New Year 2019

A Hidden Gem Lovingly restored to its former glory, steeped in history and located in a stunningly tranquil setting, Moontide is the perfect choice for those wanting to get away from it all. Guesthouse owner Maureen Mansfield tells us how she created this special retreat. On the banks of the Wilderness lagoon, just a stone’s throw from the beach, award-winning Moontide Guest Lodge has been heralded ‘the most romantic retreat in the Garden Route.’ Featuring eight individually styled cottages and rooms, each with private entrance and outdoor seating area, Moontide is a true birder’s paradise, shaded by 400-year-old milkwood trees and overlooking the lagoon. Built in the 1920s, Moontide was one of the first residences to be erected in the romantic enclave of Wilderness, surrounded by what is now the Garden Route National Park. The thatched homestead was host to a string of illustrious guests until unexpected tragedy struck, and the house was abandoned and left to ruin. It was finally put on the market in the 1980s and purchased by Maureen Mansfield, who decided to restore the homestead to its former glory rather than tear it down. The roofs of the outbuildings were replaced with thatch to create a coherent and charming identity, and an additional home, ‘Moonshadow’, was built on the adjacent plot of land to accommodate her many house guests. In 1994, Maureen threw open her doors to her first paying guests with just four rooms. Inspired by the response, she has subsequently created another four suites, and updates them all annually. “We often get guests who came to us on their honeymoon, returning with their adult children!” Maureen laughs. “We’ve made a lot of changes over the years. It’s always a joy to welcome returning guests back, especially when they leave STILL loving the lodge! We have an 82-year-old couple from England who have come to visit for 17 successive years!” The warm hospitality at Moontide is second to none, and Maureen makes sure that both herself and her team go above and beyond to provide the perfect experience for all guests. “Every member of staff is chosen for their friendliness and helpfulness,” she continues. “All guests who visit Moontide are welcomed by name and told about the local restaurants options and activities, and bookings made on their behalf. All members of staff are encouraged to be of any service to a guest that they can, regardless of job description, be it carrying their luggage, making dinner reservations, fetching extra ice, moving umbrellas, and so on.” The guest house has a manager and assistant manager, plus four cooks and cleaning staff, and two gardeners who all help to keep Moontide running and in tip-top condition. “We have a monthly meeting to discuss achievements and any issues we have experienced. Sooner if needs be. We operate like a family and work very well together.” The location of the establishment – right on the lagoon – sets it apart, and Maureen offers several generous touches to make guests’ experiences that much more special. For example, Moontide has several canoes available for guests to take out without charge. The stunning garden is home to trees and plants that are typical to the Garden Route, and attract more than 90 species of birds. In addition to the large deck there are several semi-private decks with loungers overlooking the tranquil lagoon. There is also free WiFi, though the area enjoys relatively slow connectivity. Guests are urged to make a mental shift to prioritize their connection to the natural world and become absorbed in the surrounding beauty. Moontide has been very lucky in winning several awards in the past, and Maureen is delighted to have received another prestigious title, this time voted by LUX Magazine readers. “We are so very proud of these achievements. We are most grateful for this new accolade and hope to see you all again soon.” Retreat 1809LU01