09 Jan Loteni Nature Reserve – a true mountain escape
Not many people know about the beautiful parks board gem called Loteni Nature Reserve. It is an absolutely beautiful camp set right in the Drakensberg mountains with majestic views of the various mountain peaks and the river winding down through the valley.
We grew up going on holidays to Loteni spending many hours hiking up the various trails and swimming in the amazing crystal clear berg pools. I hadn’t visited Loteni in over a decade and so we decided this December holiday to return back to this special spot, and it was even more beautiful than I remembered.
Loteni Nature Reserve is situated in a valley among the steep slopes of the foothills of the Southern Drakensberg. The landscape is characterized by rugged scenery and beautiful waterfalls. The Loteni River flows right through the middle of the Loteni Nature Reserve. It is roughly 80kms from Giant’s View Estate, as the crow flies, but takes 1.5 hours to get there due to the bumpy roads. The roads aren’t too bad and the trip there is a very scenic journey. Make sure you take a car that has enough clearance to manage on dirt roads.
Loteni has various self-catering chalets as well as a wonderful camp site with a setting to beat. There is also an amazing 10 sleeper cottage called Simes Cottage which is situated next to a picturesque trout dam, stocked for the exclusive use of Simes Cottage guests. The cottages are fairly basic but is the perfect opportunity to enjoy the simple things in life and get away from the noise of technology. It’s so great to have children skimming rocks in the rivers and fly fishing rather than being entertained by loads of organized activities and devices.
There are lots of awesome outdoor activities to get involved in while staying at the reserve including game-viewing, self-guided walks, swimming (in the rivers), fishing and day or overnight hiking. At the camp there is also a small children’s playground and a wonderful flat lawn to play soccer or cricket on.
There are various walks and hiking trails available to suit all ages, from 2km walks to 23km overnight hikes. We decided to do the Jacob’s Ladder walk as a family. It was a fairly easy walk which the kiddies could easily manage. The walk winds all the way up a stream, and a lot of fun is had crossing the stream various times along the way. The trail ends at the top of the stream with a beautiful cascading waterfall. There is also wonderful pool at the top, providing the perfect spot for a picnic or a chilly swim on a hot summer’s day.
There are loads of incredible spots for afternoon sundowners which lend themselves to the consumption of various glasses of top-class wines. Braais and outdoor brunches are a must to gaze upon the dreamy views while enjoying extended meals. All the chalets have their own unique views so you can wake up and have your coffee while enjoying the spectacular mountains from the comfort of your own bed!
For an authentic Berg experience in a beautiful setting then be sure to book your next holiday at Loteni Nature Reserve. It is a relaxing holiday for all where you can really slow down, breathe in the clear mountain air and enjoy the simple things in life. The best part about this spot is that there is absolutely no cell phone signal so is a true escape from the chaos of city living.