24-Hour Room Service: Cybele Forest Lodge, South Africa

The pool outside our bedroom door was clear and chilly, and a blue mist hung over the forest. The sun was just starting to light the mountains in the distance, turning their woodlands an amber-green.

The pool outside our bedroom door was clear and chilly, and a blue mist hung over the forest. The sun was just starting to light the mountains in the distance, turning their woodlands an amber-green.

African landscapes conjure up images of savannah and jungle. But the scenery around Cybele, one of South Africa's most exclusive hotels, looks like a primeval Switzerland.

Cybele is perched on a hilltop. Above it lies the prairie of the Highveld, below is the savannah of the Kruger Park. It feels as if you're in a small private world, with 400 acres of forest surrounding the former hunting lodge and its paddocks.

The hotel has its own trout stream, lake, cycling and riding tracks, picnic meadows and hiking trails.

Location, location, location

15 km north of White River, Mpumalanga Province, South Africa (00 27 13 764 1823). Website: www.cybele. co.za. Forty minutes' drive from the Kruger National Park, and 30 minutes from the wondrous east-African plain at Blyde River Canyon. We used it as a base, though fellow guests seemed happy enough to stay in the lodge's grounds.

Transport

Ideally, you'll need a car to explore the ravishing scenery, which changes from Alpine to tropical garden to bush country within kilometres. Roads are good and it's less than four hours' motorway drive from Johannesburg airport. Or Dragonfly Safaris (00 27 11 884 9911) will fly you from Jo'burg and chauffeur you.

Are you lying comfortably?

Our suite had in its centre a round bathroom with a hot tub. The bed was enormous and french windows gave on to a terrace with an awesome view. Breakfast was served beside our little pool. The kindly chef did us a special picnic (salmon, iced Cape chardonnay, passion-fruit) and we ate it in a meadow by the lodge's own trout stream. Not being a birdwatcher, I could only guess at the blue, green, red, yellow and purple birds that drank from the stream. A trip to the Kruger Park revealed an old male lion with a crusty mane chasing an impala. Most beguiling of all was the feeling that we were in an enchanted garden, replete with blue gums, frangipani, hydrangeas and buddleias, in the wilds of Africa.

Freebies

A bottle of Stellenbosch cabernet sauvignon.Keeping in touch

We wanted to get out of touch - but alas, Cybele is now on the mobile phone network.

The bottom line

Bedrooms from R1,260 (£126) a night for two inc dinner and breakfast, or you could go for a suite with a private pool (£280) or a paddock suite (£360).

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
sport
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sport
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Sport
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    C++ Software Engineer - Hounslow, West London - C++ - to £60K +

    £40000 - £60000 per annum + Pension, Healthcare : Deerfoot IT Resources Limite...

    VB.NET and C# developer (VB.NET,C#,ASP.NET)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...

    Visitor Experience volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary role: Old Royal Naval College: To assist the Visitor Experien...

    Telesales Manager. Paddington, London

    £45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

    Day In a Page

    Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

    Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

    The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

    Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

    Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
    German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

    Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

    Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
    BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

    BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

    The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
    Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

    Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

    Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
    How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

    Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

    Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
    Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

    Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

    Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
    10 best reed diffusers

    Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

    Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

    Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

    There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
    Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

    Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

    It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
    Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

    Screwing your way to the top?

    Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
    Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

    Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

    Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

    The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

    Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
    US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

    Meet the US Army's shooting star

    Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform