Thursday 19th February 2015 - The wilderness

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February 19th 2015
Published: March 3rd 2015
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Thursday 19th February 2105 - The Wilderness

Our next destination was an area called The Wilderness where we had booked into a rather nice old game type lodge called Portland Manor. To get there we travelled along the infamous "Garden route" which was certainly green and lush compared to the rest of Africa. We also came across some excellent beaches and near to one beach we stopped to share some time and thoughts with a local guy who cycled, by hand as his legs were paralysed. ( you have never seen so many ingenious ways of repairing punctures. He had used fishing line to tie a knot around the holes - amazingly most worked. We gladly gave up our puncture repair kit and some money's to help him get sorted out.

Laughing along the way as we passed places with names such as Phantom Pass, Phantom House, spooky house and wondering what prompts all these eerie names.... We were soon to find out!!

Approaching the Manor by means of a 3 km driveway was quite impressive and were met by a young gateman who unfortunately could not open the electronic gates as the remote did not work!! It wasn't an impressive start to the stay and we almost turned around to find somewhere else.

After about 25 minutes and no joy with the electronic gates, the gateman dismantled the 'opening arms' and allowed access to - well - a series of rather eccentric buildings including an English bar, a Restuarant and a large country lodge, but there were no people!? Was,this the Phantom Hotel? Fortunately after a short time a large gentleman appeared and introduced himself as the owner - but he made it very clear didn't like guests, just tolerated them: his wife dealt with guests, but she was in town!!!!! Unperturbed and having gone so far to try and make the evening stay work we used our best humour and panache to win the old boy over - who actually turned into a real star. It was all plain sailing from there on - being shown around the property and given a free run of the grounds, which included a private game park ( with zebras and antelopes ) and a large lake which could have contained anything that eats you, but claimed to be a skiing lake!? Not for us thank you..

The whole experience was amazing. There were no other guests in this huge lodge. We had diner prepared and served to us by the lady of the house. It was like steeping back in time about 50 years or so and being treated as the Lord and Lady of the manor! A large fire was lit, the table laid, silver service and a three course meal served in the dining room that would be about the size of most modern houses.

After a sumptuous meal and fabulous evening we retired to a rather large suite fit for a king!! As described earlier the area is called The Wilderness and very remote and quiet! After an hour or so in bed, it started....... A continuous tap tap tapping noise could be heard which gradually got louder - time for Geoff to investigate (well he is ex police) and I certainly wasn't going to check it out! It turned out to be rather larger than life acorns dropping onto the tin veranda roof!! We were later to find out that the original owner had brought the oak tree seedlings with him from England over 200 years ago!!! How the imagination can get carried away!!

INTERESTING FACT: if you wanted to purchase this Grand property with its 58 hectares, conference centre, bar, restaurant and lodge/s with 18 bedrooms it's available at only £3 million sterling!!!

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