Monday, December 19, 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Last Three Gardens [Franschhoek 2011 Open Gardens weekend]

Jackie Loubser's 5 year old garden as seen from the back of the house where a most impressive potager garden has been established.
With 2011 almost at an end and the holiday season right upon us, I really do want to finish showing you the last three gardens we visited during our Franschhoek Open Gardens weekend tour. I am combining them into a single post, since they were all fairly compact in size and all young gardens. Each is evidently much loved by its owner and well thought out and each had its own unique look and feel.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Henk Scholtz's Franschhoek Garden

The Franschhoek garden of landscaper and artist, Henk Scholtz.
Those of you who have joined me from the start of this series of posts, featuring the ten private gardens open to public viewing during the 2011 Franschhoek Open Gardens tour, may recall my having mentioned that we'd had the special privilege of being invited to view a private garden that was NOT on the list of open gardens. I am delighted to be sharing it with you, today!

To see more of this unique garden that was featured on the BBC Documentary series, "Around the World in 80 Gardens", continue reading.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

La Providence [Franschhoek Open Garden 2011]

La Providence's Manor House
The owner of this extensive property is clearly not only an enthusiastic rose collector, on a scale few are lucky enough to achieve, but an avid sportsman as well. Apart from a fully dedicated gym facility and tennis courts, there was a cricket net for practice purposes. It therefore seems appropriate to quote Ben Hogan as we walk across the perfectly manicured lawns admiring roses every whichway we turn our heads: "As you walk down the fairway of life, you must smell the roses, for you only get to play one round."

If you want to be assailed by the beautiful treasures this astounding garden has to offer, continue reading...

Friday, December 2, 2011

La Brie [Franschhoek Open Garden 2011]

The Lake at La Brie
I cannot believe how quickly time is passing. Our wonderful trip to view the open gardens in Franschhoek seems a distant memory apart from the reminder we have by way of the hundreds of photographs we took.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Heathcliff Back At The Keyboard

Hi Everybody! It has been quite some time since I last nudged Desiree off her blogging seat.
I thought you might like to know that Bonny, Toby, Coco, Milo, Noodle and I are all doing very well. With the warmer weather, we have been spending some time at the pool. Continue reading to see all of us having fun in the sun!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Vue de Ciele [Franschhoek Open Garden 2011]

View from the steeply winding driveway up to the manor house at Vue de Ciel
Here I am, back again, to proceed with you on our visit to Vue de Ciele, another of the wonderful, private gardens in Franschhoek that were opened to the public for viewing, in order to raise much needed funding for the Fleur de Lis home for the aged.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Klein Champagne [Franschhoek Open Garden 2011]

The entrance to Klein Champagne Estate, Franschhoek. Vineyards lined with magnificent roses.
Klein Champagne is a privately owned wine estate set in the exquisitely beautiful Franschhoek Valley. Described on our programme as a "park-like garden, with spectacular roses, a large and shaded river frontage, meandering paths and a lily covered lake", this very large garden was an absolute joy to behold.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Only Seven Pictures Today...

Witels River area - day trip - October 2011
My new theme song is, "It's been another busy week!" If it hasn't already been written, it ought to be, since I have it repeat playing indefinitely. For now, I see little chance of any change.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Fay Bentley's Garden [Franschhoek Open Garden 2011]

Hello. I'm one of the seven Persians whose function it is to add beauty and grace to Fay's garden.
This altogether delightful, small garden of complimentary mixed plantings, has been featured in several magazines. That Fay is truly passionate about her garden is evident in every step one takes.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Montpellier [Franschhoek Open Gardens 2011]

Montpellier, Franschhoek Open Garden, October 2011
Here I am, back at my computer after another very busy week, to walk you around the gardens at Montpellier. This was the last of the ten gardens we visited, but I have opted to feature it second, since it is so very different in style and setting from the first garden I shared, namely La Rive.

Monday, October 31, 2011

La Rive

La Rive
We have returned home, thoroughly buoyed and exuberant, after a wonderful weekend spent visiting each of ten exquisite private gardens, generously made available for public viewing by their respective owners during this season's Franschhoek Open Gardens 2011 extravaganza. All funds generated by this worthy cause have been donated by the Lions Club of Franschhoek to the Fleur de Lis old age home in the village.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Kaleidoscope of Colour in the Orchid Greenhouse

A bright, sunshiny day. Perfect weather to spend a couple of hours quietly absorbing all the loveliness on offer at Van Den Berg Garden Village outside Stellenbosch.
After having received a number of requests to walk you through the Orchid Greenhouse at the marvellous Van Den Berg Garden Village nursery we visited in my last post, I bid you 'WELCOME', as we step inside.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Van Den Berg Garden Village...A Remarkable Place!

A while ago, my trusty camera and I spent a couple of hours viewing a rather eclectic (and new to me) nursery, up close and personal.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Grab your wallets...we're going shopping in Franschhoek!

Handcrafted African-themed pottery on display in a Franschhoek Curio and Gift Shop.

It pleases me no end, knowing so many of you have been enjoying this series on Franschhoek. I thought I'd give you a change of scene this time around and show you inside one of the gift shops, in case any of you feel the impulse to buy a souvenir before we go for lunch.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Franschhoek Visit [Part 2]

A lovely farmhouse, with resident horses enjoying the bright sunshine, on the outskirts of the picturesque village of Franschhoek.

Rather frustratingly, we have been experiencing intermittent internet outages, apparently due to an upgrade by our local telecommunications provider. I have, therefore, not been able to reliably access my email account or Blogger for the past few days. My husband has just called out to let me know we are "Back online!" [for now] and so I thought I'd use the chance to quickly upload the second installment of our trip to Franschhoek.  Without further ado, therefore, please join me on a pleasant amble through the older village, with its ever so quaint, cottage-style homes and very pretty gardens! This is a sampling of the many pictures both my husband and I took. I will allow them to speak for themselves in most instances and will only offer captions here and there.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Truth about the Evolution of Man!

 "Three monkeys sat in a coconut tree,
   Discussing things as they’re said to be."

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Fine Time in Franschhoek

Farmland on the outskirts of Franschhoek.
We recently spent two absolutely delightful days exploring Franschhoek (literal translation: the French Corner), reputed to be one of the most picturesque wine valleys in the world. We count ourselves fortunate, as it is only a stone's throw away from where we live. I am not going to elaborate any further, as time is short right now and I do so want to get this post up before bedtime, so for those of you who are interested in finding out more about this South African gem and the history of the French heritage that is still manifestly in evidence today, please go to

Friday, September 30, 2011

Historical Tulbagh

 Cape Dutch style buildings are unique to South Africa.
This is the promised continuation from where I'd left off in my second last post.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

My Book Has Arrived!

It was with great excitement that I collected my long-awaited book of poetry, "The relativity of a corroded mind", authored by the incredibly talented Ms Lavinia Boja, today!

Please click the Read more button below to continue reading this post...

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Peacocks at Paddagang

One of the peacocks we saw at Paddagang Restaurant in Tulbagh.
A fortnight ago, my husband and I were able to take two days off to enjoy a much-needed break from our busy routines. On the first day, we spontaneously decided to drive to Tulbagh, a very pretty little town situated less than 2 hours drive from Cape Town.
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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Twoo Whit Twoo Woo

This Spotted Eagle Owl is currently residing in our garden.
Our first official day of Spring is today, September 22, which in the Southern Hemisphere is the Springtime Equinox. For the past couple of weeks, we have heard owls hooting in our immediate neighbourhood and, in the last few days, we have been delighted to discover a visitor of our own...a beautiful Spotted Eagle Owl.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Farewell Philadelphia [Part 3]

Site of the original, village Post Office, now used as a gathering place known by the quaint name of "StoepSit Kafee" literally translated from the Afrikaans meaning verandah-seating Cafe. It was not open on the day we visited Philadelphia, but it can't be missed with its quirky signpost and pink bicycle.

I had wondered whether or not to post a third part to my two previous posts. I am not sure the last few pictures I have will be of any general interest. However, since I said there would be a third part, I have decided to proceed as planned.

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Pepper Tree Art Stable and Coffee Shop (Part 2 of Philadelphia Outing!)

Signpost on the street corner directing visitors to the restaurant and coffee shop.

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

It's Party Time at Facing 50 With Humour!

Do I look smart enough to attend Carol Wyer's Book Launch Party?
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Friday, September 9, 2011

Impromptu outings are often the best kind!

"I'm very spur-of-the-moment! I'm always trying to think of fun things to do to create a memory."  ~ Josh Hartnett ~

Are you a spur-of-the-moment kind of person, or do you like to plan all the intricate details ahead of time? Are you, perhaps, a good blend of both? Maybe, you're someone who is mostly inclined one way, yet, on occasional, you'd be happy to step out of your comfort zone and experience a little of the other way?

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Saturday, September 3, 2011

A Rather Delightful Interlude and Something for Garden Lovers Everywhere!

Sign pointing to the duckpond ("eendedam") at Grietjiesdrif Guesthouse, near Rawsonville, in the Breedekloof (Breede River Valley) Wine Region.

There is nothing quite like a short break from ones daily routine to reignite a lackluster frame of mind. I enjoyed just such a change in pace and perspective this week, when I accompanied my daughter, Linda, on an overnight trip to Rawsonville, a small, wine farming community situated in the picturesque Breede River Valley. The quaint town of Rawsonville is the central hub of this lively agricultural community and well-worth a visit!

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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wednesday's Child is Full of Woe!

"And it never failed that during the dry years the people forgot about the rich years, and during the wet years they lost all memory of the dry years. It was always that way."  ~ John Steinbeck ~

I have absolutely no idea on what day of the week I was born, but I have been having a woeful Wednesday, today. Since posting this, my dear, sweet Mother has informed me that I was born on a Monday...that means I'm "fair of face!" (Well, maybe I was, once upon a time, but I don't believe that applies anymore!)

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Feathered Friends and Rainy Days

"Watching birds has become part of my daily meditation, affirming my connection to the earth body."  ~ Carol P. Christ ~
We have always fed the birds that come to our garden, but for the last two years, we have dedicated one section of the garden solely to providing a safe and well-stocked larder for their exclusive use.

As it has been a while since I last escorted you around the garden, I thought we could pull on our gumboots (wellies, galoshes), wrap up in a waterproof jacket and enjoy today's rainy, if somewhat chilly, weather. It's a perfect opportunity to do this, as the birds have been exceedingly active.

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Thursday, August 18, 2011


Ah, I've always wanted a chance to say those words...BREAKING NEWS! 

To continue reading this post, please click the Read more button will be glad you did!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Greeting Spring in my Garden...A Dog's Eye-view!

When the flower blooms, the bees come uninvited ~ Ramakrishna

Our daylight hours have been surreptitiously lengthening. Almost stealthily, the earliest signs of frivolous Spring have furtively crept into my garden. Dead wood has been transformed into demure blossom, enticing the sleepy bees to awaken from their wintry slumbers. The crisp, fresh air is scented with the intoxicating fragrance of Freesia and Jasmine. Birdsong fills daylight hours with soft, sweet refrain. My soul stirs in recognition and is nourished by this sweet enchantment.

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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Update on the Dogs and the Greenhouse Orchids

17 month old Toby

Our daughter, Linda, and her 5 month old rescue puppy, Noodle, have been with us all week...

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Friday, August 5, 2011

Thank you!

Fragrant roses I bought for Linda

Thank you to everyone who faithfully visited Driftwood Ramblings and left such endearing comments, even though the official Rambler has been absent from her post for quite some time. Thank you for stopping by, even though this piece of Driftwood had apparently deserted your shoreline and left your message bottle empty! Thank you for warmly welcoming Linda in my absence and for all your kind and encouraging words. We both sincerely appreciate your loving messages and loyal support.

To continue reading this post, please click the Read more button below...and see some new pictures of Noodle!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Diary of a Rescue Dog (Guest Post)

Nice to meet you!

Hi everyone! No, this isn't Des, but her daughter, Linda. My mom has been incredibly worried that she has been neglecting all of her wonderful readers and pleaded with me to do a guest post for her today. This begs the question - is it really a "guest" post when one's family member is the blogger, or is this rather a case of nepotism at play? I'll leave you to ponder that one a little later. I am sure that you're wondering where Des actually is, and why she has seemingly abandoned you. I'm here to reassure you that she has, in fact, been helping me with my new addition, Noodle. Ever my "angel to the rescue", my mom packed her suitcase and has come to stay with me for a few days, in order to help me to get Noodle settled.  

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Short and Sweet

This pink drink is really addictive!

For once, I'm trying out a new keep this post short and sweet! My last one was sooooooooo lengthy even I was wondering if it was ever going to end. You may recall that I'd mentioned the squirrels also enjoy the sugar water we ostensibly put out for our nectar feeding, feathered friends. This morning, my husband managed to get a couple of hastily snapped pictures of this sweet-tooth, little culprit dominating the nectar bottle outside our bathroom window...

I just have to go back for more!
That's it from me for today, folks, but I really would like to encourage you to click on the link below... read a heartwarming tale that is bound to put a smile on your faces!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Summer in Winter

Strelitzia captured in the garden today [17/07/2011]

Lately, we have been enjoying day after day of picture-perfect weather.  Balmy temperatures in the mid-20's (that's degrees Celsius, of course!) during the middle part of the day, with cool nights perfect for snuggling under our duvet. This is not usual for this time of the year. This is mid-winter in South Africa and, where I live in the Western Cape, it is meant to be our rainy season. We are meant to have crisp, cold days with plenty of rain. It has not rained for well over a week now and there has hardly been any wind, with most days not only clear and sunny, but perfectly calm as well.

Could it be that we are having Summer in Winter? Does this mean we'll have Winter in Summer?

Cape White-eye enjoying a juicy orange

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mixed Bag of Offerings

Pastoral Perfection!

I have had a busy few days which left very limited time for blogging of any description. I have tried to visit as many of my favourites as possible, but due to time constraints am not always able to leave a comment.

Apart from the usual busyness I had a wonderful day out with a very good friend of mine on Monday. We drove out into the countryside and ventured somewhat off the beaten track in search of eye-catching scenes and a good place to enjoy a leisurely lunch. On Tuesday, my husband took our three older dogs with him when he went to do a short site inspection. Despite having taken precautions (spraying the dogs with tick spray) they all returned home covered with ticks! That entailed much hasty bathing of all five dogs, as we decided to play it safe and do the two pups as well. Following this, all of their beds and bedding, and the bedding that is used in the bakkie, had to be washed and dried. The dogs were all fitted with new tick collars in addition to their monthly tick and flea spot treatment. That took the best part of the rest of Tuesday! At present, we also have a couple of birds building their nests in the garden and have been eagerly keeping tabs on the Sunbird pair. We have yet to discover the whereabouts of the Robins' nest, but watch them flying hither and thither with beaks full of building material. We have also been following the movements of a pair of owls that move between us and our neighbours. I heard quite a commotion while out in the garden this morning and saw lots of birds agitatedly twittering and tweeting. Upon careful investigation, I saw one of the owls perched in our neighbour's Oak tree with little birds darting and flitting excitedly in the branches around the owl. I called my husband to please take a few pictures using his zoom lens. I walked around the garden myself as well and snapped a few of the things that are currently blooming...hence, my mixed bag of offerings to share here this evening. 

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Friday, July 8, 2011

Great Escape!

Endless views as seen on a day trip we enjoyed yesterday (7/7/2011)
Regular visitors to Driftwood Ramblings will know how much I enjoy any occasion when I'm able to accompany my husband on his field trips. Yesterday was one of those occasions, made possible through the kindness of our daughter, who came home to puppysit so I was able to escape for the day.

We left bright and early on what dawned as a perfectly clear and crisp winter's day. Our destination was Lambert's Bay, a little fishing village up the West Coast of South Africa and a 4.5 hour trip from home. We always avoid the nasty direct routes and choose the byways. If possible, we also return home via an alternative route, to make the trip that much more interesting and pleasurable. Yesterday was no exception although it did mean that we only arrived back home well after dark and we prefer not to have to travel after nightfall.  No matter, we had a most enjoyable day and succeeded in squeezing in a few spontaneous photo opportunities. Between us, we took in excess of 150 pictures, although quite a few of those were directly related to the site visit and so I'll not be including those here.

I, of course, invariably manage to sneak off on my own a bit to do my own investigations whilst my husband is busy with his own plotting, planning and sample collection where required, but yesterday I was numero uno driver once we reached our designated site.  There were 19 individual points to be investigated and it made more sense for me to remain in the driver's seat so we were able to move to the next point of reference on completion of each of the preceding ones. This ensured ease of operation and greater efficiency of time usage and, if I may say so myself, worked well and in our favour allowing for a bit of dawdling on the homeward run.

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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sunday Sightings

10 year old Bonny says, "As long as I have a ball, I'm never bored!"
Whoever says they're bored, hasn't learnt to really open their eyes and see all the incredible beauty around them.  You don't need lots of money to make your life interesting. All you require is a good pair of eyes, spectacles or a magnifying glass and you need step no further, from your own threshold, than into your own garden, regardless of how small that may be. You see, size does not matter if your intention is to "See a world in a grain of sand, And a Heaven in a flower" (William Blake) There is so much infinite beauty all around us, yet we fail to see and appreciate it.

Come and step into my garden with me, while I show you the many beautiful things my husband and I discovered this afternoon (all photographs were taken by my husband). 

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Friday, July 1, 2011

I'm Back!

Driving over the Swartberg Pass (June 2011)

I last posted on 22 June.  I tried to upload a new post I'd prepared on the 29th.  Unfortunately, Blogger was having a bad day and all but annihilated my efforts, which, despite my best intentions, I was unable to retrieve.  Needless to say, I was not in a good mood having spent quite some time putting it together.  It was to have been in honour of Carol Wyer @ Facing 50 With Humour and Lavinia Boja @ The relativity of a corroded mind.  They have both recently had their first books published and I wanted to surprise them by dedicating a post to their wonderful achievement. 

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

For Michael and Hanne

Sunlight catching the large fleshy strap leaves of the Clivias that grow beneath the shade of the Swamp Cypress in my garden. Each season has its own particular brand of beauty!

This post has been prepared with Michael and Hanne in mind. They are the authors of Penticton Commentary, a marvellous Canadian blog that features their travels and the landmarks both in and around Penticton, where they are based. They refer to themselves as 'Retired Travellers' and they certainly have lived and travelled all over the world. Michael is orginally from the UK and Hanne is proudly of Danish origin.  They remain true to their roots, yet totally united in their obvious love of Canada.  They spend their days cycling, enjoying wonderful walks, scenic drives and visiting and entertaining their friends and family from around the globe. Please do visit their blog... 

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Symphony of Cymbidiums

One of the best things about this time of year is the annual gift given to me by my beautiful cymbidium orchids.
We had four orchid plants just short of two years ago. Two were given to us as gifts by my Mum and Dad before they emigrated in 1996 and I'd bought two others since. They grew in the garden outdoors and flowered quite well, although somewhat sporadically, through the years. Often, the snails would get to them before the flowers had properly opened. This was disheartening, but try as I did, I never remembered to put down snailbait in time.

When I got my greenhouse in October 2009, we spilt and repotted them, happily ending up with quite a few plants, all of which survived and have been growing very contentedly in their new pots in the greenhouse ever since.  Unexpectedly, they flowered well last year. I'd read that after splitting and replanting, they can take two or three years to settle down before flowering again. Naturally, we were delighted and this year, they have been determined to outdo their efforts of last year...we have fed them and looked after them with much greater care and attentiveness since moving them to the greenhouse and this has obviously been beneficial.

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Monday, June 20, 2011

How do you amuse yourself on a Sunday afternoon in winter?

Hi everybody! Coco and I thought we'd do a combined post to show you some of the ways you can amuse yourselves on a lazy Sunday afternoon in winter...

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Precious Droplets

Winter time in South Africa is when we receive the bulk of our annual rainfall in the Western Cape, where I live.

By the time the first rains arrive, our dams are usually very low and the grassy verges lining the roads are parched and brown. Seemingly just days after the first good soaking, everything changes into the most beautiful shades of green. At this time of year, when the sun shines and the air is crisp, fresh and clear, our vistas are even more beautiful, enhanced greatly by the clean air and softer, gentler light. It is one of my favourite times of the year. 

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Friday, June 17, 2011

San Rock Art and Sublimely Sensuous Spa Treatment at Bushmans Kloof

One of the paintings we saw in the cave we visited. Some of the detail has been lost through the ages, but what has been preserved through time and careful management of these sites, is still remarkable. I'm sure you can all recognise the large shapes as elephant and the narrow forms as depictions of men with bows and arrows.

On the morning of our second day at Bushmans Kloof, we were collected by Jaco bright and early at our appointed meeting place, in order to participate in one of the highlights of any visit to the Cederberg...that of being able to view the ancient Rock Art painting in the numerous sandstone caves found throughout this vast region. The Lodge itself has several caves on site over which it serves as custodian. These are frequently visited by archeologists and students from locally and from abroad and can only be accessed for everyone else, provided you are a guest at Bushmans Kloof. As my guest, you're able to accompany me to the cave we visited. Sadly, we were not able to join the group on our last day, as we had to leave early to head back to the terminal at Cape Town International, where Carol (my sister) was to connect with her fowarding flight to rejoin her husband in Johannesburg before leaving South Africa the next day. 

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Bushmans Kloof...Earthly Paradise!

The landscaping at Bushmans Kloof has been thoughtfully planned to complement and enhance the natural beauty of the area, creating an almost seemless transition from formal to natural. The estate is not fenced off around the Homestead and this invites exploratory amblings to be done at leisure and on a whim, provided your stay there is long enough! You really do need plenty of time to be able to fully participate in all that is on offer here!

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

We Have Arrived At Bushmans Kloof!

First impressions of Bushmans Kloof are considerably enhanced by the wonderful greeting accorded to all guests upon arrival. The car is quickly whisked away and parked under cover out of sight and luggage is promptly delivered to ones suite while the requisite paperwork is being completed. Thereafter, refreshments are offered, either a glass of sherry or iced Rooibos tea, followed by a gentle, guided stroll around the Lodge in order to become acquainted with the various mealtime venues. Breakfast is usually served in the thatched boma (unless it's very cold and raining) and dinner is served in the formal diningroom of the Manor House. Light luncheons can be taken on the terrace overlooking the heated pool of the Manor House and, in inclement weather, breakfasts will also be served inside the Manor House. High Tea is served daily in the boma. Our arrival coincides perfectly with this occasion and after our trip, is precisely what we're looking forward to.

We agree to meet up after we've checked out our rooms and had a quick "freshen up".

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Monday, June 13, 2011

The Day We Set Off To Bushmans Kloof

Bushmans Kloof, an idyllic getaway surrounded by the splendid Cederberg Mountains.
I have decided to split this journey into three parts starting with the day we set off. If you want to enjoy the whole experience, you will have to return to Driftwood Ramblings twice's that for craftily 'snagging' you! 

Actually, it's once again a case of having too many pictures I'd like to share and not being able to limit my choices to only a handful. So, for anyone who finds my posts too long and drawn out (yes, I know you're yawning, already eager to click off to the next site on your long list of potentials!), there are hundreds of bloggers who routinely keep their posts of the short and sweet variety. I most heartily welcome the few of you who don't mind hanging in there with me for the whole ride :)

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