Birthday Road Trip accommodation overview…





1825km…10 days…4 destinations…bush and beach…9 breakfasts, 6 lunches, and 9 dinners. Not to mention the snacks that we enjoyed along the way! Several tanks of petrol, many tolls paid, and a lot of memories were made. New friends to keep in contact with and new places to return to…soon.



Where the trip began.Lejwe la Metsi, just outside Bela-Bela in Limpopo Province. My wife and I have stayed in some wonderful lodges before, but this certainly took our combined breath away. Over-the-top, but in a tasteful way, does not begin to describe the interior decore of the private and public areas of this property. For instance, this is the lounge in our master bedroom.



The bathroom, with heated floors and crystal taps, was certainly a room where it seems that no expense was spared! Gold fittings and fixtures with the aforementioned crystal taps set the tone.



Accommodation of this magnitude deserves not one lounge, but two. The master bedroom has a lounge and seeing that the Villa can accommodate three couples in spacious elegance, there is also this area together with a breakfast bar and an indoor and outdoor dining area, should all the couples wish to spend time together.



And if we thought that the interiors were expansive, the exteriors were just as spectacular. This is the dining/lounge area near the pool. Stunning when lit at night and even more exquisite during the day. A great place just to relax and contemplate…



Believe it or not, this is the central area in the main building that connects the bar, dining room and lounge together. The property used to be run as a group of private residences, but the new owners are opening it up as a commercial venture. It is a stunning venue to host a special event, a conference (remember those?) or even just a weekend getaway.



To find out what this property offers, click on their logo above.



A return visit to Thula Thula for both my wife and me. We were last here about 9 years ago and aside from the size of the orphaned rhino calves, who have grown into huge adults, almost everything else is still the same. It is so wonderful returning to a place where the adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” seems to be the mantra of the owner. Our accommodation was certainly spectacular and we had two HUGE beds so that we could spread out without being cramped. Not that we got to spend too much time here as there was much to see and do in and around the camp, and of course, on the game drives where we were grateful to spend time with their very special elephants.



The pool as seen from the bar area of the main building. A tad cold for an evening dip, but my wife took the plunge the following morning after breakfast and declared it to have been ‘refreshing’.



With social distancing constantly front of mind and with COVID-19 protocols in place, the tables for breakfast and lunch had enough space between them so as not to make the guests feel stressed or uncomfortable.



The interior of the main building. Seeing that elephants play SUCH an important role in the wildlife of Thula Thula, it is only fitting that the focal point is this elephant statue.



To find out more about what Thula Thula has to offer, click on the logo.




A hidden gem that we found on the internet in St Lucia. The St Lucia Wetlands Guest House was a gem. In all the years that I have been a travel writer, I have yet to be disappointed by the accommodation that I have been hosted at when it has been chosen at random off ‘the net’. This property was no exception. And it had one of the best breakfasts that we have had at any similar property. NOT forgetting Hettie’s date loaf that was served at one-morning meal AND that ended up in a ‘padkos blikkie’ when we took a drive to Cape Vidal.



I should imagine that in pre-COVID-19 times this area would be teeming with guests sharing stories or enjoying a drink and a meal. But we live in different times, and many of us have become insular even when we are away. Preferring to spend time in our room or out on the beach rather than sharing a space with other travellers. But, going forward, that might well remain the new norm. Sad but true?



Our accommodation, with the majority of the room being taken up by this very comfortable bed. There is ample cupboard space on the far wall and there was a desk/dressing table that I was able to utilize as an ‘office’. The tea/coffee station was also put to VERY good use from early in the morning to late at night when I finished up with my various social media postings of the day.



A huge shower, and although our bathroom did not have a bath, there are rooms that do. Check when you book as to what rooms are available.



This comfortable seating area on our private balcony that overlooked a lunch tropical garden made me think that we were on an island, rather than in a small town on the KZN North Coast!



Clicking on the logo will take you to their website where you can discover all the current specials that are available to both local and international travellers. And if you book direct, rather than through an online booking portal, you will get a benefit from that as well.



And last, but by NO means least, we found THIS gem, the Dive Inn, in Pongola in order to break our trip home. And what a find it was. Hidden behind a huge grey wall and gate and thus not visible from the road, the welcome that we received from the manager was made us feel that we were returning guests (or even family). A very comfortable bed and a shower with the BEST water pressure of the trip and water that was instantaneously hot were just some of the highlights of our one night stay here.



The unit that we stayed in had a fridge as well as a microwave, not that we needed the latter. Gerdiri, the manager also gave me access to some of the breakfast spreads (marmite and peanut butter) so that I did not have to have plain rolls for supper.  Although breakfast is included in the most reasonable room rate, dinner needs to be booked in advance. Gerdiri will cook for guests if given notice, as we discovered when we arrived late in the afternoon. Too late for us to request an evening meal, however, there are fast food outlets just a couple of km down the road in the centre of Pongola.



When last did you find an oversize chess set in the garden of a guest house?



Lit is a multitude of colours, the reception area is most welcoming in the evening. The lighting changes the ambience totally, turning it from grey to great!



Dive Inn does serve breakfast, and we enjoyed that before packing up for the final leg of my birthday road trip back to Johannesburg.




An unexpected stop on the way home…This time in Pongola.




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