Loud, explosive and complicated, the metropolis of Johannesburg is undoubtedly the beating heart of South Africa. Straddling between extremes, Jo’burg (as locals like to call it) is packed with modern skyscrapers and massive malls, as well as dodgy neighborhoods and gritty townships. The South African capital has a reputation as a crime-ridden city pockmarked with remnants of the country’s troubled past. But amidst this urban chaos, I was surprised to find the city splashed with greenery and dotted with leafy gardens.
A Retreat in Sandton
Hidden within these rare patches of greenery is the Thatchfoord Lodge, an excellent spot to escape from the hectic city. The furnishings, design and thatched roof create a country house feeling that blends in perfectly with the garden setting. The elegant lodge is situated in Morningside Manor, one of Sandton’s secure and tranquil suburbs, overlooking the willowed banks of the Sand River with an abundance of bird life. With the calming sound of the river flowing by and the smell of tropical foliage, it’s easy to forget that I was still in the heart of the city.
I had arrived in Johannesburg after a month of overlanding through Namibia, Botswana and Zambia – exhausted, in need of sleep and rather sick of camping. There couldn’t have been a better place to kick back than at Thatchfoord. Enjoybedandbreakfast.com had arranged the stay for me – and even before my arrival, they had ensured that all of my needs were taken care of. All the B&Bs on this online marketplace have been handpicked and reviewed by the team – and especially since this B&B had been specially picked out for me, I was eager to experience it for myself.
Upon arrival, the friendly hosts, Joyce and Pearl, welcomed me warmly with open arms – it felt almost like being back at home. They answered all my queries on Johannesburg and even helped me out with banking issues. On the evening I arrived, I’d opted to stay in and skip dinner, and having noticed that, Pearl even brought some sandwiches and salad up to my room – such personalized services are definitely hard to come by. Over the next few days, I caught up on the much needed rest (and work) in the comfort of the Willows suite while soaking up the peaceful undercurrents of Sandton.
Country Living in the City
My spacious suite features large ceiling-to-floor windows and a private balcony that open up to views of the swimming pool and river. Spotting a thatch roof, the loft room has a ceiling that reaches up to at least 4m high, making it feel even more spacious than it already is. The country style design – in the form of tasteful floral textiles, pastel-colored cushions and linen blue sofa – fits immaculately with the natural wooden bed frame and tables. The modern bathroom is also decked out with a gigantic water-jet bathtub that also overlooks the garden. All of the other eight rooms are en-suite double bedrooms that overlook the pool, patio and shady garden, most with private entrances.
The dining area is located right by the swimming pool – with long tables indoor as well as small wooden tables and chairs under the sun for some alfresco dining. Sipping up fresh orange juice, tucking into rich, savory poached eggs, bacon, toast with jam, and local delights such as fried liver – breakfast every morning was a delight. Fellow guests – a big family from Tanzania – would spend their mornings swimming in the pool before heading to Sandton City for some shopping. I spent my days visiting museums and walking around the Sandton district, and in the afternoons, I would work on my laptop (with the free WiFi internet) while sipping tea. Evenings were spent eating on my verandah, enjoying the peace that this little slice of haven offered.
Thatchfoord Lodge gave me a peek into a different side of Johannesburg – one that’s peaceful, calm and very alluring. I’m sure I’ll be back in Johannesburg soon enough, and the next time, I know where I’ll be staying.
Room rates at Thatchfoord Lodge starts from costs £79.74 a night and rooms range from double bedrooms to family suites.
Disclaimer: My stay was made possible by enjoybedandbreakfast.com and Thatchfoord Lodge, but all opinions are my own.