As the new boy in naked town to open a naturist resort in South Africa I felt I needed to visit the other resorts in South Africa. It’s always good to see what the other resorts are doing plus I get asked regularly if there are other resorts in South Africa and what they are like.
I leave Cape Town with trepidation after hearing a number of horror stories about the naturist resorts around Johannesburg. I am travelling with the Chairman of WCNA and as we were travelling as two single men we were unsure of the response we would get as all these resorts have a strict no singles policy. I have ahead of me a three day trip to visit Harmony Naturist Farm, Sun Eden and Kiepersolkloof.
After an early flight we leave Johannesburg airport in our hire car for a two hour drive to Harmony. My mission is to see what each resort has to offer looking at quality of accommodation, facilities and general ambiance.
Harmony turns out to be the hardest to reach. The gravel road was not in good repair following some bad weather and our little Renault struggled with some of the road surface. Some people would find this off putting but once inside the resort you forget all about the track as you are welcomed to the resort by a number of tame Zebra walking around the car park.
The resort is set in the most stunning scenery with views for miles over wild bush. The bar and social area is a home built building with loads of personal details put in by the owners. The resort has a good social scene with large Braai areas near the bar. The main garden has a beautiful swimming pool which was well maintained and out of the three resorts we visited this had the best swimming pool. The resort seems to have a good number of local regulars which creates a nice social atmosphere. We were made to feel very welcome and were shown other parts of the resort that cater for larger parties.
The accommodation is basic but seemed to have everything you need. If you want all mod cons and latest furnished rooms this is not the place for you. In some of the room’s you even have to supply your own bedding.
If you want a social stay with a taste of the Africa this is a good choice.
Our next stop was Sun Eden; this has to be the most commercial of the three resorts, with a selection of accommodation options from tents and caravans to some stunning thatched lodges on the banks of the river which travels through the resort. For me I would avoid the caravan site it had some tatty old caravans which were way past their best and the camping area did not have much of a view. Go for one of the private lodges; there are a few for hire which will have everything you need. The quality of finish in the lodges does vary due to the individual owners tastes. I was not overly impressed with the location of the Sun Eden’s own hire units which were alongside the campsite.
The resort itself has a bar serving drinks and meals, a small shop selling all the essentials and a pool bar next to the large swimming pool which seems to be the place to meet people during the day. The resort seemed to have a good night life which was based around the pub.
Sun Eden also has a long 26 km off road track to negotiate before you get to the gate but this was well maintained and we still managed to travel at 60 kmph in our small hire car without too much problem.
The problem with Sun Eden for me is it is only naturist from 3pm Friday to Sunday night. I did discuss this with the current committee who said that they are working towards making the resort full time naturist which will really improve the resort for me. Saying that the resort does already have a full time naturist policy during December and January.
The plus side for this resort is it has game parks nearby for big five safari’s and a good social family atmosphere.
Kiepersolkloof was our last stop and this was a complete contrast to Sun Eden. This resort is made up of a few privately owned homes, a few hire lodges and a campsite.
This is real bush land, the accommodation I saw for hire is very simple, and is situated at the campsite area. The resort has a small pool and a hot tub heated by the sun. I was however showed a wooden lodge which is about to come on the market to rent which was of a high quality with a large wooden deck and private hot tub.
There was not much of a social scene here; the resort has no central bar or communal dining area. Most people seemed to braai near their own lodge or tents.
The drive to the resort is again via a dirt track some of which is quite rough in places but passable. What this resort does have is walks. You can walk on marked tracks for miles taking in some stunning scenery and you never have to dress or cover up.
This is a resort you come to and stay due to the difficult access so you would need to bring enough food and drink for your stay. If you want to get some real rustic Africa and get back to the basics of nature then this is the place for you, away from everybody just you and the wild bush.
In conclusion to my trip I was overall very impressed and pleased to see such a good range of naturist facilities available in South Africa. What really pleased me the most about the trip was that I feel we at Vasnat have pitched our business just right so as not to directly compete with the other resorts. We offer a boutique style of resort small and exclusive with a high quality of rooms and facilities. I feel all the resorts are priced accordingly and you get good value at each resort.
So where do you go for your next naturist holiday? Well I cannot tell you that it really does depend on what you are looking for: peace and quiet, busy social life, private lodge, luxury penthouse or simply camping it’s up to you.
But what I can say is that all the resorts are passionate about naturism and this is what we all want at the end of the day.