plentiful and tasty, and it was possible to get an 'English breakfast'.
The Cape Manor was one of our favourite hotels of the entire trip.
Protea Wilderness Resort Hotel, Wilderness
This large, comfortable hotel has tennis courts and other sporting facilities.
Many of the rooms are on the ground floor.
It is conveniently located a few hundred yards from a huge, sandy beach
beside the Indian Ocean. The beach can be reached safely on foot without
crossing any main roads. Pleasant walks are also available beside a nearby
Our only complaint here was that, after the friendliness of the Cape
Manor in Cape Town, the staff appeared unfriendly, stand-offish and unhelpful.
Royal Hotel, Durban
This is advertised as one of the best hotels in Africa, and it probably
is - on paper. It certainly had all the trappings of a five-star hotel -
chocolates on the pillow, complimentary bits and pieces in the spacious,
modern bathroom, a fabulous view from the top floor restaurant (see picture),
a personalised but mis-spelled welcome message displayed on the television.
However, because it was near the docks, we were strongly advised not
to venture out as it was unsafe after dark (as we stayed in Durban for
one night only, this was 100% of our time). Also, the staff were attentive
to the point of being a nuisance- unless of course we actually wanted
something, when no-one was around. Several of those on our tour reported
being badgered by phone to give an opinion of the hotel, even though they
had only just arrived and were still trying to freshen up. The food was
adequate but not hot enough.
Rob Roy Hotel, Botha's Hill, KwaZulu
We stopped here for a buffet lunch one day and were impressed. The food
was very good, as was the service, and the location was fantastic. Situated
between Durban and Pietermaritzburg, there is a stunning view over the Valley
of a Thousand Hills. The hotel's gardens are beautifully green, with many
flowering trees and shrubs. Below the gardens are a small aviary and some
interesting, but expensive, small shops. The indoor swimming pool has probably
the best view of any pool in South Africa.
Sani Pass Hotel, Drakensberg Mountains
This was our favourite hotel of the tour. It was not the most modern and
had fewer facilities than some, but it was very comfortable indeed and the
staff were wonderful. And as for the setting - it was out of this world
(see picture). The hotel is situated on a lovely green plateau, at the foot
of the Sani Pass, the only route into the 10,000ft (3,000m) high Drakensbergs
(and the mountain kingdom of \Lesotho) from the south. In October we found
the weather here warm and sunny with very fresh air - quite a change from
hot and sticky Durban where we stayed the previous night.
Facilities include horse riding, 4-wheel-drive trips into the mountains
(which we did - see elsewhere on this site), golf and walking in the extensive
We would have liked to stay more than the two nights spent at this hotel.
Bushlands Game Lodge, Hluhluwe
This was unlike any hotel we had experienced. The accommodation is in huts
in a woodland setting, linked by elevated woden walkways. Despite the external
appearance, the rooms were comfortable with all the mod cons you would expect,
including air conditioning. The need for the elevated paths was obvious
in the morning when a small herd of nyala (antelope) could be seen wandering
around the hotel grounds. During the night, apes clambered on the roof of
our hut and other small animals were visible from the windows. The food
was excellent and, after dinner, guests could sit round an open air log fire
beside the bar. In addition to the small swimming pool, the hotel's most
novel attraction is a large, observation hut from where giraffe, antelope
and other game could be seen grazing a few tens of feet away.
Lugugo Sun Hotel, Swaziland
This is part of a luxury hotel complex in the heart of Swaziland. It's opulence
contrasts with Swaziland's obvious poverty, which made some of us feel a
little uncomfortable, but it is plainly a good way for the country to earn
much needed foreign currency. There are many leisure facilities, including
a large pool and even a casino.
We did not enjoy having to wait nearly an hour for a snack lunch, by
which time those who had ordered after us were well into their meals.
Nor did we like the impossibly noisy and drafty air conditioning; we eventually
turned this off and were rewarded by mosquito bites (essential to take
malaria medicine). Also annoying was the habit of waiters talking to each
other in their own language whilst serving us - perhaps they had been
trained not to fraternise with the guests, but to us it was just rude.
On the plus side, there is a large open-air craft market a few hundred
yards outside the hotel. You are unlikely to get mugged here, but the
walk does involve crossing a busy main road. All sorts of carvings, paintings
and souvenirs are on sale at dozens of stalls and bargains can be had
by haggling a little. Some market items were on sale at the hotel itself
at greatly inflated prices. We were pleasantly surprised by the Swazi
people we encountered on our short walk (mostly returning from work and
catching the ubuitous white taxi-buses) who all smiled and said "hello"
- in contrast to the hotel staff.
River House Guest Lodge, Malalene
This was another place we stopped just for lunch, but what a location!
It is right beside the Crododile River, the other side of which is the
Kruger National Park. The food was excellent and the service friendly
and entertaining (the staff sang and danced for us). The decor has to
be seen to be believed - every surface is crammed with artifacts, old
and new, from all round the world.
It is when we went outside that we discovered the best bit - a large
open-sided shelter (which we needed as the temperature was nearly 40 degrees
C) built out over the river bank, and a few feet below us were several
hippos cooling themselves. A little patience revealed a crocodile near
the far bank.
This would have been a really great place to stay, but with only a dozen
rooms it was too small for our 30-strong party.
Hotel The Winkler, White River
Located conveniently for the Kruger National Park, the Winkler (pronounced
'Vinkler' as it is owned by a German company) is set in impressively large,
lawned grounds with peacocks roaming around. The rooms are on the ground
floor and the reception, bar and dining areas are reached by a short outside
walk (rain is not normally a hazard, though there was a shower whilst
we were there).
This is a place to relax. If you don't fancy being energetic in the swimming
pool, the lounge is large, with a calming view of the grounds. The staff
are efficient and friendly. Dinner is signalled by a native drummer, and
the food - German influenced - is good and hot.
Rosebank Hotel, Johannesburg
Situated in the relatively safe suburb of Rosebank, this Hotel was up-market
and in keeping with the rest of our experience in South Africa was less
friendly than the less luxurious ones. The food was good, but the buffet
service seemed shambolic. We had one meal in a chinese restaurant which
was part of the hotel. The view from our window (see picture) was of the
Post Office tower in central Johannesburg and the many beautiful jacaranda
trees for which this area is famous.
We were able to walk outside the hotel to a large, modern shopping mall
a few hundred yards away. The shoppers appeared much more wealthy than
most other South Africans we had come across, even in Cape Town. Shops
selling guns, tazers and flak jackets nestled alongside boutiques and