Sometimes when life gets overwhelming, when I feel like I need a breather, I try to find a place to escape.
For me that place is the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, just an hour and a half drive from Durban. The countryside air and scenic views is bound to make anyone feel relaxed- and the drive as daunting as it may sound is actually another form of therapy.
Early June I got an invite to stay the weekend at Brahman Hills, but due to other commitments I had to schedule it for late July. I have heard alot about Brahman Hills from other friends who stayed over. Most of them raved about it, from the private jacuzzi to zebras outside your cottage door. So when the week arrived to travel to Brahman Hills, I was excited.
After a few stressful weeks, I craved some peace, quiet and somewhere I could gather my thoughts. After putting the final touches to my story on a Friday afternoon, I left work just before peak hour traffic along the N3 to Nottingham Road.
Before I could even say ‘Brahman Hills’ I was at their cattle themed gate. I was given the key to the Fish Eagle cottage by Leandre, a friendly receptionist.
All of their cottages are named after animals that were once spotted on the farm. It’s hard to imagine how far the hotel and cottages have come since it was developed and upgraded from the former Windmills Resort.
My one bedroom chalet was cosy and warm, showing no sign of the winter chill outside. Although three star, the cottage has all the fixtures that made it a luxury one.
If self catering is not your cup of tea, then the hotel is your next best option.
That night, I had dinner in their wine cellar in a stylist restaurant called 89 on Copper. Its minimal lighting set the tone for an elegant three course dinner. Besides a couple on the other side of the cellar, I had the place pretty much to myself.
On the menu was a creamy mushroom soup, served with some fresh bread and creamy butter. For mains, the crispy battered fish and chips were delightful. The portion was so big that I ended up taking a goodie bag. I had the apple crumble dessert at my cottage with a cup of tea.
The next morning I woke before dawn, grabbed a chair outside and watched the sunrise. The sheer pleasure of just being surrounded by nature gave me so much happiness.
Later that day I took a 5 kilometre walk exploring the estate. Hoping to find animals, I walked up hills overlooking the dam and back down near an abandoned house, but there was no animal in sight.
I wondered where the zebras were that my friends raved about or the famous Brahman cows that the place gets its name from. Nevertheless, I wandered about as I took in the sights.
When I arrived back to my cottage, it was time to slip into something comfortable for my hour spa treatment. The spa on the site was once the home of Winks Green, known as the healer of horses. The space now has 8 treatment rooms, a dedicated manicure and pedicure room, a tranquility lounge and a champagne, coffee and chocolate bar. I had a full body massage, which was exactly what the doctor ordered.
After the spa treatment, I had a hot chocolate at the Brahman Cafe overlooking the chapel. Brahman Hills makes for a stunning wedding venue, when I finally pluck the courage to wed someday. The friendly staff made my stay memorable, especially Zanele and Pretty who shared their love for the property and how it has become a new spot for Durban travellers.
By morning, it was time to leave, but not before I looked for some animals. Fortunately I was able to see duiker and a group of zebras who were getting their morning sun near the dam.
Brahman Hills for me was the idyllic break I needed and great for even the most busy city slickers.