MIN CHARGE: 4 ADULTS
Giants Castle – Drakensberg – Southern Drakensberg Accommodation
Giants Castle Main Camp Accommodation and facilities
Although all accommodation at Giants Castle camp is equipped for self-catering, the Izimbali restaurant and bar provide guests with the option of fully catered meals in its warm and relaxed atmosphere. The restaurant has wonderful views over the surrounding countryside.
The shop at Giants Castle Camp is stocked with curios as well as a range of supplies commonly found useful. Most accommodation chalets have fantastic views over the mountain, however, some are in a quiet garden-like setting.
The weather is subject to change at short notice and hikers must be well equipped as it can get extremely cold. Hikers must also fill in their details in the Mountain Rescue Register before proceeding on a hike. There is no malaria risk.
Walks, hikes, trails, and activities in the Giants Castle Game Reserve
There are magnificently laid out day walks from all the major camps, the self-guided Giants Cup Hiking Trail and a fabulous wealth of rock art sites to rival any in the world. From a gentle amble along a self-guided trail or peacefully fly fishing in a river or dam, experiences extend to the rigors of rock-climbing for those with a taste for the high adventures of life.
I highly recommend the half-hour gentle walk up to the main cave and the bushman museum (entrance fee applicable, payable at Giants Castle camp). A guided interpretation of the museum is available every hour on the hour between 09h00 and 15h00 and gives a fascinating insight into the lives of the Bushman (San) people. The Main Caves Bushman Museum is a half hour walk from the camp.
There is a vulture hide which is now quite famous for often providing fantastic sightings in the winter months.
A host of other pastimes includes birdwatching, swimming in the rock pools, photography or simply reveling in the clear mountain air while you take in the breathtaking vistas around you. From time to time, and for a variety of reasons, footpaths may be closed to the public. Your co-operation in only using the walks which are available would be appreciated.
Giants Castle contains many species of wild game. the most famous being eland. caracal. baboon and mountain reedbuck. The area is also famous for vulture sightings. the most sought after being the rare bearded vulture.
SUMMARY OF ACTIVITIES
Prehistoric Rock Art
There is a large sandstone cave containing prehistoric San rock art. This is one of the biggest and best preserved painted sites in southern Africa. This cave is an easy 30-minute walk from the camp office and regular guided tours are taken through this unique exhibition from 09h00 to 15h00 daily for a small fee.
There is a variety of self-guided day walks through the lower parts of the park throughout the year, weather permitting. Routes are available from the camp office.
Over 170 known species of birds, including many raptors such as Bearded Vulture and Black Eagle.
The Lammergeyer Hide
Offers excellent viewing of raptors from May to September – limited availability so booking through the Camp Office is essential.
Limited to parts of the Bushman’s River below the drinking water in-take for Giants Camp. (Summer months only).
Mainly Eland and other species of antelope, baboons, also some smaller mammals such as rock hyrax (dassie) and serval. Best sightings are in the winter months, but good throughout the year.
Giant’s Castle Game Reserve
Giants Castle Battle CavesHome of the Eland and the majestic bearded vulture. lies in the Central Berg region of the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park. which is now a World Heritage Site. Giant’s Castle camp is situated on a grassy plateau among the deep valleys running down from the face of the High Drakensberg. offering glorious views for hikers and mountain climbers. The area is steeped in history. and superb rock art is high among its special attractions. The renowned vulture restaurant is open in winter for visitors to watch bearded vultures and other endangered species feeding. Guests longing for more insight into the Giants Castle history can visit the Main Caves Museum for fascinating insights into the past lifestyle of the San people.
Giants Castle Bearded Vulture LammergeyerAt Giants Castle reserve. there is a large sandstone cave containing prehistoric San rock art. This cave is one of the biggest and best preserved painted sites in southern Africa. This cave is an easy 30-minute walk from the camp office and regular guided tours are taken through this unique exhibition from 09h00 to 15h00 daily for a small fee. A visit to Giant’s Castle offers the privilege of entering the world of the San as well as the opportunity to study a varied and exciting range of habitats. The San Art Museum (“Main Cave”) is a gentle 30-minute walk from the main camp while the grasslands. marshy areas (vleis). indigenous forests and many other energy flow ecosystems are easily accessible.
Game populations in the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park are kept at a level that can be sustained by winter grazing because with neighboring farms and fences. the wildlife is no longer able to migrate into lower more plentiful lands. As part of the grassland management programme. large areas of the park are burnt annually to improve and maintain quality grasslands. Eland antelope and chacma baboons are commonly seen. Mountain Reedbuck and the rare caracal are occasionally spotted. There is a “Vulture Restaurant” where one may watch the Bearded Vulture [Lammergeyer] as well as other raptors.
History Of The Region
Giants Castle San ExhibitThe Drakensberg was once inhabited by the San people. formerly known as the Bushmen. They were hunters and gatherers who lived in caves and other suitable dwellings. They have left us many of their paintings on the sandstone cliffs and cave walls. depicting their way of life and the various animals and people they encountered. In due course. the Amazizi. a tribe of the Nguni race arrived. and occupied the river valleys and approaches to the Drakensberg mountains. They were pastoralists and agriculturalists. while the San people never tilled the soil or kept cattle. As there was no clash of interests. there was peace between the San and the Amazizi.
In the early 1800’s due to a series of events in Zululand. the Amazizi were attacked by the Amangwane. The Amazizi sought refuge in the mountains which were occupied by the San people and they clashed. probably over cattle. The Amahlubi moved into the valleys now vacated by the Amazizi but they. in turn. were still fighting the Amangwane. The Amahlubi were thus forced into the mountains just as the Amazizi had been. For ten years the wars raged until the Amangwane eventually settled in the valleys. having disposed of the Amazizi and the Amahlubi. Four years later The Zulu King Shaka’s troops attacked the Amangwane who fled westwards into the mountains.
After this period of slaughter and destruction. relative peace returned to the Drakensberg mountains and the survivors of the various tribes came down from the mountains and re-established themselves in the river valleys. This alleviated the pressure on the San people who had been badly affected by these wars. Respire was brief as within ten years the arrival of the Voortrekkers and the English settlers led to further troubles. The clash over hunting grounds. private ownership of land. and the arrival of cattle led to increasing numbers of cattle raids by the San people. Eventually, the situation became so bad that the San themselves were hunted and decimated by the settlers.
In 1849. due to the failure of various attempts to prevent the cattle raids. a series of buffer “native locations” were established between the settlers and the Drakensberg mountains. For some years thereafter. raids. particularly in the Bushman’s River area near Giant’s Castle. ceased almost entirely. A brief resurgence in cattle raids followed in the late 1850’s through to the 1870’s after which the raids fell off sharply.The last sighting of San people in the Drakensberg mountains was in the early 1880’s
During the end of 1873 and the beginning of 1874. Giant’s Castle became internationally known as the site of the Langalibalele Rebellion. For some months a detachment of the 75th Regiment of the 1st Gordon Highlanders was encamped just below the Main Caves at the junction of the Bushman’s River and the Two Dassie stream which rises in the Langalibalele Pass. The cook of the detachment carved the figure 75 on a very large sandstone boulder which can be seen to this day.
Policies of Giants Castle Camp
Amenities of Giants Castle Camp
- Bird Watching
- Conservation area
- Free Parking
- Hiking-Self Guided
- Mountain views
- Pets not allowed
- Walks self guided
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Giants Castle - Frequently Asked Questions
The road to giants Castle is tarred, however, you may encounter a few potholes and a normal sedan is suitable during normal weather conditions. If there are heavy rains it is very important to not cross bridges if water is flowing over the bridge and guests must wait for the water to subside.
No, guests must either buy firewood from the gift shop or en-route to Giants Castle.
No, guests need to supply their own coffee, sugar, milk, and tea.
No, if guests require double beds, they need to request a double bed when making their online reservation.
Room numbers can be requested, but not guaranteed.
Room keys can be collected at the entrance gate before 22h00
An early check-in is only possible if housekeeping has finished cleaning your room by the time you arrive.
Entrance gate closes at 22h00.
Yes, rates include complimentary breakfast.
It is advisable to book and pay for dinners on arrival as it cost substantially more to book ahead of time.
Yes, the restaurant is open 7 days a week for lunch.
The signal is poor and is best at the reception desk area.
No, Giants Castle does its best to offer uninterrupted views.
No, guests will have to arrange their own transport.
08h00 - 16h00 (daily)
All chalets have fully equipped kitchens and all linen. bedding and towels are provided.
No. Guests are welcome to swim in the rock pools which can be found in the nearby streams and river.
Not great as you are surrounded by mountains. The best signal will be at the reception office.
No, Pets are not permitted in the reserve.
No, as there is no guarantee that you will arrive.
Thendele is a parastatal (partly funded by the state) and all accommodation is exempt from VAT.
Yes, credit card payment gateway link will be emailed with your attached invoice once we have blocked the accommodation in your name.
Things to Do
Giants Castle Walks
SHORT WALKS MainCaves Museum Round trip 3,5 km or 3 hours Col. Durnford’s Camp & “Rock 75” Approximately 1 km Grysbuck Bush Round trip 8 km, 3 ½ hours River Walk (1) Roundtrip 3 km, 1 ½ hours River Walk (2) Roundtrip 4,5 km, 2 hours Champagne Pools Round trip 3 km, 1 hour BergviewMORE