Following a convoluted series of minor roads, and making one or two wrong turns in the process (Don’t trust your GPS further than you can throw the dashed thing; that daft wench in the machine only knows the main routes), we eventually arrived at our second resort.
Sani Valley Lodge is in sharp contrast to the rustic, reclusive beauty of Ikhaya la Mafu. While both are eminently pleasant, Sani Valley Lodge is a trout fishing lodge cum game viewing spot, and has luxury and convenience as their watchwords.
Chalets are discreetly spaced and three of them (the honeymoon chalets) are situated closer to the lake’s edge than an asthmatic could spit a watermelon pip. When I say lake, it is a very respectable 260 acres which is almost as big as some potholes we encountered on the way there.
The impeccably trained staff are personable, discreet and well presented; and someone came by at least once a day to ask if all was well and if there was anything they could do to make our stay more enjoyable. I resisted the urge to suggest that writing off the bill would make my stay exceedingly enjoyable. Nevertheless, it was most refreshing to receive such hospitality.
Although the chalets are self-catering, you can order (well in advance) from their scrumptious menu, and it can even be delivered to your chalet. Also, if you’re feeling stressed, you can summon someone from the spa to give you a variety of treatments, from Indian head rubs to heated stones – all in the privacy and comfort of your lodge. However, as we’d omitted to sell the Aston Martin DBX (the butler has to have something to drive), we eschewed these luxuries. Besides, Mrs Chips felt I rubbed her up the wrong way for most of the year, so she saw little novelty in the offering.
The design of the chalets includes massive picture windows in the downstairs lounge, upstairs bedroom and bathroom. Imagine soaking luxuriously in a gigantic bubble bath while the splendour of the Drakensberg pours in through your window.
The magnificent vistas through the fold-away windows give one a sense of the abundant space outside, and allow heaps of light into the chalet, and at night, when the same windows, are accidentally left open, allow squadrons of mosquitoes in to feed on the O Pos. I’m joking of course. There were far fewer mozzies than I expected.
Pop back for the next chapter and our jaunt up (and down, naturally) the Sani Pass.