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Review: The Canelands – de Charmoy Estate



de Charmoy, only 5 minutes from King Shaka Airport, and 15 minutes from Gateway, is an unexpected hidden treasure, tucked away in the canelands of Verulam (neighbour of Dube Trade Port).

Established in 1999, de Charmoy Estate is a family owned and run estate, run by Lauren and her parents, Cathy and Barnard de Charmoy.

Recently Durbanite had the opportunity to stay at de Charmoy, read on to find our how Sabrina and Jason enjoyed their stay.

Soon after booking a trip to Reunion Island, Jason and I found ourselves there… well, at least it felt like we had arrived in paradise! de Charmoy Estate’s lush gardens and architectural designs have been strongly influenced by the Seychelles where the charismatic owner, Barnard, is from. Characteristic highlights include slanting rooftops, open and wide verandas to let the breeze enter the house.

Delights such as a cup of coffee or tea (whichever tickles your fancy) as well as a dining experience can be enjoyed from the room’s private veranda, which overlook the tropical gardens. Scattered with palm trees, hibiscus flowers, banana as well as other fruit trees.

The estates garden is an oasis for birds and monkeys who can be seen enjoying the succulent fruits.

There are several swimming pools, which allow for a perfect retreat to read a book catching some sun, or to escape under the shade of the trees. Surrounded by sugar cane fields, nature and serenity, one forgets how close to the city we are.

de Charmoy offers different size venues to suit any function or occasion, such as weddings, conferences, birthday parties, baby showers, and matric dances. In fact, upon our arrival a (successful) marriage proposal was in the midst of happening. It seems there isn’t an occassion de Charmoy can’t host.

The estate boasts 4 star accommodation, a newly opened coffee garden, a spa and a few resident giant tortoises.

Breakfast was served in “The Chocolate Garden.” No, there were no chocolate people or rivers of chocolate lava… but there was a chocolate fondue amongst other delicious and beautiful chocolate treasures!

The Chocolate Garden is a garden inspired by chocolate which include chocolate-coloured plants, chocolate scented flowers, chocolate mint, chocolate sunflowers and vines. You will find these and more at Africa’s first Chocolate Garden (open Tuesday-Sunday). The garden concept, based on The Chocolate Garden book, a romance story where the story of Chocolate fairies who live in chocolate-colored plants make chocolate in their chocolate garden every night was brought to life.

Attention parents: We know you are always looking for NEW places to go where the kids can play, well… look no further. The Chocolate Garden is a child-friendly venue with an awesome play area where the little ones can play safely to their hearts content while mum and dad grab a cuppa and bite to eat!

The Sugar and Spice (and all things nice) Spa

Designed to promote relaxation, rejuvenation and wellness, the spa most certainly lived up to this as we were treated by Sibongile and Zamma to a relaxing and rejuvenating back, shoulder and neck massage. It was heavenly and the 45 minutes left us so relaxed we were ready for an afternoon nap!

Open to guests as well as the public Wednesday – Sunday, we highly recommend the Sugar and Spice Spa for some pampering.


The estate boasts 16 beautiful rooms and we were lucky enough to be staying in the honeymoon suite at the Hilltop House. Room Chirinda.

It was at this point with it’s rambling king sized 4 poster bed, that the cat, blending in with the black and white floor tiles, revealed that this too was her favourite room!

Upon opening the bathroom door, my mind was momentarily lost. Could a bathroom be this beautiful and big!? With a twin size water jetted spa tub, I couldn’t quite decide whether to sprawl out in the tub or on the bed first.  Note: the room includes a separate bathroom with toilet, shower and basin – which we really love!

A stay at de Charmoy also includes breakfast. Dinner can be ordered on request either served in the Chocolate Garden or private terrace. We opted for the terrace. Roast chicken and vegetables served by candle-light was accompanied by the romantic ambiance of a light chorus of chirping insects and decadent dessert.

All in all, we absolutely loved our stay-cation at de Charmoy. The hospitality, the decor, the food and the beautiful gardens. We hope to be back soon to stay… or at the very least book ourselves in for another rejuvenating massage!

If you’re itching to book a weekend away for you and that ‘special someone’, you will find the de Charmoy website informative and user friendly. Booking a holiday (or stay-cation) couldn’t be easier!

Plus de Charmoy are running an awesome WINTER SPECIAL until the end of September (see below)… so there really aren’t any excuses not to book yourself in for a few nights!

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Want to stay in the heart of Cape Town? Here’s why The Cape Milner should be your go-to.




For Durbanites, a trip to Cape Town is always enthralling. White-sand beaches, throngs of restaurants, and sea life sightings are just some of the things we look forward to when visiting our Mother City. Of course, the various accommodation on offer forms part of said hype – and can either make or break your experience!

Well, we’re here to tell you this: If you’re looking for a hotel that’s contemporary, comfy, central, quiet and not too costly, we’ve found the place for you. Not to mention its fascinating decor, great hospitality, and luxury charm that just wraps you up and keeps you snug throughout your entire stay.

The opulent Cape Milner building matches Cape Town’s Victorian aesthetic. But inside you’ll find a mix of art-deco, modern and African chic; much like the feel of modern Africa today.

As if wedged at the bottom of Table Mountain, the views from the rooms and lounges are spectacular. We particularly enjoyed dining out in the swanky Glass Lounge, where you can look up into the blue sky or night stars while you enjoy a hearty lamb shank below.

Our homely rooms overlooked the serene Milner Road, with its impressive avenues of trees. We were given complimentary macarons on arrival and enjoyed them with tea as we watched the rain pitter-patter on the tails of unbothered squirrels — how cute! The Milner Hotel really is a place you can enjoy come rain or shine.

The hotel was the absolute, perfect base from which to explore pretty much everything and anything. Just a few minutes drive away lies Bree and Kloof  – two favourites, Metropolitan streets for tourists and locals alike. Over the few days of our stay we visited many great spots, all within 5-10 minutes away.

We sank our teeth into cheesy pizza at the much-hyped “I love the dough” and tried out “Mochi Mochi” for dessert; we ordered fizzing and steaming cocktails from “Cause and Effect” at the V&A; and of course, we spent a fun-filled evening at the cheeky and illustrious “Beefcakes” in Green Point.

After each jam-packed day, coming home to our state-of-the-art bathtub and luxurious linen was the cherry on top. It fitted in perfectly with our diverse range of activities we had planned, and matched the entire style of our trip.

We didn’t want to leave!

And of course, we can’t wait to stay again…

To book your stay at the Cape Milner, contact

Tel: +27 11 516 4367

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Tugela River Lodge – A must for your bucket list!




Tugela River Lodge is a self-catering eco-lodge situated in Winterton. They are completely off the grid, using solar power and gas to run their lodge.

Being pet-friendly, Tugela is the perfect place to bring the entire family, literally! As well as for singles, couples or friends.


With 5 cottages to choose from, you can either book the Main Lodge which sleeps up to 14, The Hideaway which is a 6 sleeper and The Rapids, The River House and Kingfisher Cottage which are all 4 sleeper.

All of the cottages don’t have any TV sets. Tugela River Lodge wants to instead encourage visitors to experience nature – which we definitely agree with.

We stayed at the River House which was a double storey house, ensuring we each had privacy as a couple.



The Green family have been running the lodge for over 20 years. They have a passion for mountain biking, trail running and the outdoors in general. Every year, The Berg & Bush cycle ride and The Oxpecker trail run take place.


Upon arrival, check in was such a breeze – we found our accommodation easily and settled in for the night.

For dinner we opted to have a braai. The boys loved catching up while us girls chilled on the comfiest couches with a glass of red.

We were joined by two of the owner’s dogs, as well as a cat, making us feel right at home.

Our double storey house had more of a modern feel than the rest of the cottages. We had a spacious lounge all to ourselves which was part of an open plan kitchen. The main bedroom had a double bed with an open plan shower and toilet, while the upstairs room had a double bed with the most gorgeous outside view.

We were fully equipped with high speed WI-FI too. A bonus if you’re needing this feature while on your trip away. The River House is the only unit to have this functionality.

The River House is also ideal for bringing your pets as the property is well fenced off – You don’t have to worry about losing your fur-babies!


You don’t really need to leave Tugela. With plenty of walking trails available, one can find themselves walking along the beautiful Tugela River.

If you feel like a drive however, we would recommend  Spioenkop Nature Reserve. A popular water sport destination, it also offers a serene game reserve environment. We saw rhino, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest and many different species of birds.

You can also take a drive through the Tugela game reserve with a cooler box and watch the sun go down with views of the Drakensberg on one side and the Freestate on the other.


Other activities at Tugela include trails for walking/running, kayaking along the river, daily animal feeding and use of their farmstall for any fresh produce.


Cellphone/Whatsapp: +27 82 823 4746


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REVIEW: Hilton Hotel Umhlanga Arch



Hilton Garden Inn is the first of its kind in South Africa, situated at the new Umhlanga Arch, welcoming both local and international guests. Durbanite recently experienced first hand what they have to offer.

From the moment you walk in, you experience a relaxed environment, making you feel right at home. The Hilton Garden Inn Umhlanga Arch is a technologically advanced hotel, allowing guests to check in, select and unlock your room, as well as access the guest lift, easily from your mobile phone. The hotel boasts a fitness centre, outdoor swimming pool with a great view of the upcoming developments in the area as well as the stunning sea Durban has to offer, as well as a laundry room and currency exchange for international guests.

The staff at the Hilton Garden Inn Umhlanga Arch are friendly and extremely helpful and have adopted a “Brightheartered Hospitality” approach.

“It was amazing, the staff remember your name, they learn more about why you are visiting and really go out of their way to make your experience a memorable one.” Commented Bianca Hauser, Durbanite contributor.

There are 203 rooms kitted out with coffee and tea brewers, a flat screen HDTV, a hairdryer, iron and ironing board (perfect for out of town guests), along with a mini refrigerator. Hilton Garden Inn Umhlanga Arch ensure to adhere to Covid-19 safety regulations by cleaning rooms before check in as well as after check out. They are currently participating in the Hilton CleanStay Program with Lysol Protection to deliver an even cleaner and safer experience for guests.

“I really felt comfortable during these times, as once staff clean a room, they have the Hilton CleanStay Room Seal that indicates to us that a room has not been accessed since it was cleaned and disinfected.”

The hotel ensures sufficient spacing in the dining hall and hand sanitizers can be found throughout the hotel. Guests are encouraged to use disposable gloves provided when dishing up salad for the meals and the Chefs are responsible for dishing up dinner, limiting exposure.

Together & Co aims to bring people together, “one meal, coffee and conversation at a time”. Those who are not guests at the hotel are also welcome to dine at the restaurant or have a drink at the bar. Hilton Garden Inn Umhlanga Arch also boasts a 24-hour self-service retail space, “The Shop”, which offers snacks, locally sourced food and beverages as well as essential personal items, should guests need anything.

To book your stay, visit their website.

1 Ncondo Place, Umhlanga Ridge Umhlanga

Durban, 4320, South Africa



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