Montusi Mountain Lodge, situated at the foot of Montusi Peak, meaning ‘mountain in the mist’, overlooks the majestic Amphitheatre of the Northern Drakensberg. This area has a rich history dating back to the Bushmen hundreds of years ago. Today the Montusi Mountain Lodge is a haven of space, comfort and peace.
The Carte family has been in this area for generations and in 1941 became the owners of a small guest farm. Over a few decades the farm developed into the The Cavern. During the 1990’s the Carte family decided to expand their business and developed Montusi Mountain Lodge on the other side of the valley. They opened in June 2000, run by part owners, Antony & Jean Carte.
Well, since their opening, the three daughters completed their schooling, studied, travelled the world, got married and yes, you guessed it, are all back at Montusi! Other than the whole extended family being very involved in the local community, Anthony continues with his thatching business and Jean is involved with the Northern Drakensberg Khanyisela Project and teaches at one of the schools. Montusi Mountain Lodge is now primarily run by daughters Catherine and Lindsay. Furthermore, on the 1 000 hectare farm, the Carte offering extends to eldest daughter Loretta and husband Chris’s adventure business, All Out Adventures (www.alloutadventures.co.za) and youngest daughter Lindsay & husband Mic running their equestrian business, The Northern Horse (www.drakensberghorseriding.co.za)
Montusi Mountain Lodge has 14 freestanding hotel-units (10 double and 4 family units), sleeping a maximum of 36 guests. In addition there are 5 individually owned self-catering-units (4 three bedroom and 1 two bedroom unit) adding another 28 beds. Thatched hotel-units include 1 or 2 bedrooms with 1 or 2 bathrooms, lounge and patio. Units offer spacious rooms, bathroom with bath and separate shower, under floor heating and fire places for cosy winter stays, ceiling fans, many windows to drink in the views and catch the breeze with sliding doors leading to the patio for balmy summer days. Also flat screen TV’s, DSTV, DVD players (they offer a large collection of DVD’s on a complimentary basis) and complimentary fast & hassle free wireless facilities. (Vodacom reception is particularly strong). Public facilities & activities include: swimming pool, tennis court, complimentary daily guided hikes or self-guided hikes, trout fishing (catch & release), mountain bike trails, guests to provide own mountain bikes and relaxing back or foot massages. Be sure to plan your day so that you can enjoy the complimentary afternoon tea /coffee and nibbles in the lounge.
As part of the family and definitely adding to the ambience at Montusi are the 4 brown dogs, each with their own personality and contribution. The eldest, Brown Dog, is unfortunately heading to total blindness due to being diabetic. Joey is a very enthusiastic partner accompanying guests together with Shadrack on the daily hike. Rigby is a master at snuggling under his blanket on chilly mornings. Lincoln, the youngest is very cautious with strangers, but it has to be said, we were friends by the time I left.
Head chef, Justin Kotze, together with his team, spoils guests with freshly baked croissants and locally made preserves & cheese, delicious salads and hearty soups with fresh rolls. Dinner is a select 5-course menu and changes daily. My kingklip with roasted butternut was utterly delicious. Justin brings his experience from big five game reserves, corporate hotels and fine dining restaurants to Montusi for guests to enjoy. His motto of ‘If you find a job you love then you will never have to work a day in your life” is captured in every meal.
Montusi is perfect for leisure guests to just relax and enjoy facilities on the premises or explore the area. Montusi attracts many international guests. Whilst staying at Montusi I had interesting conversations with German & Dutch guests, all of them very complimentary regarding service, facilities and ambience at Montusi. Montusi is also suitable for corporate groups although they do not mix business and leisure guests. Montusi is also able to host an unforgettable wedding.
Because of the close knit community, Montusi, in conjunction with other establishments stand together to host the annual Royal Drakensberg Mountain Bike Challenge which was held on 7 April 2013 as well as the annual Mount aux Sources Challenge, a 50 kilometre trail run up and down Mount aux Sources. This year the challenge is taking place on 7 September 2013. The area also successfully hosted Expedition Africa in May 2013. Expedition Africa is a 500 km expedition consisting of mountain biking, trekking and kayaking in teams of 4 on an unmarked route through the wilderness.
Although I have known about Montusi Mountain Lodge for years, the actual experience of staying at Montusi surpassed everything I heard or read. My recommendation is that one stays at Montusi for as long as possible and enjoy every moment. Whatever your fancy, active or not, I promise you will cherish this experience for ever. See you there!