It never ceases to surprise me how one can live in an area and not be aware of so much that goes on. This happened again when I was invited to visit 10-2nd Avenue in Houghton. I knew very well where Houghton was and 2nd Avenue was presumably next to 1st Avenue, which I also knew. So I set off curiously and with great anticipation.
Second Avenue is a tree lined and shady road linking Central Avenue and Third Street, Houghton and, unlike its neighbours, seems quiet and peaceful. Whilst I was there I was only conscious of the occasional passing vehicle. No 10 is set back from the road and half-hidden behind a well-developed shrubbery. The approach is refined and secure and, by the time I had parked my car outside the main entrance, there was already somebody there to welcome me by name. Good communication and service is always a pleasant surprise.
No 10 is a villa with much to offer the traveller as well as the local business people and community. It has 14 luxurious double rooms and a very elegant Presidential Suite. Common to all of them is the view of the trees and gardens, and the facility of opening widows to let in the fresh air and the song of the birds. Although it is fairly close to the motorway and other main roads no sound of the traffic disturbed the quietness. The main house was built in the 1930s and had been very tastefully modernised. The later additions do not intrude and I was surprised, after driving in, to see the extent of the accommodation and other facilities on offer.
Set on the far side of the pool, which is served by a small bar, is the Conference Centre which can accommodate approximately 20 people. It is ideal, and so convenient, for small group training, planning and reviews. Above and behind it the suites continue. They are also linked to the main building on the first floor by a covered walkway looking out over the pool and gardens. On the ground floor of the main building are quiet lounges, covered verandahs and dining areas, including one for a small group of about six.
What really appealed to me was the discovery that the villa welcomes and encourages people to visit them for breakfast, lunch or dinner – (obviously it is safer to book in advance.) It is a very attractive venue and one which would be worth remembering – for a special occasion, to entertain friends and guests, or just for an enjoyable meal in a quiet and relaxed environment which is very different from the everyday bustle of steakhouses and restaurants.
As an alternative to the large hotel chains, and even the smaller private hotels, the villa has a great deal to offer with its quietness, attractive surroundings, and accessibility to the main business and shopping areas, the motorways, the airport and the Gautrain. The focus on personal attention and service is very appealing, as is the prospect of withdrawing either into quiet reflection or joining other guests for a relaxed drink and a chat. For the busy business person it could be a peaceful haven in between the stress and urgency of meetings and negotiations. Richard Branson was delighted with it, as was the visitor who then booked the Presidential Suite for a month!
Look at the attractive website for more information – and think of going for a meal.
August 21 – Stargazing evening: astronomy in South Africa
In the early 1500’s European Navigators saw our magnificent Southern Skies for the first time. These navigator’s needs for accurate star charts of the Southern region, coupled with Cape Town’s ideal location, meant that many European astronomers were sent to our country throughout its modern history.
Today, South Africa still remains one of the most important astronomical locations south of the equator. S.A.L.T., the South African Large Telescope is currently the largest instrument of its type in the world.
Join our resident astronomer, Vincent Nettmann, on an astronomical journey through time and space. Discover amazing facts about the stars and the people who have studied them from our southern vantage point.
After dinner and the presentation, join our astronomers on a laser guided binocular tour and large aperture telescopic star-gazing. (Subject to weather conditions.) Bring your own binoculars and dress warmly.
Please note: bookings are confirmed once paid for in full and are not refundable within 72hrs of arrival. Click here to make a booking.
August 21: Cooper’s Cave picnic
Maropeng and iHominin are offering budding palaeontologists a rare opportunity to explore a 1.5-million-year-old fossil site.
Cooper’s Cave, 1.2km from the famous Sterkfontein Caves near Johannesburg, is a relatively newly discovered fossil site, where several species of animals and a number of stone tools have been found.
The day’s activities include an interactive fossil and site talk, exploring a cave, a chance to look for fossils, and learning how to make stone tools.
This is a must-do for adults and children with an interest in palaeontology and archaeology. Remember to pack a hat, apply sunscreen and wear comfortable walking shoes – oh, and bring your camera!
The price is R350 per person and it includes a light picnic lunch. The tour will start at 09h00. This is a family event.
Please note: bookings can only be made online. Click here to make a booking.