Pet-friendly travelling in South Africa
Winter is coming to an end (fingers crossed!); the days are getting longer, the nights less frosty, and tentative visions of summer holidays are starting to creep into some of the more optimistic minds.
But what about your best friends – your pets?
Watching their devastated faces as you pack your bags and close the gate behind you, knowing that they are going to be at home alone – probably with someone only stopping by to feed them – is enough to make even the sunniest beach feel a bit grey.
But this doesn’t have to be the way you start your holiday. Here are some pet-friendly places to stay while you enjoy your downtime.
Bill’s Best holiday homes in Ramsgate on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast are pet-friendly to their core, and they recognise the fact that your animals add a different dimension to your holiday. And all dogs love a run along the beach (even the lazy ones).
Bill’s Best offers holiday homes for rent that are suitable for small dogs; there are also homes with large gardens suitable for bigger dogs.
Some of the homes are near the beach, others are situated closer to the centre of the village, and all have sea views.
Travelling with your pet doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice luxury, especially if you visit the Oyster Box Hotel in Umhlanga Rocks near Durban. After a stay in one of its garden villas, you will feel like the queen of England and your pet like one of her corgis.
Pets are treated as guests as much as humans are, and the Oyster Box offers a range of pet beds to suit your animal, and several pet menus to cater to his or her preferences.
The four-star Roosfontein Bed and Breakfast, just outside of Durban, is happy to accommodate all sizes of dogs, cats and caged birds, and even offers pet sitting if you feel the need to venture out the B&B without your pet.
There are dog walking trails in the vicinity, as well as a pool, braai facilities, a sprawling landscaped indigenous garden, and hiking trails.
The B&B borders the Roosfontein Nature Reserve, so you can have a bush holiday and a beach holiday in one.
Places where you can share a bush experience with your pet tend to be rarer than beach venues, but the Vilagama Private Game Lodge near Naboomspruit in Limpopo province offers just such an opportunity.
Rates and accommodating styles at the lodge vary, so there is something for almost every pocket and preference.
Various activities are available to visitors, such as quad-bike trails, mountain-bike trails, walking trails, fishing and game drives where you can see giraffe, eland, zebra, oryx (gemsbok), kudu, impala, hartebeest, blesbok, bushbuck, impala, duiker and warthog. There is even a golf course only 10km down the road.
Madikela (place of the setting sun) in Limpopo province allows you to bring your dog along, provided he or she is house trained and is kept on a leash while you are walking around.
The lodge is situated among the rocky outcrops of the Waterberg Biosphere, and is in a malaria-free area.
If you get bored of walking, driving or cycling around the reserve watching the game, the lodge also has a swimming pool, an 18-hole putt-putt course, and a games room with a pool table.
So no matter what kind of holiday you fancy having, you needn’t go without your best friend.