Category: Cybele


It is with regret and much sadness that we announce the closure of Cybele Forest Lodge and Health Spa – effective midday Sunday, 17th November 2013.

The land, on which Cybele is built, was the subject of a land claim by the Manzimhlophe Community, nearly 5 years ago. The land claim was verified and found to be valid by the Land Claims Commission in terms of current legislation. The South African Restitution of Land Rights Act was introduced to address the dispossession of land from historically disadvantaged persons, under the apartheid regime. This has resulted in the lodge, and 120 Hectares of forestry land, being purchased from us by the Government, on behalf of the Community.

What is particularly distressing, is that the Government has completely failed in their objectives towards the well-being of the Manzimhlophe Community in that we requested meetings, engagements and commitments from them in respect of a suitable and efficient hand-over of the hotel, and a further purchase of all hotel fittings and moveable assets prior to the finalisation of the sale agreement between us and the Government  almost a year ago. None of this effort yielded any result.

Sporadic efforts on their part to find a hospitality / or strategic partner to run the lodge together with the  Community, have all faltered.

As a result of this,  and most shockingly, 45 staff and their dependents will now be deprived of their livelihoods and income.

Some of the staff have been employed at the lodge for well over 20 years.  A wonderful, friendly, committed and experienced team.  The Community will inherit the lodge with no furniture, equipment, staff or bookings.

This is a very unhappy ending for a well-known South African brand that has been established around the world for 34 years, and for a business that worked hard to market South Africa as a destination in combination with our lodge.

With no hotel management help anywhere in sight, or funding for the Community, the reality is that the Community will simply inherit a completely empty lodge that will become (irrevocably) derelict in a very short space of time.  The forest timber plantations, an integral feature of the character of the lodge – will not continue to stand for much longer.

We offer our apologies to all our clients, to the travel industry who were holding bookings – and to everyone who has supported us over all these years.

All deposits and pre-payments will, of course, be refunded immediately and in full.




Just before the Women’s Day long weekend I was fortunate enough to spend three days at the wonderful Cybele Forest Lodge and Health Spa. Granted this was a working visit, but what better place to have a meeting. Traditionally Cybele has been the exclusive domain of the FIT market, with its wonderful relaxing and tranquil atmosphere, ideal for that romantic getaway.

What I realized however  is that it is also the ideal conference venue for a small group of 10pax. Your team will really be able to getaway from the usual working environment. Set on 300 acres of forestry it is the ideal think tank venue. We had our meeting set up in the Forest Suite which has ample room for 10pax board room style. The lodge itself has 12 rooms which is more than adequate for this size group. On the first night we had a delicious dinner in the restaurant, whilst on the second night we had a decadent cheese fondue and bbq in the Forest Suite gardens – what bliss! The staff  were readily on hand to provide coffee / tea and homemade biscuits.  Of course the chef is flexible to provide a whole range of tea time treats!

With the huge expanse of gardens, a world class spa and many activities on and off the premises, there are many possibilities for spouses if they wish to join.

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Grant Parker recently joined Cybele as head chef, ably supported by Antoinette Wandrag. Grant did his training in Mmbabatho at Belvoirpark Hotel School where he obtained a diploma in management. This course entailed all aspects of the hotel industry and this is where he found his passion for cooking.

Grant has worked at The Palace, The Westcliff, The Royal, The Royal Livingstone, Rattrays on MalaMala and was part of the opening team for The Durban Hilton and The Cardiff Hilton (Wales). Grant has  worked in London, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Kuwait, Malaysia and Zambia.

He completed his FGASA level 1 at Shamwari in the Eastern Cape.

Grant’s philosophy of cooking is using the freshest ingredients, not over complicating dishes and ensuring that the natural flavours of food are tasted and enjoyed.

Cybele is in the most fantastic area as there is a wide choice of food items, with tout and venison being very popular, Cybele only uses local produce as we believe that we have fantastic produce. Their signature dish:

herb crusted pork fillet on crushed new potatoes with roasted apple, garden peas and a spiced honey port sauce

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