Take a sho't left to Montusi Mountain Lodge, where you can be blissfully idle or an adrenalin junkie
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By Debashine Thangevelo
We could all do with a break after being confined to our homes for several months due to Covid-19.
And an escape, where tranquillity and fresh air are your constant companions, does sound inviting. More so when it is accompanied by panoramic views of rolling green hillsides nestled against the resplendent Berg mountains.
Montusi Mountain Lodge, a four-star establishment in Bergville, Drakensberg, proved to be the ideal getaway.
This cosy retreat has 16-units on the property. It is also family-run.
Lindsay du Plessis, one of the owners, gave us a warm reception upon arrival. Of course, this was after we sanitised and had our temperature checked. With safety a concern when travelling, this was most reassuring.
A quick history of the place.
It was once a disused farm. Du Plessis’s parents bought the property in 1994 and spent six years establishing it. They opened in June 2000 and this is their 21st year in business.
Of course, tourism in South Africa, like the world over, has taken a huge knock over the past year. Now that we are on level 1 of the lockdown, the industry is slowly starting to recover.
Shortly after arriving on a cloudy Friday, there was a quick tour of the facilities in the main reception area before lunch was served at the restaurant. We ordered a lamb curry and rice and a steak with pepper sauce and a salad.
While waiting for our meals, we were joined by two furry friends, who snuggled up under the table, after a friendly greeting and a few tail wags.
A bit knackered from our four-hour drive, we made our way to our garden suite, which is a short drive from reception. It has its own driveway and porch.
The bedroom, fitted with a king size bed, has an en-suite bathroom. There was a kitchen area, which included a fridge as well as coffee and tea amenities (and delicious biscotti), and a lounge with a gas-operated fireplace.
The suite has wi-fi and a TV, too.
If the weather is great, you can enjoy some downtime on the private patio, which overlooks Drakensberg’s famed Amphitheatre.
The beauty of a stay here is that you can be as adventurous as you want by signing up for several of the activities on offer (hiking, horse riding, swimming or mountain biking) or you can bask in blissful idleness.
A stone’s throw away is All Out Adventures, which offers everything from cable tours, a hair-raising free fall king swing, flying trapeze, bungee bounces (trampoline and bungee system), zip-lining, forested paint balling and quad bike tours to the river.
Following a hearty breakfast on Saturday morning, we chilled before enjoying a romantic picnic at a nearby secluded spot with a waterfall. I’m told, this is popular with couples and families.
After feasting on a wonderful buffet of salads, cheeses, grilled chicken and yummy dessert, hiking up the hill that was so effortless to stroll down, wasn’t easy. But the view and ambience made it worthwhile.
I was grateful for the couples full-body massage in the afternoon. It rounded off the leisurely break I yearned for.
Dinner can be enjoyed inside the restaurant or outdoors, which is decked out in fairy lights and heaters.
The à la carte menu, which changes daily, caters for every palate and the dishes are beautifully plated with the flavours doing cartwheels in your mouth.
I still can’t get over those freshly-baked scones at breakfast and divine desserts I tucked into every night.
Every effort is made to ensure your stay is pleasant here. The staff are friendly and always on hand to help.
Du Plessis also flagged all their safety protocol measures, from every suite being fogged before it is cleaned after guests check out, to staff being screened when they come in as well as guests on arrival.
Covid-19 has taught us that we all need a break from time to time. And it made us realise that such stunning retreats are on our doorsteps begging to be explored.
Whether you want to enjoy a break with your partner or with the whole family, Montusi Mountain Lodge is a great choice.
In fact, I watched in nostalgic amazement as kids frolicked in the swimming pool, chased each other around on the lawn and rode their cute little bikes along the pathways.
It truly was magnificent being in this tranquil bubble for a weekend. Leaving was bittersweet, but I took comfort in the fact that it was close enough to visit again.
Where: Bergville, Drakensberg
Contact: 036 438 6243 or 072 591 1210
Email: [email protected]
Read this feature and more in our latest issue of IOL Travel. Link here