Monday, November 12, 2012

Cybele Forest Lodge and Health Spa - Jeremy Williamson

Visiting a Game lodge in the Greater Kruger Park area ? Schedule too tight to get to the Lodge in time for the first afternoon guided game drive?  Or just need a fabulous place to relax and unwind for a few days?
Lana and I visited the really lovely Cybele Forest Lodge and Health Spa retreat when we last drove through to the Sabi Sand Game Reserve to visit Lodges there.

Set in the hills between White River and Hazyview, just off the R40 along a picturesque forested dirt-road to this tranquil haven. Owned and managed by Barbara and Rupert Jefferies for the past 33 odd years, this has to be one of the very best home from home venues, so perfect,  for  that break to restore ones-self.

The original farmhouse, serves as the main public area with bar, lounges and the dining rooms. The rooms / cottages  are scattered about in the beautiful established gardens. What a peaceful setting.

Imagine arriving here mid afternoon as we did, relax in the Health and Beauty Spa with a massage and beauty therapy?

Clarins and Moyo therapies available, its quite some Spa and Gym here at Cybele Forest Lodge. Then a swim in your private or the main Lodge pool

before ambling off to the Bar for a drink before dinner. Mind you there is no need to go to the Bar to have that special drink. Our bar fridge was stocked with the very best one would need, Moet et Chandon, lovely wines and beers, even Ferrero Rocher chocolates- then there was filter coffee, fresh milk, divine sherry and a really comfortable lounging area. We could have spent longer than just the one night here, to be so wondrously cared for, wined, dined and pampered.

Paddock suite

Paddock suite lounge

Evening and prepare for dinner. Charlotte Rhys soaps and creams in the expansive bathroom, heated towel rails, the weather was still a bit chilly and the under-floor heating in the bedroom was most welcome.

Paddock suite bathroom

We did retire to the Bar and then to one of the comfortable lounges for pre-dinner drinks.

Here we were faced with making our dinner choice from one of Mpumalanga’s finest kitchens. Something different as a starter? Maybe the wild mushroom tart?  Or the Twice baked soufflĂ©? Lana chose the beef and beetroot carpaccio and I, the recommend  asian style chicken. And so on into the dinner menu – confit duck wotons?  Braised lamb shank? Or was it to be the beef, the fish or pork??

Such a choice and such excellent fare, had we been a tad more hungry, the Menu Gourmand  with its comprehensive six dinner courses with paired wine,  would be the way to go here. Divine desserts, coffee and liqueurs?  We rolled back to our cosy room,  to slip under the warmed down duvet, to the land of nod.
Geared for guests wanting to relax, there was no early rush at all. We had a very short two hour drive ahead of us, to the Sabi Sand Lodge we were to be visiting, and they were only expecting us after mid-day.  We consequently delighted in an early morning stroll through the immediate gardens,

 although there are extended walks and rides for the more energetic on the 300 acre farm, which includes a very picturesque river and waterfall in an old forest. Completing our constitutional, we imbibed on the Lodge’s delicious coffee and prepared for breakfast.  How come my Eggs Benedict never taste quite like this? Must be the mountain air ? or could it be that amazing team in the kitchen.

Forest suite

Forest suite bathroom

Luxury cottage

Garden cottage

Garden cottage bathroom

Ideally located for those wanting to visit the Big Game Parks, the panoramic Drakensberg escarpment with its views, waterfalls and forests. Quaint villages and a variety of activities. I think I would like to enjoy more of this Lodge with its peaceful ambiance,  fine dining and wonderful staff – again its the people of a venue that really does make it special.

The reception and shop
 One generally just does not relax when away on vacation, well here they have this down to a fine art – so away from all the hustle in such tranquil a setting – we loved it.

Photographs by Jeremy and Lana Williamson

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