After two wonderful nights at the beautiful Oubaai, it was time to head to another little piece of paradise (if you missed part one of our Garden Route getaway, you can catch up here) I must admit, I was quite sad to Oubaai and on hindsight, with a little one, 3 nights would have been better. I felt like just as we had settled, it was time to pack up and move again. But we booked our stay at Botlierskop not only because it looked so beautiful but because it was just a short drive from Oubaai, so after a slow morning we headed through to our next location. Our 30 minutes drive turned into an hour after we followed Google Maps to Botlierskop Lodge instead of The Village which is on the other side of the reserve so we were all a little frazzled by the time we arrived.
But the welcome that was waiting for us made us forget all about the detour almost as soon as we arrived. The zebras grazing on the lawns outside reception wandered up for a nose rub and posed for a photo even before we went inside. Our lovely guide then settled us outside on the terrace where we were served a chilled glass of bubbly and delicious pitas while she gave us all the information we needed for our stay. We were then shown to our cabin, Tommie’s Inn, just a short walk from the restaurant and pool. Each cabin has is steeped in history dating back to the 1800’s when the surrounding area was a mission station and slave quarters for the Groot Brak Rivier. Here’s a little snippet about our cabin:
“Uncle Tommie Terblanche was the last Terblanche on the farm Kleinvlei. He had a deformed foot and had difficulty walking. He was unmarried and he later stayed in the Hartebeeshuisie (Tommie’s Inn) behind the main house. He was only six months old when his father, Esaias, passed away. His father was found where he hung on the stirrup of his horse after a heart attack.”
We were blown away by our cabin and the attention to detail made us feel so welcome. A handwritten note welcomed us to The Village and Oliver had his own camp cot set up with the most gorgeous little duvet and pillow, complete with a mosquito net! Our room was absolutely beautiful with an enormous canopy bed, sitting area and en-suite bathroom (complete with baby bath for Oliver!). I loved the rustic yet luxurious feel of the room – we knew we were in the bush but most certainly weren’t roughing it! It really is the little touches that make the biggest impact 🙂
We relaxed for the afternoon while Oliver had his nap and then went for early sun downers. It was a little chilly for swimming but the jungle-gym, swings and sandpit meant Oliver had more than enough to keep him entertained while we relaxed and enjoyed the scenery. We decided to a have a mini date night so after I fed and bathed Oliver, I popped him in his carrier and he slept while we enjoyed a delicious meal and some quality time. The next morning we enjoyed espressos and homemade rusks in our room before heading to breakfast. Cold meats, smoked salmon, freshly baked pasties, fruit and sweet treats were layed out and our assigned table ready and waiting with a high-chair for Oliver. After thoroughly indulging in a long breakfast, we booked an afternoon game drive before taking a little wander around The Village with beautiful views and incredible vegetable and herb garden, complete with an intricate network of canals.
After a fair amount of to-and-fro collecting other guests from around the reserve, we set off on our game drive and we were so incredibly spoilt with the game we saw! Our guide more than made up for the frustrating start and our three hour game drive ended up being close to five hours by the time we got back to camp. We saw four of the big five – elephants, rhino, lions and buffaloes – as well as a hippo, zebras and loads of buck. Our guide was so incredibly knowledgeable and shared a wealth of information about the farm and game in general. Despite rough terrain and the need for some proper 4x4ing, Oliver was an absolute delight and charmed everyone on the drive with his chatting and singing – and at one point, much to our amazement, he actually nodded off. We stopped at a magnificent spot above a valley for sun-downers, where we enjoyed spectacular views of the reserve, with elephants wandering in the distance.
We got back to the lodge well after Oliver’s bed time so we asked the restaurant if we could get takeaways and they were so accommodating. They brought us drinks and pizzas and we sat on our little veranda looking out at the lights of Mossel Bay in the distance and soaking up the peacefulness of our last night of holiday.
I was so sad to leave this little piece of paradise and wished we could have stayed longer. We were blown away by our experience, from the magnificent location to the beautiful rooms, friendly, helpful staff and delicious food – we would go back in a heart beat! I’d love to try the beautiful self catering Bush Villas, nestled in the bush overlooking the waterholes or the ultra luxurious Tented Lodge (when I’m ready to leave Oliver for a night… or we’ll wait until he’s six 😉 ) This is a real hidden gem that needs to be at the top of your list of places to go!