We speak isiZulu, and music and dancing are a big part of our lives, especially at celebrations…
The tour of Hambrook village is special for me, as this is where I grew up. It’s about five miles from the Lodge and a world apart. We speak isiZulu, and music and dancing are a big part of our lives, especially at celebrations and funerals. My colleagues tell me that on a still night they can hear the beat of our drums from the lodge.
Getting to Hambrook village through the Champagne Valley is a wonderful day out. The valley lies between Cathkin Peak and Champagne Castle and there’s a lot to see and do here. The Drakensberg is known as the ‘adventure centre’ of South Africa. From hot-air ballooning and zip-lining to trail walking, mountain biking and heli-flips, there is always something going on.
One of the most popular stops with our guests is the visit to the Falcon Ridge Bird of Prey centre, where birds include raptors rehabilitated from injury. It’s amazing to see these birds fly over the Drakensberg. The handlers are very passionate, and their displays give visitors a real appreciation for birds of prey, as well as an insight into falconry. Next door is the Dragon Rock Reptile Centre, where children get to touch all sorts of creepy crawlies.
At Hambrook we first make a stop first at the pre-school, which is sponsored by the Three Tree Hill Foundation. We have some modern housing alongside traditional beehive houses made of cow dung and mud and covered with indigenous grasses, and rondavels, made from mud bricks and topped with a domed roof. Families tend to stay living together, so it’s very multi-generational. I’ve got four siblings, several nieces and nephews, and two children that all live with me.
We visit the spaza (tuck shop) and I take our guests into my parents’ home and show them where we prepare food and cook and eat and explain how we build and ventilate them. I explain how we manage without running water and they’re usually surprised to see that most of us have televisions.
During term time the Drakensberg Boys Choir put on concerts. They’re known as ‘South Africa’s Singing Ambassadors’ and their repertoire ranges from Bach and Beethoven to Ed Sheeran, traditional African and jazz. It’s a real highlight of this cultural day out.
Your journey will start with one of our UK team – someone like Laura, who's travelled extensively in South Africa. They’ll shape your ideas into the trip of a lifetime. But they won't do it alone. They'll draw on the expertise of our contacts on the ground, connecting you to the people who'll make your holiday one you'll always remember - ex banker who can show you the hottest foodie spots in Cape Town, the award-winning young sommelier who can introduce you to Stellenbosch's finest wines and the walking safari ranger who can guide you to the best game.
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