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“Perfect Easter Week”
Review of umSisi House

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umSisi House
Certificate of Excellence
Johannesburg, South Africa
1 review
“Perfect Easter Week”
Reviewed June 9, 2012

We stayed with our entire family for 8 days at Umsisi House over the Easter period this year and cannot rave enough about how wonderful it is. There were 8 of us in total so we stayed in both the main house and the cottage.

All of the rooms were spacious and beautifully decorated in contemporary African chic style. Amanda and Paddy who bought and renovated the property have created a stylish and comfortable home away from home where you feel welcome and truly spoilt.

Nothing is too much trouble and before we had even arrived all our activities had been carefully planned and organised so there wasn’t a thing to worry about or a decision to make once we were there.

A major part of the experience when staying at Umsisi is the food. Prepared with a flair and dedication that true foodies will appreciate. Amanda sent us a list of choices a few weeks before we arrived and the selection offered would tempt any palate. As it was my parents' first time to Africa we went for the full experience and ordered a range of game options from Kudu to Impala to Mozambique Prawns to Crocodile. Everything was wonderful but even so we were asked to rate each dish on departure so that they could continue to improve on what they were offering – you don’t tend to get this kind of attention to detail often these days.

Amanda organised a number of days in the Kruger Park with a guide and open game vehicle which collected us in the morning and drove us into the park. We also spent a day visiting a historical gold mining town and played golf at one of the many courses to choose from. There are lots of things to do and we could have easily spent another week there. My husband and sons went mountain biking from the house and there is hiking up into the hills above the house where there are stunning views of the Kruger Park disappearing into the distance beyond what you can see. But Umsisi house is so beautiful and welcoming that you don't need to go anywhere - it is a such a pleasure just to relax on the terrace with a chilled gin and tonic and admire the view. Amanda and Paddy are a charming and amusing couple who are the consummate hosts and given their adventurous travels in Africa over the years, will keep you entertained for days with their stories.

I would wholeheartedly recommend Umsisi house to anyone looking for a unique, stylish, delicious and welcoming experience.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank NoelleMcK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
amandabond007, Owner at umSisi House, responded to this review, October 23, 2013
Thank you for your wonderful feedback. We loved having you all for this Easter week. Such fond memories - introducing your parents to crocodile, creating an Easter Egg hunt and watching your boys running around to collect them all before the African sun devoured them and learning to make the perfect Mojito! What fun we all had. We look forward to your return. Kind regards Amanda and Paddy
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London
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
Reviewed June 9, 2012

I defy anyone to find fault, of any kind, with both UmSisi House or its hosts, Amanda and Paddy Bond Gunning. The house is quite simply, stunning. Thoughtfully and tastefully decorated inviting you to sample all that is special about Africa in one setting. From bedrooms that cater to even the smallest need, to gardens that make you wish you need never leave. Verandahs that conjure up magical views where you can see the moon rising and every star ever documented and gardens with tree walks and climbing rocks (a child's paradise and a garden lovers haven). My husband and I,with our two children aged 10 and 6 have had an experience we will never forget. Amanda and Paddy's knowledge of the country they live in, it's flora and fauna, it's people and politics are unsurpassed by even the most rigorous of guide books. They are welcoming, informative and generous with their time yet never intrude on any required privacy and as a result have created a home away from home with luxurious touches that (from a mother and wife's point of view) one can never have at one's own home. The food is creative and carefully considered and, quite frankly, exceptional. Safaris take on a new meaning, especially if you are lucky enough to be taken into the bush with Amanda and Paddy themselves. Their knowledge and 'eagle eyes' meant that we saw the Big Five and animals, birds and plants that we didn't even know existed. To wax lyrical about UmSisi House and its hosts is not enough. You MUST go. There is nowhere like it on earth.... Paradise but with home at it's core. Truly magical and beyond all dreams and expectations. Thank you Amanda and Paddy.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank BeckyAH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
amandabond007, Owner at umSisi House, responded to this review, October 23, 2013
What a wonderful family group. We so enjoyed your visit. Your energy and enthusiasm to explore the area was unprecedented. You did so much and can truly claim to have explored every corner of the Kruger Lowveld region. Thank you for this feedback and the wonderful 'Ode to umSisi House' that you penned in our visitor's book. It will be framed when time allows and hung in a very special place. Kind regards Amanda
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Danville, California
1 review
Reviewed May 6, 2012

This was truly a soul enriching experience. From the very first moments, our hosts, Amanda and Paddy made us feel like we were home even though we had never been to this part of the world before. The house is beautiful with amazing views and the surrounding gardens and water feature added to the tranquil, spirit lifting atmosphere. The cottage was lovely as well.

The meals were delicious and plentiful. We were a family of eight, including three small boys ages five, seven and eight. We were fortunate to be able to spend Easter weekend there where the boys engaged in a fantastic egg hunt. They enjoyed swimming, exploring, bike riding and the puzzles and games at the house.

The hosts gave us such wonderful advice and arranged our trips into the bush with a very informative guide. As our love for the region grew we were further inspired by the entertaining stories shared by Paddy and Amanda. Their love for the region is contagious. Our trip just would not have been so amazing without the umSisi House and Paddy and Amanda. We cannot wait to return!

Diane B. San Francisco, Ca.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Diane B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
amandabond007, Owner at umSisi House, responded to this review, October 23, 2013
Your first time in South Africa and you seemed completely at home! G&T's on the veranda every evening at sunset, a love of everything South African and an adventurous palate! Thank you for taking the time to write such a wonderful review. Hugely appreciated. Kind regards Amanda
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UK
Level 3 Contributor
24 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed April 30, 2012

we stayed in the self catering cottage at umsisi house. it is a gorgeous little cottage, beautifully refurbished with 2 double bedrooms, bathroom and living area with kitchen. there is also a verhanda with stunning views over africa towards the kruger park. perfect for our family plus a maid came in each morning to clean the cottage. we met amanda and paddy, the hosts and owners of umsisi house. they are wonderful hosts and are passionate about the area. would highly recommend. very reasonably priced too.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank claireyl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
amandabond007, Manager at umSisi House, responded to this review, October 23, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to write a review. Your feedback is gratefully appreciated. We hope to welcome you back to umSisi House in the not too distant future.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg, South Africa
2 reviews
Reviewed February 13, 2012

Looking for an upmarket alternative to the usual Kruger park accommodation, we were pleasantly surprised by the homely and family atmosphere at umSisi House. Photographers, Paddy and Amanda were superb hosts regaling many stories of their bush experiences all over Africa. Paddy's cooking in their well stocked kitchen was extraordinary as was the choice of wine form the wine cellar. With the Kruger park just a few minutes away, we will definitely return to this paradise.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Iain B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
amandabond007, Manager at umSisi House, responded to this review, October 23, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to write a review. Your feedback is gratefully appreciated. We hope to welcome you back to umSisi House in the not too distant future.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg, South Africa
1 review
Reviewed February 9, 2012

Our stay at umSisi House was a special experience. A wonderful setting and stylish but comfortable decor made the stay there a great break from the city. Paddy and Amanda are warm hosts who ensured that we had a relaxing time. Paddy's cooking was superb and catered for the vegetarians in the party.

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Leighton M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
amandabond007, Manager at umSisi House, responded to this review, October 23, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to write a review. Your feedback is gratefully appreciated. We hope to welcome you back to umSisi House in the not too distant future.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
1 review
Reviewed February 8, 2012

A very special place where you can while away days either in the grounds of umSisi House, which include a stunning naturally formed rock garden composing some gigantic rocks, or check out the vast grass meadows which have become home to many indigenous species of bird. There is also a mountain forming part of the grounds if you want to be more adventurous, My party decided to lounge by the pool and enjoy the peace and serenity though I regret we never made it to the outdoor jacuzzi.

Our hosts, Paddy and Amanda looked after our every need. Our meals included wonderful salads (ingredients grown in their own garden) and steak and prawns sourced as locally as possible. The menu of food options to choose from is wide and will satisfy the requirements of the most fussy adults and children alike.

The views from the wrap around covered terraces are over the valleys and mountains in the distance which are breathtaking. umSisi House is private and secluded with no properties nearby.

Kruger National Park is literally a 15 minute drive from umSisi House, making it a great base from which to make day trips to the park. The big plus here is that you don't have to stay in the park, which from my experience I found to be pricey and the standard of accommodation and food quality generally lacking.

My party thoroughly enjoyed their stay at umSisi House. It is a place where you can kick back and truly relax. Whether you are an international visitor or a South African wanting to escape city life, this is a place you need to try for yourself.

I am already planning to visit Paddy and Amanda again, although this time, I plan to stay longer.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Clive K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
amandabond007, Manager at umSisi House, responded to this review, October 23, 2013
Thank you for your wonderful review and for introducing us to Further Afield. We so enjoyed your stay with such an international group of friends. We hope you now look back at your adventurous short cut from umSisi House to Oliver Tambo International Airport via the Kruger National Park as one of the highlights of your trip! We're just pleased that checked-in in time! Kind regards Amanda and Paddy
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about umSisi House

Property: umSisi House
Address: 40 Plot D2 Peebles Valley Rd (off R Road | Peebles Valley, White River 1240, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Mpumalanga > White River
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 19 Specialty Lodging in White River
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:5 star — umSisi House 5*
Number of rooms: 3
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set in 60 hectares of pristine bush, within the Jock of the Bushveld Conservancy, umSisi House is strategically located in the Peebles Valley between the town of White River and the Numbi Gate entrance to the southern Kruger Park (15 minutes away). We offer a personal service that only a very small, privately owned and managed, five-star, luxury country house villa and gourmet getaway can provide. umSisi House is the perfect destination for groups of friends and family wishing to visit South Africa’s Kruger Lowveld region, the Panorama Route and enjoy the many adventure activities available in the immediate area. The house only caters for private groups (between 4 and 10 people) on either (a) a dinner, bed and breakfast basis,(b) a full board (all inclusive) basis or a self-catering basis (maximum 6 guests). It is particularly suitable for those looking for luxury accommodation near the Kruger Park. A booking service for local activities (including bespoke Kruger safaris in open game-viewers) is also provided. All meals are planned with guests in advance to ensure that the dining experience is a daily highlight. TGCSA 5-Star Country House. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
UmSisi House White River, South Africa - Mpumalanga

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