Bergville – A Delightful Treasure of the Drakensberg
If you’re travelling to the Northern Drakensberg you will no doubt venture through the small town of Bergville at some stage. Known as the ‘gateway to the Northern Drakensberg’, this small but scenic town is situated on the banks of the Tugela River – right in the shadow of the dramatic Drakensberg Mountains. The village was originally established in 1897 and it has since proved to be pivotal to trade in the area – especially amongst locals. This well-positioned little town was laid originally laid out by a retired sea captain and much of the initial gridwork and buildings still exist today.
Despite its size, Bergville is a hub of activity. There is an office of the Drakensberg Publicity Association in the city centre and the town is surrounded by cattle ranching and dairy farmers who come here to sell their goods and look for help from farming co-operatives. In fact, Bergville it is the commercial centre for the district and local cattle sales are held in Bergville on the third Friday of every month. More often, however, it is crossed by people who are venturing into the mountains of the Northern Drakensberg since the town is less than 50 kilometers from the Amphitheatre of the Royal Natal National park.
If you are planning a trip through Bergville en route to the Amphitheatre, don’t forget to make a quick stop at the blockhouse. This national monument was built by the British at the onset of the Anglo-Boer War. Today it is the only surviving blockhouse in KwaZulu Natal and it can be found in the grounds of the Courthouse. Another must-see stop is the Thandanani, a Zulu handicraft centre where you can get anything from beadwork to baskets at great prices. It is situated roughly halfway between the Royal Natal National Park and Bergville and gives visitors the opportunity to interact with local crafters.
There are a number of other activities which can be enjoyed in and around Bergville. The Spioenkop Dam is part of a beautiful resort where you can spot a variety of animals and birds. The rivers in the area are well stocked with trout so fishermen can enjoy themselves. There are also a number of examples of san rock art in the area as well as a number of parks and reserves which you can visit for a great Drakensberg experience. So visit Bergville the next time you head towards the Drakensburg and enjoy this little South African treasure.