Bushman’s Kloof, South Africa

Posted on
Mar 4, 2013

I don’t really know how to begin telling you about Bushman’s Kloof.

Words don’t usually fail me. In fact, I often have them in excess. They dribble out of my mouth at particularly inopportune times. Like when I’m telling a story at noisy party, and I find myself shouting the gory details in order to be heard (my stories always have gory details, you see), and at that precise moment because of what I can only assume is a decades-old-curse that was placed on my head, the entire room sort of goes silent.

I, of course, am still yelling.

“AND THERE WAS POOP EVERYWHERE, YOU KNOW? LIKE THE PLACE HAD BEEN HIT BY A CRAP TSUNA- … mi. Yeah … It just got quiet in here all of a sudden, huh? ”

Many a time has my husband grabbed me in a tender embrace and whispered into my ear, “Please, please, PLEASE stop talking. Just stop.”

And yet, despite the deluge that spills from my mouth on a regular basis, when I try to describe the kloof and the days we stayed there, my brain struggles to offer up some words. None of them quite seem to fit, though.

Just one of the three infinity pools at the main lodge at Bushman’s. Whatever. No biggie.

“Stunning” comes to mind. And “incredible”. “Life-changing” and “opulent” and “paradise” are all pretty good, too. Still, they seem to fall short of the mark.

Mostly, when I think of Bushman’s Kloof, I just start laughing, somewhat maniacally.

Courtney, Kurtis, and Justin during one of our evening nature drives. Notice that Court is holding a champagne flute. Because that’s just how you roll in the kloof.

Have you seen the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightly? Normally, I’m not a fan of Ms. Knightly. She’s thin and lovely and wounded looking, and I try to steer clear of people like that (I mean, they obviously don’t have any tips for where a gal can get a decent dessert, you know?) But I positively adore that movie.

There’s one scene in particular that slays me. It’s when Lizzie Bennett (Knightly) has just turned down Darcy’s offer of marriage, which is kind of a brave move, considering that her family is flat broke.

Anyway, Lizzie and her aunt and uncle happen upon Mr. Darcy’s estate. And there’s a scene where Lizzie is stepping out of the carriage, and she sees Darcy’s palatial home – which she, obviously, turned down along with him. Her response is to just sputter out a somewhat hysterical laugh. It’s the perfect reaction.

It’s how I felt when we got to the kloof. I had trouble containing my giggles. At one point, the gentleman who managed one of the lodges was giving us a brief tour of the place, but I kept interrupting him with my snickering. A few folks turned to look at me.

“Are you okay?”

“What me?” I said, wiping tears from my eyes. “Yeah, yeah. I’m gonna be fine. I’m just gonna stand over in the corner for a bit. Ignore me.”

I put my feet up and relax in the back of the jeep. In the distance, you can see a dazzle of zebra.

We ended up at Bushman’s Kloof because of Rand. I tend to run screaming from anything too opulent, too lavish. I’ll take a Nestle Tollhouse cookie over one of those undercooked chocolate lava cakes that are all the rage. In fact, I’ll take a dozen of them. Right now, please.

But Rand loves to take a peek at those things which I’ve deemed too fancy for the likes of me. He does so fearlessly, with a mix of curiosity and cynicism, because things can’t be as great as everyone claims they are, right?

So when he heard that Bushman’s Kloof was – I kid you not – listed as one of the world’s best hotels (by Travel and Leisure, in 2009, among others), Rand’s initial reaction was to check it out and see if the hubbub was warranted, while mine was to laugh crazily and see if there was a nearby hostel where I could crash. But Rand has a phobia about leaving his wife around young bearded Australian backpackers (and rightly so), which means NO HOSTELS, EVER. So I went with him to the kloof.

For the next few days, I’ll be writing about our time there, in one of the world’s best hotels. I’m hoping that I’ll find words to do the place justice.

And if I don’t find the right words? Well, this photo of Rand pretty much sums the place up.

But as I wax on about how incredible it was, I want to be clear: lavish things still make me squirm. I was out of my element and often uncomfortable, and there were days that I would wander around with my mouth half open wondering precisely what the hell I was doing there.

Then I’d remember. I was following him:

And just like that, I’d start having a ball.

I wonder if that’s how Lizzie felt. If she realized that all that fanciness wasn’t necessarily her thing. But she wandered into that world because of Darcy, and when she found herself there?

All she could do was laugh.

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