Well NZ is all sorted for Christmas, but!!!!

ok, so New Zealand is all booked for Christmas but I’m thinking we need to getaway before then……

Damn cold here in Perth for July hol’s, don’t want to spend October break the same way.

MMMM, will it be a scoot off to Singapore or a weekend lounging by a pool in Bali? Anyone got any other good ideas for a warm weekend away in October? Feel free to share your thoughts with us….

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Time for the next trip I suppose….

Well Africa is now a fading memory, albeit a great memory that is well supported by 1800+ photos.

Our thoughts are now turning to our next trip, Christmas in Christchurch here we come. Time to go ‘home’ and spend a family Christmas with Helen’s mum and the rest of the family. Always a nice relaxing time. Just looking at airfares at the moment, gee there are some stupid flights options out there. Perth-Melbourne-Brisbane-Christchurch, good grief, a 24 1/2 hour trip, no thanks… Why can’t we get a direct flight to Christchurch, come on it can’t be that hard….

After that is sorted I’ll start looking at another African adventure, maybe Serengeti this time as well as Okavango Delta and Victoria Falls before a chill out in Mozambique on the way home. Just some thoughts, this will be a 4 week trip hopefully in 2016, good use of long service leave…

Oh well back to looking at flights to NZ…

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Time for home…

Well after an amazing time away it’s time to think about heading home. We’ve completed checkout from our room and are sitting in bar area just relaxing before our transfer, which unfortunately is 4 1/2 hours away still. Such a shame when check out is 12 noon regardless of transfer time. We do have a courtesy room though to shower and change before we leave.

Yesterday we took a day trip of some of the sights of the island. We started at a volcano crater, not quite what I was expecting. The crater was full of trees and dense scrub, even the rim was tree lined so it was hard to get a good view if anything. Apart that is from the ever present street hawkers. After this we found the thing that is common to very tour in any part not the world, the retail experience. Normally we look and don’t buy at these places but the first one we stopped at had some beautiful hand knotted carpets, something we have been looking for. Needless to say ours is now waiting for us at at the airport to come home as hand luggage, look for it next time you at our place, tell us what you think..

Yet more retail followed with visits to a local craft market and and fruit and veg market. The colours of the fruit and veg were amazing. Following this we headed to the Holy Basin, a very spiritual place, one that locals take pilgrimage to once a year. Luckily for us we weren’t there at this time an could take in the place in relative quiet. We were blessed by one of the monks and spent a few minutes reflecting in our travels.

Next stop was lunch at the Rhumerie La Chamarel, this is a great place to visit. Lunch was great, simple and refreshing, just what is needed in the humid weather. After lunch Vanessa took us on an tour of the place and explained the rum making process, very interesting to see how it all operates. Next was the tastings of the various rums they produce, this was very good. They are generous with the measures and at the end ask if you have one you wish to taste again. Even once we explained we went buying today due to already having alcohol duty free Vanessa was happy to keep pouring and chatting. A great experience.

From here we head Chameral waterfall and the Seven Coloured Earth. The waterfall is good to see, no Niagra Falls, but still worth a look. After the waterfall you carry on to the Seven Coloured Earth, this was a little disappointing. From pictures we had seen we expected something much bigger and with more colour definition. This is not to say it is not worth a look, just that it may not be all you had hoped it would be.

Then came the drive back down to Paradis, the roads are narrow and at this point you are fairly high up in the mountains. This lead to a series of hairpin bends that would have had the boys on Top Gear salivating. Our driver then dropped us off for a well needed drink back at our resort.

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Aah Mauritius

Well we’ve been a little quiet for the last few days, not there’s nothing to write about but more that we’ve just been chilling out.

We spent yesterday lazing by the beach reading our books and sipping on gin & tonics, not a bad way to spend the day. After our time at Simbambili it was nice to just stop.

Paradis is set on the point at La Morne, it has the most amazing beaches and last nights sunset was simply spectacular. The resort itself is nice, although the rooms are a little tired and could do with a freshen up. Ours has mismatched curtains and the furniture shows signs of wear. The food at the main restaurant last night was excellent, so much variety at the buffet it took a few minutes to take it all in before we attacked. We have the half board option so breakfast and dinner are included. Lunch can be quite expensive and there are no options to just walk out the gate and go to an nearby restaurant. Drinks are also fairly expensive, given they have a captive market this seems excessive.

This morning we went for an ocean cruise, hoping to swim with dolphins. We didn’t get to as the lone dolphin we spotted was more interested in playing hide and seek with us. We did though go snorkelling over a coral reef, the colours were brilliant and there was a huge array of fish to watch. The ride back was great, we detoured to look at a new villa development all with private boat docks, very flash. After that we cruised back through the crystal clear water watching the coral pass by underneath us. It was a great way to spend a morning.

After lunch we went for a stroll along the beach, just taking in the resort. We then decided, or I decided, to visit the driving range at the golf course. The course looks pretty good so I thought hitting a bucket of balls would be a good idea. I hit the ball fairly well but it was on the range and not a fairway, not a tree in sight. Very humid on the course though.

Now we are just chilling on the deck with a glass of Mo√ęt, and early anniversary drink. Tomorrow we’ve hired a driver to take us out to see some of the sights.

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Farewell South Africa! Hello Mauritius

Well our time in South Africa has sadly come to an end.

It has been absolutely amazing and has exceeded every expectation that we had. We thought we would be lucky to see three of the Big Five, we saw them all by our third game drive. Some people have been here several times and not seen them all. We saw herds of elephant with their young, a family of giraffe, numerous impala and warthog.

Possibly the most moving experience was our encounter with lions mauling a young leopard. This was both upsetting and astounding at the same time. The leopard had made a kill and was distracted by its meal giving the lions chance to sneak up on it. They left it severely injured and returned to their cubs, the attack most probably to keep their own young safe. The leopard was left alive but seriously injured, we heard the next day that two hyena had been seen with a leopard skin……

After many amazing encounters at Simbambili we moved to Summerfields, again a jaw droppingly beautiful place. Our tented suite overlooked a series of rapids on the Sabie River. The staff here were sensational, Helen wanted to take two of them home with us! Sadly our hot air ballooning was cancelled due to poor weather, although this did then give us chance to wander the grounds and just relax.

We’re sitting now at Kruger Mpumalanga Airport waiting for our flight back to Johannesburg and then on to Mauritius. What will Mauritius have in store for us? Well only time will tell, check back here for updates.

Cheers

High Resolution Press Images:

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Summerfields Spa & Rose Retreat

We arrived at Summerfields early yesterday afternoon and were shown to our tented suite overlooking the Sabie River, just amazing. We are right on the rapids and the noise is quite intense, although also very therapeutic. The room is something else, open air bathroom with a huge bath looking straight out at the river. A great deck to sit and relax, where I’m writing this actually.

After a freshen up we headed out to the River Cafe for lunch. This is a great spot to sit and watch the river while enjoying great food. The staff are so friendly they make your time a joy. We booked dinner at the main restaurant and as we don’t have a car here Sean, who runs front of house, also arranged to pick us up and take us to dinner. The gardens and pathways are spectacular, the array of flora is just mind-blowing.

Dinner was just brilliant, we were shown to a table on the verandah overlooking the gardens. They grow all their own produce here on the grounds, so you know it is all fresh and organic. Again the staff were great. After dinner Sean drove us back to the lodge, they don’t like guests walking as hippo have been known to wander the grounds and have in the past scared staff or guests who were unaware of their presence.

We settled in for an early night, when you close up the tent and switch the lights off it is pitch black. The sounds of the river is so soothing so sleep was just around the corner. As I mentioned in a separate blog post ballooning the next morning was not a huge success, but nothing to do with Summerfields. It did give us chance though for a ‘sleep in’ and then breakfast. How magical was this, breakfast overlooking the river while hippo played in the water below.

Today we have just chilled out! After breakfast we went and sat by the pool, it was a little cool in the water, but very invigorating. It’s a great spot to read and relax, which we did over a G&T. Then after a little walk and a rest it was time for lunch.

Lunch was brilliant! Not just the food but being entertained by James and Peterson, two of the staff. These two are just good fun, they feed off the guests sense of humour and just add to your experience. They know when to step in and what to say to make you feel special. Then when Sean joins them it just is great fun. We haven’t laughed so much at lunch for ages. Helen wanted to bring James home with us, Peterson was all for helping him pack, but we can’t spoil such a good double act. Just a great way to spend an afternoon. We’ve got dinner tonight here as well, what will James and Peterson have in store this evening?

Tomorrow we have an early start for the airport in Nelspruit, then off to Mauritius for the last part if our adventure. Africa is just amazing, we will have to start planning a return trip, and soon..

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