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Category Archives: South Africa

Honeymoon in Mpumalanga

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Mervyn and I recently had the pleasure of planning our honeymoon trip.

We set a few qualifying factors to get us started:

-No Planes. This was for sure to be a Landy Adventure. Towy had been laid up long enough due to busy schedules and it was time for her to get out of the garden!

-No more then 5 hours away.

-A little luxury and a bit of nature.

-Must have a spa, I wanted to be pampered!

After what seemed like a month of searching Mervyn came across Summerfields Rose Retreat and Spa just outside of Hazyview. We were sold almost immediately. I had been holding out for a private infinity pool but compromised for the bath on the deck over looking the forest. Summerfields fulfilled all of our specifications and had availability for our dates. With our luxury safari tent booked and paid for all we had to do was anticipate.

From before the moment we arrived we were in good hands. A couple hours behind our scheduled arrival time and still about 30 minutes out, we received a call from Michelle making sure we were still coming and nothing had happened to us on our drive.

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Our view upon arrival.

We were greeted in the parking lot and escorted to our tent. The tent was scattered with vases and petals of roses. The manager Joan treated us to a complimentary romantic ritual bath which was set up and waiting for us to enjoy. It included champagne and these out of this world chocolate mouse tarts with strawberries. WOW!

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It was late in the afternoon and we were beat from the days activities. We opted to have dinner and wine brought to our room to enjoy on the deck instead of in the restaurant.

After a peaceful night sleep we woke up and made our way down to the restaurant for breakfast.

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Our table was decorated with rose petals shaped in a heart. It was a lovely touch and made us feel special. I wanted to try everything on the menu. With the help of Merv I was able to try just about everything on the breakfast menu. Loved them all! We never made it to lunch as we were still full from breakfast and busy enjoying our spa appointments in the afternoon. Dinner was always something to look forward to.

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We made our spa appointments in the afternoons so we would not have any pressure of a schedule. This gave us the morning and early afternoons for reading by the pool, playing cards, or just doing nothing.

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 For treatments we choose the Sabie Valley Coffee Envelopment, Summerfields Natural Signarure Facial, and the Sunny Eudora Pedicure. We both really enjoyed the coffee scrub. We are slight attics of the caffeinated bean. The smell floated through air as the most beautiful subtle breeze blew.

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The farm is a little slice of heaven on earth. In addition to the roses they grow lychee’s and macadamia nuts. There are two restaurants the River Cafe where we ate most of our meals and Kitchen which is positioned closer to the road for the convenience of locals and drive by guests. We ventured up to the Kitchen one afternoon for lunch. Below is a picture of the lovely presentation of the gazpacho which was hands down one of the best I’ve ever had. The flavors were blended to perfection. We also shared a cheese board that was accompanied by delicious house made bread.

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Summerflieds gets an enthusiastic 2 thumbs up from the Duffield’s. The staff was personable, attentive, and always available for any of our wants or needs. Joan the manager was a most gracious and lovely host. She and Precious really made our stay most memorable!

Check them out at summerfields.co.za!

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Posted by on January 20, 2013 in South Africa

 

Sodwana Bay, South Africa

We arrived in Sodwana Bay late Thursday evening on May 5th. We wanted to make Sodwana part of our itinerary because Merv’s friend Grant lives there.  He’s been living there for about 4-5 years and is an underwater videographer.  When we arrived we were greeted by his 3 dogs and when I asked how many there were total he said 11. As my eyes got big he explained that 8 pups had just been born a week ago.

 Proud parents

The pups

 Sodwana is a great chill beach town. No commercialism just locals running their businesses. The beach area is part of a nature reserve and building is not permitted on it. The dive concessions operate straight off of the beach. The boats launch from the shore, which is a hairy experience to say the least. A tractor pushes the boat from the beach to the shores edge. After that everyone turns the boat around and begins to push it into the water while waves are crashing and trying to prevent this process. First on is the captain, then the ladies, and finally the men. Once on you are instructed to put on a life jacket and wedge your feet into the foot straps bolted to the bottom of the boat. The craziness is just beginning as you battle the crashing waves. Not for those with weak stomachs. We did one dive at 2 mile reef. It was my first one in about a year and was a good refresher.

Merv filming as we get ready for our first dive

Scuba gear drying out waiting to be packed up.

We spent a total of 4 nights in Sodwana. Grant’s parents and girlfriend were visiting as well so we all took turns making meals and cleaning up. Grant showed us his favorite out of the way spots during the afternoons.The first was Lake Sibaya. I will interject here for a moment about the roads we were traveling on. The lake was 13k’s to the north and it took 45 minutes to an hour to get there. You cannot get far without a four wheel drive vehicle around here. The lake did not disappoint. We were there for sunset. There were two groups of hippos on opposite sides of the lake. We waited until dark in hopes of seeing them coming out of the water but we’re denied. They typically leave the water to graze at last light and return to the water at first light.

Lake Sibaya is the largest fresh water lake in South Africa with a surface area of 77 km² and an average depth of 13 m. The lake was previously connected to the sea and with the closure of the estuary, numerous invertebrates and vertebrates were trapped in a fresh water enviroment. 
http://www.sa-venues.com/game-reserves/kzn_lakesibaya.htm

The second spot is known as Two Baboon Junction. It is a spot only known to the locals, situated on public land where a lot of cattle graze. The junction is where to roads meet in a creek. Trees overhang and provide great shade. You park right in water that is about calf high and spend the day relaxing with a chair in the creek.

 
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Posted by on May 26, 2011 in South Africa

 

Maiden Voyage

Suz making enough trail mix for an army!

The inaugural trip officially began Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011 but has truly been underway for months or even years when you get right down to it. Merv and I arrived in South Africa on Monday April 25th the day after Easter. We stayed with Merv’s family in Centurion while we made preparations for the trip. The car was not due to be ready until Friday the 29th. After a regroup day to celebrate Shana’s (Merv’s niece) birthday we started our provisioning for the trip. Between Macro, Outdoor Warehouse, and Midas we were able to get all we needed and a lot more.

Merv outside of Midas. It was our third trip.

Merv checking the new battery.

We had to replace one of the two a

couple days before departure.

 We intended to leave on Sunday but we were delayed due to some shops being closed for public holidays. We finally got under way Tuesday late afternoon after a quick lunch with some friends who had just returned from holiday. Because it was so late when we departed we were still unsure of our first days destination. After an hour in we decided to make our way to MilwaneGame Reserve about 30km after the Swaziland/South Africa Border.

The border crossing went by smoothly and we arrived at the game park around 19:30. To our surprise we were welcomed to the campsite by some friendly buck (a generic term for deer, antelope, impala etc.) who wanted to see what I was making for dinner. She put her nose about an inch from my hand. Very friendly little lady! We finished the evening with hot showers, tired and content with our first day on the road.

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2011 in South Africa