Friday, 7 March 2014

Matamba Bush Campsite

Hello Journeyers!
WOW what a hectic weeks it's been! We went to Matamba Bush Campsite a few weeks back for one night. But hopefully we will be visiting them again very soon! Let's just hope they don't get TOO popular so that we can at least still get a spot. Kidding. This place is a gem in the making! We absolutely fell in love with this place and are almost counting down the days till our next visit.

Matamba offers a unique camping experience.  Inspired by a lifetime of travelling in Africa, Sue and Alan Jarman have built two exclusive upmarket bush campsites, for the discerning bush lover.
Tau Camp spread over four hectares has three individual campsites.  Drongo, Hornbill and Francolin. these sites are about 200 meters apart.  Set in a beautiful open woodland this is a very tranquil, peaceful camp..
Mara's Camp situated in the middle of the farm is a private camp for one party only.  This is an amazing camp in a thick woodland with huge wild Syringa trees, very reminiscent of Zimbabwe or Zambia.
Both camps have rustic, but superb facilities, they are unfenced allowing the game to wander freely through, Wake up to find a herd of Eland or Gemsbok grazing between your tent and the bathroom, or watch the Giraffe amble past while sipping sundowners.

It is quite a drive, you are looking at about a 3hour drive if you drive from Johannesburg, but it is perfect for a stop over if you are on your way to Botswana. The owner actually thought we were on our way to Botswana. (I wish) I love camping, but like I've mentioned before, I don't really like those campsites where you stay almost on top of each other. And that is what triggered our fancies with this place, you don't even know someone is camping next to you. As you saw in the About paragraph, there are only 3 campsites and they are about 200m apart from each other. This campsite really spoils you, firstly, you don't know you have a camping neighbour, and secondly, each campsite is at least 4 times the size of a normal campsite. Absolute bliss! 

This camp is named after their dog - Tau! 

I love how they marked the taps for hot and cold. Hot = Coca Cola cap and Cold = Sprite cap

 We arrived and were met by the lovely Sue who took us to our campsite. She told us a bit about the area and what there is to do. She also gave us a map of a few wonderful hiking trails and shared a few stories of about the animals that they have there. We were situated at the campsite closest to the ablution block. Boy were we impressed with that. There is one ablution block which has 2 rooms. One room has a toilet and basin and the other is much bigger which has another toilet, basin and beautiful shower. After Cedric had a shower his response was "It felt like I was showering in a river". He loved it!

Attention to detail. It's the small things that count.
The view you have from the toilet. haha. 

They also have a outdoor shower and outdoor toilet. The attention to details is very special and makes one feel like you are almost at home. The silence there during the day but even more at night is almost overwhelming. But so needed. You get the full experience from the bush and camping. You can see that the owners were regular campers because they created a little piece of heaven that is perfect for any camping fans.
Communal "kitchen" area
After setting up camp we decided that it's time to go for a little hike. And we were lucky enough to find the giraffes the lady told us about. The one giraffe gave birth a few months ago and I had to really stop myself from running to it and just cuddling it. They are so cute! I love a giraffe! 
There are quite a few hiking trails and I must admit we did get a bit lost. Probably because I'm horrible with reading maps and as always Cedric trusted me when I told him where to go. Sucker! haha

Look how cute the baby giraffe is!
I was very relaxed, until I saw all the animals staring at us, then my nerves started kicking in a bit and I was almost ready to run. I kept on asking Cedric. "Are you sure they won't come for us?" And he would just laugh and try and assure me that they won't. That is until the mother giraffe grunted at us. I was ready to run. So we just slowly ran walked away. We come in peace mama giraffe, promise! We also saw some Oryx by the airstrip and Elands eyeing us from behind some trees. They also have 4 waterholes, 3 man made and one a natural spring. Apparently the bird viewing is very impressive, next time I would love to just sit and wait. I still want a photo of the beautiful Woodland Kingfisher in action. Patience!

Things to do
Mountain Biking,
Game viewing

Things that made us happy
Lots of shade at the campsites which is perfect because it gets really very hot
You get unlimited wood
The property is beautiful
It is extremely neat and clean, you can see that this place is the owners pride and joy.

Things that made us sad
In the warmer months it would have been nice if there was a nice splash pool just to cool off.

So yes if your idea of the perfect camping weekend is sitting next to the camp fire while a giraffe passes you then this is the place for you. Oh and this actually happened to us that evening. Absolutely spectacular. I'm just glad it wasn't the Brown Hyena = Johlet on the car as fast as 1,2,3!

Prices are - Tau Camp is R175 pppn and R85 for children under 12. Mara's Camp is R400 per campsite and first 2 people are free, thereafter R175 pppn and R85 for children under 12. Public Holiday long weekends a min of 3 nights stay is required.

You can find them HERE:

Please share with me what you think of the place if you decide to go visit.

My OJTE Star Rating is.....drum roll please!!!
Have a blessed weekend Journeyers and I cannot wait to read your comments! Stay safe! And let's hope the rain gives us a bit of a break this weekend!
Disclaimer: All expenses were paid for by us for our trip to Matamba Bush Campsite. As always all comments and opinions are my own. All of the content and images posted are my own unless otherwise specified / linked to the original source. Please feel free to share photographs and material from this site but please link back to the original image or post. 

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

The Marion on Nicol Boutique Hotel

Hello Journeyers,
Hidden just off of the busy William Nicol and in the up there Sandton suburb lies the beautiful 5* Boutique Hotel called The Marion on Nicol, Boutique Hotel of Distinction. It is hidden behind white walls with the gorgeous M's marking it which makes it nice and discreet. Our bags were packed for a very relaxing spoiled evening on Thursday evening and after work we were in the traffic ready for our night away.

"The Marion on Nicol is a Boutique Hotel of Distinction that offers a tranquil and lavish retreat from the bustle of nearby Sandton and Johannesburg. The hotel prides itself in offering a unique brand of South African hospitality. Our discreet attention to detail will ensure that your experience is one of memorable elegance and comfort. "

We drove through the big glass gate that separates you from the busy buzzing life on the outside and welcomes you to a world of luxury. As we walked in we were welcomed by the very friendly faced receptionist. I was mesmerized by the beautiful decor, the reception flowed into the lounge area and they had mirrors everywhere giving you the illusion of space. "A blend of classic colonial architecture and decor with modern and enduring amenities offering service without compromise."

After checking in (which was surprisingly very easy and effortless) we were taken to our room and shown around the hotel. We settled into our big comfortable room, that had a beautiful glass bathroom and a rather big terrace (especially for a hotel room) and a mini fridge that was filled with bubbly and Voss water.

I was very tempted to book myself a nice pamper session at the spa but time was limited. After going to look at the spa I was very disappointed that I didn't book that pamper sesh! There's something about a spa, I don't know if it's just the smell of all those lovely oils or the calming tranquil environment they create. But I struggled to get myself out of the spa. And for those fitness fanatics out there, they even have a nice well equipped gym! I love myself some treadmill running! But conveniently unfortunately "forgot" to pack my training clothes.

We then went for a drink on the terrace before we headed to dinner in the restaurant. The decor blew my mind. The hotel was covered in all my favourite colours - purple and green. Not to mention all the beautiful orchards that was on full display literally everywhere! I am very impressed, my orchards don't even last a month and they have a hotel full of them!

Things to do / Hotel Facilities
Fine Dining in their beautiful restaurant
Cocktail Bar
Pampering sessions at Spa de la Veille
Cardio Fitness Centre
Heated Outdoor Pool
Gorgeous gardens 
Free shuttle service to and from Sandton City

At night the place lights up giving it a beautiful Tuscan feel. With 24 en suite rooms you are sure to be treated like royalty. They are currently doing some construction, BUT when it's all over they will have a beautiful are where you can make your dreams a reality and have your perfect fairy tale wedding. 

Our dinner at the restaurant was impeccable. And we don't really compliment food like this very often. Yes you can come across restaurants that make good food, but this was GOOD food. For starters Cedric had the Lobster Bisque (With a mushroom Ravioli and Roast Pepper Cream) and I had the Thai Beef Salad (With Glass Noodles). My Salad was superb, better than Simply Asia (yes I said it) and Cedric loved his Bisque. For Mains he had the Grilled Duck (With sautee cabbage with cumin and duck spring roll) and I had the Feta and Peppadew Agnolotti (Served with a light mushroom and tomato sauce) OH MY WORD this was amazing! Mine and Cedric's. Yes I tasted his and my mouth almost started watering, and then I tasted mine and it did start! hehe. By then we were extremely full but we just had to try dessert, so we decided to share one. We took the Chocolate Plate @ The Marion (Chocolate Creme brulee with Mixed Berries and chocolate Terrine) and once again I was floating.
The restaurant seats 50 people and the terrace seats 20 people.

Thai Beef Salad
Lobster Bisque
Feta and Peppadew Agnolotti
Grilled Duck
Chocolate Plate @ The Marion
Things that made us happy
The service was very good
The menu had enough choices not to overwhelm a person (like me who can never decide what to choose)
The way our room was set up after dinner.
The decor
The friendly and efficient staff

Things that made us sad
I wish we could afford to live here, I can get used to getting treated like this.
That's about it!

After dinner we went back to our room as 1 - we were very full and I felt like I was ready to roll and 2 - I love hotel rooms. When I saw our bed made up and the robes laid out I was in the shower and in the robe faster than you can say The Marion on Nicol! Oooh and then it was time to snuggle up and watch some TV. If you are on a Business trip or travelling through Johannesburg then please do yourself a favour and stop here for a night or 2 or 5. You won't be disappointed. 

Prices you are looking at more or less R2400 (225 USD) single room incl breakfast and 2900 (270 USD) double room incl breakfast. But please visit their website regularly as they do run some great specials! 

You can find them here

Please share with me what you think of the place if you decide to go visit.

My OJTE Star Rating is.....drum roll please!!!

We would like to say thank you very much to all the staff and management of The Marion on Nicol for their wonderful service and hospitality. We hope to see you soon.
Disclaimer: We received a complimentary stay at The Marion on Nicol Boutique Hotel, the expenses for all food, drinks and tips were paid for by us in full. As always, all thoughts and opinions are our own. All of the content and images posted are my own unless otherwise specified / linked to the original source. Please feel free to share photographs and material from this site but please link back to the original image or post. We did not receive any compensation for the writing of this post, do not work for The Marion on Nicol, and receive no commission for clicks on any links in this post.