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Posts Tagged ‘Explorers Club’

Hidden away in a valley in the Klein Karoo lies a luxurious homestead overlooking rolling green lawns, a large swimming pool and surrounded by mountains. Wind your way out of the little town of Calitzdorp for 9km past vineyards, orchards and ostriches and discover the Daniels Kraal Farm, encased by rambling vineyards, olive trees and the Karoo bush.

Built in 1836, the historical building features a thatched roof, thick walls and an expansive veranda. Charming bedrooms, chic bathrooms and spacious living areas make for a comfortable, relaxing and restful living space that has been stylishly decorated with antique furniture and collected trinkets from the owner’s extensive travels. Just what Explorers Club is all about….

Spend the days playing boules, relaxing under the shade of the Silver Oak by the pool or flop on the deep sofas on the open stoep, playing board games or reading. The space provides the perfect setting for G&Ts by the pool in summer and hearty red wine by the crackling wood fire in winter.

This peaceful and private haven sits on 2300 hectares of pristine wilderness and is home to a variety of fauna and flora as well as many fossils. Spot over 100 species of birds and small game such as giant leopard tortoises, klipspringers, hares and caracal. If you are the active type, there is walking and mountain biking.

The Old Caledonskloof wagon route went through the farm, it was a treacherous route for Ox wagons to get through to Cape Town and was the only way through until 1898. At that time a wagon-wheel maker lived on the farm, called Daniels Kraal. Rates are R5,000.00 per night, excluding Christmas, New Year and Easter.

For more information CLICK HERE

 

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You see books being published on the best wild swimming holes in rivers, lochs, estuaries and lakes in Europe. But nothing quite beats lolling in the clear cool waters of the Selinda spillway, fed by the Okavango, after a long walk through the bush. There may be more lurking under the water than a few newts and fish as company, but safe in the knowledge at least that crocs do not reach this far at Explorers Camp. An ultimate swimming hole in the wilds of Africa.

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Some guests unwind pretty quickly…a lovely weekend in the winelands.

(thanks for the submissions de Lange family)

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Rear-Admiral Dorian Hoy, able-fisherman master Sam Hoy and I (tackle-master, bottle washer, deck-scrubber) threw caution to the wind and took off up a channel from Maun to see how far we could get into the swamps in a day.

Laden with drinks, snacks, binos and fishing tackle we launched at dawn, following a GPS route which we had downloaded from a contact in Maun. Our aim was to get to Gunns Camp, in the middle of the swamps, about 90 km from riverbank in Maun, and come back via an adjoining channel, stop for a swim, lunch and catch as many species of fish that time would allow. It made for an interesting day out carving through forests of papyrus and keeping on track – it is very easy to lose yourself in the maze of channels with no clear landmarks to identify.

The first third of the journey was getting up to the Moremi Reserve post and after that point the wildlife began appearing in greater quantities. The water is clear and cool and very inviting. Once the coast had been checked for all manner of beasts we climbed in, fished, ate and drank some cold beers. Altogether it took around 8 hours and I landed my first African Pike. We hardly saw a soul.

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On a stormy winters day a daredevil on a skateboard races down the Franschhoek Pass against a Mercedes.

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The choice of dribbling along for twenty-two hours across an expanse of water or battling for forty-eight hours across corrugated roads and bottomless potholes was an easy one. It was an especially easy decision as it was like entering a time capsule – The Kariba Ferry. We squeezed onto one of the three available berths reserved for Dogcatchers, turned off the ignition, and headed for a gin and tonic.

After almost two decades in dry dock the old Kariba Ferry, The Sea Lion, has been given a new lease of life and they are making up for lost time with their fares. Still, this is one of the most enjoyable ways to travel. We had a complement of perhaps a dozen passengers; one extended family and us. Our quarters were to find ourselves so we laid out two canvas mattresses on deck for the duration of the journey and made camp. We were joined, sardine fashion, at night, under the stars, by the other dozen which made for a cozy night. Drinks were preceded by plates of salty kapenta, the local whitebait, which made you want to drink more. The main meal was meat and two veg, and so good it was too, as was the impeccable service on board.

We stopped late into the day, in the middle of the lake, to change engines, and everyone went for a swim – crocs or no crocs it is the right thing to do. It is timeless. The chairs in the lounge reclined, and then turned into beds at night and they have never been replaced – nor had the blankets. But this is part of the charm, it was returning to the 70s, just without the bad haircuts, and long may it last.

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We have discovered another twinkling moon called Little Hampton and it sits above Boulders Beach, a sheltered cove made up of inlets between gigantic granite boulders on the Cape Peninsula. The beach also happens to be a permanent nesting colony of African Penguins and is a perfect beach for children to play hooky.

Colleen Nugent, its vivacious owner, has always loved the village atmosphere of Simonstown, just 40 minutes from the centre of Cape Town. She has captured a liberating Enid Blyton existence in this all-wood holiday home. The result is a light and bright welcoming space, where rosy pinks and pale blues set the scene, a few minutes down a track to the water. It’s a place where you want to kick off your shoes and plunge into an idyllic seaside holiday. A perfect companion to combine with one of the Explorers Club houses. For more info visit Little Hampton.

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