Leopard Rock Lookout Chalets and Coffee Shop is a beautiful, family-run accommodation. The owners Sue and Andries clearly have a passion for their little piece of heaven. The approach to their chalets is ‘home away from home’ which is exactly how we felt during our stay there.
Their hands-on approach offers a comfortable, rustic and homely stay. The scenery is beautiful, homemade food is delicious and the personal touches exceeded our expectations.
Location, Location, Location
Leopard Rock Lookout Chalets is situated just 26km inland from Port Shepstone, south of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The chalets are set on a rocky incline overlooking the Umzimkulu River Gorge. As far as the eye can see you surrounded by beautiful farmlands and the stunning mountain gorges which is projected by the endless horizon. Leopard Rock Lookout Chalets is the kind of place that relaxation is guaranteed and where the beauty of nature finds you.
As soon as I opened the car door, I took the deepest breath of fresh air and knew this was going to be a weekend to completely unwind and soak up the beautiful atmosphere. Once we walked through the farm gates our attention immediately turned to the stunning gardens. The blend of flowers and trees is a bird lover’s paradise. We spotted a cheerful Pin-Tailed Whydah within the first few minutes of our stay.
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More about the Leopard Rock Lookout Chalets
Andries welcomed us with a big smile and led us down the beautiful garden path to our Chalet. The first thing we noticed as we walked into our charming unit was the glass doors that opened up onto our very own private balcony. The view from the balcony that overlooked over the Umzimkulu River Gorge was refreshing and breathtaking.
There are four private Chalet’s to choose from, including a honeymoon suite for the newlyweds. We stayed in Chalet number 2. The Chalet’s are self-catering, however, a full English breakfast is included with the choice of eating in your chalet or on the tranquil coffee shop deck.
The chalet is fully equipped with everything you possibly need and more. The self-catering kitchen has all the essentials from coffee, tea and Milo to braai spice, salad dressing and cooking utensils.
Looking for dinner?
If you don’t want to cook dinner then there are a great variety of nearby restaurants to choose from. Alternatively, you can have a pre-ordered dinner and dessert delivered to your room from the coffee shop which is what we did one night and we have to admit it was delicious. We later we found out that Andries made the desert himself… the cheesecake was the best I had ever tasted. (The double serving made me head straight to the gym on Monday morning!)
Bathroom and outdoor shower
Fill up the jet tub in the bathroom with relaxing bath salts that are provided and sip on a glass of complimentary champagne. There is also a fully secluded outdoor shower on the deck which overlooks the amazing views… naturally we took full advantage of this!
Open plan lounge
The open plan sitting area has two leather reclining loungers to put your feet up and relax. There is no T.V but the sound of the Umzimkulu River down in the gorge and the all the different birds in the surrounding trees is a comfortable and entertaining replacement.
There are shared braai facilities available for the chalets with an undercover lapa which is really pleasant and convenient. Firelighters, charcoal and wood are provided.
Chalet Personal Touches
Lisa and I are all for personal touches, it makes a place unique and therefore unforgettable. We received a complimentary bottle of champagne, homemade jam & chutney and yummy homemade rusks. (which we couldn’t get enough of) There is a bottle of cherry next to the leather recliners to keep warm during the winter months.
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The Leopard Rock Coffee shop
A short walk through the beautiful gardens is the coffee shop. You will find Sue, the lady of the house baking and working her magic in the kitchen throughout the day. The coffee shop offers a choice to sit outside on the 21-meter deck with the most spectacular views or you can enjoy your home cooked meal inside between the interesting decor. The coffee shop is fully licenced.
Helpful Staff and Local Craft shop
The staff were friendly, helpful and attentive. They often offered us advice on the weather, best nearby attractions and we were always greeted with a friendly smile.
There is a section inside the coffee shop dedicated to selling a few local crafts, natural handmade products and souvenirs to remember your Leopard Rock experience which is well worth a visit.
As fresh as it gets
Everything in the coffee shops menu is carefully selected and homemade. Most of the ingredients for the coffee shop is organic and grown on the property to ensure you get the best, freshest and tastiest meals straight from the kitchen.
The Overhanging Leopard Rock
The overhanging rock hangs approx 2.5 meters over the ground with amazing views and a spectacular, Instagram worthy photo opportunity.
There are historic photo’s in the back of the restaurant of the rock that people have brought in over the years when it was a part of a local Margate tour. It got its name Leopard Rock because a game farmer Mr Sussens would visit the farmers in the area with his tame pet leopard named Suzie. From time to time Suzie would pose in photographs with tour groups on the rock and so the name stuck.
In 1964 Happy Day Tours sold the property to a private owner. The path to the rock became so overgrown that there was no longer any access and the rock was an abandoned bygone.
Sue and Andries purchased the property in September 2000 with the idea of building a house. While clearing all the invader plant, they rediscovered the overhanging rock which was hidden in the overgrowth. They decided to open a view site for people to come and view it and got an overwhelming response. Many visitors suggested that they should offer some coffee and cake while people admire the view and soon the Leopard Rock Lookout Chalets and coffee shop was born.
Our favourite nearby attractions
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Oribi Vulture viewing hide
The Oribi Vulture Viewing Hide is a not for profit voluntary association which aims to raise awareness of the endangered Cape Vulture and the threats posed to these vultures in general.
We went on a 2-hour viewing experience and watched over 200 Cape vultures soar above us and across the gorge. The experience was mesmerising and we gained so much knowledge about these incredible birds. Our guide Andy was excellent, we could have spent another 2 hours listening to his stories, experience and his exceptional knowledge.
This is an environmentally sensitive site, which is incorporated into the Oribi Gorge nature reserve important bird area. The area is not open to the general public and the number of visits per month may be limited to minimise disturbance to the vultures. ADVANCED BOOKING is essential. Contact Andy on +27 72 893 3794 to make a booking.
Lake Eland Game Reserve
We spend a morning on a self drive through the reserve admiring the wildlife, spectacular scenery and abundance of flora. There are a number of worthy stops and viewpoints throughout the reserve. The walk across the 80m suspension bridge to the Eagle’s was view was an exhilarating experience offering more magnificent views across the gorge.
The reserve also offers fishing, paintball games, 4×4 tracks, walking trails and single track mountain bike trails. Guided game drives are available on request.
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Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve and Wild 5 Adventures
There are numerous hiking opportunities throughout Oribi Gorge Nature reserve. The walks are scenic with an abundance of wildlife and splendid lookout points.
Wild 5 adventures are located within Oribi Gorge nature reserve. They offer a range of extreme adventures, from white water rafting to paintball games and an Adrenalin pumping 55 storey gorge swing.
That’s a wrap
Sue and Andries were excellent hosts! We honoured that they chose to share their little piece of heaven with us. The blood, sweat and tears that they have poured into this beautiful gem over the years are seen around every corner.
We highly recommend Leopard Rock Lookout Chalets if you looking for a unique getaway in nature with a breathtaking view.
If you would like to find out more information or make a booking, visit their website here
Have you been to Leopard Rock Lookout Chalets in South Africa? Feel free to drop us a comment below.
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* Thank you to Leopard Rock Lookout Chalets for hosting us. All opinions are our own. Images may be used around the web as long as you credit us and link back to our website souldrifters.com. Images may not be used for advertising and commercial purposes. You are welcome to contact us for rates and terms for commercial rights.