Serendipity & Gifts
I love it when the universe conspires to make beautiful things happen! We were fortuitous in such a way recently. It was early February and I was musing what I might get my Tall Dark & Handsome for Valentine’s Day that would make him smile. We’re not big into having “stuff” so it can be a bit tricky to choose great gifts that are truly special and meaningful. Though Valentine’s shouldn’t be a big deal, it nevertheless gives us a nudge to remember to do something extra special for our significant other.
Tall Dark & Handsome loves fishing. It has been a part of his life since he was old enough to hold a fishing rod. Despite that, he’s never done fly fishing! It seemed like a glorious opportunity for me to get him enrolled in a fly fishing clinic. Well, both of us, as we’re now fishing partners-in-crime, seeing as he opened the door for me, and I happily jumped through.
Around the same time as I was searching for a fly fishing expert, I received an invitation from Chef Chris Tustian at Kloofzicht Lodge & Spa to come experience their hospitality and the relatively new Oevermeer Bistro. As luck would have it, I would discover that Kloofzicht offers fly fishing clinics, via the expert guidance of the Sundowner Adventures. I love it when a plan comes together, and just like that we had a lovely romantic weekend away to look forward to, that also included a new fishing challenge for my Tall Dark & Handsome. Perfection!
You can also now check out Tall Dark & Handsome aka the Travel Gigolo’s episode on fly fishing at Kloofzicht.
A Weekend In the Country
We headed through to Kloofzicht very early one Saturday morning (early for us, anyway) for our introduction to fly fishing. Trout are said to be more active in cold weather, and especially in the early morning & late afternoon. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the lodge is actually not very far outside of Jozi, and from our front door in Melville, it took us a mere 35 minutes to get there. Upon our arrival, we met Refilwe at the front desk, and I can say with absolute pleasure that her warm, friendly welcome and service has been the best front desk reception & check-in we’ve ever experienced.
But before our room was ready for us, we headed to the dam with our new guide & teacher, Josh. We knew we were in expert hands, as Josh is a top competitor nationwide, and represents Gauteng nationally. Though we were there to learn, we had to take a moment to admire the beauty that surrounded us. It was hard to believe we were just outside of Jozi’s hustle and bustle. The views all around us were nourishing, and it was refreshing to be outdoors and out of the city.
We went about our lessons and of course, Tall Dark & Handsome took to it like a “fish to water”. Josh kept attempting to correct my poor form but I must admit that I did struggle a fair amount getting the action right. In fact, I believe it will take quite a few fly fishing excursions before I get there. Naturally, TDH hooked two carp and landed one trout, and all that on his very first fly fishing expedition ever. Naturally! I will admit to being fairly envious.
Just a Casual Bistro Lunch
Lunch-time soon arrived and a break in fishing was called for. We went back to the lovely Refilwe and finalised details so we could check in. The staff had gone the extra mile and had created a gorgeous, and very romantic, welcome for us. The room was beautifully made up, with deep red rose petals strewn around, and a rose petal heart on the bed. I have to say, I was impressed. We didn’t linger too long as we were quite hungry by then and headed to what was after all the main feature of the day, Oevermeer Bistro.
Oevermeer Bistro is a recent addition to the Kloofzicht property. Described by Chef Chris as a more casual dining experience, they host a number of day visitors on weekends especially, whether a group of friends who’ve come to enjoy the rugby and some great pub fare, or romantic Sunday lunches with scenic views, or even a great family outing. If you’re booked in to stay over, you can even arrange a babysitter and have that well overdue cosy relaxed lunch you may have been longing for.
The menu features some great dishes but my mind was made up when Chef Chris mentioned the special of the day, a pork & fig burger. That was definitely going to be my choice. Tall Dark & Handsome, always the meat man, ordered a beef salad main as our starter to share, and keeping with the theme of the day, a Prego Beef Roll. Our salad soon arrived, a gorgeously constructed plate of grilled sirloin, roasted pepper, broccoli, micro greens and a horseradish dressing. I will admit to decimating the broccoli and veggies, as they were so fresh and flavourful, it made my day. You know you’re an adult when veggies make you so happy. My burger soon arrived, a tower so stacked it hardly fit in my photo frame. I was hoping to taste some of TDH’s prego but he made full use of the side of chilli sauce and in so doing ensured I wasn’t going to be stealing his food. I wasn’t too bleak about that though, as my burger was a meal and a half and so exceptionally delicious that I ate absolutely all of it, which is not my usual style.
It will not be untrue to say that we spent a great deal of the weekend just eating, and subsequently attempting to walk off our food babies all along the meandering paths on the property. And that’s how we left the Oevermeer Bistro – delightfully stuffed and wondering how we would even make dinner. We decided a very long walk was required, before heading back to the main dam for some afternoon fishing.
It is entirely our new life plan to return to Kloofzicht for day visits, fishing and stopping only for lunch at the Bistro. It cannot be beat for an excellent excursion, time spent outdoors, enjoying the sun, and stopping to nourish yourself with simple but delicious food, while enjoying the views all around you. Sitting on the Oevermeer deck is an absolute must. And the fact that all this amazingness is so close-by makes a huge difference.
Chef Chris Tustian
During our stay at Kloofzicht, we had the pleasure of chatting to Chef Chris on a few occasions. Despite running multiple kitchens (wedding, bistro *and* main restaurant), and being exceptionally busy, it was nice to see the chef engaging with all his patrons and ensuring service excellence and customer satisfaction at all times. We were happy to get to pick his brain a bit!
Photo of Chef Chris Tustian by Deon van Wyk
Chef Chris has the kind of experience that reads like a holy manuscript of food, having spent almost his entire career in various five-star and Michelin Star restaurants and establishments. He joined Kloofzicht Lodge & Spa as Head Chef about two years ago, coming from Forum Homini just prior to that. What we enjoyed most was listening to Chef Chris speak about his team, about ensuring they are trained to enjoy an illustrious career, and being proud of their ability and accomplishments.
“When I was trained, I had people investing time and effort in me, and that’s why I invest my time in my team as well. I’ve got some good people, they’ve worked hard and some of them have come with me a long way and some of them have been promoted internally … it’s nice for me as a chef to watch them grow.”
It’s evident that Chef Chris is passionate about his work, about keeping abreast with new trends, and ensuring his team – and as a direct result his patrons – are happy.
Romantic Dinner Date
It seemed like in no time at all we were already heading for dinner in the main restaurant. As the venue was quite busy, both the buffet and à la carte options were available. We opted for à la carte, as we were not exactly famished after our massive lunch, and couldn’t imagine tackling a buffet. The main dining room is a romantic spot with warmly lit tables where you can get cosy, or in warmer weather, an open deck to enjoy balmy summer nights. In a surprising upending of the usual, I opted for the fillet main and TDH had a vegetarian dish! Even he seemed surprised but he could not stop waxing lyrical about his dish, which was delightfully plated. Despite that, he could not resist grabbing a few bites of my lovely medium rare fillet, and rightfully so! I did tease him mercilessly though.
In another entirely shocking turn of events, we were so stunningly well-fed after our mains, that I even turned down the cheese on the cheese & dessert trolley. If you know me at all, you’ll understand that’s quite something. I made up for it at breakfast, though.
It was a chilly night and we walked back to our stunning unit at a fair pace, to have an epic wind-down in the double shower, my best feature possibly ever! The underfloor heating and fireplace meant we could make our suite nice and toasty, and laze about in our soft, fluffy gowns. Nothing quite like a king size bed, to really ensure that luxury literally surrounds you.
Breakfasts & Farewells
Breakfast is served early at Kloofzicht (again, for us!) so we had to pull ourselves out of our fabulous king size earlier than maybe we would have liked. We would have loved to spend a few more hours being utterly lazy and warm. It was a stunning day outside, with glorious sunshine and deep blue skies waiting to greet us. Our breakfast was enjoyed on the deck of the main restaurant, which meant we could enjoy the picturesque views a little longer. We were sorely tempted to get another day’s fishing in but our furkids and adulting in general waited for us. We took one last leisurely stroll around, taking it all in and promising we’d be back sooner rather than later, if at the very least for fishing and delectable lunching at Oevermeer.
Things To Do
Just some of the things that you’re able to do and enjoy on-site at Kloofzicht Lodge & Spa:
- Fly fishing! A great day with ample fishing opportunity and well-stocked dams.
- Dine in style. Whether a casual lunch at the new Oevermeer Bistro or elegant dining at the main hotel restaurant.
- Hikes & walks. Lovely paths abound, and the hiking trails run off into the hills and valleys.
- Spa delights. A day of pampering and relaxation surrounded by the great outdoors is even closer than you think.
- Hot Air Balloon rides. Something truly incredible for that special occasion, Kloofzicht offers this option via Air Ventures.
- Conferencing. Even as we departed, a conference party was checking in and getting going.
- Get married! Celebrate your special day in style with sweeping vistas and beautiful surrounds.
It is said “a day in the country is worth a month in the city”. Truer words were never spoken.