I recently received an assignment to book a stay on Accommodation Direct, go stay at that place, and write a review of the experience. Accommodation Direct is a new accommodation booking tool and has listings throughout South Africa and a few other southern African countries.
This was a pretty great assignment. I could choose to stay wherever I wanted (with the understanding that I was responsible for getting myself there), I could bring Ray, and my only instruction was to have a good time. The only hard part, as it turned out, was choosing where to go. Accommodation Direct offers everything from low-budget backpacking hostels to expensive safari lodges (I had a budget of R5000 — about $350 — so I had to be smart), with listings all over the place.
Ray and I scoured the site for a couple of days, growing increasingly confused and indecisive, until settling on a self-catering guest farm called Stone Hill in Magaliesburg, just an hour or so from Joburg. People are always asking me for recommendations on weekend getaways that are close to town and this seemed like a good excuse to try one out. Plus Stone Hill is dog-friendly — we don’t have a dog but like the idea — and the farm has a family of four ponies who wander around the property at will, soliciting carrots and apples.
The ponies sealed the deal.
A pony named Smokey (like the Melville Cat!) devours a carrot from Ray’s hand.
Three Days at Stone Hill
Stone Hill was everything we wanted it to be: quaint log cabins, rolling green hills with well maintained walking trails, chirping birds, personable hosts, and an abundance of peace and quiet. We stayed for three days and could easily have stayed three more.
Who needs a dog when there are built-in pet ponies? The ponies came to visit a couple of times a day. We let them into our garden the first two times but discovered it was difficult to make them leave. From then on we fed them over the gate.
Walking the Farm
Stone Hill has a web of walking trails that criss-cross a five-kilometer loop around the property. We walked the loop a few times, with various meanders along the way, and occasionally met up with our friends.
1) We loved Stone Hill and would recommend it to both dog people and dog-less people. If you like animals and you like relaxing, you will like Stone Hill. Our four-person cottage cost R1400 ($100) a night. The cottages are spotless and perfectly maintained, as is the property overall. Stone Hill is very green, using solar power and a nifty system for separating recyclable waste in the cottages. Service is excellent. It’s totally worth the price.
2) Accommodation Direct was easy to use for browsing and booking a property. I especially liked the tool for reviewing my stay, which I was invited to do after the trip. It’s a new site so there aren’t many user reviews — in fact I didn’t see any other reviews yet — but I’m sure that will change. Quick tip: As I said, there is a huge range of properties on the site and the rates very wildly. When comparing rates, be sure to enter the number of people and then calculate the total cost. The rates are often higher for two people versus one.
We had several adventures around Magaliesburg during this trip. I’ll write more about Magaliesburg and the quirky things we did in a future post.
This post was sponsored by Accommodation Direct. Opinions expressed are mine.