The Cavern became our family home in 1941 when our grandparents moved from Richmond to the Drakensberg. They were to farm cattle for Judge Thrash but it soon became evident that the veld grasses were no good and that farming wasn’t really a viable option. My grandmother thought a Guest Farm was a better alternative and they took the risk and bought the land.
The early days were hard with my grandfather passing away in 1954 leaving her with 4 children, 3 tough, mischievous little boys and a quieter, more serene daughter. We have always held our Gogo Ruth in great admiration as she tackled life and its challenges to create a unique resort in the berg. Her dedication and hard-work meant that there was a business that her family could become involved with.
In the 1970’s, our dads, Peter and Anthony, took up the challenge of hospitality with their two very capable wives, Rhona & Jean. They grew it from a small guest farm to a thriving resort and by the 1980’s the Cavern was in full-swing! Holidays were about making new friends, hiking every mountain and ending each day with a little activity in the evening. It was good fun and a great space to grow up. We made amazing friends and have a wonderful bank of happy memories.
Our family consisted of 3 girls and a boy and our cousins were 3 girls. We were shipped off at an early age to boarding school which may explain why we have all come home to roost, bar one sister who claims she is the only one with a real job!
In 2000 a new opportunity presented itself and our cousins moved to Montusi Mountain Lodge and have since developed All Out Adventures. The Cavern remains at the top of the valley and we are pleased to still be able to call it home. It has 55 rooms and we continue to offer daily guided hikes and horse rides. There are a wide range of activities which include tennis, lawn bowls, swimming, trout fishing and we added a gorgeous Spa in 2007 ~ The Forest Retreat. It is a set amongst the tree tops of the indigenous Fern Forest and is a special spot to unwind and be revitalized. Our mission is to continue to offer family holidays in the great outdoors. We see the stresses of life melt away once folk have spent a few days in the hills. Walks are good for the soul and there can be nothing better for bonding with your family than to spend a day or three actively engaged in fun.
Our family have always tried to help our community but in 2006 we became more actively involved in assisting pre-schools in the Amazizi village. We created the Khanyisela Project and started Royal Drakensberg Primary. We live in an amazing country full of promise and sunshine but we have a fair number of issues that need addressing. We believe that the only way to uplift communities is through quality education and we see this as the road making a more positive impact on all of our futures.
During the month of February, midweek, all Winterton News Readers are welcome to a 20% discount at the Forest Retreat Spa. No matter where life happens, we all need a little unwinding & revitalising at times!
Megan Carte Bedingham
This article originally appeared in the Winterton news February 2015.