Blink n Miss It

Beautiful landscapes and beautiful people

  • by onRoute
  • Apr 27, 2016
  • 317
Red Desert

De Hoek Country Hotel

A uniquely distinctive boutique hotel in South Africa


Looking for a uniquely distinctive experience?

 Oh to live life as a Country Queen or King…

Just a mere hour’s drive from Johannesburg and Pretoria, set in the serene Magaliesburg area, is the only five-star establishment in the area – welcome to De Hoek Country Hotel! Established 21 years ago, the building alone is a masterpiece of sandstone. Here, you will lap up impeccable five-star service while taking in stunning views over the Magalies River as well as the hotel’s neatly manicured gardens. Different areas are made to cater for different occasions: breakfast on the East terrace or in the gardens under shady bushwillows, a formal lunch or dinner in the dining room with all the French doors open in summer, or a roaring log fire in winter.  

Known and loved for its superb cuisine and extraordinary dining options, De Hoek boasts two restaurants: the casual Bridge Bistro as well as the more formal Conservatory for extraordinary fine dining options. Both are run by Michael Holenstein, who just happens to be a Master Chef with an established world-class reputation. With such high standards, your stay at De Hoek Country Hotel will be nothing short of a right royal affair.


‘The Warm Winter Escape’ at De Hoek includes Two Nights (Friday and Saturday), 5-course Signature dinner and a full English breakfast from R 8240.00 per couple

The Red Desert

The World’s smallest desert

Port Edward

 The Red Desert is the small coastal town of Port Edward’s unusual claim to fame. At just 200 metres wide, it’s reputed to be the smallest desert in the world! Miniature hills and valleys made from naked red soil stand in stark contrast to the lush green, tropical vegetation surrounding it, making it feel as though you’ve just landed on Mars.

Theories of its origin range from extra-terrestrial landings to excessive overgrazing in a confined area. Whatever the reason, the Red Desert Nature Conservation Area is aesthetically beautiful and interesting to explore. Trails through the area can be done on foot or mountain bike and showcase a unique landscape, some rare archaeological finds and plenty of bird life. The views are guaranteed to be some of the most unique you’ve ever witnessed.


Life behind the scenes on a wildlife reserve

Eastern Cape

Modgaji is a privately owned game reserve and rehabilitation centre where abandoned, injured and rescued cheetah and leopard find not just a home, but also a new lease on life! Founders of this amazing conservation project, Will and Sharon van Duyn, have been active in cheetah conservation for over two decades. They possess an immense passion for the big cats and are entirely dedicated to safeguarding their existence. The reintroduction of tame cheetah involves daily training to, once again, become independent and skilled hunters and eventually return to the wild.

People with a passion for wildlife and conservation are welcome to join the Modgaji Conservation Programme to experience life behind the scenes on a wildlife reserve and do meaningful, hands-on work. From gap year students, volunteers, anyone on a career break, sabbatical or holiday can assist in restoring this beautiful landscape to how nature intended it to be.

Botrivier Hotel

Enjoy the quiet of a little countryside town

Western Cape

The picturesque town of Botrivier lies just off the Whale Route and forms part of the Cape Country Meander. Once there, you’ll find yourself surrounded by vineyards and panoramic views, with winding country roads just waiting to be explored. 

The town’s unofficial capital is the Botrivier Hotel. This age-old establishment welcomes travellers and locals alike. Enjoy a beer with the locals at the quirky country bar (built in the early 1920s). It’s packed full of character and offers a cultural experience paralleled by few others. The Hotel restaurant is adorned with historical reminders of bygone days, and offers a hearty meal and some of the best wines in the country! Should you choose to spend the night, your stay includes a tasty traditional Botrivier breakfast.

Adventures with Elephants

Personal encounters with Africa’s gentle giants

Bela Bela

 A beautiful reserve in Limpopo is home to many types of wildlife from zebra, giraffe and warthogs, to meerkats; but the biggest honour is the privilege of adopting and caring for five beautiful African elephants that were destined to be culled. Plus, the newest member of the family, Zambezi, the 12-week-old calf, born on the reserve last year.

Here, visitors are able to enjoy close and personal encounters with these gentle giants. Qualified, experienced and friendly guides introduce you and show you the remarkable traits [CC2] of each individual and the species as a whole. Learn more about their intelligence, their bodies, their behaviour and experience their gentle nature as well as the stimulating levels of trust and companionship that develop between elephant and man.

Guests can also partake in elephant-back walks, sitting high atop an elephant while it gracefully and silently takes you on a journey through the African veld. Be forever humbled and changed by this once-in-a-lifetime experience.