I love the mountains. And the best South Africa has to offer is the Drakensberg. (Dutch for Dragon’s Mountain!) It’s a massive range that cuts through Southern Africa’s eastern escarpment for 1000km.
Fact: The highest point is Thabana Ntlenyana in Lesotho. A whopping 3482 meter peak.
The town of Winterton is a great base to explore the central Berg. Positioned at the foothills of 2 impressive peaks, Champagne Castle and Cathedral Peak, it’s the place to stay if you are looking for some high altitude adrenalin.
Disclaimer: Don’t let the name fool you. Winterton seldom sees snow. Winter sports are best left to Europe. In Africa we hike, golf and drink beer!
I am a big fan of activities. I enjoy relaxing too. But after a day of chilling I need stimulation. Cue Drakensberg Scootours. 5km of downhill, off-road madness. It’s time to tame the Dragon!
My adventure began with a 31km road trip south from Winterton towards the The Dragon Peak Resort on the R600. Interestingly they share an entrance with the Drakensberg Boys Choir.
There was no need to book ahead as it was an off-peak mid-week morning. Say that 3 times quickly! They have daily scheduled tours but visit their website for booking info
For R450 ($30) my wife & I had the ride of our life. The scooters were loaded onto the back of a trailer and hauled up the Dragon for our cruise down. They may not have engines but they are fueled by gravity and sweat.
I started my descent gently so that I could find my balance. And I was soiling my pants! Stopping is a dream! These Swiss made scooters have disc brakes which brings the biggest of passengers to a halt faster than you can say face plant!
After the first ‘boring’ beginner section I was ready for some speed. Or so I thought. The track then meanders down the side of the Dragon – on a cliff edge! Really! One false move and you’re buzzard bait. This was not the time to throw caution to the wind.
The feeling as you race over the rugged path is pure exhilaration. The views are fleeting as you eye the apex of the next corner. But it’s not all extreme.
Midway I entered a forested section complete with wooden bridges over mountain streams. There were a few uphill sections I needed to push. I was regretting that large buffet breakfast!
The final stretch back to the resort is where the past 4km’s experience comes into play. If you’ve ever watched “Eddie the Eagle” starring Hugh Jackman it’s like that. A ski jump finish! I reckon I clocked 60km/h before I reached the run-off below.
Did I tame the Dragon? Probably not! The idea is not to race. Unless you want to. I took my time coming down. From beginning to end the scootour lasted 90 minutes. If you’ve got a small brain and wings maybe 20 minutes!
What I loved about scootouring is that it’s everything friendly. Eco, fat, unfit, heavy, skinny, child. You name it and it is that-friendly!