SECLUSION, LUXURY, BEAUTY AND MYSTIC: Escape to Oceana Beach & Wildlife Reserve this summer
Sometimes, you just have to pause and relax – even for a day, which is exactly what my husband and I decided to do when we escaped to the five-star Oceana Beach and Wildlife Reserve which is situated nine kilometres outside of Port Alfred on the R72.
I am a regular traveller and in all my journeys had never experienced the ultra-luxury, beauty, comfort, tranquillity and service excellence that we found at this lodge. Oceana is, undoubtedly, the Eastern Cape’s best kept secret – for locals, at least, as we found that many foreigners were sneaking in to enjoy the luxuries that this resort offers!
Upon our arrival – which was at sunset, we were warmly welcomed by the hotel’s Assistant General Manager, Nick Sousalis, and his staff who presented us with warm hand towels and refreshments. We were then escorted to the main lounge area, where he took us through the program for our overnight stay.
Before us was a jaw-dropping 180? view of the unspoilt bush that, after several metres, cleared into pristine white sandy beaches that were regularly swept by Indian Ocean waves. Oceana is the only private game reserve in Southern Africa with an ocean frontage.
After a brief tour of this beautiful lodge, Nick showed us to our suite - one of four thatched luxury ocean suites, hidden away amongst the lush vegetation of the reserve. Being an ‘ocean suite’ means it offers a private wooden deck overlooking the ocean and the reserve.
The interior had a contemporary African theme and was furnished in dark woods, crisp linen and deep, soft chairs and rugs. The main feature of the room was a handcrafted, super king-size wooden bed and the flat-screen television with DSTV, Wi-Fi, tea/coffee making facilities and the private mini-bar added to luxury of the room. The en-suite bathroom came with a Jacuzzi tub amongst the other glittering array of amenities.
After unpacking, we helped ourselves to glass of fine red wine and watched the sunset from the wooden deck as a small heard of impala grazed below.
We eventually managed to draw ourselves away from the deck and made our way to the main lodge’s central bar area, where we made friends with a couple from the UK over a glass of sherry next to a roaring fire. The décor of Oceana is truly magnificent and simply oozes comfort and relaxation. The swimming pool, indigenous bush, wooden decks, and waterfalls are all easily accessed by huge door-ways and large windows.
Dinner was a most enjoyable experience with the ambiance, service and food just perfect. We were escorted to the dining room and presented with a private table and a candlelight dinner, with soft music playing in the background. Our starter was an appetising creamy sweet potato and carrot soup garnished with spring onion and black pepper with homemade baked bread. I chose the kingklip, served with steamed lemon rice and napped with a prawn and white wine cream as my main while my husband chose the slow cooked lamb knuckle in a red wine and rosemary sauce served with a chive mash potato and grilled marrow. Dessert was a Lindt chocolate mousse topped with cashew nuts and apricot brittle. Yes, this meal was as mouth-watering as it sounds.
Having enjoyed a dinner fit for royalty, we retired to our suite - but not before Chris, the General Manager, talked us into an early morning game drive.
We awoke the next morning to a beautiful day and literally jumped out of the bed to capture the sunrise as it pierced the Indian Ocean horizon.
Breakfast was hearty and consisted of fruit salad and yogurt, a full English breakfast of eggs, bacon, sauted mushrooms, beef sausage, crispy potato wedges, toast and a well-brewed coffee.
Energised, we climbed into our game viewing vehicle and we were on our way. We spotted giraffe, sable, zebra, kudu, water buck, black and blue wildebees, bontebok, reedbuck, red impala as well as the rarer black impala, buffalo and monkeys. The photo opportunities were endless.
About an hour into the game drive, Chris took us down to Oceana’s private beach, which is only a five-minute drive from the main lodge. My goodness, the beauty of this spot is incredible - the vastness of the ocean and the crisp white sandy beach which stretched for a full kilometre before meeting the ocean is a sight to behold.
We learnt that romantic couples looking to enjoy this amazing splendour are provided with a beach bag of amenities and luxuries, and can relax on the day bed and loungers.
As we drove back to the main lodge, we passed by Oceana’s private Ocean House, a double story, secluded and self-contained house which can sleep up to six people. If you’re looking to spoil your family this is certainly the place at which to do it.
Unfortunately, our stay in paradise had come to an end and after thanking our host and the staff for their exceptional friendly service, we departed, knowing that we will undoubtedly return at the next opportunity.
Oceana can also accommodate small and intimate weddings for +/- 20 people and offers attractive packages including accommodation and catering. Oceana is also currently running a promotion starting from R1 150 per person per night sharing, including bed and breakfast plus a game drive. Day visitors are also welcome!
To find out more and to take advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity, contact Oceana on 083 616 0605 or visit their website www.oceanareserve.com.
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