“It was 20 years ago today, Sergeant Pepper taught the band to play”, wrote John Lennon who would have been 70 this year. And it was about 20 years ago that I paid my first visit to Hoogland Health Hydro in Erasmia.
Now, on a return visit with my wife and I am keen to see what, if anything has changed.
The access roads, which were gravel and cement, are still the same and aside from cosmetic changes to the facade of the building, that too seems to have remained unchanged.
It was like returning to a childhood holiday venue,
Inside not much has changed…a sort of “caught in the ’70’s” time warp, but it works.
Lots of dark furniture and framed chocolate box type pictures on the walls.
But look past the “kitsch” that has now become cool and you start to notice what makes this hydro really special, the scenery!
With the Schurveberg mountains as a backdrop, the vegetation seems to vary from post apocalyptic rock fields to lush tropical vegetation and an expanse of manicured lawn and a forest of trees that would not look out of place in an English country manor house.
Once we had settled into our room (no TV) I headed off for the gym and the pool.
The view from the treadmill is spectacular and I ended up training longer than expected as I was distracted by the sunset…a distraction that was repeated the following evening as well!
We had read our booking form incorrectly and thought that we were going to be served veggies all week-end, but as it turned out there was fish, chicken at lunch and dinner. Be warned…the home made bread is almost addictive!
We decided to stick with the vegetarian option and give peas a chance.
And if you were in doubt about the size of the portions that you are dishing up, each dish comes with a calorie count so you cannot claim ignorance as a defense.
With the thought of an early morning guided walk through their game reserve to see antelope and zebra in mind, it was early to bed for both of us.
Our morning, post breakfast consisted of a variety of different treatments, most of which involved water, either hot or cold. Yoga as well as aqua-aerobics classes are offered as are a range of talks on health and wellness.
We had come to the Hydro to relax, but we did want to try some of the massages available.
Qualified and competent therapists administered our massages and left us both feeling relaxed.
If it’s a different type of massage treatment you are looking for, we both recommend the Rungu massage that involves wooden mallets that are an adaptation of Masai weapons. This stress releasing African treatment was recently introduced, so ask for it by name.
Hoogland’s motto is: “Relax, Revitalize, Energize” and we certainly did that.
Although there were more women than men, the guys that I spoke to all seemed to have enjoyed their treatments.
The interior of Hoogland might be dated and some areas are in need of a revamp but there is an innate charm that has kept this business going for almost 40 years.
One of the highlight of the weekend w as finding a dark-capped bulbul sitting on a nest of 3 eggs.
Being close to both Johannesburg and Pretoria, this is an ideal mid-week or week-end get-away and the rates, according to my wife, who knows these things, are very affordable
Hoogland Health Hydro
Telephone: (012) 380 4000