Towards the latter part of last year, when the fatigue of the year was making its presence felt and I yearned for fresh country air, I found myself considering a visit to Dullstroom with my partner.
Since relocating to Johannesburg in 2010, I’ve not done as many sho’t left trips as I would have loved to. There was something appealing about visiting this quaint town in the Mpumalanga province.
As we were en route to Dullstroom on Saturday, which is a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Johannesburg, it rained heavily and visibility was poor.
That said, arriving at Walkersons Hotel & Spa, where the staff were most attentive, the stresses of the year started to ebb away.
The Lakeside Suite that we stayed at was absolutely stunning. Kitted out with a king-sized bed and two leather chairs perfectly placed in front of the open fireplace, with doors that opened out onto a private patio overlooking the dam. The thatched roof gave the room that wonderful woody scent.
After quickly unpacking and taking a shower in the en-suite bathroom, which has a beautiful white porcelain tub as well, we headed to the bar area for a few pre-dinner drinks and to catch the tail-end of a soccer match.
Given the chilly weather, the soup on offer was too irresistible to pass up at the Flying Scotsman Restaurant. We also tried the veggie spring rolls. For the mains, the beef fillet with fries and veggies got the nod. It was accompanied by a pepper sauce.
Already stuffed, we had a nibble or two of dessert before heading to the outside patio to chill for a bit.
This five-star luxury countryside escape is located within a 800-hectare estate. Guests can choose between staying at one of their 27 suites, including a honeymoon suite for those deciding to tie the knot in an intimate ceremony here, or one of the enchanting luxury cottages.
All the accommodation offerings ensure privacy and tranquillity, making it a veritable escape – and one that enjoys return stays.
Of course, if you would like to properly zone out, I suggest some downtime at the spa. The pamper options include a Swedish massage/healing crystal massage, a hydrating/detox cocoon and a cleansing body polish.
On Sunday, we decided to explore the town for a bit.
The long stretch of the main road comprises a lot of tiny stores (selling everything from art, keepsakes to clothing), pubs and restaurants. You can glean the popular spots from the number of cars occupying the parking bays.
What is most unmistakable about this town and its friendly residents is that this is South Africa’s premier fly-fishing destination – signs are posted everywhere.
But if that doesn’t hold much appeal for you, the rolling hills lend themselves perfectly to picnicking, walking or hiking, horse riding, clay pigeon shooting and golfing.
There are plenty of other outdoor activities for the entire family, too. And, if you prefer, you can go for a whisky tasting or visit the Anvil Ale Brewery, which opened in 2010 and offers a wide range of beers and local comfort grub.
Back at Walkersons Hotel & Spa, they also have well-stocked trout dams.
If you feel the need to escape never-ending deadlines and traffic, this jewel of Dullstroom is worth visiting. Who knows, it might even become your regular holiday spot. It certainly made an impression on us!