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Why did we hand pick Emily Moon River Lodge?

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  • Beautiful views over the hills and wetlands
  • Canoes and mountain bikes available for use
  • Spacious, luxurious accommodation with artistic flair offers a fantastic escape

Emily Moon River Lodge

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Price tier (pps): R200  R1500+

Child policy: All ages

6km from Plettenberg Bay

 

-34.01, 23.3734

About

The magical experience at Emily Moon Lodge, co-owned by Mark and Christine Valentine and Elize van der Merwe, revolves around an elaborate love story dreamt up by Mark. The story goes that, in 1872, English explorer Harry Mallard decided to build an exquisite home on the banks of the Bitou River, to show his undying love for a young lady called Emily Moon.

Guests to this intimate lodge are pulled into the romance of this tale and transported into a mystical, luxurious world that charms all the senses. Eccentric architecture deliberately makes the lodge look as old as the story suggests, and the luxurious interiors are given character by an arsenal of unique artefacts gleaned from Mark, Christine and Elize's travels around the world. 

Carrying on the mystique, each of the ten spacious suites is decorated to reflect the personality of a fictional character, meaning that no two are alike. Comfort, however, comes standard, with each suite featuring a ceiling fan, mini-bar and full en-suite bathroom with underfloor heating, double basins and luxury amenities. The private lounge is equipped with satellite television and a large fireplace. Wooden decks showcase magnificent views over the river, wetland and mountains, and two of the rooms have the novelty of tree-house viewing decks and private gardens. 

In four of the rooms, guests can enjoy the magic of an outdoor shower with beautiful views. Couples would be hard-pressed to find a more romantic setting than the honeymoon suites, which are particularly spacious and secluded, with outdoor showers. In addition to housing the same King-size bed that the other suites offer, the family suites can accommodate two extra children.

Bigger families who want a pampered self-catering holiday will have a great time in the River House, which can comfortably accommodate 10 guests in five bedrooms with their own en-suite bathrooms, most of which have outdoor showers. The kids will be perfectly happy to stay in the two loft bedrooms. The house boasts a beautiful setting on the banks of the Piesang River, and has a big lounge, an expansive deck (with a plunge pool and entertainment area) and an amply-equipped kitchen.

While guests in the suites are served a delicious gourmet breakfast, all guests should - at least once during their stay - treat themselves to lunch or dinner at Emily’s Restaurant, which attracts visitors from far and wide. To create their mouth-watering dishes, the chef team plucks fresh produce from the garden every morning, before meeting to design a menu which will delight the most critical of palates. The dining hall, packed with antiques and collectors’ items, is a sublime setting in which to enjoy the feast. Above the restaurant, Simon’s Bar produces delicious artisan pizzas and is a superb setting to enjoy a sundowner overlooking the river.

By day, guests can explore the river with one of the lodge’s canoes, ticking off a vast number of bird species along the way. 

Mountain bikes are available to those who want to cycle through the stunning scenery around Plettenberg Bay, while guests seeking relaxation can kickback at the swimming pool or soak up the rays at one of the nearby beaches. Being right in the heart of the Garden Route, the lodge is also an excellent base for day trips to the area’s abundance of attractions.

Rates & Summary


6 Luxury Suites

Each sleeps 2 in King-size or twin beds
En-suite bath, shower and double basins
4 with outdoor showers
Lounge with fireplace
Viewing deck with river and garden views

2 Luxury Family Suites

Each sleeps 2 adults and 2 children
En-suite bath, shower and double basins
Lounge with fireplace
Viewing deck with river and garden views

2 Honeymoon Suites

Each sleeps 2 in King-size bed
En-suite bath, shower and double basins
Outdoor shower with river views
Lounge with fireplace
Deck with river views

The River House

Sleeps 10 in 5 main bedrooms and 2 loft rooms
5 bathrooms, 4 with outdoor showers
Kitchen and lounge with fireplace
Boma with fireplace
Deck with plunge pool
Set on the banks of the river

Pricing

  • For pricing detail, click on CHECK AVAILABILITY & BOOK ONLINE above

Catering

Bed and breakfast in suites
Self-catering in River House
Lunch and dinner available

Kids

Children of all ages are welcome.

Why Stay Here?

Set on the banks of the Bitou River outside Plettenberg Bay, Emily Moon River Lodge is a boutique establishment offering accommodation in ten secluded suites and a self-catering house. Additional facilities include two exquisite restaurants and a swimming pool. Guests will love the mystique and romance of this luxurious lodge, which is filled with rare artefacts collected from across Africa, Asia and Polynesia. The lodge occupies a magnificent setting overlooking a river, wetlands and distant mountains, and guests are able to make use of canoes and mountain bikes to explore the area.

Summary

  • Beautiful views over the hills and wetlands
  • Canoes and mountain bikes available for use
  • Spacious, luxurious accommodation with artistic flair offers a fantastic escape

Privacy

The Honeymoon Suites are very secluded.
River House is perfect for a private self-catering family holiday.

Things to consider Bringing

Sunblock, hat, walking shoes, swimming costume, swimming towels, fishing gear, binoculars for bird/whale watching and dolphin spotting.

Road Conditions

The gravel approach road is suitable for all vehicles.

Activities & Attractions

  • Swimming pool
  • Canoeing
  • Mountain biking
  • Excellent bird watching
  • Nearby: whale watching, sea kayaking, fishing charters, beaches, ferry trips, hiking, horse riding, golf courses, shopping.

Details

Accommodation & Hospitality

  • Lounge
  • Ceiling fans
  • Fireplace
  • Firewood provided
  • Bed linen supplied
  • Bathroom towels supplied
  • Daily housekeeping
  • No smoking indoors

Catering & Kitchen

  • Breakfast
  • Restaurant
  • Licensed
  • Full Kitchen
  • Fridge or minibar

Utilities

  • Water supply good for drinking
  • Electric geysers
  • Eskom electricity

Leisure Amenities

  • Swimming pool
  • Satellite television
  • Garden

Business & Connectivity

  • Wi-Fi
  • Good cell phone reception
  • Limited business centre
  • Conference facilities available

Access & Convenience

  • Not wheelchair friendly
  • No babysitting
  • Child friendly
  • No pets allowed
  • Off street parking
  • Nearest shops within 10km
  • Nearest fuel within 10km
  • No shuttle service available

Payment

  • Credit cards accepted
  • EFT accepted
  • Cash accepted

Gallery

Map

Blog

Garden Route

Western Cape

About

The Garden Route encompasses a large section of the Southern Cape coast, bookended by Witsand in the west and Nature’s Valley in the east. In-between are the large towns of Mossel Bay and George, and the smaller, more touristy destinations of Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, Wilderness and Sedgefield.

The region is a narrow zone wedged between the Indian Ocean and the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma Mountains; and is one of great natural beauty. Despite massive development in recent years, it remains the country’s Garden of Eden. There are gloriously long beaches, lush and mysterious forests, rugged coastlines, amber rivers, and tranquil lagoons. All overlooked by hazy mountain peaks.

The region has been a favourite with locals and overseas visitors for decades. The temperate climate makes it idyllic to visit at almost any time of the year. 

Although the beaches are promoted as the main attraction, the forests are equally important. In fact, they are the gardens of the Garden Route. 

With their magnificent giant Outeniqua yellowwoods (podocarpus falcatus), unfathomable gorges and areas of impenetrable trees, vines, and ferns, the forests have long been a passion for those with a love of nature. Much of their depths remain unexplored and, thankfully, unexploited. Perhaps their greatest treasure is that they are home to a handful of Knysna elephants.

Rivers tumbling from the mountain slopes have carved the landscape into deep gorges and twisting valleys, shaded by steep slopes and plunging cliffs. The Keurbooms and Knysna rivers flow into tidal lagoons at Plettenberg Bay and Knysna respectively. Sedgefield Lagoon, which is also open to the sea, is fed by Swartvlei, the biggest body of water in an area known as South Africa’s lake district. This chain of 5 lakes stretches from Sedgefield to Wilderness.

A large swathe of the region is protected within the Garden Route National Park. The park is made up of disjointed patches of land and therefore has no fixed beginning or end.

The Wilderness National Park, the Tsitsikamma National Park and the Knysna National Lakes area are sections within the greater park

Thanks to the habitats of forest, fynbos, coastline and wetlands, there is a plethora of wildlife, birdlife and marine life. Visitors can also enjoy a vast number of activities and attractions (adrenalin, adventure or relaxation). The innumerable accommodation establishments offer everything from 5-star luxury to basic camping facilities. In recent years, the Garden Route has become something of a gourmet route that will satisfy even the most discerning epicure.

Look out for

National Parks – the Wilderness National Park makes up the western section of the recently formed Garden Route National Park. Situated in the vicinity of Wilderness it protects patches of indigenous forest and fynbos, long stretches of unspoilt coastline and pristine beaches, coastal dunes, rivers and estuaries. It has a series of 5 lakes – something unique in South Africa. The park is renowned for its diversity of activities, which include canoeing, mountain biking, abseiling and kloofing.

Hiking includes the 7km-long Half-Collared Kingfisher Trail; the 5km-long Brown Hooded Kingfisher Trail; the Cape Dune Molerat Trail between Rondevlei and Swartvlei (3km- or 6km-long routes); and the Pied Kingfisher Trail, the longest at 10km.

Birdwatching is popular, with 230 species to be seen, and part of the park is a designated RAMSAR site. There are 3 bird hides - at Rondevlei, Langvlei, and on the Touw River. Accommodation at the Ebb and Flow Rest Camp on the banks of the Touw River takes the form of caravan and camping sites, rondavels and cottages. 

Hiking – the Garden Route is well-known for its large variety of short and multi-day hiking trails. Probably the most popular is the 48km-long 5-day Otter Trail from Storms River Mouth along the coast to Nature’s Valley. The Outeniqua Trail is the longest hike on the Garden Route. It commences at Beervlei hut at an old forestry station just off the Seven Passes Road inland from Sedgefield. From here it traverses 108km of forest and fynbos covering the slopes and foothills of the Outeniqua Mountains. It finishes 7 days later at Harkerville between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay. 

The Harkerville Hiking Trail is a 24km-long, 2-day circular trail aimed at fit hikers that don’t have a fear of heights. It starts and ends at the Harkerville Forest Station. 

Kranshoek Coastal Walk is a spectacular 9km-long circular route covering a section of the Harkerville coastline.

The 61km-long Tsitsikamma Trail starts at the Nature’s Valley Rest camp and heads for the slopes of the Tsitsikamma mountains, away from the coast. It finishes at either Storms River Bridge or Storms River Village.

There are also some beautiful slack packing options the 65km-long, 5-day, Garden Route Trail between Wilderness and Knysna; the 48km-long, 5-day Oyster Catcher Trail between Mossel Bay and Gourits River Mouth; and the 17km-long, 2-day Dolphin Trail from Storms River Mouth east along the coast to the Fernery.

Nature Reserves – there are 4 nature reserves in the region. These are the Outeniqua Nature Reserve at George, the Goukamma Nature Reserve between Sedgefield and Buffalo Bay, the Robberg Nature Reserve at Plettenberg Bay, and the Keurbooms Nature Reserve, also at Plettenberg Bay.

All offer good birding and each has a network of hiking trails - except Keurbooms, which has river-based activities instead. 

Forests – these thickly-wooded areas are alive with unique life forms, birdsong, fungi, ferns, frogs and feathered creatures. The towering Outeniqua yellowwoods, some 800 years old, are the pillars of the forests and magnificent in stature. From George through to Nature’s Valley there are several sections of forest where visitors can walk or picnic beneath the canopy. These include the Groeneweide Nature Walk, at Groenkop Farleigh Indigenous Forest near George. 

Around Knysna, there are 3 main forest areas. Goudveld lies north-west of town and is accessed via the rural area of Rheenendal. It is home to the locals’ favourite picnic spot of Jubilee Creek, the worked-out Bendigo gold mine, and the isolated gorge known as Drupkelders. Gouna is north of town and links up with Diepwalle, which lies to the east. The Garden of Eden is a small patch of forest alongside the N2, accessed along boardwalks between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay. Also here is the Harkerville Forest. In the east of the region, around Nature’s Valley, the forests of the Tsitsikamma National Park virtually spill onto the beaches and rocky headlands.   

Beaches and lagoons – for many the wide, sweeping stretches of beach that glint like a string of pearls along the coastline are what the Garden Route is all about. These are found throughout the region and most are accessible via minor roads off the N2. If the rough and tumble of surf isn’t quite your thing then the more tranquil waters of the Knysna Lagoon, the Keurbooms Lagoon at Plettenberg Bay, and the Sedgefield Lagoon are popular options.

The Maritime Museum – visitors who enjoy a good museum should head to Mossel Bay. Here the maritime history of the area can be explored at the Dias Museum Complex where you can board a replica of Bartolomeu Dias’s caravel. There’s also a collection of ancient maps from those days and a good shipwreck display. Here too stands the 500+-year-old Post Office Tree. The museum complex houses a Shell Museum, said to be the largest in South Africa. There is also an aquarium. The complex is open from 09h00-16h45, Monday to Friday, and from 09h00-15h45 on weekends and public holidays.

Golf – for those who consider golf to be a large part of a holiday, there are premier golf courses along virtually the entire Garden Route. These include the 18-hole championship course at Pinnacle Point near Mossel Bay; the 3 courses of Fancourt at George; the Knysna Golf Club; Simola Golf & Country Estate (Knysna); Pezula Championship Course (Knysna); Plettenberg Bay Country Club; and Goose Valley Golf Club (Plettenberg Bay).

When to go

To Do

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