After having an incredible time with the friends, we left them in Cape Town and headed off on our Anniversary trip. Robert has been an amazing trip planner during our three years of marriage and this trip was no different. I generally don't like getting involved in the planning and details and then can just sit back and enjoy all the fun. Robert paid such close attention to every detail of the trip and I absolutely love traveling with him! We left the girls in the morning and headed out for a 5 hour drive with our destination being a lovely coastal town called Wilderness. We had all day to get there so we just kicked back and enjoyed the drive and the incredible scenery.
Along the road (literally in the middle of farm fields) we came across this quaint little spot that literally was the Mother of all Cracker Barrels. Honestly, this is what Cracker Barrel wants to be when it grows up. Well, we thought we had really stumbled upon a rare gem. Turns out, almost every South African you talk to knows about Dassiesfontein... Its just that good I guess. :)
Once in Wilderness, we found our adorable guest house, "Serendipity" ( I knew it would be good just by the name), where we spent the next three nights. This guesthouse is part of the Portfolio collection of South African guest houses and you can plainly see why. Every detail was carefully looked after and the family that ran it were so lovely. The elderly couple ran (and lived in) the guesthouse and their daughter (who is one of the top chefs in South Africa) and son in law run a fine dining restaurant in the evenings at the guesthouse (reservations only).
Enjoying tea and rusks while watching the sunset on the balcony
For dinner, we headed over to a nice little waterfront restaurant called Salina's.
The hostess always prepared an amazing breakfast of three courses: fruit, yogurt and orange juice; pancakes, and then finally the meat, egg, mushroom, tomato and toast breakfast with coffee. Talk about being pampered!
One of our days was spent canoeing on the intercoastal waters that ran by the guest house. We had told the hostess when we were going and she had a lunchbox packed with waters and snacks for our excursion. Those are the little details that make your stay that much better.
After canoeing for about an hour, we then hiked for another hour or so until we reached the waterfall that was the source of the river.
Our guest house... Serendipity
Another day we headed over to the George farmer's market. It was such a lovely experience to walk around and see everything people were selling. We regretted having eaten breakfast because of all the amazing homemade things being sold. We decided to buy everything we needed for sandwiches and take it back to the room with us. We bought fresh bread, meat, cheese, and vegetables and made some killer sandwiches. :)
On our way back we made a stop at Victoria Bay which, next to Jeffrey's Bay, is a big surfer hangout.
We dined at the fine dining restaurant one evening and what an amazing experience! Everything was so classy we didn't dare take any pictures! :) We started in the drawing room with the hosts and their personal friends where we were offered a beverage. Once we had looked over the menu, the son-in-law came and gave us a details description of the menu (all the food was local grown and distinctly South African cuisine). Once our table was prepared, we were shown to the dining room where the first of six courses commenced. All in all it was a 2 hour experience and an amazing one at that. We were given a handwritten Anniversary card from the chef and her husband as well which was such a nice surprise.
Sadly our time at Serendipity was over but we were excited for the rest of the trip as well. As we left Wilderness, we made a quick stop to see a natural wonder.... can you tell what it is?
that's right! two rivers converged around the land to form the map of Africa. How cool is that?!
To break up the next jont of our trip, we made a quick stop in the Garden of Eden.
Thank you Google, for sending up 28km on a dirt road...
Our next stop was at an incredible guest house called "Gilbert's Gift" which was also in the Portfolio collection. I tell you what, South Africans know how to run a guest house! I could not get over the beauty surrounding this place. We spent the next two nights here and loved every minute of it.
Our little Bungalow
I don't thing anything rivals an African sunset...
We spent the next day touring Addo Elephant park. The lady at our guest house had said that some people drive all day and never once see an elephant. Luckily for us, in the first 10 minutes we got to see a young elephant. We sat and watched him for probably 30 minutes :) We were going to get our money's worth! :)
We had really wanted to see a baby elephant and as we were leaving the park, we happened to see a family quite far away. So, we didn't get to see it close up, but hey, I'm not picky!
I think we did quite well in finding a variety of animals and birds throughout the park
(I'm determined they give you that list for OCD people like me!)
After a day in the park, we settled in for a relaxing evening at the guest house
The owners had an amazing and friendly great dane named Jack.
Jack really wanted to join in our picnic and even when the owner took him inside, not 5 minutes later he had found another way out :) He was pretty sneaky.
We bought a few picnicy items from the grocery store and asked the hostess for a couple plates and things. To our surprise, she set up the table beautifully and even arranged all our food! :) Another reason I love South African guest houses! :)
I saw so many of these little monkeys and finally got pictures before they ran away. They love hanging out by the highway for some reason and we saw tons of them!
Our 5 hour trip to Bloemfontein to meet Jeremy and Delani turned into more of a 7+ hour trip due to contant stop and go construction traffic. Nevertheless we persevered and met up with Jer and Delan and then headed back to the Free State for our final week. So come on back for part 5
(and then I promise I'm done) :)