The Last Straw – Be the difference

We all love our planet. With this in mind, we at Off Beat Holiday Club have been doing all we can to make a difference. From recycling to sourcing water locally or even onsite, hiring locally and even using renewable energy at some of our properties, we’ve been making a difference! Look out for our biggest initiative to date – the #TheLastStraw campaign.  Most of our properties are only providing plastic straws on request while we source alternatives in a war against plastic while we champion this initiative and raise awareness about pollution, recycling and alternatives. This has already made a major impact!

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Following our lead, are you ready to be the change you wish to see in the world? Not just at home but when you travel too (as we know you love to travel?!)

Getting away from the rush of everyday life (for most of us) and just taking some time for yourself is amazing. It’s time you will cherish, whether you’re with family, friends or are travelling alone. On top of having a great time, why not travel in a way that also makes the world a better place?

When it comes to travelling these days, almost everyone thinks about their impact on the world – which is super important! But how many of us also act responsibly, to do our bit which adds up?! We’ve come up with a few handy, convenient ways that you can be a more responsible traveller to join us in making a difference just like our #TheLastStraw initiative. Be the change!!!

First of all, what is a responsible traveller? It’s someone who travels in a sustainable way that benefits the country or area they’re visiting. To do this take note of the impact you’ll have and actively work towards travelling in a way that has the best possible impact. This includes wildlife, the environment, pollution, the local people and the economy, and your carbon footprint. Take a look at our helpful tips on being a more responsible traveller:

Start at home
Home Off
Yes, you can even make a difference before you leave for your trip!

  • Empty your fridge – a lot of our properties are self-catering, so don’t buy more new food at your destination than you need to! If you’re travelling by car, rather pack a coolbox and take everything with you. Now you can plan some of your meals ahead of time with what you have in the fridge. An added bonus, your fridge will use less power while you’re away and you won’t waste food. Maybe even turn it off to defrost, saving power and getting that chore out of the way 😉
  • Turn off your water & geyser – It’s a waste to leave your water on if no one is home because you might have slow leaks that you never notice. Also, why not give your geyser a break, saving you electricity in the process! Plus, if there are plumbing problems in your area while you’re away (like a major leak), an off geyser is less likely to get damaged than one that is running.
  • Unplug any appliances that don’t need to be on – Like your TV, decoder, oven, hairdryer/straightener, washing machine, lamps and anything else you can think of. Some appliances use up to 30% of their full consumption when left on standby! You can save loads of power by unplugging them.

Pick the right holiday destination
Many of our properties have initiatives to create a better environment for everyone – whether it’s through recycling, using boreholes to save water or even donating to local charities like children’s homes. Before you book your stay, find out what the resort does to be socially responsible. If every traveller did this, holiday destinations would be forced to do more good 😊

Support local
Support Local
Yes, we said it! You may be in the habit of buying products from brands you trust but going on holiday is all about experiencing everything that’s local or different – isn’t it? Supporting the local community has such a positive impact on the area you’re in, such as community well-being, creating jobs and increasing wages, entrepreneurship, and even environmental sustainability. So next time, think before you buy that Big Mac – and try something local! 😉

Educate yourself
Being a responsible traveller isn’t only about saving water and electricity! By learning about the cultures you will be coming across, you can be respectful of the locals to have a better social impact. Before you leave for your holiday, learn about any other culture you might be coming across, the food, acceptable clothing and the rules and values of the people you are visiting. Obviously, you can’t learn everything but knowing a little will help when choosing where to eat, shop, how to greet the locals, and even what to wear. You’ll also find out some great tips during your research on what’s worth doing which will make your trip even better 😊

Another thing – when taking photos of the locals, ask permission first. It’s the right thing to do and they might even pose for you. This will also help start conversations, giving you even more great memories to take home!

Keep it up at home
Recycle home 2After your holiday, you can even find out more about what you can do to protect the environment and people of the area you’ve just visited. Even if you can’t afford to donate money, make a difference by spreading the word about the initiatives you’ve learnt about. Spreading the word is half of the work!

Leave only footprints
When you travel, look after the environment like you’re at home – after all, this world is our home! Don’t litter, say no to plastic, recycle everything you can, and keep your waste to a minimum. Also, use a reusable bottle instead of buying bottled water. Plastic is killing our oceans and causing cancer.

Another way you can avoid leaving a carbon footprint is by using public transport or walking to areas that are close by. Use an electric car if you’re going to be driving around, they’re getting better and better.

We hope this blog helps you to make a difference when travelling. If you have any ideas that we’ve left out, please share them in the comments!

Travel safely and we look forward to planning many memorable holidays with you.

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Eat like the locals

Travelling’s all about treating your senses! Seeing amazing things that you don’t get at home, smelling the sea or mountain air or maybe a forest you’re busy exploring, and feeling the warm sun on your skin.

Well, a trip around South Africa’s most unique destinations isn’t complete without “eating local.” This lets you eat fresh, seasonal produce that the region specialises in! You can also try out recipes which the area is famous for (that just aren’t as good at home – just saying 😉). It would be a huge shame not to experience the “taste of a place” by eating what you normally have at home, don’t you think? A change really is as good as a holiday – so we’ve done a little research of our own on some fab holiday eating for you – let us know what you think…

Western Cape

Undeniably South Africa’s food capital (normally boasting 8 or 9 of the country’s top 10 restaurants!!!) there’s too much to choose between when it comes to dining in the Western Cape. Whether you’re going to Cape Town, somewhere along the West or South Coast or you’re travelling to the Winelands – great food awaits!

  • Fresh Seafood – Don’t miss the fresh snoek, hake, tuna and even swordfish that are brought into places like Hout Bay on a daily basis. Buy straight from the fishermen or try out Fish on the Rocks.
  • Karoo Lamb – One of the world’s greatest lamb producing areas, the Karoo, lies only a couple hour’s drive from the Mother City. Why not braai some ultra-tender loin chops at one of our properties? We can recommend Son of a Butcher for fresh lamb – look them up!
  • Delicious Fruit – A foodie’s favourite in the Western Cape is strawberry picking. Choose just the biggest and best strawberries to eat fresh, put in drinks or make amazing desserts and sauces with, while you walk around the amazing scenery! The best time to go is between September and January and you can always have a glass of chilled white wine to cool down afterwards 😊. Other great local fruits to enjoy are the Western Cape’s apples, guavas and of course grapes. Sound tasty?!

Mpumalanga

Whether you’re staying at Gethlane Game Lodge or Waterberry Hill, there’s so much to look forward to around the Lowveld when it comes to tasty food!

  • World’s Best Clementines – Drive around farming areas in Mpumalanga, like Hazyview, and you’ll be wowed by sprawling banana, orange and nut plantations… but the fruit that takes the cake – their clementines. As big as a large grapefruit, sweet and juicy, you just can’t eat enough of these when you’re in the Lowveld!
  • Pancakes – Places like Harrie’s Pancakes in Graskop serve THE perfect pancake. You can choose between tasty and creative fillings like “cinnamon sugar and apple raisin pie,” “cinnamon sugar and milk tart custard” or even “tomato lamb bredie with basil pesto.” Yum!
  • Biltong – All corners of South Africa will claim to make the best biltong and we have to agree that you can get great biltong everywhere! If you stay at Qwantani or Midlands Saddle & Trout, however, or you’re driving through Volksrust for any reason, make a trip to the Snowy Biltong Shop to try incredible smoked droëwors, thin and crunchy chilli-bites and skinless droëwors. They also have some of the best homemade rusks, koeksisters and melktart in the country!

KwaZulu-Natal

With so many cultures in KZN, there’s definitely something for everyone when it comes to cuisine. Have a look at these dishes worth trying from the berg to the beach…

  • Fresh Drakensberg Trout – Healthy and delicious, nothing beats a trout freshly caught from a clear mountain stream! This dish has been popular in England for centuries and the British settlers who introduced trout into KZN’s rivers definitely were onto something great!
  • Dombolo – In the Zulu culture these delicious dumplings are eaten often, and if you haven’t had them before, now’s the time. They go perfectly with hearty stews, ideal for this time of year!
  • Bunny Chow – Also sure to keep you warm is the famous (and infamous) bunny chow which can be found on most streets in Durban! There’s a wide range of fillings to choose between and you can go from mild, like a butter chicken curry, to extra hot, depending on how much spice you can handle.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this culinary trip around some of South Africa. Please tag us on photos of you trying new foods on your next holiday!

Also, look out for our next food blog (bonus edition) later this year – it’ll include recipes from our Group’s head chef 😊.

Until next time, always eat as the locals do!!!

FUN FIT FAB

Who doesn’t like to go on a holiday? The chance to have an enjoyable break from your usual routine by getting away somewhere special is something that we all love to do.

On trips like these sightseeing or relaxing are often top-of-mind but for most of us staying fit definitely isn’t important. Here are some ideas about getting fit on holiday (enjoyably), while having enough time to do everything else that you were looking forward to doing.

Attack the day

WAIT! Before you shut down your computer or turn off your phone please hear us out. Yes… we are suggesting waking up early on holiday but we are not asking you to do this every day of your trip.

Once you’ve arrived and settled down in your accommodation, have a look at a weather report and pick the best mornings of your trip to wake up early. Then see how each evening pans out and only get up early the next day if you haven’t had a really late night (see, we aren’t being drill sergeants here). So, on those one or two mornings you do wake up early, why not take in the perfect weather and peaceful early morning surroundings with a bit of healthy exercise? Exploring on long walks or cycling are great ways to do this. You can either explore starting from your accommodation or you might want to travel to a place of interest and then walk or cycle around there.

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This is one of the best ways to discover great sights which could even include beautiful streets that you normally wouldn’t have come across. In large mountain ranges like the Drakensberg, you might even find a mountain stream or river that you could have an early morning dip in. If you are at the beach, a swim in the waves is one of the best ways to freshen up and start your day well. After that, head home for a well-deserved coffee, brunch or even an early nap before enjoying the rest of the day.

Use nature as your gym

Wherever you decide to go on holiday, even if it is in the middle of a large city, there will always be loads of “natural gym equipment” for you to use. Large tree roots can be the perfect place for some push-ups, stairs are great for a leg workout and there’s always a rock lying around that can be picked up or even “bench pressed” if you are feeling up to it! Don’t forget that a simple lawn is great for doing some yoga.

If those activities sound like too much of an effort (or not enough fun), having a swim in a pool, dam or the ocean is an incredible workout. It doesn’t have to be strenuous and it doesn’t have to be for ages either but a little splash around works more muscles than any other workout! You can even float your way to better health as staying warm in water burns loads of calories. Now doesn’t that sound like a plan?!

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Go to a local gym

Ok, maybe you just rolled your eyes… especially if you’ve never been to a gym before. Respecting that we won’t go any further for those readers who are “allergic” to gyms. For the gym lovers out there, however, why not have a great workout at the nearest local gym? You should be able to pay per visit or there may even be a discounted bundle rate. After a great workout food will taste that much better, you’ll enjoy your naps even more and you’ll also sleep better at night.

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Sleep well

We just felt your relief, in fact… was that you that we just heard sighing?!

“Now this is something that I can enjoy doing” is what you are probably thinking and that’s great because sleeping well has a number of major health benefits. Only two-thirds of all adults get enough sleep and going on holiday is a perfect chance to catch up if you are behind on sleep. A great sleep allows your muscles to heal, it gives your mind a much-needed break and it helps to increase your energy levels for the following day (for more exercise)!

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We hope that these ideas help you to enjoy your holidays even more. Being fresh from a great sleep, yoga or a de-stressing workout will only help you to feel better… which will help you to enjoy the rest of your holiday even more. Why not indulge in that 3rd crumpet if you’ve earned it with an early morning stroll?

Happy travels everyone. We hope that by following these tips your holidays have an interesting new side to them and that you return home happier and healthier than ever before. Break a leg 😉

Fashionably Free Fun

Time spent with kids or grandkids is always special. Although they can demand quite a lot of energy (wanting to do every possible activity) it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to entertain them.

Here’s our guide to keeping kiddies very happy… without breaking the bank.

Fill a time capsule – Now this is fun, especially if you keep visiting the same resort of ours over and over!

Get everyone involved in creating a time capsule – which could include letters to your future self, a recent newspaper, photographs, your favourite CD (if you still use them) or maybe even a USB that is full of things you love. Kids will definitely love getting involved in this and the anticipation when they return to find the time capsule is always such fun. Just don’t forget to dig it up! Keeping this in mind, please chat with the Manager at the resort to see if he/she is happy with you burying your time capsule on the property. If not, bury it somewhere you always visit while on holiday like at a dam you often visit or along a hiking trail that you enjoy walking.

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When entertaining kids at home, do a clean-up of your neighbourhood or visit people in need – Teach your kids a bit of social responsibility while getting them to appreciate what they have. South Africa, for example, is covered in litter and it’s damaging our beautiful planet at an alarming rate. Get out with the kids and show them how to give back to the community by doing something like cleaning up – they will feel great afterwards! Another thing you can do, which may not be 100% free but can be affordable, is take them to spend some time with people or animals who might be less fortunate, such as an orphanage or an SPCA. Take something small with you to donate, maybe even some things you have lying around the house that you don’t use anymore? This will help them to appreciate what they have, they will learn something in the process and you never know – they may want to start doing things like this more often. There is no better feeling than giving to those in need!

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Play board games – What could be better than watching your children or grandchildren work out a puzzle or problem? For some of us, maybe choosing to beat them (if we are feeling slightly mean) might be better 😉  but hey, the age-old pass time of board games is definitely not enjoyed often enough! In this techno-everything world, be one of the reasons that your children appreciate interacting with each other by teaching them how fun this competitive form of entertainment can be. Games like Jenga, Monopoly and 30 Seconds can give you hours of entertainment whether you are at home or on holiday somewhere. Top tip: When you are at one of our resorts, ask Reception what board games you can borrow.

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Read your favourite children’s story – Books should be read to children on holiday – they aren’t just for school after all. For a child or grandchild, the person reading the story to them is just as important as the story itself. Give them these super happy memories by reading whatever they would be interested to hear (hopefully, a story that you are also fond of). Their reactions might just entertain you more than you expected. So don’t forget to make use of the great libraries at our properties!

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Make homemade greeting cards – This activity really is a great thing to do. By making cards with your kids or grand-kids, you’re fostering their creativity, allowing them to appreciate how sentimental cards can be and… you can use the unique cards next time you need some 😉 What’s also great about card making is that they can be kept, a wonderful way for your kiddies to hold onto the special times that they’ve enjoyed with you. Another great thing about making cards is that you can do it anywhere! So don’t forget to pack your supplies when visiting one of our properties!

Have a photo-taking competition – When you’re on holiday at one of our resorts, take your kids or grand-kids on a walk around the property to take snaps of things that you have nominated as landmarks. If they love technology, maybe bring it into the mix by using Instagram to share your photo taking competition – you never know how many people might take interest in your adventure! You can even ask the kids to walk around the garden, taking imaginative images of what they see around them, before posting the photos on Instagram to see who gets the most likes 😊 AND the winner can get a prize.

If your kids are too small to be on social media, you can still teach them how a camera works by walking around one of our resorts, taking pictures of what you come across and showing them how the photos come out. They will be absolutely enthralled! If that sounds like too much energy, download the Snapchat app and have some fun taking images of yourselves pulling funny faces with the creative filters you can find in the app. It’s sure to have tears running down your face from laughter!

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Play hopscotch & other outdoor games – Unfortunately, these days, lots of kids don’t spend enough time outside – playing in the sun. Take them back to the good old days by locking those phones/tablets/laptops away to get outside for some catch, cricket or hopscotch. They may complain for the first 10 minutes but the fresh air and family laughs will definitely put a smile on their faces, PLUS you will have some fun stories to talk about around the dinner table. “Remember that time James fell while trying to catch the ball?”… and the whole family will laugh and reminisce 😉

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We hope this helps you plan for when the little ones visit or go on holiday with you – it’s always a good idea to plan ahead and have a few activities lined up. Making things even better, these activities don’t cost much to do and they are great for getting kids to do healthy things that they might miss out on in their normal routines.

Stay Connected

For some of us, going to the farthest corner of the globe to get away from it all sounds like absolute bliss. For the more tech and social media-savvy, this could be a real nightmare as staying in touch with your besties or followers is not negotiable!

Here are some ideas on how to stay connected with the special people in your life while having a great time on holiday… After all, sharing is caring.

Check-in on social media

So, you’ve just arrived and your chalet or apartment has a magical view of the shimmering ocean. You want to capture and share how super spacious it is along with describing the feeling of liberation that you have from being away from the hustle and bustle of city life and your usual routine. Without a doubt, this is something really special to share with your friends and family online – simply inquire at Reception to get the WiFi password, switch on “location” on your smartphone, snap a selfie and do a Facebook check-in. Don’t forget to add your quirky caption and tag the resort you are at.

If you are after being even more connected than that, use Spaces to spend some time with any of your friends (wherever they are on earth) in your holiday accommodation! Spaces uses virtual reality to create live-streaming holograms (in a virtual reality space) of people you are connected with. Isn’t that cool?!

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Snap, share and socialise

Now the real fun starts. You begin receiving messages which are from friends around the globe who are super happy for you after seeing your check-in online. It seems like your Facebook check-in managed to create major hype and the love from your friends just does not stop coming in. They request ongoing updates about your day ahead and they especially ask for a Facebook Live video so that they can share in all the adventures that lie ahead. With so much to see and discover here’s how you can embrace your experience whilst staying in touch:

  • Go on a fun photo-taking spree, capturing the special moments of saddling up for a horse ride, driving around the scenic surroundings, and enjoying a game drive. With augmented reality filters, you can even use a special chip on new cell phone models to project an image of a celebrity sitting or standing next to you. This cool trick will let you take photos featuring whoever you like that look real.
  • Gather the pictures from your day and if you are feeling creative, use a grid application to make a collage of your photo memories. This can be shared later from the comfort of your apartment or chalet
  • Upload these images onto Facebook and tag your travel mates
  • Caption and share each special moment.

Don’t forget, you’ve done a good deed by sharing your experience on our Facebook pages as other travellers can use this information to make the best possible decisions about their future holidays.

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Create your own hashtag

Share a glimpse of your travel destination on Instagram with other social media enthusiasts by telling a story through your pictures LIVE. You can do this while experiencing a barge cruise, admiring the breathtaking scenery or just relaxing on a lounger sipping your favourite cocktail – it’s very easy. Make whatever hashtag you like but try to make it catchy while having some fun!  You can even engage with any friends who might be online with an instastory (a slideshow of your favourite images) that captures your wonderful holiday destination and if they love your images, they can save them too. Using a hashtag will give you the chance to be featured on social media pages to be seen by all of their followers.

Video calling

Sometimes being away from loved ones can make us feel slightly gloomy. Don’t despair because a video call allows you to share your special moments LIVE, which brings you closer together!  These two-way live videos are ideal for situations such as when the kids are playing a round of adventure golf and you want loved ones who are further away to see just how much fun the kids are having. If that wasn’t enough a new social media experience, thanks to Houseparty, allows you to make conference video calls, so you can chat with loads of friends at the same time. This allows you to chat with special people who couldn’t make the trip, all at the same time!

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@HolidayRetweet

Of course, you can upload and share your pictures on Twitter but how about engaging with like-minded people who have travelled to the same holiday destination as you? Twitter loves hashtags and by searching for any of our resorts, you will find all the information you need to plan your next holiday. To make your tweets more fun, customise your own new filters (we’ve all seen the doggie ears on photos a million times now!) to give your photos a unique, interesting look.

When you’re spoilt for choice on which activities to choose between, create a “tweet poll” and allow your friends and fellow travellers to vote for what they feel is your best option.  All it will take is a few tweets and you’ll have an awesome day that includes some things which you ordinarily wouldn’t have done – variety is the spice of life!

Blog it

You must have heard of blogs or maybe you’ve even read a few. Be sure to know that it’s not over (in the social media universe) until its blogged. Why? Because sharing your experience and giving it a personal touch allows you to feel the holiday spirit while elaborating on your travel experiences for your readers. Blogging for the first time about a holiday could be the beginning of something BIG. You can even use your blog as an online journal or scrapbook, allowing you to look back and reflect on the special memories which remind you of how it all began. When planning your next trip referring back to some of this information might come in handy too.

In the online world we live in, sharing experiences while living in the moment allows you to stop, play and replay. Your breaks may even become more enjoyable and meaningful than before by sharing them with loved ones or like-minded people. See… it pays to stay connected.

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Happy travels everyone. Make sure you share them with all your favourite people including us!

Holiday Fears

Travelling is something that some people crave and some people fear. We completely understand that there are risks which come along with travelling, but which exciting part of your life doesn’t come with risks? Did you know that the fear or travelling is called ‘Hodophobia’ and it is completely personalized by the people that have it – depending on what they are afraid of?

We do our best to make your visits to our hotels and resorts as safe and memorable as possible but even so, some of the bravest travellers still have holiday fears. We have done some research on the fears that people have when it comes to travelling and it was amusing to see that getting sunburned is one of the most common holiday fears! So here we go, a journey into tackling three of the biggest holiday fears that many people have:

  1. Sunburn

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We have a variety of stunning beach properties, so make use of a large hat and sunscreen (apply this as often as possible, especially if you are in and out of a pool or ocean). As South Africa has one of the most sought-after climates in the world, you may need to pack these essentials wherever you go, whether it’s at the beach, berg or bush – as you never know what adventure might pop up next, which could keep you outdoors for longer than you had initially expected.

But what if you still get sunburned? Well, the first thing to do is avoid any further exposure to the sun. After that, do your best to apply an after-sun lotion, which has soothing properties and also contains vitamins and minerals which will help your skin to cope with and recover from the sunburn. Do your best to stay hydrated too. Should you experience severe sunburn, please do take it seriously and contact a doctor via Reception, rather than making hundreds of amusing posts about your eye-watering sunburn photos on social media.

  1. Sharks

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Well…this is a fear I think we all have. Who wants to get bitten by Jaws’ fourth cousin once removed? No one!
If you’re staying at one of our berg or bush properties, this shouldn’t be a problem. As we do have a wide range of resorts and hotels on the coast, however, please take note of the following…

Sharks feed more aggressively, on larger mammals and fish, in cold water (as they have a greater need for energy); sorry Capetonians! Be aware of any flags on the beach which could indicate any recent, nearby shark sightings. Also, only swim in demarcated swimming areas, not just for safety in numbers, but also to have well-trained lifeguards on the lookout for an ominous dorsal fin! Avoid swimming in dirty water too, as a shark may confuse you with something else if the visibility is low (sharks don’t actually enjoy eating humans, despite what the often-dramatic mass media may say) and lastly, if you get a cut, please exit the water immediately. Sharks can smell blood in the water at one part in a million!

  1. Bad Weather

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If you’re planning an international holiday and are looking for a sunny location, consider visiting the eternally summery Cumbria to stay at our luxurious Brockwood Hall or go for a blissful cruise with Flexi Club on the Thames River, to cruise (come rain or shine)!

Should a beautiful and weather-friendly holiday in South Africa be what you are looking for, you will be spoilt for choice! South African was made for vacationing! The Drakensberg is ideal for escaping from the summer heat and if crisp, fresh mountain air and cosy times spent around a fireplace, sipping red wine, are your thing, then winter is also an excellent time of year to go. The same goes for the rest of our inland destinations, most of which have a river, dam or pool onsite.

We all also know that Durban doesn’t have a winter. Well, that’s what everyone, except for Durbanites (some of whom wear beanies and gloves whenever it goes below the magical 20-degree threshold), has to say. So have no fear and enjoy a beach trip at any time of year. An added bonus of going out of season is less traffic, better specials on offer at local restaurants – and your colleagues will be extra jealous of you when you return to work, with a tan!

As for the Western Cape. Well, is there any better destination in South Africa, at any time of year?! Even in bucketing winter rain (once it hopefully returns) the service and wine at the Cape’s top wine estates remains just as impressive. So too, the sushi at the V&A Waterfront or the experience of shopping at one of Cape Town’s trendy malls.

Hopefully, this blog/guide will help you if you’re feeling a bit fearful about your next holiday. Please let us know some of your travel fears in the comments below…we would love to hear them!

We wish you safe travels and our properties look forward to welcoming you…

Cooks need a break too!

Cooking can be such a hassle, especially after a long day at the office. Most of us work all day, get home and either have the husband, boyfriend, kids or maybe even the wife bugging us to start cooking already. Can we not have a minute to relax?

Yes, we may be superwomen or supermen, but we need a break too. While staying at most of our resorts, this is something that doesn’t have to cross your mind, as we have chefs that are more than happy to take the burden off your hands and prepare a delicious meal for your family.

Take a look at some of our stunning resorts that feature restaurants that will tantalise your taste buds and give you a break:

The Palace – Pesto:
If you’re looking for a quick bite or a creamy cappuccino with a view, then this is the place for you. Pesto has some delicious treats with a Mediterranean feel that will satisfy you no matter the time of day. Take a look at their full menu here.

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Gethlane Lodge – Izinyoni Restaurant:
This restaurant has a social vibe that can put anyone at ease – which is perfect when on holiday. Whether you are looking for a delicious breakfast, a scrumptious tramezzini, a fresh salad or a delectable pizza – Izinyoni has it all! Find out more here.

Selborne – The Lord Selborne; The Terrace; Barkers Bar:
Selborne Golf Estate, Hotel and Spa has several different options for you to choose from. Whether you are in the mood for fine dining, a casual meal or a relaxing cocktail at the end of a fun-filled day – there is something for everyone! Take a look at your dining choices here.

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Hole in the Wall – The Bell Buoy:
If comfort and scrumptious food is what you are after, then The Bell Buoy is perfectly suited for you. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the restaurant prides itself on home-style, excellent value for money meals – offering bites to suit all tastes and all ages. View the full menu here.

Bushman’s Nek – The Bushpot:
The Bushpot has a wide variety of delectable treats on offer, so try one of their great weekly specials or the Sunday buffet, or just pop in for a quick bite. The Bushpot offers fiery curries, melt-in-your-mouth oxtail, hearty pies, filling breakfasts, tramezzinis, wraps and pizza, with a grand finale of decadent gateaux and waffles. Take a look at the full menu here.

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Qwantani – The Marshall Eagle Restaurant:
Looking for home-style cooking with a relaxed atmosphere? Look no further. At The Marshall Eagle Restaurant, you will be spoiled for choice, with a variety of culinary treats that will delight your taste buds. Find out more here.

La Montagne – Crayfish Inn and The Palm Terrace Café:
Seafood, seafood, seafood! Who doesn’t love a delicious serving of prawns? We sure do! Just like Selborne, La Montagne has restaurants to suit different needs, ages and tastes. The Crayfish Inn has a luxurious feel with delicious offerings such as Kingklip, Fillet and Prawns. If you are looking for something simpler than The Palm Terrace Café is suited to you! With a more relaxed atmosphere, this restaurant is perfect for a quick bite (and for those who are allergic to shellfish). Click here for more information.

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Midlands Saddle and Trout – 29° South:
This restaurant is fairly new to Midlands Saddle and Trout. It was built because the GM and staff felt as though the resort was missing something – and they never looked back. Everyone is raving about how delicious the food is and we completely agree. A range of tasty treats is available, their toasted sandwiches are legendary, and if you’re feeling daring, try out the Giant Burger. Find out more here.

The Oceanic – La Vita:
Not to be confused with our awesome La Vita Spa chain. This restaurant may have you leaving relaxed and happy but don’t expect to get a massage there. 😉 La Vita has a charming and informal setting with a splash of Italian flair. Best known for its pizzas, La Vita has a range of popular dishes that can be enjoyed by everyone. Take a look at the full menu here.

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La Côte d’Azur – French Vanilla Coffee Shop:
Relax and enjoy a delicious meal at French Vanilla Coffee Shop. This restaurant aims to entice your taste buds and have you leaving with a smile on your face. The food is not only delicious, but also excellent value for money. Find out more here.

Magalies Park – Pica Pau Restaurant:
Pica Pau Restaurant dishes up delicious bites with a continental touch, served either on the deck or in the relaxed interior setting. Whether it is Italian Pasta, Portuguese chicken, a quick pizza or rich lamb shank you crave, Pica Pau has something to appeal to your tastes. P.S.: Lasagne Picada is their speciality. Find out more here.

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We hope this has inspired you to get out, do something different and leave the kitchen – you deserve a break too! Treat your family to a weekend away where you won’t see a spatula or frying pan anywhere in sight. The family may think you are doing something nice for them, but it’s really for you. 😉

Road Trip Essentials

Items you must pack when taking a long car trip

Travelling is an experience that everyone craves. It’s a way to escape your daily routine, take some time for yourself and relax. This is all well and good, but we usually forget to consider the essentials that need to be packed if a long car trip is on the horizon. Mistakes happen, people get injured, cars break down, and kids – well they’re a whole planning process on their own; when it comes to travelling, everyone should plan ahead. There is nothing worse than getting injured or breaking down, being in the middle of nowhere, and not having anything or anyone to help you. Don’t worry, we have your back! Take a look at the list we have compiled to ensure that you have a safe journey!

The essentials:

These are items that every car should have, especially if you have planned a long road trip. We love the quote: ‘I am prepared for the worst, but hope for the best’ by Benjamin Disraeli. This couldn’t be truer when it comes to travelling. Rather be safe than sorry! Make sure you have the following in your vehicle:

  • Safety pins
  • A roller bandage
  • Cotton buds
  • Gloves
  • Gauze
  • CPR mouthpiece
  • Plasters
  • Antiseptic
  • First aid dressing
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Alcohol swabs
  • Rescue blanket
  • A box of matches

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Your vehicle and its roadside emergency kit:

In South Africa, the roads are not always in the best condition. We have to deal with potholes, cattle, wild animals and even pedestrians. The truth is that vehicle breakdowns happen on a daily basis and they don’t always happen in a sunny, warm spot with flawless cell phone reception and a tow truck close by. A roadside emergency kit can ease the pain and reduce the hassle of such breakdowns. Here are a few items we think you need to have on your trip, to ensure you are safe and out of harm’s way:

  • A fully charged cell-phone, or a portable charger
  • A fire extinguisher
  • Reflective warning triangles
  • A spare tyre
  • A jack
  • Foam tyre sealant
  • Jumper cables
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Duct tape
  • A tow rope
  • A multipurpose utility tool
  • Extra drinking water
  • Non-perishable snacks
  • A rain poncho

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Travelling with kids:

All parents know that travelling with kids is no easy feat, and this is a circumstance that HAS to be prepared for! Can you imagine leaving your kids favourite teddy behind? Or not having a wet-wipe when someone has been sick or messy? These are just a few of the things to keep in mind. We love being a part of your holidays and we understand the importance of having family trips, so here is a list you can use when packing for your next family adventure:

  • Wet wipes (WE REPEAT, WET WIPES!)
  • Extra diapers, or clothes easily accessible. Don’t be the family on the side of the road unpacking everything to get to a new outfit for the little one because there was a spill or any one of the other things that kids manage to do on a daily basis.
  • Plastic bags
  • Tissues
  • Games or toys to keep the little ones occupied
  • Toilet paper (this may not only be for the kids 😉)
  • Snacks
  • Juice boxes
  • Motion sickness medication
  • A blanket
  • The favourite toy or teddy

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We love having you visit our properties, but we also want you to be safe. Make sure you have planned ahead for anything that may happen and ensure that you are not stuck on the side of the road, injured without an emergency kit, or – and this is the worst – have a sticky crying kid in the back seat! 😉 Please be safe, travel wisely and have a great trip!

Road trip snacks for a happy, healthy drive

Flying may be quick and easy, but for many families, nothing says ‘holiday’ quite like a good old-fashioned road trip. If you’re travelling for a few hours to your destination, chances are at some point, someone is going to get hungry. Plus, kids and grown-ups alike tend to snack when bored, making padkos a must.

You can fill up on sugary junk food and unhealthy take-out (and face the consequences of hyper children and stressed parents) or you can take note of our healthy road trip snack ideas for happy travelling. The best road trip food doesn’t involve cooking or even a lot of time spent in the kitchen. It’s all about providing a variety of easy eats that satisfy hunger and minimise boredom.

Packing your snacks

  • Buy some inexpensive, stackable plastic containers with lids. You’ll save space by removing snacks from their packaging and you can easily stack and store the boxes when they’re empty.
  • Make sure you pack a couple of plastic grocery bags to use for rubbish such as juice cartons and fruit peels.
  • Don’t forget roller towel, wet wipes and hand sanitizer for sticky fingers and accidental spills.

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Fruit and veggies

Ditch the chip packet and opt for fruit and veggie snacks that offer the same kind of ‘hand to mouth’ satisfaction without the high salt and preservative content. Choose fruit that is not messy to eat and keeps well in a humid car such as seedless grapes, naartjie’s, raisins and dried fruit. Veggies such as snap peas, celery and carrot sticks also make great snacks, especially combined with home-made guacamole (mashed avocado).

Seeds and nuts

Also great for boredom snackers who like to eat by the handful, nuts are crunchy and delicious, and a super source of protein. Mix different kinds of nuts in a bag – peanuts, almonds, cashews, macadamias – with some sunflower seeds. Add raisins for a little healthy sweetness.

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Biltong and dry wors

If you’re going on a South African holiday, you need the ultimate South African snack. High in protein, easy to eat and so yummy… biltong is ideal for road trips. Pack a variety of sliced biltong, large chunks and wors to suit everyone’s tastes. A stick of biltong is also a wonderful way to keep a teething baby happy and occupied during a long drive.

Yoghurt

A lunch box favourite, yoghurt is also an awesome, healthy snack for a road trip. Buy drinking yoghurt rather than tubs, so that you don’t have to worry about spoons.

Fruit juice and water

A long, hot day cooped up in a car is thirsty work. Try not to be tempted by fizzy drinks. Apart from the sugar overload, carbonated drinks can make everyone feel uncomfortable and bloated. Instead, pack lots of bottled water and fruit juice in individual cartons if the kids want something sweet.

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Muffins

If you’re planning to leave home very early in the morning, bake some muffins the night before so you can have breakfast on the go. Opt for home-made rather than buying from the grocery store, as these can be quite heavy on the stomach.

To find out more about our amazing South African holiday deals contact Off Beat Holiday Club for more information today.

5 Things to leave at home when packing for a holiday

Your holiday is booked and you’re eagerly anticipating a bit of well deserved down time. Whether your vacation involves soaking up the sun on the beach, hiking in the brisk mountain air, or exploring fascinating foreign cities on foot, you need to think carefully about what to take with you.

When packing for a holiday many people end up putting in way too much stuff “just in case” they need it. Shrewd vacation packing involves cutting out a lot of the clutter, leaving you with the essentials that you need to really enjoy your holiday without the hassle of heavy bags (and the airport penalties that go with them).

So, without further ado, here are 5 things not to take on holiday:

Too many shoes

Shoes are heavy and bulky, making for a vacation packing nightmare. Honestly, do you really need to take a pair of shoes for every day of the week? Our advice is to take only 2 or 3 pairs on holiday. Wear the heaviest or bulkiest while travelling and pack the rest.

Speaking of shoes, make sure that the pairs you choose are comfortable and worn in, especially if your holiday plans involve a lot of walking and sight seeing. If you’ve booked a beach holiday, 2 pairs of sandals should suffice.

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Heirlooms and valuables

You may wear great grandma’s ruby ring every day of your life, but you’d be devastated if it went missing while you were on holiday. While holiday insurance will pay out for the financial value of items that are lost or stolen on vacation, heirlooms with sentimental value are irreplaceable. So leave them at home.

You should also limit the number of electronic devices that you take with you. Your smartphone and an e-reader for the plane are more than enough. You really don’t need your laptop or iPad on holiday.

Non-essential toiletries

Airports have some serious restrictions on the amount of liquid that you can carry in your luggage, so consider reducing your toiletries. Your holiday packing essentials should only include toiletries that you really, really can’t live without and that you don’t think you will be able to purchase at your destination. Unless you’re travelling to an extremely far flung part of the world, chances are you’ll be able to buy shampoo and conditioner from the hotel shop when you arrive.

Decant liquid toiletries into special 100ml travel bottles. Store all your toiletries and make up in sealed ziplock bags to avoid leaking if the bottles are damaged by cabin pressure changes.

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Books, books and more books

Gone are the days when holiday reading meant a separate bag devoted to a pile of heavy paperbacks. If you don’t have an e-reader, consider investing in one. That way, you have something to read on the plane or while lounging on the beach that is lightweight and gives you access to so many more book choices than you could ever pack in your suitcase.

All of your keys

Even if you are super careful, the fact is that things can and do go missing on vacation. If your bag was stolen, and it contained the keys to every door of your home, your car keys, your office keys, your safe keys etc… it would be a complete disaster. The only keys that you need are those that are essential to getting you home once your vacation is over. If you’re travelling by car, you just need your car keys and your front door key. If you’re travelling by plane, take a shuttle to the airport and just pack your house key. Leave all other keys with a trusted friend for the duration of your holiday.

To find out more about our fantastic local and international holiday deals contact Offbeat Holiday Club for more information today.