Thursday, June 14, 2018

Silver Mist Country Inn. Kaapsehoop. Mpumalanga Province

Not every traveller has the luxury of a "stopover"
on what is a relatively short drive.
If possible, I like to break my drives at around 3 hours
and then find somewhere interesting to stay for the night.
Kaapsehoop is one such place.
For those who don't know where it is,
let me state up front that it is NOT in the Cape.
Neither is it near Barberton...that is Kaapmuiden.
I know because I have confused the two on a previous trip
and ended up staying at a very nice guest house just off a main road.
This image is of the N4 that leads towards the turn off to the small town.
The road has two of the more expensive toll plazas in the area.
The most expensive being as you leave Machadodorp
and that will cost R88.00 for a regular sedan.
But, cost aside, the scenery is worth the price...

This is why visitors come to Kaapsehoop.
There are many wild horses that roam freely through the town
as well as the surrounding forest plantations.
How did they get here?
There are as many stories as there are story-tellers in the village.
The most common tale is that they escaped during the Boer War
and have lived free in the area ever since.

This was to be my overnight destination on both legs of my journey.
Silver Mist Country Inn at the top of Kantoor Street, 
where the old Post Office used to be.
321 km from Johannesburg and less from Pretoria,
this is the ideal place to break a journey
 to any one of the game reserves further north.
My destination was Sabi Sabi, a mere 2 hour drive from here.
Thanks to the stopover, I arrived feeling refreshed
 and ready for my bush adventures.

Although I was travelling alone, I was given the honeymoon suite.
A very comfortable Queen size bed, and pillows that met my very strict
comfort standards...I did not even have to take mine out of my suitcase.
A bright, airy room with a wonderful view of both sunrise and sunset.
If you like to shower, you might want to ask for another room,
as this room only had a bath.


The room has a large balcony with a breathtaking view out over the valley to the north.
Sunrise and sunset with a cup of coffee were the perfect way
to begin and end my day here.

A quiet reading nook on the upstairs floor above the reception area.
You can still hear the other guests, 
but you don't have to interact with them.

The dining room is large, bright and welcoming.
The menu is very comprehensive given that this is an Inn 
in a small town with no supermarket.
I had one of the best plates of scrambled eggs
 that I have tasted in a long while for breakfast here.
And, be aware, that if you order soup, 
their portion is more than enough for a complete meal.
Good hearty food, made and served with care.

This seating area is between the dining room and
what could be described as a formal lounge.
On the evening of my arrival there was a fire blazing away,
helping to keep the winter chill at bay.

To the right of the main reception area.
This area is often used by guests either waiting for their room
or just before going into dinner.


What would a small town hotel be without a pub?
Silver Mist is no exception...and the bar was being well utilised
by the other guests on the evenings that I was there.


This is the old jail...
It has fallen into disrepair and no developers have come to rescue it yet.

Aside from the main hotel,
they have more accommodation across the road.
And it is here that I spent the night on my return visit.
It looks like it could be a building on an old mining settlement.

The room was spacious, with a comfortable double bed and 
a bathroom that, in my case (Room 10),
 had both a shower and a bath.

A seating area together with a desk and a coffee station.
It seems that many of the guests are contract workers at the local paper mill
and I should imagine that like me, 
they would find the desk useful for paperwork.

There is also a non-denominational chapel on the premises.
The hotel can help arrange the event should you require that.
It seats 120 and is a great space to either tie the knot,
or perhaps renew your vows.

There is a modern organ in the chapel,
but this one caught my attention.
I have seen a similar model in a museum in Upington.

A travel posting without a sunset/sunrise would not be complete.
So this sunset from the balcony of Room 6 fulfills that requirement.

Would I recommend staying here?
I certainly would!
Old fashioned hospitality in a modern world is not easy to find.
Next time you are heading to one of the game parks further north,
consider staying here overnight.
To find out more about them as well
as any specials that might be on offer,
visit their website:


 
My camera brand of choice for more than 4 decades!
Photo:

Photo:
When it is time to print out my special images,
this is the company that I rely on to do that.

Bush gear to make me blend in...
in comfort and style.

I have worn these shoes in the jungles of India
and on the beaches of Croatia.
Not to mention, many game reserves in Africa.
They are probably the most comfortable pair of shoes
that I have ever owned.

Photo:
When I get home. I rely on this ISP
to provide me with high speed fibre connectivity 
to enable me to get my postings published in record time.

Photo:
This powerbank is my constant companion
 while I am travelling.
It can do up to 4 full re-charges of my phone before
needing to be charged.
Supplied by...

When offered an option...
ALWAYS be Batman.
The newest of my travelling companions.
To find out more about the collectable Funko range of figurines,
visit:

My new addition, this awesome laptop bag from Solo.
Padded for protection and with enough pockets to keep
almost everything INCLUDING the kitchen sink in,
this is definitely an stylish addition to any business presentation.
Be it in the boardroom or the bush.
This bag can also be worn as a backpack. 
There are straps in a hidden compartment that can be deployed
when you need both hands for other purposes.
To find out more about the stylish Solo range,
visit:


A new "tool" in my camera bag.
This locally made product was indispensable when using a long lens.
The ball and socket might look simple...and it is, 
which is why it should be in the gear bag of every serious photographer.
This locally made, deceptively simple device is ideal 
for tracking birds in flight or animals in motion.
The base can be used on a beanbag or a tripod,
with the ball being fitted to the camera.
The simplicity of the device allows to to move from supported
to hand held in a fluid motion.
There is also a version that can be used on a car window.
To see more about the product, 
visit their Facebook page:
Or order directly from:







All images are the copyright property of
  
and may not be used without permission

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Silver Mist Country Inn, Kaapsehoop and Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge. A trip overview.

Time to hit the road again.
This time I was headed to Mpumalanga,
to revisit two destinations.
Kaapsehoop as well as Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge.
I visited the former in November, 2017,
and I was last at the latter in 2013.
The cool winter weather and clear but cloudy skies
 as I travelled made me stop to capture this image

Although there are roadworks on the N4 currently,
there was only one "Stop & Go".
The wait was about 15 minutes and I utilised the time
 to  take photographs.

An unplanned stop along the way.
The war graves cemetery in Machadodorp.
It is well maintained by the South African War Graves Project.
Part of our South African battle history,
and travellers going North should consider
 taking the time to stop and investigate.

My real reason for stopping off in Machadodorp!
Coffee and cake with Mike and his family that own and run
the Purple Orchid coffee shop in the main street.

Looking like a dystopian setting for a futuristic movie.
This is the SAPPI owned and operated Ngodwana paper mill.
You can actually smell the processing pulp BEFORE you see the plant.
But no time to stop...
I turned right towards Kruger Street and headed
through the forests for 14 km
to get to my overnight stop...
Silver Mist Country Inn,Kaapsehoop

This is what this artistic town is known for,
both locally and Internationally.
Wild horses that roam the streets...
And, as a bonus, at this time of year,
 the Aloes are in full bloom.
A stunning splash of colour against the grey of the rock formations.

Silver Mist Country Inn.
My accommodation for the night...
Even though I was alone, I had been assigned the honeymoon suite.
I have to say that for the first time in MANY trips.
the pillows that were on the bed met my comfort standard.
And my well travelled pillow was not even taken
 out of my suitcase.

The view from the front door of the Silver Mist Country Inn 
where I was staying.
The "house" across the road is part of the accommodation
that belongs to the main hotel.
(FYI the hotel now stands where
 the old Post Office used to be)

I found this sign outside a gents toilet
at a filling station in White River.
Is this the Batman legacy?
A sign outside a public toilet?

My ultimate destination.
Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge.
The main reception area is welcoming and airy.
It is set up in such a way 
as to make the space feel like it is outdoors.
It is here that guests are asked to sign the ubiquitous indemnity forms.
I wonder if ANYONE reads the entire form before signing?
I know that I never have.

My welcome to Sabi Sabi Bush lodge.
There have been major decor changes since my last visit.
I will feature those in another posting.
Once again there was no need to take my pillow out of my suitcase!

But for me being in the bush is all about the wildlife experiences.
And the Sabi Sabi Reserve is well know for one specific species...
Leopard!
And I was not disappointed as we encountered
 three different individuals on our game drives.

The Lilac Breasted Roller
This was/is the National bird of Botswana...
We got to see them on almost every game drive.
One of  three Roller species that are found in the area.
This little fellow is all fluffed to to try to maintain its body heat 
as the early mornings are getting decidedly chilly.

A morning road block!
There was no getting past this elephant,
so we sat and watched it do what an elephant does...
eat and poop...
And when it decided it needed to move away,
it did...and so did we.

ANOTHER African sunset.
This is part of why I love being in the bush.
Not only does the time here feed my soul,
it allows me the opportunity to just be me.





 
My camera brand of choice for more than 4 decades!
Photo:

Photo:
When it is time to print out my special images,
this is the company that I rely on to do that.

Bush gear to make me blend in...
in comfort and style.

I have worn these shoes in the jungles of India
and on the beaches of Croatia.
Not to mention, many game reserves in Africa.
They are probably the most comfortable pair of shoes
that I have ever owned.

Photo:
When I get home. I rely on this ISP
to provide me with high speed fibre connectivity 
to enable me to get my postings published in record time.

Photo:
This powerbank is my constant companion
 while I am travelling.
It can do up to 4 full re-charges of my phone before
needing to be charged.
Supplied by...

When offered an option...
ALWAYS be Batman.
The newest of my travelling companions.
To find out more about the collectable Funko range of figurines,
visit:

My new addition, this awesome laptop bag from Solo.
Padded for protection and with enough pockets to keep
almost everything INCLUDING the kitchen sink in,
this is definitely an stylish addition to any business presentation.
Be it in the boardroom or the bush.
This bag can also be worn as a backpack. 
There are straps in a hidden compartment that can be deployed
when you need both hands for other purposes.
To find out more about the stylish Solo range,
visit:


A new "tool" in my camera bag.
This locally made product was indispensable when using a long lens.
The ball and socket might look simple...and it is, 
which is why it should be in the gear bag of every serious photographer.
This locally made, deceptively simple device is ideal 
for tracking birds in flight or animals in motion.
The base can be used on a beanbag or a tripod,
with the ball being fitted to the camera.
The simplicity of the device allows to to move from supported
to hand held in a fluid motion.
There is also a version that can be used on a car window.
To see more about the product, 
visit their Facebook page:
Or order directly from:





All images are the copyright property of
  
and may not be used without permission