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The long weekend

Updated on May 23, 2008

A Weekend in the eastern Transvaal

The long weekend is a peculiarly south African phenomenon. What we do is take an ordinary weekend and take a day's leave on the Friday preceeding the weekend or the Monday following the weekend and 'go away'.

These trips are usually less than 300 kms from home and consist of a bushveld break, a game park break, going to the mountains or alternatively going to Sun City. The latter named is a frenetic, Casino, cum watersport holiday with possibly a dash into the Pilanesburg for game viewing..

The Sun City break generally leaves one more jaded than refreshed as you can guess! Gambling tilll dawn, seeing a show Jet skiing, or swimming in the valley of waves, (hung over) all have their toll!

At any rate on this occassion, My dearly beloved myself and a few friends (two other couples) decided to go to White River in the scenic and historic Eastern Transvaal ( now named Limpopo) and stay in one of the new luxury hotels being touted by a respected Hotel group which we use fairly frequently and are usually familiar with thier offerings.

All well and good, internet booking were made, deposits paid, confirmatiom emails with reservation numbers printed out and we were set to go!

One small wrinkle, my beloved is in the midst of a budgetting cycle from hell in her workplace, so Laptop, cell phone, broadband G3 card are coming on holiday too!

At any rate we pack up the car and we are off. Barely 50km from home the electronic cruise control fails and the car computer tells us so. We have brand new luxury german car which has just had its first service a few days before the trip.

So we need to stop at the dealership in Witbank to have the car checked. (By the way when I took delivery of his vehicle, on the first day the electronics failed and it was ignominiously towed away not to be seen for 3 weeks!)

So you can understand my desire to have it checked - bloody computerised cars!

The dealer tells me not to worry he has reset the computer so we can proceed just don't use cruise control..We proceed and do the obligatory stop at Milly's which is a fuel stop and restuarant which has a crackling fire, a view of a lake and stunning trout pies not to mention various home made canned goods to take away.

We arrive at our Hotel uneventfully and check in.Our room is in a dungeon down stairs but somehow managing to front onto a lawn and tennis court. The rising damp on the walls and the tatty carpets don't bode well. On the tennis court is a marquee with around 100 loud conference or rally attendees.

The coffee station is outside our window and the attendees choose to stand outside our window to make loud cell phone calls. Oh well they will probably leave on the Friday. Not so! The Rally / conference whatever lasted until Sunday!

We decide to have dinner in the Hotel restaurant.This is sumptuous buffet which starts out well enough but just before we opt to get our main course the delegates from hell are led into the dining room food queue, two by two all 100 plus of them. Never mind, we tell ourselves, we are not in a hurry and as we don't have to drive we can relax and consume a few good bottles of wine.

Once the food queue .had gone, we find that all the food left was cold or finished. After some discussion with the hotel we had a special platter prepared for us. However we were not really consulted and were served a sort of overcooked mixed grill - not very good.

And so to bed.

The following day after a reasonable breakfast, the two of girls opt for an excursion to Phalaborwa for the day. Dearly beloved decided to work on the hotel verandah (laptop, cellphone broadband card and all) and the men opt to watch Super 14 Rugby on the Pub TV - What else.

To our dismay the hotel has chosen to host goups of 20 people to display the hotel's features to them. These loud (and well entertained - read well oiled) groups were walked past us at intervals throughout the morning much to our chagrin.

That afternoon we (the guys) went to the local shopping centre and motor museum. We also had coffee at a pleasant little coffee shop and scouted out a location for dinner. Unanimous decision -we will not use the hotel for dinner again!

That evening was a revelation! The restaurant Salt was outstanding. we had champagne, excellent starters and wonderful main meals accompanied by recommended wines,

We all agreed we would return to White River just to eat at Salt!

The next day after a horrendous breakfast - rubber poached eggs, cold fried tomato- we left for home.The staff were actually trying to be helpful- "you dont have to eat the buffet breakfast we will make to order" (big mistake). We shopped a bit en route at antique shops, buying one or two knick knacks as memento's and we stopped at Milly's again .As it turns out they were having a mother's day lunch and we had a great meal there.

Sunday evening we arrived home refreshed, relaxed and agreed we we had a great long weekend break!


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    • sixtyorso profile imageAUTHOR

      Clive Fagan 

      9 years ago from South Africa

      Hi prziloczek Thanks for stopping by and commenting. yes South Africa is a ubique and interesting country!

    • prziloczek profile image


      9 years ago from Wisbech, Cambs, UK

      I am fascinated by South Africa under Mr Zuma.

    • sixtyorso profile imageAUTHOR

      Clive Fagan 

      10 years ago from South Africa

      A mouse in my lugggage! that would be great and "honey do's" I know about those! Next weekend we are off to Swaziland for 2 days by car, no less . I sincerely hope that that does not result in yet another hub. This car is truly my first lemon. Pehaps because it was supposed to be my dream car and it turned into nightmare!

      The expectation was just too great. Or another Karmic lesson in the series?

    • marisuewrites profile image


      10 years ago from USA

      I fear your car might be a "lemon" ?  I have a habit of buying lemons, whether new or used...they follow me.  I wonder if Karma has something to do with it???  What about me attracts a car that breaks down?  I'm becoming quite paranoid after about 100 of them.

      I LOVE and adore long weekends.  We take them frequently, but don't go to such wonderful places.  Mainly the garage, to clean it out.  haha  honey do's abound on three days off.

      We do take long drives past horse farms, and cows which we have discovered north of here, which remind us of our beloved Oklahoma, where we will be in the next few months...hopefully!!! 

      Great experiences  are often the most frustrating at the time, but most chuckled over in the telling...=))  you travel well, with your adventurous spirit...o to be a mouse...

    • sixtyorso profile imageAUTHOR

      Clive Fagan 

      11 years ago from South Africa

      No need to apologise. Its just great that people read and interact with the hubs.

      I value your input.

    • solarshingles profile image


      11 years ago from london

      Ups, sorry...It could have been Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Porsche...sorry, again.

    • sixtyorso profile imageAUTHOR

      Clive Fagan 

      11 years ago from South Africa

      Hi Solarshingles I did not actually mention the car brand but you are absolutely correct. Getting stranded in RSA even in an urban environment is a potentially life threatening situation.

      I did however,write to the hotel concerned and got an apology and they proffered some recompense but that was not the point

    • solarshingles profile image


      11 years ago from london

      Sixtyorso, I am the third fun of this great weekend story! So interesting, yet so annoying for you. I would stick with the old proven SUV, even though they 'drink' much more fuel, but they almost never leave you so ruthlessly on the road. I simply don't trust to modern electronic in a heavy duty car.

      Try to write an electronic email and an old fashioned letter to the Mercedes HQ in Germany, as well. 'Paint' the story as you had done in this hub. Add photos, add personal signed testimonials to the story, show them how very dangerous such an experience could had been in the vast wilderness of the South Africa. Ask them about their own opinion. Ask them how could you possibly trust such a car in the future. You are their very valuable customer with all right to get a useful car. Get noticed, it was about your money. I am sure, they are going to reply accordingly...and you could write another hub about your very bad/good Mercedes SUV personal experience.

    • sixtyorso profile imageAUTHOR

      Clive Fagan 

      11 years ago from South Africa

      Hi JamaGenee

      Thanks for your input. It is really great to get such encouraging feedback. If you enjoyed that hub have a look at my other other hubs too if you have time

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 

      11 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Make that two readers. What a wonderful hub, sixty! I'm always interested in learning how "regular" people in other parts of the world live. I had to chuckle because although the distances and names of the places were different, the long weekend you described isn't very different from our weekends away here in America. We too like to take the Friday off to add to its length, then drive someplace we're sure will be fun and relaxing, only to find the hotel overrun with conventioners, bad food or no food in the hotel restaurant, etc. Somehow, like you and your group, we manage to have a good time in spite of a hotel from hell, and return home Sunday evening believing we had a wonderful time! Isn't the human mind great?

      The alternate version here is to the long weekend to visit relatives, at their home, without staying at a hotel. For most, those truly are long weekends IN hell!

      Great hub. Please tell us more about life in your part of the world!

    • sixtyorso profile imageAUTHOR

      Clive Fagan 

      11 years ago from South Africa

      Hi Rod

      Thanks for your loyal support! At least my hubs have 1 reader!

    • Just_Rodney profile image

      Rodney Fagan 

      11 years ago from Johannesberg South Africa, The Gold Mine City

      Great hub, keep it up.


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