One Day In Wilderness

One day in Wilderness. That’s all it took.

For our 10th anniversary, we booked a room at the Wilderness Hotel and treated 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 took charge of 23-month-old and not-yet-weaned-breastfeeding Kate.  We were worried about leaving her for the night and fully expected a 2 am call to hurry home to save a hysterical baby and her completely stressed-out Ouma.  The call never came.

The next morning, I eventually called because I was 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 was my cool-as-a-cucumber brother assuring 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.  Yay!

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.  Note to self:  Book popular hotels longer in advance!  I was a bit worried about the “standard” part because the price was not that standard, but the room was lovely and exceeded my expectation.

We checked 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 needed the break and some much needed “us” time.  We dumped our bag, checked out the room and had 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 did not have a view, but that was fine because we were 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

A Stroll Through Town

After we were settled in the room, we took a leisurely stroll through the very little village, planning 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.

We planned 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.  Some nightlife, which we rarely get to enjoy together, to look forward to for later.

Blue Flag Wilderness Beaches

We took the 5-minute walk going under the highway to the blue flag Wilderness beach.  We enjoyed a leisurely stroll and a moment to sit down and just take 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.

In my humble opinion, 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, 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 had 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.

Pamper Part 1

We were warmly greeted by the friendly receptionist on duty at the Spa who showed us to the sauna with 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.  We were not in five minutes before we wanted to bail with yelps of “I can’t breathe!” and “it’s too hot! Do they know what they are doing?!”We realized we were being sissies and tried to relax and sit it out, but 15 minutes was stretching it.  We cooled down in the pool for 5 minutes and then bravely, giggling all the way, faced another 10minutes in the sauna from hell before another quick cool down in the shower.  We obviously have to sauna more.

Pamper Part 2

We are led to a treatment room where calm music softly plays and two heavenly massage beds await us.  The full body massages that followed were great.  I very slightly regret choosing hard this time when I was asked how much pressure I prefer, but 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

We were shown to another treatment room lit by candlelight.  A thermal bath was prepared for us with bubble bath and essential oils.  We enjoyed the thermal spa bath while sipping chilled cocktails.  Very refreshing and very 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 realized that we’d not eaten yet and were absolutely starving so we left the spa in a great hurry to get to our room. Still shiny and oily from head to toe despite our thermal bath, we were happy to order room service for dinner before hitting the shower and heading out to our cocktail crawling night out in town. Whoo-hoo!

We went big on room service.  The waiter asked us if they should bring cutlery for four!  Ha! Shame on her.

I got a full portion chicken snitchel because we always share and a calamari basket.  Brendan ordered bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers and a sweet chilli chicken burger.  Starters and mains sorted.  For dessert, we could order anything from the buffet for only R35.  I ordered 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 arrived, we’d 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 was gone, you had only chips left, which we did not eat.  If you love good fries, you would be sorted by room service here.  The food we did have was great and it came to R400 including the tip.  Not bad.

Our one night in Wilderness did not end with the fun-filled night out we planned and definitely would have done 10 years ago. Instead, I fell asleep with a 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 got at the Wilderness Hotel.  We slept through the night and I woke at 7:30 refreshed, rested and ready for breakfast.

Full Buffet Breakfast

The full buffet breakfast was delightful.  It is served from 7 to 10 am.  It was a beautiful day so we sat on the balcony and enjoyed a little bit of everything in the interest of sampling all the goods, 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 was delicious.

 

Check Out And a Much Needed New Check-Out Checklist

After breakfast, we packed up and checked out.  All staff were friendly and helpful.  From check in to check out.  Their generally casual and relaxed manner made us feel at home.

Brendan wanted to take the scenic route back to George via Whites and The Seven Passes Road, but I needed a few things so we headed to the Garden Route Mall for a bit of shopping before going home.  Luckily Brendan remembered that we left my charger and adaptor at the hotel.  Typical me.  I called the hotel and asked them to get it and keep it at Reception.  We were back there in 10 minutes and the charger and adaptor were 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

So we got the chance to take the scenic Route back after all.  It worked out great because it was 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 is 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 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 taking off and filling the sky with vivid colours.

We were lucky.  We got to the Map of Africa and walked to the Paragliding area where we saw the sky filled with paragliders everywhere.  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 made it look so easy running off the hill and gracefully taking off into the sky like birds.  We took in the excitement of the scene a while longer before getting our picture taken at the Map of Africa sign by a lady who was sitting there.  We then got back onto Whites Road and turned left onto the scenic Seven Passes Road or the old Saasveld road as it is locally known, back home to George.

 

Photo Credit: The Boardwalk Lodge

BEST VIEW OF WILDERNESS

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

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