The Nest Hotel is aptly named, as it nestles serenely in the beautiful Cathkin Valley, Central Drakensberg. It’s an easy two hour and twenty-minute drive from Durban, (roughly four hours from Johannesburg) and once you arrive, you can put all thoughts of big city life completely out of your head as you settle into The Nest’s cosy and welcoming ambience.
The saying “Service with a smile” might well have been created by The Nest, with every staff member adhering to the principle, from the security guards at the gate, gardeners mowing the park-like lawns and trimming the multi-coloured flower beds or attending to the manicured championship bowling greens, the reception staff, duty managers and especially the waitrons in the dining rooms. Each one treats you in a friendly fashion and will go out of their way to make your stay hassle-free and comfortable. Hats off to owners Stuart and Shelley Longmore for creating the olde-world charm for which The Nest is famous. The hotel has been around since 1933 and has built up a loyal following of guests who return regularly for a peaceful stay.
The rooms are all situated away from the main building, and consist of very comfortable rondavels and chalets, all with well-appointed en-suite bathrooms, DSTV, telephone and complimentary tea and coffee-making facilities.
From a catering point of view, guests are sincerely spoilt for choice. I was amazed at the six-course Table d’Hote dinner menu, which is included in the tariff. Soup Du Jour, Tortellini, fresh Linguini, Tenderloin of Pork or Sirloin Steak (as well as a vegetarian option) Tiramisu for dessert, tea and coffee, cheese and biscuits – the unfortunate thing is that I was only there for one night, as I believe the menu changes on a daily basis! Breakfasts are hearty and wholesome, along with light country-style lunches and morning and afternoon teas. Be prepared to put on a couple of kilos if you’re staying over for a while!
Special mention must be made of the views from the hotel of the majestic Drakensberg mountains. I found myself intently watching every minute of a glorious sunset over the mountains, something a busy city-dweller like myself never has time for! It really was an uplifting experience getting back to grips with nature.
The Nest has several on-site activities, like tennis, table tennis, volleyball, championship bowling greens with a resident coach, the ‘Revive’ spa, a swimming pool and numerous hiking trails. Off-site activities in the Cathkin Park area include a canopy tour, glass beehive tours, Falcon Ridge interactive presentation, the world-renowned Drakensberg Boys Choir school, rafting, helicopter flights, hot air ballooning. quad biking, mountain biking, hikes and trails, river walks, arts and crafts, golf, horse riding, zip lining. paintball, archery, a reptile centre, scootours, Battlefield tours, the Didima rock art centre, and cheese and chocolate factories – the list is virtually endless, with something for everybody!
The Nest also has its own modern conference and functions centre, set alongside the bowling greens, an ideal venue for meetings, weddings or any celebratory function.
All in all, The Nest is highly recommended, whether you’re in the Berg for relaxation or adventure. The rates are very reasonable, and they can be contacted on 036-4681068 or by email – firstname.lastname@example.org