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“Jewel in the Free State”
Review of Wild Horses Lodge

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Wild Horses Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 27 June 2014

What a beautiful little place. My husband and I really enjoyed our stay at Wild Horses. We stayed in Zebra room, it was pretty, clean and luxurious. We loved the details to the garden and enjoyed relaxing in the lounge by the fire. My personal highlight was the private dinner we had in the wine cellar, just us and a beautiful small cellar, with soft music and candles. What a spoil and so romantic !! The food was good overall, but the starter was something out of this world! Who knew tomato soup could taste like that when combined with a creamy corn soup and decorated with almonds and... wait for it, chocolate sauce!! Wow.
Breakfast was also great and they serve good coffee. Another thing that I loved was the proper filter coffee in the room and not just some instant stuff.
The only thing that I would recommend is to give a little more attention to amenities in the room, a little soap would be nice, a better range with shampoo AND conditioner, and then a pretty little bottle for the bubble bath, not that huge cheap plastic container, which really made me giggle.

Other than that we had a fantastic time just unwinding and relaxing. It is exactly what were looking for in a guest house.
Thank you so much to Tina, Fransisco and all the staff. Thumbs up!!

Room Tip: We really enjoyed Zebra room, it is private and the view is great.
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  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank MaykeLdv
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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84 - 90 of 161 reviews

Reviewed 31 March 2014

We so enjoyed our three night stay at the Wild Horses - greeted by Sophia and her chef husband Francisco after a long drive over precarious terrain but stunning views especially of the dam on arrival - the whole stay was very relaxing - easy place to chill and Tina who manages the Wild Horses very informative and friendly - food superb at every meal maybe a little too generous with the portions ( you would never go hungry staying here!!) we had the zebra room looking over the dam which was beautifully appointed if a little cluttered but all beautifully clean and comfortable. Great spot for visiting Lesotho , arranged by Tina !! Well worth a visit if you are in the Drakensberg area !!

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank BubsySuffolkUK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 March 2014

We arrived at a Wild Horses after a driving from Johannesburg . Turning off the main road onto the dirt track we expected to find the lodge in a short distance. Oh no . The drive goes on and on and the scenery gets better and better. Tina greeted us on our arrival and we had a tour of the property. It really is a stunning building in a stunning location. There are only a few rooms and the feeling was very peaceful and serene. The food was beautifully prepared by Cisco and was to die for.
We visited Clarens which is a small village full of art galleries and coffee shops. We Had lunch at the Highlander which was excellent value and tasty.
Tina a fantastic host and we had a nice evening chatting with her over a few glasses of wine. At this time we were the only guests. She gave us some great advice about travelling in South Africa and was kind enough to actually give us one of her travel books. First class service, food, location, amenities. If you want peace, scenery, great food in a luxurious house then look no further.
We very much hope that one day we can return to Wild Horses.

Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
1  Thank tunny58
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 March 2014

After a slightly inauspicious start....we couldn't get in! The instructions given were to phone from the security gate if the guard wasn't on duty. No guard, no response from the contact numbers. Thankfully a contractor working nearby was able to phone the owner (who actually wasn't at the property!!!). 20 minutes later we were in (apparently the phone lines were down). Just mentioning this so the lodge can avoid this kind of thing in the future.
But the lodge itself is stunning, The views over the dam are simply beautiful. Dawn especially. The rooms are spacious and comfortable, but not all have views of the dam. The gardens are pretty, and the bird life is wonderful. The building itself is interesting and quirky, designed as an Italian villa.
There's a small pool, a library, large lounge and bar, with the kitchen above on a mezzanine level. The dining room is intimate and the staff turn meals into a special occasion. You can request dining in the wine cellar (not an underground cellar....just a private room where they store wines).
Food is fabulous. Portions are generous. Menus are varied. Thanks to Francisco!
Service is exemplary. Thank you to Tina, Sophia & the rest of the team. Wine selection is excellent and the manager will advise on choice.
Parking can be a bit tricky as access is restricted and on a steep slope. Previous reviews have mentioned that the road is in a poor state. Yes, it is full of potholes, so drive accordingly. Just plan an extra 30 minutes to/from the main road.

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Electra88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 February 2014

For a number of years my fiancée and I have stayed at Qwantani Resort where we enjoyed the accommodation, bird life and fly fishing in the Sterkies dam. The one year we noticed this beautiful lodge being built on the western side of the dam and decided that once completed we would definitely pay them a visit.Our initial stay at Wild Horses proved to be such an amazing experience that we decided to return to this peaceful retreat in the mountains and are now regular visitors. The tranquillity of the lodge complimented by a most beautiful garden, abundance of bird life, not to mention the majestic appaloosa horses, often seen galloping across the grassland directly in front of the lodge. The views are simply breath taking and the pool which overlooks the dam is so inviting, especially after a hot day on the dam, fly fishing for yellows. We really couldn’t ask for more, sipping on our favourite sundowner, taking it all in, far from the madding crowd. Each evening after a gourmet dinner we retire to our luxurious room, where a nightcap awaits.The owners Jon and Trish Hawkins, assisted by their proficient staff, have without fail ensured us top class hospitality and most memorable stays. Mountain hikes on foot, horseback or 4x4, followed by game viewing on a majestic boat cruise, are never too much trouble on their agenda. During these scenic hikes we have come across plenty of wildebeest, eland, baboons, fish eagles and more. Each time we leave the lodge it is with a heavy heart, however our next visit is already planned over New Year – guess where –---- ‘Wild Horses’.
Frank & Marlene
28 February 2014

Room Tip: Rooms facing the Dam
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  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Beans2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 February 2014

I booked the entire venue for what was supposed to be a special weekend for me and my family. Being a person that spend around 6 months per year travelling the globe, i looked forward to a wonderfull weekend with my family at a local destination. Paying around R45000 For accommodation i expected at least something resembling the 5 star status advertised.

We arrived to find that the beautifull house was actually neighbouring other houses with a resort right opposite. The road from the main road was horrible to drive for a very long distance (no maintenance an full of potholes - and this is an understatement). Arriving we were glad to find that the garden boy was prepared to help us off load. Dirty ash trays, tv's not functioning, plumbing not maintained (my father in law had to fix his own bath tub), coffee and rusks in the room never replaced (be mindfull that you will be charged for 3 times the amount of coffee if you dare order coffee outside the room) etc etc would have been accepted if it was not for the most unfriendly and unhelpfull owners that i have ever come across. Unfortunately the garden attendant was not available to assist us with the luggage on our way out. Please note the false advertising of animals on the website as well as angles of photos conveniently excluding neighbouring houses and other views.

That being said, the food was good. Fishing with fly cast away was awesome as always - world class. Thanks gerard and craig from fly castaway for the excellent days fishing and professional service.

Review by helgardt muller

Room Tip: Rather book at qwantani resort right opposite this venue for essentially the same experience at a te...
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  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled with family
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6  Thank Elrei2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
WildHorsesLodge, Owner at Wild Horses Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 19 May 2014

ceQwantani, the resort next door, is far better suited for family holidays & perhaps his choice of venue should have been better researched as the lodge does not accept children under 12. His arrival with 3 young children was unexpected & took us by surprise.
This booking was through a tour guide & the lodge received a fraction of his weekend costs after he had paid his fishing guide.
The recent heavy rains have caused major deterioration to the Government's Nature Reserve road. We have no control of the maintaince & repairs to this road.
The testnomy by our guests in our guest book & on TripAdvisor, leave no doubt of our 5* status.
The lodge is happy to receive CONSTRUCTIVE critism & endeavour to use this to enhance our guests pleasure.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 February 2014

We stayed here as a one night stopover during our trip from Durban to Johannesburg and we regret only staying one night.
It was so luxurious and special, we had dinner set up specially for us in the wine cellar.
Awesome views too.
Can't wait to return, hopefully soon!

  • Stayed: March 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Sassyninja
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Wild Horses Lodge

Address: Sterkfontein Dam, Harrismith 9880, South Africa
Region: South Africa > Free State > Harrismith
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 9 Speciality Lodging in Harrismith
Price Range: £176 - £208 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Wild Horses Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located in the Eastern Free State's pristine Sterkfontein Nature Reserve at the foothills of the Drakensberg Escarpment, Wild Horses Lodge is the perfect location for an African breakaway. With its panoramic views of the majestic Platberg Mountain and the vast Sterkfontein Dam, the Lodge is a masterpiece of architectural design in local sandstone and offers luxury accommodation, exquisite cuisine and a variety of activities centred around the dam and the abundant wildlife of the reserve. ... more   less 
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