Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Berg Adventures Part 1 : Gooderson Monk's Cowl Resort


Last Thursday (30 April) afternoon my Mom and I returned home after a fabulous stay in the Drakensberg. Before I tell you about our stay I had better tell you how it came about.

In October last year I was blessed to win a 2 night stay for 2 adults at Gooderson Monk’s Cowl Resort through the Sunday Times. Neil (hubby) and I were going to go but unfortunately the end of the year was so busy as was the beginning of the year. I could not use the voucher for long weekends, public holidays and school holidays so that made it more difficult. The voucher would expire at the end of April so I just decided to phone and find out if there was any chance of me using it. I was surprised and pleased to learn that there was a room available for the 28th and 29th. I asked my sister who stays in Johannesburg if she could come and join me but she was unable to. Neil had said to me before I asked my sister “take your mother!” I asked my Mom and I was surprised and pleased that she agreed to go. In fact she was very excited and started packing almost immediately.

So on Tuesday 28 April we packed the car and left for the drive to the Berg at 9:15am. Neil had explained to me where to go and we had even looked on Google Earth so that I could not possibly get lost. This would be the first time I had driven my car that far away from home and surprisingly I was not scared but excited. Our first stop was at the Rotunda between Hilton and Howick for a toilet break and for me to buy an energy drink. I was sick the previous week and had taken my last antibiotic that morning. We then continued with our journey which seemed to be going by quickly. Maybe it was all the talking we were doing because we were suddenly at the Mooi River toll plaza and soon after that we stopped at the Estcourt Ultra City. Approximately 5 kilometres after Estcourt Ultra City we turned off the freeway at the Bergville/Colenso exit. We drove through Winterton and not long after that we were amazed to discover that we had reached our destination. From Kloof to Monk’s Cowl resort took us 3 hours.

Check in time was 2pm so we thought we would have to find something to do before we could get our room. We decided to go to reception anyway and were happy to discover that our room was ready. Very quick and easy check in with one form to fill out and the reception staff were very friendly and welcoming. We had a Superior Room in a very new part of the hotel. Wow! What a room it was. Two double beds, a lovely spacious bathroom and our own patio. Oh! First the card to use for entry was very clever. Hold it at the handle and the door unlocks and then place it into a slot just inside the room and the power is activated. Great electricity saving!

Superior Rooms
 
Extremely comfy beds

Nice chairs to sit and decide where to go

Our TV and a view of the kettle in the corner

Cupboard and front door

Love this bathroom

Fabulous shower

These windows gave a wonderful glow in the room

Our own patio

View from our patio

We unpacked and chose the bed we wanted to sleep in. Hunger pangs drove us out of the room, so we followed the path past the Adventure Golf and to the restaurant which is called Friar Tuck (Monk’s Cowl – Friar Tuck – get it??) We chose a table on the patio and Mom ordered a toasted chicken mayo sandwich and I decided to have a chicken wrap. We didn’t want to eat too much as it was rather late in the day for us to eat. The food arrived quickly and we really enjoyed our meal. After lunch we went back to our room and had tea and then decided that since this was an adventure we would have to get out and experience the Berg.

Friar Tuck patio

View of the swimming pool
 
But since this is Part 1 and I am only focusing on the resort, you will have to wait for Part 2 to find out where we went on day 1 of our adventure. We arrived back at the resort at about 4:30pm and supper is served from 5pm. Both Mom and I do eat early at home but we didn’t want to get there too early as we had eaten lunch so late. It was wonderful to sit out on our patio, relax and enjoy the majestic view of the mountains. It was dark by the time we left for supper but the path has lighting so it was easy to make our way there.

Inside Friar Tuck

Divine oxtail


The supper menu for Friar Tuck has a lot of choices but I was drawn to the oxtail and Mom to the soup, so that is what we ordered. Wow! The oxtail was divine! Mom and I mmmmm’d our way through our meal. I’m sorry to disappoint you all but we were too full for dessert. We took a slow walk back to our room and stopped on the way to gaze at the stars. It was wonderful to be able to see them clearly without city lights interfering.  Back in our fabulous room we had wonderful showers and then snuggled in our beds to watch TV. We only managed to stay awake until about 9pm as our day had been tiring with all the excitement. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Wednesday morning we were both awake at 5am and breakfast is only served from 7am. So we took our time getting ready and had a cup of tea and chatted about what we would do that day. Mom opened the front door to check how cold it was and there was a bite to the air. Definitely wore a jacket to walk to Friar Tuck for breakfast. We were the first there for breakfast as we were the first there for supper the night before. During the week Monk’s Cowl do not have a breakfast buffet as there are not enough people staying at the resort, but we could order off the menu items we would have wanted from the buffet. Mom and I both decided to start with poached dried fruit and yoghurt and then to have an omelette. We really enjoyed the poached fruit and the omelettes were so yummy. I had cheese and mushroom and Mom had cheese, mushroom and tomato as a filling. While we were having our breakfast we were visited by the resident cat – Tom. Such a friendly cat who demanded to be stroked and to have his tummy rubbed. A cup of coffee each and we were ready to start day 2 of our adventure.

Tom the resident cat

Yummy omelette


On the way back to our room we stopped and checked with reception about various activities. Did our final getting ready and then got in the car. Read Part 2 for where we went J

We came back to Monk’s Cowl resort after 12pm and I went for a quick shower, had tea and relaxed for a bit on the patio. No lunch as we were still quite full from breakfast. I went to reception again to ask for recommendations for a place we could go for a cappuccino and cake. So armed with information off we went again – yes yes Part 2!

This time we came back to the resort after 5pm. We only stayed in the room long enough to get our jackets as by this time we were very hungry. Especially as we had had a very busy and fun day. This time I ordered the mountain trout and Mom had soup again but she ordered vegetables to go with. As was with the night before, we really enjoyed our meal. I am going to please you all by saying yes we had dessert! We both ordered chocolate mousse and we were expecting it to arrive in a glass but his was how it was presented ......

 
Lots of oohs and aahs from us both and then lots of mmmmm’s as we tried to scrape every last bit off the plate. We relaxed with coffee and Tom came to visit us again for more scratches and tummy rubs.

We took our happy tummies for a slow walk back to the room.  The sky wasn’t as clear as the night before but we did get a glimpse of a few stars. Had wonderful showers and then into the bed to watch TV. We watched 7de Laan, the news and then Captain America : The Winter Soldier. Lights out and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Mom was awake at 5am but I managed to sleep until 5:45am. It was going home day L We went for breakfast for the last time and Tom came to see us again for his regular tummy rubs. Had delicious omelettes again and ended with coffee. We sadly made our way back to the room and packed up all our stuff. But before we packed the car we went for a last walk to see the new rock swimming pool and to look at the new self-catering units and other superior rooms. Everything looks fabulous and I am sure the rock swimming pool and jungle gym will be greatly enjoyed by the kids that stay at the resort. Well it was back to the room and then we packed all our things into the car and then checked the room one last time – just in case. Walked up to the reception to settle our bill which was just for the food we had eaten. Bye bye Gooderson Monk’s Cowl Resort and thank you for the amazing time! The staff were always friendly and welcoming and your room was divine. The food at Friar Tuck was delicious. The only thing we would like you to do is to please update your local activities for the guests – maybe a separate booklet for the room?? If you do not know the area and activities available it takes some effort to find out.

Adventure golf

Beautiful new rock swimming pool

The Gooderson "G"
 
Mom and I highly recommend Monk’s Cowl resort and we would happily stay there again.
Monk's Cowl on Facebook
Website


So that is Part 1 of our Berg Adventure.

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