Go C Mauritius

Often described as a lost dot in the immensity of the Indian Ocean , this Island is an explosion of tastes, flavours and beautiful blue waters. I was so excited when Mauritius finally opened up to international tourists again. They had been under lock down for a long period of time due to COVID so the island holidays were put on hold for South Africans. I was lucky enough to get a flight on their opening day but on Kenya airlines, so didn't fly direct. As I always say the journey is just as much fun as the destination, check in was not easy, it took an hour and even flying business class there was none of the “ special treatment “ finally aboard I was eternally grateful for my reclining and comfy seat next to the window. Interestingly the food for business class and economy was the same, but we did receive the inflight toiletry bag. I loved flying Kenya airlines, I found the crew friendly and warm with a smile on their face.

Art by Evan in Trou d'Eau Douce , Mauritius

Arrival in Mauritius was another story, we required a vaccination card and a PCR test, on arrival all passengers had to do another free PCR test at the airport and then they came around to our hotel and did blood tests. More time was spent questioning us about our health than anything else. Once I had my luggage I was then taken aside by the police and questioned for over half an hour, basically as a women flying alone this raises questions. They emptied my bag, searched everything, scanned it again, took notes on my documents and then finally deiced they should let me go as they couldn't find anything wrong.

Lux Grand Gaube, Mauritius

Based on this welcome to Mauritius I will never again return. I have traveled to more than 50 countries and never once been treated this way. It left a bitter taste in my mouth and quite frankly there are far more beautiful islands to visit. That said I will share some of the places I experienced as they were beautiful and I loved seeing them.


Stay at lux Hotel

If its 5 star luxury you want then this hotel has it all. Located on the magnificent beach front, it has an enormous pool, perfect to lounge around all day and sip cocktails or enjoy one of their yummy ice creams.The tranquil waters and soft breeze give way to a totally reimagined retro-chic tropical resort in Grand Gaube, on the north coast of Mauritius. It is enveloped by undulating coves, the calmest of lagoons and is blessed with two tranquil beaches.

Lux Grand Gaube, Mauritius
Lux Grand Gaube, Mauritius
Lux Grand Gaube, Mauritius
Lux Grand Gaube, Mauritius

Botanical Gardens

The oldest botanic gardens in the southern hemisphere with over 650 varieties of plants, the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanic Garden, commonly known as the Pamplemousses Botanic Garden, is a 60 acre site that owes its development to Pierre Poivre, the French Intendant of Mauritius. The garden was initially opened as a private garden by the French governor of Mauritius nearly 300 years ago, and later it became the national botanical garden of the island.


Ganga Talao Sacred site

Commonly known as Grand Bassin in Mauritius is a crater lake, about 550 metres above sea level. It is by far the most important Hindu site on the island. In 1972, the then Prime Minister of Mauritius, Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, brought Ganga (Holy) water from Gomukh, India, and mixed it with the water of Pari Talao and renamed it as Ganga Talao. Mauritius is the only place where Maha Shivratri is a week-long festival. Maha Shivratri, the Grand Night of Shiva, is celebrated only on a single day around the rest of the world including India.

Grand Basin Mauritius
Grand Basin, Mauritius

Le Bois cheri tea farm

Tea is a favourite drink on the island. The Bois Cheri tea plantation started in 1892 and today is the largest tea producer of tea on the island. They offer tea tasting and have a restaurant with sweeping views.

Le Bois Cheri tea farm,Mauritius
Le Bois Cheri Tea farm, Mauritius

Pont Naturel

To take in the whole panorama, one must get to higher ground. At the natural bridge , a true labour of love

wrought into shape by the brute force of the elements, get up close and personal for some jaw dropping pictures and unforgettable views of the wild South. This was my favourite of all the locations, a very windy day it was rather hairy walking along the bridge with the surging sea crashing about me, I just wished that I had more time to spend here.

Pont Naturel, Mauritius
Pont Naturel, Mauritius
Port Naturel, Mauritius

Red roof church

The iconic red church is one of the most renowned churches on the island. The Roman Catholic Church, The Notre Dame Auxiliatrice Chapel is famous for its vivid red roof against the bright turquoise sea and azure sky. This simple chapel was founded in 1938 and is dedicated to the Virgin Mary
Located ten minutes from Grand Bay is the small fishing village of Cap Malheureux. It translates to “Unfortunate/Unhappy Cape”, due to the numerous ships, which floundered there in the past.

Red Roof Church , Mauritius
Red Roof Church , Mauritius
Red Roof Church , Mauritius

Port Louis

The capital of Mauritius. Known for its French colonial architecture and the 19th-century Champ de Mars horse-racing track, the oldest race course of the Southern hemisphere. The Caudan Waterfront is a lively dining and shopping precinct, the biggest attraction being the umbrella lined street. Nearby, vendors sell local produce and handicrafts at the huge Central Market. The Blue Penny Museum focuses on the island’s colonial and maritime history, along with its culture. China Town is in the centre of the city, with its impressive gateway , the Sino-Mauritian culture in all authenticity and flavours is waiting to be discovered. The countless restaurants make one dizzy with all the specialities from the Far East on offer.

Port Louis, Maritius
Le Suffren Hotel and Marina, Mauritius
Le Suffren Hotel and Marina, Mauritius
Port Louis, Mauritius

Salt Pans

The Tamarin Salt Pans are amongst the oldest salt farms in Mauritius dating back to the 18th century.This is sadly the last place in Mauritius that salt is produced using traditional methods that have not changed in over 200 years.Sea water is pumped directly from the lagoon into large black cobblestone ‘pans’ and simply left to evaporate. I was so excited to see the pans and lucky enough to be able to go inside

Salt Pans Tamarina, Mauritius


In the South of Mauritius , the Vallee des Couleurs is set on an authentic natural site. The 7 coloured earths are a geographical formation found in the Chamarel plain. Even if one were to mix the colours together they will still settle into separate layers again. The undulating surface, which is totally unique and several millennia old, results from chemical interaction between the air and volcanic ash produced by the eruption of the Bassin Blanc volcano. While there make sure you go and see the Chamarel Waterfall which is 272ft high, the highest waterfall in Mauritius.

Chamarel Waterfall, Mauritius
Chamarel 7 colours, Mauritius
Chamarel rum distillery , Mauritius
Chamarel rum, Mauritius

Panoramic restaurant

When you leave the Chamarel rum estate pop into the Varangue Sur Morne restaurant down the road. The gift shop had me rather excited and I found some lovely hand crafts here including a beautiful shopping basket that I couldn't resist buying. The restaurant offers breath taking panoramic views of the edge of the Black River Gorge National Park with seating on a covered porch. It sits at a 600m altitude.

Restaurant Varangue Sur Morne , Mauritius
Restaurant Varangue Sur Morne , Mauritius
Restaurant Varangue Sur Morne , Mauritius

Old sugar mills

Driving around the island one will see old sugar mill chimneys peeking out of long grass and amongst old buildings. The first sugar mill was at Grande Rosalie, also known as Villebague. It is the oldest commercial sugar mill in Mauritius, started in 1744 but operated some years later. The site is now a National Heritage. There were more than 250 around the island at one point. However, with time, due to economic and war issues in mainly European countries, the price of sugar has been constantly decreasing since the end of the 1880s. The total number of sugar mills' chimneys now in Mauritius is 110, including those which are still active.

Sugar Mill, Mauritius

Fruit and veg market

Market day happens twice a week , you can buy everything from fresh fruit and veggies to textiles and my favourite the freshly cut coconuts ready to drink. A few metres from the Northern Bus station , this historic place is loaded with local culture. Its vibrant and full of energy.

The market, Mauritius
The market, Mauritius
The market, Mauritius
The market, Mauritius

Mauritius, a volcanic island is only a 4 hour flight from Johannesburg , the vibrant island with its silky soft beach sand, turquoise bays , sparkling lagoons is what island holidays are made of.


Must do's in Maputo and Ponte de Ouro


With its wide tree-lined avenue and charming old buildings , the city clearly has a Portuguese influence which is fused with the language, food and architecture.

There are a feast of activities and places to see in this city, and after a busy day out relaxing on one of the sandy beaches and enjoying the warm Indian Ocean you will know that this is an African paradise.

Maputo, Mozambique

Stay at the Southern Sun Maputo

The only on- the- beach front hotel in Maputo, staying here is undoubtably the perfect decision whether its for work or to recharge. With close proximity to top city attractions, this 4 star hotel offers exceptional hospitality. The rich Portuguese heritage is visible in the decor and finer details. My favourite colour is blue, so I can immediately appreciate the blue tiles used in the dinning area as well as the mosaic pattern on the floor of my tasteful Ambassadors Suite. The hotel offers ideal accommodation for both business and leisure travellers. The outdoor terrace which over looks the beachfront as well as the pool is the the ideal spot for sundowners. During the day sitting here and soaking up the sun while watching the fisherman out on their dhows is just as relaxing.
I highly recommend that you work up an appetite, the seafood platter is by far the tastiest and freshest I have had, paired with a bottle of white wine there is no better way to enjoy a hot summers evening.
With 269 rooms and suites, there is something suitable for every guest. Of course the ocean view rooms with a balcony take first prize for me. The Nespresso machine in the room gave me the morning boost I needed to get my day started, climbing out of bed was no easy task in the morning, I dare say its one of the most comfortable hotel beds I have ever slept on.

Personal tips : sit under the 200 year old fig tree and enjoy the sounds of the birds, ocean and resident cats. At breakfast indulge in the delicious Portuguese tarts, you won’t regret it.


Southern Sun Maputo
Southern Sun, Maputo
Southern Sun, Maputo
Southern Sun, Maputo

Eat sea food , don't be shy eat it 2 or 3 or even 4 times

The shellfish like the prawns and crayfish is considered to be the best in the world. Dishes are packed with sizzle and spice, the piri-piri is synonymous with Mozambican cooking and is used to baste almost everything. If you don't like spicey food remember to mention that to your waiter. The seafood is not only healthy, but fresh and affordable. Its literally finger licking good, getting that last bit of flavour off ones fingers is a sign of contentment and enjoyment - in my opinion.

Delicious seafood platter

City tour with Dana Tours

If its vibrant city colours that call your name, this one-stop shop for travel in Mozambique is a number you should keep in your phone. Their professionalism, efficiency and friendly staff complete the experience for any traveler or corporate entity. We were able tot soak in the attractions ranging from colonial splendour to modern street art both from the air conditioned vehicle and walking on foot with our tour guide. Mingling with the locals at the food market and then the arts and crafts market is always a favourite of mine.


The market in Maputo
Arts and Crafts
With my guide from Dana Tours

Best chocolate dessert at the Turkish restaurant

Sugar overload, hot and oozing with chocolate there is no better sweet treat for a chocoholic. Of course the Turkish food on the menu doesn't go unmentioned, however the dessert had me grinning from ear to ear.

Chocolate dessert

South Beach for sun downers

Great live music and within walking distance from the Southern Sun Hotel. With an extensive menu choosing is not easy. The cozy cabana seating is the best, boasting views of the Indian Ocean while the wind gently blows


South Beach, Maputo
South beach, Maputo

Drive to Ponte do Oura over the new bridge

Lying on the Mozambique Channel, south of Maputo and on the border of South Africa . The name is Portuguese for “ tip of Gold “. Leaving Maputo we drove on the amazing new suspension bridge , The Maputo - Katembe Bridge. This is Africa’s largest suspension bridge and makes the drive to Ponte do Oura sheer bliss, the newly tarred road took us all the way to the popular destination for divers and surfers. We opted for a chapa back to Maputo and didn’t need to wait long for it to full up. Getting around once there is generally done on foot and we used a quad bike taxi on our final day because of luggage. Its laid back and so much fun here. Two coffee shops we recommend are Love cafe with their bright and spacious setting and Magenta Moon boutique and gifts for their cozy coffee corner and shopping heaven.

Elephant park on the way to Ponta do Oura
Ponta do Oura
Ponta do Oura
Ponta do Oura , local staff
Ponta do Oura

Swim with the dolphins

Once settled, besides beautiful walks on the beach, kite surfing and diving a bucket list experience is to swim with the dolphins. Angie from Dolphins Encounters research centre started the organisation in 1996. Working with skipper Mitchel Niemeyer they offer daily sea trips for people to interact in the water with the pods of dolphins. This is weather permitting and no touching of the dolphins is allowed. They do come right up to the swimmers because they are inquisitive by nature. The cherry on top for us was to also see the whales up close as it was migration season for them. You don't want to leave Ponta without this experience, Angies knowledge and love for the dolphins is evident in her work.


Dolphin Encounters research centre
Dolphin Encounters Research centre
Dolphin Encounters Research Centre

Buy fabric at the oldest fabric store in Maputo

Casa Elefante has a rich array of patterns ranging from pretty cottons for children,African batik print capalanas to political prints. The prices are extremely reasonable and I can never leave empty handed when I go here.

Casa Elefante
Casa Elefante
Casa Elefante

Mundos restaurant

Mundos was born on the back of a hamburger stand over fifteen years ago, and through the years has become one of the most vibrant restaurants in Maputo. Right across from the South African Embassy it is easy to find. A pizza place, sports bar and what I would call a taco joint ( because l they are just so good ) I loved their menu lay out which is just like reading a newspaper, it can keep one entertained for quite a while.

Mundo's menu

Vila Algarve

Once an example of residential colonial architecture,Vila Algarve served as the seat of the secret police, the PIDE/DGS during the Portuguese colonial period.A residential house it is now premaritally closed and nobody may go onto the property. Built in 1934 and later protected as a listed building. Incredible architecture and fabulously detailed blue and white tile murals are visible from the road and still in great condition. A real pity about its ugly past.

Vila Algarve
Vila Algarve

Buy a coconut or sugar cane drink from the vendors

On a hot day stop at one of the many street vendors, Maputo has an estimated 4000 street vendors, one of the reasons there is so little begging in the city. These drinks are not only fun to watch being made but they taste incredibly good and are refreshing.

Ponta do Oura

With its colonial heritage, its vibrant residents, bustling markets and its delicious cuisine there are plenty of tourist attractions in this city. Each time I return I am so happy to see the rapid progress that is being made.

Street art is slowly covering drab, morbid walls of the past and contributing to the city’s new energy.

South African's in Mozambique

Picking Pomegranates

From as far back as I can remember I have always had a love for pomegranates. Growing up we had an ornamental pomegranate tree in our courtyard, during its fruit bearing season I would spend many a Saturday using mental telepathy on the tree explaining to the pretty little flowers that this year they should bear the apple size fruit for me. Of course it never happened because unbeknown to me this tree was there to look pretty with its striking ruffled petals, not produce fruit.

Ganico Organic Pomegranate Farm

Pomegranates were seen as an exotic fruit especially in the shops of Johannesburg so this fruit retained its mystic and what I perceived as a royal beauty. The ruby skin of this luscious fruit not only makes for an attractive ornamental fruit in the centre of the table, it also takes ones mind back to ancient Persia where it was first discovered. One can picture the caravans of camels moving along the silk road with weary travellers cracking open the brittle skin and digging out the pips to suck on the juicy flesh.

Ganico Organic Pomegranate Farm

Over the years I have made countless trips to Turkey, one of my favourite street drinks is a cup of freshly squeezed pomegranate juice. Cut in half and beautifully displayed the colours and designs entice even the busiest passer by. These jewel filled fruits are hugely symbolic and believed to bring luck and prosperity. Pomegranates are high in antioxidants and vitamin C, they are said to fight viruses, boost the immune system, stall the progress of Alzheimer disease, protect memory and it is a powerful anti-inflammatory.

Ganico Organic Pomegranate Farm

With pomegranates randomly popping up in my life I was supper excited to learn about Ganico Organic Farm. The 5 hectare family run organic farm has been in the family for over 30 years. Laiken and her husband Jason had no farming background, however they did know that this is what they wanted to do. Following the Israeli set up they have planted some 3000 trees. With no expert in South Africa they were unsure about the yields of these slow growing and slow producing trees. A mature tree ( approximately 10 years old ) produces about 50kg of fruit, if the fruits receive too much water they crack open, so harvesting them at the correct moment is crucial. Every part of the farm has been utilised, there are lemon trees, gooseberries, granadillas and so much more. The farm offers a soil to fork experience, for those wanting to embrace the fresh farm life.

Ganico Organic Pomegranate Farm

The rich history of the fruit, steeped in myth and romance, can probably be attributed to its uniqueness. The pomegranate, Punica granatum belongs to a family of plants that has only one genus and two species - the other is only found on the island of Socotra, an island in the Indian Ocean.

Ganico Organic Pomegranate Farm

Did you know ?

The Romans declared it an Apple
This fruit is actually a berry
A tree has male and female flowers, they are self pollinating
The female flower becomes the fruit
It takes at least 4 years for a tree to start yielding fruit

Ganico Organic Pomegranate Farm - Laiken

Farming pomegranates just made sense for Laiken and Jason. A labour of love that is also a lifestyle investment.


The Colosseum Hotel

Standing on the balcony on a chilly autumn morning, holding a cup of steaming hot coffee admiring Table Mountain for all her splendour in the distance is what a Cape Town staycation is all about.

The luxury of the 4 star Colosseum Hotel with its sophisticated suites is home away from home for travellers, in essence giving guests a distinctive getaway experience.

The Colosseum Hotel

On arrival one is met with an immediate sense of warmth, light and comfort. The lobby area is wide, bright and spacious with large revolving doors that lead in from the front entrance and a majestic chandelier that adorns the centre of the room.
The staff at the front desk are efficient, having my room key and wifi code ready and waiting for me.
Complimentary drinks and the weeks weather in the elevator add to the finer details.

The Colosseum Hotel

Why stay here?

Genuine friendliness
Sheer luxury and comfort
Great location to Century City and Canal Walk
Spacious rooms with modern decor.
View of Table Mountain from some rooms

View from the balcony at The Colosseum

Accommodation at The Colosseum

Our room was located on the 3rd floor with a spacious balcony that offered a view of Table Mountain , a truly breath taking sight to admire. The large bed was of high quality and so comfortable, made up with crisp white linen and plump pillows. There was more than enough cupboard space throughout and no shortage of hangers.
The bath is located in the open plan room, in the deluxe suite. There is also a work station equipped with international plug points, telephone and WIFI.
For those who are at the hotel to relax, the separate living area boasts a comfy couch in front of a flat screen TV where one can kick off your shoes and enjoy a sports match or a favourite movie.
Additional extras included toiletries, bottled water in Colosseum Logo bottles, complimentary espresso coffee, tea and sugar.
On opening the room door it felt like we had arrived home and could move in. This was the perfect base for us while exploring Cape Town. Coming back at the end of a busy day and finding our beds freshly made up and a clean room was another indication of their superb service.
There are 68 generously sized suites and presidential penthouses: 34 Deluxe Suites, 26 Executive Suites, and 8 Presidential penthouses each consisting of two and three bedrooms and bathrooms.

Spacious room at The Colosseum Hotel
Free standing bath at The Colosseum

Meals at The Colosseum

Mozambik restaurant is the in-house restaurant. The friendly family restaurant with its vibrant colours offers a relaxed Mozambique Baracca vibe serving up the most delectable Portuguese food and seafood. Encapsulating the heartbeat of Mozambique, its perfect for breakfast, lunch or diner and there is also a children’s menu.
For those loving the comfort of their room, meals can delivered to your private space.

Mozambik at The Colosseum Hotel
Mozambik at The Colosseum Hotel
The Colosseum Hotel

The Colosseum ticked all the boxes for us, perfect location, friendly staff, clean, modern, professional and luxury. There were no “snags” that we could find and would most definitely return.It is suitable for couples, families and business clients.

Additional Info

Email : reservations@colosseum.co.za
Website: www.colosseum.co.za
Parking : Undergound and free
Call : (021 ) 526 - 4000
WhatsApp : 081 054 1753

Welcome to the Wild Coast

Traditional home of the Xhosa people, the vast and astoundingly diverse Eastern Cape province with its rolling hills and sparkling coastline and Wild Coast is also the birth place of Nelson Mandela. He was born and raised in the village of Qunu.

Coffee Bay

Formerly known as the Transkei, the Wild Coast was one of the four independent territories during apartheid until it merged with the Eastern Cape in 1994. The second largest of South Africa’s 9 provinces it's one of the countries most undiscovered tourist attractions.


The name of this town comes from the rustling sound of wind as it moves through the grass, named by the local AmaMpondo people. Roughly 45km inland from Port St Johns this town has changed very little over the years. Remote and untamed, time stands still. The AmaMpondo people are friendly and welcoming, the main road of the town bustles, as people move around conducting business.


Flag Staff

Driving down the main road was a true rural experience. Hundreds of people line the streets going about their daily affairs, with no rush, cars and trucks make their way slowly, giving way to almost impossible driving situations. The town’s name was derived from the practise of running a white flag up a flagstaff every Sunday as a signal to prospective customers that on this day the shop was closed. The shop was for Zachariah Bowles and his partner, Mr Owen. Established in 1877 as a trading store in the business centre of town.


Xhosa Tribe

The rich and colourful cultural of the Xhosa people is evident in their clothes and their “ click “ language. In Xhosa culture women are easily recognised by their heavy dress, matching turban and colourful dots decorating their faces. Beadwork similar to the Ndebele is an integral aspect of Xhosa tradition. I was fortunate to meet this beautiful lady sitting behind a burnt out church. Although shy, she was very proud of her appearance. I wished i had more time to sit and speak to her.

Xhosa lady
Burnt down church outside Lusikisiki

Port St Johns

An incredible and unassuming combination of breath- taking views and craggy sea cliffs and idyllic unspoilt beaches. Situated at the mouth of the Umzimvubu River this is one of the top destinations along the Eastern Cape Wild Coast. If your vehicle allows for it take the road up the mountain alongside the river for a magnificent view of the jagged coastline below. The town centre itself is fairly run down but the natural scenery makes up for it ten fold.

Umzimvubu River at Port st Johns
Port St Johns
Port St Johns

Beach 2

Seeing the Nguni cows on the beach was one of the highlights of our trip. The cows come down to beach each day to cool off. Nobody really knows why, but the placid animals seem to enjoy the attention they receive and pose for photos in one of the most romantic settings in the country.

Nguni cows on beach 2
Nguni cows on beach 2

The lodge on the beach

The breathtaking sunset I awoke to was from the balcony of this cozy lodge. Originally a farmhouse built in 1929 it’s one of Port St Johns oldest, quaintest buildings set in a lush subtropical garden.

The Lodge over looking the river
Sunrise over Port St Johns

Steve’s Pub and Restaurant

An inviting spot on the main road through town. Sitting outside on the covered veranda we had difficulty choosing from the extensive menu. This is the most valuable location if you are planning the dirt road route to Coffee Bay, the question Why ? quite simply if it wasn't for Steve and his map we would probably still be roaming the hills of the Eastern Cape. He has a hand drawn map that he has put together with co ordinates, distances to travel and locations. There is no such map on Google and without it you will get lost. Besides the delicious and affordable meals , Steve is a life saver.

Steve's Pub and Restaurant
The map from Steve's Pub and Restaurant

The dirt road

Villages dapple the landscape and hills cloaked in golden grass are characteristic of this area. Thatched turquoise rondavel huts dot the hills in this unspoiled land. Don’t be fooled by the beauty through, this road is not for the feint hearted, one can expect no less than 7 hours of driving with no petrol stations, restaurants and shops ( only the odd spaza shop ) for rugged, untamed beauty and with no need to be rushed by time one couldn't find a better journey. Driving in the dark is not recommended as in some areas the road is in very bad condition. Also only suitable for 4WD vehicles with a strong, solid suspension.

The dirt road from Port st Johns to Coffee Bay
Turquoise rondavel huts

Coffee Bay

Just 8km down the road from the Hole in the Wall, with rustic accommodation (there is no petrol station in this town ) this is the only other coastal town, besides Port St Johns to have a tar road entering it from the N2. The town was named after a ship that lost its cargo of coffee beans in a wreck off the Wild Coast and the beans were supposedly washed up on the beach to germinate there.The laid back peaceful vibe will have you begrudgingly leave when your holiday is up.

Bead ladies at Coffee Bay
Coffee Bay

Coffee Shack Backpackers

The most fun backpackers and accommodation in the area, located right on the beach at the Bomvu River. From private rooms to dormitories and camping they have it all.Waking up in the morning and going for a stroll to the beach, buying beads from the local women was like being in a tropical paradise.

Coffee Shack Backpackers
Coffee Bay

Local “ man of all connections “

Zuko was our life saver in Coffee Bay . After having an issue with our vehicle he found us mechanic and spoke fluent English. Next day he brought me some local bead sellers and offered to show us around. And if we needed a good smoke he could assist with this also :) Every town needs a man like this, friendly and well connected.


Hole in the wall

A geographical marvel, the extraordinary natural arch with the thrashing surf, is particularly jaw dropping during high tide. The hole is directly in the path of the Mpako River and it is this, that has eroded the hole. The local Xhosa people called it “ izi Khaleni” which means “ place of thunder “ legend says a young maiden fell in love with the mythical “ sea people “ such was the love of this sea person for the maiden that he and his people rammed a hole in the side of a lagoon wall with the help of a huge fish so they could reach her. She was never heard from again.

Hole in the Wall
Hole in the Wall


Found in 1879 and declared the capital of the Transkei . This is the lively and colourful centre of the region. One of the greatest attractions is the Nelson Mandela Museum in the Bhunga Building in Owen Street. Here one will find the closest airport if planning to fly into the area to travel around.

The scenery of the Eastern Cape is spectacular and the best way to explore this rugged and remote region is with a 4WD vehicle, but that said most roads are in good condition even if they are gravel. I loved it and will be back to see more.

KZN Weekend Roadtrip

As all travellers know, the journey is just as important as the destination. So an impromptu weekend trip with a girlfriend over Easter was bound to be fun. Traveling by car is exhilarating, with windows down and wind blowing through our hair , the open road was full of possibility.

Near Villiers

We left Joburg early, hoping to miss the masses that converge on the KZN beaches each holiday season. Cruising down the N1 through the sun-drenched strips of cosmos the riotous explosion of colour of these attractive flowers adds cheer to the otherwise flat and drab landscape.

Cosmos Fields

Meandering through the magnificent countryside, these are some of the spots that we recommend stopping at.


Situated on the Cornelis River, the town was laid out on the farm Rietvlei in 1912. I have always loved the particularly large Dutch Reformed Church here that can seat around 1750 people. This time we stopped and took a stroll down to the river, clean and flowing strong it was refreshing and a good spot to stretch our legs.


Sterkfontein Dam

Just outside Harrismith on the alternate route to Durban is the third largest dam in South Africa. The town of Harrismith was founded in 1849 and has the 3rd oldest golf course in the country. The dam is not only beautiful but also unusual , as almost all of the water is pumped up the escarpment from KZN. Be sure to stop at the look out and buy some clay crafted animals from a local artist.

Sterkfontein dam
Sterkfontein Dam

The Border Post

The 85 year old stone farm house borders the provinces of the Free state and KZN. Perched at the top of the pass its an ideal location to stop for a scrumptious farm meal or even stay over in the guest house. Take a walk over the road to appreciate the sweeping views below.

The Border Post
The Border Post

Oliviershoek pass

Used as an alternate route to Van Reenen’s Pass, the winding pass overlooks the Northern Drakensberg. My memories from childhood have never left me on this section of the Drakensberg route. One winter we were the last car allowed through when the road was closed due to heavy snowfall. On many other occasions we would see the baboons playfully running along the rocks or even sitting on the roadside. History says that Piet Retief and his trek party climbed this pass on 19 October 1837.

Oliviershoek pass
Oliviershoek pass

Cathedral Peak

This 1930’s mountain resort is surrounded by some of the world’s most stunning scenery. With an abundance of wildlife , plants and rock art there is something here for everyone. A popular spot for guided daily hiking trails which includes seeing the Bushman paintings, there are also horse - rides, fly fishing and every imaginable outdoor sport. Drinking a hot cup of coffee at the base of the misty mountain range was sheer bliss.

Heading towards Cathedral Peak
Cathedral Peak Hotel


A rather unattractive town established in 1848, the main economic activity is farming with a large bacon and processed food factory situated on the edge of the town. Some beautiful old sandstone buildings are scattered around and worth looking at. The green Alice bridge on the outskirts of town is rather ugly at first sight but while driving through it one suddenly appreciates its design and strength.

Church in Escort
Alice Green Bridge

Umdloti beach

A tiny resort town on the Dolphin Coast only 25kms north of Durban, it is well known for the dolphins that swim in the shallow waters. Ideal for families with children because of the large natural rock pool and it’s comforting to know that there are shark nets in place and well trained life guards on duty. The 5km of of sandy beaches are enticing and as we soon found out, difficult to pull yourself away from. Even if we looked like a well cooked tomatoe.

Umdloti beach
Umdloti Beach

Howick falls

These mesmerising falls are known to the locals as KwaNogqaza, the “ place of the tall one “ the 95 metre cascade falls into a pool of water, regarded by the Zulus with superstition and said to be the place of the spirits ancestors. According to legend a serpent - like creature lives at the bottom of the falls.I was interested to learn that Mark Twain visited the Hawick Falls hotel in 1896. The main attraction of this town one can also enjoy a Gorge Walk if you have time.

Howick Falls

Anew Hilton hotel

The elegant and upmarket hotel is perfectly located on the doorstep of the Midlands Meander. We decided to spend our second night here experiencing old world charm in the 4 star building with its imposing Tudor lines.Established in 1936 , it has 97 spacious rooms and a gorgeous outdoor pool for those hot summer days.

Anew Hilton Hotel

Nelson Mandela Capture sight

While meandering one will see the large steel sculpture and visitor centre marking the arrest site of Nelson Mandela on the 5 August 1962. He went on to spend the next 27 years of his life in prison. This cultural and historical exhibition is the largest artwork using laser - cut metal beams in South Africa, affected by the sun changing its position above the monument. The effect of the tall beams on the ground also changes. The monument is located at the end of a winding path, which represents the long walk to freedom that he took towards his goal.

Nelson Mandela Capture Site

Lions river station

The old goods shed has been preserved and is now the spot to go if you want to buy some Nguni cow hides, amble amongst the gallery of sculptures and fine art or enjoy a steaming hot cup of Terbodore coffee. The name of the town , Lions River originates from the last lion shot in the area in 1856.

Lions River
Lions River

Piggly Wiggly

Situated on the beautiful property of Highgate Wine Estate , this distinctive outdoor shopping centre is the ideal breakfast stop. After a hearty meal we strolled around and couldn't resist a nougat flavoured ice cream from Wedgwood ( undoubtedly the best ice-cream I have ever tasted ) With activities for young and old, we recommend fitting this into your travel agenda.

Piggly Wiggly

Nottingham road junction

Also known as Notties Junction, is a shopping and leisure centre in the heart of Nottingham road. Serving delicious country meals in a relaxed setting with a variety of shops like Chocolate heaven you won’t go home empty handed. Just down the road is the St John’s Gowrie Church, in April 1884 John King donated the grounds where the small wood and iron church would be built and opened in February 1885. A beautiful church ground to walk around and pay homage to those who lost their life during the World Wars.

Heavenly chocolate at Nottingham Road Junction

The Pig & Plough
As a savvy road tripper I have learnt to savour the road side stalls, and quaint eating spots along the way. Just outside Winterton is this delightful restaurant. Sitting outside on the stoep I noticed the miniature train track above us that winds through the top of the building. Smelling the berg air this was our final tourist stop before heading home.

Pig and Plough
Pig and Plough

A fun filled weekend, we only touched on some of the beautiful places. What a beautiful country we have, so much to appreciate and such glorious weather
Go and hit the open road and see where your car will take you.

Four Seasons Hotel - Escape to reconnect

You don't need to travel far to enjoy a weekend in the city’s urban forest. With the hustle and bustle of vibrant Jozi it’s important to set some time aside and unplug from city life.

Not only is the Four Seasons Hotel renowned for its luxury, service and sweeping views of the golden city but it now takes the lead in the hotel industry with its preventive measures put in place through the Lead with Care program.

Four Seasons Hotel
Four Seasons Hotel

Lead With Care

This program focuses on providing care, confidence and comfort to all the hotel guests, employees and residents within in the new COVID environment. The aim of this program is to ensure everyone who enters the property feels safe and reassured. The best part is that the quality we have come to know and expect from this 60 year old global brand has not been compromised, in a actual fact it has enhanced current procedures. One of my favourites is the Four Seasons App and Chat that allows guests to control how they engage with others. Relaxing on my lounger at the spa I could order a meal and drinks, request a late room check out, have my luggage collected, make another spa booking and call a golf cart for a lift back to my room. These were just some of the topics that I could receive assistance with that limited face -to - face interactions but at the same time I had an efficient and friendly conversation on the chat.

Four Seasons Hotel

Rooms have lead with care kits which includes masks, hand sanitiser and sanitation masks. Extra masks can be requested at any time. The rooms are disinfected daily with EPA approved products and areas like the mini bar are no longer stocked with items that lead to many people having to touch them. Eating at the restaurant is always a highlight of a stay at a hotel, starving and in anticipation of a delicious meal I was happy to find that the menu was digital and as we entered each person was given a plastic bag to put their mask into when they removed it , thus preventing germs from attaching to services.

Four Seasons Hotel - Care Kit in each room for each guest

A haven of relaxation

One of the best places to receive inner peace, is to be rejuvenated at the luxurious Spa. With a gorgeous view of the swimming pool one can easily loose track of time lounging or swimming lengths in the pool. Spa staff have all undergone training on how to provide personalised care in a thoughtful and attentive manner that balances guest safety while still providing comfort and professionalism. Living in a polluted city I opted for the VIP O2 oxygenating facial treatment, the therapist wore a mask and shield while working her magic. Washing her hands continuously I felt at absolute ease. The 75 minute treatment does not involve extractions, the french skin care products, Biologique Recherche. revived my skin leaving it feeling soft and silky.

Four Seasons Hotel Spa
Four Seasons Hotel Spa
Four Seasons Hotel Spa

Hearty fine dining

A destination in itself. Whether its a lingering lunch or romantic dinner, Flames Restaurant is going to surpass your expectations. With expansive views of Sandton CBD in the distance and the sounds of animals emanating from Johannesburg Zoo, expect to be treated to delectable dishes.

Four Seasons Hotel

Stylish but relaxed, most guests arrive dressed up for the occasion. Driven up to the restaurant by a caddy in the golf cart, I was pleased to see the plastic divider that prevented any guests from having personal contact with each other. The caddy, just like all other staff on the property wore a mask that covered his nose and mouth correctly. A lot of the staff also work with gloves on and maintain a decent distance when taking orders or just having general interaction with guests. My recommendation was most definitely the juicy salmon, while waiting for your meal don't be shy to order one or maybe two of their signature cocktails while enjoying the ambience.

Four Seasons Hotel - Breakfast
Four Seasons Hotel - Flames Restaurant
Four Seasons Hotel

For the love of comfort

With 80 rooms a guest can expect a one-of-a-kind feel. Elements employed to release the tension of hotel guests, rooms and public spaces don't have upsetting patterns on the walls. In line with current trends where texture is embraced the colours on the wall allow a guest to feel lost in their experience, one they will probably want to repeat. With a few bright hues to animate the space a soothing joyful atmosphere has been created.

Four Seasons Hotel

The bathroom is an open invite to relaxation and a sure-proof method of alluring guests through the promise of ephemeral luxury. With a bath, shower, his & hers basins , giant towels, a towel warmer and lots of space all ones needs are catered for.

The stylish decor is carefully thought out and cozy, but not over - the - top flamboyant. Waking up in the morning to see the sun creep over the horizon was probably one of my most special moments.

Four Seasons Hotel
Four Seasons Hotel

For a luxury staycation, epic weekend break or long, leisurely holiday with 5 star pampering the Four Seasons hotel should be on everyones bucket list.
With all the changes in these unprecedented times it is comforting to know that the hotel staff are working together to give the best possible experience for their guests while following their guidelines in the Lead with Care program.

Four Seasons Hotel
Four Seasons Hotel


The Rand Club - where legends meet

The oldest private member’s club founded in 1887 in Johannesburg and amongst one of oldest in South Africa, (The Cape Town Club was created in 1878). has so much to tell.

The Rand Club

In December 1886, after a day of business, Cecil John Rhodes suggested to Dr Hans Sauer that they should walk around the new town layout and choose a spot for a club. After walking for some time Rhodes suddenly stopped and said “ This corner will do for the club “ and so the club was born with shares of 10 pounds purchased by each person wishing to become a member.

The Rand Club - Cecil John Rhodes

This swanky, historical social institution was where the first gentleman's club was built and is without a doubt one of the city’s finest heritage venues. Over time three club houses have existed here, the second being erected in 1890 and the third and current club house occupied in December 1904.

The Rand Club

There have been numerous momentous occasions over the years, from the Jameson Raid where committee members where arrested to the Royal visit in April 1947 and sadly the fire that caused catastrophic damage in June 2005. Restoration began in 2006.

The Rand Club - Dome

Although gentleman clubs are hardly as popular today as they were in their hey day, the tradition lives on …now some of the country’s most exclusive clubs are country clubs where membership remains strictly by invitation only along with exorbitant annual membership fees, for example The River Club which is one of the most prestigious golf courses in the country , established in 1911 has membership fees of up to R400 000 per annum.

The Rand Club - The Ballroom

A gentleman's club was originally set up by men from Britain’s upper classes in the 18th century and succeeding centuries. The standard style of a club was to include a formal dining room, a bar, a library, a billiards room and one or more parlours for reading , gaming, socialising and smoking of cigars. Private places that were designed to allow men to gather over stiff drinks and create friendships with other men, at a stage these clubs were regarded as a central part of elite’s mens lives.

The Rand Club - Founders Room

Waltzing in the front door one gets a whiff of the aristocratic flavour, a reminder of dark smokey cigar lounges cluttered with velvety couches. But then a second glance makes one realise how fresh the historic old gem feels. With a fresh coat of paint and some modern touches one feels the glamour and energy.

The Rand Club - Restaurant

The exquisite antique lift is in its original form, installed in 1904 and up until the fire in June 2005 it still operated manually. The motor has now been changed. Being in an old elevator creates an immediate connection to the past, just imagine all of the people who have been up and down in that elevator over the centuries. The magnificent embellishments and wood paneling add to the uplifting experience in a literal sense, while indispensable in modern buildings I still opt for climbing the grand staircase.

The Rand Club - Elevator

The imposing staircase is one of the impressive features in the club. Exclusive elegance as it beckons one to climb up to the next level. The red plush carpet embraces the glorious flight and the mahogany path upon which one lays ones hand . This is a delightful ancient feast for the eyes as ones feet make a contribution to the hundreds before you. Looking upwards, the eye catching dome is a focus point, it was made of stained glass but also destroyed by the fire . Later restored complete with new designs it showed structural defects in its leaded glass. A new initiative now sees a bright silk screen image done by David Tahle. The plan is for this image to change annually.

The Rand Club - Grand Staircase

While modernising the club ( love the wallpaper that flows throughout the restaurant ) in order to appeal to millennials, some rules still honour tradition with phones and tablets banned in the club’s upstairs communal areas. The purpose is to network and communicate with people on a personal level.Sitting at the 31 metre long teak bar which is reputedly the longest in Southern Africa, is like taking a trip to yesteryear. Sipping on an African beer, one can just imagine if the walls could tell stories.

The Rand Club - the 31 metre bar

Women were not admitted until 1993, having been inside on numerous occasions I have never felt unwelcome. Dress code has relaxed over the years to allow for welcoming of new members, it is more accessible and in an ideal location with the Reya Vaya bus stop just outside.

The Rand Club - roof top views

Life size portraits of Nelson Mandela and Rhodes adorn the walls on the second floor. The magnificent library had its foundations laid during the construction of the second clubhouse. There is an Africana section as well as english section. Walking into the library is a WOW moment, any book lover will be in their element.

The Rand Club - Portrait of Nelson Mandela

As work continues on the building it can only get better. Now offering accommodation for members and non members I couldn't imagine waking up in a better part of Johannesburg listening to the daily hustle in the streets below.

The Rand Club - one of the rooms to stay in
The Rand Club - Bathroom for one of the rooms

This opulent, timeless South African icon is open to everyone and welcomes each person warmly.

The Rand Club

A personal tip, try and make contact with Brian Kent, he was my guide and an encyclopaedia of knowledge. His passion for the the inner city and buildings is evident as he shares his stories.

The Rand Club - Brian Kent


Welcome Home to Bosheuvel Country Estate

This hidden gem is found on the outskirts of Johannesburg in Nooitgedacht. Set in a lush garden, the rustic boutique hotel offers a chic and homely feel. This country retreat is set on 33 hectares of land is in easy proximity to both Johannesburg and Pretoria

Bosheuvel Country Estate

Bosheuvel Country Estate

Bosheuvel Country Estate

The heritage of this 112 year old farm has been preserved by converting the old farm house into a welcoming boutique hotel and restaurant. The transformation took place from 2002 until 2008 when Mitch and Juanita Van Den Bos took over. In the 1950’s it was a turkey farm and in the 1970’s a pig and cattle farm. Constructed from coro brick and blending in effortlessly with the bush, the hotel allows guests to continuously experience the natural beauty of their surroundings.
The red 1939 Vauxhall parked at the entrance immediately caught my eye, Mitch bought it from a farmer who sold it at an auction in the Free State and now it stands grandly at the door welcoming all guests.

Mitch Van Den Bos , owner at Bosheuvel Country Estate

Bosheuvel Country Estate

Mama Elisa has been the cow whisperer of approximately 360 head of cattle for 12 years, the cattle comprise of award winning Pinzgauer, who have won awards like the Pretoria Interbreed Gold Cup and Royal Show Interbreed Gold Cup. Our tour around the farm with Hotel Manager Paddy included visiting the 300 free range Pigs and 180 Sheep with their adorable lambs. The farm gets approximately 16 tons of fruit and veggies a day via the veggie market to feed the animals. Feeding time is something not to be missed, the frenzy of cattle running eagerly towards the food is astonishing, it’s a bit like watching a dusty ballet as the farm hands whips float gently through the air, touching a cow to make it back up, surprisingly the cattle trot obediently towards their heap of food with a ravenous appetite.

Mama Elisa at Bosheuvel Country Estate

Prize bull at Bosheuvel Country Estate

Cattle auctions also take place at the farm. The best yearlings are selected and taken to the waiting pens. At the sale ring, buyers and sellers walk around studying the bawling beef. Sitting on bare concrete steps the bidding begins, farmers can either refuse the price and take their cattle home, or accept. The sound of slamming gates as cattle are moved is heard, dust and noise pour into spectators ears, noses and mouths. As the auctioneer chants, enticing buyers to bid, owners sit waiting to see how their cattle will fare against the competition.

Bosheuvel Country Estate

The farm is not only known for its animals but also the boutique hotel which features conference facilities, a spa, out door swimming pool and activities like fishing and picnicking. What you see from the entrance does not prepare you for what’s tucked neatly inside. Checking into one of individually decorated rooms feels both comfortable and comforting.
The 9 en-suite bedrooms are spacious and include complimentary wifi, each is equipped with a small fridge as well as a tea and coffee making station,I felt like I was at home. My room had a balcony that shared the views of the idyllic garden that enhanced the overall sense of tranquility. The immense beauty immediately captured my heart. Surrounded by such splendour and the sounds of birds chirping in the trees it was difficult to pull myself away. Accommodation is standard Bed and Breakfast style.

Bosheuvel Country Estate

Bosheuvel Country Estate

Bosheuvel Country Estate

Bosheuvel Country Estate

The atmosphere and charming hospitality will have you eating all your meals at Cattleman’s Kitchen an exclusive farm restaurant on the property, the dinning experience is second to none. The on – site abattoir ensures that only the best cuts of meat are used for their Farm – to – fork style food. Generous portions are whipped up and can satisfy any craving. For those wanting to take some fresh food home, the Deli on the property sells everything from cheeses to meat and anything in between.

Bosheuvel Country Estate

The area surrounding Bosheauvel is steeped in history and has many things to do. Happy Island Water Park, Crocodile Farm, Hiking & Mountain Biking are but a few of the activities to be found. The Cradle is not far off for those wanting to indulge in some local history.

Bosheuvel Country Estate

Creating a unique and memorable experience for each guest , ensuring personal attention from tranquil rambles through the magnificent surrounds, sipping on refreshing beverages at the pool, and a superb dinning experience, guests are sure to leave feeling pampered , refreshed and eager to return.

Bosheuvel Country Estate

Bosheuvel Country Estate

This an authentic slice of farm life that exudes calmness and depicts the pinnacle of elegant farm accommodation and food.

Bosheuvel Country Estate

If you don’t stay over, I highly recommend stopping by for a hearty farm lunch.



Timeless elegance of Pera Palace

Standing proudly on the rise across the Golden Horn, just a street below the bustling Istikabal Avenue sits this throwback to Ottoman - era Istanbul. This golden thread connects one to the late 19th century era. Built in 1892 with the purpose of hosting the passengers of the Orient Express it was designed to offer the most convenient stay for the Paris - Bosphorus line travellers. This posh hotel is more than just one of Turkey’s most elegant establishments. It is a historic monument that represents the character, style and spirit of Istanbul. The hotel holds the title of “ the oldest European hotel of Turkey “

Pera Palace

The iconic hotel was the first building in Turkey to be powered by electricity, other than the Ottoman Palaces and also the only address in the city able to provide hot running water for its guests. The elevator is the second oldest in Europe ( the oldest being the one at the Eiffel Tower ) this was the first electric elevator in Istanbul

Second oldest lift in Europe, and it still works at Pera Palace

It rapidly became a favourite location for those visiting the Turkish metropolis and has been graced with many notable people over the centuries. Agatha Christie, the “ queen of detective writing “ for one stayed in room 411 regularly between 1926 and 1932. One of the most requested rooms at the hotel, with its’ rich crimson and burgundy brocade, her favourite colours and a replica of her typewriter on the desk. Urban legend tells that during the 11 days that she went missing, she was here at the hotel. It is also said that the key found in her room can open Agatha Christie’s diary, which holds the secret to her whereabouts for this time. On 3 December 1926 she vanished after learning about her husbands affair, her car was found abandoned by a lake but she was no where to be seen. Agatha claimed to have no recollection of those 11 days so it became an ongoing mystery. Her diary has never been found.

The room of Agatha Christie at Pera Palace
Agatha Christie room at Pera Palace
Replica of the type writer used by Agatha Christie

The only room that cannot booked is room 101, the museum room of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of the Turkish Republic. On his 100th birthday the room was turned into a museum, it preserves the old furniture and decoration and some of the Presidents personal belongings. One of these is an old clock whose hands stopped ticking exactly at the moment of Ataturk's death.

The museum room of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk at Pera Palace
Mustafa Kemal Ataturks bed at Pera Palace

Interesting facts

Designed by French- Turkish architect Alexander Vallauri in a blend of neo-classical , art nouveau and oriental styles.
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk had been staying in the building since 1917
The rose shaped domes open up like petals and where the old style air con system
It underwent a 23 million Euro restoration process in 2006 taking two years to complete
The hotel witnessed the declined of the Ottoman empire, the founding of the Turkish Republic and two world wars and a Cold war.
In the lobby is a palanquin that was used to transport people from Sirkeci railway station to the hotel.
Prominent figures who have stayed here include Brodsky, Mata Hari, Ernest Hemingway, Agatha Christie , Jacqueline Kennedy- Onassis, Alfred Hitchcock, Ismet Inonu and Pierre Loti to name but a few.

A palanquin that was used to transport people from Sirkeci railway station to Pera Palace
The rose domes open up like petals to allow air to flow in at Pera Palace
The rose domed ceiling at Pera Palace
Ernest Hemingways room at Pera Palace


Heart of Istanbul in the Beyoğlu district
Pera museum is a few 100 metres away
Easy walking distance to many restaurants, cafes, clubs,bars and Taksim square
Safe to walk around at night
Spectacular views of the Golden Horn known as ‘ Little Europe “
Cabs are located right near the hotel, making it easy to get transport.

View of the Bosphorus from my balcony at Pera Palace
Different floors in Pera Palace

Hotel features

Indoor pool
Rooms have classical style combining European and Ottoman influences
Hard wooden floors with floor - to ceiling windows
Each room has a TV and mini bar
Majority of rooms have a balcony
Agatha Christie Restaurant offers contemporary Turkish Cuisine
Orient Bar is ideal for meetings and travellers want to mingle and socialise.
Kubbeli Saloon tea lounge offers gentle live piano music
Pera Spa has a hammam with a heated marble platform and foam bath
Steam bath , hot tub and sauna
Fully equipped gym
Free WiFi

The gym at Pera Palace
Indoor swimming pool at Pera Palace
Marble Hammam at Pera Palace
loved my room at Pera Palace
Bathroom found in Greta Garbos room at Pera Palace

This is a unique heritage of culture where you can not only visit as a tourist , but also stay as a guest . The epitome of timeless elegance, this hotel was and still is the place to be seen.

Stepping out onto the balcony
Reading in the lounge, Istanbul by Orhan Pamuk
Agatha Christie Restaurant in Pera Palace
Magnificent lounge in Pera Palace