South Africa - Round The World Tour 2003 Day 2

Kosmos in Hartbeespoort (near Pretoria)

Friday 14th March

Several times today, I asked myself and others around me “Did we really only arrive yesterday?” I feel so relaxed that it feels like we’ve been here quite some time already. Our accommodation and surroundings is the closest thing to utopia that I have ever experienced. I’ve never been so relaxed in my life before. Wim and Helen are just wonderful. We enjoyed a most pleasant evening with a wonderful meal from the ‘braai’, outside on the veranda under candlelight. The sky was clear and we pondered star constellations and enjoyed looking through Wim’s telescope at the planets. The view across the lake with the mountains in the background was about as good as it gets.

This morning started with breakfast on our own patio area just outside the door. Much the same as all the other houses in this area, Wim and Helen’s house is situated on a steep incline with the house architecture reflecting the same. Various patios and hidden corners are everywhere and all on different levels. There is a patio just outside and a couple of steps up from our chalet, another immediately about our front room, yet another around to the left of us and another two further back and at different elevations. The further towards the rear of the property you go, the higher up you go. At first, I thought it would be a tough life for Wim and Helen as they are both over the age of 60 (although you might not believe me to see them) and, at first sight, it does seem like you would be continually up and down steps all day long. This would be the case if it were not for the fact that the majority of the living area is mostly on one level and that they have a lift, which goes from the garage to the guest level quarters (where we are situated) and then up to the main living quarters. Although it’s probably the very first house that I have ever seen with its own lift, apparently this is quite common in this neighbourhood.

Helen took us for a little ride around the neighbourhood shortly after we had cleaned up after breakfast. I took some more photos whilst Helen explained to Sandy about some of her neighbours and about Kosmos, the name of this resort, in general. We then went to visit another guest-house just above and to the left of us. The people who own and run it sold this place to Wim and Helen several months ago and had decided to move up into a larger place. They were pleased to show us around and, again, we were both in awe of the place. Very luxurious and extremely well architected with a common/games room, a bar, several large bedroom suites and even a conference room – all of which were on different levels.

After freshening up, we took Wim and Helen out to a late lunch at a nearby restaurant. Very nice and very reasonably priced. I would have expected to pay about double what was reflected in the bill had we been in the States or in Europe.

Since we were starting to get a little more familiar with the lie of the land, we decided to venture over to the dam to take some more photos. The housemaid was walking out to catch the bus as we departed so we gave her a lift to the supermarket, which was about half way between here and the Hartbeespoort Dam.

Helen was good enough to help us arrange four nights stay in the Kruger National game reserve. All the guidebooks agree that Kruger is an absolute must see destination in South Africa and we are so glad that we will be spending several days there. We have booked two nights in Lataba, one night in Oliefants and one night in Skakusa.

We finished up the day with a BBQ meal under the stars and reviewing the many photos that we’ve taken since we arrive in Africa (about 300 or so).