What happens in Hoedspruit…

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"Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky". Rabindranath Tagore

 

This guesthouse was to be my lodging for one night. After my Google maps brought me to Hoedspruit without incident, it decided to first take me to the Airforce base where one of the staff laughingly gave me the correct directions. (I can assume from his demeanour that I was not the first guest to arrive on the “wrong “side of a dividing wall) But aside from that glitch my check-in, once confirmed, went off without a hitch. The wall does not do the property any justice and it is only once I was through the gate that all was ‘revealed’…

 

 

This is what was hidden behind the wall. With Hoedspruit enjoying an almost tropical climate, it stands to reason that most of the properties that I drove past in this suburb had gardens that were green and lush.

 

 

These were at the main gate. A splash of colour in an otherwise sea of green.

 

 

My room for the evening. Larger than I expected, with a comfortable bed and a view into the garden through the window. This particular room was inside the main house, but there are rooms available in an accommodation extension outside overlooking the pool and braai area.

 

 

What is behind door number 2?

 

 

Why it is a full bathroom complete with both a shower AND a full-size bath! I have only seen this twice before and both in private homes. A quirky talking point indeed.

Contact details:
Contact person/owner: Anélle Scheepers: 071 362 6307
24 Hour Mobile Number: 081 449 1140
Tel: + 27 (0)15 793 3990
Cell: + 27 (0)83 292 0813
Fax: +27 (0)15 793 2779
e-mail: loerieguesth@lantic.net

Website: http://www.loerieguesthouse.co.za/

Physical address:
Loerie Guest House
85 Jakkals Street
Hoedspruit 1380

The sun rises to signal the start of another day in Africa…I had moved from my overnight lodgings and after a series of meetings, I checked into a lodge in the Hoedspruit Wildlife Estate that is situated in the heart of this thriving town…

 

 

Ujabule Lodge is being run by Liezel that I first met when my wife and I visited a nearby game lodge about a year ago. Small world! Her husband still works at that lodge so she, together with her 1-year old daughter, runs the property during the day and drives 140km round trip every day so that she can be at home with her husband in the evening. True dedication for the whole family.

 

 

The lodge has 4 identical rooms that have all the required amenities for either self-catering or bed and breakfast if you wish for that. I travelled with cereal and a bowl, so I cannot comment on the breakfast. However, I had a coffee while watching a fellow guest enjoy her ‘full English’.

 

 

I was at this lodge for two night and I enjoyed my self catered meals on the verandah while looking out over the bush. While sitting there I could hear rutting Impala, watched two large Nyala bulls feeding in the undergrowth and my ears were assailed by the screams of a pack(?) Banded Mongoose. I have never heard the sound before and it was somewhat terrifying to say the least. Luckily it was during the early evening while I was still able to see exactly WHO was causing the hair on the back of my neck to rise.

 

 

Given the density of the vegetation within the estate, it is no wonder that there is such diverse birdlife. Although I could hear numerous species, this Hornbill was one of the few that I saw, let alone got to photograph.

 

 

The devil is in the details…

 

 

Another welcoming flower in amongst the bushveld colours of green and brown.

 

 

Looking back at the lodge. The rooms are on either side of this area. Guests are able to utilize the pool and the braai facilities.

Contact details:

Contact person: Liezel Coetzee

Address: 413 Rotsvy Road, Hoedspruit Wildlife Estate, Hoedspruit, South Africa
Mobile: 060 431 9371
Reservations: Info@ujabule.com
You can also find them on Facebook and Instagram.

This was the actual reason that I was in Hoedspruit. I have been appointed by the new owners of this paper in Hoedspruit as the editor. A new detour in the road for me, but a challenge that I relish as it involves both travel and writing. A dream job one could say.

 

 

As mentioned earlier, MY breakfast of champions…but there was trouble in paradise that I was not aware of at this point in time. If I was, I might not have been as relaxed as I ate my cereal and drank my coffee…

 

 

My wry smile hides the anxiety I was feeling when I took this image by accident. And what was the issue I hear you ask? My laptop decided to crash on me! The whole reason for being in Hoedspruit was to learn how to put the Kruger2Caynon digital newspaper together and now it looked like that was not going to happen. Try as I might I was unable to get my laptop to open or to even give me access as it kept asking for a password that I could not remember. What to do! What to do? Luckily my phone was unaffected by this problem and I was able to Google the top laptop repair shops in Hoesdspruit. And of all those that came up, only one opened at 07h00…and it was 06h45 when I took this picture.

 

 

I made the call at 07h02 and Attie answered his phone immediately. I explained the issue to him and he said that he would call me when he got to his shop that was less than 1km from where I was staying. 20 minutes later I handed him my laptop and explained what the problem was. There was not much I could do until my meeting at 10h00 except hope that the fix would be easy, quick and reasonably priced. And it was all of those. When Attie sent me this image he had got the device to open and all he needed was my (known) password in order to open and check it…

Turns out that I filled my laptop with images from a past trip without transferring said images to external drives. So basically it was full and when an unplanned Windows 10 update tried to load it could not. Hence it put my laptop into a sort of limbo, which Attie was able to rescue it from. An analogy that crossed my mind was Snow White being awoken by the Prince.

If you in Hoedspruit and have issues with your laptop, I can highly recommend Attie.

 

Attie Janse van Rensburg

Cell: 079 875 8888

Tel: 015 793 0851

Fax: 086 764 0561

 

 

It has been more than a year since my last drive to this area and certain road seem to have deteriorated badly as a result of the large, heavily laden trucks that use roads that I don’t believe were designed to carry the constant flow of heavy traffic. It was for research purposes that I tried two routes and despite the cost of the tolls on the Tzaneen route, the lack of potholes and the potential damage and expense make it the better option in the future.

This is the direct route but the POTHOLES on are legendary and dangerous…especially if you are travelling in the dark. The 58km stretch from Dullstroom to Lydenburg has become almost a guaranteed graveyard for tires and rims. Add to this section the numerous large trucks and you have a recipe for accidents just waiting to happen.

Only one toll plaza (at the time of writing the cost was R66.00)

Johannesburg to Belfast: 224km. On a major route that is in good condition

Belfast to Dullstroom: 35km (this is an 80km zone and when there is dense fog on this section it is a VERY scary drive).

Dullstroom to Lydenburg: 58km. The potholes on this section of the route are legendary and can and have swallowed cars. This is where concentration is required and trying to spot the potholes before falling in was a challenge, to say the least.

Lydenburg to Hoedspruit: 137km. Leaving Lydenburg can be a nightmare as the roads are not in the best condition.

Total distance is approximately 454km

For my return journey, I chose this route: (There were 4 toll plazas with a combined cost, at the time of writing, of R184.00)

Hoedspruit to Tzaneen: 120km

Tzaneen to Polokwane: 95km

Polokwane to Johannesburg: 322

Total distance approximately 537km (83km longer, but not a single pothole)

 

 

 

 

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