Tag Archives: guest house

South African Hotels Worth Visiting Travel Attractions 02 OCT 2016

South Africa is a country that has just about everything a tourist could want. From bush to mountain to oceans, all of which are packed with the best that mother nature has to offer, so there are many places to add to your bucket list. If you’re looking for somewhere to stay on your trip, here are five awesome suggestions.

Toro Yaka Bush Lodge

Meaning “My Dream”, ToroYaka is an elegant safari lodge that is to be found right in the heart of the Balule Nature Reserve, a 38,000-hectare portion of the Kruger National Park. The lodge boasts a modern elegant yet relaxed style, encouraging guests to sit back, relax and enjoy the amazing nature on offer. And we are talking serious nature, all of the African bush favourites can be enjoyed from here, including the hippo and crocodile filled Olifants River which flows nearby. Activities to be enjoyed here include morning bush walks, bird-watching, bush picnics and dinners and game drives. For the thrill seekers among you, there is white water rafting available close by in the Blyde Canyon, as well as abseiling or hiking up to the Mariepskop Rain forest, hot air balloon rides and horseback safaris, all of which come highly recommended in order to truly take in everything this magnificent region has to offer.

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Villa Afrikana Guest Suites

With free Wi-Fi and panoramic views of the nearby Knysna lagoon and the Knysna Heads, the Villa Afrikana Guest Suites offers 6 spacious rooms, allowing its clients to experience world-class service in a unique location. Also on site is a truly gorgeous swimming pool that comes complete with a sun deck and a well-stocked library. The rooms, or suites, all feature a neat blend of both African and modern contemporary décor and deluxe bedding. Most rooms have private balconies, where you can enjoy views of the aforementioned lagoon. For those keen on the links, the Pezula and Simola Golf Courses are a mere 15-minutes’ drive away. Make your stay at Villa Afrikana an unforgettable experience and truly fall in love in everything that Knysna and the Garden Route have to offer.

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The Andros Deluxe Boutique Hotel

Suitably located in Cape Town’s beautiful southern suburb of Claremont, against the backdrop of Table Mountain, the five star Andros Deluxe Boutique Hotel, is actually a superb Cape colonial homestead that was originally built in 1908. Set in lush, green gardens and its secluded garden pool area, the hotel provides a gymnasium, a beauty salon and an award winning restaurant, all on top of fifteen super-sized suites, complete with complimentary Wi-Fi. In terms of location, things really could get much better. The hotel is just a short stroll to both the iconic Newlands Rugby and Cricket stadiums as well as being within walking distance of the magnificent Cavendish square shopping centre and its stunning line up of upmarket Boutiques, Restaurants and shops.

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Sun City Casino Resort

Up in the Rainbow Nation’s Northwest Provence, Sun International’s flagship destination, the Sun City Casino Resort, is an everything you can want resort. Built in 1979, this all in one venue sits just a 2-hour drive from Johannesburg, on the border of the Pilanesberg National Game Park meaning that, although there is no need to leave the site, there are lots of great facilities nearby. Enjoy a round of golf at either of two Gary Player designed 18-hole golf courses, splash in the Valley of Waves, visit the bird aviaries and animal sanctuaries and explore the beautiful surrounding gardens. Within the resort, there are numerous hotels, such as the family-friendly 3-star Cabanas hotel, the luxury 5-star Cascades hotel or the 4-star Sun City Hotel and Casino. The casino offers 24/7 gaming that includes hundreds of the latest progressive slot machines and 43 popular table games, including Blackjack, Punto Banco, American Roulette and various disciplines of poker. For anyone looking to visit the casino during their stay, the best pre-game strategy you can employ, is to get some practise in first. A great way to do this is to invest some time in perfecting your game at an online casino. Most of these offer games to play with either real money or play money so you can sharpen up your skills and develop your strategies with very little risk.

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Tsala Treetop Lodge

Down on the southern coast, you’ll find the unique Garden Route boutique resort that is the gorgeously lush Tsala Treetop Lodge. Sitting among some of South Africa’s finest forest canopies, the lodge provides visitors with breath taking bird’s eye views of some of the continent’s best geography, all from a luxurious stilted hut. Said huts all come with wraparound decking, private infinity pools and flat screen TVs. There are10 suites and 6 two-bedroom villas in all and the suites all come with private decks and infinity plunge pools. As for the two-bedroom Villas, they both come with kitchenettes, dining rooms, fully stocked minibars, satellite TV, private pools and a decked outdoor dining area. All this, just 10km from the beaches, bars and boutiques of Plettenberg Bay.

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Weekend Away at Blue Gum Country Estate in Stanford (2016-05-20) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 01 JUN 2016

In keeping with my mission to go away at least once a month this year (Jacobsbaai in February, Mossel Bay in March, and Barrydale in April), May proved to be no exception, with Chantelle spotting a great deal on Daddy’s Deals that gave us access to the exclusive boutique hotel-like Blue Gum Country Estate (just outside Stanford in the beautiful Overberg) for just less than half of the usual going rate!

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Named after the 140-year old Blue Gum tree that grows on the front lawn, the estate is both a working farm (olives and grapes) dating back to 1839 and a private, family-run guest house, managed by owners Anton and Tarryn de Kock (Anton, who as it turns out, studied a year behind me at UCT in the Computer Science department!).

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With the kids safely dropped off with Oupa and Ouma, Chantelle and I set out over Sir Lowry’s Pass, taking the coastal route to Stanford, i.e. passing through Hawston, Onrus and Hermanus before hitting that beautiful stretch of the R43 that will eventually take you all the way through to Gansbaai.

Given that we only managed to leave at around 16:00, it was already getting dark by the time we reached Stanford (thanks Winter sun!), making the navigation of the rather long dirt road up to the estate rather tricky – thankfully, Google Maps didn’t lead us astray!

On arrival, we checked in and immediately agreed to have supper at the onsite Blue Gum Restaurant, though not before first marveling at the exquisite, massive room that greeted us – complete with king size bed, free-standing bath, indoor fireplace, and even a private garden for our exclusive use!

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Supper was just as exquisite mind you (note: with prices to match), with a beautifully presented main course and dessert delighting our taste buds from start to finish!

After a good night’s rest, we woke, enjoyed a quiet coffee on our tranquil, private patio, and then headed to the  breakfast room, enjoying our first proper glimpse of the scenic beauty of this lush and well maintained estate  in the process.

As expected, the breakfast was an absolute treat, the staff a delight, and more importantly, one of the best eggs benedict that I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating!

After exploring the grounds for a bit, we then headed out for the day, spending a bit of time in both Gansbaai and the delightful little village of Stanford, more of which I’ll still get into when I finally get around to posting those photos as well!

(Sadly, time didn’t allow for us to make a stop at the Birkenhead Brewery, nor the Klein Rivier Cheese Factory,  but we did however get to stroll at De Kelders, wander about Stanford, visit the Overberg Honey Co., and indulge in authentic Italian gelato!).

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Following our long day of excursions, we returned to Blue Gum Country Estate and joined in for the complementary High Tea – and seeing as no one else had bothered to show, Chantelle and I got to enjoy the relaxing tea room and delicious snacks all to ourselves!

After a bit of relaxation and more exploration of the grounds, we headed back down the horrible gravel road and made our way to Stanford, where we both settled on KC’s Restaurant for supper – with the end result being the enjoyment of some particularly delicious pizza!

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After yet another brilliant night’s rest, Sunday started off much the same as Saturday, with a fantastic breakfast, a tranquil walkabout, and then finally the dreaded checkout and goodbye.

What an unbelievably magnificent place to visit, and in the same breath, highly recommendable. There is no way that you won’t come back from a weekend at Blue Gum Country Estate not relaxed and at peace with the world!

What a beautiful birthday treat from Chantelle this was…

Related Link: Blue Gum Country Estate | FaceBook | Stanford

Oppiwa Weekend in Jacobsbaai (2016-02-05) Photo Gallery 21 MAR 2016

Back in February we found ourselves enjoying quite a good weekend away in Jacobsbaai, having travelled there to attend the fun Oppiwa Festival.

IMG_20160206_075812 girls and craig lotter at artists retreat on a misty jacobsbaai morning

All in all we were quite a big Montgomery-related family group that booked out Priscilla’s Artist’s Retreat guest house, with the end result being a thoroughly enjoyable, sociable and entertaining weekend.

With my leg still being reasonably weak though, I skipped out on joining the others on their musician/wagon/wine trips, tasked instead with looking after the girls for the weekend – which translated to a trip to the Cape Columbine light house (more on that later), multiple play dates at both Panarottis and Spur in the West Coast Mall – but sadly, no strolls around Jacobsbaai itself!

IMG_20160207_133439 cuddle cub, jessica and craig at the spur in west coast mall

By all accounts, the Oppiwa festival itself was loads of fun – Chantelle and the others had an absolute blast. On the whole, the weather was good, the company great, and the food delicious!

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(Still, it would have been a lot nicer had I been a bit more mobile! Not a lot of photos this time around I’m afraid…)

The Merry Widow in Hopefield (2015-09-12) Photo Gallery 03 OCT 2015

As I mentioned earlier, a couple of weekends ago we posted the kids off to the grandparents and following a not so great Friday evening date night, hit the R27 to travel along the West Coast for a quick spot of flower viewing in the West Coast National Park.

Itching to stay somewhere other than our usual haunt of Jacobsbaai (purely in the interest of trying something else), Chantelle found us a spot at The Merry Widow Country Retreat, one of Hopefield’s possibly only two advertised guest houses.

IMG_20150912_152425 at the merry widow guest house in hopfield

Whilst an important and bustling hub of the West Coast in days gone by (the only access to the towns of Vredenburg, Langebaan and Saldanha was through Hopefield), the construction of the big national roads, the re-routing of the R27 and the R45 in particular, meant that the church town of Hopefield has subsequently shrunk – and in truth, has been relegated to little more than a one horse town these days.

It has a couple of tiny shops, a small hotel and… pretty much nothing else.

(The Air Force Base Langebaanweg, as well as the West Coast Fossil park – 22km and 25km west from town respectively – falls within town limits though, so that’s something. Oh, it does however have excellent Internet connectivity – always nice in our modern connected era.)

IMG_20150912_134830 the mill in hopefield

Anyway, The Merry Widow also actively facilitates Hopefield’s popular Saturday market, The Mill Country Fair, held in the old Hopefield flour mill, adjacent to the Merry Widow property – itself a restored 1880-built homestead.

Sadly though, an encounter with a long gravel road on the outskirts of Darling caused us to do a u-turn and backtrack, meaning that thanks to our Beulah breakfast and this unscheduled extra drive time (saw some beautiful fields of flowers along the way though), we made it to Hopefield and its tiny bustling market a little on the late side – so late in fact that most of the people had already packed up and gone home!

(Thankfully though, not everyone had yet left, meaning we could still grab a couple of delicious baked goodies that went down super well with the superb coffee courtesy of The Merry Widow.)

IMG_20150912_140653 at the merry widow guest house in hopfield

All the Merry Widow’s rooms are particularly good looking and well decorated, but pleasingly we got the awesome Stone Cottage, a stone built, spacious room, which I instantly fell in love with – despite Chantelle’s shivering given the naturally cool air as a result of the stone walls!

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Given the location, the atmosphere is pretty laid back, we took in the evening bird life, slept like kings, and enjoyed a fantastic breakfast the next morning on the outdoor stoep, taking in a refreshing, tranquil West Coast Sunday morning!

(Of course, that isn’t all we did there – after the Saturday market goodies, we visited the Simply Bee shop and education center, marveled at the beautiful church, Chantelle napped, and I strolled and drove about Hopefield, taking in a good look at what once was obviously a thriving town but is now very evidently not.

I also found a pretty cool spot that gave me a good view of flowers and Hopefield’s wind turbine farm – a view that my cellphone camera naturally completely failed to adequately capture.)

IMG_20150912_162406 wild flowers in hopefield by the wind turbines

Oh, and seeing as there aren’t any restaurants in Hopefield, Saturday evening saw us drive through to Langebaan and end up having supper at the institution that is Pearly’s. (Sadly, Mykonos was a little too deserted for our liking, and that cool looking German restaurant we spotted the last time that we stayed in Langebaan appears to no longer be in existence.)

So.

Although Hopefield itself has very little to offer someone looking for things to do, if you are looking for a tranquil getaway with little noise, clean air and lots of bird life, then this space might just be right for you.

Related Link: The Merry Widow Country Retreat | The Mill Country Fair

Rainbow Glen in Montagu (2015-07-07) Photo Gallery 17 JUL 2015

We enjoyed one of our first holidays away together as a family (just the four of us) this July, with a four day long adventure in the Montagu area.

IMG_20150709_103348 emily lotter at rainbow glen accommodation in montagu

We were originally booked in to stay at the Montagu Springs resort, but Chantelle got a little spooked when Andy and Albert returned early from their break a lot less than impressed, plus some of the information we were receiving from Montagu Springs in regards to their warm pools wasn’t helping either. So instead, Chantelle made a last minute switch to Rainbow Glen, a quaint little self-catering guest farm setup run by a family of rock climbers (Montagu is after all heaven for South African rock climbing!).

We rented the Garden Cottage, which although being a little sparse and not particularly modern, housed the four of us easily enough, with access to a great little braai lapa, a big lawn for the kids to play on, kids toys like slides, a trampoline, and a jungle gym, a rabbit hutch, a chicken coop, and a cool little paddock with two horses roaming about in it.

Jessica immediately made friends with some of the other kids staying there and what followed was a particularly enjoyable week away from home and work.

IMG_20150709_102048 kids feeding horse at rainbow glen accommodation in montagu

We built each day up around a primary focal point (Robertson Birds Paradise, Viljoensdrift River Cruise, and Montagu Guano Cave) and spent quite a bit of time driving around and taking in the sights of the Robertson, Ashton, Montagu, Barrydale area – made particularly easy by the fact that we got a great mobile data signal throughout plus a Google Navigation app that works really, really well!

IMG_20150710_090838 feeding the rabbits at rainbow glen accommodation in montagu

Even the odd power break or two couldn’t quite dampen this great week of out and about with the family! :)

Related Link: http://rainbowglen.co.za/

Birthday Weekend away in Franschhoek (2015-05-08) Photo Gallery 23 JUN 2015

The fact that I was going to be away for business in Sandton for my birthday back in May, meant that Chantelle and I bumped things up a little and headed out to breathtaking Franschhoek the weekend preceding Monday the 11th, free of the kids (thanks grandparents!) and ready to take in some culture!

IMG_20150508_153156 coffee at peregrine farm stall

Early Friday afternoon saw us hit the road, and the impromptu decision to head out to Franschhoek by looping around Viljoen’s Pass and then Franschhoek Pass was a good indicator of how the weekend was going to be. Relaxed, fun, and full of beautiful things.

An unplanned stop at the Peregrine Farm Stall resulted in some delicious coffee and cake to start things off, and then it was back on the road for what was one of the more scenic drives that I’ve enjoyed for quite some time!

IMG_20150508_162456 viljoens pass to theewaterskloof dam between grabouw and villiersdorp

The guest house that Chantelle had picked out for us (she organised the entire weekend mind you!) was a place by the name of Maison d’Ail – a luxurious guest house nestled under the Franschhoek mountains, fronted with a beautiful pool and even more majestic views. Given that there weren’t any other bookings for the weekend, the owner graciously upgraded us to his luxury suite – which came with its own little balcony and even more views of Franschhoek mountains!

IMG_20150508_171108 maison d'ail guest house in franschhoek

The guest house was perfect, the food great and the accommodation comfortable – not that we spent all that much time there mind you. This was to be a proper weekend of being out and about! :)

Chantelle and I enjoyed a relaxing stroll around Franschhoek before heading out to supper on Friday evening, picking out the French Connection Bistro as our place of choice for the evening. As expected, both the food and wine was excellent, and seated outside for the view and fresh air, we were treated to a fantastic night out and about in Franschhoek.

IMG_20150509_120354 chantelle lotter strolling around franschhoek

Saturday morning was an early start, as we raced away after a hearty breakfast to an undisclosed location, me genuinely excited at not knowing where we were heading or what my big birthday surprise was meant to be, Chantelle super excited by the fact that I was both so excited and clueless at the same time!

Sadly for her though, her big surprise was ruined, when, after arriving at the Stellenbosch Flying Club (my mouth was hanging on the floor at this stage), a young pilot let us know that due to the overcast conditions at all the other landing strips, my intro flight had to unfortunately be cancelled. Absolute devastation.

Shame, Chantelle was literally in tears! (Note: a lot of rescheduling later, I did eventually go up in a Cessna Skyhawk – it was awesome!)

So it was a sad drive back to Franschhoek for Chantelle, but thankfully our next stop was exactly what was needed to bring back a little cheer to her face – the ‘chocolate experience’ tasting and informational session at the Belgian-trained chocolatiers, Huguenot Fine Chocolates.

IMG_20150509_105749 huguenot fine chocolates belgian chocolatier in franschhoek

Delicious!

Following that, we strolled around Franschhoek a bit, taking in the great sunshine and atmosphere, stopped for some coffee at Sacred Ground (the coffee shop / bakery that Chantelle used to supply with cupcakes and cakes back in the day), and booked our tickets for the Wine Tram experience on Sunday.

With that done, it was on to the next site for the day: Johan Rupert’s fabulous Franschhoek Motor Museum at the L’Ormarins Estate. Chantelle had organised a tour guide for the session, and we spent the next couple of informative hours strolling through the four massive barns filled with some of the most beautiful classic cars you have ever seen – an experience which even load shedding couldn’t take the shine off of!

IMG_20150509_141234 franschhoek motor museum classic car

And then the day got even better.

As we stepped out of the front door following our excursion, I was greeted by a beautiful 1959 Cadillac Series 62 convertible – to which Chantelle then strode and climbed in!

Yes, Chantelle had organised for us to be driven along the estate, stopping for a light snack in between. What a fantastic experience!

IMG_20150509_145924 franschhoek motor museum ride in a classic red 1959 cadillac series 62 convertible

The excitement of the car museum behind us, we then decided to head out on a bit of a drive, and made our way through to the Hillcrest Berry Orchards for some scones and tea – a personal favourite of Chantelle and something we do without fail at least once or twice a year! :)

IMG_20150509_162050 scones and muffins at hillcrest berry orchards

Relaxed, full and rather content with life in general, we finally headed back to Maison d’Ail to put our feet up for a little bit, before once again heading into Franschhoek, our goal the fabulous Roca restaurant perched on the top of a hill on the Dieu Donne wine estate.

Needless to say, the food at this particularly cosy and majestic eatery was absolutely brilliant!

IMG_20150509_184939 chantelle lotter having supper at roca in franschhoek

Sunday was to be the day of wine, and following a good night’s rest and a great breakfast, we packed our bags, bid farewell to Maison d’Ail and headed off to the pickup point for the Franschhoek Wine Tram, looking forward to our first ever taste of their hop-on hop-off tour.

We selected the estates that we wanted to visit (in the end, we only made it to three of the six on our particular line!), and off we went, the cute and clever little tram and busses shuttling us off to the most wine tasting sessions we’ve ever experienced in a single day!

IMG_20150510_102352 franschhoek wine tram

Rickety Bridge, Grande Provence, La Couronne – we had an absolute blast, took in some beautiful views of both landscape and art, enjoyed particularly good wines, experienced a cellar tour and even paired chocolates, cheeses and wine!

An absolute stunning day out which I can only but highly recommend to anyone who enjoys drinking wine!

IMG_20150510_115411 craig lotter tasting wine at la provence wine estate

And that was that.

The weekend was over and reality returned, meaning that after a quick stop for a bite to eat and coffee to rid us of the last tipsy effects thanks to all the wine, it was off to Bellville in order to pick up the kids and then finally back home.

Without a doubt, a birthday weekend to remember! :)

Glenfinnan Langebaan Weekend Away (2014-07-12) Photo Gallery 30 DEC 2014

Earlier this year, Touchwork sponsored a weekend away for Chantelle and myself to say thanks for all the hard work my team and I had put into getting all the Distell work out of the door on time. Whilst Tracy and her partner opted to head out to Citrusdal, Chantelle and I decided on a change in direction and went for Langebaan, where Chantelle sourced some awesome accommodation in the form of Glenfinnan Guest House.

With the kids safely deposited with the grandparents, it was off along the West Coast, where we were treated to space, quiet, and a weekend free from all of our responsibilities. We ate out (a lot), enjoyed long strolls, stopped for coffee, and in general, just enjoyed some time as husband and wife without all the distractions that kids bring to the equation.

That said, it didn’t take long for us to miss the hell out of them at all!

The accommodation was great, the weather played along perfectly, and all in all it was a fantastic weekend away for Chantelle and myself, giving us some much needed bonding and relaxation time.

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(And of course, when in Langebaan you can’t exactly miss out on a day trip to Club Mykonos now can you?)

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Photo Gallery: Rico Suter Country House Weekend Away (2013-06-17) Photo Gallery 19 JUN 2013

This long weekend saw Chantelle book us in for a fabulous winter weekend away at the stunning Rico Suter Country House, nestled in at the foot of the Waaihoek Mountains. Weather was fantastic, we took trips out to Kleinplasie in Worcester, Slanghoek, and even crossed the Breede River, and in general just enjoyed our time out in the fertile fields.

A proper weekend of rest and relaxation in other words!

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Jacobsbaai Weekend Away with the Montgomery Clan My Life 17 FEB 2012

Xander (short for Alexander) is the tenant who has been inhabiting Monty’s Granny flat for the last couple of years, and in that time, Xander and his mom have struck up a great friendship with the family. A month or two ago, Xander’s mom set up her very first guest house in the quaint fishing town of Jacobsbaai, and as luck would have it, she invited Chantelle, Jessie and myself to come through for a weekend, so that Chantelle could maybe give her some tips on how she might improve her fledgling business.

And as it turned out, the weekend we picked just happened to coincide with the weekend that Monty and company were heading through in order to drop off furniture which Priscilla had purchased from Monty’s dad.

In other words, family-in-law weekend time! :)

I took the Friday off to maximise our weekend, and early afternoon the three of us finished up with packing, bundled ourselves into the car, and made the long trip through to Jacobsbaai, a good couple of hours away from Gordon’s Bay up the West Coast. Again, we struck it lucky when we fell in behind Monty on the road, as he knew exactly where we needed to go, a bit of information which we ourselves didn’t actually possess!

Anyway, we got there well before the sun had set, and set about making ourselves at home in Priscilla’s fantastic little “farmhouse at the sea” guest house, better known as Artists’ Retreat. After that, the boys got busy carrying in and rearranging the new furniture in the lounge, a process that took far longer than what it should have thanks to “too many cooks in the kitchen”! :)

Priscilla treated us to a delicious homemade supper, and after much chatter, pool versus Robert (they have a pool table, bonus!), and catching up, we eventually all turned in for the night, where I must admit, I enjoyed a thoroughly restful sleep.

Saturday enjoyed a nice and lazy start, but after a hearty breakfast courtesy of Chantelle and her helpers, we did eventually head out, first to the lovely Weskus Mall where Chantelle insisted we try the cheesecake from Café Graze, before hitting Paternoster where we stopped in at the fabulous Modo Mio for a sumptuous, lazy seafood lunch. Chantelle, Jessie and I then split from the Montgomery Clan and did a bit of a drive around Paternoster to take in the tranquil sights.

The remaining part of Saturday was taken up by a stroll through Jacobsbaai with Monty, loads more pool with Robert, a fantastic braai for supper, and then a couple of highly competitive rounds of 30 Seconds to round off another late night!

Sunday started off in a very similar fashion to Saturday, with a thoroughly enjoyable breakfast, followed by more pool with Robert, and then a walk with Chantelle, Rob, Xander and Jess all the way down to the abandoned sea lookout at the edge of Jacobsbaai.

Afternoon rolled in and after a tasty chicken lunch, it was time for the dreaded packing up to begin, after which goodbyes were spoken and we bustled back into our cars, hitting the long road home with the goal in mind of making it back to Gordon’s Bay in time for Jessie’s night time routine to kick in.

I can’t quite remember now off the top of my head, but I do think we came pretty close!

So yeah, thanks to Priscilla and her mom for their hospitality in their awesome little guest house, thanks to the Montgomery Clan for the great companionship, and thanks to wifey and baby for making it such an awesome and relaxing weekend away from television, technology and the working world! :)

(Photos of the weekend can be found here, here and here)