Connect the dots

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Western Civilization

Electricity that doesn't turn off at a moments notice? Drinkable tap water? Buttery soft cotton sheets and down quilts? Rose-and-gardenia-smelling, spotless bathrooms with flushing toilets? Are we still in Africa?!

After 2 days of travel from Ouagadougou to Lome to Addis Ababa and finally Johannesburg with very little sleep, we were happy to arrive at the first of the many quaint guesthouses that dot the South African landscape. I have to admit, I enjoyed the many western comforts we lacked these past few months...

Here are the charming places where we rested our heads (and tried not to break the bank) on our drive from Jozi to The Mother City.

You can take your breakfast on the sun-soaked porch at Ginnegaap Guesthouse in the trendy Melville suburb of Johannesburg. South Africa's version of eggs benedict or uitsmijter: toast with ham, cheese, pickles and two fried eggs on top. Corlien provided us with great suggestions on what to see and do for the 3 weeks prior to my parents' arrival.

Raisa and her hearty golden retriever in Bloemfontein welcome you with motherly, Ukrainian hospitality at Odessa Guesthouse. Alex left with some Easter goodies, but Raisa was willing to give her everything she touched in the house. Without many sights or places to eat, we dined at the mall (gasp!) for a surprisingly good oxtail stew.

Once you enter the arid Karoo, the historic town of Graff-Reinet is full of adorable Cape Dutch style homes. Morven and Don (who was away) have 2 spacious flat roof cottages at Carrow-Veld Cottages with loft like ceilings and surrounded by a beautiful garden. Morven was happy to point out some great places to eat Karoo lamb (Pioneers), a bacon/cheese/mayo/banana tramezzini (Sarmies) and ostrich fillet (Die Kliphuis).

Here was Alex's room at the Cape Karoo Guesthouse, at the north end of Beaufort West. And just a few hours before we sighted Mountain Zebra at Karoo National Park! Sorry Rikus, for breakfast we cleared the jar full of rusks (South African biscotti).

Marc and Alex on a lazy Sunday at the The Olive House in Montagu. Bright, white, airy rooms with a quiet garden behind. Kati will make you feel at home in the lovely yard full of comfy couches and hammocks while George prepares your hearty dinner.

And where was this cozy fireplace when we needed it in the freezing Free State and the Karoo? Right here in Cape Town. Meditate, watch TV, or make a fire in our zen Buddha room at Villa Belle Ombre in the Tamberskloof quarter. Marco shows you how make your own crepes and you get to choose whether you want Nutella or fig and walnut jam inside. The best part - a half a block away is a playground with Table Mountain as a backdrop.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so sorry guys for not being with you this I would say goodbye and good luck for your fantastic trip...So cool to own a guesthouse for meeting nice people like you!