Hereby a review of our experiences with tops and tips, as promised.
This is the first time that we have planned a trip through a travel agency. In the beginning a little awkward and exciting. But we stepped in with an open mind. For me personally it was actually a reassuring thought that we no longer had to arrange anything. On the other hand, we both felt stuck in the program. But this turned out to be not so bad and it was no longer a point during our trip.
The distances between the overnight stays were very well planned. We had enough space to do something and especially to take alternative routes, which we enjoyed a lot.
My husband had entered all stops in our Tom-Tom in advance. With the exception of 2 stops, all addresses were on the spot.
I go through everything chronologically:
- Johannesburg, Outlook Lodge: what “old stuff”, very friendly and safe. We were picked up from the airport and returned the next day to pick up our rental car, which went well.
- Clarens, Red Mountain House: beautiful, tasteful, cozy village, great reception. Could be a nice place to stay 2 nights, for acclimatization. Great restaurant next door.
- Royal Natal Park, Thendele Resort: excellent, beautiful nature, fantastic view.
Drakensberg National Park, Wild Life Giants Resort: nice house, little privacy, because the bed is behind a large sliding door.
Furthermore, beautiful park. Nowadays there is also possibility for breakfast and dinner.
- Underberg, Umzikulu River Lodge in the Pigmy Cottage: very friendly welcome, cozy, welcoming. Everything turned out to be possible, from breakfast to dinner.This Pigmy house is not suitable for people with limited mobility. Bedroom and toilet were accessible via a very steep staircase. Was no objection for us. Fortunately there were electric blankets !!!
- KZNWild Life Oribi Gorge: we arrived on Sunday and the reception turned out to close at 2 pm. We were, after a call, well received and received a large 6 person house available. It was wet and very cold weather and we had to cook ourselves. The house was honest, very old, moldy with overdue maintenance, but clean good beds.We were the only guests in the entire park! The next day we discovered that it was very close to the Oribi Gorge hotel that did not seem expensive and cozy. Idea maybe?
- Port St Johns, Cremorne Estate: period of more than 24 hours of rain! Very friendly welcome, lovely chalet, nice and warm and in the evening nice at the bar by the fireplace eaten with other guests because the dining room could not get hot.
- Chintsa, Areena Riverside Resort:
wonderful resting point, very friendly staff, helpful. Cozy accommodation.
- Kenton-on-See: Sibuya Reserve: Fantastic!! Were treated like prince and princess, had a great click with the team.
- Oyster Bay, Oyster Bay Lodge: beautiful, close to the beach, wonderful restaurant, friendly and welcoming.
- Storms River, At the Woods Guesthouse: good room, most friendly, pleasant hostess, hug to say goodbye.
- Knysna: fantastic place to unwind for a few days. Due to the large forest fires that had been in the area, there were still repair work on the site. We didn’t experience it ourselves, but Louise was a bit worried.We had a great room with a view of Knysna. Very hospitable staff. As a farewell we received a sweet letter and a bottle of wine from owner Louise in addition to the hugs.
- Oudtshoorn, Oue Werf Country House and Manor: what a family business! Hospitable, cozy, very kind and hugs when we say goodbye.
- Robertson, Olive Garden Country Lodge: special couple, hospitable, helpful. Cozy lodge. The warm water scattered a rotten egg air. It turned out to be because the lodge had not been used for a long time. After flushing for a long time, the air finally disappeared.
- Franschhoek, Basse Provence Country House: friendly, kind, quiet place.
- Stanford, Africamps at Stanford Hills Estate : the only place where we were received with no interest. They were clearly busy with wine tasting etc. at the Estate restaurant. “Go up the hill, find your tent and make yourself comfy.” We didn’t get any information, had to figure everything out ourselves. The next morning we spoke to the owner, who was friendly: he told us that anything was possible: breakfast, lunch at the restaurant and we could order dinner or have a picnic basket delivered. Checking out was just as impersonal as when checking in.
- Fish Hoek, Tranquility Guest House:
words fall short to indicate the hospitality of this family and owner Jan. We only had to whisper if manager Desiree arranged everything for us and she came up with fantastic proposals.
As a result, you, as a guest, also like to give something back, such as a 2-minute shower, saving water and Desiree insist on not changing the sheets and towels. The farewell was heart-warming.
We look back on a fantastic holiday. We have met very nice hostesses, have had interesting, informative conversations. I am very happy to have seen the northeastern part of South Africa instead of just the southwestern part (my husband: Randstad versus Drenthe).
Because of your good choice of places we have had the opportunity to do nice routes and sometimes take exciting detours.
- The variety of sleeping places worked out well and was sometimes surprising.
- Sibuya was absolutely top, also thanks to the click with the team, but also because we were the only guests for the first day and a half.
A longer stop every 4 to 5 days went very well and was well-timed and in great places.
- At the first stop after departure from Johannesburg, there may well be an extra night to acclimatize and such. Regarding the car: the Ford has behaved well, also on dirt roads. After My manbid headlights had screwed up quite a bit, we were able to drive above 40 km / h again in the dark. The engine of our car had difficulties with the hilly main roads in South Africa at speeds around 100 on the cruise control (the engine was then running between 4000 and 6000 revs). My husband would therefore prefer a (turbo) diesel (less noise and more traction at the bottom) or a car with turbo petrol engine (idem). Up to 80 km / h it is a great cart.
- People warn of potentially strongly changing and regularly low temperatures in this season. Warm clothing is advisable. It was sometimes 6 degrees at night and there was no heating up to St Johns except logs. (All the tourists we spoke to had the same clothing problem.)
- People ask about pollen or fungal allergies (mountain lodges). I myself have not made it with all my European medicines; I finally visited a doctor for heavier medication.
So, dear Esther, this was my story. I had a dream of a vacation, I had a lot of memories, especially during the first part. It was as if everything took place at the right time, in the right place and with the right encounters. And all thanks to your efforts.
The nature was overwhelmingly beautiful, we did not feel unsafe once, all the people we met or spoke to, black, white or differently colored, were very friendly and helpful.
In short: I am proud that I was born in this country. I am well aware that much still needs to be changed and that there are certainly tensions that we too are feeling. My husband and I hope that it will not stop tourists from visiting this beautiful country with its hospitable people.
Warm and friendly greetings from the Netherlands,
Mrs. Urscheler and Mr. Spanjer