The Tugela-Vaal Water Scheme was started in 1969. It was the aim of the government to ensure that a large amount of water would be channeled yearly from the Tugela River and kept inland rather than it eventually finding its way into the Indian Ocean.
The building of the water scheme was a gigantic task, hundreds of South Africans as well as craftsmen from other countries worked on this project.
In order to accommodate the workers, ESCOM rented the property from Mr/Mrs Badenhorst for R300 a month and the town was built by a Portuguese firm. The town consist of 500 homesteads, single quaters with electric lighting, modern water and sewage systems a shop and school. Recreational areas such as a rugby field and a squash court were also provided.
The above-mentioned town was thus established in 1976 and the agricultural land was temporarily registered at a town - known as Drakensville. In the contract between Mr/Mrs Bandenhorst it stated that on the completion of the project everything above - and one meter below the ground had to be removed. The area had to be returned to agricultural land suitable for farming purposes. In the contract it also stated that should ESCOM wish to sell anything, Mr/Mrs Badendorst would have first option in buying.
The project was completed in 1984 and approximately 350 houses were dismantled, the remaining 150 houses were abandoned for 4 years and wrecked through vandalism. ESCOM then decided that it would not be profitable to breakdown 150 houses and restore the land back for use off farming. They sold the assets on the land JPM Investment Trust and JWM Investment Trust.
Mr/Mrs Badenhorst wanted to register the town as a retirement village, but the government did not grant permission due to the fact that it was situated to far from Medical facilities.
The Trustee's then decided to embark on a holiday resort and the houses which had been damaged beyond repair were demolished and the 70 remaining houses moved around to the specifications and requirements. The most expensive project was to distribute electricity in the resort - the cost came up to half a million rand. Drakensville is the only resort of its kind that utilized all the facilities and structures and turned it into an Environmental Establishment that it is today.
Drakensville Berg Resort was thus officially established in 1987 as a Holiday Resort.
ADMIRAL JOHN WESTON
Admiral John Weston was born in an ox-wagon near Vryheid in 1876. His father was a Scottish geologist and his mother was English. When he was 7 years old the Weston family moved to Somaliland where John's father was engaged in training the Somalis to fight slave trader Hammed Ben Mohammed.
The Weston family moved to America and when John as 12 year old his father died. He became a globe trotter and held a variety of jobs, such as being a cook, ship officer, coxswain, whaler, cod fisherman, marine engineer, diver, explorer and big game hunter.
He took part in nearly every war and fought in several revolutions in South America. In between he managed to qualify as both civil and electrical engineer.
He later had a business in Belgium and in 1895 he registered patents relating to arc lamps, dynamos and generators.
In 1904 John met Lily Roux, a teacher at Koffiefontein, who came from a well known Stellenbosch family. In August 1906 John decided to marry Lily and cycled 240 kilometers from Bultfontein to Koffiefontein for a marriage proposal.
She accepted and the two bicycled 160 kilometers to Bloemfontein. On their way they were caught in a thunder shower. Lily dressed in damp morning clothes and John dressed in wet Khaki breeches, were married by a magistrate in Bloemfontein.
John returned to South Africa and joined the Boer forces in 1902. After the Anglo Boer War he went to Russia to assist with the building of a railway line.
John published a booklet in 1903 stating the laws of mechanics, being immutable, dictates that the trajectories of all the atoms of the universe are determined to the end of times. He expounded the idea the the absolute or ultimate aim of things was to achieve and maintain equilibrium and that everything that promoted this was an aid to nature and therefore moral, which in turn brought maximum happiness.
During the First World War John Weston served in the British Navy wit distinction on many fronts as a balloonist and airplane pilot. He was transferred in 1910 to the newly formed Royal Air Force and was posted to Greece for a while where he was awarded the honorary rank of Rear Admiral in the Great Navy - a title he proudly used until his death.
It was said that he was one of the most famous master spies of that era and that he was a personal friend to Stalin, Chain and Kasi Shek, F.D Roosevelt, Churchhill and may others.
In June 1933 John Weston bought three farms adjoining Drakensville and the farms became known as "Admiralty's Estate" The homestead of the Estate was approximately two kilometers from Drakensville. In 1950 the Admiral and his wife were alone on their farm when robbers attacked them and murdered John Weston. The robbers were subsequently arrested and two of the three were sent to the gallows. John Weston was a "character"inventor, philosopher and had according to people who knew him well "an astonishing and sometimes embarrassing gift for silence"
The Geologists tell us that 200 million years ago desert conditions prevailed over most of South Africa north of Cape Fold Mountains and it was incredible quantities of windblown sand that formed the last sediments of the Karoo systems, called Cave Sandstone. Towards the end of this period a cataclysmic geological vent occurred - pushing molten magma up through the soft Karoo Sandstone to form basaltic lava up to a thickness of one kilometer over the SA area.
Today the Cave Sandstone band is a distinctive feature of the little berg. It provided the cave shelters for the San, which they decorated with their remarkable art. The basalt overlay has been weathered by time into the Drakensberg escarpment - with the mighty peaks forming uKhahlamba - the "Barrier of Spears" rising into the upland areas of Lesotho.
To mighty rivers rise close to the edge of the escarpment; the uThukela (Tugela) which rises at Mont Aux Sources on the Amphitheatre in the Northern Drakensberg and plunges 948 meters over the wall of the Amphitheatre in a series of sheer falls and cascades, (making it the second highest in the world), before the following across KwaZulu-Natal to empty into the Indian Ocean between Durban and Richards Bay. A few kilometers from Mont-Aux-Sources is the source of the mighty Orange river, which flows in the opposite direction to the uThukela - across Lesotho, the Free Sate and Northern Cape to empty into the Atlantic.
THE HUNTERS OF THE MIST...
The Foothills and the valleys of the Drakensberg are places where the grass grows rich and green and the San (Bushmen) it was the Garden Of Eden. In north facing caves that nature had eroded from the sand stone, with water close at hand and plentiful game to hunt, it must have suited the hunter gatherer lifestyle ideally.
Unfortunately this era was to come to and end with the arrival the pastoral Inguni tribes from the North followed by the white settlers with their cattle and firearms. The game that was vital to the San's survival was shot out - the San took raiding cattle and were considered vermin by the settler and ruthlessly hunted down. The San were pushed back further into the mountains. Eventually all that remained was the magnificent rock art decorating the walls of their sandstone shelters.
THE PEOPLE OF HEAVEN - THE AMAZULU
The Amazulu - the People of Heaven are descended from the Inguni people who lived in central and east Africa. The Zulu clan is descended from Zulu (Heaven, the second son of Malandela and Nozinja, who had moved south into Kwa-Zulu Natal during the 16th century. Kin Shaka eventually forged the descendents of Zulu into a proud and powerful nation - the AmaZulu.
THE STORY OF PIET RETIEF AND HIS TREKKERS
The increasing dissatisfaction with circumstances on the Eastern frontier of the Cape caused the Voortrekkers to decide to find alternative refuge. In 1883 three commissions of scout treks took place and this resulted in a number of other treks. E.g. those of Hendrik Potgieter and Gerrit Maritz, to the present day Thaba Nchu. Here Piet Retief joined them and took over leadership of the trek after setting the differences between Potgieter and Maritz. The Voortrekkers decided to settle in Natal and therefore moved eastward with 70 wagons, 450 people, about 18 700 head of cattle and a large number of horses and small stock.
On 18th July 1837 the Voortrekkers left the present day Winburg and trekked over what is today Senekal and Bethlehem. On the 2nd October 1837 the trek arrived in the vicinity of the farm "Tweevlei" about 3 km northwest of Kerkenberg.
In Erasmus Smit's diary she relates how he, on 4th October, saw Piet Retief and a company of 13 men and wagons prepare to depart to Port Natal and Mgungundlovo, to discuss the cession of land to the Voortrekkers. On 5th October this company left without Piet Retief and his son-in-law, P. Meyer. These two men departed on 6th October 1837 and joined the rest of the company in Natal.
Should you wish to purchase this booklet contact Drakensville Berg Resort.
An ancient African legend tells that when going into battle , the Zulu warriors of old would strike their cowhead shields with their spears as a show of force and courage. 'UKhalamba', describes the thunderous sound of the spears echoing off the mighty cliffs off the mountain.
Another colourful legend has it that after a Boer father and son reported seeing a dragon flying above the cloud- shrouded peaks, the mountains became knows as the Drakensberg, or 'Dragon's Mountains'
Drakensville, hailed as one of South Africa s premier resorts, is nestled at the foothills of the majestic Amphitheatre with a grand, panoramic view of the Northern Drakensberg range - an internationally recognized World Heritage Site. Peace, tranquillity and natural harmony are the keystones of the foundation of Drakensville Berg Resort. Upon arrival the tranquil gardens and breathtaking mountain views will leave you mesmerised and at one with nature. Drakensville is uniquely special. It s natural splendour, where the rising sun tinges the valley with its rays of pink, red and orange and where the captivating tapestry of African sounds, smells and colours inspires the mind and allows the soul to soar. You can always be comforted with the knowledge that Drakensville Berg Resort will continuously and without compromise, strive to deliver an unforgettable Drakensberg Experience.
ATKV Drakensville offers a wide range of accommodation. From self-catering units for two to spacious family houses for up to eight people, as well as luxury bed and breakfast rooms. All units are serviced daily and are comfortably furnished, fully equipped and have DSTV.
The caravan park boasts lovely lawns and well-kept ablution facilities and power points. Each stand has its own braai facility.
Different types of accommodation:
DirectionsDIRECTIONS TO ATKV-DRAKENSVILLE RESORT Ideally located and easily accessible, just ±350 km from Johannesburg, ±350 km from Bloemfontein and ±250 km from Durban. By prior arrangement, guests traveling by Intercity Coach can be collected at Montrose. FROM JOHANNESBURG (±3 - 3½ hours) Take the N3 to Durban. Take the second off-ramp from N3 at Harrismith - (Spur Village / BP Garage on right hand side) Bethlehem N5. Turn right towards Bethlehem (N5) and bypass Harrismith. Travel 4,5 km and turn left onto the R712 Qwa-Qwa / Phuthaditjhaba / Bergville Road - Alternative route to Durban. Travel a further 8,5 km and turn left onto the Bergville R74. ATKV-Drakensville is situated another 43 km at the bottom of the Oliviershoek Pass. At the first crossroad at the bottom of the pass turn left. (On your right will be the road to the Northern Berg Resorts). Travel 2 km and at the t-junction turn right. Turn right at the next stop sign. Travel another 2 km following the canal road until you reach a bridge, turn left over the bridge. 100 m further up the road ATKV-Drakensville entrance will be on your right. FROM DURBAN (±2½ hours) Take the N3 to Johannesburg. Turn off at the Colenso / Bergville R74 off-ramp. (This is the first off-ramp after the Estcourt Shell Ultra City). Turn left following the signs to Winterton. Travel through Winterton and Bergville to ATKV-Drakensville Resort. ATKV-Drakensville is situated 28 km from Bergville. Turn right at the road sign saying Bergville / Drakensville Koekeloer / Drakensville Environmental Centre and Jagersrust Township. Travel 8 km further, ATKV-Drakensville entrance will be on your left. FROM BLOEMFONTEIN (±3 - 3½ hours) Take the N1 from Bloemfontein. At Windburg take the Senekal N5 off-ramp towards Harrismith. Turn right onto the R712 Qwa-Qwa / Phuthaditjhaba / Bergville Road - Alternative rout to Durban. Travel a further 8,5 km and turn left onto the Bergville R74. ATKV-Drakensville is situated another 43 km at the bottom of the Oliviershoek Pass. At the first crossroad at the bottom of the pass turn left. (On your right will be the road to the Northern Berg Resorts). Travel 2 km and at the t-junction turn right. Turn right at the next stop sign. Travel another 2 km following the canal road until you reach a bridge, turn left over the bridge. 100 mm further up the road ATKV-Drakensville entrance will be on your right.