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  • Lisa Martus


Sunlight streams through the dancing arms of the Zwakala giants… trees to play in, to dance around, to get married under. This space is an embrace, inviting everyone to come closer. Zwakala River Retreat, in Magoebaskloof is a unique and wonderful space where you are welcomed with open arms by the Tooley family; their dogs; horses and visiting friends. Owner, Denise Tooley says, ‘for many years we have shared our little piece of paradise with a host of extended family and friends. We have always gathered together at every opportunity to celebrate the best things in life.’ But the magic runs much deeper. It is in the sparkling river which meanders through the farm beckoning visitors to come and play… It is the fragrance of wild sage and buddleia on the breeze… it’s the way the light dances through the towering trees and how the stillness envelops you. All of this creates an alchemy which is hard to describe… a magic which changes who you are.

This is what you have dreamed about during the endless office days, a place where you immediately feel at home, part of the family. You become part of the rhythm of daily life in this beautiful place far, far away from it all. There’s Legodi, the original, off-grid river cottage… think mountain views, long walks, river swims, storytelling around a log fire and night skies filled with stars. Close your eyes for a moment and feel the breeze flicking your hair as you lie on a sun-warmed rock and let the cool waters of the Broederstroom River caress your body. The only decision you need to make is whether to reach for your book, an ice-cold Zwakala beer or just let the river wash over you. You can hear your friends on the patio of the gorgeous, secluded Cob House getting the braai fire going before walking up to the Brewery on site to sample the latest craft beers Zwakala has to offer.

Zwakala Brewery is that rare kind of place where you feel instantly at ease and totally relaxed. The vibe is always sassy and friendly, the crowd is every age, every colour, from every part of the province... Craft beers with awards behind their name; live music; more-ish gourmet burgers and Maggie’s home made slap-tjips..... a winning combination on a lazy day over these holidays. So even if you are not staying at Zwakala River Retreat, head to the brewery to ‘experience something quite unique on the mountain this summer. It’s a truly South African vibe that celebrates beer, local businesses, family & music - just ask the locals!’

Or, if you want a more mellow option, you can relax and allow yourself to be thoroughly pampered as the sounds of nature filter through - birdsong in the treetops and the soothing sound of the river running over rocks. Book a ‘River Goddess Nourishing Skin Therapeutic Journey’ at the The River Wellness & Spa at Zwakala River Retreat and feel the city stresses seep slowly from your soul. Couples or individual treatments and packages available. Call 083 602 1658

At Zwakala, you can get back to what makes life worth celebrating this festive season.

Don't miss the long-table lunches at Mina’s Farm Venue @ Zwakala. Help yourself to the best slow food from the area at the Harvest and Dessert Tables as well as a Beer Pairing with four different Zwakala beers complemented by Wegraakbosch cheese, olives and other yummy local treats. This pop-up restaurant experience celebrating local food, beer pairings & great vibes is perfect for a group of family and friends! Stay tuned for dates! (11.00 to 3.30) Bookings only: call 060 331 2681.

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