- March 14, 2017
- April 30, 2016
I hope that I can describe our holiday at Valalta without it sounding like an exaggeration but at the same time I need to give Valalta the credit that it deserves, so here goes:
It would be unfair to compare Valalta with any other resort, so I am just going to mention our one week holiday at Valalta. We flew to Prague in Czech Republic and our friend, Michal was waiting at the airport for us. We spent a day and a half at Michal’s lovely home catching up on sleep because neither Amanda nor I had managed to sleep on the plane. Funny enough, Czech Republic is the same time zone as South Africa but the first difference we noticed was that in summer there, the sun starts rising at about 4am and only sets at about 10pm.
We decided to leave at 5am on the Saturday, because we had arranged an 8am meeting in Austria with Sieglinde Ivo, the President of the International Naturist Federation (INF), who also happens to be the President of the Austrian Naturist Federation. We wanted her advice about a number of matters but our main aim was to attract international Naturist Tourists to South Africa.
When we woke up, it was raining cats and dogs and with wet weather and driving on the right side of the road, we tried to relax but we were very excited and nervous at the same time. Luckily both Michal and Martina are very good drivers and better still they are great hosts so they went out of their way to make us enjoy our holiday. The meeting with the President in Austria went well and we were given INF golf shirts, key rings, stickers etc. Thank you so much Sieglinde!
We were thrilled with our meeting but as we entered Slovenia and then Croatia, Amanda and I were like two little kids, smiling, winking at each other and squeezing hands like naughty teenagers. We had heard all about Valalta and for a few months it was “min dae” (in English “few days”) but at this stage of the trip it was not just
a few days but down to a few hours and then a few minutes. We arrived at Valalta at about 3pm.
There are a number of “House Rules” at Valalta and Michal had been there on numerous occasions so we already knew most of the rules. We had to “cover up” when in the reception/office area, in the supermarkets and in the restaurants (only at night). Normally Michal is the first to strip, closely followed by Amanda and Martina and I am normally last but we arrived fully clothed and went into the Reception Area.
I can only compare the reception area to a City Lodge or Holiday Inn except better and more staff. We were welcomed in German but the friendly lady soon realised that we speak English and she quickly switched to English. They were “on the ball” had all the paperwork ready, took all of our passports so they could register all of us in their own time and within less than 5 minutes we had the keys for the chalet and with a map clearly marked in pen, we had directions to our accommodation. By the way, in the reception area, there is a foreign exchange clerk, 2 ATMs, an information clerk who also controls the Wi-Fi and about 6 computers on line for visitors and she also hands out DVDs of Valalta, maps, house rules, brochures, information about Rovinj, the nearby town and things to do etc.
This “on the ball” way of doing business is evidently influenced by the many German speaking naturists and this strive for perfection is very evident. This is not easy when you consider that Valalta is 121 Hectares and has a capacity of 7,500 visitors/naturists and 400 staff. There are 2,600 camping/caravan sites and 1,231 apartments. The day that we arrived (28th June), there were 4,300 visitors there but that would increase daily as school holidays started in various countries and they were expecting to have over 7,000 visitors by the end of July. Visitors are mostly from Germany, then Austria followed by Italy and then a few from other European countries, we soon got to learn by the car number plates, which country the car was from.
Each chalet has a number (thank heavens not a tree, animal or bird name LOL) and the same number appears on the allocated parking place which is under shade cloth. So with 1,231 parking places plus a lot more for day visitors, they are in rows next to the tarred roads and not close to the chalets. The chalets are in a type of a maze and only bicycles enter the maze – not cars. That reminds, me, you can hire bicycles but most of the visitors from Europe bring their own bicycles and I am not exaggerating when I state that a few thousand bicycles were there. Valalta has paved paths for pedestrians and some for bicycles only so we had to read the signs or we would have been in trouble with cyclists.
The two bedroom chalet which we shared with Michal and Martina was better than we expected and even had a dishwashing machine. The cleaning lady did not wash dishes but she did clean the house and made up the beds every morning. Of course, all 400 staff wear clothes but nobody has an issue with that. She wore neat light blue shorts, a white golf shirt and sneakers (takkies). Even though they greeted the guests, they were always busy doing their job, never smoking, never sitting around and never over-friendly.
There were 2 teams of Security Guards each made up of two men, wearing black boxer shorts, white golf shirts and sneakers (takkies) on bicycles and each with a two-way radio. There was also a golf car with two guys patrolling the resort. One of the security teams would pass the beach area, where we would be tanning,
approximately every 30 minutes.
So belonging to Valalta, apart from 3 large swimming pools (2 heated), jucuzzis, saunas, a Spa offering massages etc, a pharmacy, a fruit and veg shop, a typical beach shop (clothes, flip flops, buckets and spades etc), 2 supermarkets (like a Spar), which sell lots of beer, wine, freshly baked bread and rolls, 5 restaurants, 3
entertainment stages, 13 ablution blocks (you got to see to believe), 5 beaches, its own marina for boats, a soccer field, 3 tennis courts, 2 bowling greens/Petang courts, a few tables for ping pong/table tennis, 3 minigolf courses, 3 volleyball courts in sea sand, numerous trampolines, lots of floating inflatable “obstacles” for
youngsters to have fun on and about 12 floating Pontoons (wooden decks with stairs) used for tanning, Valalta recently purchased 2,000 new plastic tanning beds and over 1,000 thatch umbrellas. The “beach” has small pebbles and sea sand in places, all brought in by the resort. There are about 30 outdoor showers to wash off
the sea water.
As if this did not impress us enough, we discovered the most important difference between the sea in Croatia compared to the ocean in South Africa: NO WAVES, hardly any difference between low tide and high tide, water so clear that we could see the bottom 10 meters deep and then to crown it all, the water was about 30
degrees. WOW! Take all of the above and add 4,300 naturists and you have “Heaven on Earth”.
Michal and Martina cycled a lot but Amanda and I decided to walk a lot and as early morning people, we started our walks at about 5.30am each day. The attached photographs were taken during our early morning walks when most of the guests were sleeping. We were afraid to take photographs when thousands of people
were around. The walks were very enjoyable but we could only manage about 20% of the perimeter per day.
There are 2 wooden towers which gave us a nice view of Valalta as well as the nearby naturist resort called Koversada which evidently has over 3,500 naturist guests in summer. Wow, within a 3 km radius, there are
over 10,000 naturists in July/August each year!
Michal is a qualified Skipper so we managed to hire a small boat to take us to see Koversada, which is less than 1 km away from Valata by sea, however, by road it is a drive of over 10 kms because the drive goes via Rovinj and around the channel over a bridge and back to the coast. After looking at Koversada from the boat, we went up the channel for a while before we returned to Valalta. We noticed that floating buoys with ropes clearly separates the swimming area from the boating area so it is unlikely that a boat will drive over a swimmer. At night, there were 3 bands playing each night at 3 different venues within Valalta and there was entertainment for kids as well. There were fish picnics on large boats and all sorts of fun things to do on the programs.
The week at Valalta went past way too fast and I would like to suggest that you place Valalta on your bucket list. It was not as expensive as I thought it would be.
- April 29, 2016
Amanda and I had heard about the Striptease Trail at the Tsitsikamma Lodge and we had put it on our bucket list. We noticed that members of the facebook group of Eastern Cape Naturist Association (ECNA) were planning to do the Striptease Trail and we let them know that we would also like to join them if possible. Garth and Wendy asked when would be a good time and we mentioned the 13th or 14th February – as we would be on our way back from Badensfontein and that would save us a trip from Pretoria.
Luckily for us, ECNA then agreed on Saturday, 13th February even though it was Valentine’s weekend. We slept at Tsitsikamma Lodge on the Friday night and after breakfast we had a “Couples Massage” – after all it was Valentine’s weekend. We watched a newly married couple being photographed in the beautiful surroundings of the lodge while we waited for the other 4 couples and a single guy all from ECNA to arrive. We registered for the Striptease Trail at Reception and studied the map which they gave to us. Their sense of humour was amazing in the trail instructions, we had a good laugh.
Once everybody had arrived we headed for the first pool of nine pools which is called the Honeymoon Pool and the pool was deeper and better than expected so I was not surprised when everyone in our group stripped completely – I mean why wait until the last pool? One of the ladies beat us all to it! She and her husband were the first in and the last out. The water was the colour of Coca Cola but drinkable and clean. We all had a swim and then headed for the Halfway Pool and then the Bikini Pool. Each pool is about a 10 to 15 minute walk from each other. Next was the Topless Pool then the G-String Pool. Much to my surprise, the pools seemed to get better each time.
Next was the Bottomless Pool followed by the Boobs Pool which was a really nice, deep, pool. That was my favourite pool. After that, we then swam in the lovely Fantasy Pool before heading for the final pool which is the Kaalgat Pool (the sign also says “Full Monty”) but about a hundred meters from the pool, there is a bell with a sign instructing everybody to “Ring the bell” before proceeding to the Kaalgat Pool. We guessed it was to warn shy types of people that somebody is approaching just in case they want to “cover up”. The Kaalgat Pool was big and deep and we could easily have spent hours there!
Time was now running out so we headed back to the Lodge using the much shorter, much easier, return trail, via the top of the mountain. We all agreed that the Striptease Trail was a lot tougher than we thought it would be but it was worth the effort. That night, we really enjoyed the braai with Greg, Bev, Garth, Wendy. Unfortunately, one of the ladies broke her ankle when she twisted it on her way back. Other than that, it was a fantastic weekend and we are able to tick it off – on our bucket list.
In hindsight, we should have left earlier to do the Striptease Trail, next time (and there will be a next time), we will leave at 10h00 latest! Thank you so much ECNA!
Lofty and Amanda
We met Garmt Kolhorn at the INF Congress in Ireland in September, 2014. He is the President of the Naturisten Federatie Nederland which has 60,000 paid-up members and 12 full-time staff and their Federation has, by far, the most votes at the INF Congress. Their Federation also has a lot of experience with legal matters related to naturism – particularly naturist beaches.
After the first day of the INF Congress, when we decided to go to bed, Garmt greeted us with “Lekker Slaap” (sleep well) which was music to our ears as many of the delegates spoke either German, French or a foreign language that I did not understand. That friendly greeting started a friendship that has built bridges between South Africa and Netherlands naturism.
Garmt was invited by me to visit “Sunny South Africa” and at that stage, I thought that SANNA would again have its AGM in Badensfontein during the WCNA camping weekend at the end of January so it made sense to invite him to be our honoured guest and our guest speaker for our SANNA AGM.
I spoke to Serge, the Chairman of SANNA and to Louis, the Chairman of Western Cape Naturist Association (WCNA) and also to Rudi, the Chairman of SunEden Naturist Resort and they all gave the plan their full support.
Garmt arrived at O R Thambo International Airport in Johannesburg and as the plane touched down, I received an SMS from him “I am HOME!” which made us smile of course. Yes Garmt regards South Africa as his second home – he had been here 3 times before so this was his 4th visit and Amanda and I immediately decided that this would be his most memorable visit to South Africa.
As he walked through the doors at International Arrivals, he had a huge smile on his face (normally reserved for close family who hadn’t been seen for a long time) and that smile did not leave his face much after that.
What a nice guy and so easy to please! He is also an early riser in the mornings, he eats anything you offer him, he kept saying things like “oh my goodness” and other expressions showing how impressed and grateful he was to enjoy our beautiful resort (SunEden) and our beautiful country (South Africa). So from the very first minute, Amanda and I felt completely relaxed in his company. Garmt is down to earth and not a “Big Deal” at all. He is also one of the most considerate persons that I have ever met.
He arrived at SunEden late at night, and even though we had booked him into “Budget Accommodation”, he was “over the moon” with the accommodation and of course the woman’s touch (thanks to Amanda) of some eats, drinks and welcome “goodies”. The next morning early, Garmt was swimming his daily 50 lengths in the huge SunEden swimming pool. We then had “Kaalgat Breakfast” (nude breakfast) at Sheila’s Restaurant which overlooks the dam which had been empty due to the worst drought in over 50 years. Fortunately it was partly full of water due to some recent rains so there was plenty of bird life. Impalas and Blesbokke walked past over the dam wall seen clearly from the restaurant.
Garmt was very impressed with the resort including the accommodation which we showed him – some Company-owned – others owned by share-holders. The convenience shop, boma/dance hall and pubs also impressed him but most of all, Garmt likes to have peace and quiet away from traffic noise and away from busy shopping centres. SunEden offered him 4 days and 4 nights of peace and quiet and he was happy to read books, he tanned, swam and liked to “kuier” (socialise) with the naturists around the swimming pool. Of course, he had a “braai” (barbeque) and as usual he really enjoyed every meal and every discussion with the locals but most of all, he really enjoyed the warm weather and clear skies. Recently he had been in temperatures as low as minus 12 in the Netherlands and not much sun so he was “in heaven”.
On the Friday afternoon, we took Garmt to Mongena Lodge in the Dinokeng Game Reserve which is about a 15 minute drive from SunEden. In the 2 weeks before that, we had twice taken visitors to Mongena and we had seen 3 of the BIG 5 the first time and 4 of the BIG 5 the second time so we were hoping to see all 5 of the BIG 5 this time. Elephants, Rhino and Buffalo are normally easy to find but Lions and Leopards are not easy to see. We saw lots of game including those 3 of the BIG 5 but no lions or leopards. We did however see Cheetahs, Giraffes, Zebras, Hippos, Crocodiles, lots of types of buck and a few animals which are evidently not seen very often, so once again, our easy to please guest, Garmt, was very happy with the Game Drive.
On the Sunday morning we went to visit the Cullinan Diamond Mine which is about a 40 minute drive from SunEden. The tour started with a video and then we were taken through the mine ending at the sales counter. Garmt joked that the large diamond bought by Richard Burton for Elizabeth Taylor, was not available for me to buy for Amanda and that second best was not good enough so we refused to buy diamonds. Once again, our guest didn’t stop smiling. Garmt gave me his opinion that Dutch Naturists would enjoy the Cullinan Diamond Mine Tour if they visit SunEden.
On Sunday Afternoon, there were over 50 couples at SunEden including the Management Committee of Gauteng Naturist Association (GNA) and Garmt was happy to speak about the NFN and their experiences related to naturist/nudist beaches. He answered all the questions and he looked very relaxed. Late that afternoon, Rudi, the Chairman of SunEden, made a short speech welcoming Garmt to SunEden and handed to him a DVD of SunEden and Garmt replied accordingly saying how impressed he was with the SunEden resort.
On the Monday morning we left SunEden and headed for Port Elizabeth which is about 1,000kms from Johannesburg. We had a leisurely breakfast at Mugg and Bean at Kolonnade then drove to Colesberg in the Karoo where we had “Karoo Lam” (Lamb) which is famous in South Africa. We were at that stage about half way to Port Elizabeth. Garmt enjoyed the meal at a local restaurant and he was also happy with the accommodation at the Colesberg Lodge. We had an early night knowing that our trip to PE also included a game drive at Addo Elephant Park. Amanda and I had not previously been there so we were looking forward to seeing the elephants.
We had breakfast at Colesberg Lodge and then drove to Addo Elephant Park which is near Pattison in the Eastern Cape. Just before the turn-off we noticed lots (maybe 50) elephants next to the road on another farm. After registering and receiving a map, Amanda marked the positions of the most recent “sightings” of various game animals according to their large map outside the main offices. Garmt was our navigator and he told me where to turn and so we did our own game drive but after an hour we had not seen an elephant yet. We had seen lots of Zebra, various types of Buck, lots of bush pigs and plenty of birds including the Blue Crane which is South Africa’s national bird but no elephants. We joked that Addo Elephant Park should change its name to Addo Bush Pig Park.
A few minutes later we saw lots of cars ahead of us and we then watched over 200 elephants having mud baths, drinking water and generally having fun around a nice dam. Wow! We had never seen so many elephants at once – not even in Botswana. We then headed for Port Elizabeth using the most convenient gate and much to our surprise, we saw more elephants and many other animals on our way to the gate. Our guest was smiling from ear to ear. Amanda is crazy about steak pies made by a farm stall called Nanaka about 25kms from PE so we simply had to go there. We arrived at Pine Lodge, and after booking into our chalets, we ate our pies which were delicious as usual. We enjoyed a few beers in the restaurant while overlooking the ocean and Garmt was in heaven again.
On the Wednesday morning we left the lodge early and we quickly showed Garmt the Secrets Naturist Beach which is close to Pine Lodge. We then drove to Jeffrey’s Bay where we had breakfast at a restaurant next to the ocean. After breakfast we went to see where the world famous surfing competitions are held in Jeffrey’s Bay and then we then drove to Tsitsikamma and showed Garmt the Big Tree. On our way there, for some reason Garmt did not want to do a bungee-jump which is the longest in the world. After that we took him to my personal favourite place in SA – the Suspension Bridge at the Storms River Mouth. Amanda walked ahead and proved that she was just as fit as the men but Garmt really is fit and he even ran up some of those wooden steps. I was puffing and panting most of the way but the views are certainly worth the long walk. We then drove to Plettenburg Bay where we had lunch overlooking the ocean.
We then drove to The Heads at Knysna which from the Viewing Point is breath-taking. We then tried to book a cruise from the Waterfront to the Heads but they were all fully-booked. Knysna must surely be the most beautiful town in South Africa. We then drove through Sedgefield to Wilderness where we booked into The Wallows guesthouse which belongs to friends of ours – we stayed there for 2 nights. Garmt was in his element with the upmarket accommodation but what impressed him most, apart from the free Wi-Fi, was the lovely view of the sea from the top of a mountain with NO TRAFFIC NOISE at all! We had an enjoyable supper and wine at a local restaurant in Wilderness and then we had an early night.
On the Thursday morning, we took Garmt to Oudtshoorn to see the Cango Caves and Cango Wildlife Tours. He had previously been to an ostrich farm so we skipped that and went directly to the caves which he really enjoyed. The Wildlife tours were okay – at least we saw lions, tigers, cheetahs, crocs and many other animals. During the tour we crossed a hanging bridge above some crocs and suddenly the bridge started shaking and people screamed, however, our guest simply walked slowly over the rest of the bridge completely relaxed – it was part of the fun/tour. The drive from Oudtshoorn to George is beautiful especially the 4 passes in the mountain range. Garmt walked into the Pam Goulding Real Estate offices and he fell in love with the Wilderness Area. He decided he wanted to buy a house there considering the exchange rate of R18 to Euro1 at that stage. That night we had a braai with Garmt outside his room and enjoyed a beautiful sunset while he browsed through the brochures of properties for sale. He decided to save up and to return one day to buy a property there.
On Friday morning, the sunrise over the ocean was stunning, and Garmt had already walked around the huge property by the time we surfaced. After breakfast, we headed for Cape Agulhas to show Garmt where the Indian Ocean meets the Atlantic Ocean. We took pics of him standing at the sign with one foot in each ocean. From there we drove to a naturist resort/backpackers lodge called Bare Necessities near Swellendam where we had been invited for lunch by the owners, Neels and Petro. They welcomed us with open arms and served a lunch that was “to die for” including homemade feta cheese and homemade butter on freshly baked bread. The weather was very hot there so we had an enjoyable swim in their swimming pool before we left there to drive to Badensfontein near Montagu.
We drove through beautiful mountains followed by winelands – on our way to Badensfontein where WCNA were having their popular camping weekend under huge trees on a wine farm in the mountains. Nude, in beautiful surroundings, with lovely naturists! It cannot possibly get any better than that! We were booked into a very nice cottage with a view over the camping sites and on arrival, many of the campers had already set up camp. Louis and Vernia were the perfect hosts and joined us for a braai on the Friday night. SANNA had decided not to have an AGM or any meetings that weekend but Louis, the Chairman of WCNA had asked Garmt to be a guest speaker to address a very informal get-together in the lapa on Saturday morning. The members of WCNA seemed to enjoy his presentation and after answering questions, we all relaxed in the pool.
That night we were treated to live music and a braai with salads. Garmt enjoyed every minute of the weekend and he made friends with many of the WCNA members. On Sunday morning, we thanked Louis and Vernia and we drove to Franschoek and took Garmt to the top of that mountain to look down on the town – certainly one of the most beautiful views in South Africa. From there we drove around the huge Theawaterskloof Dam and through the apple farms near Elgin to Hermanus. We knew that it was the wrong time of the year to see whales but we still enjoyed lunch at a restaurant overlooking the bay/ocean with beautiful views.
From Hermanus we drove around the coastal road via Rooi Els and Gordon’s Bay to Serge’s home in Somerset West where we stayed for 3 nights. We then enjoyed a swim in Serge’s swimming pool before we went to Bertus (Osbloed) van Niekerk to do wine tasting and to hear his “story” about being a pastor who decided not only to produce wine but also decided to make a wine bottle label using a nude lady on a horse. The grapes had been harvested using nude WCNA members which also resulted in lots of publicity. We bought a few bottles of “Osbloed” wine and went back to Serge’s home to do more “tasting”. It tasted so good that Garmt decide to take a bottle to Netherlands.
On the Monday we took Garmt to Cape Point, Chapman’s Peak, Hout Bay and the famous naturist beach, Sandy Bay which was quite a long walk but enjoyable. We then went to the V&A Waterfront to book a trip to Robin Island but it was fully booked so we decided to return the next day. We then drove up Signal Hill and looked down on Robin Island and onto the City of Cape Town with a beautiful view of Table Mountain. Garmt had previously been up Table Mountain so we skipped that. Serge and Floreen spoilt us with a braai and salads and we “tasted” another bottle of Osbloed wine.
On the Tuesday morning we drove to the V&A Waterfront in time to go on the 11h00 trip to Robin Island but it was already fully booked so we booked for the 13h00 trip. That put a spanner in our works as we had planned to do wine tasting at Nederberg Wine Farm. We cancelled that and decided to go to the aquarium which was nice. We then went on a catamaran trip out of the harbour and without doubt it was one of the best boat trips that we had been on because we saw lots of dolphins very close to the catamaran. The views of Table Mountain from the sea were also breath-taking. Garmt was smiling from ear to ear again.
That afternoon, we went on the boat trip to Robin Island and we also went on a bus trip around the island during which time, we watched whales near Robin Island. We were then showed around the prison by a previous inmate who had served his sentence there during the imprisonment of Nelson Mandela. Garmt enjoyed the tour and then we went back to Cape Town on the same boat. By then the wind was stronger and the water was very choppy so we didn’t see any more whales or dolphins. We then took Garmt to the airport in Cape Town where Serge and Floreen joined us at Spur for supper and a few drinks. When we said goodbye, we were almost in tears because we had enjoyed his company so much. He was even more emotional than us – we were sorry to see him go back to the Netherlands. Garmt has promised to return soon!
Amanda and I met Christy-Anne, the owner of Internatuur, in Netherlands at the Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam in July, 2015. We then invited her to visit us at SunEden and she accepted. Our naturist tour operator business, Joxilox Tours, had applied to become a member of Natunion International, a group of reputable naturist tour operators situated in Europe. For this reason, Christy-Anne asked Wolfgang and Susanna, the owners of Mira Mare, Germany, to come with her to South Africa partly to “check out” Joxilox Tours and also to “check out” SunEden Naturist Resort which had asked them to include the resort in their beautiful colour brochures and websites.
We were waiting at the airport when Susanna and Wolfgang arrived early on the Thursday morning. We drove directly to SunEden and they booked into Boabab House and after unpacking, we showed them all the houses, chalets and facilities at SunEden. They were very impressed with the quality of the accommodation and facilities. That night, we returned to the airport to fetch Christy-Anne and we had supper at the Spur at the airport.
On the Friday morning, we enjoyed a “kaalgat breakfast” at Sheila’s restaurant before we drove to Cullinan Diamond Mine where they went on an underground tour of the mine. We then had lunch at a restaurant in Cullinan before driving back to SunEden. That night, we had supper at Sheila’s Restaurant and introduced our visitors to shareholders and guests.
On Saturday we had breakfast at Sheila’s Restaurant and relaxed next to the swimming pool. At 5pm our visitors arrived at our home for sundowner drinks, to relax in the jucuzzi and to have a true South African braai. The South African wines were very popular with our visitors who seemed to really be enjoying themselves.
On the Sunday, we enjoyed breakfast at Sheila’s restaurant and relaxed at the swimming pool for most of the day before we left SunEden to go on a game drive in Dinokeng Game Reserve. After the game drive, we had Babotie for supper at our home and day by day we liked Wolfgang, Susanna and Christy-Anne more and more. We started a friendship that was growing closer by the day.
On the Monday morning, we left SunEden early and headed for Pilansberg Game Reserve. The Guide was waiting for us as we arrived almost exactly on time. We were introduced to Poncho who turned out to be a guide with an incredible amount of knowledge of animals and birds and he also had a great sense of humour. We really enjoyed the game drive and we were thrilled that we had seen so many animals. On the way back to Manyane Camp, Christy-Anne said that she would really like to go again. I promised to arrange another game drive but on another day. At SunEden we were shown their first Safari Tent and according to Susanna and Christy-Anne, some of their clients will definitely book safari tents in future.
On the Tuesday, it was Susanna’s 60th Birthday and that was our priority for the day so over breakfast at Sheila’s Restaurant, we wished her a happy birthday and kept the surprise for later. We then drove to the Cradle of Humankind near Krugersdorp, starting off with a visit to the Sterkfontein Caves followed by a visit to Moropeng where we were told that human life started in Africa. We had an enjoyable “birthday lunch” there and we had to skip the visit to the Lion and Rhino Park because we planned to be back at SunEden by 5pm.
At 6pm, we assembled at the SunEden pub where the braai fires were already burning. Amanda and friends were busy making salads and by 7pm the famous barbeque spare ribs were almost ready to eat thanks to Dick and Jake who cooked them to perfection. Over 30 people attended the function and Susanna had a birthday sash across her chest (made by Christy-Anne) so everybody knew it was her birthday but it was still a surprise when Amanda presented her with a huge birthday cake (also arranged by Christy-Anne). The SunEden Chairman, Rudi, made a speech welcoming them to SunEden and then Lofty did an introduction. Everybody sang “Happy Birthday” before enjoying the ribs, garlic rolls, salads, birthday cake and milk tart.
On the Wednesday morning, we enjoyed breakfast at Sheila’s restaurant before we drove to Hartebeespoort flea markets and then to Kiepersolkloof where we were welcomed by Derek, Joe and Ralie. Derek showed us the accommodation available to rent and then we had lunch with Joe and Ralie before we rushed off to do the Game Drive at Pilansberg as I had promised Christy-Anne. We were lucky to have Poncho as our guide again and he was great once again. At one stage, we rushed to see a leopard but arrived a minute or two after it moved away. We then watched some lions as it was getting dark. After the game drive, we had supper and wine at Manyane, before we drove back to SunEden.
On the Thursday morning, we had breakfast at Sheila’s Restaurant and everybody felt sad, knowing that it was the last day before returning to Europe. Our guests had fallen in love with SunEden and they were even considering whether to buy a house at the resort. For that reason, we went to Montana to look at furniture and other items such as bedding, kitchen equipment etc. Our last call was Food Lovers Market which impressed our visitors.
That night, the ladies enjoyed a ride on the Gautrain from Hatfield to the airport, and then we said “Goodbye” to our friends as they went through the International Departures. Amanda and I agreed that we will remain friends for a very long time. We have been assured that both tour operators will be sending lots of their clients to South Africa in future. Hopefully, Wolfgang, Susanna and Christy-Anne will be back at SunEden soon. We cannot wait to see them again.