Our office manager, Renelle, recently went on holiday to one of our favourite destinations - South Africa. Here is the synopsis of her time there.
We started our holiday by enjoying one or two beers at Den Anker in The Waterfront, fantastic day, gorgeous views! Spring has sprung and the expectation of a great summer is in the air. We had a great flight with BA, only being slightly delayed. Our B&B, the Cape Riviera, is in the most spectacular spot. Only 30 minutes from the airport with a fantastic backdrop of Table Mountain, and amazing views all round. Our luxury room is at the top level with a balcony and views to die for. We headed out to Kloof Street (only a ten minute stroll away) with all the lively bars and restaurants.
We popped into the Slug and Lettuce and sampled some mini boerewors and locally brewed beer. Kloof Street then changes into Long Street, and we couldn't resist popping into the buzzing Green Market Square with all its hand crafted carvings, leather goods and curios. We continued on to the Waterfront and to Den Anker for refreshments and to enjoy the views of this amazing port with its colonial buildings and spectacular views of Table Mountain. We returned to Kloof Street and to Arnold's who specialise in game meats. They have a game platter which enables you to sample different meats (we had Oryx, crocodile, ostrich and warthog), as well as beef and vegetarian dishes for the not so adventurous. A great first day.
Our next stop is the coastal town of Hermanus, for a stay at Abalone Lodge. Fantastic views here, and so close to the sea! The coastal walk into Hermanus with lots of stops to see the whales took about 40 minutes and walking back from town via the main road took only 15 minutes. Tuk Tuks are available if you need a ride, but we needed to walk off at least some of the good food from Cape Town.
Whales yesterday (from the shore) and this morning going down to the boat for shark cage diving this morning. It was absolutely awesome! They go out to ‘shark alley’ which is where the sharks always pass through – and they start baiting. The cage is lowered and participants get kitted out in wetsuits, weights and masks. Only six people go into the cage at a time (the cage is 3.6m long) and are instructed to hold onto the bar that has been built into the cage especially for them to hold onto – so that they don’t hold onto the external bars of the cage. When the sharks are about the crew shout ‘down’ and the idea is for people in the cage to push themselves down and view the sharks close up. Each group is in the cage for about 20 minutes or until they have had a few good viewings so that everyone else can have a go – and then there is time at the end for anyone who wants to go back down. We saw about eight sharks and managed to take some great shots.
In Franschhoek we stayed at Maison Chablis, a lovely little guesthouse just behind Le Quartier Français. Great location – walking distance to the main street and shops, restaurants and bars. A bit of rain today, but the valley is drenched in sunshine. By a stroke of luck we've arrived in time for Franschhoek uncorked which starts tomorrow. It’s R120 for two crystal wine glasses and as much wine as we want. Bargain! We tried out the Wine Tram, which takes us by tram to a few vineyards and then the remaining vineyards are accessed by a lovely old-world coach – a good way to get around without having to drive or pay for taxis. Wine tasting is included in some of the vineyards with this ticket, and some it’s pay as you go, but they are very reasonable and a good way to sample some of these fantastic wines.
The final stop on our trip was Monwana Lodge, located in the Thornybush Game Reserve. It’s a short drive from Hoedspruit airport to Thornybush Main Lodge for registration, and then a quick drive over to Monwana. It’s a great little lodge, only seven rooms, one of which is a two bedroom unit which they sell to families and/or friends travelling together. All rooms are positioned so that they have a view of the waterhole or river, and in the case of the honeymoon suite, both. Early morning game drives were followed by a sumptuous brunch and then chill time. We didn’t get the chance to use the swimming pool as it was still a wee bit chilly, temperatures only reaching 30°C the day we left! But we found ourselves watching the waterhole in our chill out time – warthogs, nyala, kudu and impala were frequent visitors so we were always entertained. The afternoon game drives went through to sundowners, yes – G&T in the bush and then through to night drives. We had excellent game viewing, managing to see all of the Big Five during our stay. Our guide and tracker were fantastic, even managing to step up to the challenge of finding a chameleon at night! Great food, and great company – it was so magical to be back in the bush.
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