Our night at Essere Lodge in Tulbagh

When Essere Lodge approached us to come and stay the night with other influential bloggers and photographers, we knew we couldn’t turn down an opportunity to visit a town we have yet to explore.

On a hot winter’s Saturday afternoon.

It was boiling by the time we got into our already packed Corsa and ventured onto the N7 blossomed with Canola fields along the route. Yellow sulphur everywhere as far as the eye can see and it does not yet spring? Oh well, it’s beautiful.

Being on this road before, we knew the way quite easily without the help of our friendly yet unreliable GPS at times seeing that Tulbagh was 10 minutes away from Porterville; our last excursion we explored. However, we’ve never been to Tulbagh so we were over the moon. Wait, sun!

Unfortunately, we missed the highly anticipated cheese demonstration and wine tasting due to work commitments but made it in the nick of time to join the others. Rushing into The Barn and having to relieve me from the 90-minute drive, Alison and Lawrie, the two respective owners of the lodge had big smiles on their faces when I introduced myself and began apologizing profusely for our late show-up. Alison had such a heartwarming smile that quickly drew you in and I knew I would never want to leave if I had hosts like these.

Catching my breath and trying to fix myself up, Alison walked me to the Garden Suites; one of eight rooms on the property through their beautiful yet tranquil, maze-like garden setting. It took me a second to realize that I’m completely surrounded by nothing other than the Winterhoek, Witzenberg and Obiqua Mountains, lush greenery of the forests and birds chirping in the background.

Alison and her husband Lawrie moved to Tulbagh from the UK and made Tulbagh their permanent residence. This property, in particular, had been empty for the two years before they turned it into a magnificent lodge and are still doing a lot more renovations to the place now that they adding new self-catering cabins. Side note: We’ll be the first people to try it out, I hope!

Sweet dreams, indeed

Wow is an understatement.

I slept in many accommodations but nothing like this. The way in which they used a tiny space was clever. When I say clever, I mean they took an area that might seem small on the outside yet transformed it into a functioning, sleeping lodge that accommodates a king size bed, a shower, and basin along with hanging space for your clothing as well as providing a coffee and tea facility.

The industrial rustic theme with bare brick and brass piping utilised as taps is the new trend to go for; keeping it authentic as possible. Let’s not leave out the open window panels that allow light to reflect in the room; making the room feel warm and cozy inside on a cold winters day.

One of the best features is definitely the private outdoor patio overlooking a haven of forests, mountain peaks and diverse flora and fauna of the valley. The minute we walked into our room, I opened the patio door, sat on the heated, exposed brick while the sun baked on my face. When I saw the table and chairs in the corner, I instantly knew I’d be sipping my coffee on that chair in the morning.

The Countryside

Nature is my second home and if I had to be any cartoon character, its got to be Tarzan’s wife, Jane. Settled in, we walked the grounds to see all that Essere had to offer; peace, relaxation and incredible views of nature. Three qualities that will make me not want to leave. Courtney and I explored the outskirts of the lodge covered by big, overgrown trees like tourists who’ve never seen grass in our lives and yet in awe on how secluded the area was.

Bonding time

Known as The Barn, this is the main section of the lodge where everyone gathers for meals around the table or to sit cuddled up by the fireplace. Keeping to the industrial theme, it added a modern yet chic spin when it came to the decor and setting of the place.

The top deck overlooked the entire area of the terrain thinking you’re in a tree-house with the leaves spiraling around the bars.

Every path you took, you’re welcomed by carved out wood stools or quirky garden accessories. Or, the beautiful pool deck which is perfect for the summer season to lounge at with your feet dipped inside the water.

The table was decked for royals.

Served with a three-course meal prepared by none other than Chef, Karen-Anne, she explained her choice of dishes. With an Asian theme throughout in all the dishes and some ingredients I can’t even pronounce, I swear I licked out my plate. Two courses down and a few glasses of wine later, I was so full I’m still not sure how I got dessert down.

Might I add that all the ingredients used to prep the dishes came straight out their garden!

Coffee followed to the lounge all huddled up around the fire to add another few laugh lines before bedtime.

PJs on. Lights out. Gone.

Sun in my eyes. Gosh, is it morning already? Just 10 minutes, please?

Kettle on.

Morning came and I made sure to have my dose of caffeine on the patio while the sun rose from its nap or maybe my nap. Mmmm, not sure.

A few more images before heading to breakfast and boy, was that breakfast fit for a king or queen, of course. Eggs, bacon, mushrooms, hot toast and so many other foods to chose from, it was time to say goodbye.

Not really goodbye when you only leave at 12:00 pm from all the chats but who can you blame since it was a devastating goodbye.

Till we meet again.

Until the next adventure.

Stephanie Marthinus Blog

DISCLAIMER: The trip was sponsored but the opinions are my own.