I’m back to trolling booking.com for accommodation options for top secret travel ideas at the moment and goodness I must admit that I’m not getting anywhere! Experience has (already!) taught me that a good photographer can make the dodgiest of places look lovely, so at the moment I am a little apprehensive because the places I can afford in the place I’m currently checking out already look a little suspect, so my imagination is going to dark dark places. But that’s part of the fun of adventure, isn’t it? Roughing it in funny accommodations?
Luckily, our last trip didn’t surprise us with any accommodation that looked good online only to end up being bad in reality. I’d love to think that’s a uniquely South African hospitality trait, but the truth is I was just lucky. My kids exclaimed “This place is awesome!” at each place we booked into, and each time I replied, “Of course it is! I chose it!” Sometimes when you’re a mom you have to pretend you’re a magical unicorn instead of admitting that you’re just as surprised as they are that the affordable place you booked for five people to stay in didn’t end up looking like something from a horror movie.
Our first little home away from home was a unit at Obesa Lodge in Graaff Reinet was too quaint for words. Of course Noah fell in love with the crazy colours that a bunch of the units have been painted in. I mostly fell in love with the ability to close the door to my bedroom and hide away with my book! As far as accommodations go, this place is kind of great for the family. It’s kind of nice that there is plenty of space with in the property for the kids to explore without you having to worry that they might get themselves into trouble, or lost. The kids loved discovering the quirky decor all around the gardens, picking up lemons from under the lemon tree (they were quite disgusted when I wouldn’t let them climb the tree and pick a bunch!) and they even insisted on taking a swim in the pool. And yes, I let them, because they wouldn’t take my word for it that it was too cold to swim! There is no greater lesson than experience, now is there? For more pics of our explorations around Obesa check out the #nayesexploresobesa hashtag on Instagram. Otherwise you can find the rest of my instaexplorations here.
By the time we finally moved on from Graaff Reinet and moved on to Oudtshoorn (via Nieu Besthesda I tell you!) we were all a little grumpy and tired so we were especially delighted to find that Karoo Retreat was just too lovely for words! And the best part is that this was the cheapest place that we booked! Seriously: they are currently running a winter special and you should go and stay there. Even if you already live in Oudtshoorn! It is just too gorgeous for words and such a welcome sight after a long day sightseeing and driving. The rigid 10am checkout time was a little bit of a pity, especially since I am more accustomed to an 11am checkout time, but the fact that I didn’t have to share a bathroom with the kids (there were two) made up for this a thousandfold! My only real issue is that we only spent one night which meant that we spent very little time there. In the future I think maybe our road trips will have a two-nights rule. It really is better that way! Not only do you get a break from driving but you get a break from constantly packing and unpacking the car as well! Sometimes you need to add a little downtime to your adventure so that you have the energy to enjoy it all! More pics under #nayesexploreskarooretreat.
Finally on the last evening of our little family road trip we happily drove up to Clift Cottage where we were met by the loveliest lady, Sally, and her gorgeous cat, Abby. It pains me to admit that I forgot to photograph Abby, which is totally unlike me. Even when I was in India I photographed the cats! Anyway, we were once again pleasantly surprised at our great luck with regards to our temporary home. Our very comfortable and spacious little “cottage” was absolutely lovely! The kids absolutely loved that their bed were in the lounge because they got to watch TV while cuddled up under their blankets on their foldaway beds, and mom got to have everyone out of her hair while she read her book. Dad, of course, insisted on braaiing on the balcony despite the rain so I’m not sure his down-time was quite so comfortable, but he seemed to be in great spirits about it (boys!) and was quite proud of himself for managing to prepare the supper despite having to overcome such a drizzly challenge. Of course the cuteness of the place had me taking a bunch of photographs so be sure to check out #nayesexplorescliftcottage for more detailed pics.