Fugitives’ Drift: the legacy, the raconteur, the guest who never left October 21, 2020
True Tales, True Beauty It’s hard to top a good story, well told- exceptionally portrayed would be more fitting. And the stories told at the sites of the battles near and on the property of Fugitives’ Drift, around the boma fire, or at the bar, are of such immense scale that one is swept up and along, heartstrings plucked as the events of 22-23 January 1879 are vividly presented. The scale is matched by the vistas,...
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Three Tree Hill Lodge- My Favourite History Lesson August 26, 2020
One learns all the time, especially when travelling. If nothing else, names of places, people and species- often forgotten or partly remembered. [caption id="attachment_3120" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Three Tree Hill rooms in the mist[/caption] I learned something I won’t forget at Three Tree Hill Lodge, which overlooks the secluded Mfazimnyama Valley of the Spioenkop Game Reserve, in the foothills of the Drakensberg mountains in KwaZulu-Natal. [caption id="attachment_3101" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Molly Blackburn Library[/caption] Seated in the recently completed...
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Fordoun- For all the right reasons October 8, 2019
Sensory Surrounds My favourite places seem to be family owned or run and Fordoun Hotel and Spa is one such place. All five senses celebrate at five-star Fordoun … and then further celebrate as birth is given to their sixth sibling.   It happens in an extremely romantic setting; weeping willows with their gentle flowing boughs, enormous organic artworks, ethereal azaleas contrasting against rolling hills, iris-lined pathways, ancient terracotta bricks mottled with age evoking a Hansel...
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Distillery 031- A Home Run April 28, 2019
“I call this my gateway spirit” said Andrew, swirling the amber liquid in his glass. Well, through the gateway, down the hatch and the rabbit hole and colour me impressed, well impressed! Andrew Rall, owner of Durban's Distillery 031 is a singular man whose burgeoning craft distillery is a portal to some unique, top-notch craft spirits. He was referring to his D’Urban Barrel Aged Gin- something rather special. Serve it on ice to guests without telling...
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Nakai Beach Homestay- a way of life April 28, 2019
New Life, New Views Diagnosed with advanced Lymphoma cancer, Claude Venter was given six months to live by medical specialists. Seven years later, he looked relaxed and happy as he recounted his journey and explained how his decision to seek an alternative remedy saved his life- and changed his and that of his partners, Grant Horak and Paulo da Rosa. Claude probably thought me ADD as I kept bobbing my head left and right. Whales, dolphins-...
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Zip, skim, plunge, relax- Lake Eland Game Reserve September 15, 2018
Extreme Fun, Extremely Chilled 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...
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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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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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