South Africa

Towering & Tranquil, Table Mountain

It's just one of those things, you can't take your eyes off of. Wherever we were in the city, I wanted to know what the view of the Table Mountain looked like from a different angle. Unless it was completely covered by the clouds, it was truly a spectacular sight to take in and I'm sure the locals never tire of it either. 

Don't only stand below it, looking up, get on top and look below!

Don't only stand below it, looking up, get on top and look below!

Well don't just look at it, go to it! I was so excited to get on top of Table Mountain to see the views, that I hadn't thought much about the how we're getting up there part. I knew we were going via cable car, but the day we headed up there to the ticket station, there was a huge race going on. People were running around it's base and up and around it's paths. If you're a dare devil and an in shape one at that, I would highly recommend getting a guide and hiking to the top! There are plenty of companies that offer this.

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Once at the top (however you decide to get there), just stop for a moment. Don't take your phone out for a selfie, don't grab your friend to keep walking around the corner to see another vantage point, just....look. Look to the ocean, peer out to Robbens Island, where Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years. Let your eyes drift back to shore and take in the view of the Cape Town Stadium, which was built for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Then look at Lion's Head, which for some reason I keep calling Dinosaurs head...oops. Though I know why, because the rock on the mountain reminded me of the dinosaurs that had sailbacks. Fun Fact: You can hike Lion's Head also!

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It was the perfect day. The weather was spot on, not anything stronger than a soft ocean breeze. It was serene standing there, looking down at the city and everything so still around and below us. 

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I was on the back side of the mountain, walking slowly, taking the view in and I will never forget looking down the path and locking eyes with this guy, photographed above. I shrieked, yell-whispered over to the person closest to me in my group. You know what I mean by yell-whisper, wanting to be quiet so I didn't scare away the creature, but actually yelling with excitement. As it turns out, I wasn't the first person to see one of these little guys. They are referred to as a "Dassie"- one of the most unbelievable facts about Table Mountain’s Dassies is that they are the closest related relatives to Elephants. Despite the enormous difference in size between the two, research has claimed the dassie is the African elephant’s closest living relative. I. Kid. You. Not.

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On really good days, both sides are clear and you can look down the coastline on the other side of Table Mountain. Unfortunately we missed it, maybe even by just a couple of hours, but I have this feeling that I will be back someday! 

Saxon Hotel, Villas & Spa - Johannesburg

Usually when I start a story with “I felt like I was in a movie!” I mean more of the comedy type. This was something else entirely. After a 30 minute drive from the Johannesburg airport, a quick check in with the gate guards, my driver took me up the driveway, through groves of trees, branches hugging each other overhead making the most lovely of entrances. I leaned forward in my seat, peaking ahead, ready to take in the first glimpse of the Saxon. I believe I said “holy…moly.” My driver said, “yes madam, it’s one very beautiful place, I think you will enjoy yourself.” Please read that last quote with the sweetest South African accent possible. Even he was smiling when he said it. 

Entrance of the hotel.

I arrived early in the morning and the hotel was quiet. I sat out on their terrace waiting for my room to be ready, sipping cup after cup of wonderful coffee. Mostly just because I could and I also knew I would need the energy when trying not to nap later. The staff had come by a second time, asking me if I was sure I didn't want a blanket or a heater nearby my table. I laughed because the weather was absolute perfection. Just a light crispness was still hanging in the air, but you could tell the day was still just heating up. For them, the locals...this was chilly! 

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I did a quick 30 minute work out in their beautiful gym, which is not how I would describe the gym I go to normally. Afterwards, I walked passed their pool, which tempted me to take off my sneakers right there and to just jump in. I resisted and checked into my suite. Yes, you heard that right, because The Saxon is an all suite hotel. Each of them have a sitting area with large over stuffed chairs, a desk, a terrace or balcony, large king size beds and the bathroom of your dreams. At least the bathroom of my dreams! 

With this property having a fabulous spa, two restaurants, a bar, the swanky cigar lounge and several different outdoor seating options...I can see why people may just want to add an extra night here to enjoy the hotel and all that it has to offer. 

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Though you can get a little bit of an idea of what the hotel and it's gorgeous grounds are like from my photos, what I would really like to shine some light on, is the service level of the hotel. Whoever trains the staff at the Saxon, they do a vey good job, it's something that really stuck with me after I left the hotel. I was always asked if I needed anything, asked if they could assist me with my bags, they even asked if they could carry my drink from breakfast back to my room for me. These genuine and warm smiles from the staff made me settle in very quickly. Staying in a hotel like this, it could easily go on the stuffy side of things, but the servers, the front desk agents, the room attendants, they are the ones to bring life to this property. 

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I know some interior designers that would go absolutely crazy for these details- crazy in a good way of course!

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The breakfast- which I remember being very annoyed that I wasn't hungry enough to fully enjoy!

The breakfast- which I remember being very annoyed that I wasn't hungry enough to fully enjoy!

This was the first hotel that I stayed at during my time in South Africa. I specifically remember saying to my mom on skype, that this was either the best start to a really good vacation or the worst start, because how could other hotels be as fabulous as this one was to me?! I look forward to sending clients to this hotel and I am confident that they will be well taken care of, just as I was.