Situated in the Central Drakensberg, Oaklands Country Manor is the perfect place from which to explore some of the most dramatic and scenic parts of our country. Aside from the cycling routes beyond the estate, which will give you a bird’s-eye view of the indigenous fauna and flora (see Things to do at Oaklands), there are a number of day trips and activities on offer. Visit the towns of Van Reenen or Clarens; pop into Ardmore Guest Farm; join a Battlefield Tours group; or visit one of the game reserves in the area.
Ardmore Guest Farm arts & crafts
Ardmore is an internationally respected ceramic art studio where 50 local Zulu artists sculpt and paint beautiful pieces, some of which find their way into the world’s most famous collections. At Ardmore guests can also visit African Loom, a local weaving business, as well as view or purchase an impressive range of Amangwe beadwork.
Basotho Cultural Village
An hour and a half’s drive from Oaklands, the Basotho Cultural Village is nestled at the foot of a large sandstone mountain on the border of the Golden Gate National Park. Experience an indigenous South African tribal way of life , and observe traditional home building, food preparation, and cultural dancing.
Clarens is a quaint artists’ village less than 2 hours drive from Oaklands. Situated in the foothills of the Maluti Mountains it is within close proximity to the Golden Gate National Park and the mountain kingdom of Lesotho. Spend a day wandering through arts and crafts shops and galleries, and indulging in wholesome produce from local eateries.
Golden Gate National Park
The Golden Gate National park is famous for its extraordinary sandstone cliffs and a diversity of fauna and flora . Wildebeest, eland, springbok and zebra are some of the mammals which inhabit the reserve, while the rare bearded vulture and bald ibis are bird watching attractions.
Ingula Dam Nature Reserve
Ingula is a pumped storage hydroelectricity scheme being developed by Eskom which consists of two dams connected by underground waterways. Due for completion in 2012, the plant will have an estimated power capacity of 1332 MW. The area surrounding Ingula is a nature reserve with lush wetland
Ladysmith is surrounded by several major battle sites where skirmishes broke out during the First Boer War. Besieged for 118 days, Ladysmith is remembered as a key point in the struggle for Natal. The history of this dramatic period and subsequent events are preserved in the museums, monuments and architecture of what is now a small and picturesque town. Oaklands can recommend informative guided tours of Ladysmith and the battlefields.
The area surrounding Oaklands is great mountain cycling terrain with routes and trails suitable for all skill levels. From novices just starting out to serious riders looking for a challenge, all road cyclists and mountain bikers will enjoy a ride in our beautiful country setting.
Spioenkop is steeped in South African history and natural beauty. The battlefield is an easy 30km drive from Oaklands, with Spieonkop Dam a further 10km away. Discover how the brutal battle of Spioenkop unfolded during the First Boer War or, alternatively, spend a relaxing afternoon in the wilderness at Spioenkop Nature Reserve.
Sterkfontein Dam is the main attraction in a beautiful nature reserve, which is home to a variety of wild antelope and about 200 species of bird. The dam has some of the world’s best yellowtail fly fishing and is an ideal location for a variety of watersports, particularly sailing when conditions are good.
The Drakensberg is one of South Africa’s most magnificent natural features. Just an hour-and-a-half’s drive from Oaklands, the mountain range is a magical and breathtakingly beautiful phenomenon – a must-see for hikers and nature lovers.
The Natal Midlands
The Natal Midlands is one of the province’s most remarkably beautiful regions, prized for its rich natural splendour and charming, rustic atmosphere. Take a slow drive along the Midlands Meander, admire the breathtaking scenery, and pop into one of the several country farm stalls and arts-and-crafts studios.
This charming little town is a mere 7km from Oaklands (on the border of the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal). Visitors to Van Reenen can take their pick of several exciting outdoor activities or guided tours in the area. The town’s annual calendar features a number of events, from horse races and mountain-bike challenges to cultural festivals and drag hunting.