If you want to get out of the city and have a relaxing weekend away, the Drakensberg area of South Africa is one of your best options. Not only is the Drakensberg Mountains a world heritage site, but there is a lot to do, and the area is perfect for relaxing and spending time in nature. We recently spent a long weekend with our family in the Drakensberg. This article gives an overview of our recent stay at the Gooderson Monks Cowl Resort in the Champagne area of the Drakensberg, including accommodations at the resort and its facilities.
The Gooderson Monk’s Cowl Golf Resort is a beautiful resort for a family getaway. Whether you are looking for self-catering or hotel accommodation, they have options for everyone. The facilities at the resort are world-class, the staff is friendly, and it is an excellent base from which to explore the surrounding area.
Where Is the Gooderson Monks Cowl Golf Resort?
The Gooderson Monks Cowl Golf Resort is in the Champagne area of the Drakensberg, meaning it is in the central Drakensberg area. The best way to get to the resort is by car. If you don’t have a car, try renting one from Rentalcars.com, my favourite car rental company. Per car, the resort is approximately 5 hours from Johannesburg by car and 3 hours 15 minutes from Durban.
Checking in And out At the Gooderson Monks Cowl Golf Resort
We arrived at the Monks Cowl Drakensberg resort around 13:00, an hour before check-in time. We went to the reception area and were happy to discover our unit was ready for us!
Check-out was easy. The resort offers a box where you can drop your keys, but the reception area opens early, and you can hand in your keys.
Gooderson Monks Cowls Golf Resort’s Accommodation Options
You can choose between two types of accommodation at Monks Cowl. They offer a hotel and then self-catering cottages.
Monk’s Cowl Hotel Rooms
The resort offers hotel rooms with double or twin beds. Each hotel room overlooks the lake and has a parking space in front of the room.
Monk’s Cowl Self-Catering Accommodation
We stayed at one of the self-catering cottages, which met all our needs. The cottage had sleeping space for six people. There were two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and two sleeper couches. The two sleeper couches are incredibly comfortable and can easily fit an adult. The resort provided enough bedding for six people and extra blankets for the colder nights.
Facilities Inside the Self-Catering Cottage
The cottage has everything you need for a family getaway. The kitchen is fully equipped and has a standard-sized fridge, a gas stove, kettle and microwave. There was enough cutlery and crockery for six people.
The first bedroom has two single beds, a desk and a built-in cupboard. The second bedroom is also the main bedroom and is spacious with a double bed, sizeable built-in cupboard and a desk. It also has an en-suite bathroom.
The dining area has a square table with four chairs. The living room has two large sleeper couches. The coffee table in the middle of the living room serves as a storage unit for the extra blankets and bedding to use with the sleeper couches. A TV unit in the living room offers a few satellite channels. There is a fireplace in the corner of the living room, in the middle of the cottage, making it perfect for heating the entire unit.
Outside Facilities to The Self-Catering Cottage
From the living room, there is a sliding door to the patio. On the patio, there is a dining set with six chairs. A few metres away is a built-in braai (barbecue). Each unit has a small garden. We liked that they fenced each garden off from the units next to it, giving much-needed privacy. Many of the cottages’ backyard faces the beautiful lake in the middle of the resort. Each cottage has two undercover parking bays right by the unit, which is convenient for packing and unpacking luggage.
Daily Cleaning Services
The staff services the unit daily with some essential cleaning services. They also cleaned the outside bins daily. There is also someone who cleans the braai (barbecue) every day. We found the staff friendly and professional.
Other Facilities at The Monks Cowl Golf Resort
There are multiple facilities at the resort.
The reception staff informed us that the old restaurant had burned down, and they had a temporary restaurant facility which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They were busy rebuilding the restaurant but did not provide a date for when they will complete it. We did not eat at the restaurant. If you don’t like cooking, the restaurant is within walking distance from any unit.
The Reception Area
The reception area is in a standalone building, and you can purchase tickets for the mini golf (putt-putt), firewood, and golf balls. Here you can also find brochures on the activities and sights in the Drakensberg.
The resort offers a large, beautiful rock pool. There are also water slides, table tennis and trampolines for kids to enjoy. Near the pool, there is a jacuzzi. There are two tennis courts, which guests can book at the reception desk. The resort has its golf course on the premises, and you can also fish in the lake. There are also a few bunnies on the premises. We also saw a few monkeys, but they never came near the cottage.
For small kids who enjoy cycling, there is a small cycling area with bike tracks for them to use. Adventure golf (putt-putt or mini golf) is on the property, and you can buy the tickets at the reception area. From the resort, you can experience incredible views of the Drakensberg Mountains. We visited in winter and could see the snow on the mountain peaks.
The on-site spa is next to the reception area. They offer different therapies and even kiddies treatments. They often have specials for events like Father’s Day or Mother’s Day.
Activities in The Area
The area has many activities, including Chocolate Memories, a museum, Dragon Rock Reptile Centre, a Rapture Centre, Drakensberg Boys Choir and the Drakensberg Brewery. Apart from this, the Drakensberg has many hiking routes, including several overnight hikes. There are also many adventure activities, such as paragliding and white water rafting. You can even take a helicopter flight here. There are several restaurants in case you don’t feel like cooking.
There are several restaurants in the area. Near to the resort is a small shop and bakery. And a little distance further, you can find a vegetable shop.
Limited Cellphone Signal and Data Availability
Although the resort offers free Wi-Fi (not unlimited), we could not use it during our 4-day stay there. We did not even have a cellphone signal for the first two days we were there. When we mentioned this to the resort’s reception staff, they informed us they often have issues with cellphone signals, and you may often be without a cellphone signal at the resort. As a family, we use the large South African cellphone providers, making no cellphone signals or the inability to use data an unpleasant surprise.
When we left the resort and moved towards the main roads in the area, the cellphone signals improved significantly, and we could phone, use our phones for maps, etc. So, the resort’s location may be the reason for the weak signal, as it is in a low-lying area in the Drakensberg. If connectivity is essential for you, phone ahead to find out if they have issues with the cellphone signals or consider booking a different hotel, such as the Drakensberg Sun or The Nest, with a more central location.
Gooderson Monks Cowl Golf and Spa Resort Reviews
The resort gets excellent reviews, with guests mentioning the resort’s cleanliness, the friendliness of the staff, and the large number of activities and facilities to keep children busy. If this sounds like a place you’re interested in, click here to check the prices. We will definitely visit the resort again, despite the issues with Wi-Fi – it is the perfect place to unwind and get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. In addition, we found Gooderson’s resort to be affordable, especially when you book a self-catering unit.