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.

Leave a Comment

  • Adithi

    Dear Geraldine,

    I am a constant reader of your blog (Gives me a good laugh in between work 😀 ). Waiting for you to visit India and and blog about it, ’cause it is just wonderful to see any country from another persons point of view, ‘specially when the person is so witty and humorous.! 🙂 There are so many different cultures here and a lot more to explore. I can bet my life on it, you will have fun ! 😀

    Maybe you can convince Rand for a holiday to India!

    Awaiting your visit, much Love!!

  • Ruth

    That is also my favorite moment of the Keira Knightley P&P.

  • I totally get where you’re coming from (and, of course, I’m not referring to Washington State) with this post. As you can see from my nom de plume, I’m a tad older than you are, but I still feel like a poser when we eat at an expensive restaurant or stay at a Relais & Chateau rated hotel. I inherited my wanderlust from my father who was a lower middle class public school teacher with a wife and three daughters. We lived in Mexico and England, went on road trips across the U.S. and traveled around Europe for 7 weeks, but we camped in a tent or all five of us crammed into a hotel or guesthouse room (frequently in a not so great neighborhood) with the bathroom — somewhere.

    Fast forward a million years. I went to law school and married a guy who morphed into a physician-scientist, so now, like you, I get to be a trailing spouse when he traipses around the world conferring with his medical researcher peeps. For part of our trip, we usually bunk at a conference hotel on someone else’s dime (quarter?). I’m happy to say that I have gotten over being noticeably incredulous (I hope) at complementary toiletries and towels that actually absorb water. However, I happily get to plan non-work trips around the work trips. (Don’t be jealous. Like Rand, my husband gets twitchy if he hasn’t checked his work email in too long — i.e. a day). Given my upbringing, this means we go down a star or two when I’m choosing and paying for a hotel or B&B.

    Once in a while, I splurge. Cavas Wine Lodge outside Mendoza, Argentina springs to mind. Then, I spend (waste) part of our time there freaking out at the expense and luxury. I started out as a legal aid lawyer. I can remember not enjoying celebrating an important occasion at an expensive restaurant because I realized that our dinner was going to cost more than what my client from earlier in the day received in food stamps—for a month. I think I need desensitization therapy, so I can learn to wallow in expensive luxury without getting hives about it. My husband has a conference in Cape Town next year. Maybe I should start looking at the Kloof website now, so I can maybe work up to checking in with a straight face. 😉

  • Christie

    Confession: I almost stopped reading your blog. The (slightly) inconsistent posting was causing me unjustifiable stress. Usually the constant in my chaos, your blog’s absence was making me sad and flustered with all things interweb-related. But then, you start posting the wonders of Africa, and my ice heart melted a little.

    But, Mrs. Rand, when you mentioned Pride & Prejudice today, I was sold. I just knew there was a reason I felt a weird connection to you, even though our lives do not overlap, at all, ever, in any way. So keep on keepin on, and I will be here, reading, in a completely non-creepy way.

    Footnote: Keira’s look in P&P was created by Jacqueline Durran, who also did costuming for Atonement and the newly released Anna Karenina, hence the consistency in her lovely woundedness (the thinness is just a lack of appreciation for sugar or fun or something).

    Thank you for everything 🙂

    • Sarah S.

      “The thinness is just a lack of appreciation for sugar or fun or something” is such a great way to describe super skinny people. Love it!

  • This post was as achingly sweet as the movie you referenced – I really love your writing style (and Pride and Prejudice). Thank you for sharing!

  • Dawn Shepard

    I love this. This post left me filled with love. Thank you.

  • I am reading your Bushman’s Kloof posts in the wrong order. You grabbed me with High Tea. The cave painting lured me even more. And then there are all these references to wild animals like zebras. I want to go here! Seriously. I was looking at the world map yesterday and trying to convince myself that South Aftrica really isn’t all that far away. So, I’m finally at the beginning where you tell us how you ended up at the Kloof. Frankly, I was hoping you were going to say what a bargain destination it is and completely affordable for the masses (as in people, not the Catholic church service). Looks like I’ll have to do a little more saving up, but you’ve definitey put this on my dream destination list. Thanks!

More from The Blog

On Instagram @theeverywhereist

  • Wonderful show with the most handsome man in the world. #osf
  • The meals that my beloved is able to make in tiny AirBnB kitchenettes never ceases to amaze me.
  • It begins! So excited, @osfashland!
  • Take note: if you ask your husband if you can move to NYC roughly four dozen times, he will start to cave a little.
  • Incredible reading by the love of my life to a packed room at NeueHouse Madison Square. So proud of you, @randderuiter, and the amazing emcee work by @michaeliconking.
  • Re-posting this photo that @wilreynolds took of us and his youngest near the beach outside of Lisbon. We're back home now, and I can't decide what I miss more: this little guy and his brother, or Portugal. Actually, scratch that. I know.
  • This place looks like a damn fairy tale.
  • Lunch with a view of the water, and some of the best seafood of my life.
  • The entire drive from Sintra to Lisbon looks like this. It's just miles of blue sky and rocky beaches.
  • No filter. This is just what Sintra looks like.

All Over The Place

Buy my book and I promise I'll never ask you for anything again.