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Set amongst the majestic Drakensberg range in KwaZulu-Natal Province, Champagne Castle is a peak with an altitude of 3376m. Champagne Castle is South Africa’s 3rd highest peak, and a popular climbing route.It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In 1861, two adventurous climbers, David Gray and Major Grantham, accompanied by a guide, first climbed Champagne Castle peak. The story goes that to celebrate the event, a bottle of champagne was brought out at the summit and accidentally dropped against a rock. The two decided to christen the peak Champagne Castle.
Champagne Castle is a nature lover’s paradise with scenic and challenging hiking and walking routes up to the peak. You can admire the commanding panoramic vistas. Mountain bike trails and horse riding paths below wind through scenic forests traversing crystal clear streams.
Things to do
The number of amazing attractions around Champagne Castle are many. You could do a helicopter flip over the massive Tugela Falls, the foreboding Amphitheatre wall with chain ladders to assist climbers, the Devil’s Tooth spire and the thickly-wooded Hlatikulu Forest.This will give you an idea of the natural beauty surrounding the Drakensberg.
A 10-hour hike will get you to the peak of Champagne Castle and the opportunity to watch the endangered bearded vulture soaring along thermal winds directly below you.
Opt for a guided hike to Battle Cave to view the rock art depicting the scene of a battle that took place here between San groups, South Africa’s first nation. Some of the art is 4000 years old.
The Champagne Castle Adventure Centre has a multitude of activities ranging from zip lining to white water tubing.
Where to Eat
Dragon's Rest Restaurant in the Dragon’s Peak Park offers excellent value meals, look out for their regular specials. Pleasant ambience, cozy up to the fire on chilly evenings. Bookings are essential on Wednesdays when the Drakensberg Boys Choir performances take place.
Pop in at the Friar Tuck Restaurant on the Monks Cowl Golf Resort for a quick meal off their diverse menu. Dishes range from tasty thin crust pizzas to flavoursome bunny chows (half loaf of white bread hollowed out and filled with curry).
If you are in the Winterton area, stop at the Black Scabbard Portuguese Bistro for a truly authentic Portuguese dish that has patrons returning regularly.
The silence surrounding you in the mountains tames the spirit and brings peace to mind and body. While here, spend the evenings over a locally produced bottle of wine, enjoying good conversation and a well cooked meal.
Where to Stay
Fully equipped lodges and self-catering units with an abundance of onsite activities is available for your stay at Champagne Castle.
Air The nearest airport is King Shaka International Airport in Durban, 225km from Champagne Castle. Flights into OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg will leave you with a 410km drive.
Car Rental agencies operate in most large cities. Collect a vehicle from the airport or you could order a rental online.
Taxi There are no taxi services in the region, however, several tour operators offer shuttle services from the main centres to Champagne Castle.
Did you know?
The Drakensberg Boys Choir School was established here in 1954 and is located in the Dragon Peaks Park. The school is world famous for their choir group made up of scholars with the most virtuous of voices. Concerts are held every Wednesday evening during school terms.
Ice Climbing is the new extreme sport during winter and Kloofing is popular in summer. Kloofing involves either jumping or abseiling into deep rock pools along a route with no going back!