Uninterrupted views, extraordinary four-course meals and trails that disappear into nature – these are the ingredients for the perfect weekend mountain retreat to relax and recharge.
Every now and then, an escape to the mountains is a must. There is just something about the crisp air, majestic cliffs and lack of humans, technology and city-life stuff . . . and it’s even more of a treat when you get to go to the ‘Berg’ to experience a four-star, luxury destination!
The rooms are quaint and cosy with beautiful mountain views
Montusi Mountain Lodge recently hosted us for a weekend of plush spoils, ultimate relaxation and oh-so-heavenly plum and mint lamb chops . . . more about those later!
Situated in the Northern Drakensberg, with a panoramic view of the amphitheatre escarpment, the lodge is a hot destination for European tourists travelling between Gauteng and KZN, a fancy getaway spoil for locals (rates start at R2,245 per person, per night) and a bucket-list item for trail runners and mountain bikers.
After a slow meander through the Midlands and lunch in Nottingham Road, we cruised into the countryside and were greeted by the unmistakeable face of the Drakensberg and rural kids selling clay animal figurines as we neared the entrance of the thatched roof lodge.
You are welcomed by professional, relaxed, warm and friendly staff who check you in before you venture off to your quaint, cosy chalet which boasts stylish, modern finishes, a very inviting comfy bed and, of course, views for days of the mountains.
Tranquility is a word you will often hear, see and read during your stay at Montusi. There is an air of serenity wherever you go and it is a feeling you will experience regardless what type of holiday you are there to enjoy. And that’s the beauty of this lodge – it caters for every holidaymaker, whether you want to get active with horse riding, tennis and hiking or simply want to kick off your shoes, unplug your phone and unwind with a relaxing massage.
Foodies should definitely spend some time here, as the dinners are quite the feast! Seated on the veranda, with nature’s night-time sounds serenading you, the four-course menu starts to unfold. Their food is traditionally South African, the portions are substantial and the flavours are outstanding. We were thrilled to see that even the dessert menu boasted some creative sweet treats instead of the usual malva pudding. Think ginger domes with coffee baked custard, butterscotch and caramel ice cream . . . pure, heavenly decadence.
No need to feel guilty about your indulgence though, as there are plenty of activities available to help you work off those extra kilos. The hikes are particularly good and are created for every fitness level. The waterfall and bushman painting hikes are both within half an hour of the lodge, and are great for a quick sunset stroll. The more serious hikers can choose one of the longer hikes – or even a full-day hike – and Montusi will pack you a wholesome lunch to keep you powered-up along the way.
Guests take a morning hike to Montusi Peak
Back in your chalet, you can rest your feet and relax on your stoep while sipping responsibly-sourced coffee with homemade rusks. The abundant birdlife also seem to enjoy the rusks . . . and within minutes of opening the packet, you will be entertained by a menagerie of twitching on the grass.
Who wouldn’t feel relaxed seeing horses at sunrise?
Sound good? It is! Next time you feel the mountain calling you, give Montusi a go – you won’t be disappointed!