Welcome to my blog !

A place where I will share my personal anecdotes from my travel adventures and my vegetarian culinary experiences. A space where I will catalogue all things Splendid.

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    ‘Come up, Slow Down’ – Gstaad

    “Fill your life with experiences and have stories to tell…”

    It dawned on me while on-route to our family holiday with the teenagers, that our very first travel adventure as a family squad was when they were 8 and 6. I used to refer to them as ‘little people.’ Fast forward to today, the not so ‘little people’ are 18 and 16. We even have an an addition to the travel squad and he’s 9.

    Through the years we’ve been blessed to see the world, experience different cultures and have endless stories to tell from our travel adventures.

    Our most recent and unfortunate tale has to be from our visit to Gstaad in Switzerland. When we arrived at this charming pristine alpine village for our ski holiday, the weather was warm with sporadic rain, the grass was green and no snow. There was a definite change in weather.

    We had read reports about the lack of snow across the Alps, but seeing it and experiencing it, was a different story. The difference in weather from January 2020 to January 2023 was so visibly alarming. We were witnessing the impact that Global Warming was having on the winter season in Europe.

    Snow was forecast during our stay in Gstaad, we just had to wait for it and hope for the best.

    Julie Andrews once described Gstaad as ‘the last paradise in a crazy world’ – this swiss village is special, with its picturesque chalets, snow-covered mountains, world-class shopping, an abundance of outdoor sports activities and discreet understated luxury.

    With our limited time on the slopes, we managed to find a perfect blend of activities and still had splendid time in Gstaad.

    What we got up to

    When one thinks of Switzerland, one imagines alluring lakes, picture perfect snow covered skiing resorts, cheese and the world renowned swiss chocolate. It made sense for one of our activities to be a visit to a chocolate factory.

    1.Maison Cailler , is a chocolate factory and museum offering factory tours, tastings, workshops & an interactive museum.

    We started with The Chocolate Experience for Family, where you get to create your own 3D Cailler chocolate animal. You can either do the sheep of the fish. (For some strange reason, we kept on referring to the sheep as the cow, which was not well received by the Master  Chocolatier, who swiftly corrected our faux pas) The activity really makes one appreciate what goes into making these 3D chocolates, so many layers and attention to detail is key.

    We also got to visit the museum and learnt the history of how the Swiss became so famous for their chocolatiers, how chocolate came to Europe, and how the Swiss people refined the product. The tour also gives insights on how cocoa is sourced, farmed, used for chocolates and sold.

    A fun place to bond with family, away from the cold weather.

    2. Glacier 3000 – Home to the world’s first suspension bridge that spans the top of two mountain peaks, breathtaking scenery and an array of activities is what makes a visit to the Glacier memorable.

    We did the dog sled activity and my 9 year old nephew, ‘in his honest opinion’, felt the experience did not live up to his expectations. (Such a funny character that one) Our overall experience on the Glacier was remarkable but jeepers was it cold.

    The thing about being on a glacier is that the weather can change without any warning. When the sun begins to set and the wind starts to blow, its a whole other story. The type of cold that freezes your face and makes it feel slightly numb. By this stage, we had all started to lose our personalities.

    3. Gstaad New Year’s Music Festival 2022/23 – an international classical music festival in Switzerland which took place in beautiful locations in the Pays-d’Enhaut and Saanenland regions.

    We got to watch the Dreams music concert by Pretty Yende with Vanessa García. It’s always such a treat when you visit a country and get to watch a fellow South African doing remarkable things on a global stage. Pretty has a unique gift and amazing talent.

    We were scheduled to visit the Iglu-Dorf, but due to some family members missing the brief on what to wear, it turned out to be a bad idea. As we arrived at Saanersloch Gondola base to take a Gondola to Iglu-Dorf that sits 2,000m above sea level, it became visibly obvious that some family members were not dressed warm enough.

    The whole entire situation was awkwardly funny. We were ‘those people’ and yes we did stick out as a family. It was not our finest moment but funny as hell…a story we will forever tell…

    The ride to the top of the mountain did not go to waste, we did manage to take some family pictures.

    Where we ate

    On the nights we went out as a family for dinner, we had a few delightful experiences and one that was a complete miss.

    1. Cappuccino Grand Cafe – A chic, casual and cosmopolitan café, housed in a traditional chalet on the Promenade. A perfect spot for a cup of coffee or cocktail or a hearty breakfast, lunch or dinner, the menu has a variety of options. I had one of the best Almond Matcha Lattes.

    Only criticism is that the service is at a snail pace – staff have different functions and this causes confusion when you need to place an order. This also leads to unnecessary delays from when you order to when you receive your drinks and food.

    2. LEONARD’s at Le Grand Bellevue Hotel was by far our best dining experience, great ambience and attentive service.

    Some menu items have a 30 minute preparation time, but they were all worth the wait. The Le Grand Spaghettone and the Whole Roasted Chicken “Le Patte Noire” from Gruyères, were the winning meal.

    The spaghetti was al dente and one of the best tomato base pastas I’ve eaten. I believe the chicken was also cooked to perfection and beautifully plated, a hit with the meat eaters. It’s not often we ALL have a great food experience.

    3. Chubut – An Argentinian restaurant at the Park Gstaad hotel. For meat lovers, this place has amazing options. Sadly for Vegetarians, the limited selection available was not the best. But overall great dining experience for the family.

    4. Bar Park Gstaad – a cozy bar that also has live entertainment. The menu is substantial with something for everyone. We had a lovely dinner and lunch at the bar. Their sushi was lovely.

    5. The Lobby Bar at Gstaad Palace is an elegantly decorated Lobby bar. It has gorgeous views of the mountain. The food was a bit of a disappointment, my lentil salad was blend and missing flavours. I believe the chicken salad ordered by my sister was also not the best. The lobby has a vibe to it with very interesting characters.

    Where we stayed

    Park Gstaad is situated right in the heart of Gstaad, close to the famous town Promenade. The hotel enjoys uninterrupted views over the majestic mountains of the Swiss Alps.

    Mountain Balcony Views

    The hotel offers chalet style cosy rooms with a modern touches. All rooms have balconies – half facing the mountains and half the forest and are suitable for families, couples and solo travellers.

    The hotel has several restaurants and bars:-
    a. Avenue Montagne and Lounge – Delivers contemporary cuisine in a cozy and contemporary setting.
    b. Chubut Food & Fire – the Argentinian restaurant that ‘delicately seasoned meats and deliciously fragrant spices’
    c. Bar – a cozy bar that offers the finest sushi and live entertainment.
    d. Chalet Waldhuus – a cozy wooden chalet with delicious local specialties, a wide selection of fondues and raclettes are available.
    e. The Cigar Lounge offers the finest Cuban cigars and cognacs.
    f. The Caveau offers fresh oysters, caviar and champagne, alongside an extensive cocktail menu.

    Plenty of options for everyone.

    The hotel has a fitness centre and spa that offers an array of treatments. There’s an indoor and outdoor pool, jacuzzi area, sauna, steam room.

    Park Gstaad is also home to its very own indoor golf simulator and a games room for kids.

    The staff at the hotel are attentive, helpful and really warm people.

    What I love about being in Gstaad is the natural beauty. While roaming through the town one feels like they are on a set of a holiday movie.

    Being back here was magical, the snow eventually fell but sadly it was on our last day.

    A Splendid Experience!

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    ‘A Perfect Stay’– Royal Malewane

    ‘A perfect stay‘ simply describe our bush weekend stay at Royal Malewane Safari Lodge which is situated within the greater Kruger National park in the Thornybush Nature Reserve – the lodge redefines the concept of solitude.

    “You ‘ll know the people that feed your soul…because you ‘ll feel good after spending time with them.” 

    I spent the weekend with the ‘aunty’ crew, the most amazing group of ladies – we laughed, we ate, we danced, they sang ballads till early hours of the morning. Not even a major storm that caused a black-out, could deter them from staying up late and having a jovial time.

    The Aunty Crew

    Our itinerary was well put together by our hostess with the mostess, she’s a stickler for detail. We received information on what was planned for the weekend, what to pack and the weather forecast.

    Our Itinerary: –


    • Depart Joburg for Hoedspruit Limpopo
    • Lunch at the Lodge
    • Afternoon Game Drive 
    • Pajama Dinner Party


    • Early morning game drive 
    • Brunch 
    • SPA 
    • All White Dinner


    • Morning at leisure
    • Brunch 
    • Depart Hoedspruit for Joburg 

    The Accommodation  

    Our home for the weekend was nothing but exceptional. The decor – classic safari style, furnished with rich antiques, african art paintings, cozy couches and persian rugs.

    There were some questionable décor pieces but overall, beautifully curated and love the brave use of colours. 

    The rooms are uniquely decorated, the bathrooms are elegant, with inside and outdoor showers and Victorian-style bathtubs. The personalised welcome on the bathroom floor was super cool.

    The lodge is surrounded by wilderness, with an outside pool that overlooks the bush where animals roam freely.  

    Elephants roaming outside our villa
    The courtyard by night

    Royal Malewane has two accommodation options:-

    • Main Lodge which has six Luxury Suites, two Royal Suites (which each have two bedrooms), and Africa House, the six bedroom villa. 
    • The Farmstead has three Luxury Farm Suites, and The Farmhouse – a three and a half bedroom private villa.

    The property can accommodate up to 32 guests. Africa House and the Farmstead guests have the exclusivity of having a full team on site (Chef, butler, housekeeper, ranger and tracker) which works well as these villas are seperate from the main lodge.

    The Game Drive – ‘Unique Encounters’ 

    Game viewing at Royal Malewane is tailored to the individual needs of the guests. Like most people going on safari spotting the Big 5 animals (lion, leopard, cape buffalo, elephant and black rhino) is a must.

    Royal Malewane takes pride in ensuring that ‘the most experience and qualified guiding team in Africa’ accompany guests on their game drives.

    On our Friday afternoon game drive, we spotted Mufasa (Lion) and learned that he had just eaten Pumba (Warthog) for breakfast and was struggling with a bad case of itis.

    Comatosed Mufasa

    On route to go see the pride of Lions, we spotted a Giraffe, Rhino and an abundance of ‘fast food’, a term used to describe impalas. Our game drive was unfortunately cut short by thunderstorm that was brewing and we did not want to risk being outdoors with the Limpopo lighting. 

    Our Saturday morning game drive, we spotted buffalos, nyalas, hippos and wild dogs. Unfortunately for us, no leopards were spotted but both game drives were a delight.

    The Food – ‘A sensory experience’

    A personalized menu set the scene to the type of culinary experience we were in for. 

    Our lunches were light meals but substantial, with our dinners being extra special – a four or five course meal. A full breakfast buffet with fresh fruits, cereals, pastries and eggs to order.

    Our special dietary requirements were catered for by the chef who ensured that we had a sublime dining experience.

    The Spa – ‘Complete Harmony’ 

    The spa is a perfect refuge, its peaceful and tranquil. We spent most of Saturday being treated by their in-house therapist. A range of treatments and massages are available.

    The Spa includes a fully-equipped gym, a heated lap pool, steam room, hot and cold African baths.  

    Royal Malewane is a perfect balance of luxury and nature, a perfect setting for a weekend getaway be it with friends or family. 

    There’s bush weekend getaway and theres Royal Malewane bush weekend getaway, simply exquisite. What a splendid weekend and grateful to have been invited to celebrate the life and friendship.

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    Tea Time at Hazendal Wine Estate

    I took a journey into a centuries old Russian tradition at Hazendal ‘where heritage is celebrated through the introduction of contemporary architecture and design.’

    Hazendal Wine Estate is a ‘unique winelands experience’ nestling in the Bottelary Hills, on Bottelary Road, in Stellenbosch.

    Whether you’re in search of indulgence, adventure, or simply a spot of relaxation, there’s something for everyone.

    The estate offers a variety of unique venues and experience, one such experience is the Russian Tea Ceremony which was the sole purpose of my visit.

    The Russian Tea Ceremony celebrates the central role tea has played in Russian society since 1638. Russian people are known for not just drinking vodka but also tea, which is an important part of culture.

    Tea for One

    How the Russian Tea Ceremony is presented at Hazendal:-

    A specially sourced and imported black Russian tea blend is served from a steaming Samovar (ornate Russian tea urn)

    • The Samovar is the central symbol of the Russian Tea Ceremony.
    The Samovar

    The tea is then served using a traditional hand-painted porcelain tea sets from the Dulevo porcelain factory, one of the oldest and most famous porcelain producers in Russia.

    Sweet and savoury Russian delights are served as part of the tea experience. The delights are eaten from the centre with the Olivier salad, then to the left of the plate going clockwise.

    • You can choose between standard (meat), vegetarian or gluten free menu, they even have an option for kids.

    The Vegetarian Menu

    Baranki on Samovar – crisp tea biscuit on a Russian tea urn
    Oladyi – crumpet with mushroom and herb ragout
    Blinchik – thin crêpe with créme fraiche and spring onion
    Spinach Piroshok – fried pastry filled with creamed spinach and feta cheese Cabbage Piroshok – fried pastry filled with braised cabbage and potato Olivier salad – Russian potato salad
    Dark chocolate custard tart
    Sharlotka inspiration – apple and phyllo rose pastry Pavlova – meringue with non-dairy cream and seasonal berries Russian chocolate salami
    Zephyr – fruit meringue

    Hazendal’s Russian Tea Ceremony stands out as an exotic and culturally enriching memorable experience. ‘radostnoye vremya (a joyful time)’

    Booking Information:-

    • The Russian Tea Ceremony is presented Tuesday to Sunday: 10:00 – 17:00 (last booking at 15:00)
    • Bookings are essential and require a minimum of 24 hours’ notice. 50% pre-payment is required to secure the booking.
    • The Russian Tea Ceremony is R395 per adult and R255 per child (12 years and under)
    • Mid-week Special (Tuesday – Thursday) is R335 per adult and R216 per child (12 years and under)

    The Estate

    The Estate offers a variety of unique venues where all types of functions and events can be held.

    Yet another Splendid Experience!

  • Chorus – ‘The restaurant in the sky’

    The dramatic concrete-and-glass building overlooking the magnificent landscape of the Waterkloof Wine Estate and neighbouring False Bay is a ‘beacon of architectural excellence’ and home to Chorus Restaurant.
    If you have an appreciation for architecture, picturesque surroundings and fine dining, Chorus ticks all the boxes.

    The brainchild of Bertus Basson, a renowned chef who’s food ‘philosophy is rooted in traditional South African food culture with a modern outlook.’

    The menu is a celebration of local flavours and seasonal ingredients. There’s a four-course menu option for *R750pp, with wine pairing for an additional *R425pp; or, a six-course chef’s menu for *R875pp, with the option of wine pairing for an additional *R525pp. The wine list celebrates Waterkloof Wines as well as wines from other South African producers.

    We were taken on a culinary journey that delivered an amalgamation of flavours. From the canapes to the smaller meals, to the dessert – all courses were prepared to perfection.

    The star meal was the signature souffle. I’m not a fan of souffles and ordinarily I would not order it at as my dessert of choice, but Bertus’s souffle comes highly recommended and I got to know why. The aroma of the chai spice and the way the souffle melts in your mouth, it delivers on taste. The pumpkin side ice-cream was a perfect selection.

    Apart from the fact that when we arrived, we were greeted with suspicion by our fellow brother at security, our overall experience was lovely, the space, the setting, the food and the environment all lends itself well. The staff at the restaurant were welcoming, tentative and delivered a great service.

    The ‘restaurant in the sky’ was a delectable experience!

    *Prices correct at time of writing this blog.

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    Gåte Restaurant at Quoin Rock – By Day

    While Shot Lefting in the Republic of Cape Town, I ventured out to Stellenbosch for a vegan lunch experience at Quoin Rock Wine Estate. Being a non-drinker surrounded by vineyards, one would wonder why I would venture out to a wine estate?…Well, there’s a growing trend where these wine estates are creating a wholistic culinary experience.

    Some have become intentional about communicating that their food is sustainably and ethically sourced from their Estates and sources locally.

    Gate Restaurant Entrance
    Restaurant Interior
    Views from my table
    Welcome Melie Bread

    Gåte restaurant – ‘a gateway to an extraordinary dining experience’ has created that experience. With a variation of menus from three-course daytime dining to the full Chef’s experience of a seven-course dinner.
    I went with the the Five Course Vegan Tasting Menu without the wine pairing.

    • carrot fondant | coffee & oat tuile | watercress pesto

    Barley Risotto
    kale | courgette | Limpopo black winter truffle | peanut

    Pickled King Oyster Mushroom
    • leek | seaweed salad | mushroom poppadom

    Beet Steak
    • beetroot dauphinoise | baby beetroot | hazelnuts

    Pineapple & Lime
    • coconut sorbet | salted caramel | pineapple confit

    Top (Left to Right): Carrot and Barley Risotto
    Bottom (Left to Right): Pickled King Oyster Mushroom, Beet Steak and Pineapple & Lime

    The only course that did not tantalise my palette was the Pickled King Oyster Mushroom. I’m extremely finicky with how mushroom is prepared, and this version did not work for me. All the other courses were exquisite, particularly loved the Barley Risotto. The food experience was delectable and the service was world class.

    Beautiful surroundings with stunning views of Simonsberg, not forgetting the alluring architectural design of the event venue.

    “Quoin Rock Wine Estate is the inspiring home of captivating experiences, from wine-tasting to picnics, weddings, culinary adventures and tranquil mountain escapes.”

  • Eat. Shop. Relax. at Yard 41

    Nestled in the heart of the Midlands, in a town called Howick, the location of the Howick Falls and the Mandela Capture Site made famous by the impressive sculpture of Nelson Mandela, you will find Yard 41.

    Yard 41 is a unique retail and lifestyle experience with splendid views across the Umgeni Valley offering a one a place to Eat. Shop. Relax.

    The industrial architectural design with a modern touch, creates a perfect blend of old and new offering a distinctively curated retail space.


    1. Treatery
    • Treatery, specialises in artisan baked goods, cakes, good coffee, healthy smoothies and freshly squeezed juices. Breakfast and Light lunches are also available.

    2. Village

    • Village is a family style restaurant with a very dynamic space. Upfront it has a cafe feel to it, the veranda has more relaxed, slow paced vibe and upstairs has a boutique bar.


    1. The Ruby Orchard
    • A décor, homeware, furniture and gift store.

    2. Collective @Yard 41

    • Specialises in vintage, industrial, retro furniture and décor.

    3. Blackwood Gardenette

    • A nursery that belongs to the Blackwood’s group of retail garden outlets in KwaZulu Natal Region.


    The beautiful views of the Umgeni Valley, create a peaceful environment and there’s a lovely play area and garden for the little people to run around.

    It truly is a great space not just for locals but tourist visiting Howick and looking for a place to unwind.

    Stay Splendid!

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    Brunching at the Greenhouse Restaurant – Babylonstoren

    “Wonder at everything, even the most everyday things”

    Entrance at Babylonstoren

    I was in Cape Town (CT) for work and had a day to spare so decided to take a drive to Babylonstoren for brunch, the drive from CT is 45m.

    ‘Babylonstoren is a working farm with a hotel, spa, farm-to-table restaurants, winery and magnificent garden.’ The farm is set set at the foot of Simonsberg in the Franschhoek wine valley.

    Roosters having a family meeting!

    I had brunch at the Greenhouse Restaurant which is located at the far end of the garden next to the greenhouse conservatory.

    What I like about the location of the Greenhouse Restaurant is you get to walk through the farm. You get to see how well thought out the property is.

    The Greenhouse Restaurant

    The meal wrapped on the left was a Layered vegan seitan mayo and garden slaw sandwich.

    The farm has so many spaces to visit, another key highlight for me was the healing garden which is located close to the greenhouse.

    The Farm house shop stocks fresh produce and freshly baked bread.

    I thoroughly enjoyed being at Babylonstoren, love how the land has been utilised with craftily unique spaces.

    I must add, my visit was bitter-sweet…I visited the farm a day after Freedom Day in South Africa (27th April), a day where we celebrate our ‘freedom’ and commemorate the first post-apartheid elections that were held on the day in 1994.

    As I walked on the property snapping away and enjoying my ‘freedom’ there was a moment when I did feel sad. Land ownership has become a bone of contention. When we have debates about land, the one question that comes up is, ‘if the brown people in the country are given back the land, what are they going to do with the land? We have no experience in managing land’

    Land ownership matters. It just gives one options – be it to farm, to live or to sell and live of the sale. Owning acres of land gives one Freedom to also create their version of a Babylonstoren.

  • “A delectable amalgamation” of cuisines – Séjour Restaurant

    “I want my food to tell a story – yes it’s about feeding people but it’s more than that it’s about telling stories, evoking curiosity and creating conversation around a table. I love that food can do that.”

    Dining at Séjour is all about going on a culinary journey of discovery curated by Chef Freddie Dias’.

    Restaurant Entrance

    There are two menu options to choose from. The first option, Pioneer – the tapas menu honours the effervescent City of Gold, pays tribute to the people who are constantly pushing boundaries and overcome great challenges.

    The second option, Explorer – the modern fine dining menu that traverses the globe and pays homage to the curious souls.

    The menu itself is cleverly presented and one can take it home as a memento.
    Because my husband and I don’t like to be limited with option, we dabbled in both journeys and had one of the most memorable dining experience.

    The menu
    Combination of the Pioneer and Explorer menu options

    Séjour is a splendid place to share food be it with a +1, family or friend, the experience stays with you.


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    Abu Dhabi – aThrowBack

    “We take photographs as a return ticket to a moment otherwise gone”

    Pre-2020 travelling was effortless (no mask, no PCR test, no vaccine certificate) With all these Covid-19 variants, planning a trip has become an extreme sports. We are all yearning for things to somewhat go back to some form of ‘normality’

    For now, some of us, will continue to look back at old photographs, they tell stories of a moment and time once lived. They have become the only constant is this uncertain world we are living in. Thanks to google gallery #throwback, I was recently reminded of a trip we took to Abu Dhabi in 2019. Looking through the photographs brought me so much joy. Our family trips had become a highlight.

    The timing of these pictures from is actually unfortunate with the recent drone attack claimed by Yemen. I do hope it does not have any negative impact for future travel to Abu Dhabi. Just recently, it was named the safest city in the world by Numbeo Safety Index 2022.

    Abu Dhabi is a fantastic holiday destination, there’s so much to see and do – iconic landmarks, cultural and historical attractions, action-packed theme parks, breathtaking natural landscape dunes. You can laze on the beach, sample numerous dining options and go shopping.

    What we did

    Our holiday was a great blend of indoor and outdoor activities. Thanks to our family holiday planner, my sister has our holidays on lock-down, she’s just gets it right.

    1. Warner Bros (WB) World Abu Dhabi – is the world’s first ever indoor theme park for WB and its such a joyful experience. When we entered, the theme song from Bugs Bunny was playing, there’s nothing quiet like a theme song from our childhood cartoons. WB World features blockbuster rides and attractions, themed restaurants, boutiques and live entertainment.
    Bugs Bunny Statue at the Entrance

    The theme park combines six immersive lands:-

    a. Warner Bros – which celebrates the golden age of Hollywood and acts as the portal to the rest of the park.

    b. Plaza, Gotham City – this is batman’s hometown, you’ll also find The Riddler, The Joker, Catwoman, Harley Quinn and many more.

    c. Metropolis – is home of Clark Kent/Superman and the Daily Planet. This land is also home to The Justice League.

    d. Cartoon Junction – home to Bugs Bunny, Tom and Jerry, Scooby-Doo and more.

    e. Bedrock – The home of the Flintstones.

    f. Dynamite Gulch – You will find Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner on the Fast & Furry-ous roller coaster as well as Yosemite Sam, The Jetsons and Marvin The Martian.

    Riddler Revolution Ride

    Fast and Furry-out Roller Coaster Ride

    The joker fun house – image cred timeoutabudhabi.com

    1. Ferrari World Abu Dhabi – home to the fastest roller coaster on the planet, the largest indoor theme park in the world, with over 20 rides and a hyper-realistic racing simulator. Whether you are a Ferrari fan or not, this theme park is a lot of fun. Where else can one tour a Ferrari factory, attempt an F1 tyre change challenge, do a driving experience, go karting, go on ample rides and wander through a gallery of ferrari cars.
    1. Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi – waters greatest playground.
      This water park is a combination of Valley of the Waves in Sun City, uShaka Marine World in Durban and what was once Shareworld (if you grew up in the eighties and lived in Soweto you will know what I’m talking about) but with more water activities, rides and a roller coaster.
      The water park was perfect for a lazy day, we soaked up the sun, swam and kids went on rides.
    1. IMG World of Adventure is Dubai’s first mega theme park and the worlds largest theme park. If you know anything about Dubai, they don’t do small scale stuff. On one of the days, we drove to Dubai for a day (The drive from Abu Dhabi to Dubai is 1h23m)

    The theme park has 4 zones – Cartoon Network, MARVEL, IMG Boulevard and The Lost Valley – Dinosaur adventure zone.

    The park boasts an extensive range of thrilling rides, roller coasters that are one of a kind attractions based on popular Cartoon Network characters, iconic MARVEL super heroes and dinosaurs

    1. Dune Bashing and Sandboarding
      A travel to the Abu Dhabi in not complete without a visit to the actual desert. Some of the tours have a great mixture of desert experiences.

    Our tour included – a 4×4 drive on sand dunes, a visit to a camel farm, a camel ride (from the day we arrived, this was on my youngest nephew’s to do list), sandboarding, falcon experience and dinner under the stars.

    Our last full day was pool day but I decided to immerse myself in a bit of culture. Spent the morning at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and the afternoon at the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

    a. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is an architectural beauty, one of the largest in Abu Dhabi, it was built to embody Islam’s foremost message of peace, tolerance and welcome people of all beliefs.

    Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque view from the road
    Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque view from inside

    It holds a Guinness World Record for the largest hand-woven carpet and also boasts one of the largest chandeliers in a mosque.

    You need to see it to fully understand what a unique marvel this place is, a remarkable monument in its beauty and aura.
    Conservative attire is a must, in order to gain entry and love the fact that they do provide Chador – traditional garment that covers full body and hair but open in the front.

    Dressed in a Chador

    b. Louvre Abu Dhabi“is a new cultural beacon, bringing different cultures together to shine fresh light on the shared stories of humanity.”

    A collaboration between United Arab Emirates and France, Louvre Abu Dhabi presents a historical narrative of art that spans the entire history of civilization to the dazzling architecture that combines French design with Arabic heritage.

    The uniqueness of the museum and its beautiful setting is a must see for art-lovers, collectors and the curious.

    Fountain of Light – Ai Weiwei Germany, Berlin and China, Beijing
    Virgin and Child, France, Normandy | Illuminated Quran, Mamluk, Sultanate, Egypt
    Left Image: Portrait of a Woman called La Belle Ferronniere – Leonardo da Vinci, Italy Milan and Right Image: Virgin and Child – Giovanni Bellini Italy, Venice
    Jenny Holzer’s iconic wall

    Where we stayed

    The story of our stay at Emirates Palace will go down as one of those believe it or not stories. When my sister was planning the trip, the hotel confirmed a rate that seemed to good not to miss. She then requested they send her a confirmation in writing.

    Unfortunately for the hotel, the rate was indeed to good to be true and yes we lucked out due to that error. The hotel honoured their confirmation and we got to stay.

    Hotel Exterior: Image cred: mandarinoriental.com/abu-dhabi/emirates-palace
    Image cred: mandarinoriental.com/abu-dhabi/emirates-palace

    Driving inside the property, we were in awe, the hotel has that palace feel you see in movies. Granted the hotel name does allude to the fact that it’s a palace, but then again, there are myriad of hotels with the word palace in the name and are far from being a palace.

    The main palace building stretches over a kilometre from wing to wing, with its gardens stretching across 100 hectares. I actually managed to run 5kms inside the hotel property.

    Chasing the Sun – Scenes from my morning run inside the hotel
    Scenes from my morning run

    The hotel interior is opulent, grand and evocative of Arabia’s rich décor – luxurious chandeliers hanging from ceilings, ornate tapestries, elaborate geometrical designs with gold dominating the theme.

    Hotel Interior – The chandeliers and gold interior
    Hotel Interior
    Our Accommodation

    This place is magical, it has a private beach, as well as a private marina overlooking the natural bay, two temperature-controlled swimming pools, a lavish spa, a fitness centre, bars, restaurants and a Kids Club.

    Hotels private beach – image cred: mandarinoriental.com
    Top Image: Pool, Bottom Left: Spa Entrance, Bottom Right: Gym

    Staying at this distinctive landmark was a whole new level of opulence and a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

    One cannot deny the fact that Abu Dhabi has transformed itself into a iconic and thriving 21st-century city. It offers something for everyone regardless of age and interest.

    A truly splendid experience!

About Me

“Fill your life with experiences, not things. Have stories to tell, not stuff to show.

My love for travelling was ignited by my parents, they opened our eyes to the world of travel and encouraged us to explore the world.

A lover of all things Splendid. I love travelling, I love discovering new places and experiencing how other cultures live. Amazing memories are created through experiences, no matter how small or big.

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