It used to be one of South African tourism’s best kept secrets, but, as the only ski resort in the country, Tiffindell’s reputation is growing season by snowy season. The resort is located on the slopes of Ben McDhui, which in turn is located in the southern Drakensberg on the border between SA and Lesotho. At 3001 metres, it’s the highest mountain in the Cape. At 2720 metres, Tiffindell is the highest holiday resort in the country.
Aside from skiing and snowboarding, one of the primary attractions is the fact that it’s very family-friendly. There is a child-minding service that caters to children as young as 16 weeks. The service is divided into two programmes: the nursery programme is specially designed for children aged 16 weeks to three years; the Snowfun programme is for children aged 3-5 years. The nursery programme focuses on small group play while the slightly older kiddies are treated to bum-boarding, snowman building, crafts, ski classes, reading and a host of other indoor and outdoor activities.
The resort prides itself on its skilled ski and snowboard instructors who can take the most ungainly novices and turn them into ski bunnies. Beginners’ ski and snowboard courses are compulsory for first-time skiers but intermediate and advanced lessons are also available for those who want to brush up on or perfect their technique.
After a hard day on the slopes, you can replenish all those lost calories with world-class dining at the Upper Limits restaurant. Upper Limits serves full English breakfasts, lunches and buffet dinners. Liquid refreshment can be found at the Ice Station, the highest bar in South Africa. You can sip cocktails, quaff gluhwein and even hang upside from a pair of skies and down shooters. Yeti’s Pub is a more sedate environment and is great for sundowners.
Chalets are warm and cosy and a number of options are available. Private chalets cater for 4-6 people and family chalets for 6-8 people. Leisure chalets are also available on a B&B or self-catering basis for groups of varying sizes. The 6-sleeper requires a minimum booking of four people, the 8-sleeper requires a minimum of six people and the 10-sleeper (which can accommodate up to 12) requires a minimum booking for eight people. The Havana Lodge is ideal for singles and couples; each room has a balcony with spectacular views of the valley.
Three and four night accommodation packages include diner, bed, breakfast and lunch, as well as the hire of ski and snowboard equipment, a ski pass, access to all resort entertainment and emergency medical assistance. Alternative accommodation is available in the valley and the slopes are accessible for day visitors.
If your muscles are too stiff and sore to ski every day of your stay, there are a range of other activities available, including fly-fishing, mountain biking, 4×4 routes and walks to the Telle Falls, frozen waterfalls and around the valley. There is also a games room fully equipped with Wii and X-box games, foosball, table tennis and pool, as well as a number of board games.
Everything you could possibly need is available for hire or sale at the resort, from goggles and ski suits to cameras and medicines.