Mary Clover’s Cottage Weekend

18/19 November 2000


This was an extra weekend activity arranged at fairly short notice due to Adrian’s scheduled Zulu Cave weekend having to be postponed to the following week.

Mary’s cottage is situated in the Cathkin / Monks Cowl area, above and north west of the Drakensberg Boys Choir (6 km from Dragon Peaks) and 140 km from Howick.

The cottage is reached via a small dirt track which could be difficult to find without proper instructions so Mary kindly provided us with a copy of her own marked-up map.

The Saturday forecast for Pietermaritzburg was 32oC as Margaret and I set off from Howick in reasonable weather which steadily deteriorated as we headed for the Berg.   By the time we reached Dragon Peaks to pick up Merle and her son Andrew it was very misty and absolutely pouring down with rain.


A normal car is not recommended for the last 6km but a bakkie with good ground clearance would have no problems (unless it was a day like we encountered).   I was pleased to be in our new 4x4, however I did not engage 4-wheel drive and made it to the cottage without any problems, although the mud was a bit tricky on the steeper uphill sections.


It was still pouring down as Mary and her two lovely dogs greeted us at the cottage, so we first relaxed with some tea next to the inviting log fire in the lounge.   Then I assisted Mary with some necessary odd jobs before we set off for a walk in the rain. (Andrew stayed behind to study for his exams).   Even in the rain this is a beautiful area with beautiful streams and wild flowers.


Campbell and Lorraine were also due to arrive in their 4x4 but there was still no sign of them when we returned from our walk.   We later discovered that although they must have got close they could not find the cottage, so you can imagine the state of the pouring rain and mist.   Sorry Campbell and Lorraine that you missed the luxury of Mary’s Cottage.


After a good evening meal and some drinks next to the fire we all had a good sleep. What a pleasure to be in the wilds of the Berg in such luxury.


After breakfast on Sunday morning we all set off towards the contour path and then headed in a north-westerly direction towards Jacob’s ladder.   On the way we admired the magnificent scenery, wild flowers and abundant bird life.   Andrew turned back to carry on with his studies – what dedication!   We stayed for a while at Van Damms Cascades and clambered up the side of the lovely waterfalls.   The weather was still not too good but we still enjoyed the walk, returning to the cottage for a nice lunch before we set off home.


Thanks again Mary for your hospitality and making us so comfortable in your cottage. It must be brilliant in good weather.   I can certainly recommend other club members to join the next visit to such a good venue.


Keith Ashton