Welcome to Royal Natal(Thendele and Mahai)

Thendele Resort, one of the most beautiful, popular and scenic resorts, has the distinction of being the closest of the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife resorts to the high Drakensberg escarpment.

The resort nestles below colourful sandstone cliffs close to forests of rare yellowwood trees and stretches of Protea savannah. It provides easy and quick access to some of the most splendid mountain hikes, trails and scenic settings in Africa.

It is located close to the foot of the massive and iconic Amphitheatre flanked by the Sentinel and the Eastern Buttress.

The ribbon-like Tugela Falls, headwaters of KwaZulu-Natal’s biggest river, is the 2nd highest waterfall in the world, and is a stunning backdrop to any picnic.

Royal Natal Accommodation

  • 2 bed chalet – Lower Camp (self-catering)

    Fully equipped with an open plan bedroom and living area, separate kitchen and bathroom.

  • 2 bed chalet – Upper Camp (self-catering)

    Fully equipped with an open plan lounge and kitchen, separate bedroom and bathroom.

  • 4 bed chalet – Lower Camp (self-catering)

    Fully equipped with an open plan living area, separate kitchen, two bedrooms and a bathroom.

  • 4 bed chalet – Upper Camp (self-catering)

    Fully equipped with an open plan living area, separate kitchen, two bedrooms and a bathroom.

  • 6 bed Thendele Lodge

    Secluded fully equipped, self-catering lodge that comprises of a lounge, dining room, kitchen and three en-suite bedrooms. A cook is in attendance.

  • Mahai Campsite

    Mahai campsite caters for up to 400 campers and caravanners. There are ablution blocks with hot and cold water, a communal wash area. There are 44 campsites with plug points and 40 without plug points.


  • Kitchenette
  • Ironing board
  • Catering services
  • Beachfront
  • Hotspots
  • Exhibition/convention floor
  • Restaurant
  • Room service - full menu
  • Courtyard
  • Lounges/bars
  • Laundry/Valet service
  • Airport Shuttle Service
  • Complimentary breakfast
  • Valet cleaning
  • Car hire


Free! WiFi is available in all areas and is free of charge.


Private parking is possible at a location nearby (reservation is not needed) and costs USD 28.80 per day.

Activities Royal Natal

Walks and Hike

  • The main attraction of the Park is the mountain scenery, which is best seen from the many kilometers of hiking and bridle paths.

  • Please enquire at the Office for details and maps of these walks.

  • Wildlife abounds, but is not very apparent except in the very early mornings.

  • The bird and plant life is best studied on walks.

  • A summary of the walks is included in this Service Directory.

  • Mountaineering

  • The Park has many well-known peaks and climbing routes.

  • Anyone intending to proceed to the top of the Berg or to undertake any of the more difficult climbs must first obtain permission from the Officer-in-Charge of the Park and fill in the mountain Rescue Register.

  • Picnicking

  • Roadside picnic and parking areas are available for the use of day visitors and fires may be lit in designated fireplaces.

  • Visitors are encouraged to get away from their cars and into the hills, but fires are not permitted there.

  • All rubbish, of whatever kind, must be carried back for disposal.

  • Horse Riding

  • Horse riding is available from Rugged Glen.

  • Please enquire at reception with regards to the fees payable and to make bookings or contact the Rugged Glen Stables directly on 036 - 438 6422.

  • Times and durations of the rides available are as follows:

  • 09:00 - 15:00Full Day Ride

  • 09:00 -12:00 & 14:00 - 17:003 Hour Rides

  • 10:00 - 12:00 & 14:00 - 16:002 Hour Rides

  • 09:15 & 13:15Pony Rides for children

  • Swimming

  • Swimming and paddling in the rivers and streams is safe from bilharzia, and a very popular activity.

  • Drinking water for the main developed area is drawn from the Mahai stream above the campground, so do not swim in the Mahai between the intake weir and the Tiger Falls/Gudu Bush path.

  • Similarly, swimming is not permitted in the Vemvaan River above the Thendele or in any of the dams.

  • Trout fishing

  • Trout fishing is available. Permits can be obtained from the Visitor’s Centre.

  • The closed season for the river extends from 1 June to 31 August.

  • The dam is open throughout the year, unless otherwise notified.

  • Please note that Rugged Glen dam is now part of a conservation project that is aimed at conserving the KZN Yellowfish (Barbus natalensis) and the endemic Tugela Labeo (Labeo rubromaculatus).

  • In view of this, fishing on this dam is on a “catch and release” basis only which will be strictly enforced.

  • Only flyfishing tackle may be used and we encourage the use of barbless hooks.

  • Permits to fish in this dam are only available from the Rugged Glen stables office.

  • Out and About

  • There are various Hotels and establishments adjacent to the Park where one can go and eat out.

  • Reservations should be made telephonically for meals at the following restaurants.

  • Orion Mont-aux Source Hotel036 - 438 8000Dress:Smart Casual

    Hlalanathi Restaurant036 - 438 6308Dress:Smart Casual

    Pizza Tower036 - 438 6480Dress:Casual

    Tuva Lodge036 - 438 6675Dress:Smart Casual

    Golf Course

  • For golf lovers there is a 9 hole, 18 tees golf course at Hlalanathi +/- 15 km from Thendele.

  • Drakensberg pump storage scheme

  • Tours are available around the Eskom Hydro-Electric station starting at 09:00 and 13:00.

  • These tours last around 1½.

  • For enquiries and bookings please telephone 036 - 438 6046 or 036 - 438 6122 (Thendele)

  • Royal Natal Useful Information

  • Curio shops located at the Visitor Centre and at Thendele provide a variety of souvenirs, soft drinks, alcohol and trout as well as a limited range of foodstuffs.

  • No pets are allowed into the park.

  • Visitors are not allowed to sleep in caves, or to camp anywhere other than in designated areas.

  • Accommodation may be taken up after 14:00 on the day of arrival and must be vacated by 10:00 on the day of departure.

  • Entrance gates to the park are open 24 hours per day.

  • Making fires is strictly limited to the designated picnic sites.

  • The nearest towns are Bergville, ± 50 km away and Harrismith, ± 70 km away.

  • Campers must provide their own camping equipment, food and drinks.

  • No portable generators are permitted.

  • Laundry facilities are available in the campsite. Laundry may be hung only on washing lines provided.

  • Royal Natal Contacts

    Royal Natal: +27 (0) 36 438 6411
    Mahai and Rugged Glen: +27 (0) 36 438 6310
    Central Reservations: +27 (0) 33 845 1000
    Book online: https://bookings.kznwildlife.com/MakeABooking.aspx
    E-mail: bookings@kznwildlife.com

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