Nieu-Bethesda accommodation at Outsiders B&B

The last couple of times I've been in Nieu-Bethesda I stayed with Ian and Katrien Allemann at Outsiders B&B every time. Outsiders is conveniently situated on the main road as you come into town and just about next door to the entrance of the Owl House. Everything is literally walking distance away and you can leave your car here and just explore on foot. I stayed in the front room which is comfortable and spacious. Best is the fact that…

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A visit to Matatiele in the Eastern Cape highlands

I haven't really had the opportunity to venture into the North Eastern Cape so a first visit to Matatiele in the Eastern Cape highlands near boundary with Kwa-Zulu Natal was on the cards while en route to the Drakensberg in December.  Matatiele services the surrounding villages and farming community and gives a very good first impression.  Even though it was a long weekend and only about a week before Christmas, the town was neat and tidy, unlike some of the…

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A romantic evening at The Plantation

When you are young and in love you go out your way to be romantic.  Flowers, movies, open the door, whispers in the ear, special dinners and and and.  When you get slightly older and have kids, just spending a little time together on your own without the kids is seen as romantic.  For us it is anyway.  Now when you get to combine both of these, you know you have a winner on your hands.  And a winner I…

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“Surprise surprise” at Holiday Inn Express Umhlanga

"How about a weekend in Umhlanga with the Damselfly?" So the email I received from the InterContinental Hotels Group didn't quite say that, but it could just as well have.  A weekend at any of their South African hotels and I got to choose which one.  I could have chosen the luxury Intercontinental Johannesburg Sandton Towers or any of their other hotels in Jozi, Cape Town and Pretoria, but we decided on the Holiday Inn Express in Umhlanga.  Firstly because of the…

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The good, the bad and the ugly of the Wild Coast

The Wild Coast has always been one of those within reach yet just a tad too far away destinations for me.  Living in Port Elizabeth I have travelled down the Garden Route and through the western part of the Eastern Cape quite extensively, but the Great Kei River beyond East London was like a hurdle I just didn't get to cross that easily.  That was until I planned a short Wild Coast road trip as part of a journey to Durban.  After my…

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Cradock’s Tuishuise and Victoria Hotel

 Driving through the Karoo from the interior to the Eastern or Southern Cape coast (or the other way around) and looking for a spot to sleep over?  The Karoo Heartland has some excellent overnighting spots in towns like Cradock, Graaff-Reinet, Nieu-Bethesda and Somerset East.  If Cradock is your overnight destination of choice then you really don't need to look any further than the iconic Tuishuise and Victoria Manor Hotel.Die Tuishuise  on Market Street in Cradock is made up of 30 beautifully restored Karoo style cottages.  These cottages date back…

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Baviaans Lodge – a special oasis in the southern Baviaanskloof

The Baviaanskloof must be on the bucket list of a lot of South African travellers.  Stunning scenic beauty which, if she was a person, would put her in the top three of a Miss Universe competition.  Isolation, but not like just around the corner where you can't hear the traffic.  A true wilderness area.  UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Overnighting in caves or on a river beach next to sheer cliffs.  Challenging roads.  Unfortunately for us mere sedan drivers a big part…

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Dune Ridge – a country jewel in the St Francis Bay crown

When you think St Francis Bay in the Eastern Cape you tend to think beautiful coastline and black and white houses on the canals.  If you had to spend a weekend in St Francis you would probably expect your guesthouse to have stunning sea views or be situated right on the canals.  Yes, but not always.  We spend a fabulous weekend at Dune Ridge Country House just outside (and with this I mean literally only a stone's throw away) St…

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Canals, Coastline and Candelabra flowers – Exploring St Francis Bay

We are very fortunate here in Port Elizabeth that we have a number of excellent destinations surrounding us.  This does mean that it isn't always that easy to decide where to go for that much needed weekend break with your loved ones.  Seeing that we can't get away over Easter this year, we decided to have a family weekend away a week or so earlier.  After much deliberation along with outside encouragement and a couple of invitations to visit, we decided to spend the weekend in…

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10 not to miss activities, restaurants and accommodation in the Tsitsikamma

Ahh, the Tsitsikamma.....  My favorite Sho't Left destination for a couple of days' breakaway.  Beautiful indigenous forests to sooth my soul, mountains on the horizon, streams running past ancient indigenous trees and forest giants to a rugged coastline where the blue ocean crashes as white waves on black rocks at the foot of sheer cliffs.  This part of the Garden Route must be one of the most beautiful places in South Africa.  Truly paradise.  The Tsitsikamma is a lot more than natural…

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