One of the reasons we love living in Johannesburg, is the plethora of fantastic weekend getaways just on our doorstep. Wildlife, game farms, mountains – Gauteng has it all.
To escape the rigours of the metropolis, my partner and I took a well deserved night off to escape the city. Our destination – Magaliesberg, and more specifically the well known Valley Lodge & Spa, just perfect to de-stress and let off some steam after a busy week.
The town of Magalies itself and the surrounding hills and mountains are steeped in history. The Cradle of Humankind is very close by, as are some amazing walking and hiking trails, giving fauna and flora lovers an amazing since as early as the 1920’s. The area itself is wildlife protected, and this has spared it from the inevitable abuse over the years.
There was not too much traffic, and as we had had an early start, first stopped for a filling farm style breakfast just past the town of Magalies itself, at The Magaliesberg Trading Post. The Trading Post is quaintly appointed, featuring wooden decks, home-style food and bakes, and two craft stores selling a variety of homemade produce, clothing and other knick knacks, a wonderful hour was spent pottering around the stores after breakfast in Bloumossie and the aptly named Faerie-Nuff, stocked to the brim with cute fairy and pixie related collectables.
After a bit of a leg stretch through the craft stores, we got back on the road to discover what else Magalies could show us. And we were certainly not disappointed.
Our next discovery was the old style Black Horse Brewery and Restaurant. Nestled amongst hundred year old trees and gardens, this gem would do any British Pub and Craft Beer Brewery proud. The Restaurant was fully booked for lunch, not a single table was open, so we grabbed a seat in the brewery and bar area. Wellington our friendly barman recommended the home made Ginger Ale, which we sipped on whilest surrounded by the copper stills and pipes of the artisanal brewery.
The brewery was established in 2012, and boasts seven types of beer made and sold on the premises, and at selected craft beer outlets. The onsite craft store stocks some classic keepsakes and jewellery and is open on Saturday and Sunday only.
Typical pub food is mixed with a fantastic ambience, live music and on occasion a movie night is also held here. The Black Horse also hosts weddings, and has accommodation on site, I personally couldn’t think of a prettier, more rustic themed venue to host my wedding.
The actual restaurant is open Wednesday through Sunday and we suggest booking for your Saturday or Sunday lunch, as the place was certainly filling up by the time we left.
After our morning’s exploration, we decided it was time to head through to Valley Lodge and get checked in, so that the official relaxation could start.
Valley Lodge & Spa lies nestled amongst the hills of the Magaliesberg, in the nature reserve, and on the banks of the beautifully flowing Magalies River. The Lodge itself has won numerous awards for its accommodation, food and even the spa boasts an award as one of the best in The West Rand.
The Lodge has 76 bedrooms and suites, each one uniquely decorated. Our room was a beautifully appointed Superior Room, what a pleasure to check in to the lap of luxury, the high thatched ceilings gave the room the feeling of vast space, and the beautiful drapes and fittings made the room feel cosy and warm. Our balcony looked out over the river and the frogs chirping merrily lent themselves to the countryside feel.
The pool area was busy, and although rain was threatening, families were picnicking on the grass, while children splashed in the sparkling blue water.
We opted to try one of the many walking trails around the estate, to work up our appetites for lunch. Our walk lead us alongside one of the small streams running in to the Magalies River, and through the trees we glimpsed colourful birds, even stumbling across a teenage zebra attempting to scratch his very itchy head on a tree. I am not sure who was more surprised to be honest, us or him.
Upon returning to the lodge, we had worked up our appetites for lunch, although by this time the rain had started, so we selected to grab a pizza and a bottle of wine in the well appointed Maloney’s bar. Valley Lodge boasts several restaurants and bars, boma’s and outside eating areas, but Maloney’s is the larger of the bars, and is fully decked out with billiards tables, darts boards, a foosball table, fireplace and flat screen TV for watching sports.
We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing in our luxurious room, and later made our way over to the hotels main Zeederburg Restaurant, for a buffet dinner that was like none we had ever experienced. Seafood, fish, homemade pastas and home bakes, followed by a delicious dessert buffet had us ready for an early bed time. The chef’s at Valley Lodge certainly know how to lay on an amazing feast, fit for a king.
Having slept off the excesses of the night before, the next morning we took another walking path work up a breakfast appetite, and then headed over to the Terrace for the breakfast buffet, which again was unparalleled in the quality, and quantity of food on offer. Breakfast was rounded off with a delicious pot of tea, and we felt that we would certainly never eat again.
Valley Lodge boasts full conference facilities available on site for up to 100 delegates, and would make the perfect out of the city getaway for team builds or other group events. Besides the walks and boats on the river, Valley Lodge also has several tennis courts, and nearby horse riding trails and hot air ballooning adventures to keep even the most intrepid adventure seeker occupied, as if the beauty and relaxation aspect were not enough to soothe any soul.
We are already planning our next trip, and I have a feeling that Magaliesberg and its surrounds will become a regular getaway spot for us.
For more information:
Magaliesberg Town and Surrounds www.magaliesberg.co.za
The Magaliesberg Trading Post http://trading-post-deli.co.za/ 073 577 9994.
Black Horse Estate, Brewery and Restaurant www.blackhorse.co.za or 082 453 5295
Valley Lodge and Spa www.valleylodge.co.za or 014 577 1301