KwaZulu Natal DestinationsVan Reenen, Drakensberg
Van Reenen’s Pass, a sweeping pass renowned for its slippery and precarious roads (particularly as a result of the frequent misty conditions), and some of the most gorgeous views, is the main route through the Drakensberg Mountains connecting Jo-burg and Durban with Van Reenen, a little town perched on the high summit of the Pass, between Harrismith and Ladysmith on the N3.
Van Reenen has a history steeped in the Anglo-Boer War, and a lookout point, called Windy Corner, about 3 kilometres out of town with views over the mountains and lower lying regions - virtually all that there is to the town’s credit, apart from the Llandaff Oratory - a small chapel with only eight seats built by a father in memory of his son, and ostensibly the smallest Roman Catholic church in the world.
South Africans and travellers alike pass through this part of the world on the way to somewhere, and seldom stop to appreciate the unique mountainous area, the Battlefields Route sprawled out in the valley below filled with a unique charm, arts and crafts, hiking trails and Zulu culture.
If you’ve ever stopped on an early morning trip to or from Johannesburg - most South Africans stop at the bottom of Van Reenan’s Pass at some point to refuel as it is regarded as the halfway mark - then you can appreciate the cool mornings, peppered with moist clouds and the sharp smell of petrol. Add a bitter coffee and a soggy toasted sandwich to the mix and nostalgia is born.