We would gladly return to Cybele whenever we are in need of calm, charm, courtesy, cuisine and character for a relaxing weekend or for a break in between game viewing properties.

This property closed in 2013.

Overall Impression We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the Cybele Forest Lodge and Health Spa, a former farmhouse now restored and filled with nostalgic touches and modern comforts. We visited in between a series of game viewing stays at properties in the Sabi Sands Reserve and Kruger National Park. After days of busy early morning and late afternoon game drives, the quiet ambiance, lush flower filled gardens and grounds, friendly staff, tasty treats and alluring spa options we found at the property were a godsend.

Our spacious suite was cozy, quiet and very private. Although we were close to the main building and closer still to the spa, we seldom saw or heard other guests. There was ample space between the stand alone suite buildings; giving us the feeling we were alone. Our suite was filled with small touches that enhanced our stay. These included a minibar, fresh flowers, heated towel racks, electric blanket, and lightly heated private swimming pool

The staff members we met were friendly, helpful and service oriented. It was only at meal times that we remembered we were sharing the property with other guests. Although we would have been happy to just rest, read and relax at Cybele, the spa, just steps from our door, was an added bonus. Our couples spa treatments were excellent.

When it came to nourishment we remember fondly Cybele’s delicious lamb curry, fabulous made to order salads, breakfast buffet with fresh fruit, cheese platter, smoked salmon, cold cuts, cereal, yogurt, croissants, and house baked bread as well as a la carte hot dishes including omelets, French toast, flapjacks, and eggs Benedict.

We would gladly return to Cybele whenever we are in need of calm, charm, courtesy, cuisine and character for a relaxing weekend or for a break in between game viewing properties.

Established The property was established in 1979. Renovations are ongoing.

Location Between White River and Hazyview in the Mpumalanga area and about an hour’s drive from the Sabi Sand Reserve. Cybele is 26 kilometers from White River. The property was about 5.4 kilometers from the paved road down a dirt road and past a guarded gate.

Owned Cybele Forest Lodge (Rupert and Barbara Jeffries)

Size There were 12 cottages and suites and 54 employees in the Cybele 300-acre property.

Decorative Style In Common Areas Although the architecture was described as classic Tuscan, the interior of our suite was contemporary, homey and filled with comfortable furnishings that made us feel instantly at home. The lush grounds were filled with flowers, bushes and trees. There were turpentine, jacaranda, tibouchina, African flame, and bluegum trees. There were also frangipani, gardenia and buddleia bushes.

Bathrooms There was a small bathroom with a glass door shower in the living area. The master bathroom had a sunken bathtub, heated towel racks, twin sinks, a large framed mirror, and a full length mirror. Sliding glass and wood doors led to a small walled garden with an outdoor shower.

Suite Our suite, Paddock Suite 10, had about 1,100 square feet under roof as well as a private patio, garden and pool deck. Jacques from reception drove our car from the parking lot to our suite driveway so that the car door was steps away from the suite door. The entrance led to a living area populated with comfortable cloth furniture, a dark blue love seat and a striped beige and rust colored armchair framed by wood side tables and a wood coffee table. One corner of the living area housed a 15 inch Sansui television set and DVD player. The furniture faced sliding glass and wood double doors that led to a private patio. There was also a wood dining room set for two next to a credenza where glasses were stored as well as a CD player and a handful of CDs for guest use.

To the left of the entrance there was a wood staircase that led to a cubbyhole with a half size bed, an antique desk and a small swimming pool facing window. Underneath the stairs there was a half refrigerator, coffee and tea service and minibar.

A door on the right side of the living area led to the bedroom. A king bed, framed by identical wood tables and lamps, occupied the center of the room and faced another set of sliding glass doors and the patio. A second 15 inch LG television occupied the corner between the bedroom door and the sliding doors. There was a large framed mirror hanging on the wall above the bed. A built in closet, painted black and reaching high above our heads took up one entire wall. It had an electronic safe, a dryer, iron and ironing table and lots of space. In the center there was a vanity area and bright red armless chair, large framed mirror and small round vanity mirror. The vanity area also doubled as a place for our laptop and impromptu office. We appreciated the two international plugs on the wall, U.K. and U.S.A. There was a red armchair and foot stool in the opposite wall next to it the door to the master bathroom.

The suite was full of small touches like a small vase with white flowers; a wide wicker bench at the foot of the bed and luggage rack for our suitcases. Beige walls and very high thatched ceilings enhanced the sense of space and contrasted with the throw rug covered black tile floors. For temperature control there were individual heater/air conditioning wall units in each room as well as a space heater in the bedroom. There were two working fireplaces, one in the living area and a second one in the bedroom, and plenty of wood. There was a corded phone on one night table and a cordless phone in the living area. Since the mornings and evenings were chilly we lit a fire in the bedroom fireplace.

Just outside the bedroom and living area there was a walled garden and patio deck. From there we could see the greenery of the nearby foliage. A handful of steps led down to a small garden and pool deck. There were two wood lounge chairs with cushions and an umbrella for shade. White pool towels covered each lounge chair and an orange towel was draped lazily over each chair beckoning us to relax and enjoy our private heated swimming pool.

Amenities There were Charlotte Rhys toiletries including deodorizer, 200 milliliter bottles of foaming bath, bath and shower gel, shampoo, conditioner and hand and body lotion. There were 10 milliliter Clarins samples for men and women in our room. There were also white cotton bathrobes, white slippers, cotton swabs, cotton balls and complimentary sherry. The bed had a fluffy duvet, feather pillows and an electric blanket. There were DVDs on loan at the reception. At night, the staff left cellophane wrapped cookies at turn down.

Facilities There was a restaurant, fitness center equipped with treadmills, free weights and other equipment as well as DSTV and a change room with lockers and a shower. There was also a gift shop, heated swimming common area pool and spa.

Pool Although we had access to the full size property pool, our suite had a private pool that was large enough to swim laps. In spite of the chilly mornings and many dead insects on the surface of the water we enjoyed swimming in the pool in the comfort and privacy of our suite.

Spa The spa had a sauna and steam room available for guest use. We indulged in couples treatments at the spa. Click here to read about the Cybele Spa.

Other In July 2007, Cybele received the 2007 Diners Club International Wine List Award of Excellence and the Top Country Award, in the category Country Inn in the 2007 Top Ten Getaway Magazine places.

Date Of Last Visit May 2008

Reviewers Article by Elena del Valle

Photographs by Gary Cox

Service There was twice daily room service, cleaning in the morning and turn down service at night. Staff members were friendly and welcoming. I was surprised to discover Jacques and Paul from management and Gideon, one of the servers in the restaurant, remembered me from my previous visit. We ordered room service once. The food was well prepared and the service good.

Although we tried to find a recharge for our mobile phone on our way to Cybele, we were unsuccessful. When we asked where we might buy a recharge at reception, they offered to pick up a cell phone recharge in town. By the end of the afternoon we had a recharge for our phone thanks for their diligent service. This kind gesture made our day. It also allowed us to spend our time in the property instead of running errands in the nearby town.

Would You Stay There Again? Yes

Contact Information

  • Address:
    • Cybele Forest Lodge &
    • Health Spa
    • R40 Hazyview Road,
    • Spitskop Turnoff
    • P.O. Box 346
    • White River 1240
    • South Africa