Wonderful winter break

If, like many people, you are tired of the cold winter days, a pleasant alternative is to pack the car and head off to the sub-tropical climes of the Lowveld for a break.

About four hours' drive away, the region is renowned for its natural beauty and best of all at this time of the year, its warm weather.

Our base for an overnight stay was the Sabie River Sun in Hazyview.

Driving up the palm tree-lined driveway, one enters a tapestry of natural beauty interwoven with man-made improvements.

For sportsmen it is simply a dream come true. Everything from golf, tennis, bowls, volleyball to swimming in one of five swimming pools is on offer.

The resort is divided into time share and a hotel.

The time share chalets are self-contained and residents from both sections can use the restaurant, which is open for breakfasts and dinners.

There is no shortage of activities on offer outside of the resort as well.

Hot air ballooning, river rafting, abseiling and of course organised tours into the Kruger National Park, only 12km away, are all on offer, but beware, they don't come cheap.

The hot air ballooning, for example, costs R2100 which lasts just a morning and ends with a breakfast at a lodge.

For me it sounds like a lot of money, but if you have pounds, euros or dollars, it's not so bad.

"We get a lot of foreign visitors in this area and their currency is a lot stronger than the rand.

"But remember the costs involved in putting these activities together," said Mauritius- born Roger Lutchmiah, assistant general manager (food and beverage) at the Sabie River Sun.

"South African residents though can visit the Kruger Park for as little as R30 a person and spend a day game-viewing or visiting one of the many restaurants or picnic spots available."

The resort is scheduled to undergo some changes as the hotel is 30 years old and is starting to show its age in places.

"We are looking at either renovating the existing hotel and bringing it up to a four-star premium brand or building a boutique-style hotel," said Lutchmiah.

Easing back into a lounger next to the pool after a long day, it was therapeutic to watch the scenery become engulfed in an orange blanket as the sun said goodbye for another day.

The only sounds were of birds dancing above in the trees, the water circulating in the pool and kids enjoying themselves on the nearby swings . sheer bliss.

The Sabie River Sun is a wonderful place to relax, catch up on those books you've been promising yourself to read and generally just chill out.

Mind you, give yourself four to five days as there is a lot to explore in the area and if you're on holiday, why rush?

lTo view a video of Sabie River Sun log on to www.sowetan.co.za