IMPROMPTU OVERNIGHT STAY AT VALLEY LODGE & SPA
Hubby surprised the son and I with a last minute invite to stay over at the Valley Lodge out in Magaliesburg. We weren’t celebrating a milestone.
On our way to the lodge though we took a Sho’t Left and made a stop at the Sterkfontein Caves out in the Cradle of Humankind. Only an hour’s drive from Johannesburg and Pretoria, the Sterkfontein Caves are world famous for their fossil finds. From my last visit a decade back, the caves have undergone a facelift bringing it to the modern age. The Sterkfontein Caves site now has a stunning restaurant, conferencing facilities, easy access to the caves themselves, modern walkways and a boardwalk past the excavation site where world-acclaimed fossils have been discovered. The tours a run every half hour, seven days a week and while initially, our son was hesitant to go explore the inside of the caves he eventually changed his mind and had an amazing time. It’s really a must for our kids to see and just experience the caves, it is definitely loads of fun.
After the caves, it was time for our game drive. We arrived late afternoon on Saturday making it just in time for our game drive with Sanele lead driver for Zemvelo. It’s a less than an hour’s drive from the caves.
From the moment we arrived at the lodge the service and attention from the staff was amazing and very efficient check-in process. It was raining when we arrived so it was so stunning to see a real fire going in their guest lounge area and even an umbrella to keep us dry when walking to our room. Incidentally, this is the same lodge that the team from Portugal stayed at when they were here for the World Cup in 2010. Yes, we got to share the same space that Cristiano Ronaldo used back then. It’s been a few years so his scent is but left to one’s own imagination.
We were allocated one of the lodge’s Superior Rooms. It’s has a very modern look, feel and are beautifully decorated. The bathrooms are spacious, large shower area with two shower heads, a large bath, and it even has a double vanity. These rooms have their own veranda nogal, furnished with really modern outdoor loungers and table to sit and play some family games like Hasbro’s Jenga. Arriving at our room just before dinner, the cleaning staff had left chocolates on our pillows and a very generous platter of biltong and dried fruit. My best was the coffee machine if you want a break from your instant coffees, but if you want instant, it’s there too.
Did I mention there’s free WiFi?
THING TO DO
Not keen on just sitting around reading a book or playing with your phone because of the free WiFi, there a number of other activities … like spending time around the Olympic-sized cold-water swimming pool. Come summer, this pool will be the place to be at. The lodge will provide you with pool towels and if you get a little famished, you are able to order a meal and drinks from the poolside.
If like hubby, you want to spend time at the gym, the lodge has a fully equipped with Techno-gym equipped with treadmills, and much more to suit your needs. Alternatively, you can head on over to one of their three tennis courts for some running around chasing a ball.
Our stay was so short that I didn’t get to experience Valley Lodge’s Spa and Hydra Therapy Centre for a little pampering. The Spa has an array of therapeutic treatments, like my all time favourite the “Hot Stone massage” or their hedonistic poolside pedicure. Hubby took a walk down to see what it was like and he loved it. We definitely need to take another Sho’tleft soon.
The Lodge even has fishing facilities, can you believe it! For the fly fishing enthusiasts, there’s both riverine and dam fishing and it’s “catch and release” like so many of the local fishing places around Gauteng. Remember to bring your own fishing rods from home, if you intend to do some fishing during your stay. Our next visit, we will definitely be bringing our son’s fishing equipment. As he has a new found love for canoeing I guess we will also be taking a boat or a canoe that is available at the lodge for guest use for a bit of a paddle about.
As the Valley Lodge doesn’t yet have their own game drives, you must give the guys at Zemvelo Adventures a call. At only R250pp it’s well worth the investment. They even have a 1h30 Family Game Drive that won’t have you feeling all kinds of awkwardness when your kids get all excited from seeing some of their favourite wildlife. We were able to see lions, elephants, a variety of bucks, hippos, wildebeest, zebras and giraffes. A true treat for all on the game drive. Sanele our game-drive driver was super patient and I’ve no doubt from his engagement with the kids, that the kids learnt a number of things about the animals we saw. In between all the “I know that…”. If you do go with your young kids, I highly recommend asking that you go on a drive with Sanele.
A wonderful and much-needed overnight break from our reality. I never realised I needed the break until the day after. The Valley Lodge and Spa is definitely worth the short drive from Jozi and will leave you feeling refreshed after your stay. We woke up around 5 am and called room service to request some hot chocolates for us, and last minuted decided we wanted some fresh croissants too. Although the room-service kitchen hadn’t opened yet, they open at 7 am, we were pleasantly surprised to receive fresh out-the-oven croissants with our hot chocolate order. They were so delicious!
They are currently running a number of specials that are kind to our already tight budgets. Amazing modern accommodation in the bush, right outside our door.
Disclaimer: I was not requested to blog about our stay or compensated in any way or form for this post.