Wilderness Safaris- Unparalleled Okavango September 20, 2018
I have long been intrigued by the Okavango. As a sprog in the 70’s a school chum regaled me with fabulous tales. In the 90’s my late friend Steven Morris was a chef at a camp- and spent a month alone on an island on a personal quest.  Would I find some of what Steven did I wondered as we flew due North from Johannesburg  to Maun in Northern Botswana? The flying was a breeze, leaving...
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Grootbos Private Nature Reserve- something very special September 17, 2018
Spring is sprung, but winter is coming- or have you not been following blockbuster series Game of Thrones? And when it does, I’d recommend heading to Grootbos Private Nature Reserve in the Western Cape. Yip, the Cape of Storms, in winter. Luxurious Grootbos is a favourite for me and travellers return time and again to this botanical reserve above the town of Gansbaai. Their five-star rating is based on meticulous service, genuine hospitality, fine dining, accommodation in bespoke...
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Zip, skim, plunge, relax- Lake Eland Game Reserve September 15, 2018
A smear of tears as I looked sideways at 160kph, suspended high above the valley, adrenalin surging after a heart-stopping drop. 32 seconds (or so) seems a lot longer somehow at such speed. Then my legs went over my head, my sunnies went askew, as the braking system kicked in. That’s the Zip Xtreme at Lake Eland Game Reserve– a peach of a spot at Oribi Gorge, 40 minutes from Port Shepstone on KwaZulu-Natal’s south coast. I’d...
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Brookdale Health Hydro- A repeat peak performance September 15, 2018
Sitting in reception at –Brookdale Health Hydro just outside Nottingham Road village in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands- looking through the French doors as I signed my life away, I had a “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” moment. People on a chilly winter’s day in bathrobes and slippers eating their lunch. That was as an outsider. Once you’re “inside” it’s all good- so good they may as well throw away the key. But they wouldn’t. And inmates sneak...
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Ukuwela- Crossing Over July 31, 2018
A group of young English Animal Husbandry students was learning- a lot. A lot about being away from home for the first time, about early morning and nighttime chores, about the bush, animals, heat, Africa- and themselves. Moon tans with red overlays, flushed and sometimes strained and tearful faces were the order of the day as some found themselves pushed and pulled way beyond any comfort zones by tough Tommy Dierkse, facilitator during their two week...
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Q’s Review- The Royal in Riebeek March 12, 2018
My Valentines evening was not romantic. No. Anything but. I’d been deep in consultation all day and was feeling emotionally drained, in spite of the days triumphs. My client, the wry and dry Robert Brendel, proprietor of Riebeek Kasteel’s Royal Hotel where Q is working on an exciting new refurb is demanding, but with an unexpected sense of humour given the demands on his bank balance. The clock had barely chimed five when he ordered a...
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Q’s Review- Olive Bistro February 20, 2018
I know it's still early days at Olive Bistro, but the discreetly air-conditioned room with its crisply white décor contrasts- most favourably- with the hot umber dusted streets and boho chic of Riebeek-Kasteel, the small Swartland town in the Western Cape hinterland where it finds itself. Chic dining in Riebeek Kasteel I also know that Paul & Istelle Carlin are an ambitious pair. They’ve already moved on from Café Olive, the tiny coffee shop they took...
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The Silo Hotel, Cape Town February 20, 2018
I'd motored into Cape Town on the Wednesday. Basically to get a haircut and a carwash and to attend to some business. Luckily, I finished the business early and since   I’d dressed up in a beautiful double cuffed Paul Smith shirt I ventured into the streets of hipster central in search of Robert and Alberto. In search of hope. Hope that these two charmers could be persuaded to join me for lunch and CheninBlanc in one...
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Umkhumbi Lodge January 16, 2018
“Time for a lemonade” said Anton Roberts as we sat atop the riverbank in Ukuwela conservancy, some way outside the small town of Hluhluwe in Northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. One or two “lemonades” later and the sun was setting over the trees of neighbouring five star Phinda Game Reserve, a very different affair from where we were sat. Here the stars shine brighter, since there is only bush and distant Albizia Camp- a nice rustic camp...
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Rockwood Forest Lodge January 16, 2018
Who knew that one of my favourite spots would also be one of the closest to home? I enjoy my privacy but at almost every far-flung place I’ve been there’s someone staying alongside or nearby. Not at Rockwood Forest Lodge. Here you have a double storey wooden house in a forest glade, with a rushing stream below an expansive deck, and nobody, except Jabu Dlamini who services the place in the morning- and the security service...
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