• The Gorge private game lodge and spa in KZN will take your breath away


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    WHERE IS IT? The Gorge Private Game Lodge and Spa is cradled on KwaZulu-Natal’s South Coast overlooking the Oribi Gorge. It is only 32km from Port Shepstone and about a two-hour drive from King Shaka International Airport.

    WHY GO THERE? Firstly for the view and scenery. I almost cried when I saw this breath-taking gorge. Okay, I did cry. Then I just stood there for a while in amazement. Secondly for the food, and thirdly for the spa treatments, the accommodation, impeccable service… the list goes on.

    Five spacious chalets modelled on traditional Zulu huts are built on columns elevated three or four metres off the ground to minimise the impact on the environment. The sheer luxury of the interiors includes stateof- the-art gadgets, an inside and private outdoor shower and a glass wall, giving you a panoramic view of the gorge, which unfolds in front of you as you walk out onto the balcony. The domed roof gives a modern interpretation of the traditional grassroofed hut, and the natural rock cladding on the walls blends in well with the sandstone.

    Time is not an issue. You can eat breakfast, lunch and dinner when you want; there is no schedule that you have to stick to. This allows for tailor-made personal service, a chef and waiters at your beck and call. I felt like royalty. The menu changes every day and head chef Deon Kemp and sous chef Alex Maditse can really knock it out of the park – or rather, out of the gorge. My mouth waters when I recall the dishes I ate.

    The food is best described as simple fine dining with a touch of home cooking: there is nothing “lodgy” about it. Deon, also known as “the cane chef”, because of his interest in sugarcane farming, calls his food “African fusion with a twist and a slight Asian influence”. Some of my favourite dishes were tea-smoked chicken salad with crisp lettuce, peppers, carrots, onions and balsamic vinegar, and tempura of line fish with a side salad, herb mayonnaise and oriental dressing. Not forgetting the duo of lamb and the mushroom and truffle-oil infused soup.

    There is attention to detail from the time you drive through the gate until you leave: the kind of personal touch that enhances The Gorge experience and leaves you grateful. It all made me so much more aware of how service should be, particularly in restaurants.

    Daily game drives with a chance of spotting antelope, giraffe, wildebeest, zebra, warthog, porcupine, samango monkeys, lynx, black-backed jackal and, if you’re lucky, leopard. Birdwatchers will love the vulture excursion. There are also hiking trails, a bat cave, bushmen’s cave, mountain biking, abseiling, foefie slide, water sports and a deep-sea fishing charter.

    WHO GOES THERE? Perfect for couples or those keen on outdoor activities, it is also a must for foodies, while those who enjoy being pampered will have their needs met at the spa. If you need to unwind or simply want to break away from the buzz of city life, then The Gorge will revitalise you.

    The view is incredible, with the gorge drawing you in and the residing mountains and plush forests surrounding you. The pool in front of the eating area feels like it spills straight into the gorge. Then you get to your room and find you’re even closer… you’re right on the edge.

    HOW MUCH? R1 250 per night per person sharing (Monday to Thursday), R1 650 per night per person sharing (Friday to Sunday), R3 400 per threenight stay per person sharing (including one-hour spa treatment). Single supplements apply.

    Call 039-687-0378 / 087 550 0485 / 082 566 1045 (Mike) or visit www.thegorge.co.za.