We are home… Safe and sound, and with as is inevitable after a gypsy journey such as we have just experienced, many stories and adrenalin fueled events that will keep our campfires burning for years to come.IMG_6638 Let me begin at the start.

After a hiccup with the car we got to our first night stop well after dark but no problem, accommodation and meals were pre-booked, on the recommendation of a reputable birding web site. Brandvlei has but one hotel, to save the identity of the owners though, I shall call it “Hotel Paradiso”. Nothing could ever have spurred me on to begging for my tent and spade more than H.P.

Nothing.2013-04-09 22.02.00 Retro took on a whole new meaning, bare wired reading lamps, with no light bulb,2013-04-09 22.03.48 carpet on the walls, shell pink faux satin frilly curtains and a crack in the basin from a-z. IMG_6646 I shall remain quiet about the bath. We didn’t dare venture near it. And that was just in the first 30 second survey. IMG_6640 It got better (or worse, depending if you see things as half full or half empty). We were rushed into the dimly lit dining room…for “the wife’s cooking” and were greeted by our first big cat sighting. 2 vast tigers, reclining on couches, Faux came to town many years before, via China.IMG_6641 Being a vegetarian sometimes has it’s benefits, Frozen peas, carrots and fried onions, topped with greek yogurt.
John had to tackle something meaty (though definitely not stuffed tiger) swimming in a pool of grease.

“Would we like Breakfast in the morning?” Uummmm..No, no, no, thank you.

The proprietor assured us that they were mid-renovations,even though there was absolutely no signs of fresh paint or lightbulbs or clean anything. At least the sheets were snowy white. The cigarette ash and discarded earphones next to the bed didn’t bare notice.

I suppose a bit like plans to redevelop Pompeii, some plans are just not realistic, no matter how ‘cool’ retro might seem. Like Pompeii this one needs a bit of natural assistance. We crept out of there early the next morning having paid a Kings rand+sum for faux everything. I have never looked forward to real big cats and a tent before, but seeking a positive spin, nothing could be more scary than “Hotel Paradiso”.