African Reunion…Our new home for now…A new “Vigil for Visitors”…A huge Spider, the Golden Orb…

African Reunion House, named after the island off the coast, is considerably larger than it appears in this photo with four bedrooms, five bathrooms, two huge verandas, a Jacuzzi room, open kitchen with dining bar, over-sized dining room and inviting entertainment/TV/living room/lounge. 

Yesterday, our only challenge once we’d moved into the African Reunion House, was which bedroom we’d choose. After nearly a half hour of walking up and down the stairs to the second level and back and forth on the main floor, we looked at each other contemplating our dilemma.

Tom, doing his usual power lounging on the “new” veranda at African Reunion House, another temporary house we’re enjoying in Marloth Park.

“You know what, Honey?” I said, grinning from ear to ear.  “Look at us. Our biggest problem is which bedroom to choose.” We burst into laughter.

The stone braai area, conveniently located to the house and pool.

At that point, we quickly made a decision. We’d choose the two bedrooms on the main floor, the one overlooking the pool for me to use for showering and dressing for the day and the other for sleeping. 

The infinity-edge pool is cool, clean, and refreshing. We took our first dip today.

This way, I wouldn’t awaken Tom in the mornings when I usually get out of bed before him. We’ve made this type of arrangement in most of the houses in which we’ve lived in the past 16 months. This plan has served us well.

Today, we had a chance to soak up a little sun after the dip.  No wonder I’m behind on posting today.  I was goofing off!

Moving was relatively easy with Zeff and Okee Dokee helping on both ends. An hour after arriving at the African Reunion House, we were fully unpacked and organized, in awe of the ample supplies and storage areas at our disposal.

This wall of various size and shape twigs and branches provides a privacy wall at night simply by flipping a light switch that magically creates full blocking of the veranda.

Louise and Danie stopped by later in the day to check on us, although it was totally unnecessary. Their thoughtfulness and consideration for our well being are outrageous. 

The view from the main floor veranda provides an excellent sweep of the yard as one searches for visitors.

Louise, bless her heart, had brought along four beautiful white linen napkins knowing that we were entertaining Linda and Ken for breakfast on Tuesday morning. Apparently, she’d read our recent post about how in our old lives, I’d always used linen napkins when entertaining and for ourselves when dining alone. 

Danie handcrafted this wood door. Not only is he a highly talented designer and builder, but, he also excels in the fine art of woodworking. 

There are no words suitable to describe the quality of service and attention to detail that these two over-the-top hosts provide on all of their properties. One hardly needs to ask. They pick up tidbits in conversation and respond to them quickly with the utmost of consideration. We’ve never felt so pampered in our lives.

Yesterday afternoon, while riding with Okee Dokee and Zeff, both of whom helped us move from Khaya Umdani to African Reunion House, we spotted this giraffe along the road. We tried to entice her to stop munching and pick up her head for a good photo.

And, this same personal service they offer is evident in the meticulously stocked, designed, decorated, and maintained houses they own and manage. If one were expecting perfection, they’d be totally fulfilled. If one expects less than perfection, they’d be surprised and in awe, as we have been long before we arrived, by the prompt and complete answers they provided for all of my annoying and seemingly endless questions.

This was the best photo we could get from her.  That must have been one tasty tree.

African Reunion House, although different from Khaya Umdani, offers similar quality design, decor and construction. With four bedrooms, each with an en suite bathroom as well as a fifth half bathroom on the main floor, two are located on the main floor, one of which is fully handicap assessable with a “roll in” shower and extra-wide doorways, the room we finally chose for sleeping. The bed, the pillows, and the covers were exquisitely comfortable. 

A few hours before leaving Khaya Umdani on Sunday, our friends Linda and Ken stopped for a visit. Earlier, I’d noticed this spider when I walked through its web. Ken captured this excellent photo, identifying it as the Golden Orb, which is non-poisonous.  As far as Spiders go, what a beauty!  As far as photos go, what a beauty!

One of the many enticing aspects to this home is the “outdoor” fully screened Jacuzzi tub off of one of the two bedrooms in the second-floor suite which also includes an inviting living/TV/entertainment room. 

Coincidentally, today, when OKee Dokee and I stopped at the little house for supplies she spotted this Golden Orb, hanging over the pool. My camera can’t do as good a job as Ken’s. But, I was thrilled to get this shot showing a smaller spider caught in the web.

There would be no disappointment by a group of four couples deciding on which of the four bedrooms to select. Each of the bedrooms and the other rooms in this fine home has its own special charm and amenities.

We’d planned to dine out last night, but decided to cook instead. The fully equipped kitchen was calling to me.  I couldn’t wait to chop and dice in the open space overlooking yet another tastefully decorated dining room with seating for eight. Also, eight can be served on the veranda at the comfortable handcrafted wood table and wicker chairs.

Last night, not only did we dine at that spacious table on the main floor veranda (there’s an additional veranda on the second level), but we stayed outdoors until after 11:00 PM, looking and listening to the nighttime sounds of Marloth Park, now so familiar and music to our ears.

After an excellent night’s sleep, we couldn’t wait to wander outdoors to begin the new “Vigil for Visitors” which without a doubt, will prove to be rewarding, as will be our stay for however long, in the enchanting African Reunion House.

Today, shopping was on the agenda resulting in another trip to Komatipoort for groceries, more data at the Vodacom store, the chemist to pick up Tom’s vitamin B6, which we’d ordered last week, a stop at Credence Clearwater for more bottled water, and a quick trip to the little house for more of our stuff. Leaving at 10:00 am with Okee Dokee, we didn’t return until after 12:00 pm which put me behind on posting today. 

For the early birds out there not seeing our post this morning, we apologize for the delay. Tomorrow, we’ll be back on track posting in the morning with lots more photos, South Africa time, of course.

Happy day to all.

Khaya Umdani…An exquisite opportunity…A respite in another area in Marloth Park…Our temporary new home…

Khaya Umdani is a six bedroom, five bathroom stunning bush home fully embracing the integrity of African culture while providing a luxury environment befitting the expectations of both the seasoned traveler and those less traveled, seeking the comforts of stylish and easy living.

It’s not that we weren’t happy in the other house. We were rather content. But, our fabulous hosts, Louise and Danie suggested we experience a few of their other properties to review and share with our worldwide readership. Over the next several days, we’ll share our experiences as residents of Khaya Umdani.

We couldn’t have been more thrilled and appreciative of this opportunity, especially after we arrived at 10:30 yesterday morning for Louise’s expert tour of this upscale home, most likely one of the most desirable properties in Marloth Park.

This veranda is where we’ll spend our time for easy viewing of the massive grounds, a combination of the dense bush with a few open spaces for wildlife to run. This shot reminds me of a scene in the movie “Out of Africa” which we watched a few months ago while in Kenya.

Nothing was spared in the design and décor of this luxury home with six bedrooms, five of which have en suite bathrooms. Each bedroom is aptly named befitting this unique bush location and in some cases, includes a story surrounding past wildlife experiences on the property which we’ll share soon.

Packing yet again, including clothing, toiletries, food for meals, drinks, snacks, and digital equipment was challenging in yesterday’s heat and humidity apparently typical as South Africa moves into February, comparable to August in the northern hemisphere. Today, it’s cool and pleasant after last night’s rains.

This is the oversized eight-person table where we’re sitting as we write here now, overlooking the ‘double pool” with a shallow and deeper depth suitable for all. Chaise lounges to the left await us as soon as the sun appears after a much needed rainy night. 

Once we were unpacked, securing all of our food supplies from a potential monkey invasion, Danie stopped by to ensure all of our needs and comforts were met, showing us how to use the first gas grill we’ve had access to since leaving the US many moons ago. 

We brought along two frozen uncooked chickens and we were delighted to see an “American” type grill over which we all laughed as Danie removed the cover. The convenient modern kitchen has every possible amenity including a wine cooler, a dishwasher and a wide array of small kitchen appliances, few of which we’ve had in any of our vacation homes outside the US.

To the left is the open braai (fire pit) suitable for cooking or a bonfire with a stone seating area. To the right, is an enclosed wood-burning braai with a stainless steel sink and every possible rack and utensil. The yard is this area is “gently” fenced to keep nosy visitors from occupying this area while preparing meals.

In addition, the cupboards were impeccably stocked with spices, coffee, teas, and every imaginable dish, knife, flatware, bowl, container, and pot befitting the most ambitious cook. 

Tomorrow, we’ll share photos of the well-stocked interior of the cabinets, an unbelievable sight to see.(We’re waiting for the sun to appear for brighter interior photos). Only Louise‘s fine taste and detail orientated demeanor could create such pleasing and useful spaces. 

And for the less savvy braai cooks, here is the “traditional” and delightfully, familiar gas grill on which we’ll cook tonight’s dinner, roasted chickens on the electric spit. 

In South Africa, the wood-fired open braai (fire pit) is a daily means of cooking that for most citizens, is more of a tradition than a necessity, a reason for friends to gather to partake of the local beer and wine, for which South Africa is known. Add a variety of delicious grilled and stewed grass-fed meats, a few starchy side dishes and a South African meal is ready to enjoy.

Khayi Umdani offers features we experienced, in part, during our past two months in Marloth Park, including daily maid service, dishwashing if desired, laundry service, and maintenance. Every possible means of providing relaxation and comfort are afforded by it’s guests. 

The attention to detail in the finest of amenities is reflected in the lovely locally made table on the veranda.

Louise suggested we leave our breakfast or prior night’s dishes for the staff to handle the next morning. We never leave dirty dishes overnight. But, the staff is on hire in any case and prefer to be kept busy than standing around from 7:30 am to 2:30 pm each day as they work about the house attending to every detail. They are unobtrusive, quiet, and respectful, never causing us to feel that they are underfoot.

With Zeff only, coming to the other house twice a week, we were more than satisfied. Knowing how much we’ve liked him, Louise and Danie ensured he’ll be here for us during our time in Khaya Umdani. What service! The quality of service provided by Louise and Danie and their staff fined tuned to perfection, is comparable to that which one would find in the finest of five-star resorts and hotels. That quality of service follows through from our smaller house, all the way to Khaya Umdani and other fine properties owned and managed by Louise and Danie.

The natural stone pool is meticulously maintained daily.  The water is crystal clear.

Already scheduled to dine out when we moved in on Thursday, I had wished we were dining in. The moment we feasted our eyes on the massive dining room table with seating for 10, we knew a home-cooked meal was imminent. Also, the square oversized dining table for eight on the veranda holds an enormous appeal for us, where we’re seated now as we write here. The temperature has cooled and we’re blissfully relaxed.

Today, we’re sharing exterior photos of the house with interior photos following over the next several days.  Tonight, once the beautifully appointed dinnerware is filled with our homemade “grilled chicken,” veggies, and salad, we’ll take photos to share in Saturday’s post along with more photos of this exquisite vacation/holiday home as we experience the endless areas offering the utmost of comfort, style, space, and amenities. 

These sturdy swing chairs are actually very comfortable.

So far, we’ve seen a number of warthog families, tentatively approaching us curious as to our motives. Soon, they’ll see that we respect their environment and that they need not fear our presence.

The private watering hold attracts wildlife from all over the area. During heavy rains, this “creek” is filled with water.

As always, our eyes continue to scan the grounds for even the slightest movement, anticipating full well, that more visitors will arrive in these surroundings. Although we’re only a few miles/meters from the other house, perhaps a few of our favorites will wander our way. One never knows!

Our first warthog visitor with two babies, the mom giving me “the look” that says, “Did you bring any pellets with you?”  “Yes,” I said, “We certainly did,” as I ran to the kitchen for a handful.  Khaya Umdani, heavenly!