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Cybele Forest Lodge Print E-mail
Maureen Cram   
Wednesday, 16 July 2008

A weekend break was very much needed – and where is the most peaceful place we know? Cybele Forest Lodge. Situated outside White River on the way to Hazyview, the lodge is set in the heart of the pine forests. This was our third visit – and I think our best so far.

It is about a four hour drive from Johannesburg – add in extra time for stops and or lunch. The peace descends as you drive off the tar road and along the 4km gravel road to the lodge. All the staff are exceptionally friendly – nothing is too much trouble.

Cybele Forest Lodge - Swimming PoolWe had been upgraded to the Paddock Suite – what a wonderful place! A spacious bedroom looked onto a large patio and screened by bushes down a few steps we discovered our heated pool – not Olympic size but long enough for swimming lengths.

We had an upstairs balcony for any extra guests we night have had, two bathrooms (one for the guests) and an outside shower.  We also had a full size lounge that also had doors opening out to our patio with our fully walled in and private garden.

Complementary decanters of whisky, vodka and sherry were on one of the tables, along side the usual tea and coffee, and an extremely well stocked bar fridge. Flat screen TV, DVD player and great sound system also were appreciated. All the latest magazines were around for guest reading as well as many books on South Africa, animals and birds and general local information.

Cybele Forest Lodge - RoomWe were booked for a relaxing aromatherapy bath at the Lodge’s spa but thanks to Eskom, we were asked if we would mind having our bath the next day along with our other booked treatments. No problem. The power came back on in time for us to shower and get ready for dinner.

The Lodge is famous for its food, being a member of the prestigious Paris-based Relais & Chateaux organisation. Cybele was the founder member of this luxurious chain in Southern Africa – which today has 20 members in South Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands. If you are feeling sociable, you can have a pre-dinner drink with pre-dinner snacks in the well-stocked bar before making your way to the dining room where a roaring wood fire awaits.

We were tired and wanted to eat so we went directly to our table. We were soon joined by the resident
cat, Fin, an extremely well-mannered black and white tuxedo cat who came and purred and sat with us for quite a while before deciding to check out the other diners. The staff wanted to remove her but seemingly all the guests liked her so she stayed.

After eating our dinner we went straight to bed – silky smooth sheets and down pillows and duvet awaited us. We lit a fire in the bedroom fireplace and it was wonderfully cozy. We slept well!

The next morning we woke relaxed and went for a walk. At least I went for a walk and my husband went for a run. Up and down some of the forest roads, we walked and ran for about 40 minutes, then walked back from the Lodge gate to our room. The pool beckoned! We then discovered there was a sauna at the side of our pool so we switched it on and swam a few more lengths while it heated up. We poured the provided oils on the coals and relaxed in the heat!

Later that day, we tried out our spa treatments. First of all, a 45-minute soak in a Jacuzzi bath with soothing music and refreshing seaweed iced tea to drink while we relaxed in the bubbles. We had to keep turning off the jets as the bubble threatened to completely surround me at times! A knock on the door let us know it was time for our massage. A hot stone massage is really relaxing and we had booked ninety minutes of this! Our therapists were extremely skilled and got out all the knots and aching bits from our bodies. After that, it was time for a facial. My husband had an Algolie facial and I chose to have a Clarins facial. Different products were applied after our skilled therapists asked us various questions about what we wanted to achieve and what problems we had. After the facials were finished we could hardly get ourselves off the tables to get dressed we were so relaxed.

Our therapists went through the products they had used in case we wanted to purchase any but there was no hard selling of product which we greatly appreciated.

Cybele Forest Lodge - River WalkWe staggered off to our room to get ready for dinner and then off to the dining room. Another spectacular dinner was enjoyed and then back to our room to sleep. We intended to do the River Walk – an hour and a half of walking around the forest following the river – in the morning. The morning was overcast and cool which was good for walking. We had a light early breakfast and then we were off. We explained to the dogs that we did not need any four-footed guides to help us and the staff kept the dogs from joining us as we left the Lodge. The tracks were a bit slippery in places due to the rain the previous day so we had to walk carefully to avoid slipping. We were glad we had brought our hiking boots for foot and ankle support. Cybele Forest Lodge - River Walk

We packed while we cooled down and then showered and checked out of our room. We went and sat and relaxed up by the dining room until it was time for lunch. Decisions decisions as to what to eat for lunch! The lunch menu is quite extensive and caters for all tastes from salads and toasted sandwiches through to curries and stir fries.

Contact info: e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or phone + 27 (0) 13 764 9500

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