Relaxing at River Run Cottage at Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse

Escaping to a quiet, beautiful spot in the countryside where you are entirely alone with only the birds for company is one of those wistful wishes that many city-dwellers long for. And there’s good reason for it. Nothing is more relaxing than doing nothing!!!

Situated up a long, winding dirt road and surrounded by the majestic mountain peaks of the Drakensberg, River Run is a self-catering cottage located on the same property at the renowned foodie haven of Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse.

As a family of very busy “doers” (yes, even on holiday) it was a complete change of pace for us to arrive at River Run Cottage, and well needed one at that! From the moment we arrived we felt peaceful, relaxed and rested – and that was even BEFORE we rested. This is the type of place that invites you to slow right down and breathe deeply.

The crisp mountain air fills your lungs, the trickling stream fills your ears and the beautiful vistas fills your eyes – every moment feels fresh and new here.

After our morning hike at Montusi, followed by a 3 hour drive, we were all happy to unpack and unwind. The kids raced around the place discovering the loft bedroom, the outdoor fire pit and the river below while I fell in love with the gorgeous country cottage decor and pretty knick knacks that added so much character to this cute farmhouse. Downstairs there is a lounge and dining room area with a fireplace, a fully kitted kitchen and two cosy double bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, while upstairs the loft is the perfect pad for kids with at least 4 beds that I counted!

The long dirt road and lack of nearby places of interest proved to be one of the biggest blessings of our stay at River Run Cottage… we weren’t in a hurry to go anywhere, quite content to just spend our time here, here.

Being rather than doing. 

Fortunately we’d each packed a good book which made for one of my favourite moments of the whole holiday… a few hours spent as a family of four huddled under blankets on the couch in front of the roaring fireplace, and all silently reading! Total bliss. I had to pinch myself with the happiness of the moment. It’s the type that exhausted parents of toddlers only dream about. I’m here to tell you it does eventually happen – momentarily – but it happens! Hang in there!!!

After a supper of pesto pasta (a fail safe for self-catering in a hurry) and an early night, the next morning we found ourselves in no hurry to rush off. Choosing to rather read in bed while watching the sun hit the mountains through the window. As the day unfolded to reveal bright blue skies we finally peeled ourselves out from under the duvet to enjoy a leisurely breakfast while watching the baboons frolic in the mountains from our vantage point on the sun drenched patio.

Usually we would head out to explore the area when staying in a new place, but we weren’t keen for another long day of driving so opted to drive the short mountain pass up to the entrance of Highmoor National Park in the Giant’s Castle Reserve of the Drakensberg.

Sadly we didn’t arrive prepared with the necessary cash to pay our entrance fees so were denied access to explore this part of the Drakensberg and with no card facilities or other payment options we were disappointed to turn around and head back down, but not before we pulled over to enjoy our packed picnic lunch on the verge of the road just outside the park, yet still offering the most incredible panoramic setting!

After our non-event attempting to access Highmoor, we headed back down to our cosy beds for a well-deserved afternoon nap. What even is a holiday without one?

The bonus of being just 1km from the gourmet destination that is Cleopatra’s, means that you can take the opportunity to book a table at the world-renowned restaurant run by owner, Richard Poynton, and we did just that! Arranging a babysitter through the hotel’s reception and ducking out for an adult evening on our own.

Arriving for pre-drinks in the lodge transported us to another time and place. If these walls could talk I’m sure they could tell a story such is the history of the building and the fascinating decor on display! I could have spent hours here perusing the collections of found items and historical objects.

My husband was quick to learn about the wine cellar and one of the highlights our stay was our short visit down to the cellar to choose a bottle of wine from the selection to accompany our evening meal!

Food at Cleopatra’s is taken seriously and for good reason!

Our 5 course meal began with a starter of Norwegian salmon and prawn cakes served in a courgette tagliatelle with a lime aioli.

Then came a roasted pumpkin soup with feta cheese and sumptuous truffle oil followed by a brief pause with a granita to refresh our palates.

For mains we enjoyed fillet and loin of lamb with honeyed carrot and ginger puree, creamed garlic, cannelloni beans and potato batons with a red currant and balsamic jus.

The fourth course was a herb garlic cream cheese with a handmade biscuit and preserved melon served with port which was followed by the finale – a decadent lemon curd tart served with a cassis sauce and caramelized lemon segments.

River Run is the most divine little cottage and it totally captured our hearts. We loved our time relaxing in it’s embrace, napping in the sunshine, reading next to the fire, soaking in the natural beauty.

It’s the perfect place to head to when you’re seeking some solitude, special family time together or privacy and peace away from the world.

Fish, read, run, walk, hike, braai, laugh, relax. This is what time at River Run is all about.

My only gripe? It’s so far from Cape Town!!!

If it were any closer or if we were any closer (Durban, Joburg!) we would make a stay here an annual occurrence as it surely is one of the best places we’ve stayed in terms of replenishing our souls!

As we left to check out and reluctantly return the key we took a quick stroll through the grounds of Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse and I snapped a few photos of it’s glorious setting! Surely the perfect romantic getaway (especially as no kids under 12 are allowed!)

And then we bit a temporary farewell to the Drakensberg and continued on our way towards the Midlands. Come back next week for more about our first visit to this beautiful part of the country…

Rates at River Run (2018)

  • R2500 per night for 1 or 2 people
  • R4000 per night for 4 people
  • R250 per child
  • R1000 security deposit – refundable
  • Full payment to secure your booking
  • Maximum occupancy 4 adults and 4 children


Contact River Run Cottage

Highmoor Road, Kamberg Valley
South Africa

GPS: S 29° 19″ 28.1′ E 29° 40″ 17.0′

Tel: +27 (0) 33 267 7243
Mobile: +27 (0) 71 687 7266

Kathryn Rossiter

Kathryn is a South African lifestyle blogger and mom of 2 who has been blogging daily for over 9 years! She writes about travel, health, beauty, fashion, decor and family... but not food (unless it's food she's eaten made by someone else) as she is a hopeless cook. She only wakes up early for 2 things... a red-eye flight to somewhere exotic and early morning game drives. She has just finished an extensive home renovation and would prefer to never see another box again. She's never met a chocolate or glass of bubbles that she didn't like!

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