Dullstroom Getaway at Luxury 5 Star Hotel Walkersons
What could be better for the soul than a Dullstroom country escape from the city madness? That’s not a rhetorical question. A luxurious 5-star getaway is better, that’s what. We have to endure winter, and if we must, it should occasionally be in the countryside, while sipping on sherry, lazying in a room with a roaring fireplace, getting cosy under a big fluffy duvet with the electric blanket on for extra toasty toes.
Dullstroom offers that in spades, and even more, at Walkersons Hotel & Spa.
1. How To Get There
Dullstroom is a favourite weekend and long weekend destination for Gauteng locals especially. If you manage to avoid rush hour traffic, it’s an easy 3 hour drive on mostly good roads. In fact, from Pretoria it’s pretty much a straight shot on the N4, and a turn toward Belfast; and from Jo’burg, the N12 joins up with the N4 to get you there the same way. Belfast is the only town you need to meander through before you hit Dullstroom. The drive, once through Belfast, is filled with picturesque scenes of rolling hills and beautiful grassland.
Walkersons Hotel & Spa, situated on the much larger Walkersons Estate, is quite literally nestled in a valley entirely invisible from the roadside, down a steep road which meanders along dams and gorgeous estate homes. It is ideally located just beyond Dullstroom, close enough to enjoy all Dullstroom has to offer but far enough away to ensure that “getaway in the countryside” feeling and rejuvenation. Any vehicle will manage the journey.
2. Accommodation On Offer
Though I almost always prefer a self-catering option, when it comes to Walkersons I would definitely recommend the luxury hotel rooms. These units are scattered throughout the property in twos, and allow for privacy and quiet. No hotel hallways filled with chatter and noise, comings and goings. And when it comes down to it, do consider opting for Dinner, Bed & Breakfast. The dinner menus on offer are different each night, and delicious. The alternative is of course to head into town for dinner, but if you’re serious about getting away from it all, staying put and just taking a short stroll to the restaurant is a lovely way to spend a weekend. Knowing that your warm room is waiting for you just a minute away makes it even better. You can always fix your Dullstroom wanderings around lunch time, if you’re so inclined or have a favourite spot.
Walkersons also has self-catering cottages, larger units for families or groups of friends. We didn’t get to see these but they are dotted across Walkersons Estate, in various spots, offering different views and setups. I would very much love to return to spend some time fishing and enjoying the estate with a group of friends in one of these cottages.
3. Activities On The Grounds
There are a myriad of activities available on the Walkersons Estate. It really is a little slice of heaven all on its own, self-contained and easy to spend the entire stay at.
For the folks who don’t want to miss a gym day, they offer one on-site. For those of us who are getting away from the stresses of the city, a spa ensures your relaxation and destressing is guaranteed. They even offer horse riding. If you’re not a fan of riding, you can get your exercise via the various walks and hikes. And if you prefer just to leisure, you can book a picnic basket and sit down and enjoy the views from one of many beautiful spots.
Walkersons even boasts a helipad and a runway! During our stay, two small planes came and went on numerous occasions and we enjoyed watching them take off and race around in the sky. I’m not sure if this means one can fly in if you have a small private aircraft, but I expect it would be the case. This is next level. #LifeGoals.
4. Fly Fishing
Of course, the main activity, and the reason many flock to Walkersons, is for the fly fishing. There are no less than 14 dams and lakes on the estate, making it a fly fishing paradise of note! It is in fact this very reason that drew us to Walkersons. Though very much novices in the fly fishing department, we’d heard much about the great fly fishing to be had there, and hoped to spend time improving our game and gaining experience.
I have to admit that though some around us were successful (depending on their skill level and expertise, of course), we failed at enticing any of the rainbow trout to grab a lure. Thus we are adamant to return to win at the fly fishing at Walkersons, a must on our bucket list.
5. Dining at Walkersons
We were fortunate enough to try all the dining options available at Walkersons, from breakfast all the way through to dinner. With so much on offer, we had no reason to venture out for meals.
Breakfasts are not the usual buffet style English breakfast table where you dish up your meal. Rather, you order your breakfast fresh from a set menu that has a number of options you might expect such as omelettes, poached eggs, kipper, etc. This is supplemented by lovely plates of freshly cut fruit, baked pastries, bread, fruit juice, and your choice of coffee and tea, all delivered directly to your table, along with your chosen breakfast main. This is enjoyed in the main dining area, either inside or outside on the patio. Mornings in the main dining area are just gorgeous, with sunlight streaming through the windows and glass-paned doors all along the side.
For lunch, you have the option of dining a la carte at The Terrace. This was one of my favourite meals. The weather in the Dullstroom area was unseasonably warm (I blame the lack of catching fish on this obvious problem). As such, we enjoyed a lovely afternoon on The Terrace patio with the shades open to the beautiful day. The food was exceptionally good, both the trout and steak done to perfection. Well, could you expect anything less than the perfect trout dish from Walkersons? The steak arrived with a lovely caramelised sear. I wanted the chef’s secret but didn’t ask.
We enjoyed two dinners at Walkersons, each one a completely different menu. Apparently they offer a new menu each night, quite a feat. Dinners are enjoyed in the main dining area (The Flying Scotsman) in soft, romantic lighting. For some reason, there is an air of pin drop silence during dinners, even though music plays softly in the background. People barely whisper, which is an odd way to enjoy a hearty meal next to a roaring fireplace in the wintertime, but I dared not break the silence, though my Mediterranean sensibilities railed against it. For those who have kids under a certain age, there is a separate dining area. Personally, I really appreciate this from the perspective of someone who is not a parent and is not always a fan of kids disrupting restaurants and diners’ enjoyment.
6. When To Go
Though I imagine it’s a beautiful destination all year round, in my mind Walkersons and Dullstroom is an absolute must as an autumn and winter getaway or city break. Perhaps it’s just me, but I feel like many people in the city get scratchy during the colder months, and it’s difficult to express just how beneficial a venue where you can enjoy outdoor time is for your overall well-being, relaxation and rejuvenation.
Of course, Dullstroom must get a mention on its own, as a favourite weekend destination for many, and the main reason people head to the region. The small town boasts many restaurants and country dining options, loads of opportunities to enjoy rainbow trout in all forms (stop at Milly’s!), whisky enjoyment, outdoor adventures, and just general countryside leisure. Special mention must go to Harries’s Pancakes, an absolute institution. Go early because they are always busy!
Walkersons is a magical place. You can literally drive in there and spend every moment of your stay on the premises, without ever having to leave. Of course, you should explore, but if you just feel like absolute relaxation, then this is a great place for it. Everything you could think that might be needed for the ultimate weekend getaway is available here, all within walking distance. Whether it’s a relaxing massage, a bit of horse-riding or some more strenuous exercise, wonderful dining, warm fires and exceptional countryside living, Walkersons has you covered.
I would recommend it as a special getaway for your fly fishing loving significant other while you enjoy a spa treatment, a perfect option to celebrate that special anniversary or birthday, a great destination for the outdoor lovers, or just an escape from the dreary winter cityscape.
We enjoyed our stay at Walkersons immensely, especially the outdoor and fly fishing elements. The food is delicious. The spa treatments are excellent. I wish I had booked a bit of a horse ride as well. Keep your eyes peeled for bird sightings, and wildlife in the vicinity, while enjoying the many walks available. Be sure to maximise the wonderful benefits of spending time on the lavish property enjoying the fresh air and the countryside. I’m sure that Travel Gigolo will also do a quick review on the channel in future.