In June 2014, John and I stayed at Ashbourne Country Escape, a guesthouse located in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa.
To say that we found exactly that is a massive understatement.
Rob and Dawne Topham have created an inviting retreat for their guests that is unlike anything we have ever experienced.
From the second we arrived they treated us as though we’ve known each other for years.
They showed us to our room so we could drop our bags:
And then escorted us the perfect spot to watch the sun dramatically set behind the Drakensberg mountains.
With a bottle of wine.
We had just traveled for over 40 hours but all of that was a distant memory.
Our South African adventure was off to a perfect start.
Ashbourne Country Escape is a hidden gem perfectly situated on the south side of the Sabi River Valley.
Everything about the property is peaceful, comfortable, and elegant.
Our romantically charming room included a separate sitting area:
And private verandah.
Breakfast is included in the stay and is served outdoors on the terrace.
We started everyday with pressed coffee, fruit, and a hearty plate of bacon, eggs, and potatoes.
The guesthouse also comes with 5 of the sweetest dogs you’ll ever meet!
One morning at breakfast, Rob asked if we would like to have dinner at the guesthouse that night. He offered to pick up a few steaks for us while he was at the store, and said the grill would be free for us to use.
We headed out and explored The Panorama Route starring God’s Window, Bourke’s Luck Potholes, and Blyde River Canyon.
When we arrived back at the guesthouse, we found this waiting for us:
Wine, beer, chips, and a lit grill.
John and I were speechless. I mean, we knew our braai at home was going to be amazing, but we never expected this level of hospitality and thoughtfulness waiting for us after a long day of exploring.
We grilled boerewors (South African sausage):
Steaks and lamb chops:
Ate a huge salad Dawne prepared for us:
And soaked up another South African sunset.
It was perfect.
The next morning, we left before sunrise and drove to the Phabeni Gate at Kruger Park, a 20 minute drive from the guesthouse.
Since we were going to miss breakfast, Rob and Dawne packed a cooler full of food for us including a big thermos of coffee.
We enjoyed the animals in Kruger Park from sunup to sundown and never once had to stop and eat Park Food.
It’s the little things like that that mean so much, and just another example of the generosity we received at Ashbourne Country Escape.
Rob and Dawne’s kindness, warmth, and friendship made our third trip to South Africa extra special.
They were extremely helpful with tips and advice like: the best route to take for the sights, where the speed traps were, and directions to a hard-to-find restaurant worth finding.
Ashbourne in Hazyview is a tranquil refuge perfectly located for exploring South Africa’s Kruger Park and The Panorama Route.
If you are planning a trip to the area and aren’t sure where to stay, look no further.
You’ll feel right at home at Ashbourne Country Escape.
Rob and Dawne,
Thank you just isn’t enough.
We loved every second at Ashbourne and were overwhelmed by your kindness and thoughtfulness.
I truly hope our paths cross again one day.
All the best,
Kristi and John