Walkersons Hotel & Spa lies just outside Dullstroom in a secluded valley, crisscrossed by small streams and walking trails, and dotted with trout dams. It is the perfect setting for a weekend away, or for a half-way stop on the way to Kruger.
I spent a glorious weekend here not so long ago. Dullstroom, lying at over 2,000m above sea level on the escarpment, is known for its European weather and nature. Personally I think that autumn is the perfect time to go. The leaves turn gold and bronze, and it’s the perfect setting for snuggling up in front of a big log fire.
The Walkersons estate is over 800ha and covers both the beautiful valley and the nearby mountains. You can take long, leisurely walks along the close to 3km network of paved tracks or take one of the paths up on the mountain for a more adventurous hike. Other activities include trout fishing and horse riding. But don’t stay out all day; the main building is full of inviting chairs and sofas, perfect for a good book and a glass sherry!
No 5-star property worth its salt comes without a fabulous spa, and Walkersons is no exception. The Amani Spa is a piece of heaven inside paradise! It is serene with a wide selection of treatments (I can truly recommend the Traveller – a perfect combination of foot treatment and back & shoulder massage) and a wonderful buffet filled with fresh fruits, juices, herbal teas and pastries.
Then, there is of course the food! Chef Adri van Wieringen serves up traditional dishes with a modern twist based on local and seasonal produce. The lunch menu is filled with fresh and light meals, and dinner is generally a hearty affair where trout, duck and lamb play leading roles. Oh, and don’t miss the creamy whiskey oats for breakfast!
The Lakeside Suites are perfect for a romantic getaway; secluded with their own stoep and outside showers as well as romantic fire places (that the ever-attentive staff will light while you are at dinner). But there are also lovely cottages, some of which are self catering (although who wants to cook when you have a top chef at the restaurant next door?), perfect for families or groups of friends.
If you, against all odds, should get bored of the estate (or, more realistically, on your way there or back) there is plenty to do in town. My top 5 tips are:
- Sample craft beer at Anvil Ale Brewpub
- Buy trout (fresh, smoked, pies and pates) at Milly’s Trout Store
- Visit the quirky and wonderful restaurant Mrs Simpson’s for a great meal (be sure to book; they are constantly full)
- Browse the many art galleries along the main street
- Do a whisky tasting at Wild About Whisky (where you’ll find the largest whiskey collection in the southern hemisphere)
My weekend was courtesy of Walkersons Hotel & Spa, but all opinions are (as always) my own.