While searching for accommodation suitable for our family's visit to the Lowveld we stunbled across umSisi House. Can you imagine our surprise when we realized that we were the former owners of the farm that is now umSisi House. During the years we lived on the farm we had many visitors -- relatives and friends and friends of friends from all over the globe. All of them asked why we didn't turn our home into a guest house. Lucky for those looking for fabulous accommodation in South Africa's Lowveld, the farm was bought by a delightful couple who transformed it into a marvelous guest house for private groups. Amanda and Paddy Bond Gunning are superb hosts and have combined their huge sense of style with a great love of Africa to create a stylish, spacious and comfortable guest house set in a stunning garden. African art and areifacts combine with family treasures for great, relaxed decor, made all the better as most pieces come with stories of Amanda and Paddy's travels.
We recently spent several days there with some of our family -- daughter, her threee children and an infant great-grandchild. The house was ideal for us. Our family enjoyed the lovely bedrooms with good views, really comfy beds and large en-suite bathrooms. The girls particularly liked the deep, relaxing tubs. The lounge with crackling fireplace for the chilly evenings was the family gathering place, but the separate TV and computer room was much appreciated by the teenagers. Best of all is the wrap-around covered patio with views of the great gardens, the pool, and the famed Lion Rock known locally as Legogote.
The family was very eager to tour the garden, following trails or clambering over the giant rocks that the house is built into. We were pleased to see how beautiful the garden was, the emphasis on indigenous and water-wise vegetation, and we particularly appreciated the tree lables and information. For hardy folk with more time than we had there are great hiking trails through the bush where one can see a number of bird and plant species, visit an old cave, and enjoy long views over the Peebles Valley. Swimming wasn't on the cards as it was mid-winter, but the pool looked especially beautiful. However, the grandparents were able to sneak out for a relaxing hot tub at night -- enjoying the stars and listening to the owls, and occasional bush-baby.
UmSisi House is ideally situated for touring the Lowveld. It is within easy driving distance to tourist destinations such as Graskop and God's Window, Pilgrims' Rest, various animal sanctuaries such as Moholoholo, the Cheetah Breeding Project and Elephant Whisperers. And best, umSisi is really close to our favorite destination -- Kruger National Park. We were up at 0530 and headed to the park armed with a delicious packed breakfast -- a quick 15 minute drive to Numbi Gate. We enjoyed a superb day of game viewing and returned to umSisi in time for showers, sundowners and a great meal. The chef's kitchen/dining room area is a delightful place to sit, appreciate wine from Paddy's excellent cellar, and chat. We confess that our family has some very picky eaters, but umSisi's extensive menu and Paddy's great preparation made everyone very happy. Indeed, the muesli pots in the packed breakfast convinced several doubters that yogurt and muesli could be very yummy.
All rooms are excellent, quiet and with good views. The master bedroom has a dressing area that is...
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