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Why did we hand pick King's Grant Country Retreat?

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  • Authentically restored historic abode of German Trappist Monks on St Isidor Estate
  • Charming, tranquil grounds and flower-filled gardens
  • Mountain biking, canoeing and bass fishing on the estate, and lots to explore in the region

King's Grant Country Retreat

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Price tier (pps): R200  R1500+

Child policy: All ages

5km from Ixopo


-30.1529, 30.1054


Home to King’s Grant Country Retreat, the St Isidor Estate has a captivating beauty and historical allure that creates a memorable experience for guests looking for a quiet country getaway. Originally granted to the family of intrepid English settler Dick King in 1871, as a token of appreciation for King’s famous 960 km trek from Durban to Grahamstown, the estate was bought by German Trappist Monks twenty years later and converted into a mission farm. 

The monks built a maize mill, hayloft and dairy, along with a host of beautiful red-brick buildings, including a chapel and sleeping quarters for the monks and nuns. When the estate was bought by David and Cheryl Biggs in 1996, the couple set about lovingly restoring the old mission, before opening it as an enchanting guest house with wedding and conference facilities. Surrounded by flower-filled gardens, the old sleeping quarters have been converted into stylish, individually-decorated rooms accommodating everyone from single travellers to families.

All the rooms are appointed with satellite televisions, wireless internet, tea/coffee trays, heaters and fans, while guests can enjoy tranquil relaxation on the private patios. Solo travellers can sleep in one of two cosy rooms, one with a single bed and bath, and the other with a ¾ bed and bath with overhead shower.

The three standard rooms have twin beds which couples can have converted into a King-size bed, and guests also have a choice between a bath only and a bath with shower. The Clivia standard room has a kitchenette and braai facilities for those who want to self-cater. 

Offering far more space, the superior rooms have either Queen-size or twin beds (convertible into King-size), with two rooms having the advantage of a fireplace to ward off the winter blues. Guests in the superior Queen rooms can sink into deep Victorian bathtubs. The opulent superior suite, available in twin/King configuration, is particularly spacious, and features a fireplace and well-equipped kitchen. Well-suited for families or groups, the superior family suite has an extra day bed and a sleeper couch, along with a kitchen and fireplace. 

The opulent superior suite, available in twin/King configuration, is particularly spacious, and features a fireplace and well-equipped kitchen. Well-suited for families or groups, the superior family suite has an extra day bed and a sleeper couch, along with a kitchen and fireplace. 

Rates include a filling breakfast, while hearty country lunches and dinners can be enjoyed in the delightful setting of the Banqueting Hall, which has undergone a dramatic transformation from the original dairy buildings and courtyard. The estate offers plenty of activities to keep guests busy during the day. Memories of the past will be brought to life with a stroll through the magnificent gardens, past the chapel and mill, and down to the stream which used to feed water into the mill turbines. 

The historical buildings and beautiful setting provide a perfect subject for artists, who are able to paint in a well-lit art studio. Nature lovers will revel in the natural spoils of the estate, which include dams and wetlands, attracting abundant birdlife, while mountain bikers can take on of the scenic trails. Bass fishing and canoeing in the 50 ha dam are on offer for water babies.

Gourmet picnic baskets and sundowners, to be savoured at some spectacular sites on the estate, can be arranged to round off a truly unforgettable experience. 

Should all of this not be enough, your hosts would be more than happy to make recommendations for activities in the surrounding areas.

Rates & Summary

3 Standard Rooms

Each sleeps 2 in twin/King-size beds
En-suite shower or shower over bath
One room has a kitchenette and braai facilities
Patio with garden view

2 Single Rooms

Each sleeps 1 in single or ¾ bed
En-suite bath or shower over bath
Patio with garden view

4 Superior Rooms

Each sleeps 2 in Queen-size or twin/King beds
En-suite bath or bath and shower
Two rooms have fireplaces
Patio with garden view

Superior Suite

Sleeps 2 in twin/King-size beds
En-suite shower over bath
Patio with garden view

Superior Family Suite

Sleeps 4 in twin/King-size beds, day bed and sleeper couch
En-suite bath and shower
Lounge area with fireplace
Patio with garden view


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


Continental and Full English breakfast included
Lunch and dinner available
Superior suites are equipped for self-catering


Children of all ages are welcome.

Why Stay Here?

Situated in a lush valley on the beautiful St Isidor Estate in Ixopo, King’s Grant Country Retreat offers comfortable accommodation in the renovated living quarters of monks and nuns, and invites guests to step back in time, unwind, and enjoy country cuisine and a varied range of activities. Formerly the mission farm of German Trappist Monks, this beautiful estate has a captivating historical charm. Surrounded by rose gardens, the attractive red-brick buildings have been authentically restored into an enchanting country guest house which treats visitors to a unique, serene experience.


  • Authentically restored historic abode of German Trappist Monks on St Isidor Estate
  • Charming, tranquil grounds and flower-filled gardens
  • Mountain biking, canoeing and bass fishing on the estate, and lots to explore in the region

Things to consider Bringing

Sunblock, hat, walking shoes, swimming costume, swimming towels, golf clubs, binoculars for bird watching/dolphin spotting.

Road Conditions

All roads leading to the guest house are tarred.

Activities & Attractions

  • Canoeing
  • Bass fishing
  • Nature walks
  • Mountain biking
  • St Isidor Museum
  • Art studio
  • Nearby: golf course, beaches, Drakensberg Mountains, Highover Wildlife Sanctuary, Albert Falls Dam, Midlands Meander, train tours.



Accommodation & Hospitality

  • Verandah / patio
  • Fan included
  • Fireplace
  • Limited firewood provided
  • Bed linen supplied
  • Bathroom towels supplied
  • Daily housekeeping
  • Self-service tea and coffee available
  • No smoking indoors

Catering & Kitchen

  • Breakfast (dinner by arrangement)
  • Restaurant
  • Licensed
  • Kitchenette
  • Braai area available
  • Fridge or minibar


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

Leisure Amenities

  • No 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 5km
  • Nearest fuel within 5km
  • No shuttle service available


  • Credit cards accepted
  • EFT accepted
  • Cash accepted




uKhahlamba Drakensberg

KwaZulu Natal


The Drakensberg mountain range begins its rise in the Eastern Cape, running along the length of KwaZulu-Natal’s western border. It also extends in fits and starts into Mpumalanga and covers a vast area stretching into the mountain kingdom of Lesotho.

It is generally agreed that the ‘Dragon mountains’ got their name from their ragged, irregular silhouette that looks like a dragon’s back from a distance. It was so-named by Dutch settlers. Another, albeit less popular, explanation is that early settlers were told by the locals that dragons lived in the mountains. This theory was given a bit more credence when numerous dinosaur footprints were discovered in the Eastern Free State.

The Zulu tribe has given the mountains its own, equally descriptive name – Ukhahlamba, or ‘the barrier of spears’. Whatever the language and whatever the explanation, there is no argument that the Drakensberg mountains are evocative and mysterious. It is a wild and beautiful area that can change from sunny to snowy in mere moments.

In 2001 a park was established that encompasses a huge tract of the mountains. Known as the Maloti-Drakensberg Transfrontier Conservation Area, it covers 13 000km² of Lesotho and KwaZulu-Natal. It includes the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park, a World Heritage Site that by itself covers some 2 400km² and is 150km long.

The Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park is a place of immense beauty and enormous spaces. It is one of the few true remaining wildernesses where hikers can walk for days without encountering other people.

It is no surprise, then, that this place is as dangerous as it is beautiful, and one must be well-prepared if tackling it on foot.

In the very north of the park is Royal Natal National Park. It is one of the jewels in the crown of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and the proud guardian of the world famous ‘Amphitheatre’. This can be easily viewed from the road to the main camp of the park. A short walk along the river gives amazing photographic opportunities. The attractions of this park are many, from pleasant walks to fly-fishing and swimming in clear mountain streams. It is also home to the 850m-high Tugela Falls, the highest waterfall in Africa and the second highest in the world.

Other notable parks within the greater Drakensberg Park are Giant’s Castle, Kamberg and Loteni Nature Reserves. Each has its own attractions, capable of keeping the tourist busy for days on end.

The Drakensberg was declared a World Heritage Site for a number of reasons. It is an area of incredible natural diversity with over 2 100 plant species, more than 200 of which are endemic to the area. It is also home to over 60 species of mammal, including the threatened oribi and herds of eland and black wildebeest. It has nearly 50 species of reptile and more than 300 bird species. The naturalist will definitely find a visit to the Drakensberg incredibly rewarding.

No less interesting is the human history of the area. A prime drawcard is the San rock art. Excellent examples can be seen in Giant’s Castle. There is also a recreation of how these people prospered in the mountains until they were ruthlessly hunted out of existence by both black and white settlers.

Look out for

The Bushmen paintings are a unique art form that shrouded in mystery and deserving of at least an afternoon’s attention. The fact that they are almost always to be found in remote, beautiful caves adds to their allure. And the walk there adds to the attraction.

Hiking is one of the most popular pastimes in the Drakensberg. Depending on fitness and time, hikers can choose from short but beautiful walks to multi-day hikes. On the latter one needs to be entirely self-sufficient and equipped for inclement weather - including snow - no matter what time of the year it is.

The Giants Cup Hiking Trail is the premier ‘Berg hike, totalling almost 60km and usually taking five days to complete. It runs from Sani Pass to Busman’s Nek in the south.

The Amphitheatre in the Royal Natal National Park is one of the first things that should be put on the ‘To Do’ list. You haven’t really been to the Drakensberg until you’ve viewed it from below - and then again from the top. Here you will encounter one of the most breathtaking views in South Africa.

Fly-fishing is another excellent reason to visit the Drakensberg. KZN-Ezemvelo has a collection of very good trout waters in their reserves. Other dams and rivers are privately owned, but many are accessible to fisherman for a day fee.

The Lammergeier Hide at Giant’s Castle is an amazing place from which to get incredible sightings and photographs of birds. Highlights are the bearded vulture, Verreaux’s eagle, white-necked raven, lanner falcon and Cape vulture. Many smaller species can also be spotted. Booking is essential.

Sani Pass is one of South Africa’s great drives. In winter the pass is often closed due to ice and snow and can be a very hazardous drive. Remember that a passport is necessary to get onto the pass and a 4x4 vehicle is required by law.

When to go

To Do

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