The Vulintaba Country Estate Lifestyle

Vulintaba, meaning “Open the Mountains”, is an estate nestled in a picturesque amphitheatre of mountains in northern Drakensberg. Vulintaba Country Estate offers property for sale in the Drakensberg with serenity, beauty and an expansive tract of unmatched scenery. It also happens to be the closest Berg Lifestyle Estate to Gauteng.

Be inspired by a place where glorious mountain views touch a pristine blue sky. Where rolling green hills are punctuated by pure, fresh dams.

Put your feet up to the sounds of uninterrupted outdoor life – feel the sunshine on your back as you explore your vast backyard barefoot, stress-free and endless fresh air – pure remedy for the soul. Vulintaba Country Estate boasts a tranquil lifestyle surrounded by nature’s beauty.

Vulintaba Country Estate is a place to explore, to dream, to relax and to awaken our senses. This unique lifestyle country estate is so much more than a place to live – it is a place to bask in nature’s glory with a magnificent mountain amphitheatre as your backdrop. The vision that has gone into Vulintaba Country Estate is one to promote healthy living filled with adventure – to be inspired to live the best life possible. Be moved, make Vulintaba Country Estate your lifestyle destination!

Development Breakdown


  • 582 Freehold Stands
  • A 69 Room Hotel with Spa and Four Star Rating
  • 9-hole Golf Course with clubhouse & driving range
  • Wedding Chapel
  • Conference Centre – 400 pax
  • Restaurant (Buffet or A-la-Carte)
  • Abundant wildlife and over 320 indigenous bird species
  • Over 50 kilometres of world-class mountain-biking trails
  • A variety of walking and running trails
  • Fly Fishing in a variety of dams

When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.

Thank you for making the journey to our part of the world!

You have braved the traffic, mini-bus taxis, trucks and other common obstacles
on the South African roads to get here and dodged the district road’s “Big 5”
(potholes, cattle, goats, horses and pedestrians).
During your stay with us you may spot one of Vulintaba’s own “Big 5”:
Baboons, leopard, Ankole Cattle, bush pigs and Jackson Brown’s Freaky Milkshakes!

Vulintaba Fun Facts

Vulintaba is situated in the north-easternmost corner of KwaZulu-Natal, a stone’s throw from the Free State (to the west) and a few kilometres from Mpumalanga (to the north). Vulintaba’s golf course was designed by well-known golf course architect, Peter Matkovich. 

During the Anglo Boer War a British soldier, a Mr Brown, fell in love with a Boer girl and they secretly married. However, were forced to retreat to the mountains west of Newcastle, where the Vulintaba Estate is today.

The cave where they hid and the remnants of their homestead still remain.

Vulintaba has a resident yellow mongoose (rooimeerkat/witkwasmuishond/ mosha), that goes about his daily life on the golf course in front of the hotel. He has been affectionately named “Vulies” by the staff.

The Newcastle to Vulintaba road was previously a very bad gravel road and was tarred by the Vulintaba developers in 2012.
In 2002 a 9 cm fossil of a bivalve Megadesmus (a two-shelled mollusc), the first in Africa, was discovered by a group of UJ geology students, along the D96 road to Vulintaba. This indicates that marine conditions existed here during the late Permian period. A large river with a delta exiting into a sea existed here. The mountains to the north, east and west of Vulintaba Estate are remnants of these delta deposits and Newcastle would have been ‘in the sea”!


A Brief History of Newcastle, Kwazulu-Natal

During the 18th century, the San, amaZizi and amaHlubi inhabited the Northern KwaZulu-Natal.

The Bushmen, skilled hunters, made temporary homes in caves, many of which still exist throughout the eastern area.
Less than 3 km from Vulintaba one such cave exists, with paintings of eland and other animals (regrettably no public access).
The amaZizi and amaHlubi lived in beehive huts and were pastoralists, cultivating millet and melons and also understood the art of iron smelting. The first iron industry in Northern KwaZulu-Natal!

During the 16th and 17th centuries the war-like Nguni people migrated south, from one of these groups came the amaZulu, descendants of a young man ironically called Zulu (heaven) by his mother. By 1818, several clans had established themselves in the area, led by Dingiswayo and Shaka. A series of fierce civil wars broke out, ending only when Shaka had established himself as the leader of all the Zulu. (Early Zulu Battles and Historical Sites; 1883-1888).

However, peace was not to be and the Zulu nation continued to extend their power, attacking neighbouring tribes and bringing about a period known as the Mafakeng (or turmoil), creating chaos and devastation throughout the Midlands, Northern KwaZulu-Natal, Lesotho and the land now known as the Free State. ( During 1500 and 1600 Dutch settlers arrived in the Cape and by the early 1800’s large numbers of people, fleeing Napoleonic wars and religious upheavals in Europe, were arriving in South Africa. Britain took control of the Dutch holdings in the Cape, which caused much dissatisfaction amongst the primarily Dutch settlers, who started migrating northwards, beyond British control and to establish republics of their own.

One such group, led by Piet Retief, had heard of the beautiful green lands of Natal, thus the group known as the Voortrekkers crossed over the Drakensberg mountains and sought to settle in Natal, but with disastrous consequences. Retief and some 80 men, who went to Zulu King Dingaan to seek permission to settle, were brutally murdered and their families set upon by the Zulu. On 16 December 1838, matters finally came to a head, when the 12 000 strong Zulu army attacked a Voortrekker Commando on the banks of the Ncome River, with disastrous results. The Zulu army was decimated, the river “running red with blood” (the so-called “Blood River Battlefield”) and Dingaan was forced to retreat. (Voortrekker-Zulu Wars;

Peace came for a short time to Natal, but only until the British decided to extend their sovereignty over the new territory, bringing about clashes between themselves and the Voortrekkers, many of whom moved back over the Drakensberg, and clashes between the British and the Zulu army.

During the years 1849-1851 some 5000 odd British settlers arrived in the area. Wagon roads were carved out and regular stops sprang up to obtain fresh horses and supplies on the journey between Port Natal (Durban today) in the then Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek and Johannesburg. As can be seen on military maps of the 1840’s, one such stop was Post Halt II on the banks of the Ncandu River, strategically situated where the main road split to lead up into the Orange Free State and the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek (Transvaal). In 1854 a Dr PC Sutherland found himself trapped here by the swollen Ncandu River and spent two weeks setting out a township, later known as the Waterfall River Township. The township was later registered as Newcastle after the then Secretary for the Colonies, the Fifth Duke of Newcastle.


Significant battles fought near Newcastle:

Today the Battlefields Route of KwaZulu-Natal extends to the north, east and south of Newcastle, which includes landmarks, museums and significant battlefield sites of the Anglo Zulu War of 1879, Transvaal War of Independence 1880-1881 and The South African / Anglo-Boer War 1899 – 1902. (see:

12 January 1879: Three British columns crossed into Zululand at Rorke’s Drift, with them men of the Newcastle Mounted Rifles. On Wednesday 22 January 1879 the Zulu Army wiped out the British camp at Isandlwana, slaughtering some 1400 Imperial troops and native levies. In that fatal hour and half “half the women of Newcastle became widows”.

In 1880 the Burghers of the Transvaal, dissatisfied with British occupation and the lack of response by the British to their appeals for the return of their country, finally took matters into their own hands. A British force of some 2500 men marched to Newcastle then on to the Transvaal but on 28 January 1881, at Laing’s Nek, north of Newcastle, they were confronted by a force of Burghers under Commandant General Piet Joubert. They suffered another rebuff at Schuinshoogte on 8 February and finally on Sunday 27 February 1881 at Majuba, driven off their “impregnable” position on top of the mountain, suffering some 256 casualties to the Burghers.


Newcastle Fun Facts:

The Transvaal War of Independence Peace Convention was signed at O’Neill’s Cottage at the foot of Amajuba on 23 March 1881 by Boer and British leaders including Paul Kruger, Piet Joubert and Sir Evelyn Wood.

Later the Retrocession of the Transvaal was negotiated and signed in June 1881 at Hilldrop Farm on the outskirts of Newcastle, home of the famous author Ryder Haggard.

On 15 May 1890 the first passenger train arrived in Newcastle and in 1891 the Town was declared a Borough.

The construction of a Town Hall, to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, was completed in July 1899, just in time to be occupied by the Boer Forces at the start of the Anglo Boer War in October 1899.

On 14th October 1899 the first Boer Forces invaded the town and the entire district was incorporated into the Transvaal Republic. Newcastle was renamed Viljoensdorp, after the Commander of the Johannesburg Commando, General Ben Viljoen and it was to remain in Boer hands for the next 8 months.


Newcastle has had four names in its lifetime:

Post Halt II (1840’s); Waterfall River Township (1854); Newcastle (1856); Viljoensdorp (1899); Newcastle (1900) Mahatma Ghandi led a march from Newcastle to the Transvaal and was arrested at Charlestown, north of Newcastle, on 28 October 1913. He was sentenced to nine months in prison, but was released on 18 December 1913. A vigorous marketing campaign by the Newcastle municipality attracted a wealth of investment from the Far East, mainly in the clothing and textile industry. Today Newcastle has a large Chinese and Taiwanese population.


Industry and Mining:

In 1918 Mr JK Eaton decided to build a Steel Works in Newcastle and Newcastle Iron and Steel Works Ltd was established. Between 1920 and 1926 the first blast furnace to be erected in South Africa was completed and later acquired by Union Steel Corporation (SA); in 1937 African Metals purchased the Newcastle Works (AMCOR) and by 1945 a second blast furnace was operating. The province’s first steel plant later became the ISCOR South Works and was later decommissioned.

Durban Falkirk Iron Co. Ltd. was in production by 1948 and was employing some 200 people. In May 1969 the government announced that the third ISCOR Works would be established in Newcastle. Today Arcelor Mittal produces over 1.5 Million tons of long steel products annually.

In 2002 a chrome chemical plant was completed, a joint venture between Karbochem and German specialty chemical producer LANXESS (CISA), which made Newcastle the largest producer of chrome chemicals in Africa.

Other notable industries include many heavy engineering works, Natal Portland Cement (NPC), African Amines (Pty) Ltd, KC Energy, SA Calcium Carbide, President Plastics; Ferroglobe (Siltech).

High quality coal has been and is still mined in the area today.



The area surrounding Newcastle has a rich and diverse farming community, the main type of farming being beef, crops (maize; soya beans), forestry, game, goats, sheep, chickens, eggs and many more. Newcastle’s abattoir is SANHA-approved (South African National Halaal Authority). The bottled water ‘new kid on the block’ THIRSTI is situated at Normandien Farms, 23km south of Newcastle.

Today Newcastle is the third largest centre in KwaZulu-Natal and the main commercial and industrial centre in Northern KZN.


Driving times to some lovely or interesting places from Newcastle:


½ hour:
Ncandu Falls
Chelmsford Dam and Resort
Majuba Mountain


1 hour:
Nambiti Big 5 Private Game Reserve


1½ hours:
Ingula Pumped Storage Scheme
Rorke’s Drift, Battlefield Route
Blood River Battlefield, Battlefield Route


2 hours:
Isandlwana, Battlefield Route
Central Drakensberg Midlands Meander, KZN


3 hours:


3½ hours:
Golden Gate Highlands
The (in)famous Nkandla 🙂



Hluhluwe Game Reserve
Mkuze Game Reserve
Phinda Private Game Reserve


4½ hours:
Afriski Mountain Resort


5 hours:
Kruger National Park
Kosi Bay
Sodwana Bay


6 hours:
Ponta d’ Ouro, Mozambique


7 hours:
Maputo, Mozambique


12 hours:


15 hours:
Cape Town


5 days and 16 hours
Timbuktu :-