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One Day In Wilderness

    One day in Wilderness. That’s all it took.  For our 10th anniversary, we book a room at the Wilderness Hotel and treat ourselves to a 2-hour Couples Re-unite pamper session at the hotel Spa.  Man! We needed that.

    As exciting as it is to plan for long-term travel, the process of deciding and preparing for it can be very stressful at times.  Apart from that, we’ve not had a good nights sleep since our youngest was born almost two years ago.  Seriously.  Not one!

    With my Dad and brother at home to spend quality time with the children, my Mom, the angel that she is, bravely takes charge of 23-month-old and not-yet-weaned-breastfeeding Melissa.  Seriously worried about leaving her for the night and fully expecting a 2am call to hurry home to save a hysterical baby and her completely stressed-out Ouma, we leave for our treat.

    The call never came.

    The next morning, I eventually call, convinced that they must all be sitting on the curb outside our house, bags packed ready to flee the madhouse.  I’m not sure if I should be happy or sad because the reply on the other side of the phone is my cool-as-a-cucumber-brother who assures me that only ONCE did our baby ask for us and that she is happily playing with her brother and sister without any hiccups what-so-ever.

    View of Wilderness from Whites Road

    Check-In at The Wilderness Hotel

    Back to our one night in Wilderness and our arrival at the Wilderness hotel.  All the deluxe rooms were booked when we called earlier in the week, so we were automatically booked into a standard room.  I was a bit worried about the “standard” part because the price was not so standard, but the room was lovely and exceeded met our expectations.

    We check in just after 3 pm which is the earliest available check-in time.  Yes, we couldn’t wait to get away ok!

    Like I said, we seriously needed the break and some much needed “us” time.  We dump our bag, check out the room and have the complimentary coffee.  What is it with those minute milk thingies?! You need 4 of them for one cup at least and they always only supply 2 per guest.  I like my coffee milky.

    Our room does not have a view, but that is fine because we are not going to spend much time there anyway.  The view from the deck over the hotel entrance is spectacular.  I enjoyed it over a cup of coffee later after our walk on the beach.

    Photo Credit: The Wilderness Hotel

    Blue Flag Wilderness Beaches

    After we are settled in the room, we take a leisurely stroll through the small village and plan our cocktail route for later that evening.

    Wilderness has a great collection of cafe’s, restaurants and pubs all within walking distance of each other and the hotel.  You can trip out the door of a great restaurant and stumble into a cool viby bar next door.

    THE PLAN is to start at the pub in the market square where you can enjoy live music on weekends.   We’d then have one and only one cocktail (mostly virgin for me of course) at each place on the way back to the hotel and then we’d vote for our spot with the best vibe in Wilderness.  There is Cocomo’s, Bongo’s, Roxis and more.  Nightlife, which we rarely get to enjoy together, to look forward to for later.

    A 5-minute walk from the hotel, under the highway and you reach the blue flag Wilderness beach.  We enjoy a leisurely stroll and sit down, digging our toes into the soft sand, to take a moment to breathe in the peace and beauty of the place.

    In South Africa, we have some of the best beaches in the world and in the Garden Route, we are spoiled for choice.  For me, February is the best month to visit the Garden Route because the weather is at its best with less wind and rain.  Perfect for beach life, hiking, adventure and paragliding.  The masses of holidaymakers are gone meaning traffic is back to normal and the beaches are basically empty.

    Spa Couples Massage and Pamper

    Too soon we have to end our moment on the beach to get back to the hotel for our 6 pm pamper appointment.  Eeeeek!!!! I love massages and I love getting them with Brendan, even though he doesn’t and he only does it for me.

    Pamper Part 1

    A friendly receptionist warmly greets us and welcomes us in as we pop our heads in the door.   She shows us to the sauna with a few clear instructions.  Half an hour in the sauna, then cool down in the pool or shower before part 2 of the treatment.  Got it!

    Well, sauna is tuff if you are not used to it! We are not used to it, I’ll tell you that much.  We’re not in five minutes before we want to bail with yelps of “I can’t breathe!” and “it’s too hot! Do they even know what they’re doing?!”.

    Realizing we’re being sissies, we try to relax and sit it out, but 15 minutes is stretching it.  A cool down in the pool for 5 minutes and then bravely, giggling all the way, we face another 10 minutes in the sauna from hell before one last quick cool down in the shower.

    Note to self:  Must sauna more.

    Pamper Part 2

    With every pore on our faces and bodies now open and gaping for air from our sauna, we are led to a treatment room where calm music softly plays and two heavenly massage beds await us.

    The full body massages that follow are great. Just what we needed. I very slightly regret choosing hard this time when I was asked how much pressure I prefer.  On the bright side, every possible kink and knot in every muscle of my body has been massaged out and away.  A lovely experience overall.

    Pamper Part 3

    Treatment room three, lit by too many little tealight candles to count, is a steamy romantic dream world created just for us.  A thermal bath awaits filled with bubble bath and essential oils complete with two classes of chilled bubbly on the side. We enjoy the thermal spa bath while sipping our icy drinks.  Very refreshing and so romantic.

    If you are not too fussed by thermal bath jets and oils with respect to hygiene, this is a solid treat.  Soooo relaxing.

    Paragliders at the Map of Africa, Wilderness

    Room Service And a Good Nights’ Rest

    A little before 8 pm we realize that we’ve not eaten yet and we’re absolutely starving. We leave the spa in a great hurry to get to our room. Still shiny and oily from head to toe despite our thermal bath, we order room service for dinner before hitting the shower, eager to get going on our night out in town. Whoo-hoo!

    Room service is a big affair.  We go big.  The waiter asks us if they should bring cutlery for four!  Ha! Shame on her.

    I gt a full portion of chicken snitchel because we always share, and a calamari basket.  Brendan orders bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers and a sweet chilli chicken burger.  Starters and mains sorted.  For dessert, we can order anything from the buffet for only R35.  I order a little bit of everything to sample and extra milk for more coffee.

    Room service for two ordered at the Wilderness Hotel. The dessert is not even in the photo.

    By the time our feast arrives, we’ve started watching that awful old movie, Snakes On A Plane.  What was Samuel LJ thinking?  Thank Goodness we ordered as much as we did because most of the plates were filled with chips.  Great chips, but mountains of it.  Once the meat is gone, you have only chips left, which we did not eat.  If you love good fries, you will be sorted by room service here.  The food we did have is great and it comes to R400 including the tip.  Not bad.

    Our one night in Wilderness does not end the way we plan.  With the fun-filled night we definitely would’ve had 10 years ago. Instead, I fall asleep, zoned out and relaxed from the spa with my belly full, curled up on the comfy bed next to Brendan before 9 pm!

    The reality is that we are tired parents of 3 and as much as we want to have the amazing night out together a good nights’ rest is just priceless at the moment.

    Rest is what we needed and rest is what we get at the Wilderness Hotel.  We sleep through the night without being disturbed once! I wake at the humanely hour of 7:30, refreshed, rested and ready for breakfast.

    Full Buffet Breakfast

    The full buffet breakfast is delightful.  It is served from 7 to 10 am and it is full indeed.  Full of almost every breakfast food you can imagine.

    It is a beautiful day so we sit on the balcony and enjoy a little bit of everything in the interest of sampling all the goods of course.  Including the white and dark chocolate flakes and the peanut butter syrup type caramel mix, which we had no idea what it was for, but it is delicious.

    Check Out And a Much Needed New Check-Out Checklist

    After breakfast, we pack up and check out.  All staff are friendly and helpful.  From check in to check out.  Their generally casual and relaxed manner make us feel at home.

    Brendan wants to take the scenic route back to George via Whites and The Seven Passes Road, but I need a few things from the shop, so we head to the Garden Route Mall for a bit of shopping before going home.

    Luckily, Brendan remembers that we left my charger and adaptor at the hotel before we leave the mall.  Typical me.  I call the hotel and ask them to get it and keep it at Reception for me.  We are back there in 10 minutes and the charger and adaptor is ready for collection.  Top Job.  Thank you Wilderness Hotel!

    This is why I immediately made up a CHECK OUT CHECKLIST.  If you can think of anything to add to this list please leave us a comment?

    Whites Road is popular with cyclists.

    The Scenic Route: Whites Road, Map of Africa, Paragliders In Action and The Seven Passes Road

    That’s how we got the chance to take the scenic Route back after all.  It works out great because it’s a stunning day for it.  Take Whites Road and stop where you can to take in the view of Wilderness from the top.  It is breathtaking.

    Whites Road is a gravel road and while it is perfectly safe for any car to drive up Whites Road on a dry sunny day, I would think twice on a rainy day.

    The Map of Africa isn’t all that spectacular, but when you get to the top of Whites Road take a left to the Map of Africa anyway.  It is just one of those natural sites that you have to see when you are in the area.  Spend 10 minutes enjoying the view.  Take a selfie and if you are lucky and if you are there in February you will be rewarded for your effort.  Spot paragliders on the opposite side as they take off and paint the sky with the vivid colours of their gliders.

    Luck is on our side.  As we get to the Map of Africa and walk to the Paragliding area we see the sky filled with paragliders.  Just beautiful.

    Paragliding is on my bucket list now.  I am scared of heights, but Brendan’s done it before at Victoria Falls and while I will never ever ever ever bungee jump I can see myself doing a tandem paraglide with him one day.   They just make it look so easy as they run off the hill and gracefully take off into the sky like birds.

    We take in the excitement of the scene for a while longer before we get our picture taken at the Map of Africa sign by a lady who was sitting there and we wonder if she sits there all day or if we’re just lucky.  Strange.

    Back onto Whites Road, we turn left onto the scenic Seven Passes Road or the old Saasveld road as it is locally known, back home to George.

    Paragliders at the Map of Africa in Wilderness


    Photo Credit: The Boardwalk Lodge


    If you want the best view of Wilderness guaranteed every time you look out of your window or when you look up from the sparkling pool, you cannot go wrong with the luxury and style of the Boardwalk Lodge.  We stayed there a while back on a complimentary visit thanks to our good friends Chris and Melissa and we cannot recommend this place enough.  You are guaranteed an absolutely amazing view from almost every room and unit available.

    They have a variety of accommodation options to choose from including Self Catering Timber Chalets and Stylish Studio Suites.  If luxurious comfort and style is your speed then book well in advance to make sure you get space with them.

    The Boardwalk Lodge is popular year round but especially if you want to visit in February you need to book in advance because they are very busy this time of year with international paragliding and adventure tour groups.

    Photo Credit: The Boardwalk Lodge

    We stayed at the Wilderness Hotel for one night and paid for all expenses ourselves.  All thoughts and comments are 100% our own opinions. We are not affiliated to The Wilderness Hotel in any way and they did not endorse this post.

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    One Day In Wilderness
    One Day In Wilderness