How I book for my travel

Firstly, I do my research on the place that I want to visit. Starting from what the season of the place will be at the time I want to visit, the culture, religion and food for international travels.

Then I decide on location, whether I want to stay in the city center or on the coast. This usually depends on the tourist attraction places that I want to visit.

I also look at how far the hotel that I want to book is from the airport; I don’t like driving long distances after arriving in a place.

Spa and shopping are usually on my list of things to do. It’s either I go to the spa at the hotel or at a fabulous spa nearby that caught my attention.

Shopping; I do my research before I travel for the nearest designer outlets, how far they are from my hotel, as well as means of transport from the hotel to the designer outlet.

Flights are one of your biggest cost drivers when travelling. If you are on Discovery Vitality you get a discount on Emirates and British Airways flights, as well as Kulula locally. Your discount will depend on your status whether you are on blue, bronze, silver, gold or platinum. International flights need to be booked six weeks in advance to qualify for discount

You also get accommodation discounts on selected places with your Discovery Vitality locally. You need to book 21 days in advance to qualify for this discount.

I also use travelstart.com to book my flights especially if I want to do a multi-city booking - this usually works best.

For accommodation I use booking.com for both local and international travel

Here are my reasons why;

They are usually cheaper than booking directly with the hotel/resort.

There is a variety of properties to choose from, whether you are looking for hotel, lodges, villas or resorts.

Booking.com also shows you how far the tourist attractions places are from the hotel, how far the hotel is from the airport etc.

Additional costs, if any, for example Maldives sea planes/speedboat from airport to the resort is an additional cost.

Guest reviews are so enlightening about the staff and what to expect in the hotel.

Additional 10% discount (genius member) for frequent travelers who use booking.com.

Here are a few places that I booked using booking.com below;

Krystal Beach Hotel - Gordon’s Bay

Krystal Beach Hotel - Gordon’s Bay

Krystal Beach Hotel - Gordon’s Bay

Krystal Beach Hotel - Gordon’s Bay

Catalonia Gran Via hotel - Madrid

Catalonia Gran Via hotel - Madrid

Catalonia Gran Via hotel - Madrid

Catalonia Gran Via hotel - Madrid

Eurostars Gran Marina - Barcelona

Eurostars Gran Marina - Barcelona

Eurostars Gran Marina - Barcelona

Eurostars Gran Marina - Barcelona

Eurostars Gran Marina - Barcelona

Eurostars Gran Marina - Barcelona

Clifftop Exclusive Game Lodge - Limpopo

Clifftop Exclusive Game Lodge - Limpopo

Clifftop Exclusive Game Lodge - Limpopo

Clifftop Exclusive Game Lodge - Limpopo

ME - Mallorca

ME - Mallorca

ME - Mallorca

ME - Mallorca

ME - Mallorca

ME - Mallorca

Weekend in Palala Game Lodge

Aah! Palala Game Lodge is currently my favourite place in Limpopo. It oozes style, charm and adventure, a lot like me! Lol.

I was super impressed by this gem in the bush; I like to call it the ‘sophisticated wild bush’. Why? It is because of all the beautiful chandeliers and the modern and stylish décor of the place. While you are still enjoying the beauty of this place, you’re able to hear the lions roaring and the hippopotamus sunbathing and splashing water in the nearby dam.

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Amazing view

Amazing view

The whole time being at Palala was mysterious and adventurous because we just never know what was going to happen next. There was this warthog that followed us around everywhere - we called him Pumba! It didn’t matter where we were, the warthog would just show up; at dinner time the warthog came through,  it even followed us to the spa. I think the warthog just wanted to be our friend.

Meet our Pumba

Meet our Pumba

We arrived Friday afternoon. The staff welcomed us with pretty welcome drinks. We checked in and admired the property - Massive and beautiful.

Dinner was amazing; the chef definitely makes an effort.  Each plate is garnished uniquely.  I loved those final touches - it made the experience so personal.

Dinner!

Dinner!

The family had a lot of fun too; we sang a cheerful happy birthday to my sister  who was turning a year cooler at midnight and the fun continued until about 2h30am.

The next morning we had breakfast and then off to the spa. We had chosen a package with massages and the Merlot Bath that comes with a bottle of merlot wine as well as a cheese platter.

Sediko Spa was an absolute bliss, and we spent most of the day there. They have amazing pools and Jacuzzi for spa guests to enjoy after their treatment.

Jacuzzi at the spa

Jacuzzi at the spa

Pool at the spa

Pool at the spa

Merlot bath at the spa

Merlot bath at the spa

We had also arranged for a picnic straight after the spa. The picnic was super cute! I love love how they had set it up. They chose to situate it at this island in the middle of the dam, so you are literally surrounded by the hippos, crocodiles and some fish. All of this added to the thrill of being at Palala. Needless to say - the view was out of this world!

Picnic on this beautiful island

Picnic on this beautiful island

No swimming beware of crocodiles and hippos

No swimming beware of crocodiles and hippos

Love! love! love! this picnic setting

Love! love! love! this picnic setting

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Beautiful sunset!

Beautiful sunset!

There was this one time the hippo growled so loud - we almost fell of our chairs! {just kidding we were sitting down}. The truth is, we were having so much fun that we had forgotten that there are hippos around us. So that growl caught us all by such a surprise - we almost ran. It was just fun and games.

The second night, we had dinner in a private venue at the lodge. Yes, Pumba came to visit there as well.

Private dinner setting

Private dinner setting

Personally I recommend a visit to Palala. It is gorgeous, serene with a world class spa. They also have a predator camp which I didn’t get a chance to visit but I did hear the lion roars. It definitely is a bush- meets- glam type of a place

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My short encounter with Dubai

My short encounter with Dubai was a magical one. We had a 19 hour lay over in Dubai on our way to Spain.

We decided to stay over at Armani hotel so that I can tick off the experience of being in the tallest building in the world. Armani hotel is located inside the Burj Khalifa.

We arrived in the evening, and it was very hot. Wow, Dubai is incredible! Dubai has many tall building structures towering over the city.

We arrived at the hotel at 20h00. The hotel has modern decor, furniture made out of dark wood and has yellow lights that brings a different ambience to the hotel.

You get assigned a manager for the duration of your stay who is there to assist in whatever you require. When we were checking in our manager casually asked if we were celebrating anything. I answered “yes its my birthday”

He took us to our room and showed us how everything works. Everything in the room is operated by an iPad, from closing your curtains to operating the air conditioner and TV. Everything in the hotel was super high tech.

Moments later there was a knock on the door. It was a delivery of a complimentary birthday cake from the hotel. What a surprise!

Complementary Birthday cake from the hotel

Complementary Birthday cake from the hotel


Dinner was on another level! we had booked at Amal restaurant for my birthday dinner . This was one of those experiences of a life time type of dinners.

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This must have been the best Indian cuisine I have ever had in my life. I love Indian food hey, I grew up in Durban.

This must have been the best Indian cuisine I have ever had in my life. I love Indian food hey, I grew up in Durban.

Breakfast was an experience on its own, dining on level 122 at Atmosphere restaurant on top of the Burj Khalifa with a spectacular 360 view of the city.

Hotel corridor looking like a runway the numbers on the wall those are room number

Hotel corridor looking like a runway the numbers on the wall those are room number

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Best view ever!

Best view ever!

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Overall Dubai experience was incredible, looking forward to visiting Dubai in the future for a longer stay, but it will have to be in winter because we were there in the middle of summer and it was super hot. Temperatures were between 40-45 degrees celcius.

Sani Valley Lodge

One of those surreal moments when you wake up and it feels like you are in a postcard.

That’s the feeling I got when I woke up in Himeville.

It was definitely a long drive from Johannesburg. We left Friday afternoon at 18h30 just after rush hour traffic and only arrived just after midnight. We definitely under estimated the trip, we thought since its before Durban the trip will take about 4 hours. There’s a time where the clouds completely covers the road, which itself had sharp curves!

Did I mention pot holes? and cows roaming on the street at night? Personally I think it’s best to drive during the day.

The gravel road is not that bad it’s only about 4 km’s long. Let me tell you about this drive on the dam wall inside the Lodge, it is a one way road cars have to give each other turns, it’s on the dam wall and on the other side is a valley. I held my breath the entire time and just looked forward as the GPs continued to guide us towards the Lodge reception.

The Lodge had arranged for Sabelo to show us to our chalet since we were arriving late, we found him waiting for us by reception and he led the way in his bakkie towards our chalet.

I had seen the photos of this spectacular place but waking up and actually seeing the beauty of the place was jaw dropping.

We had a two bedroom chalet overlooking the lake and the mountain. We had our own private Jacuzzi.

Morning coffee on the balcony and the zebras and wild horses grazing by the lake, what a magical place.

We had opted for self-catering. Imagine arriving at 00h30 and then you have to make sure you wake up before breakfast closes. That is not my idea of fun.

The irony is that by 7h30 we were up and went for a beautiful hike before we checked in because we had not checked yet since we arrived very late last night

Massage therapist came to our chalet and set up outside for our outdoor massages, it was the best massage ever!

I wouldn’t mind spending all my weekends here.

I wouldn’t mind spending all my weekends here.

This is how I want to drink my coffee everyday!

This is how I want to drink my coffee everyday!

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Hiking in the morning with a spectacular view

Hiking in the morning with a spectacular view

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Had to take a few stops when we were driving to soak in the views

Had to take a few stops when we were driving to soak in the views

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Best massage ever!

Best massage ever!

Stellenbosch

Welcome to the South African prestigious winelands, Stellenbosch is a town in the Western Cape Province situated 50 km east of Cape Town. Let the adventure begin. We are staying at De Zalze lodge, The Lodge is a dutch style building with vines creeping all over it. The Lodge has a wine Estate and has lots of olive trees, The lodge has an incredible golf course and guest can enjoy wine tasting as well cycling on the lodge. The rim flow pool has a view to die for, I could definitely sit here for days. Morning walks are incredible in this lodge

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Our room is overlooking the luscious green golf course with astonishing mountain views. The terrace on our room has this beautiful vine on top

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Activities at The Lodge

Guests can enjoy free wine tasting on site

There are bicycles as well that you can utilise for free in the lodge

There are restaurants on site.

There is no spa on site but the lodge can arrange for spa treatment in the comfort of your own room.

And of course golf lovers can enjoy their day golfing.

Gordons Bay Beach is only 28 kms away from De Zalze

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Then we decided to visit Hermanus Beach which is 91 kms cause, I have visited Gordons Bay beach so I wanted to visit a different beach, Hermanus was a good choice, its a beautiful beach with lots of different art sculptures. There is something about having the ocean and the mountain close to each other its fascinates me.

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This is actual my third visit in Stellenbosch, another popular activity in Stellenbosch is horse riding, its also a good idea to go horse riding when you are in Stellenbosch, this time I decided to visit Franschoek which is not far from Stellenbosch, Franschoek is also part of the Cape winelands. Babylonstoren is a beautiful farm in Fraschoek and will be spending some time in the garden as well as having spa treatments in their gorgeous spa

Im in awe

Im in awe

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honestly its very hard to leave this spa bath surrounded by a pool

honestly its very hard to leave this spa bath surrounded by a pool

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Mpumalanga - Elephant Point

The GPS decided to take us on a long route that passes one of the small towns with thousands of speed humps. We arrived an hour later than the time we expected to arrive. We arrived in the evening, as we entered the gate, there was a huge elephant busy eating from a tree, the manager asked us to drive in quickly so that he can close the gate so that the elephant doesn’t wander off on the street. That was our dramatic and exciting arrival. Elephant Point is nestled on the banks of Sabi river. It is 6 km away from the Kruger National, Paul Kruger gate. There are no restaurants on site currently it is purely self-catering. The lodge arranges starlight dinner experience on Saturdays and Wednesday depending on the number of guests that are interested. All villas are overlooking the river, animals can be spotted from the villas when they go and drink from the river. We spotted, hippos, elephants, zebras, and kudus. The temperature was quite high it ranged from 36-40 degrees. This place is serene and quiet and has the most amazing sunrise, most days I would wake up at 5 am just to watch the sun rises, this is Mpumalanga which means (sunrise)

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On Saturdays and Wednesday there is dinner under the stars that is organised by the Lodge for a fee depending on number of guests who are interested

On Saturdays and Wednesday there is dinner under the stars that is organised by the Lodge for a fee depending on number of guests who are interested

The villas are very modern and have that warm home feel

The villas are very modern and have that warm home feel

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The magical sunrise

The magical sunrise

Visitors on our yard

Visitors on our yard

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Girls weekend away - Knysna Western Cape

It is Friday morning, waking up is not easy after a night out, flight to George is at 7h55 so I have to be at the airport at 6h55 only managed to sleep at 1h30 am cause that’s when I finished packing. Packing and unpacking is always a nightmare, I think there should be an app for packing and unpacking. I made it on time at the airport even had time to sit at the lounge for 45 min before boarding. One hour thirty minutes later we arrived in George it is raining but that didn’t dampen our mood, its a girls trip after all. We picked up our car from Avis car rental, we all knew that our luggage won’t fit even before we picked up the car. We had to make a plan. First stop Fancourt George for breakfast, Fancourt is beautiful the staff greeted us with smiles ushered us to our table, excitement is in the air we are here and its about to be a great weekend.

Knysna is an hour away from George. We arrived in Knysna and we are staying in Thesen Island, we are staying in a beach house, on the lagoon, beautifully furnished very big and spacious, with breathtaking views, we had our own private pool.

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Saturday the weather was nice and warm, yay! we had breakfast at the East head cafe. The view is unbelievable, the food was fantastic
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Canoeing, never tried it before, we have no instructor, all we have is canoeing gear, quick browse in “The University of Google” and we are good to go. It was scary at first but once you get the hang of it, its so much fun, all I was worried about was my weave if I tip over.
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Ended the weekend with a relaxing spa pampering, we had an amazing weekend, it was a lovely bonding session that strengthen our friendship. Taking the time off our busy schedule was worth it, once in a while I recommend a girls trip

Barcelona Spain

Im in awe of the cosmopolitan city Barcelona, the most visited city in Spain. After an hour flight delay from Madrid we arrived in Barcelona in the afternoon around 16h30, It is summer and the weather is beautiful. The drive from the airport was about 30 minutes to the hotel. we got stuck in a bit of traffic, we checked in at the hotel and we went into our beautiful suite to freshen up and then went down stairs to the bar for our welcome drinks. We are staying at the Eurostars Gran Marina, its right next to World trade Center and it right at the harbour. Tourist buses are the best, they pass right in front of the hotel, you hop in and off as you please, just like Madrid we used the tourist buses to get around the city. Barcelona has the best of both, beautiful architecture as well as amazing Mediterranean beaches . These are some of the place we visited Sagrada Familia which is still under construction, Loved the Barcelona Cathedral, the spectacular Montjuic and Casa Mila. One of days we reserved for shopping yay! my favourite sport, La Rocca Village designer outlet is a must visit. Everyday after dinner we would go up to the rooftop to chill and enjoy amazing, dreamy Barcelona sunsets. Only managed to fit in one session of gym and not all four sessions as planned, my body is on holiday and gym is the furthest thing on my mind.

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Eurostars Gran Marina - rooftop

Eurostars Gran Marina - rooftop

Sagrada Familia - can be seen almost anywhere in Barcelona

Sagrada Familia - can be seen almost anywhere in Barcelona

Montjuic

Montjuic

Barcelona Cathedral

Barcelona Cathedral

Casa Mila

Casa Mila

Clifftop Exclusive Hideaway

Road trip from Johannesburg it took us two hours, thirty minutes drive to get there, there is about 9.5 km of gravel road that you have to cover to get to the parking area of the resort

On arrival, you get picked up from the parking by one of those game drives vehicles, the drive is about 10-15 minutes to the lodge, its like a mini game drive where you get to see a few animals.

Tanya welcomed us on arrival and showed us around the resort and then we were taken to the restaurant where we had lunch, views from the lodge were incredible, there is a river that flows next to the lodge and the lodge is on a cliff just like the name of the resort Clifftop. While sitting and having lunch you also get to see some animals there were a few squirrels I spotted just running around well not in the restaurant but in the bush. This place is serene and peaceful. After lunch we went to our room, the suites are beautiful and spacious, outside on the terrace there is a seating area and a private pool and an outside shower, love it.

Went on an afternoon game drive with Gibson, very passionate about his job and knows a lot about the animals, saw Zebra’s, waterbucks, springboks, baboons, crocodiles there are lions, elephants, cheetahs, buffalos in the game reserve.

Dinner was incredible, every couple is set up in a different secluded area, very private. Rose petals on the table, very romantic. The food was amazing.

There is no signal for mobile phone, basically my mobile phone was just a camera for the weekend and this makes is a perfect gate-away from the hustle and bustle of the city, there is wifi in the common areas.

We had a fantastic weekend, the staff was amazing

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Fairmont Zimbali Durban my home town

Durban my favourite City, I grew up here. Love the warm weather all year round. People in Durban are friendly and warm. Fairmont Zimbali is in the North Coast of Durban in Ballito. Zimbali has a hotel, a lodge, holiday homes and holiday apartments.

I stay here most of the time when I'm in Durban this time around me and the family are staying at Fairmont Heritage place, these are beautiful units that has two bedrooms and some have four bedrooms. These unit have beautiful modern decor, private pool and a golf cart for driving around the resort. 

The resort has beautiful beach clubs, kids club, restaurants, private beach and a spa.

Note that in Zimbali beach, swimming is not allowed. You can walk or have a picnic, take photo on the edge of the beach but swimming is prohibited.

At the kids club children under six years old have to be accompanied by an adult, six years and above can be left on their own they have different programs on school holidays. There are full day and half day options. You pay for this service depending on which option you choose.

 

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Kievits Kroon Country Estate short left

A mere 30 minutes drive from Johannesburg, Kievits Kroon is a short short left, located in Kameeldrift North East of Pretoria. Kievits Kroon Country Estate has this beautiful Cape Dutch Style architecture which gives you that Cape winelands feeling. I have been in Kievits Kroon several times, what I love the most about Kievits Kroon is "The Spa". I have been here with my friends, sisters and husband. This time around is just me and the husband for some pampering weekend gateaway. Half day Spa and romantic picnic is order of the weekend. Aaah my spa treatment was amazing I went for "The Vine treatment package” which is full body exfoliation, full body clay wrap and grapefruit & thyme full body massage.

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My Spanish Escaped Madrid

There is absolutely nothing not to love about  Spain, My birthday trip 2018 Woohoo!

After 8 hours flight we have finally arrived, yes me and bae taking Spain by storm.

We arrive at 20h30 just before sunset in Madrid its summer and sunset is at 21h45.

We are staying in the City center in Gran Via. Ola we were greeted at reception as we checked in

We had the best room in the hotel,  we stayed in Catalonia Gran via hotel, our room had a rooftop jacuzzi on a terrace.

Madrid is the capital city of Spain and also the largest city in Spain. Madrid has beautiful architecture and amazing fountains all around the city.

One of the things that make Madrid popular is their football club Real Madrid.

 

Sight seeing by day and jacuzzing (is there even such a word hey you get what I mean) afternoons after the long walks of sight seeing. The weather was hot and I love sight seeing but I have this condition of getting dizzy after walking for a while in the sun so I have to take short breaks and sit in the shade.

Sight seeing by day and jacuzzing (is there even such a word hey you get what I mean) afternoons after the long walks of sight seeing. The weather was hot and I love sight seeing but I have this condition of getting dizzy after walking for a while in the sun so I have to take short breaks and sit in the shade.

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Francisco de Goya was a talented painter in Spain in the 18th Century and his artwork can be seen in Museo del Prado which is the main Spanish national art museum

Francisco de Goya was a talented painter in Spain in the 18th Century and his artwork can be seen in Museo del Prado which is the main Spanish national art museum

Puerta de Alcala

Puerta de Alcala

Real Madrid Stadium

Real Madrid Stadium

Beautiful Venice

Venice a beautiful city in water with canals and over 400 bridges.

 Hilton Molino Stucky - after train trip from Milan there is something magical about being in a water taxi. We arrived at the hotel, beautiful hotel in Giudecca Island.
The staff at reception were great.
The room was spacious with modern décor, breakfast was great and there was a lot of variety. I’m one of those people that always arrive 30 min before breakfast closes, I guess that me being on holiday mode.
Loved the rooftop bar and the rooftop pool, it had amazing views, this is definitely one of the places I wouldn’t mind returning to

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Hilton Molino Stucky rooftop

Hilton Molino Stucky rooftop

St Mark Square

St Mark Square

St Marks Bridge

St Marks Bridge

Krystal Beach Hotel - Gordons Bay

Beautiful hotel in Gordons bay, Gordons Bay is a harbor town in Western Cape. We spent a week here with the family and I must say everybody loved it, Staff was very helpful during our stay. The hotel is located in Habour Island which has amazing views. I loved the peaceful and quiet private beach. My kids are fishes they can swim all day in the pool as well as the ocean, building sand castle thats what being on holiday means to them. They swim until their eyes are red

 

Our days were spent mostly on the beach as well as on the pool deck which also have beautiful views of Harbour Island

Our days were spent mostly on the beach as well as on the pool deck which also have beautiful views of Harbour Island

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Mom and dad Lifeguard duties

Mom and dad Lifeguard duties

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