Witsieshoek Mountain Lodge
The Drakensberg really does have it all. Breath- taking scenery, views for days and an abundance of indigenous wildlife. This coupled with a wealth of places to stay and relax and you are met with the perfect outdoor destination. Witsieshoek Mountain Lodge was built during the 1970’s originally as a state enterprise; however the first stone hut was built by Batlokoa Chief Wessels as a place for backpackers during the 1950’s. In the mid- 90’s, the lodge was gradually handed over to the current King of the local Batlokoa community and made a community asset by the state in 2000.
Today Transfrontier Park Destinations (TFPD) manages Witsieshoek along with the surrounding land and tourism activities on behalf of the Batlokoa community. The majority of the lodge’s workforce as well as the bulk of its revenue remains within the Batlokoa community.
The lodge is situated at the base of the Drakensberg’s spectacular Sentinel Peak. It offers the perfect setting for backpackers, families and hiking groups to cool down and unwind. Whatever your choice of accommodation is, the lodge boasts spectacular views on all sides:
Bungalows- the oldest accommodation type at Witsieshoek and currently undergoing renovations which will turn them into 6 single units and 24 units in total. Renovations are expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2014. They are uniquely charismatic and distinctive giving them a classic mountain style.
Chalets- with some of the best views available via floor to ceiling windows, the chalets offer a luxurious stay at very reasonable rates. Eight rooms are finished off with local stone and slate, while the walls are nicely finished off with colourful artworks from the local Qwa Qwa artist Gibson.
Hikers’ Cabin- Set to open in 2014, the Hiker’s Cabin offers the perfect budget option for backpackers and hikers. Six comfortable rooms with superb views of the vast valley and dams below complete the experience.
What to Do
Witsieshoek offers a fantastic outdoor experience. Activities include hiking, camping, rock climbing, bird watching and exploring the arts, crafts and culture the area has to offer.
Hiking- the area surrounding Witsieshoek is a Hiker’s dream. We have 12 hikes, walks and climbs to choose from which range from a leisurely stroll, to steep accents and rope climbs. The area comprises of rocky terrain, rock paintings, and nearly endless views. A hike to Sentinel Peak will see you at the highest free- standing peak in the Central Drakensberg.
Camping- the perfect spot for a camping adventure. Spend the night at the summit of Sentinel Peak or along the bank of the Dosewallips River. Or perhaps the idea of an old hiker’s hut along the top of Sentinel peak near Tugela Falls will appeal to you. There are also numerous caves to be found on the way up which will provide good shelter for the night.
Rock climbing- with more cliff faces per square kilometre than in any other part of Africa, the Drakensberg was built for climbers and mountaineers! The terrain can be a challenge as the rock is often crumbly and the best holds are often the small patches of grass protruding from the rock face. The rock-face however does improve the higher you get (as well as the views). There are a number of popular climbing routes to test all climbers.
Bird- watching- over 300 bird species have been recorded in the area making it a birders paradise. Numerous micro- habits mean that the Drakensberg makes up about 37% of all the non- marine avian species to be found within Southern Africa. Some of the species are found nowhere else in the world.
Witsieshoek is an attractive getaway location and perfect for those who enjoy a subtle retreat, a bit of adventure and a relaxed atmosphere.