Weekend retreat

Must love Magaliesberg. One minute you’re hooting your way through Joburg traffic, the next you’re on a quiet twisting road and find yourself in the middle of the countryside. That’s right, you’re just one Josh Groban CD (60 minutes more or less) away from a wonderful country affair. The original stone-clad house, built donkey’s years ago, looks as if it’s been around forever. Think a massive interleading sitting room and bar area complete with fireplaces, a dart board and a billiard table. The lodge is set in a nature reserve complete with a river, indigenous vegetation and prolific birdlife … just the place to rack up hours of me-time.

The spa … swoon! By the time you’re cuddled in the fluffy white gown any work worries you may have had will be long gone. There’s an indoor mineral pool, saunas and a jacuzzi … this is where you would have found us in-between treatments, sipping champers. We seriously recommend you make a day of the spa and opt for one of the terrific packages. Get your glow on with an Elemis facial and then let go with a Swedish full body massage. You don’t have to think at all. In fact it’s pretty much impossible to think because you’ll be on the verge of dozing off from the get-go. Determined to see the end of your hunched-over-the-computer knots? Try the deep tissue massage. Then if you really want to be pampered from head to toe (of course!) get a mani and pedi while you’re at it.

So much to do, so little time. Need a spot of entertainment? There’s a tennis court and a gym, fly-fishing, and gentle river walks … we can’t comment on any of this – the only exercise we got was walking to the spa. Oh, and great birdwatching, too! And if all that sounds a bit … well, tame … then all sorts of exciting stuff can be arranged – from horse riding trails to hot-air ballooning. If you’re keen to do a little exploring, take a drive to the world famous Maropeng, The Cradle or the Sterkfontein Caves which are all in the area.

Variety is the spice of life. Whatever your tummy’s grumbling for can be found at the buffet at The Zeederberg Restaurant … you name it, it’s got it! We probably frequented the spread more times than we should have, but hey, we were on holiday, right? After brekkie we got comfy on a lounger beside the pool, a Nora Roberts book in hand, where we sipped mojitos and tucked into lunch poolside – and didn’t budge until sunset. Talk about weekend goals, right?

Hit snooze! And then hit it again, and again. With comfy king-size beds, blackout curtains and birds cheerfully chirping in the background you’ll have no problem sleeping until noon. Not only have the majority of the rooms been rebuilt, but they have also been refurbished … think country chic with a modern twist. If privacy and nature are important be sure to book the river-facing Luxury Rooms (the Luxury and Superior Rooms have thatched roofs and come with a larger lounge area and terrace) where you’ll get a serene view from your veranda … we loved waking up to see zebra grazing.

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Stuff you need to know!

Valley Lodge & Spa is an easy hour’s drive from Joburg. The Hoopoe Spring Package a couple sharing includes a one night stay with dinner, bed, breakfast and spa vouchers valued at R1000 a person (valid until November 31). Standard Rooms from R5120, Luxury Rooms from R5350 and Superior Rooms from R5575. Children’s rates apply to Luxury Rooms only: No charge for children 0 – 6 years of age – R1070 a child a night 7 – 12 years of age. Check online for specials that include spa treatments – it’s worth booking these in advance. Details: 014-577-1301/5, www.valleylodge.co.za or res@valleylodge.co.za

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