Witsieshoek Mountain Lodge

Phuthaditjhaba, Free State

Witsieshoek Mountain Lodge in South Africa is situated in the Northern Drakensberg Mountains at the foot of the magnificent Sentinel Peak. The lodge looks across to the Drakensberg Mountains Mont-Aux-Sources and Amphitheater, with endangered bearded vultures soaring overhead and the sound of Tugela Falls not far away. This beautiful mountainous area is home to a variety of landscapes, rich flora and fauna and some incredible Drakensberg accommodation in the heart of it all. Whatever your fancy, you’re sure to find plenty of ways to enjoy the real great outdoors while enjoying our accommodation at Witsieshoek Mountain Lodge.

The lodge offers affordable Drakensberg accommodation, ideal for families, hikers, large or small groups visiting the area. Whatever your choice of accommodation, expect to enjoy spectacular views on all sides of the lodge and comfortable beds to welcome you home from a long day exploring the incredible and wild surrounding scenery of the Northern Drakensberg.

 

Drakensberg Mountains Accommodation

Witsieshoek Mountain Lodge is situated at the base of the spectacular Sentinel Peak, offering peaceful and affordable Drakensberg Mountains Accommodation for families, hikers, large or small groups. Whatever your choice of accommodation, the mountain lodge boasts spectacular views on all sides and comfortable beds to welcome you home from a long day exploring the incredible and wild surrounding scenery of the Northern Drakensberg.

There are three kinds of accommodation available at the lodge: the cozy bungalows, the large   Sentinel Rooms that look out onto the majestic Sentinel Peak, with its constantly changing colours and contours, and a Hiker’s Cabin located just below the main reception area of the lodge that is perfect for backpackers on a tight budget. All accommodation is sold on a bed and breakfast basis, with a substantial buffet breakfast provided at the picturesque Restaurant.

All rooms are no smoking and there are no facilities for pets. 


Sentinel-facing rooms

With floor to ceiling windows across the mountain-facing walls, our renovated luxury Sentinel-facing rooms offer unrivalled views of the majestic and proud Sentinel Peak without even having to leave the comfort of your bed and are the finest accommodation that Witsieshoek has to offer, though still very reasonably priced.

Our large rooms have been finished with local stone and slate to help them blend into their mountain surroundings. There are eight rooms, each furnished with stylish Cape Pine furniture and leather armchairs; five rooms have extra length king size beds while three have extra length twin beds. In keeping with TFPD’s philosophy of supporting the local community, the walls are adorned with colourful artworks from local Qwa Qwa artist Gibson, and locally-made curtains and carpets also reflect the style and colours of the Batlokoa community.

Facilities

Each Sentinel Room is equipped with:

  • En-suite bathroom with basin, toilet and walk in shower
  • 2 x leather tub chairs
  • A writing desk and chair, luggage rack & waldrobe
  • Selection of toiletries
  • Coffee and tea facilities
  • Private patio facing Sentinel Peak
  • Wheelchair access
  • There are no self-catering facilities


Bungalows

The charming rondavel bungalows are Witsieshoek’s primary and longest-standing source of accommodation, modeled in the same fashion as the lodge’s main reception area, bar, lounge and restaurant, and characteristic of the lodge’s unique mountain style.

Witsieshoek has 5 large rondavel / bungalows dotted across the hill running up behind the lodge’s reception and restaurant area.  Newly refurbished, each rondavel has 6 single room units, each with an en suite with shower. Slate floors with locally woven rugs, wall heaters and new furnishings are included in these pleasant modern rooms.

Two of the rondawels have” double” doors between rooms so that families can book two connecting rooms, open the interleading doors, and make a family unit. Please indicate your requirement for interleading options when booking.

Facilities

Each Bungalow is equipped with:

  • Ensuite bathroom
  • Coffee and tea facilities
  • Space heaters and extra blankets


Hiker's Cabin

Opening some time in 2014, the quiet Hikers’ Cabin is the newest edition to Witsieshoek’s accommodation and is the perfect budget option for hiker’s and backpackers.

 

Drakensberg Hiking Accommodation

Opened in 2014, the quiet Backpackers’ Cabin is the newest edition to Witsieshoek’s accommodation and is the perfect budget option for hiker’s and Drakensberg backpackers.

 

Rooms

The cabin is situated against the hill just below the main reception area of the lodge and the front of the cabin faces out onto the vast expanse of valleys and dams below, as well as the sprawling town of Phuthaditjhaba, in the distance far below. This is a great spot to watch the sunrise above the early morning mist that covers the lower regions. The Cabin has six cozy rooms each with two twin beds. There are two spacious communal ablution blocks, one for women and one for men, and the space is heated with oil heating.

Facilities

  • Communal ablution blocks with showers
  • Oil heating

 

Central Facilities

The lodge’s central facilities include the lodge’s reception (where you can find pamphlets and maps for the area and its activities), an à la carte restaurant, lounge area and pub.  The restaurant provides a buffet breakfast (provided to guests as part of their tariff), tea-time treats, light lunches (packed lunches can also be pre-ordered) and substantial, home-cooked evening meals.

The glass-fronted restaurant also boasts plenty of morning sun and spectacular panoramic views and is a great place for spotting the endangered bearded vulture that are found in the area.  Complimentary tea and coffee is available all day for Lodge guests.  The comfortable lounge is dominated by a fireplace and large leather couches for cosy winter evenings, and a TV to watch that all-important game. The walls are adorned with local cloth and artwork.  The pub is well stocked and welcoming, and frequented by locals from the area as well as lodge guests.

Facilities include:

  • Fully-licensed a la carte restaurant
  • Cosy and well-stocked bar
  • Comfortable lounge with flatscreen TV, DSTV and fireplace
  • Reception area with a range of maps, pamphlets etc


Drakensberg Hiking Trails

This area incorporates portions of the natal Drakensberg and the Maluti Mountains and is dominated by the Amphitheatre, Sentinel, Eastern Buttress, Malutis round to Babagibona.

This fascinating mountain range rises approximately 3,475 meters and it extends itself for 1.125 km’ s parallel to the south-eastern coast of South Africa. For hikers, this means an almost endless wonder through rocky terrain with breath-taking views. Rock paintings have been found in the area dating back several thousands of years and are worth looking out for. For those with a little bit more experience, a hike to Sentinel Peak will see you at the highest free-standing peak in the Northern Drakensberg.

The main rivers are the Tugela, the Namahadi, the Mesti Matsho and the Mahai, which have numerous tributaries and to name but a few: The Vemvaan River & The Gudu River. All of these streams have many beautiful pools and waterfalls.

This area has some spectacular caves and in some of these are excellent Bushman’s paintings. The entry area is vast and includes some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.

All hiking trails have the option of to have a guide accompany you, the guide provides knowledge into the area and surrounding communities. Should you encounter shepards while hiking the guide has the ability to speak the local language and communicate with them.

 

Hiking Mont aux Sources:

This mountain range forms one of the highest portions of the Drakensberg Mountain range. Most of the range is located within Lesotho and it is accessible from the Sentinel car park near Witsieshoek. It is often described as a mountain block due to its irregular bulge-like shape. It was given its name by French missionaries during the 1830s. This is a challenging hike and some parts of the route involve short- chain ladders and very rugged terrain. The result of your efforts will be the view from the top which will literally take your breath away once more.

 

Important Notes:

The difference between summer and winter walking is “chalk and cheese”. In summer, dehydration and the heat can be dangerous, whilst in winter the cold and avoiding being “caught out” are the big hazards. Summer storms can also drop the temperature to below freezing, so ALWAYS carry anoraks. The time taken along the same path in summer is usually 20 to 25% longer than in winter. This is especially apparent when carrying a large “pack”; so when calculating the time with a pack, add a further 25%. The times quoted in the descriptions are all for cool weather.

 

Drakensberg Hiking Trails, Walks and Climbs

To assist the novice or the “first time” visitor to the Drakensberg hiking trails accessible from Witsieshoek, the climbs are listed with their respective time:

 

Amphitheatre/ Tugela Falls

This walk around the top is only a pleasure and one can spend hours exploring the many features of this area.

Time: 7hrs
Type: Climb
Grade: ***** An outing NOT to be missed!

 

Angel’s Cove & Waterfall

This walk can be done by anyone; it is one that has a magnificent solitude to it, in addition to wonderful scenery.

Time: 3.5hrs
Type: Walk
Grade: *A pleasant morning or afternoon outing.

 

Broome Hill/Cold Hill

This path follows the boundary fence of the Royal Natal Park, leading down to Broome Hill and Cold Ridge.

Time: 3.5hrs
Type: Climb
Grade: * A pleasant morning or afternoon outing.

 

Chain Ladder

This is one of the most scenic and rewarding of all hikes accessible to day visitors anywhere along the escarpment of the Drakensberg.

Time: All Day
Type: Walk/Climb
Grade: ***** An outing NOT to be missed!

 

Fika Patso Dam

This is the Fika Patso Trail and can be done via this “organized” trail, with the Witsieshoek Mountain Lodge.

Time: 5/7hrs
Type: Walk/Climb
Grade: *** A day’s outing; longish walk, long day.

 

Gorge

This is probably the most walked trail in the whole of the Drakensberg and it is still one of the most popular and most beautiful walks to do.

Time: All Day
Type: Walk
Grade: ***** An outing NOT to be missed!

 

Gudu Falls

This small valley has beautiful swimming pools, within 20 metres of the actual falls, with a lovely lunch area and one tends to relax too much, at this very picturesque spot.

Time: 6hrs
Type: Walk/Climb
Grade: ***** An outing NOT to be missed!

 

Mahai Falls Valley

This walk can be done by young and old, is one that has a magnificent solitude to it, in addition to wonderful scenery.

Time: 3hrs
Type: Walk/Climb
Grade: A pleasant morning or afternoon outing

 

Metsi Matsho Dam

A long walk, but can be achieved in a day for anyone who is reasonably fit.Rated 5 stars for the flora & fauna in this area.

Time: 9hrs
Type: Walk/Climb
Grade: *** A day’s outing; longish walk, long day.

 

Protea Pass

This is the return route from the Fika Ptso Trail.  The path is located along the road behind the Lodge.

Time: 3hrs
Type: Walk
Grade: * A pleasant morning or afternoon outing.

 

Sentinel Rope Climb

This is NOT a walk for novices, From the Car Park, one proceeds on the normal Amphitheatre route, until just before the Beacon Buttress Gully.

Time: 6hrs
Type: Rope Climb
Grade: *** A day’s outing; longish walk, long day.

 

The Sentinel Car Park

The road between Witsieshoek Mountain Lodge and the Car Park is well worth the little effort to walk.

Time: 3.5hrs
Type: Walk
Grade: * A pleasant morning or afternoon outing.

 

Activities in the Drakensberg

Hiking:
The area around Witsieshoek is a hiker’s paradise and must be added to your list of activities, with prominent parts of the Drakensberg easily accessible, including the intrepid journey from Sentinel Car Park, up the Chain Ladders to the escarpment and on to Tugela Falls and the source of the Tugela River.

 

Camping:
If you can think of a better venue to go camping in the wild, let us know. The Drakensberg boasts some of the best wild camping spots within South Africa and almost every one of them is home accompanied by amazing view.

 

Rock Climbing:
With an unpredictable climate and an assortment of rugged terrain and different graded peaks, the Drakensberg is a haven for serious mountaineers.

 

Bird Watching:
If birding is on your list of leisure activities, then the Drakensberg is a fantastic choice. Home to around 300 recorded bird species including the threatened Bearded Vulture and Lesser Kestrel.

 

Local arts, crafts, and culture:
For those interested in local crafts, the area abounds with wonderful crafters and artists.  Further afield, the Clarens area is easily accessible from Witsieshoek.

 

Rates:


Chalets:

  • Single - R1640.00 pp
  • Sharing – R1260.00 pp

 

Large Bungalow (Soutpansber)

  • Single – R1445.00pp
  • Sharing – R1110.00 pp

 

Standard Bungalows (Refurbished)

  • Single – R1295.00 pp
  • Sharing – R995.00 pp

 

Hikers Cabin:

  • Single – R870.00 pp
  • Sharing – R670.00 pp

 

Admin Fee:

  • R55.00 once off per reservation.

 

Community Development Levy:

A community development levy of 1% has been added to these rates for projects in the local community. The funds collected will be disbursed through the TFPD Foundation, in partnership with the local community, on social upliftment & educational projects.

Included: Bed & breakfast | Excluded: Gate & hiking fees, restaurant & bar bill, gratuities, community levy

Children rates: Under 3 years: free; Age 3-11: 30% of adult rate; Age 11-16: 50% of adult rate.

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Office Hours: Monday - Friday / 08:00 - 17:00.

We hike on Saturday, Sundays and Public Holidays.


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