Zuurberg Mountain Village

Map

Zuurberg Mountain Village  is not a farm in the usual sense – it is a 150 year old historical hotel with a variety of accommodation.  The hotel is close to the the higher terrain trails of Addo National Park.  We stopped there during a wet day to visit Zuurberg trail  (part of Addo National Park trail system) across the lodge.   Our intention was to have a quick lunch, but we stayed almost two hours.

DSC_2863

Some of the rooms.

The restaurant at the lodge is beautifully decorated and the food and service were very good.

DSC_2864

The lobby at the hotel is very nice and warm.

Upon arrival we noticed a bit of a commotion and we discovered the vervet monkeys on the roof near the hotel entrance.   These monkeys are cute, but they can get accustomed to getting handouts and can be bold at times.

DSC_2866

Verbet Monkeys on the hotel’s roof.

There were few people at the restaurant, but the owner of the lodge was there and he talked to us and asked were we planned to spend the night.  We had booked a primitive campsite part of Addo National Park, but had not yet visited the campsite.  The owner of the lodge did not have many positive comments about our choice and before leaving he told us to stay at the lodge free of charge for the night, that we would be more comfortable at the lodge for sure.  He added that we just needed to pay for our dinner.

After finishing our lunch we headed for our campsite to see if we wanted to stay there or accept the invitation to stay at the lodge that night.   The road to the campsite was not in the best shape and we were glad to have a high clearance vehicle.  The campsite was fine, but we felt it was probably better for a group since it was somewhat isolated and far from any facilities – and it was raining.  So after checking out the campsite we headed back to Zuurberg Mountain Lodge and spent the night there.   The rain continued that evening and it was cold.  That evening we had dinner by candlelight at the beautiful restaurant.  The food was very good, a true gourmet meal.

The room at the lodge was spacious and very nice.   We should mention that the hotel has many amenities including a spa.  We were told it is a popular place with German tour groups.

We were very happy to have returned to the lodge given the rainy night.  This is not the first time that we have been offered true hospitality in South Africa.  By true hospitality I mean when strangers offer you a place at their home because the local B&B next door is closed.  This happened to us on a New Year’s eve on our first trip to South Africa.  The offer to spend the night at the lodge for free was also a good example of South African hospitality.   I have to add that we have not encountered this kind of hospitality very often in the 30+ countries we have visited over the last 3 decades.  South Africa is truly an outstanding country with very friendly people.

The next day after a very good breakfast at the lodge we walked around the lodge’s  gardens.  We saw some birds and the Vervet Monkeys were active in the garden today as well.

DSC_2847

The hotel gardens are extensive.

DSC_2844 - Version 2

Verbet Monkeys were visitors to the hotel grounds.

Then we headed for the Zuurberg trail, a very short drive from the lodge.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Views from the beginning of the trail.

There is more than one trail to choose from and the views and vegetation make it worthwhile to take the time to walk at least one trail.  We choose the Cycad trail.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The two trails available at this location.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

At the beginning of our hike on the Cycad trail.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Farther down the Cycad trail.  The slope is steep, bu the trail is fine.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

There was a bit of up and down on the trail

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The trail goes through forested areas in places.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Beautiful flowers.

In some areas lichens covered the tree trunks, a good indication of the high levels of moisture and low evapotranspiration in this area.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Close view of the lichens.

One of the highlights of this trail were the Cycads and the Aloes.  Proteas were also present and some were flowering.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Cycad (Encephalartos longifolius) and Aloe speciosa.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Cycad  (Encephalartos longifolius).

DSC_2869

Cone of Encephalartos longifolius.

DSC_2872

A closer view of the cone.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Protea flower.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Rosario next to tall Aloe speciosa.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Closer view of the Aloe speciosa.

The rocky nature of the area also provides good habitat for succulents.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tilted strata and vegetation.

Some of the succulents we saw included:   Euphorbia polygonaCrassulas, Pelargonium and  Aloes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Euphorbia polygona and Aloes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Euphorbia polygona

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Crassula sp.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Crassula sp?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A succulent.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A succulent.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A Crassula?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Pelargonium sp.

DSC_2834

Nice views of the forest

We had a very enjoyable hike and after a late lunch back at the Zuurberg Mountain Lodge we said goodbye to these beautiful mountains and headed back to the coast on our way to Port Alfred.   A relaxing and beautiful area,  the proximity to the Zuurberg trail makes Zuurberg Mountain Lodge a good choice to spend a couple of days.  The lodge is very nice and you get to admire the  views of the nearby forest area .  We hope to make it back and spend more than just one night at the lodge.