I am going to go ahead and call Laughing Waters Guesthouse in Hazyview, Mpumalanga, South Africa, a beautiful, unexpected miracle in my life. I only chose it because of the reasonable price and positive reviews found through http://www.booking.com. Mark my words, if I ever get to go back to Hazyview, this will be the only place I stay because it was THAT wonderful.
When I pulled up to the security gate, posted instructions said to call John or Heather for security code to enter. After receiving the pin code and punching it in, the gate opened to a whole new world. The drive from the gate was gorgeous as I slowly crept my way through the lemon tree farm. Rows and rows of not-quite-ripe, green fruit with the occasional early bloomer, yellow lemons lined the drive. As I neared the end of the lemon trees, a grove of macadamia nut trees carried on along the path until the second gate came into view. As the gate opened in front of me, so did the view to a large home nestled in an exquisitely manicured garden. The entire drive from the main road simply took my breath away.
Heather met me at the door to welcome me to Laughing Waters Guesthouse. Even though I was a bit early, she took it in stride and was prepared for my arrival. She gave me a tour of the house and showed me to my room. At one time, this was home to the farmer of the lemon trees and his family. He still owns the house today but stays in another home on the property, allowing this one to be used as a guesthouse. The home has only six bedrooms with an open, but covered area for dining. The large, spacious, common rooms offer plenty of breathing room, even when the Guesthouse is booked to capacity.
Heather escorted me to my room and made sure I was comfortable. She brought a carafe of fresh, homemade lemonade. It was, without a doubt, the best lemonade I have ever had. And then left me to adjust and get comfortable.
The room was newly renovated. It was simple, classy and elegant. I had access to the patio outside with a view overlooking the garden and swimming pool. Plump, little greenish blue birds flitted and fluttered about in the flowers by my window, then landing on the window’s burglar bars to take a rest. Needless-to-say, the place was gorgeous.
Laughing Waters Guesthouse includes breakfast as most guesthouses do. A cold breakfast buffet is available as well as hot options. The omelet was delicious and made to order. One thing that sets Laughing Waters apart from other guesthouses is offering a dinner option. Hazyview is a small town with limited restaurant options. The next two towns are nearly an hour away and with the roads covered in deep potholes, many guests are hesitant to drive at night on roads they are not very familiar with. The chef is incredible. Every meal I ate was fantastic. She could easily have her own restaurant, and to think it is right at my fingertips was a delight.
As if the accommodations were not enough, Guesthouse managers, John and Heather, were fantastic. As soon as I entered the property, I felt calm and relaxed. They are laid back, easy-going and very knowledgeable. They look forward to chatting with their guests and never made me feel like I was interrupting them. They have combined experience of over forty years in the tourism and hospitality industry. John is also a tour guide in the area and is always happy to help you explore your interests of places to go and things to see. But their kindness does not stop at hospitality; They go above and beyond. While I was staying with them, through a series of confusing events, my credit card was shut down. While trying to deal with the run around that is the American call center, I ran out of minutes on my South African sim card and of course, the cell phone website was now having technical difficulties. Heather did not hesitate to hand over her own cell phone and let me use it for as long as I needed to in order to get things sorted. When I offered to give her Rand (South Africa’s currency) to offset the phone call, she would not take it. Then, while leaving Hazyview to head back to my friend in Krugersdorp, I blew a tire trying to avoid a pothole. You know how it goes, swerve to avoid a pothole and gash your tire on a huge rock. When I called Laughing Waters to see if John would be able to help me, he wasted no time to come help me change the tire…okay, okay I will be honest, I did not do anything. He changed the tire while I finished my coffee. Again, I offered to give compensation for his assistance and he would not take it. These two lovely people take customer service above and beyond. They were God blessed miracles in my journey.
I could have stayed at any guesthouse in the area, there are many. But I believe this guesthouse was specifically picked out for me for my time in Hazyview. Because of tropical storm Dineo, it rained every single day and yet I was provided with a place of comfortable rest with an evening dining option that all other guesthouses in the area do not provide. I had two major issues strike without warning – the credit card and blown tire. I was provided with the kindest of guesthouse managers who looked to help and did not want any compensation. That is a great blessing.