We wanted a long-weekend out of the city for some down time. Monks Cowl in the Drakensberg has been a favourite of ours for many years before we owned a dog.
Coming from Ballito it is a relatively easy drive on the N2 and N3. Quite a lot of construction on the freeway at the time which may cause delays. Obligatory stop at Linga-Lapa in Nottingham Road for a coffee and to let the pooch stretch his legs. They have a large grass field full of smells and excitement.
We were lucky enough to get accommodation at a private cottage in walking distance to the Parks Board gate. We will have to update this with some other accommodation options soon.
Things to do
For us an easy hike through the mountains to the Sphinx has always been out go-to activity. Naively we thought this would be a great option but on the drive from home we realised pets may be not allowed in the Parks Board and a quick Google search confirmed this. On our first morning we decided to walk to the Parks Board gate just to have a look and on appraoching a game ranger told us quite sternly that dogs are not allowed. Fair game and he was only doing his job but message received. That unfortunately left our morning walks to the main tar road that runs down the valley. Still beautiful and quiet but not optimal.
We loved going to the Valley Bakery to buy some pastries etc and have a coffee and breakfast. We didn't attempt to take our pooch out the car but admittedly did not ask if we could. The parking lot us covered with large generation old tress providing ample shade for a coolish mid-morning Drakensberg. The place was buzzing so we didnt want to risk a lead tripping up a waitron. There are walking/running trails from the bakery which i'm sure we could have used if we were a little more proactive.
There were a few other venues we tried to go to for a light meal but it was very hot and there wasn't seating in shade outside so it was either sit in the sun or inside and leave our dog in the car which obviously was not an option.
It was still a great holiday and break but we unfortunately felt that having a dog with us make us have to compromise on a few things. If you can find the right accommodation and are happy to spend your days there relaxing then this may be worth looking at.