A new destination for me.
Neither bush nor sea, but the Maluti Mountains of the Eastern Free State.
Accessible from either the N3 or the N1 via the R70, this destination is
roughly 367km from Johannesburg.
About a four-hour drive in moderate traffic.
To the best of my knowledge, the N1 has fewer tolls roads
and they amount to less than R100.00 in total.
Also, you get to see the thriving metropolis of Senekal,
should you decide to use that route.
EarthRise Mountain Lodge is situated in Rustlers Valley,
which many can testify held some awesome music festivals
for almost a decade in the '80s and '90s.
Those festivals came to a halt when the owner of the
farm, Frik Grobbelaar died back in 2008.
The property is currently run by a Trust, but more of that in another posting.
This is the first view that arriving guests get of the main lodge building.
A rather unassuming exterior, but inside it is warm and welcoming.
As are the staff and the management!
They seem to greet all new arrivals as if they are old friends
and that sets the tone for the length of the sojourn here.
Even before I was out of the car, the resident dog arrived.
Pumba, as he is known, is a very friendly animal
and likes nothing more than to interact with arriving guests.
(As an aside, when guests depart, he is heartbroken.
And his owner, the general manager, tells me this can last for up to two days
or until the next guests arrive)
The lodge buildings are situated in a valley where,
back in the 1800s, the Basutho took shelter from their wars with the Zulu.
From here they went over the Maluti Mountains to begin
what is currently known as the Kingdom of Lesotho.
Most of the places that I visit have one vantage point
that takes my breath away.
This is that view...
Although the valley can be cold in the winter,
guests still spent some outdoor time at these tables.
The smokers who are not allowed to light up indoors,
braved the cold in order to fulfil their nicotine needs.
I should imagine that in summer, having meals/beverages outdoors
while looking at the spectacular scenery would be in order.
The room faced the mountains giving it a stunning view
of the late afternoon sun as it vanished behind the Maluti's.
The electric underblanket, coupled with a warm duvet and blanket
kept the cold night air at bay.
I found a seating area as I entered the room,
but seeing that it was cold and there was a fire in the lounge
of the main building, it was there that I spent most of my time.
It has been a while since I have seen a ball-and-claw bath!
There is also a shower in the opposite corner of the room.
Again, because of the cold, standing under the shower
was the better option.
And more eco-friendly than trying to fill the bath in order to keep warm.
Meals are enjoyed in this area of the main building.
For those guests who are not in the self-catering units,
breakfast, lunch and dinner are served here.
No pretence at fine dining, but hearty,
cooked with love meals are the order of the day.
Most dietary requirements can be catered for if guests
inform management when they make their booking
Just some of the meals that I enjoyed at EarthRise Mountain Lodge.
BTW, the pasta is homemade on the premises...from scratch.
And the Ox-tail that I had for dinner was one of the best I have ever eaten.
This was where I spent a LOT of time.
The fire was kept blazing almost 24 hours a day during my stay.
Well from about 06h30 until the last person went to bed,
which seemed to be before 21h00.
These are in case the electricity fails.
Luckily it did not do so during my stay,
but, caught in the sunlight, they attracted my attention.
When I first looked out of this window,
I thought that the room opposite was on fire...
Until I realized that it was only the reflection of the fire in the lounge.
I was at the Lodge during the full moon,
which added an extra ambience to my visit.
Would I return?
Of course I would!
EarthRise Mountain Lodge is a very special place
and one that engenders reflection and introspection.
And unlike many hotels where guest interaction is minimal,
here it is encouraged...
To find out more about the various forms of accommodation on offer,
visit their website:
A big thank you to each of these brands
for coming on board.
This has been my constant travel companion
for the past several years.
It might look worn,
but that represents the kilometres/miles
we have shared together.
From Kilimanjaro to the beaches of India.
To coach trips across Europe and Vietnam
and to a variety of game lodges and road trip destinations
in South and Southern Africa.
BEST SUITCASE EVER!
Check out their Facebook page:
This torch has been turning heads!
The Olight SRS2UT Intimidator.
Marketed locally by:
When it is time to print out my special images,
this is the company that I rely on to do that.
When back home, I rely on this ISP
to provide me with high-speed fibre connectivity to
enable me to get my postings published in record time.
This Powerbank is my constant companion
while I am travelling.
It can do up to 4 full re-charges of my phone before
needing to be charged.
ALWAYS choose to be Batman.
My constant travelling companion.
To find out more about the collectable Funko range of figurines,
I could not do without this awesome laptop bag from Solo.
Padded for protection and with enough pockets to keep
almost everything INCLUDING the kitchen sink in,
this is definitely a stylish addition to any business presentation.
Be it in the boardroom or the bush.
This bag can also be worn as a backpack.
There are straps in a hidden compartment that can be deployed
when you need both hands for other purposes.
To find out more about the stylish Solo range,
This locally made product was indispensable when using a long lens.
The ball and socket might look simple...and it is,
which is why it should be in the gear bag of every serious photographer.
This locally made, deceptively simple device is ideal
for tracking birds in flight or animals in motion.
The base can be used on a beanbag or a tripod,
with the ball being fitted to the camera.
The simplicity of the device allows moving from supported
to handheld in a fluid motion.
There is also a version that can be used on a car window.
To see more about the product,
visit their Facebook page:
Or order directly from:
To see who else were winners in 2018, visit: