In the heart of pristine Drakensberg wilderness lies the Cavern Resort & Spa. On a secluded swath of untouched mountain, this resort doesn’t just look at the beautiful Drakensberg but immerses you in the mountains themselves. It is an absolute haven for both nature lovers and families alike and this year the resort celebrates an impressive 81 years of ‘many happy returns’.
We recently paid the Cavern a visit to see just exactly what has travellers coming back to this mountain retreat time and time again.
Activities for all to enjoy
You don’t actually need to leave the Cavern to enjoy a wealth of activities in the Berg. The resort is home to a sparkling swimming pool with kiddies’ slides, tennis courts, bowls lawns, trampolines, and multiple jungle gyms while horse trails and pony rides are on offer at an additional cost. Also, the resort offers a choice of two hikes every morning including a more strenuous adventure for the fit and a shorter walk for families. What we loved is that the resort’s location high up in the mountains means that even the short walks put you up onto the plateau offering gorgeous views of the expansive Drakensberg.
In the evenings or for rainy days, quiz nights, bingo, wine tastings and movies are the order of the day. For those looking for even more thrills the nearby All Out Adventures also offers mountain bike trails, zip lines, paintball, quad bikes, a kid’s zone with bungee, trampolines and more.
Rest and relaxation
If you’re not so keen on a holiday that’s go, go, go all day, then you’ve come to the right place. Just as much as days at the Cavern revolve around enjoying the great outdoors, they are also centered around appreciating lazy meals and enjoying an escape from busy daily life.
The onsite spa is a haven for anyone looking to relax with manicures, pedicures, facials, massages, body wraps and a range of other treatments all on offer. While the resort does have a decent internet connection, it is limited to the main lounge, conference room, and games room, to allow busy dads, working moms, social-media frenzied grannies, and connected teens, the chance to put the phones away and just enjoy time spent with those most important people in their lives.
Family at its core
The Cavern property was once a private home and when the property was first founded in 1941 it is family values on which it was built. While the property has evolved quite a bit since those humble beginnings, having been handed down through three generations, its rich family legacy continues.
Sitting in the kid’s club talking to a new dad we later discovered he is in fact part of the owning family. And it is this laid back, loving, boots-on-the-ground ownership that is evident in every detail at the resort. You can tell the team really loves what they do and their guests. This is in turn reflected in their repeat visitors, just one look at the majority of visitors seated in the dining room gave us a glimpse of grandparents, parents, and children that clearly had been returning for memorable vacations year after year.
The food, glorious food
Come to Cavern for the mountains but stay for the food. The accommodation rate here includes three meals a day, as well as morning and afternoon tea. In the day, a buffet lunch spread of countless salads and hot meals provides the perfect sustenance after a morning hike while packed lunches can also be arranged for those on the go.
And in the evening a table d’hôte menu provides a more romantic atmosphere. The portions are small but delicious and for the mega hungry you can decide to order another starter or even an extra main if you desire. Ice creams, cakes, and cheese platters provide a sweet ending to each meal.
Mom and dad time
As part of the staff complement at the Cavern you will find a gaggle of trained nannies. These nannies are on hand for your kids in the kid’s club. While children’s meals are served early in this area you are encouraged to leave your kids in their capable hands while you go off to enjoy your own food in peace – a rare blessing for most moms and dads. And if you’re looking for a nightcap while your older ones enjoy the TV lounge or game’s room, we discovered that the cave bar with its underground wine cellar and roaring fireplace is the best place to be.