We stayed in amphitheater backpackers for one week. My tip is to rent a car if you are an avid hiker and make some friends to help split the cost of petrol. If you have a car you can also check out close restaurants, cathedral peak and the gorge which they charge you to drop you off and pick you up at a certain time which can make you feel rushed.
The facilities are awesome and the sunrises and sunsets are picturesque. We were in the dorm which were resonably priced and the beds were so comfortable!
If you are dropped off by the baz bus and no one told you beforehand to pick up your own food you are indeed trapped into buying food at the restaurant.( the shop is not within walking distance while carrying groceries) While the breakfast and lunch menus have enough choices for people on a budget there is only one choice for dinner. A 3 course meal from a "5" star chef. The food was average for the cost and the portions were quite small. It is like a very good cafeteria meal. I have done a lot of eating out in South Africa and have had much better meals for that price or even cheaper. If they had a menu with normal dishes for people who wanted to opt out of the 3 course meal that would be nice.
The price for the hiking trips are around $55 for the Tuelga Falls trip which I found expensive. You get a sandwich which costs maybe $3 and then the price of petrol.
We told Adrian that we really wanted to do the Cathedral peak hike but you needed a minimum of 3 people and we were only 2. So he said he would ask groups as they came in if anyone was interested and he would find us a third member. As it turned out another girl had said she wanted to go and he never relayed back to us that we now had a group and could go. Luckily we made a friends with that girl and a guy with a car so we got a group together to go to cathedral peak. When we approached Adrian asking for a map of the hiking route he did all he could to deter us from going saying it was too difficult without a guide and we needed to do it in a tour. We went anyway and bought a map at the office near the bottom of the peak. It was a tough hike but for EXPERIENCED hikers who know how to read a map it was doable. The scrambling part of the climb was tough but you can do it if you follow the foot trials you can spot where to scramble. So we ended up saving a lot of money as we found friends with cars we ventured out and around our selves. There are some really great restaurants nearby (driving distance, not walkable)
We stayed in the silos which were converted to dorms and found that when it rained very hard the roof leaked. Not sure if they have fixed that or not.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The venue is really amazing. The lodge is found on a stunning 300 hectares of land near the foot of the Amphitheatre (Royal Natal National Park) and Cathedral Peak. The Mpande River weaves through the lands. There are buck, small mammals and a fantastic array of wild birds near the 2 dams and a picture postcard view from the lawn, a 360 degree panorama that takes in the entire Northern range from the Amphitheatre all the way to Cathkin Peak. The lodge is a base from which you can explore different sections and all the highlights of the Drakensberg Park each day. Built from stone, thatch and wood, the place is like an artist's sculpture with stained glass, metal and wooden carvings, mosaics and beautiful indigenous rockeries. ... more less