Katse dam

Lesotho

Type: Accommodation and place of interest

We headed out to Katse Dam, Lesotho over the weekend. There were 16 bikes and a back up support vehicle that went with on the trip. We left Johannesburg down the N1 at 05:30am on Friday morning, with a brief stop for coffee and muffins at Villiersdorp.

Then we headed off to Thanda Tau for a buffet breakfast and a fill up for the bikes that needed it. This is a great little pit stop on your way to Durban.

Then we headed down south, through Harrismith and past the Sterkfontein dam to Little Switzerland for some drinks and photos with the Drakensburg in the background.

Then it was back on the bikes to head back around the Sterkfontein dam, through Phuthaditjhaba to Witsieshoek for lunch. But not before we stopped for another photo.

Some awesome pictures, and beautiful weather allowed for magnificent views over the valley. After lunch it was time to get back on the bikes and time to head towards Clarens. But half way through Golden Gate we did a small detour up the mountain to a look-out point and took more photos.

Then back on the bikes through Golden Gate, we headed past Clarens, 8 kms past Clarens to the Ash River Highlands Water Project. This is where the water enters South Africa from the Katse Dam Highlands Water Project. This is the size of the pipe that brings water from Katse Dam to South Africa.

Then back onto our bikes to our final stop in Clarens for the day. Time to refill to prepare for the following days trip, unpack, freshen up, enjoy a sundowner on the deck at the Maluti Mountain Lodge, supper and then bed.

Up early the next morning for breakfast and a quick route chat from our group leader Leon. We had a chance to catch this hot air balloon in the Golden Gate valley.

Then it was time to head to the Lesotho border at Caledonspoort. It was quick and easy through this border post and then on our way to Katse Dam. But not before our mountainous climb through 320 bends as we weaved our way to the top of the mountain. A quick stop for a picnic at the top of the mountain viewing point.

Back on the bikes, down the other side, once again weaving through what felt like another 320 bends. If you were not very comfortable in going through bends before this trip, believe me you would know your bike by the end of this trip. I was amazed at how well the fully laiden GS with panniers, top box and pillion just glided through those turns at 45 degrees. Then we headed towards Katse Dam. After dropping off our bags at our chalets, it was time to head to the information Centre for a tour into the dam wall.

Not only did we go inside the dam wall, but we then rode around to the top of the dam wall, where we stopped and popped some champagne in memory of a fellow rider who passed away just the month before. Then onto our chalets for some r&r before supper.

The next morning again an early start, all the way back through the 600 bends and turns to the Ficksburg border post, back to Clarens for lunch at Rotar Hahn. Then back to Villiers and Johannesburg. We arrived back home at around 4pm on Sunday afternoon with lots of memories and photos of an amazing trip with amazing people. New friends have been made and new experiences shared.

At the bottom of this blog, you can scroll all the way to the bottom to view all the places we have visited over the past 2 and a half years. Click on the name of the restaurant and it will open up, where we went and our experience of the place. Hope you enjoyed this blog, hope to see you out and about soon.

Advertisements

Le Meridien Hotel

Ile Maurice ~ Mauritius 

Type: Accommodation

Website: http://www.lemeridien-mauritius.com/

We did not visit this one on our BMW R1200GS Adventure, but we celebrated 25 years of marriage here this week and I thought of sharing our experience with you.


Beautiful beaches and sunsets that are out of a magazine… this is really what it looks like here, no photoshop or trying to make it look better than what it really is.

On arrival at the hotel we were greeted by hotel staff that immediately make you feel welcome and offered us a welcome cocktail while they completed the necessary documentation.


Then we were upgraded from a deluxe room to an executive suite, not sure if this was because we are celebrating a very special anniversary. (25 years) We were very surprised and happy for the upgrade.


Nothing can beat a dinner right on the beach with the sound of waves right by your dinner table. The food is signature style quality in look and taste and all the staff are so friendly and helpful, nothing is too much for them or too much bother.

Day 1: was spent getting to know the resort, unwinding at the sauna and reading a book while it rained it the late afternoon. The perfect start to a very relaxed and peaceful break.

Day 2: we decided to take a scooter ride out to Grand Bay, so although it is not on my BMW, the scooter option was a lot of fun and we blended in with the many locals using their small 125cc motorcycles.


Day 3: was spent doing water sports and enjoying the sun, beach and cocktails.


Day 4: we decided to travel a bit further out on the scooter to explore more of the island.

Day 5: we are celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary on a catamaran cruise. I will post a separate blog just on this special day.

Day 6: we will be relaxing once again at the sauna, reading a book and winding down.

Day7: we head back to South Africa

Below are some pictures from this beautiful island, walks on the beach and our time here in Mauritius.

At the bottom of this blog, you can scroll all the way to the bottom to view all the places we have visited over the past 2 and a half years. Click on the name of the restaurant and it will open up, where we went and our experience of the place. Hope you enjoyed this blog, hope to see you out and about soon.

Thaba Moshate Hotel

Peermont Metcourt Hotel and Casino 

Type: Accommodation

Website: http://www.thabamoshate.co.za/

We were lucky enough to win a 2 night stay at this luxury Hotel and Casino in Burgersfort. We chose the long weekend to spoil ourselves and rode through Friday morning. It was a 3 and a half hour ride through Emalahleni, Middelburg, Steelpoort and finally onto Burgersfort.

On arrival we were pleasantly surprised at this little piece of luxury situated just on the outskirts of the main town, far enough out to be away from the city, but close enough for the convenience of dropping in at the shops for a bottle of wine.


Rooms are comfortable with mood lighting, large screen TV and all the necessities like hairdryer, safe and a coffee station in the room. The restaurant offers buffet and al a carte menu options and there is more than enough variety and choice to delight your fancy.


We took a ride out to Dullstroom passing through Lydenburg on Saturday, this was an hour and a half ride out through the Waterfall pass. Parts of the road were very bad with huge potholes on a stretch of road, but the most beautiful scenery riding through the mountains.


We had waffles at The Waffle Co and a walk through Dullstroom to the various arts and crafts shops, this was a great day out. The ride back seemed shorter than going there, because we went on the highway going back so the roads were better.

Saturday afternoon we watched the rugby SA vs France in the 2nd test and then turned in for an early night, watching movies with popcorn and a bottle of red wine.

Sunday (Fathers Day) it was time to pack up and head back home.

At the bottom of this blog, you can scroll all the way to the bottom to view all the places we have visited over the past 2 and a half years. Click on the name of the restaurant and it will open up, where we went and our experience of the place. Hope you enjoyed this blog, hope to see you out and about soon.

Espresso Caffe Bistro

In Parkhurst

Type: Restaurant

We have tried something different this week and found this awesome European style cafe along 4th Avenue in Parkhurst. It has a great vibe, great food and friendly staff.


There are a number of small boutique style shops, cafes, bistro’s, pubs and restaurants along this short stretch of road, giving it character and unique atmosphere. People walking their dogs stop by for a drink before continuing on their journey.

A great place for a breakfast or light lunch and supper in the early evening.

At the bottom of this blog, you can scroll all the way to the bottom to view all the places we have visited over the past 2 and a half years. Click on the name of the restaurant and it will open up, where we went and our experience of the place. Hope you enjoyed this blog, hope to see you out and about soon.

Leopard Lodge

Type: Accommodation and Restaurant

Website: http://www.leopardlodge.co.za/

We visited this beautiful gem hidden away against the Magaliesburg mountain in a forest gorge overlooking the Hartebeespoort Dam. It transports you from the hustle and bustle of the city to a tranquil secluded tropical forest where the sounds of the bird life is all that is heard. It’s just a short 55km drive from Sandton and 60km from Pretoria, but well worth the trip.


We took a ride out from Honeydew, through Muldersdrift, Hekpoort and along the R560 through Skeerpoort to Leopard Lodge this morning.


On arrival at the main reception, it was evident that excellent service is lived here and the friendly staff were waiting on our arrival welcoming us to the restaurant, and our table. There is a rustic wooden bar, conference rooms and a large veranda which transforms into one of the wedding venues available at Leopard Lodge.


After breakfast we went and sat outside under the trees overlooking the Hartebeespoort Dam. What a magnificent view, they also have an outside boma with tables and chairs to sit and relax and enjoy a fresh garden salad or a light lunch.

An a la carte menu is offered from Wednesdays to Saturdays and a buffet lunch is available every Sunday. Picnics can be arranged for those who prefer a light meal in the bush. (Advance booking required).


We also took a walk through the gardens to the outside chapel which has a unique view which overlooks the dam in the background. We had to take a picture here to show you… maybe one of the best places to tie the knot.


I would strongly recommend Leopards Lodge to any of my friends or family as a place to add to your bucket list, as we attempt to visit 52 places in 52 weeks, this is definitely one we will return to.

Check out their website for accommodation rates and availability.

At the bottom of this blog, you can scroll all the way to the bottom to view all the places we have visited over the past 2 and a half years. Click on the name of the restaurant and it will open up, where we went and our experience of the place. Hope you enjoyed this blog, hope to see you out and about soon.

Kloofzicht

Kloofzicht Lodge and Spa:

Type: Accommodation and Restaurant

Aprox cost: R2370 per room per night

Website: http://kloofzicht.co.za

We were fortunate to have Sunday lunch at this beautiful lodge and spa. On arriving at the main gate on Sunday afternoon we did not know what to expect? Riding down the road to the main lodge we were met by a number of buck (eland, kudu, wildebees, impala and springbok) along the way, almost as if they were welcoming us to their home. The view of the lodge on the dam, from the top of the road was spectacular and set the tone for what was going to be a weekend to remember and a place we would tell our friends about.

The lodge is situated at the feet of the Zwartkops mountain range in the Cradle of Humankind and provides guests with a number of activities to choose from. There is the fine dining experience of the restaurant, relaxation at the spa, fly fishing at one of the trout dams, a walk up one of the trails or just quietly sitting reading a book on a bench – Kloofzicht has it all.


We thoroughly enjoyed our Sunday lunch and decided to spend the rest of the afternoon walking around the dams and watching some newly weds try their hand at fly fishing. Kloofzicht is also a popular wedding venue with the outdoor chapel right on the waters edge, saying your vows to the sound of a mother goose and her babies on the water must be something special.
Try this restaurant or accommodation next time you just want to break away from the city hustle and bustle.

At the bottom of this blog, you can scroll all the way to the bottom to view all the places we have visited over the past 2 and a half years. Click on the name of the restaurant and it will open up, where we went and our experience of the place. Hope you enjoyed this blog, hope to see you out and about soon.

Cradle Moon Game Lodge

Type: Restaurant and Lodge

Website: https://www.cradlemoon.co.za/

We were pleasantly surprised by this gem  right on our doorstep, literally 15 minutes ride from where we stay in Honeydew. You enter the game lodge through a security gate and then ride up this short potholed road up the hill that doesn’t look very promising, but as you come over the rise a lush green paradise nestled in a valley opens up before you.


We made a reservation for breakfast outside at the pool. We were shown to our table and ordered our coffees. What a beautiful setting, with a number of rondavels spread out under the trees and some zebra, giraffe and buck roaming free on the grounds. Breakfast was a buffet with anything and everything to eat. What a spread. After eating our fill and enjoying the outside summer air, we decided to take a walk down to the lake.


To our surprise we walked around to the dam wall and found the most beautiful falls. Water gushing over the dam wall after all the rains we have had lately was a sight to behold. We then sat on a bench under the trees and chatted about how lucky we are to experience these beautiful places in nature.

At the bottom of this blog, you can scroll all the way to the bottom to view all the places we have visited over the past 2 and a half years. Click on the name of the restaurant and it will open up, where we went and our experience of the place. Hope you enjoyed this blog, hope to see you out and about soon.

Clifftop Exclusive Lodge

Clifftop exclusive safari hideawayType: Accommodation
Approx cost: R4,200 per person per night
Website: http://clifftoplodge.co.za/
This premium exclusive lodge is situated 3 ½ hours from Johannesburg in the Malaria free Welgevonden Private Game Reserve in the Waterberg Mountains.
Clifftop Exclusive Safari Lodge is a special place where service is exemplary and luxury is evident. We had to leave our vehicle at the main gate parking and was picked up by the owners in a Land Rover as the road leading up to the main lodge was too steep and rocky.

Each cabin is perfectly positioned along the cliff overlooking the Sterkstroom River to offer exclusivity and privacy. Each cabin has its own splash pool, outside deck and outside bed for those long summer nights.
We were introduced to our very own butler who would look after us for the weekend, he served us dinner in a private setting at the main lodge. We felt like royalty as the other cabins were all fully booked, but we didn’t see any of the other couples. Each couple was served the 3 course dinner in their own private setting at the main lodge. Quite extraordinary and exclusive and romantic all at the same time.

The next morning at breakfast was the first time we managed to see that there were in fact other couples staying over the weekend. (the price includes all meals and game drives) After breakfast we headed on the first game drive of the morning and came across a number of animals including, Lion, Rhino, various buck, zebra, giraffe and a troop of Elephants.

We were looking for Leopards on our game drive but these shy animals avoided being detected, hiding in the rocky outcrops. Out of sight to the untrained eye. The weekend was most relaxing and enjoyable. We got our fair share of game viewing, relaxing, privacy and 5-star service and food. Before we knew it the weekend was over and we were being driven back down to the main gate for our 3 hour trip back to Johannesburg.

At the bottom of this blog, you can scroll all the way to the bottom to view all the places we have visited over the past 2 and a half years. Click on the name of the restaurant and it will open up, where we went and our experience of the place. Hope you enjoyed this blog, hope to see you out and about soon.

Stonehaven on Vaal

Type: Restaurant

Website: http://www.stonehaven.co.za/

We took a 45 min ride out to Stonehaven on Vaal in Vanderbijlpark for our breakfast run. The restaurant is set alongside the Vaal River and features indoor or outdoor seating. On a nice summers day it is ideal to take advantage of the outdoor seating where mini gazebos are set up on the grass bank overlooking the Vaal river. This is a beautiful setting on the green grass bank, and if you are lucky you will see some sporting activities like water skiing, jet packs and jet ski’s also pass by from time to time.

stonehaven-2


We enjoyed it so much at Stonehaven a few weeks later, we took my dad there for breakfast . (Not on the bike, we went through by car)

Stonehaven restaurant offers fast friendly service, but they also serve a great breakfast at reasonable prices. Well worth the ride out.

Other attractions at Stonehaven, they offer boat cruises, Sunday lunch cruises and sunset cruises on the Vaal River. This has also become a very popular wedding venue.

While we were there we took a walk-about on the boat while it was docked.


There are also some benches along the waterfront to relax on, a swimming pool, a jungle gym for the kids to play on and a small petting zoo to see some farm animals. Fun in the sun for the whole family.

At the bottom of this blog, you can scroll all the way to the bottom to view all the places we have visited over the past 2 and a half years. Click on the name of the restaurant and it will open up, where we went and our experience of the place. Hope you enjoyed this blog, hope to see you out and about soon.

Budmarsh private lodge

Budmarsh 5 star private lodge

Type: Accommodation and restaurant

Approx Cost: R4,000 per room per night

Website: http://www.budmarsh.co.za/

We took a 40 minute ride out to Budmarsh private lodge situated in the heart of the Magaliesberg. They offer  5-star accommodation and conference facilities in a country styled setting. This makes it the ideal venue for weddings, conferences and team building events. Or alternatively if you just want to come through and book a private picnic outside under the trees.


Guests can relax around the swimming pool, take a walk, or play some snooker, but this place offers the ultimate in quiet, peaceful tranquility and 5-star service.

We did not stay over but asked to view the  rooms, 3 room types are available at Budmarsh – Luxury, Superior and Superior Suite. (prices are available on their website) We did enjoy their breakfast outside on the patio. It was such a pleasant morning. After breakfast we went for a walk around the complex and the grounds.


It was then time to get on the bike and head out. South Africa vs Australia rugby game was coming on later the afternoon and I was already kitted out in my rugby jersey to support the bokke.

At the bottom of this blog, you can scroll all the way to the bottom to view all the places we have visited over the past 2 and a half years. Click on the name of the restaurant and it will open up, where we went and our experience of the place. Hope you enjoyed this blog, hope to see you out and about soon.

Harties cableway

Type: Cableway and Restaurant

Website: http://www.hartiescableway.co.za/

We took an hour ride Past Lanseria to Harties and decided to check out the cableway. We both come from Cape Town and have been living in Johannesburg for the past 8 years now and we didn’t even know Johannesburg has its own cableway. On arriving at the base station we were excited to see the smaller cable cars and surprised by how many were going up and down constantly.


We waited in the queue, bought our tickets and moved up the ramp to the entrance of the base station. The queue moved quite quickly and before we knew it we were shuffled into the moving cable car and the doors closed behind us. We were off… The cable car picks up speed to start its ascend against the Magaliesberg, ‘this is a World Heritage Site, known for its natural beauty and rich heritage. Its lush vegetation and picturesque valleys make it a popular escape for residents of the nearby cities, Johannesburg and Pretoria. It is also a popular wedding destination and boasts a number of hotels and spas.’ – website.

But my wife was not interested in Heritage site or the lush vegetation and picturesque valleys as the wind picked up slightly and the cable car began to sway gently in the wind. “Oh my gosh, oh my gosh” was heard most of the way up. I suppose it depends on which side of the cable car you are seated, either ascending facing forward or backward how you will experience it. I was facing backward and had the beautiful view of the Hartebeespoort Dam as we ascended, it was magnificent.


On arriving at the top base station, once again the doors open and you need to shuffle out while the cable car is still in motion. Hurriedly we are getting out while other customers are on the other side waiting to get in.

There is a beautiful wooden deck on top with a restaurant, curio shops and look out posts. I was quite surprised and immediately thought about the effort it must have taken to bring all this equipment up to build it.

The views from the top are spectacular and definitely something everyone should at least try once.


We then took a walk around the walkway and this lead us to a large open area on top of the mountain where there were more little rest areas, an ice cream kiosk  and another restaurant. They had some trampoline jumping activities and music was playing. We bought an ice cream and got into one of the colorful old cable car booths that are used as stalls to sit in and eat or just relax in and reminisce about when these were used as the cable cars in the good old days.


After spending about 2 hours on top it was finally time to leave. My wife was not keen on the trip down and was still nervous from the trip up, but this time she faced forward descending and had the beautiful view of the dam on her way down. The wind had also subsided which helped and we met a German couple which sparked a conversation about their holiday in our beautiful country. Before we knew it we were at the bottom, once again quickly being shuffled out of our car.

A beautiful day in the sun doing something new and interesting and now it was time to head back home on the BMW R1200GS Adventure.

At the bottom of this blog, you can scroll all the way to the bottom to view all the places we have visited over the past 2 and a half years. Click on the name of the restaurant and it will open up, where we went and our experience of the place. Hope you enjoyed this blog, hope to see you out and about soon.

Forum Homini

5 Star hotel and restaurant 

Type: Accommodation & Restaurant

Approx: R4 450 per night

Website: http://www.forumhomini.com

We heard about this restaurant from a work colleague and decided to take a look. We arrived at the main gate to the game reserve at Letamo and was informed that you need to make a reservation for the restaurant. This was disappointing but as it was our wedding anniversary celebration we decided to make the reservation for the next week-end.

We received email notifications of our booking and confirmation of payment. On Saturday we then took a second ride out to Letamo game reserve and this time on arrival at the gate our names were on the list. We entered the gate and took the 1.5 km ride down a dirt road to the restaurant and hotel. On arrival it is hidden in the long grass and you would think you are at the wrong place, but clearly marked signage guides you to reception.

The restaurant is built on a small dam and is private and secluded. The waiters and staff are 5 star and professional, and the food is master chef quality. The start of our 5 course breakfast dining experience started with some orange juice, and date yoghurt with sesame and sunflower seeds. Heather and myself looked at the menu and said to each other ‘Kingklip and Venison’ for breakfast? This was confusing as there was no bacon and eggs on the menu. An elderly couple sitting near us were clearly not happy that they could not have bacon and eggs. We decided that this was something we have never done and wanted to explore something new and unique.

Presentation was a work of art on a plate and the combinations of seeds, paste and veggies worked well together. Bringing a taste explosion in your mouth that left you coming back for more. Each portion was exactly what was needed to get to taste each individual item but well balanced to bring it all together.

After breakfast we were pleasantly surprised by a little dessert presented to us to celebrate our 24 year wedding anniversary.

image

We then went for a short walk around the hotel and was shown the Presidential Suite at only R5 500 per night you get a beautiful spacious room with a lounge and kitchenette, indoor and outdoor double shower, indoor jet bath and outdoor heated splash pool in your own private garden. This is definitely something to try for the next special event to celebrate.

Then we were back on the bike and took a further hour long ride around the game reserve and witnessed a number of animals on the reserve, zebra, springbok, gemsbok, wildebees and eland.

At the bottom of this blog, you can scroll all the way to the bottom to view all the places we have visited over the past 2 and a half years. Click on the name of the restaurant and it will open up, where we went and our experience of the place. Hope you enjoyed this blog, hope to see you out and about soon.

Beetleloop

Beetleloop Guesthouse in Nelspruit:

Type: Guesthouse Accommodation

Approx: From R490 per night

Website: http://www.beetleloop.co.za

We have found this guesthouse about 8 years ago and built a friendship with the owners Rina and Piet. Whenever we travel to Nelspruit, Beetleloop is our accommodation of choice. We planned our first long distance trip from Johannesburg to Nelspruit on the bike. We did not want to go on the highway and planned the route through a number of small towns to Nelspruit.

We left Joburg at around 11am and travelled down the N17 past Springs to Bethal, where we stopped for a short water break. Then along R38 to Hendrina where we stopped again for some snacks and energy drinks. We continued along the R38 through Carolina and Badplaas to  Nelspruit. Riding down through the mountains into Nelspruit was beautiful, even after a full day (5 hours) on the road.

This was a unique experience spending the whole day riding with Heather on the back and talking together on our Scala Rider kit brings us closer together as a couple.

What a relief to get to Beetleloop and see Rina waiting for us. She gave us our special honeymoon suite that we always book. The beds are enormous and comfortable and this evening seemed to invite us.

imageThe hospitality is friendly, warm and like family. Breakfast in the morning is always professionally presented and extremely tasty. We absolutely love staying here… There is also so much to see and do in and around Nelspruit, Hazyview, Sabie, Graskop and Pilgrims Rest.

Check out the local maps for things to do locally.

At the bottom of this blog, you can scroll all the way to the bottom to view all the places we have visited over the past 2 and a half years. Click on the name of the restaurant and it will open up, where we went and our experience of the place. Hope you enjoyed this blog, hope to see you out and about soon.

B’Sorah

B’Sorah luxury tent accommodation:

Type: Luxury tented camp

Approx cost: R630 per night

Website: http://www.bsorah.com

We found this gem by chance, we took a ride out to Harties and I always look to take a new route. Sometimes I check on Google maps for a different route and I try not take the same route back, if you ride out one way you must come back another way. On our way we found a signboard – B’Sorah luxury tented camp. I took down the number and details and called as soon as we got home. I was surprised by the price and availability so we booked for the following weekend.

The Friday when we got home from work, we quickly packed the pannier boxes and hopped onto the bike and left for our weekend away at B’Sorah. Very excited as this was our first time sleeping in a tent. Well a luxury tent with a double bed, bath, shower, toilet and outside kitchenette, fitted with fridge, cutlery and crockery. This was one of the best, most quiet, peaceful weekends we have experienced since before TV. We sat around a fireplace reading and talking and sipping on red wine. The tents are private and secluded in the bush, so if you do not want to see anyone else except the sound of birds and the odd buck roaming past your tent, then B’Sorah is the ideal getaway.

“Hidden among the beautiful bushveld, B’Sorah is home to a luxury safari tented camp and 4×4 campsite. Guests are welcome to explore the farm by foot, or bring your bicycle if you prefer to cycle. B’sorah is a nature lover’s paradise, a place to unwind, relax and get in tune with nature again. Hartbeespoortdam is only fifteen minutes away, and the surrounding attractions, shops and facilities will satisfy every need and keep you busy for hours. For our camp guests, you will hear the francolins’ call at sunset, the perfect accompaniment to your evening barbecue.” – website 

At the bottom of this blog, you can scroll all the way to the bottom to view all the places we have visited over the past 2 and a half years. Click on the name of the restaurant and it will open up, where we went and our experience of the place. Hope you enjoyed this blog, hope to see you out and about soon.