There’s little to compare to when it comes to watching a sunrise or sunset on a wintery day in KZN’s Drakensberg. Although it may seem like winter is wrapping up at the moment, we still have one more month and, historically, a cold snap to go before a sweaty summer comes home. With this in mind, a lot of us subrbanites use this season to flock to the mountains and the midlands for cozy weekends away, and to try to experience the novelty of a cold winter not really in existence closer to the beach.
If you have sprogs or just want a relaxed weekend away, this is where a place like Monk’s Cowl hits the mark. The resort is flanked by the Berg in the distance, and is centered around relaxed and fun family-focused activities. There’s a little lake, with surrounding cottages, with the newer chalets on the periphery. The landscape, with the plateaued mountains in the background, is beautiful.
A few of us were invited along to spend the night at the resort and play around. And some poor misguided soul allowed us access to the golf carts. We gleefully discovered that there’s plenty of space for taking those things on a wild ride (at a lip-flappingly fast speed of about 20km per hour) and one or two spots for a little bit of ambitious ramping. Which, if Monk’s Cowl people are reading this, we definitely did not do. No, sir.
We spent the time investigating the expansive resort by cart and on foot, armed with cameras or golf clubs. It’s a place where kids of all ages, even ones that drive, can enjoy themselves. And for the avid shutterbug, there are some spectacular scenes to shoot. The sun rising over the lake or slipping beneath the escarpment in the evening imbues the sky with an amber and orange pallet that you just don’t get anywhere outside of the Berg.
As far as facilities go, there’s swimming pools, putt-putt, golf, an a la carte restaurant and pub. And what is possibly the province’s best chilli sauce. You have to trust me on this. Guests and locals come armed with containers and purchase the sauce on its own. Bring your Tupperwares and make sure you get some before leaving. I regrettably polished off my little tub but next time I’m bringing a bucket. Possibly two.
There’s quiet nooks and benches to escape to and admire the scenery. The rooms are comfortable and the service is very friendly. The food is unpretentious comfort home cooking, with a few good restaurants to explore nearby. The restaurant and bar have generators but when we were there, the rooms were affected by loadshedding, so pack a torch and a portable phone charger just in case. It’s a great spot for a getaway with family and friends. And fellow golf cart racers. Ahem.