Drakensberg is a wild area of the central South African plateau, where you can find a vast amount of activities to immerse yourself in this ancient landscape.
Whether you want a relaxing week in the sunshine and countryside, or ana action-packed adventure filled with adrenaline, Drakensberg has something for you!
With so much on offer, it can be quite overwhelming when trying to decide where to stay in Drakensberg.
But with our easy, step-by-step guide, you’ll find the best areas to stay in Drakensberg to meet your interests and budget!
Without further ado, here’s our guide to where to stay in Drakensberg, South Africa.
Quick Tips: Where to Stay in Drakensberg
- Where to stay in Drakensberg for your first time: Cathkin Park
- Where to stay in Drakensberg on a budget: Underberg
- Coolest place to stay in Drakensberg: Winterton
- Where to stay in Drakensberg for families: Royal Natal National Park
- Take your hikes to a whole new level with Umphafa Berg Tours.
- If you love wildlife, then head down to the Dragon Rock Reptile Centre!
- Interested in ancient art? Then why not go on a San Rock Art painting tour?
Looking for a specific stay? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Drakensberg…
Best Hostel in Drakensberg: Sani Lodge Backpackers
This is a hostel like no other. Created way back in 1922, this hostel has had plenty of time to ensure that its standards are higher than all the rest! Not only has it got luxurious features like an outdoor pool, but it also environmentally conscious. The owners have made an active effort to conserve water and energy and recycle well! So if you want luxury whilst also being a friend to the planet, this is the best hostel in Drakensberg!VIEW ON HOSTELWORLD
Best Airbnb in Drakensberg: Karoo Ridge Cottage
For a truly authentic, rustic stay, look no further than this enchanting cottage! It is an eco-lodge designed to be friendly to the environment but without infringing on your luxury!
The furnishings are simple and tasteful and you can come here with all the family or a large group of friends as there is plenty of room!VIEW ON AIRBNB
Best Hotel in Drakensberg: Moorcroft Manor Boutique Country Hotel
This exquisite hotel is in the tranquil and undisturbed neighbourhood of Underberg. With outstanding grounds and large spacious rooms, each with their own spectacular view, you won’t want to stay anywhere else!
There’s a beautiful garden where you can enjoy some South Africa wine from the hotel’s own cellar, and a lovely restaurant where you can try some Drakensberg delicacies!VIEW ON BOOKING.COM
Quick Summary: The Best Places to Stay in Drakensberg
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Royal Natal National Park
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With so much history, culture and scenery to enjoy, Drakensberg is one of the best places to visit in South Africa!
Make sure you know as much as possible before visiting Drakensberg. Use our hiking in the Drakensberg to gain valuable information and to travel like a pro!
Drakensberg’s Top 4 Neighborhoods to Stay In
Drakensberg is on the easternmost point of the Great Escarpment, which is an area of outstanding natural beauty on the central Southern African plateau. This is a vast landscape made up of glorious mountains, stunning valleys and gorgeous little villages scattered across it. It crosses borders between South Africa and Lesotho, making it an amazing place to visit as you get to experience two different cultures!
If you’re looking for bustling cities, this certainly isn’t the place for you. But the amazing scenery and breath-taking views will make up for the lack of skyscrapers – this area has a different kind of skyline! Surrounded by magnificent mountains, this is the perfect place to visit if you like being outdoors and going on adventures!
The wildlife here is also something to boast about. There are 300 bird species here and so many other typical safari animals! You can also engage with the animals. If you stay in our budget area of Underberg, you can visit one of the biggest bird sanctuaries in the area and get to know the cranes, or if you stay in our favourite neighbourhood, Cathkin Park you can see the wonderful scenery on horseback!
Family adventures are easy to find here, especially if you stay near the Royal Natal National Park, which is our best place to stay in Drakensberg for families. No matter what age you are, you can find something to suit your tastes and still be a part of the action! The culture here is also truly fascinating. You can immerse yourself in village life and get to know more about South African delicacies- including of course, world-famous South African wines!
Roads may be scarce but there are plenty of local companies who will be willing to guide you around this vast landscape! If you’re travelling here from afar, the nearest airport is Matsaile Airport!
Cathkin Park is the most visited area of Drakensberg and is definitely the best place to visit if you’ve never been here before. You can enjoy the local wildlife and see everything this area has to offer, by foot, on a bike, or even from a hot air balloon!
The culture, nature and history are all so easily accessed from this neighbourhood and the accommodation is fantastic – what more could you want?
Things to See and Do in Cathkin Park
– Fancy getting active and seeing the incredible sights around you? Why not hire a mountain bike and head out on one of Cathkin Park’s amazing trails? They vary depending on your ability and are a great way to see the countryside!
– Not keen on wheels? That’s no problem, there’s equivalent trails available for hikers too!
– If you love wildlife, then head down to the Dragon Rock Reptile Centre! The perfect place to meet these cold-blooded creatures native to the area!
– Take your hikes to a whole new level with Umphafa Berg Tours. On these tours, you could go an overnight hike and eat traditional emails in ancient villages along the way!
– Interested in ancient art? Then why not go on a San Rock Art painting tour? This ancient landscape is full of rock art which is hundreds of years old. Be shown around these fascinating sites and have a go yourself!
– The best way to see this spectacular scenery is definitely from the air and the perfect place to achieve this is Hot Air Ballooning SA! Hop into a hot air balloon and gaze over the breath-taking Champagne Valley!
Best Airbnb in Cathkin Park: Rivendell
Right in the heart of the mountains, you’ll find this aptly named oasis – Rivendell! There is a spacious communal kitchen and dining area, with picture windows to enjoy the fabulous panoramic views which surround this cottage!
There are three en-suite bedrooms with access to the patio where you can enjoy a BBQ in the hot sun!VIEW ON AIRBNB
Best Hotel in Cathkin Park: The Nest Drakensberg Hotel
This lovely hotel has all the luxury you could wish for without the hefty price tag! Just a 15-minute drive away from some of Cathkin Park’s top attractions, this hotel’s location is fantastic and the scenery from your bedroom will be stunning!
There’s a complimentary breakfast, outdoor pool and terrace!VIEW ON BOOKING.COM
Best Luxury Hotel in Cathkin Park: Drakensberg Sun
This hotel is luxury at its finest! You can tell just how popular this hotel is by the number of great reviews it has received from its customers! It is tastefully and warmly decorated to reflect its stunning surroundings and there are some great facilities to make use of! You simply won’t want to leave!VIEW ON BOOKING.COM
To the southern end of the Drakensberg Park is Underberg. It’s a small town right at the bottom of the valley, and slightly more secluded, making it the cheaper option if you’re travelling on a budget or backpacking South Africa!
But this doesn’t mean you’ll miss out on anything! In fact, you’re probably more likely to see some of Drakensberg’s rarer sights as there are less people around! There’s so many animal sanctuaries and opportunities to see wildlife, so if you’re a nature lover, Underberg is the place for you!
Things to See and Do in Underberg
– Head slightly north to The Crane Centre and Sanctuary, which holds all three species of southern African crane! Guided tours are available for an up-close look at these magnificent birds!
– Sani Pass Tours can take you on brilliant and expertly-planned day trips and tours across the border into Lesotho!
– Take a day trip east to Fort Nottingham. Here you’ll find a fascinating museum and a small village with cute cafes and a rustic atmosphere!
– To see some truly beautiful scenery, head to the quirkily named Giant’s Cup Wilderness Reserve. If you’re patient, you’ll see some of South Africa’s most tremendous wildlife, as well as some breath-taking scenery across lakes and up mountains!
Best Hostel in Underberg: Khotso Lodge & Horse Trails
This hostel, as you may have guessed from the name, is famous for its spectacular horse trails every day, leading you across the border and into Lesotho. On top of this fantastic opportunity, the hostel itself is luxurious, offering a range of rooms all different sizes depending on your party size!VIEW ON HOSTELWORLD
Best Airbnb in Underberg: The Studio
This is a bright and spacious cottage with gorgeous views across the Drakensberg Champagne Valley. There’s a lovely garden where you can enjoy breakfast or a chilled drink in the evening after a hard day of exploring!
Partially powered by solar energy, this studio is the perfect place to stay if you want to be friendly to the environment!VIEW ON AIRBNB
Best Hotel in Underberg: Malachite Manor
This hotel is as luxurious as it is large, with beautifully decorated rooms overlooking the fantastic grounds here. Features include a complimentary breakfast, an indoor pool and a wonderful restaurant! You’ll be really close to the town of Underberg and its outstanding surroundings, so this is a great base for your adventures here!VIEW ON BOOKING.COM
Winterton is the perfect place to stay if you’re looking for cool, unique experiences. To the north of Drakensberg , but not too close to the tourist hub, this area has the perfect balance of busy and relaxed.
Whether you just want to sit back and enjoy the South African countryside or immerse yourself in the local culture, both are readily available here!
Things to See and Do in Winterton
– One of South Africa’s most famous and most profitable outputs it wine, and the best place to experience this in the Cathedral Peak Wine Estate! You can taste all the wines and have a light lunch while you’re enjoying the grapes!
– Fancy a bit of adventure? Head to Four Rivers Rafting and Adventures, where you can enjoy a variety of activities! Zoom about on a Quadbike, team-building and even murder mystery dinners!
– Fancy seeing a bit of amazing wildlife? Head to Falcon Ridge bird of prey centre, where you’ll see loads of rehabilitated predators taking to the skies!
– The Ushaka Horsetrails will give you yet another way of exploring this amazing landscape – by horseback! These four-legged friends will show you around this amazing area, with beautiful views down the valley!
Best Airbnb in Winterton: Starling Cottage
If you want an authentic stay in a traditional thatched cottage, head to Starling Cottage for the ultimate South African experience! Fishing and birdwatching are on offer here, so it’s great if you want to get up close to some amazing wildlife.
If you want to crack on with exploring, you can have your meals made for you upon request. There’s also loads of great walks direct from the house!VIEW ON AIRBNB
Best Hotel in Winterton: Winterton Country Lodge at Rose Cottage
Tucked away amidst the mountainous countryside is this delightful hotel. There is a swimming pool where you can relax and bask in the sunshine while sipping on a glass of South African wine!
The rooms are large and spacious and there’s free self-parking so you can use it as a base for drives across the plains!VIEW ON BOOKING.COM
Best Luxury Hotel in Winterton: Three Tree Hill
With an express check-in, self-parking and dry cleaning services this hotel is super convenient. But that’s not what it is known for. It is the peak of luxury in Winterton!
There’s a complimentary breakfast, outdoor pool and loads of lovely communal areas, making this hotel feel more like a mini village than a resort!VIEW ON BOOKING.COM
A holiday in South African is the perfect place for a family to bond and spend some quality time together. And Drakensberg is no exception. We recommend the Royal Natal National Park area as the best place to stay in Drakensberg for families!
There are so many adventures to go on in this area, whether you’re looking for adrenaline or a slightly more relaxing activity, like pony trekking. You’ll find activities to suit all generations of the family, without missing out on the amazing scenery around you!
Things to See and Do in Royal Natal National Park
– To get a true feel for village life in this area of South Africa, look no further than Wowzulu Mazizini! Get a guided walk around the village, a lesson in weaving, or even a tractor ride up the side of a mountain!
– Take the kids to meet some new friends at The Northern Horse! This is a unique equine experience, where you can climb mountains, forge rivers and gallop across plains all on the back of a friendly horse!
– For a real fun-filled day for all the family, head to All Out Adventures! It’s the perfect place to get your adrenaline running, whilst simultaneously taking in the amazing scenery! There’s paintballing, zip-wires, a bungee jump and so much more on offer here!
– If you head slightly east of the Royal Natal National Park, you’ll find the stunning Woodstock Dam reservoir, upon which you’ll also find Banana Bridge. This is the perfect place to get some fantastic views across the lake, as well as get up close to the water!
Best Airbnb in Royal Natal National Park: Macfarlane’s Country Retreat
This large and secluded family home is the perfect place to get away and spend some quality time together as a family. Right on the water’s edge of a spectacular lake, you’ll find the perfect balance of tranquillity and the opportunity to do some great activities!
There’s a variety of room sizes and large kitchen/diner for those special family evenings together!VIEW ON AIRBNB
Best Hotel in Royal Natal National Park: Drakensberg Mountain Retreat
Nestled in the splendour of the Drakensberg mountains is this wonderful hotel. Perfect for all the family there’s an indoor pool, games room with a snooker table and a wonderful restaurant serving up all sorts of tasty treats.
This is the perfect place to stay in the Royal Natal National Park area if you want luxury without breaking the bank!VIEW ON BOOKING.COM
Best Luxury Hotel in Royal Natal National Park: Alpine Health Resort
This village-like hotel will give your family the privacy you need whilst also allowing you to be part of a mini-community! You’ll have your own private areas as well as access to the communal pool, restaurant and games rooms!
If you want to truly relax and enjoy your surroundings, this is the place for you!VIEW ON BOOKING.COM
Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Drakensberg
Fabulous scenery, all kinds of activities and a whole host of culture and history to learn about. It comes as no surprise that Drakensberg is the perfect place to visit for all ages!
To recap: Cathkin Park is the best place to stay in Drakensberg for your first time – the perfect place to go on adventures and see the surroundings!
To recap: for a bit of a treat, why not stay at Moorcroft Manor Boutique Country Hotel? It’s the best place to stay in Drakensberg for the chance to relax whilst still making the most of your surroundings!
If you are travelling on a budget, then we recommend Sani Lodge Backpackers – comfortable and convenient!
Have we missed anything? Let us know in the comments below! Otherwise, enjoy your travels!
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