Today we said sad goodbyes to my family and started the 900km drive back to Cape Town. We stopped briefly to buy coffee and snacks on the way but drove straight through to The Fernery Lodge and Chalets in Tsitsikamma.
The Ferney is a fern plantation that supplies forest ferns to Europe and the rest of the world. The owners built the main building over 6 years to house their family but when the children left home, they turned it into a lodge containing a number of gorgeous suites with spectacular views of the gorge and the sea. There are also at least 10 self-catering chalets which can sleep up to five people. In addition there are two jacuzzis, a pool, a beautiful lounge area, a wine cellar, and a stunning restaurant which juts out over the gorge. There are hiking and biking trails and viewing decks in the grounds so you can explore your surroundings as much as you like.
Sadly, in March 2018 there was a fire which destroyed the plantation in March. It will take at least ten years before they are able to produce enough ferns to fill the demand. 120 people lost their jobs and there are little local opportunities for them. I hope that things work out for everyone affected, but there are still employment opportunities provided by the chalets and the Lodge.
We stayed in a suite with a sea and gorge view and the bathroom was spectacular. We had a wonderful view from our huge balcony.
As I mentioned before, spectacular places like The Fernery have special offers during June/July because it is low season, so you can often stay for reasonable prices, particularly if you come from a country where the currency is strong against the South African rand.
Tonight we had a delicious dinner in the restaurant and then went back to our room where we watched television and used the free wifi!