How we came into bags
The safari of a lifetime
The journey that never really ended, but inspired us for life!
Because it's about the journey and not the destination.
We are Daniel and Christoph and we are living our dream. Although we are both fundamentally different, we still share one great passion: travelling.
We founded the label DRAKENSBERG because we want to inspire people to recognise the true value of travel and to strive for it. To understand the journey as a goal and to grow from it. Because we believe that a good journey can change a whole life. Our travel bags are designed to remind people of the spirit of the 19th and 20th centuries, when travel was still an adventure and travellers were adventurers.
The journey that changed our lives took us across South Africa almost 20 years ago. We wanted to drive from Cape Town to the Drakensberg Mountains. But we never got there.
And that is our story.
When we met for the first time about 25 years ago, we were both on a winter holiday together with our families. Our common passion for snowboarding, at that time rather a "marginal sport", inevitably brought us together. The many adventures on the slopes together quickly turned into a close friendship that has grown to this day.
It was mid-2001 when Daniel travelled to Cape Town for his semester abroad. Due to the tight timetable, Daniel was not able to see much of South Africa in the first few months. He was feverishly awaiting the mid-term exams, as there would be no classes for 2 weeks afterwards. As the period slowly approached and Daniel wanted to start planning the route, unfortunately no one among his fellow students was willing to accompany him on this trip. So Daniel didn't think long about which of his friends who had stayed at home he could spontaneously inspire for such a trip. A few minutes later, Christoph's phone rang and a few days later he landed at Cape Town International Airport.
The idea was to drive off the coast, through the interior via Oudtshoorn, then along the coast via Port Elisabeth, East London and Kokstad to the Drakensberg. On the way back, we want to drive the legendary Garden Route back to Cape Town.
But things turned out differently. We lost our hearts to South Africa. To the hospitality, the breathtaking landscapes, the incredible wildlife and, of course, to braai and South African wine. The South African way of life.
On our trip, we usually stayed spontaneously in bed & breakfasts that we booked beforehand during the journey. Our hosts, sometimes farmers, sometimes emigrants, sometimes retirees, always welcomed us with open arms and brought us closer to South Africa. As different as our hosts were, so different were the stories and the culture. A reflection of the diversity that makes South Africa so unique. That's why we had a hard time saying goodbye and sometimes we liked the area so much that we even stayed for 1-2 nights. The 2 weeks were over faster than a bottle of Pinotage is drunk.
The impressions we were able to gather during these 2 weeks had such an emotional impact that we still can't forget them today. It is just as difficult to name absolute highlights as it is not to name supposedly smaller highlights. There was the de Hoop National Park, which captivated us with its endless sand dunes and lonely sandy beaches. Or the trip to Hermanus, where we really wanted to watch whales and were on the verge of resignation when we observed a mother whale with a newborn whale calf in a lonely bay at close range. Or the jump into the almost 400m deep gorge below the famous Bloukrans Bridge, with 213m jump depth one of the four highest bungee facilities in the world.
It quickly became clear that we would not reach the Drakensberg Mountains. It soon became clear to us that this was no longer important either. We came to realise what the essence of a good trip is. It is not about ticking off places on a list and quickly taking a few souvenir photos. A good trip is about learning. About life and about yourself. The DRAKENSBERG brand will always remind us of this. Because the journey was our real goal.
We have told this story many times in recent years, to our friends and our families. We have always been able to evoke the same emotion: FOMO - Fear of missing out. Exactly this feeling came over us again and again.
On one of our later trips, Daniel discovered an old canvas and leather travel bag at an antique market that looked as if it was already 100 years old and had seen the whole world. The bag was to get a few more air miles and quickly became the ultimate symbol for many wonderful journeys, adventures and memories.
What Daniel couldn't have known when he bought it, however, was how often he would be asked about this travel bag. "Wow, nice bag!", "Where do you get something like that?". So the audacious idea was soon born to start a production for historical luggage himself. And then the real challenge began. We still had to find a production facility for our ambitious idea.
Our guiding principle was to stay as close as possible to the historical originals and not to make any compromises. Despite intensive research, most of the tracks led nowhere. Many companies that produced bags of this kind had already given up production or had already switched to mass production. We received a hail of rejections and were on the verge of resignation. Then came 01.01.2012. The phone rang at 10 in the morning. Daniel picked it up. And a familiar voice answered. It was Randhir from New Delhi, a friend from the old days, a real philanthropist, with whom Daniel had not been in contact for a small eternity.
It was the perfect surprise. There was an endless amount to talk about and then Daniel told him about the idea of starting a business and producing historical travel bags. Randhir was excited and convinced that such manufactures would still exist in India. He set out to find them. A month later, Christoph and Daniel were on the plane on their way to India. And soon our first prototypes were created. Randhir had indeed found the right manufactory that could still produce like 100 years ago.
He was the missing piece of the puzzle. Only with his help did our idea become a real company. And an idealistic duo became a successful trio.
We are friends, we are travellers, we are DRAKENSBERG.