Women’s month is the perfect excuse to pack your girlfriends in the car for a weekend getaway. Just an hour outside of Joburg is the Valley Lodge and Spa.
Unfortunately, I could not take my girlfriends with me because of busy schedules, but thank goodness I gave birth to daughters who sometimes double up as girlfriends. Usually, before I go on a trip, I always ask for an itinerary to get my mind ready for the activities that lie ahead.
“We just want you to come and relax, there is no itinerary,” the woman at reception said on the phone. That is not the best thing to tell a hyperactive control freak.
While driving there, my daughters kept on asking what the itinerary was because they know the drill. We whizzed past the Sterkfontein Caves and I made a mental note just in case we got bored at the lodge. Soon we were trying to find our way through the small town of Magaliesberg.
We eventually made a U-turn and found the dusty road that leads to the lodge. Driving into the premises felt like entering an oasis of peace. I was hoping to bump into a zebra because the place is known to have the striped animals roaming about. I immediately understood why the woman at reception insisted we didn’t need an itinerary because after checking in, I went into our luxury-family room.
The lodge is the perfect place to recharge your batteries. Photo: Supplied
I realised that the place was ideal for winding down and doing absolutely nothing. I promptly plonked myself on to the bed and took a two-hour nap.
That was followed by another session of lounging about in front of the crackling fire before dinner. A lavish buffet was spread out, which was big enough for a royal feast. Since it was school holiday season, there were several families taking advantage of the winter break. I made a beeline for the oxtail and fish, and Malva pudding for dessert. Then it was movie night.
On the grounds of the nature reserve there are many intriguing animals, such as the Burchell’s zebra, impala, rock hyrax (dassie), vervet monkeys and lesser galagos or bushbabies. There is also a river and dam with a variety of fish, such as yellow fish, catfish, carp, large-mouthed bass, vlei kurper and tilapia.
The lodge has four walking trails for guest use such as the 3.5km Steenkoppies trail, the Zeederberg trail, which also 3.5km, the Riverine trail for the less energetic, which is 1.5 km and the easy bird sanctuary trail stroll (500m). I explored the grounds and spent quiet moments mesmerised by the Magalies River. The lodge also has boats for those who enjoy canoeing.
On the Saturday after a late morning and a lazy breakfast overlooking the crystal blue pool area, we headed to the spa hydra therapy centre for some luxury pampering. The spa, which runs like a well-oiled machine, is a hive of activity but runs smoothly.
Couples dressed in white comfy robes were sitting about in lazy chairs enjoying a glass of champagne or ordering from the hotel bar while waiting for their turn. The grey-and-white therapeutically decorated spa also boasts a mineral pool and jacuzzi. My consultant for the day, Fifi, tended to all my needs.
I was given a 24-gold carat facial and a full body aromatherapy massage. This was followed by an all-day session of floating about in the jacuzzi.
The next day, I went back to conclude my pampering session with a manicure and a pedicure before hitting the road back to Joburg.