill and cross a small stream, from here on the footpath follows a long plateau, crossing another stream, very close to a large boulder on your right and a landslide on your left. The path splits at yet another huge rock where you take the lower path which leads to World's View. Ahead can be seen Sugar Loaf Hill. To the west, the main Drakensberg escarpment with The Thumb projecting above it, to the south is Langalibalele Pass and to the north of that Bannerman's Pass. Follow the path along the base of Sugar Loaf Hill and shortly after this the path peters out. From here walk straight ahead to the top of World's View, the view from the top is really worthwhile.The view of the whole escarpment from Giant's Castle to Champagne Castle is uninterrupted. Below you are the Umtshezana and Bushman's rivers. The Chimney Pot, very aptly named, is directly ahead. Follow the same route back to the hutted camp. (14 km, 4 1/2 hours).

No.15 Meander Hut via Beacon Ridge
Follow the same route as for "Bergview Walk" (No.6). After crossing the stream carry on up the path marked by a sign reading "Meander Hut" do not turn left at the Bergview sign. This track follows along the spine of two ridges which are fairly steep ascents. At the top of the second is a trig. beacon marking the altitude at 2 020 metres. The track descends to Meander Hut which is beautifully situated above the cliffs overlooking Meander Stream. On leaving the hut, climb the steep short hill behind the hut and on reaching the top follow the footpath below the beacon (do not climb the steep track back to the beacon) but continue along the path until it links up with a jeep track. Follow the jeep track until it reaches the main road, Turn left along the main road and return to the rest camp. (Round trip 14 km, 5 hours).

No.16 Meander Hut via Jeep Track
Follow the road out of the hutted camp past the Conservator's house until reaching a jeep track leading off to the right. Go past the staff quarters on your right and proceed along the jeep track climbing steeply through the sandstone cliffs, (concrete strips). Now follow along the jeep track ignoring a track leading off to the left, The route is clearly marked with signs reading "Meander Hut". The hut is beautifully situated above the cliffs overlooking Meander Valley. Return via the same route. (12 km, 4 1/2 hours).

No.17 Meander Hut to Skopongo Ridge (Airstrip)
A pleasant short walk from Meander Hut in an easterly direction along the jeep track ends on the airstrip. A walk to the end gives a beautiful view of the Ncibidwane River, Meander Stream, and Giant's Castle towering above the Drakensberg stretching away to the south-west. (Round trip back to Meander Hut 2,5 km, 1 hour).

No.18 Meander Hut to Giant's Hut via Lotheni Jeep Track
An old jeep track leaves Meander Hut and travels west to meet the Loteni jeep track. A very steep climb brings one to the trig. beacon on the spine of the ridge (2 020 m). The track then descends to the Lotheni jeep track. On reaching the Lotheni jeep track turn left and continue up a series of steep inclines until reaching the old Lammergeyer Hide donated by the Wildlife Society. A level path continues on to Giant's Hut (11,4 km, 4 hours). This route in reverse takes 3 1/2 hours. Giant's Hut to the hutted camp via the Lotheni jeep track is a distance of 11 km, 4 hours. Please note that the track is very often rough and stoney.

No.19 Bannerman's Path -Contour Path -Langalibalele Path
Take the route to Bannerman's Hut. (No.10). On reaching the contour path turn left and continue crossing several streams. To your left and towering above you is The Thumb and Langalibalele path (Marked by two stone cairns) turn left and proceed down the spine until eventually entering the Bushmans valley below. After crossing two streams (and a rustic bridge) the path continues back to the hutted camp below the main caves. (Round trip 15,6 km, 5 1/2 hours).

Game

Up until the early part of the 20th century animals would migrate into the mountains in summer when grazing was plentiful, and would move to warmer areas as winter approached. With the advent of farms and fences, however, this was no longer possible. As a result, game populations in the Ukhahlamba.

Drakensberg Park remain at a level that can be sustained by winter grazing. As part of the grassland management programme, large areas of the park are burnt annually to improve and maintain quality grasslands. Eland antelope and chacma baboons are commonly seen. Mountain Reedbuck are occassionally spotted. There is a "Vulture Restaurant" where one may watch the Bearded Vulture [Lammergeyer] as well as other raptors.

Giant's Castle Camp (Giants Castle Game Reserve)Giant's Castle Camp (Giants Castle Game Reserve)Giant's Castle Camp (Giants Castle Game Reserve)

Accolades

3 Star:Tourism Council of SA Star Grading
AA Quality assured:AA Guides quality assured

Facilities

Restaurant & Bar

Izimbali restaurant and bar provides guests with the option of fully catered meals in its warm and relaxed atmosphere.
A vulture hide allows unique birding in winter inclusively from May to September and the Main Caves Museum gives an insight into the past life of the San People.

Conference

Situated in the heart of the only "Game Reserve" in Natal outside of Zululand, the Rock Lodge Conference Center is one of the most unique conference centers in the country. It is a magnificent lodge built into a hillside over looking the Bushmans River with Giants Castle as a backdrop. The lodge incorporates the surrounding freestanding natural rock into its conference lounge wall.
Designed primarily to accommodate smaller conference groups of around 30 delegates in a horse shoe layout, the center can accommodate 60 delegates seated cinema style. Accommodation at Giants Castle can accommodate up to 120 people, and special rates are offered to organizations that take advantage of our "off" season May, June, and July period.
This executive conference & events centre is designed for “smaller” groups such as a board of directors - middle & upper management teams or for companies desiring a unique location to host their conferences - entertain their corporate guests or for an exciting team building location or exotic wedding location.

CAPACITY
Cinema style 60 / 70
Single U-shape / horse shoe 25
Boardroom 20

EQUIPMENT
Multi-Media Projector with XGA Resolution (1024 x768)
2X DVD Players/Stereo VCR/Tower computer
P4 with DVD/CD Rom burner /full Microsoft office suit.
Full graphics and digital edit suit available.

FACILITIES AT GIANT’S CASTLE
Izimbali (flowers) Restaurant
Curio shop
Bar Facilities with DSTV
Magnificent Mountain views from the restaurant sun

ACTIVITIES AVAILBLE AT GIANT’S CASTLE
15 kilometers of Trout fishing river
Walking & Hiking Trails- High altitude guided trails by special arrangement.
Guided cultural tours to local amaHlubi community.
Cultural Zulu dance and song events.
Champagne breakfasts, barbeques & Sundowners at the Lammergeyer hide (vulture restaurant)
Main Cave San rock art shelter with over 450 rock art paintings. 
Special Braai evenings at the Rock Lodge ( when not in use for conferences)
Organized trips to Kamberg “Pass Shelter”, regarded as one of finest rock art shelters in the world.

WEDDING INFORMATION
Our magnificent views and mountainous backdrops makes Giant’s Castle an ideal and unique venue for the “smaller” wedding (up to 80 guests) although we do offer special rates to those who book out the entire camp (120 guests).

CATERING REQUIRMENTS
Samples of suggested menus can be obtained from the conference centre manager, who will be only to happy to discuss various options to meet your personnel preferences and budget.

VENUE DETAILS
Venue fee R1000-00
Providing Giant’s Castle Izimbali restaurant does all of the catering we waiver the venue fee of R1000 and also provide the following at no extra charge.
Round tables that can seat up to 10 persons.
Rectangular tables that can seat 8 persons.
Square tables that seat combinations of 4 people upwards.
White table cloths.
White serviettes.
Crockery, cutlery and glassware.
Waiters & Barmen.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Rock Lodge is jointly managed by Entabeni Communications and KZN Wildlife. Our professional and motivated team will make every effort to ensure that any wedding, meeting or conference held at the Lodge will be a memorable event.

Contact Details:
Reservations
Tel: 086 127 6237
Int. Tel: +27 51 924 0585

Giant's Castle Camp (Giants Castle Game Reserve)Giant's Castle Camp (Giants Castle Game Reserve)Giant's Castle Camp (Giants Castle Game Reserve)