Review: Gooderson Leisure Drakensberg Gardens Golf and Spa Resort
On Wednesday the 25th of November, we left on a quick trip to Gooderson Leisure Drakensberg Gardens Golf and Spa Resort.
The resort is situated in the Southern Drakensberg, on an 860 hectare World Heritage site, and boasting the most beautiful scenery (in my opinion) that KwaZulu Natal has to offer. There are 5 different restaurants, 4 different bars, it is the only 18-hole golf course in the Southern Drakensberg, as well as offering a vast array of activities and entertainment so that you WILL find something exciting to do or see.
After a light lunch in the the Bistro Terrace Cafe, I rushed to book an appointment at the Wellness Centre. Gooderson Leisure Resorts make use of the Cellu-Beauty Spas – I was desperate for a massage. After some discussion with the therapist, I decided to go for the Roman Royalty Swedish Massage – an hour long, full body massage using a combination of Swedish, deep-tissue and pressure point massage to ensure you leave relaxed and serene. I like a deep massage, and can’t stand it when I have someone ineffectually massaging my stiff muscles with no pressure whatsoever. This massage didn’t disappoint, and I left the spa in a state so relaxed, I felt like I was walking on a cloud. I hopped straight into one of the warm jacuzzis in the centre, and continued to unwind. Possibly the best way to de-stress and just give yourself a pick-me-up before the mad rush of work at year-end. As well as the spa and two jacuzzis, the Wellness Centre also boasts a sauna, a plunge pool, a fully-equipped gym, two steam rooms and a 24 jet heated hydrotherapy pool.
I’d had such a relaxing afternoon that I expected to pass out in the huge (and very comfy) bed in my hotel room, but I couldn’t possibly… I had more eating to do! We all met for a quick drink in the Buck and Trout bar, before heading into the Eagle’s Roost restaurant – a family style restaurant with a buffet-style dinner. I stuffed myself silly on some salads, the best roast beef and Yorkshire pudding I’ve ever had, and finished off with lemon meringue pie and tiramisu. After this huge feast it was inevitable that it was now bedtime and I slept like a baby.
Breakfast was also at the Eagle’s Roost – another buffet with everything from pain-Au-chocolat, to fresh fruit and yoghurt, to warm oats, and a full English fry up. A good cup of coffee and some fresh orange juice complimented this perfectly, seeing as we had a jam-packed day of adventuring around the resort to get through.
I watched the braver souls try out the resort’s zip-line in their new adventure park (not quite up and running as yet, but it will be very soon), taking photos of the hilarious facial expressions of those coming to the end of their ride, and I tried my hand at archery, determined to sink at least one arrow into the target. I felt like Robin Hood as I handled the bow, and after MANY attempts, I got a couple of arrows in! We also had a quick walk around the hotel area, and saw the bowls lawns, the adventure golf course and the animal farm (my personal favourite spot). There are currently two baby lambs and a baby goat at the resort’s animal farm, so I of course had to snuggle one (or all three), and considered attempting a stealthy exit with the baby goat in particular.
Lunch was at the Glen Gary Country Club on the golf course this time, and was a delicious whole cooked Drakensberg trout with lemon and garlic butter, and chips, and was followed by a waffle with ice cream and syrup. Both courses were absolutely delicious and perfectly cooked.
I also went on an out ride on horseback through the beautiful resort and cantering across the open stretches along the river was such a treat. The guide can take anyone from beginners to advanced riders, and the horses are in beautiful condition – not something you always see at resorts.
Dinner was a braai that was set up for us on the patio of the Buck and Trout bar, with fruity cocktails and all the fixings of pap and sous, mielies, salad, garlic bread and delicious braaied meat. We also visited the other bar in the main building, the Wildcat Sports bar, with pool tables, darts and karaoke.
The resort is in the process of building a wedding venue with the most beautiful pathway lined with white roses. Even though it was still being finished when we visited, you can tell that it’s going to really be something special when the landscaping and other finishing touches are completed.
Other than the restaurants and bars that we tried out, the Drakensberg Gardens also has the Bergview Restaurant (a la carte menu), the Vine Knot restaurant (Italian) and the Glen Gary Country Club Bar. There is no way you’ll get bored of eating at the same restaurant, and having sundowners at the same bar.
Accommodation at the resort also comes in many different forms. Hotel rooms where you can pay a bed and breakfast rate – Standard Room R875 pp per night, Superior Room R995 pp per night, and the Honeymoon Suite R2190 per couple per night. There are also self catering chalets that sleep either 4 or 6 people, and they have a few areas with timeshares as well.
Above and beyond the activities that I saw, you can also hike, mountain bike, play golf, tennis, squash, adventure golf or bowls, or even just lounge by the pool in the sunshine. The resort also has a weekly entertainment schedule, with activities for the kids, as well as bar games in the evening for adults.
The Gooderson Leisure Drakensberg Gardens Golf and Spa Resort truly is a home away from home, with delicious food, exciting things to do and see, and a relaxed atmosphere where you can truly unwind and enjoy quality family time. I just wish that I’d had longer to try out more of the activities – but there’s always next time!