A bush and beach experience everyone should try along the The Garden Route
I set off on the five-day trip along the Garden Route ending in the Eastern Cape. The places we will visit include The Old Rectory Hotel in Plettenberg Bay, Inzolo Exclusive Game Lodge near Grahamstown and Kay and Monty Vineyards near Plettenberg Bay.
The Old Rectory Hotel is perfect for a beach stay and an ideal spot to recharge an overworked mind, which was just what my doctor had ordered.
The hotel dates back to 1777
It is also reputed to be the oldest structure in Plettenberg Bay. The rooms have connecting foyers that can transform two rooms on each floor into a single unit, making it ideal for families with small children or groups of friends travelling together.
When I first entered my room, the first thing that caught my eye was the striking art and rich, colourful furniture with a flora-and-fauna-inspired theme, creating a homely, fresh and contemporary feel. After some relaxation, it was time for supper. The three-course menu sounded fairly simple until the food arrived - it was a fine-dining experience worthy of Instagram posts.
The portions were fairly small, so I ended up with a clean plate.
What was also nice about the hotel was that it’s just metres from the Blue Flag Wedge beach.
Our next destination, Inzolo Exclusive Game Lodge, is in the heart of the Eastern Cape. Inzolo is situated just 80km from Port Elizabeth and 30km from Grahamstown in a secluded valley teeming with wildlife.
The valley-facing lodge consists of four modern and spacious chalets - each of which sleeps two adults - and can accommodate up to eight people at a time.
It’s the perfect private getaway for anyone who wants to escape their modern busy lives.
We were completely surrounded by serenity while overlooking expansive rolling hills of seemingly endless beauty.
Each chalet is elegantly designed, combining modern accents with a touch of east African influence.The bathroom had photographs of village life and different traditional clothes worn by men and women.
The chandeliers were made from Zulu beads and Big Five sculptures filled the place, all of which contributed to a true safari experience.
For a minute or two, I felt nostalgic looking at the hills. It reminded me of my grandmother’s village, which I used to visit as a child.
We were later treated to a game drive.
The evening game drives were probably the best because we got to see more animals and we watched the sun set atop a hill over a few drinks.
For dinner, the menu offered a modern approach to some of the country’s best traditional food. I ordered it served with succulent kudu, which was by far the best I had tasted.
With there being no cellphone coverage, you are forced to relax and unwind. However, the lodge does provide wifi.
After spending two nights in the bush, it was time to head back to Plett, but not before a visit to the winelands.
The Kay and Monty Vineyards, a boutique wine farm on just five hectares, is a great option for wine lovers.
The menu offered delicious platters of cheeses and meats paired with locally sourced artisanal bread, which was perfect for the chilly and rainy weather.
After lunch, it was back to The Old Rectory for our last night. After three days on the road, a spa treatment was just what I needed.
Just a stone’s throw away from the hotel, the spa provides a small, intimate space for relaxation and rejuvenation.
During dinner that night, we got to meet the chef.
This trip offered a spectacular scenery, amazing food, and friendly locals.
In the words of French novelist Marcel Proust, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”