We checked out of Makanyi Lodge yesterday after an outstanding five night stay with twice daily safaris. I do need to upload the gallery from the trip, but I will have to wait until we get home to the US due to slow upload speeds. We had such a wonderful stay at Makanyi and we truly felt like we were leaving our family. Steve (DOS) actually booked a reservation at Makanyi for the same time next year as we were checking out. I sent my parents, and brother and sister a postcard as we left, and we will see who gets it first and if they get it before we get home. We took a final photo with some of the friendly staff who had treated us so well on our stay before heading off to the airport.
Our drive to the Hoedspruit Airport took a little over an hour in the private van transportation we had arranged. We took a photo with Michael, our driver, once we arrived at the small airport.
We checked our luggage at the check-in counter, and fortunately weren’t charged an extra bag or overweight charge. I think that had something to do with the tip DOS gave the agent – wink – wink!
We then had an hour and a half to wait for our flight and sat in the little indoor seating area before going thru security and the even smaller waiting area there, as the outdoor seating area was full.
One night thing about the post-security area was an outdoor courtyard you could wander thru up until the fence-line. Here you could see the plane land and taxi up close to the terminal, as there are no jetways at Hoedspruit Airport.
Our flight from Hoedspruit to Cape Town was on a South African Express jet which sat over 70 passengers, with two flight attendants. The plane actually had four engines as well! As the flight was only half-filled, DOS and I each had our row of seats to ourselves – something that rarely happens anymore when we fly.
The flight was two hours and 45 minutes to Cape Town, and we were served a complimentary meal aboard in the all Coach configuration aircraft.
After landing in Cape Town, we taxied for a bit, past this mammoth British Airways 747, which we will be ok in a few days on our return trip home, via Cape Town to London.
Once in the terminal (accessed via a bus) we gathered our luggage, and as this was a domestic flight within South Africa, we didn’t have to clear customs.
While we waited for our luggage, we noticed some of the signs pleading with passengers to conserve water as they have experienced a severe water shortage lately.
Once outside of baggage claim, we were met by our driver for the next few days, J.J.. J.J. picked us up in a beautiful black Mercedes Benz, and fortunately we were able to get all of the luggage in his car. We never can seem to pack light!
J.J. drove us to our ‘house’ for the next five nights, a palatial palace called 21 Roux Street, which is the actual address. We were graciously greeted by our hosts and owners Peter and Bradley at “21 Roux St” upon arrival around 6:30pm. Peter showed us around the home and to our room, which is actually a huge garden suite. The house has four rooms that can be rented, with the Garden Suite being the largest. The Garden Suite is also the most private, as it is detached from the main house and sits adjacent via a garden-covered walkway. We didn’t have much time to tour the property however, as J.J. had made us a 7:30pm dinner reservation, and we had to quickly shower and unpack. We will post more photos in the days to come of this magnificent property.
J.J. picked us up promptly at 7:20pm, and drove us into town to The French Connection Bistro where we had dinner. As we had been traveling today, and up early for the 5:30am safari, the quaint and casual restaurant was perfect for the first night.
We had a local South African wine called La Motte, which we had passed by the winery coming into the town of Franschhoek.
After dinner we phoned J.J. who picked us up and drove us back to our Castle. It’s going to be a wonderful five night stay here in Franschhoek!