When last did you go online to book a little getaway? And which accommodation aggregator did you use? I’ve just used Afristay for the first time to book an Elgin and Hermanus road trip into the Cape Overberg and it was an easy, pain-free experience. Find out more...
The site currently has 20 000 listings and 12 000 reviews across 2100 African locations and is growing by some 7000 listings a year. Check out the team on their website and you’ll see it consists, among others, of an ‘admin wrangler’, a ‘ticket slinger’ and a bunch of ‘dream makers’. They sounded like a cool bunch to handle my bookings.
Browsing the options and booking our choices was a breeze. We wanted a stopover in Elgin (to do some wine tasting, what else?) and then a few nights of self-catering in Hermanus so we could hit some of its long list of fabulous restaurants (think Moggs and Source).
I’ll write about some of the things we got up to in Hermanus in another post, but what did we think about the places where we stayed?
Belfield Wines & Farm Cottage, Elgin
The kitchen was well equipped with a cheerful red-and-white colour scheme and lime green accents. The housekeeping staff had written a personal welcoming message on a kettle-shaped blackboard, and there were fresh flowers in the bedroom.
Robin’s Nest, Hermanus
There’s a dedicated area in the garden below for anyone who wants to have their own braai, but my favourite place to sit was on the balcony. It looked out over a beautiful garden with big trees and to the hills beyond. It was a perfect place for sampling some of the cheese and wine we’d bought on the surrounding farms, or for a pink gin before dinner.
In the living room there was space to lie flat on large couches, and a flat screen TV for those who crave such things on holiday. Beyond a small table and chairs, sliding doors opened on to a small patio outside, but we chose not to braai because of a prickly little wind coming off the sea.
The apartment is on the ground floor with houses in front of it so there are only thin slices of sea view. Even though no one had promised me a sea view, I was vaguely disappointed; we could hear the pounding surf but the sea seemed tantalizingly out of reach. A good wifi connection was a bonus, as was a shaded parking bay on a hot day.
Once you’re on the Afristay website you’ll see that the listings cover a wide range from upmarket boutique hotels and self catering to caravan parks and backpackers. Enter the destination you want to visit – Elgin or Hermanus, in our case – punch in the number of guests, choose your dates and browse the available options.
I liked that you can select your price range with a neat little slider button. You can also select must-haves like pool, wifi or a place that’s wheelchair friendly. If you’re just browsing and see a place you like, you can add it to your wish list with one click, and then come back to it later.
Once you’ve selected your dates and accommodation, you can contact the host directly with queries you may have – a useful feature. After the booking is confirmed, you’ll get a reminder a week or so beforehand, just in case you forget or get the dates muddled (as happened to us once before, to our shame).
Another thing I liked was that Afristay gave some more information about Hermanus – a little history, things to do, where to eat, and so forth. Although I know Hermanus fairly well, if I was visiting a new destination this sort of info would be useful.
Finally, there are reviews of some – though by no means all – places from real visitors to give you deeper insight. It’s like an accommodation portal and Tripadvisor rolled into one. After your visit you’ll be prompted to write a quick review. Please do it because the more reviews there are, the more they’ll help future visitors (including you) to make better choices.
Click through to the Afristay website to browse some of the options and plan your own getaway.