Husband and I had the opportunity to go on holiday the past weekend. How, I hear you asking – seeing as how I am “girl on a SHOESTRING budget” – how could we afford to go away? I scoured the voucher sites which have become so popular lately, and when I found a deal which fit into our budget as well as being a good deal, I grabbed it. So where did we go? Nyaru Game Lodge, near Mosselbay. For those of you who don’t live in South Africa, Mosselbay is a little town on the coast which is beautiful and uncomplicated and surprisingly quiet.
Before I get into the place we stayed at, let me tell you about how we got there. Because that is quite a funny story.
To begin with, Husband had an emergency at work which he had to deal with before we could leave – meaning that we left almost an hour later than we wanted to. Considering that Mosselbay is a good 4 hours drive away on a very good day, and we had to check in no later than 7, by the time we left I was in flat panic. Instead of leaving at 2, we left at 3. On a Friday afternoon. Not the best time to be driving to a popular holiday destination. Naturally we got stuck behind every single truck there is – but that wasn’t the funny part. This is the funny part – this is the car we were in:
This is my little darling. I love her to bits. She gives me (generally) 17km to the litre of petrol, which, when I’m driving 50km a day (25km lies between our home and my work), makes a HUGE difference to my monthly petrol bill. She never complains, never falters, just does exactly what I need her to do – and looks cute and sparky and fun while doing it. The perfect package! Husband was a bit nervous about doing a long trip with her – but I convinced him that she’d be fine. I reasoned that if she managed rush hour traffic every day without any issues, she should be fine. Husband took her for her service, made sure that there was extra oil and water in the car (apparently he does this every time we go away. Who knew?) and off we went. We did about 200km when (cue dramatic music) disaster struck. She starts to lose power. We’re going slower and slower… on the national road… a good 30km from the nearest town. Going through both of our heads – we’re not going to get to Mosselbay. Husband’s going to have to call his guys to come out with the tow truck and we’re not going to get to Mosselbay today. Maybe we’ll try again tomorrow morning.
Husband pulls off to the side, is about to stop and get out, when she starts picking up speed again. Cautiously we pull back into the road, hoping that she was just being a little bit strange. 10km further on, she starts running extremely roughly. Now my little smart car has a three cylinder engine (I found this out at this point), and she started running on only two cylinders. Which is not very comfortable. Husband pulls off the road again, and switches off. Out of the car we get, open the boot, pull out all the luggage and open up the engine compartment. (Did you know that that is where the engine of a Smart car sits? Makes breaking down a bit of a difficult one.)
He fiddles in the engine, pushing this, prodding that, wiggling the other thing – checks the oil (fine) then gets down on his back to look under the car. (I should probably mention at this point that Husband is a mechanic – he knew exactly what he was doing. Thankfully!)
Anyone passing by saw a little car, luggage on the floor, engine compartment open, and one single female standing outside the car looking helpless. It was at this point that something quite amazing happened – a woman stopped! Can you believe it? Asked if I was ok, if she could give us a lift to town or if there was anything she could do. She was alone in her car, and no one would have been surprised if she had just driven past – but she didn’t. She stopped – and I’m still floored by her generosity and willingness to help. Guess there are people out there who are still willing to go out of their way to help a stranger.
So anyway, some of the prodding and poking seemed to do the trick – little one started to run perfectly and got us the rest of the way without any trouble. And there were a couple of close calls – I didn’t really think it through when I booked at a GAME LODGE… not generally known for their smooth roads and ease of access. We get to the gate (after 500m of gravel road) and it’s pitch black. And I mean PITCH black. The only lights visible were the town’s lights on the horizon and our headlights. And we slowly drove over potholes, up and down hilly areas – the one part was so black to our left it looked as if there was nothing there but a cliff. Turns out that there is a drop there – nowhere near as dramatic or deep as it felt in the dark of night though!
But it was so worth it when we finally got to the lodge and were shown to our little chalet. It is stunning there. Comfortable, cosy, homey, but with all the little things you need to be happy.
I woke up the following morning at about 7 – Husband was still sleeping so I got dressed and went outside. I found there a lounger where I could sit and soak up some early morning rays and read. And greet the resident tortoise that ambled past me. I did that for the next two hours until Husband finally surfaced and we went for breakfast. Breakfast was simple, but good. Cereals, toast and yoghurt available, with a cooked English breakfast as well. Yum!
Then Husband asked if we could go buy him some new shoes – he had literally worn through the ones he was wearing. As he has size 11 feet (eek!) shoe shopping usually isn’t too easy for him. Thankfully we found two pairs for him in the first shop, and not too expensive.
My Sis had insisted that if were going to Mosselbay, we had to go to a little bakery there – de Vlaming – and get their milk tart. Now Sis isn’t usually too fond of milk tart – she’ll eat it but she won’t generally go out of her way to get some. But this milk tart, she tells me, is amazing. So we duly went off to buy some milk tart and took it back to our room.
It was actually hilarious – we didn’t have plates so Husband and I sat, watching an episode of a series we enjoy on his tablet, eating milktart with our coffee spoons from that morning straight out of the pan. And it was DELICIOUS. Thanks Sis! You didn’t steer us wrong… 🙂
At this point I want to tell you all that I have always wanted a hammock. No ideas why. I just know that ever since we went to a friend’s house when I was very little and they had a hammock, I have had a yearning for a hammock of my very own. So imagine my excitement when I realised that at the lodge there was a beautiful hammock hanging next to the pool. Therefore, it was a no-brainer for me as to how I was going to spend the afternoon. I was most certainly going to spend it lying next to the pool, in the hammock, reading my book. Best Afternoon Ever!
That night we had a fabulous 3-course dinner – for me it was Kudu carpaccio for starters, a venison stew with salad for main, finished with an Amarula mousse/pudding type thing. Husband had frikkadelle (meatballs) for starters, lamb chops for main, and the most insane pudding – chocolate volcano. There was enough chocolate in that pudding to give us BOTH a chocolate fix! I loved my choices for starters and main, but I do think I should have chosen that Chocolate Volcano. It was that good.
Overshadowing the meal, however, was the view. The lodge had decided to put us at a table with a view of the sun setting over the mountains. And my goodness but it was beautiful. And so peaceful! Evening birds were flying around… crickets were chirping… there wasn’t a breath of wind – it was truly an astounding evening. And I had a new experience – I saw my very first fire fly! I had no idea that they were so bright – I always imagined that they were a bit dim – not that they looked like flying LEDs!
The stars that came out that night were amazing. Bright, beautiful – the kind of sky that puts all your issues and problems into perspective. Husband and I stood on the porch just looking at the sky in a sort of bemused wonderment. Isn’t nature incredible?
Anyway, the next day we had to come home. Which made me sad – but I’m still happy I got to experience the beauty of Nyaru Game Lodge. There were, naturally, a couple of things which could have been a little bit better – the shower head was a bit small – although the water pressure was perfect and there was no shortage of hot water. Also, I’m a shorty, so it didn’t bother me – but the head might be a bit low for the giants that walk among us. Then again – short is the right height – so if you’re too tall for the shower that’s your issue. 😛 The other issue was that I think we got back to the chalet a bit too quickly for the cleaning crew – they didn’t have a chance to come replace our milk or cups for new cups of coffee. Again – not a huge issue – if we had really wanted I’m sure we could have got some from the main reception area.
All in all, we had an amazing weekend, and I think I need to start saving now so that we can go again! And next time, we’ll take advantage of the activities offered – game drives via horseback or quadbike and a sunset picnic being the top of my list!
Here are some photos of the place – can’t you just see yourself there?
Have a fantastic weekend everyone!
G O A S-S B
Disclaimer – Nyaru had no idea that I was going to write a review – I was not paid to write the review – this is my honest opinion.