A Dog-Friendly Getaway for a Dog-less Couple

by | Dec 20, 2016 | Joburg Weekend Getaways, Johannesburg | 6 comments

I recently received an assignment to book a stay on Accommodation Direct, go stay at that place, and write a review of the experience. Accommodation Direct is a new accommodation booking tool and has listings throughout South Africa and a few other southern African countries.

This was a pretty great assignment. I could choose to stay wherever I wanted (with the understanding that I was responsible for getting myself there), I could bring Ray, and my only instruction was to have a good time. The only hard part, as it turned out, was choosing where to go. Accommodation Direct offers everything from low-budget backpacking hostels to expensive safari lodges (I had a budget of R5000 — about $350 — so I had to be smart), with listings all over the place.

Ray and I scoured the site for a couple of days, growing increasingly confused and indecisive, until settling on a self-catering guest farm called Stone Hill in Magaliesburg, just an hour or so from Joburg. People are always asking me for recommendations on weekend getaways that are close to town and this seemed like a good excuse to try one out. Plus Stone Hill is dog-friendly — we don’t have a dog but like the idea — and the farm has a family of four ponies who wander around the property at will, soliciting carrots and apples.

The ponies sealed the deal.

Pony eats carrot from RayA pony named Smokey (like the Melville Cat!) devours a carrot from Ray’s hand.

Three Days at Stone Hill

Stone Hill was everything we wanted it to be: quaint log cabins, rolling green hills with well maintained walking trails, chirping birds, personable hosts, and an abundance of peace and quiet. We stayed for three days and could easily have stayed three more.

Cottage at Stone HillOur cottage, called the Buffalo Thorn Tree Cottage, at Stone Hill. It was perfect for two people but it can accommodate up to four people and a couple of dogs.

Stone from Stone HillMark and Caroline, Stone Hill’s charming owners, gave us our own stone when we checked in.

Cottage loungeThe lounge, aka living room.

stone-hill-0942The bedroom.

Stone Hill cottage stairs
We didn’t use the upstairs loft but there is another bedroom up there.

Stone Hill cabin from the backI really got into photographing this cottage.

Cabin braaiOur braai (barbecue) at sunset. We brought our own food and grilled out every night, which is what South Africans do on self-catering holidays.

Ponies at the gateWho needs a dog when there are built-in pet ponies? The ponies came to visit a couple of times a day. We let them into our garden the first two times but discovered it was difficult to make them leave. From then on we fed them over the gate.

Walking the Farm

Stone Hill has a web of walking trails that criss-cross a five-kilometer loop around the property. We walked the loop a few times, with various meanders along the way, and occasionally met up with our friends.

Ray walking at Stone Hill, a dog-friendly self-catering property in MagaliesburgWalking.

Ray on a bench at Stone HillMark and Caroline have built several benches along the walking trails.

Picnic at Stone HillOne day we had a picnic, delivered to us complete with basket and blanket. We didn’t love the picnic food, which came from a local caterer, but it was worth it for this quaint picnic pic.

Ray and poniesWe met the ponies on the way back from the picnic. They spooked us.

Pony on the pathA pony named Penelope.

Hills of Stone HillShot on our last evening walk.

 Final thoughts:

1) We loved Stone Hill and would recommend it to both dog people and dog-less people. If you like animals and you like relaxing, you will like Stone Hill. Our four-person cottage cost R1400 ($100) a night. The cottages are spotless and perfectly maintained, as is the property overall. Stone Hill is very green, using solar power and a nifty system for separating recyclable waste in the cottages. Service is excellent. It’s totally worth the price.

Highveld grassSunset and tall grass at Stone Hill.

2) Accommodation Direct was easy to use for browsing and booking a property. I especially liked the tool for reviewing my stay, which I was invited to do after the trip. It’s a new site so there aren’t many user reviews — in fact I didn’t see any other reviews yet — but I’m sure that will change. Quick tip: As I said, there is a huge range of properties on the site and the rates very wildly. When comparing rates, be sure to enter the number of people and then calculate the total cost. The rates are often higher for two people versus one.

We had several adventures around Magaliesburg during this trip. I’ll write more about Magaliesburg and the quirky things we did in a future post.

This post was sponsored by Accommodation Direct. Opinions expressed are mine.


    • 2summers

      I knoooooooow. Ponies.

  1. Kobus Herbst

    What a wonderful place I was there a year ago in the same unit with my 5 dogs and was so awesome.

    • 2summers

      Wow, five dogs! Impressive 🙂

  2. K for Kate (@Kate_Els)

    I’m so glad you wrote about this place. We’ve been saying we need new places for weekend getaways in 2017 and this looks so lovely!

    • 2summers

      Yay! I think you’d love it. Bring lots of carrots.


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