“Award-winning spa and boutique lodge set on a 3500-hectare private game reserve, teeming with wildlife and cinematic vistas and only 1 hour from Durban”
There are 16 rooms, dubbed luxury boutique villas as they have a proper lounge (with office space) and a veranda, as well as the bedroom. Twelve are absolutely self-contained and are spread far enough apart from one another so that you don’t feel the presence of any other party encroaching on your privacy. If you're travelling in a group or with family, there are 4 villas that are interconnected so you can be closer together. Two can be made up as twin rooms. All of them have uninterrupted views of the valley and the surrounding bush.
Each has its own decorative style but accents lean toward understated European colonial touches combined with tasteful African flair. Rich carpets, 1000-thread count linens and underfloor heating make padding around your room barefoot an absolute pleasure. A kingsize bed which is large enough to sleep in like a wide, pointy starfish always gets my vote - you even get a pillow menu to choose from. Waking up to real coffee from a Nespresso machine is another genius touch.
Due to the high thatched roofs, the villas are beautifully airy in summer and have air-conditioning as well. Bedrooms are spacious, and all have comfortable lounges with generous office space. Each has a generous private veranda from which to watch the glorious sunsets, G&T (from the well-stocked minibar) in hand.
Huge bathrooms have over-sized bathtubs, fluffy slippers and robes, and a hairdryer. The inter-connecting villas have walk-in outdoor showers as well. The toiletries are specially manufactured by Esse: free of preservatives, they only use natural and organically grown ingredients.
A word of advice: slide open all of your villa doors, even in winter (if it’s not raining), as the gentle night noises - including snuffling warthogs - and the clean air both enhance a blissful night’s sleep. You’re also then perfectly placed for a spectacular morning sunrise from your bed.
As rates for Karkloof include 3 meals a day, you’d do well to stay put and enjoy the original, fresh and frankly quite extraordinary meals on offer. The menus change regularly and most of the organic ingredients are sourced from farms in the area.
Choose from 2 delicious menus - one comprising the very best in gourmet raw foods for those wanting a healthy, nutritious diet to complement their spa break, the other an unashamedly full-fat, locally-flavoured menu which combines exotic tastes from Asia and traditional touches from Europe. Do try the raw food menu at least once - but if your partner is tucking into impala kebabs or fresh seared tuna for starters, followed by grilled game fillets and homemade ice creams with rich chocolatey puds for dessert, the temptation may become too much to bear.
Nothing is rushed at Karkloof and you can dine when and where it suits you - in your villa or on your private deck, or up in the main lodge with the other guests in the dining room. There’s a lively, congenial feel to the place and doors are flung open in summer (or there’s a large fire in colder weather). All specialist diets and food intolerances are catered for if the kitchen is alerted in advance, and the expert chefs are happy to help with anything you would like arranged.
The breakfast spread is vast - you can opt for a full health, continental, English, American or whatever else takes your fancy, all at the same time; but do squeeze in a smoothie - they're particularly good.
Picnic baskets can be put together if you're heading out into the reserve during the day, and there are wine tastings too. The well-stocked cellar has a hand-picked collection of estate wines and fine champagnes, so ask one of the staff to recommend something suitable.
Children are welcome at Karkloof subject to availability - this is a place which is primarily set up for couples. Children over 12 are charged the same as an adult and get their own room; children six and under stay for free.
Teens (over 12)
Four of the boutique villas interconnect and so these are best for families. Cots and extra beds are available on request.
Babysitting is available on request, see Rates
Kids menus are available, note there are no high chairs
No children under 12 are allowed in the spa, those between 12-16 are only allowed in under parental supervision.