Published: January 4th 2007December 29th 2006
At 10am we bade farewell to the minibus that had ferried us around for the past week or so, and said hello to a couple of 4x4s that we'd rented for the remainder of the holiday. We checked out of Moonglow pretty confident that we'll be back one day. We were driving up to a wilderness reserve called 'Bushmans Kloof' which is about 3 hours north of Cape Town and which is where we are spending New Year's Eve. With Ed and Stuart driving and knowing that speeding fines wouldn't result in points on the licence, we made good time. On the directions we have been given we were told to stop off at a particular petrol station to deflate our tyres, which we did. Straight after this we hit the dirt road to the reserve, excellent fun for the drivers though perhaps less so for the passengers.
The reserve itself was pure luxury - one of its many awards was for the 5th best hotel in the world no less. It's also very much based around food, with breakfast, brunch, high tea and then dinner served each day. We had tea, settled in, spotted a group of Americans
who we took an immediate dislike to (more on that later), explored the 16 room lodge which was a comple of little cottages, and prepared ourselves for dinner.
One of the things they like to do here is vary where you eat dinner and they have a few places big enough to seat all of the guests. They also have a couple of spots deep in the reserve for private dining and this was what we'd lined up for our first dinner. Our ranger, Londi, came over to drive us the 25 minutes to a restored shepherd's cottage in the middle of nowhere, and here we ate a fantastic meal cooked by a very clever chef over an open fire - and it wasn't just sausages and burgers. There's no electricity out there so the cottage and the outside were lit by about 100 storm lanterns and a similar number of candles. Suffice to say, if you want to propose marriage and are unsure of the reply then we recommend asking here where you'll be guaranteed a 'YES'.
Gemma has been bought a book on astronomy which she'd had a brief flick through. When she was describing it
to everyone else she did an impression of the book's style along the lines of "star G2450 lies 0.37 degrees north-north-easterly of G4361, interestingly enough" but Londi didn'trealise she was just joking and could only say "Wow" in admiration of her stargaving knowledge.
We got back to our room to find the housekeeping staff had been in. We had candles in the bathroom, a scroll with a 'good night' message and a bath mat next to each side of the bed covered in flowers. Perhaps they're trying a little too hard with some aspects of their approach to luxury, but when they also provide an 'infinity pool' for each handful of guests - 4 between 16 rooms - we'll forgive them.