In the five years that we have been retired and living in Struisbaai this is the longest time that we have stayed at home! But today we dusted off our Gecko off-road caravan and hit the road again. Part of the fun is the preparation but there is nothing like that thrill of anticipation on the first morning of a long trip. Today began a journey that is to last about two months.
We left Struisbaai at 10 am in slightly drizzly weather. Our route will take to Warmwaterberg for two nights and then through the Karoo to Camdeboo National Park for one night. From there we have an eight-hour journey to Kokstad where we will stay with relatives for two nights. Another one night stay in Ermelo and then into Kruger National Park on 1 November. We will spend 34 days at various camps in Kruger before leaving via Punda Maria Gate and making our way back to Kokstad where we will spend a week to 10 days. From there we go to the kids in Plettenberg Bay to spend the Christmas holidays. We should be back in Struisbaai around 6 January.
Warmwaterberg is a very pleasant two and half hour drive and includes a stunning mountain pass which is currently sporting an array of colourful wild flora. The hot springs are set on large farm between Barrydale and Ladismith on Route 62.
We visit this spa several times each year usually with the caravan but we have tried all the modes of accommodation on offer. Bath House 3 and 4 are the best non camping accommodation at this resort. If you don’t camp, then I’d recommend you ask for those. The other accommodation is less than satisfactory.
I blogged about this spa here and here. This one is about the luxury accommodation and about the picturesque town of Barrydale. If you want more information on this lovely place, they are worth a read.
We have a caravan site just across from the pools. In the past we have stayed in the caravan park further away and it is shady and the sites of quite a good size.
If you want crystal clear water then this is not the place for you. The water is completely natural and is brown. The baths are cleaned on alternate days so while one is full the other is emptied and fills during the morning and is full by the afternoon.
The spring is 44 degrees C at the sauce. The water is rich in iron and has health benefits when consumed. The taste is very pleasant. The water in the ablutions is from the spring and naturally hot.
There is a small shop with limited supplies on the premises. The restaurant is lovely. You can sit on the patio outside and enjoy panoramic views across the valley. The food too is inexpensive and of excellent quality. This evening we dined there. The Earl had Lasagna and I had Bobotie both served with the most delicious vegetables. We also had a bottle of sauvignon blanc The total cost of the meal was R270. That would be €14 or £ 12.70 or $16,60. That’s hard to beat even in other places in South Africa.
The weather here is decidedly warmer than Struisbaai as it is in the Karoo which is semi-desert -hot and dry.