5 Star MTB Gravel Adventure, Greystone Lodge, Dullstroom, 3-8 January 2022 

End 2021, the search was on, we needed a break. Self-catering, countryside, family-friendly, mountain biking, trail walks, pet friendly, and pet safe, topped our list. It was important that our travel companions, the “Honey Badgers” 🦝🦝 aka Yorkshire Terriers, Queen Luna, and Prince Tobias, would be welcome and safe 😁. Greystone Lodge ticked all the boxes and more.

Owners of Greystone Lodge, Ildikó Hegyi, and Terence Bestwick, have created a fabulous pet-friendly, and pet-safe haven. They offer fenced, self-catering accommodation, in a tranquil setting. Guests enjoy private, semi-rustic cottages nestled in a Pine and Bluegum forest, overlooking a beautiful, well-stocked trout dam, with crystal clear water. Activities include; Fly-fishing, Archery, Mountain Biking, Nature Walks, Hiking, and a Golf Driving Range. Clean spring water on tap, the fireplace is always stocked with complimentary firewood, and daily delivery of fresh full cream milk, also complimentary, seals the deal. It’s a perfect getaway destination.

On Monday, 3 January 2022 we were packed and ready to roll. We made our way to Dullstroom, Mpumalanga, and our home away from home for the next few days, Greystone Lodge. The lodge is situated in a picturesque landscape a few kilometres outside the town of Dullstroom. Rolling grasslands, hills, forests, grazing cattle, sheep, and trout dams, are spotted, when cruising down the smooth and well-maintained gravel road leading to Greystone.

On arrival, through the main gate, the Pine tree flanked lane, trout dam, Pine and Bluegum forests, cosy cottages, and grassland with grazing Blesbok welcomes guests.

We pulled into the fenced, gated, and well-maintained yard of Cottage No. 6 and immediately felt at home. The “Honey Badgers” got safely off to a speedy start, inspecting every corner of the yard and cottage, reading all the pee-mails left for them by previous K9 and Feline visitors. No. 6 is a cosy, fully furnished, two-bedroom unit, with an indoor fireplace, bathroom with shower, fully equipped kitchen, and outside braai. It has a lovely patio where one can enjoy morning coffee, meals, and leisurely chit-chat, overlooking the trout dam and pine forest.

We made the most of our stay! Daily mountain bike adventures, forest walks with the “Honey Badgers”, board games, braai suppers, and early morning coffee on the patio made for some great memories.

Our mountain biking adventures took us up mountains, down steep gravel roads meandering between green farmlands, over rivers, and past fabulous forests. It’s mostly gravel riding. The area experienced some rain before our arrival and during our visit, and we negotiated a bit of mud here and there, but all doable and very enjoyable. 

ADVENTURE DIARY

Day 1 – 3 January 2022: BIKE – Thunderstorm Blitz 🚴‍♂️🚴‍♀️🌩🌲⚡️😅! – Arrived at Greystone past noon, and took time to do a short recce on our mountain bikes, on the routes closest to the Lodge, with a thunderstorm looming in the background. Beautiful landscape with stormy clouds to entertain us over a 20.35 km gravel ride with 171 m Elevation Gain. In the afternoon the “Honey Badgers” got to stretch their legs and inspect the surrounding forest with a quick look-a-see at the trout dam 🦝🦝👀🐟🌳🌻🌿😁.

Day 2 – 4 January 2022: BIKE – Storm Chaser 🚴‍♂️🚴‍♀️🌩☔️💦⚡️👌💪! Spectacular 🤩! – 18.41 km Circular ride with a 162 m Elevation Gain. Chased a thunderstorm, but luckily didn’t get caught 😃! Gravel quickie that took us past cattle and sheep farms and spectacular forests. We arrived back at the Lodge just as the rain had passed, and left us witnessing small bubbly streams coming down the mountain. ⭐️ Check out the route and ride profile on STRAVA! Feel free to download the GPX route file! ⭐️

Day 2 – 4 January 2022: BIKE – Hilly Adventure 🚴‍♂️🚴‍♀️😅! Brilliant 💃🏼🕺🥳! Scenery, absolutely mind-blowing 😍! Heaven 🤩! – 2nd Ride for the day, 32.11 km with a 576 m Elevation Gain 🚵‍♂️🚵‍♀️😅. Exiting Greystone’s gate, you take a right, UP the mountain, and past an extremely high communication tower which is visible for kilometres. Once at the top, one has the most spectacular view of the valley below. The descent into the valley is a hoot 😃! Steep downhill on a rutted gravel mountain road, but it’s an experience like no other. The scenery is next level and worth every nervous yelp 😂! At the bottom of the valley, there are beautiful farms and a scenic river crossing. Since we came down into the valley, we had to climb our way back up to the Lodge. It was a challenging ride, but a very rewarding experience. I highly recommend this ride, if you ever have the opportunity. ⭐️ Check out the route and ride profile on STRAVA! Feel free to download the GPX route file! ⭐️

Day 3 – 5 January 2022: WALK – Dragonfly Magic Mushrooms Stroll 🦟🍄🦝🦝🌿😁! – Have you ever seen a Dragonfly that Big, check out the pics? It had a wingspan of over 10 cm, what a beaut 🤩! Toby discovered puffy mushrooms, which were pretty cool too 🦝🍄!

Day 3 – 5 January 2022: BIKE – Slip-a-Slide Mountainside 💦🚵‍♀️🚵‍♂️🚙🦝🦝🌿🌾🍩☕️😅! – 16.79 km, gravel ride with 145 m Elevation Gain. We zoomed past game farms, ostriches gawking 👀 at the crazy city dwellers flying past on two wheels. Crossed over low water bridges and flowing rivers, on a route that was wet and muddy. We crawled over the mountain to Dullstroom for a well-deserved #CaffeinFix, Bubble Tea, and sugary Mini Doughnut treat. The gravel road doesn’t go straight into Dullstroom. It ends in a junction with a tar road that links to the small town. The tar road however has a very small shoulder making it dangerous for cyclists to use. We organised a pick-up from the end of the gravel section into Dullstroom 🚙. 

Day 3 – 5 January 2022: BIKE – Yellow Caterpillar Twisty 💦🚵‍♀️🚵‍♂️🚜🐛🌿😅! – Done with our #CaffeineFix and chill time in Dullstroom we caught a lift back to the beginning of another main gravel road leading to Greystone 🚙. We took a detour to explore and after 25.09 km with an Elevation Gain of 241 m, we were back at the lodge. En route, we passed a small Coal Mine. The workings of the massive yellow excavation machines were rather fascinating.

Day 4 – 6 January 2022: WALK – Dams, Thrones and Eucalyptus Forests 💦🐟🦝🦝🤠🌿🌳🤩! – Our 4th day was cloudy, chilly, and wet ☔️. We used it as a rest day, lit a cosy fire in the fireplace 🔥, played games ♣️♥️♠️♦️ and went for a lovely walk in the afternoon. We discovered “Pride Rock” 🦁👑 and the “Honey Badgers” naturally had to pose for pics 🦝🦝🤠📸😍!

Day 5 – 7 January 2022: BIKE – Greystone-Dullstroom Hills + #CaffeineFix 🌾🌻🌳🌿👀🚵‍♂️🚵‍♀️☕️💪😅! – Another little trip into Dullstroom for Caffeinated Refreshments, Seattle Style ☕️😋🚙! It was a bit of a loopy affair of 39.88 km with an Elevation Gain of 548 m. The initial route we wanted to take was waterlogged and we had to turn around and use an alternative route. We took the opportunity to shoot back to the lodge for a quick bite and then back on track to our date with an Americano 👉 “the way you like it” in the heart of Dullstroom ☕️😁!

Day 5 – 7 January 2022: BIKE – Dullstroom-Greystone Return Leg 🚵‍♂️🚵‍♀️💨💨🌩🐂🐄🐎🌻! – Post Americano Fixie, our lift took us back to the start of the gravel road leading to Greystone ☕️😋🚙. We put our heads down and did that thing 👉 Ride Like You Stole It 🚵‍♂️🚵‍♀️💨💨🤣! Exhilarating and refreshing 😍! This was a fast 15.07 km with only 86 m Elevation Gain! Felt like a 5-year-old, happy and free 🚴‍♀️😂!

Day 5 – 7 January 2022: WALK – Round the Dam and into the Magic Forest 💦🐟🦝🦝🌿🌟🌳😁! – Back at the lodge, the “Honey Badgers” awaited us. Playing ball was out 🚫🎾😃! The Badgers were ready for a forest walk and sniff-a-long adventure around the trout dam. Check out the lovely pics 🦝🦝🤠💦🐟🌿🌟🌳🌲😁📸!

Day 6 – 8 January 2022: WALK – Pines-a-Flowers 🌲🍀🌻! – The morning of our departure, we prepared a mouthwatering breakfast and went for a last walk with the “Honey Badgers” 💦🐟🦝🦝🤠🌿🌳🤩! The magic of Greystone Lodge and the surrounding area cemented into our memories and hearts forever 💦🚵‍♀️🚵‍♂️🚙🦝🦝🌿🌾🌲🍀🌳🌻🍩☕️🌟🌈🤩!

Greystone Lodge receives a 5⭐️ review from us in every aspect. Ildi and Terence are fabulous hosts and we will be back for more adventures! The “Honey Badgers” can’t wait either 🚵‍♀️🚵‍♂️🚙🦝🦝! Thank you Ildi and Terence for your friendly hospitality and sharing your magical world with us 👌! Back soon 🌻!

Photos by Allan Webber and Luculle Stols – @real.life.rebel on Instagram