Giant’s Castle Rest Camps rocky surroundings

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‘As I child I was scared of quite a few things. Mostly things in my imagination,’ writes Jess Nicholson.

 

Image by Melanie van Zyl

 

My son sometimes suffers from the same affliction. Together we have tackled sensitive issues such as: the feelings of cars when they get crashed into (the downside of too many cartoon cars with endearing personalities), wolves, witches and, currently, millipedes. Neither of us, however, has ever been afraid of giants. I think this is because we have been regularly going to the Drakensberg since I was in utero – notably to Giant’s Castle. I remember the aha moment when my mother, probably for the 49th time, pointed and explained which part of the long line of mountains was the ‘giant’.

 

Image by Melanie van Zyl

 

Once you see him, he’ll be there forever: content, peaceful, reliable – unchanged by clouds or cold snow or harsh sun. Just happily lying on his back, toes up against his castle. The view of him and his massive rocky surrounds is, as nature is, a relief. From the rest camp at Giant’s Castle, apart from this view, there are lots of walks and hikes, short and long, both towards the giant and away: from easy strolls to the main cave, decorated in wall-to-wall San art, to overnight hikes along the top of the ridge. Once you are on the contour path, you can walk flat along the edge of the ridge forever. Or, to get higher views from the very top, the Langalibelele hike that starts at the camp will get you (and your children) to the top of the Drakensberg and back within a day.

 

Image by Melanie van Zyl

Do it

For the best views of the giant, opt for a mountain-view chalet (from R1 260 for two people) rather than one in the garden. Larger family chalets with four to six beds cost from R2 520. All have fireplaces and kitchenettes. Although the camp is self-catering, there is a restaurant and breakfast is included. Luxurious Rock Lodge (from R2 800 per person) is a bit more secluded, and a resident chef will prepare your meals if you supply the food.