Chapman’s Peak: the Story of One of the World’s Most Scenic Drives

Perched on an ancient bed of granite rock and rearing up out of the Atlantic Ocean on the southern end of Hout Bay, you’ll discover Chapman’s Peak mountain…although, this megalith hardly needs any introduction. For almost a century, the 9-kilometer-long stretch of roadway that ribbons its way along the mountain’s almost vertical cliff-face (and just as precipitous drop down into the Atlantic Ocean below) has served as the quickest thoroughfare between the Atlantic towns of Hout Bay and Noordhoek. It’s also such a dramatically beautiful route that it has become known, internationally, as one of the most scenic drives in the world.

Being in our very own backyard—and one of the attractions our guests love the most about their visits to Hout Bay—we thought we’d become better acquainted with our very own world-famous drive. This is the story of Chapman’s Peak Drive…

The history of one of the world’s most scenic drives

World’s most scenic drives

The official opening of Chapman’s Peak Drive on the 6th May 1922.

Between 1915 and 1922, the roadway we now know as Chapman’s Peak Drive was hacked out of the face of the mountain in order to establish a more direct route between Hout Bay and Noordhoek. At the time, unsurprisingly, the endeavour was considered a major feat of engineering!

Unfortunately, in 1990, after a particularly devastating rock fall, which resulted in a fatality (and lawsuit), Chapman's Peak Drive was closed for a massive re-engineering project that would provide an exponentially safer roadway for motorists.

Chapmans Peak Drive

In 2003, Chapman’s Peak Drive was reopened as a toll road. And while rock falls are unavoidable on such a steep cliff face (which braves the wintertime north-westerly winds and rain almost dead-on), the extensive engineering that has been done, including massive steel rock traps and wall reinforcements, ensure that the road can be used safely.

Fun fact: Did you know that Chapman’s Peak was named in 1607 after John Chapman, the captain’s mate of the English ship ‘Consent,’ which had sought refuge in the sheltered waters of Hout Bay? It’s funny because most imposing landmarks are named after high-ranking officials like captains and governors or, at the very least, the mountaineers who conquer them. Not lowly captain’s mates.

A triumph of South African engineering

The marriage of cutting-edge, 21st Century construction and the sheer courage and determination of the original 1920's build has resulted in this project showcasing the outstanding talents of South African engineering. It only takes one pass of Chapman’s Peak Drive’s 114 curves to appreciate this accomplishment, especially when staring up the vertical rock face that hugs the road.

And, needless to say, the feat has garnered several prestigious awards, including the SAACE National Award for Engineering Excellence (2004) and the Bentley Systems prestigious international award (civil Design) for 3D and 2D rockfall hazard analysis and design using the Microstation suite of geospatial software packages (2004). That’s quite a mouthful.

To learn more about the engineering that keeps motorists safe on this hair-raising stretch of coastal road, you can read up about it on the official website!

The East Fort & Battery

The East Fort & Battery
View of the Sentinel Mountain from Chappies’ East Fort. (Image source:

Before Chapman’s Peak Drive had even been conceived, humankind had put the mountain flanks to good use as a lookout point over the entirety of Hout Bay and the ocean beyond. Built in 1782, the old East Fort Battery was one of four fortifications built in Hout Bay by the Dutch East India Company, and was intended to protect the bay (and its harbour and industries) against marine attacks from the south.

The husk of the fort’s old blockhouse (on the mountain side of the road) and the battery of canons (on the ocean side) remain to this day and have become key historical attractions in the area, made even better by the stunning views of the bay. Also, those guns still work—having been restored, proofed, and licensed—and are periodically fired on ceremonious occasions.

The question is: did the East Fort ever serve its purpose?

It sure did! On 15 September 1795, a 16-gun British warship, the HMS Echo, tried to enter the harbour only to be met by a fierce barrage of cannon-fire. The intruder beat a hasty exit; although it did sail on to Table Bay where—after some “negotiation”—the Dutch surrendered and the British assumed control of the Cape Colony.

Things to do and see on Chapman’s Peak Drive

Things to do and see on Chapman’s Peak Drive

Aside from gawking slack-jawed, either directly up a staggeringly imposing cliff face of the mountain, or straight down onto the boulder-littered coastline and crashing waves below, there are actually quite a few other things to do and see along this relatively short section of coastline!

  • Viewpoints offer panoramic views over the whole of Hout Bay and the glittering Atlantic Ocean that embraces it. You can frequently spot dolphins and Southern right whales from these incredible vantage points, as well as seals sunbathing on the rocks below.
  • Picnic sites are kept in pretty good condition (with bins for refuse). These also offer stunning, west-facing views over Hout Bay and the sunset, making them a favourite spot for romantic couples!
  • The East Fort is a fantastic historic attraction to visit and the starting point for many hikes into the fynbos-carpeted foothills of Chapman’s Peak, a part of the Table Mountain Nature Reserve. It’s also a great spot to lay out a picnic and watch the sunset.
  • Hiking trails: As we said, Chapman’s Peak is a part of the Table Mountain Nature Reserve and so it is home to a great diversity of unique fauna and flora, which makes hiking its many trails an invigorating pleasure! For more information on these trails, check out this guide by Cape Town Magazine.

Also, interestingly enough, Chapman’s Peak is home to two different endangered vegetation types that are totally endemic to the city of Cape Town—Peninsula Sandstone Fynbos and Cape Granite Fynbos—which can be found growing alongside this route…and literally nowhere else on the planet!

Chapmans Peak Picnic

Chapman’s Peak in times of COVID

One of the awesome things about this quintessential Cape Town attraction, which is just as popular amongst locals as it is tourists, is the fact that it can be safely enjoyed in spite of the COVID pandemic. Because you explore Chapman’s Peak Drive by car, maybe pulling over at one of the rest stops to enjoy the views, there’s really no risk of transmission, as long as you keep your distance from other viewers.

With the most recent lockdown restrictions, however, the day pass facility that allows motorists to stop and the route’s attractions has been suspended until further notice; although, you can still drive the length of Chappies from Hout Bay to Noordhoek. You just aren’t permitted to pull over at any of the viewpoints or picnic sites, which is a shame but hopefully won’t last much longer.

Drive the length of Chappies from Hout Bay to Noordhoek

The Best Outdoor Games for Families this Summer

Since South Africans are pretty much confined to our backyards this summer, we thought we’d brainstorm some fabulous and fun ideas for outdoor games! And here are the fruits of our research: 10 ways the family can get creative and enjoy the sunshine and each other in lockdown…

Tic-tac-toe, al fresco

Tic-tac-toe, al fresco

It’s the game we all know and love, except played outdoors, on the pavement, an old tree stump, or on literally any other available flat surface, which you can mark with chalk or string. For a super rough, yet no-less-effective approach, you can use chalk to mark a set of five stones with an “X” and another set with an “O”, and begin playing. Or, you can get creative and paint your stones in different colours or even things (like ladybugs versus beetles), as long as it’s clear which belong in a set.

Backyard bowling with recycled bottles

Turn your backyard into a bowling alley with recycled bottles and a ball…it’s that simple. Use lengths of rope to demarcate the alley and perch the bottles atop a section of cardboard so they’re easier to arrange. Also, try to use a ball with a bit of weight to it so that it’s not too difficult to knock over your makeshift bowling pins.

Bean bag ladder toss

Bean bag ladder toss

Image source: DIY & Crafts

All you need to make this fun backyard game is a mid-sized ladder, some beanbags or balls, and the stationery to create score levels. Write varying levels of points on pieces of paper (10, 20, 30, 40, etc.) and tape them to each rung of the ladder in ascending order of difficulty. Then, let the challenge begin: each player gets three beanbags or balls, depending on what you have on hand. Whoever scores the highest total, wins!

Water balloon cricket

On a hot day, you and your kids are going to love this game! It combines the fun of playing cricket with the comedy of watching a water balloon explode upon contact and drench the batsman. To play, simply substitute the cricket ball with water balloons and let the hilarity ensue.

Balloon darts

Balloon darts

What is it about balloons that just makes us want to destroy them? Well, in this outdoor game, that’s the point! Tape a whole bunch of balloons to a wall and draw a line about two to three meters away, depending on the challenge you want to set. You can arrange the balloons into a picture or a pattern if you like…and the smaller the balloons, the trickier it will be to hit them.

Then, using darts you can buy for cheap at your local toy, dollar, or hobby store, stand behind the line and play target practice with the balloons! Each time you nail one, it’ll explode with a satisfactory “pop” and if you want to keep score, you can award points to certain colours, or even just write numbers on the balloons themselves.

Backyard Twister

Four cans of (non-toxic) spray paint are all it takes to recreate this hit game right in your own backyard. Spray a 4 x 6 grid of large dots onto your lawn (one line of six blue dots; one line of six yellow dots; one line of red dots, and one line of green dots, e.g.) Then, using matching colour paper, cut out six blue, yellow, red, and green disks.

How the game works is that the first player draws a disc at random from a hat. He or she then has to place a hand or foot on that colour in the grid you’ve created on the lawn. The next player draws a disk and does the same. Each time a player draws a disk, they have to place a hand or foot on that colour and after a few turns, things can get super, ah, twisted!

Matching tiles

Matching tiles

This is an enormously fun game that’s just as engaging for adults as it is for kids. Print out a selection of colourful images (make sure you print doubles). The more you create, the harder the game but, also, the more backyard real estate you’ll need to play so be conscious of that. Then, stick them onto cardboard backing or laminate them, so they’re easier to work with.

Once your tiles are made, shuffle them (breaking up the partners), scatter them facedown in your backyard, and start trying to match up the partners!

Create an artistic mess

Set up an easel with paper (or canvas if you expect to render a masterpiece) and then go crazy on it with wild swings of your paintbrush. And if you’re feeling really playful, fill a water gun up with watered-down acrylic paint and fire away at your canvas, creating an abstract artwork that would be the envy of Jackson Pollock.



Cornhole is a game that’s been around for as long as outdoor weddings have been “a thing”. It involves trying to toss a beanbag (or ball) into a small hole cut into the far end of a rectangular wooden board, which is propped up at that end. Players take turns throwing their missiles and keep tally of points: a bag directly in the hole scores three points, while one on the board scores one point.

P.S. A part of the fun of this outdoor game is DIY making one of these boards at home and then getting the kids to paint it! Alternatively, you can order them online.

Water balloon volleyball

You’ll need a makeshift volleyball net, water balloons, and one beach towel per team to play this hilarious version of the original. Each team of two people hold a towel between them like a slingshot, using it to catapult a water balloon over the net and to the other team, who will then attempt to catch it in their towel without breaking it. Good luck with that. Expect to get wet!

And even more ideas for outdoor games…

These are really just a handful of ideas to get you started. There’s also lawn scrabble (using large cardboard tiles with letters written on them), giant Jenga, DIY obstacle courses, and treasure hunts! Needless to say, every outdoor game we’ve mentioned here can be appropriated for adults, particularly for braais and dinner parties when the restrictions lift!

Time for a Trip up the West Coast!

White sand beaches leading out to infinite horizons; fynbos and flower-carpeted landscapes that erupt into kaleidoscopic colour every spring; hot, fresh seafood caught by local fishermen that morning; and the best views of the sunsets you’ll find in the Cape…these are just a few of the myriad assets the spectacular West Coast of South Africa has to offer. And now, with social distancing becoming a part of our culture, we can add another quality to the West Coast experience: wide open spaces!

Let’s take a look at all the beguiling reasons you should take a trip up the West Coast…

# 1. Picnics and sundowners on endless beaches

Picnics and sundowners on endless beaches

The West Coast serves as the country’s border to the Atlantic Ocean. Beyond its fringe of white-sand beaches and rolling coastal shrub there is nothing but open ocean. Next stop? South America.

Given it’s remoteness and distance from major cities, the West Coast is equally blessed with beauty and tranquility. And so, if it’s generous swaths of beach looking out onto infinite western horizons you’re after, you won’t find a better viewpoint in the entirety of the Cape.

# 2. The blooming of the spring wildflowers

The blooming of the spring wildflowers

The West Coast has an international reputation for the annual blooming of its wildflowers. Towards the end of every August, millions upon millions of bulbs and seeds that have lain dormant in the soil erupt into a celebration of colour, carpeting the region in swaths of orange, purple, red, and white. If you didn’t know any better, you might think that a vast truck carrying paint had upended its contents across the landscape! For more information on the area’s incredible flora, check out the Velddrif Tourism Website.

# 3. A birdwatcher’s paradise

A birdwatcher’s paradise

With the West Coast spanning a spectrum of different habitats—notably mudflats, estuaries, coastal scrub, and fynbos—the area is considered a prime location for birds and birding. Here, 127 different species of water birds and 93 terrestrial birds have been identified, 25 species of which are of national importance for their scarcity and at least five of which are listed as ‘Red Data’ species.

Two exceptionally popular sites for birding include the West Coast National Park, Rocherpan reserve, the Langebaan bird sanctuary, and the Cerebos salt pans, the latter of which is located near the mouth of the Berg River, which attracts birds species such as greater and lesser flamingo, great white pelicans, and chestnut banded plovers, as well as occasional rare and elusive vagrants.

For more information about birdwatching in the lower Berg River wetlands, please click here.

# 4. Go river or deep-sea fishing

Go river or deep-sea fishing

If you’re a fishing enthusiast, you’ll be spoiled for choice on the West Coast! There are fantastic opportunities on the Berg River or, if it’s bigger catch you’re after, you can strike out west to go deep-sea fishing on a charter, like A&M Fishing Charters. All you need is your fishing and bait licence, which is available at the local Post Office. To book, visit the website or contact +27 (0) 71 550 8491.

# 5. Go whale-watching

Go whale-watching

Being an important upwelling zone, the Benguela current, which flows north alongside the West Coast, nurtures a thriving ecosystem, which means rich marine life and the potential to spot big ocean mammals like dolphins, porpoises, and whales! Species such as southern right whales can be spotted from the beaches, while humpbacked whales can be seen further out to sea. Alternatively, you can hop on a whale-watching charter to get up close and personal with these extraordinary animals.

# 6. Visit the West Coast’s nature reserves

Visit the West Coast’s nature reserves

Because much of the West Coast has been left untouched by development, its flower-carpeted plains, estuaries, mudflats, and indigenous coastal scrub and fynbos have been left in a pristine state. They also support a myriad of animals and birdlife, many species of which are endemic to this region and found nowhere else in South Africa, or indeed the world!

The West Coast National Park is undoubtedly one of the Western Cape’s most beautiful nature reserves. Within this 36,260-hectare park, which runs the length of the cool Atlantic Ocean from the town of Yzerfontein to the Langebaan Lagoon in the north, there are innumerable species of indigenous birdlife, several large antelope species, and a spectrum of smaller mammals and reptiles. Visit the South African National Parks website or contact +27 (0) 22 772 2144.

There’s also Rocherpan, a 930-hectare, coastal nature reserve consisting largely of a seasonal vlei that is usually dry between March and June but, over winter, receives the water it needs to host a vibrant array of fauna and flora. Visit the Cape Nature website or contact +27 (0) 79 203 1092.

# 7. The freshest seafood in the Cape

The freshest seafood in the Cape

Much of the West Coast culture has deep roots in fishing and so throughout the area’s coastal towns, you’ll discovered constellations of restaurants that serve up the freshest seafood, from fish caught that very morning to muscles freshly plucked from rocks bathed in surf. There are many fine establishments to try out here, but whether you’re in the mood for fish-and-chips takeaways or a nine-course seafood buffet experience (Strandloper restaurant), you’re craving for fresh seafood will be satisfied!

# 8. Go on an exhilarating watersports ride!

Go on an exhilarating watersports ride!

With its sheltered lagoons, broad expanses of beach, rich marine life, and sometimes tireless, yet prime wind conditions, the West Coast boasts some of the country’s finest real estate for water sports. From wind surfing, kite surfing, and sailing to stand-up paddling, snorkeling, and kayaking, there’s an activity for people of all ages, skill levels, and appetites for adrenalin!

Just ask us!

For more information on the West Coast and its activities, places to eat, and things to do, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with team dk villas at

dk villas opens the door of our fourth luxury apartment!

This delightful one-bedroomed apartment will capture your attention as you drive through its leafy green complex and then your heart as soon as you walk through the door! RivervieW is the fourth jewel in the dk villas crown, which has been renovated and treated to the dk villas’ full design overhaul. Boasting Rustic French décor, luxuriously comfortable furnishings, bright and sunny living spaces, and a gorgeous balcony, this apartment is the perfect home-away-from-home for a single traveller, couple, or business professional.

And we are proud to announce its official opening on the 1st February 2021!

Meet the new member of the dk villas family

Riverview Balcony

Located in a green, leafy complex a stone’s throw from the beach and a short drive from all of Hout Bay’s best shopping, restaurants, and attractions, the delightful one-bedroom, one-bathroom RivervieW is officially open for business!

This gem of an apartment has just been fully renovated and boasts a spacious, open-plan kitchen and lounge that flows out onto a gorgeous balcony framed by bougainvillea, which bursts gaudily into bloom for most of the year. With views of Hout Bay’s dramatic mountainscape, the balcony is the perfect venue for enjoying long, lazy, summer evenings or that morning cup of tea or coffee. (The complex also has a small communal pool for those hot summer days when not even an icecold cocktail will cut it.)

Spacious, open-plan lounge and kitchen

Spacious, open-plan lounge and kitchen

Inside, RivervieW is sunny and warm with a magnificent, fully kitted out kitchen (fit for a chef!) that has been equipped with top-of-the-range SMEG appliances, including an oven, hob, kettle, coffee machine, toaster, dishwasher, washing machine, tumble drier, and fridge-freezer. There is also a breakfast bar for casual dining and then a stylish, sophisticated yet homey lounge with plasma flat-screen TV, full DSTV, and fast, complimentary Wi-Fi.

RivervieW - Kitchen

In terms of the interior design inspiration, it’s a “French flair, a touch rustic, with earthy tones – a very relaxing atmosphere!”

Luxuriously appointed bedroom and bathroom

Luxuriously appointed bedroom and bathroom

RivervieW is a one-bedroom apartment and so we have spared little expense in creating a tranquil and luxurious oasis out of this space, complete with queensized bed fitted with the softest Egyptian cotton linen. The bathroom has a walkin shower with two showerheads (one is hand-held) and you’ll find everything you need to enjoy a self-catering holiday here, including hairdryer, Egyptian cotton towels, and beach towels.

RivervieW - Bathroom

Ideal location for shopping, touristing, and beach lovers

With dk villas’ RivervieW apartment being located a short stone’s throw from Hout Bay’s main road and beach, you could scarcely find a more convenient location from which to explore the treasures of this historic valley.

Ideal location for shopping, touristing, and beach lovers

There’s Hout Bay beach, a long stretch of sugary white sand embraced on either side by striking mountain scenery: the world famous Chapman’s Peak to the east and the Sentinel to the west. The harbour area itself is the beating heart of this historic fishing village and there are plenty of restaurants, fish and chip shops, and local arts and crafts markets to explore. But if it’s the bracing sea air you’re after, the harbour’s piers are long and accessible…just keep a respectful distance from the sea lions that like to hang out there!

Although RivervieW has every amenity you could possibly need to whip-up a fivestar meal, if you don’t feel like cooking there are is no shortage of fabulous restaurants to dine at, from cheap and casual takeaway joints to the absolutely legendary La Colombe, which has been voted amongst the world’s 50 best restaurants for several years!

La Colombe

Image source:

You can also get thoroughly pampered at the spa right next door to RivervieW, or, if it’s nightlife you’re after, head down to one of the several bars Hout Bay has to offer…or into downtown Cape Town, which is only 20 minutes away by car.

Hout Bay’s harbour market has become a huge, city-wide hit with locals and tourists alike; and there’s a gin distillery AND a brewery right next door. But if you’re more of a wine person, Hout Bay has a couple of wineries to experience (Hout Bay Vineyards, for example) and the nearby historic Constantia wine route, which has 10 wine farms.

The perfect addition to the dk villas portfolio

dk Villas hospitality

With its rustic French décor, luxuriously comfortable furnishings, bright and sunny living spaces, and a gorgeous balcony, RivervieW makes for an enchanting getaway for couples but is also ideal for business professionals looking for a stylish base in the Cape. And whether you enjoy the beach or the mountains, you have both on your doorstep!

The team here at dk villas is incredibly proud and excited to be adding this fourth property to our luxury accommodation portfolio!

DK Villas Triumphs Once Again on’s Traveller Review Awards 2021!

What a way to kick off the New Year: dk villas’ three luxury rental properties (two in Hout Bay, one in Dwarskersbos, West Coast) have triumphed on’s annual Traveller Review Awards 2021, scoring a 9.9, 9.6, and 9.5 for our three luxury properties!

dk villas Harbour View, Hout Bay

dk villas’ self-catering apartment at Harbour View was rated a stratospheric 9.9 out of 10.

dk villas Harbour View, Hout Bay

This three-bedroom, two-bathroom masterpiece offers guests a seamless blend of luxurious furnishings, high-end electronics and appliances, gorgeous views, and home-style convenience. It has a generous and fully kitted out modern kitchen and state-of-the-art appliances such as SMEG washing machine, tumble dryer, and dishwasher.

The bedrooms are the epitome of oases with their soft colour palettes, natural textures, Egyptian cotton bedding, and designer room fragrances; and a stylish open-plan lounge and dining area seating eight guests features a sophisticated entertainment system, large TV (DSTV), and free Wi-Fi.

dk villas Harbour View, Hout Bay lounge

dk villas’ Harbour View property has 24-hour camera security, electric fencing, and a secure undercover parking bay and is conveniently located a stone’s throw from Hout Bay’s beach, shopping, restaurants, and bars.

dk villas The Boardwalk, Hout Bay

Located on the opposite side of the valley, our trendy, modern, fully furnished and spacious self-catering apartment at The Boardwalk scored an impressive 9.6 out of 10.

dk villas The Boardwalk, Hout Bay

There isn’t a modern amenity or luxury that isn’t represented in this trendy two bedroom, two-bathroom apartment, with all furnishings, appliances, and electronics being sourced from high-end manufacturers. The comfortable lounge area has a large television (DSTV package included), there is a generous dining room seating six people, a fully equipped kitchen complete with SMEG appliances, and free Wi-Fi throughout.

dk villas The Boardwalk, Hout Bay Lounge

dk villas Boardwalk property also features safe basement parking, two bathrooms, and two bedrooms with built-in cupboards, block-out curtains and blinds, and luxuriously comfy beds dressed in Egyptian cotton. While the property is selfcatering, we ensure that guests have everything they need to enjoy their stay, from high quality towels and designer toiletries (soap, cream, shampoo) to milk, tea and coffee, and even a bottle of bubbly!

dk villas Skilliepark beach cottage, Dwarskersbos

And finally, dk villas in Skilliepark, Dwarskersbos (West Coast) scored a stunning 9.5 out of 10.

dk villas Skilliepark beach cottage, Dwarskersbos award

This two-bedroom beach cottage is perfectly positioned near the beach to allow guests front-row seats to the sunset. And with a sheltered indoor braai area with eight-seater table and wrap-around windows, the show can be enjoyed irrespective of the season. Inside, the cottage is decidedly chic and beach-themed with an open plan double volume living room and fully kitted-out kitchen that includes high-end appliances, a coffee and tea-making station, as well as heaps of storage space.

dk villas Skilliepark beach cottage, Dwarskersbos Lounge

dk villas at Skilliepark is a two bedroom, two-bathroom apartment that is flush with everything one could possibly want and need to enjoy a luxurious stay in the fairly remote coastal village of Dwarskersbos. This includes complimentary Wi-Fi, an enormous flat screen TV with DSTV, and Egyptian cotton towels and sheets so soft your biggest challenge will be getting out of bed in the morning!

We are just so pleased that all of the thought, effort, and heart we pour into our properties have been appreciated by our guests. And the cherry on the pie were the following glowing comments from President and CEO, Glenn Fogel:

“Along with so many other challenges, 2020 was a year with limited opportunities for travel. That meant that the trips your guests managed to take mattered more to them than ever. And you rose to the occasion. The exceptional review scores you earned consistently over the last year show just how much your guests appreciate everything you do for them. And we appreciate it too.”

We’re also proud to announce the launch of our FOURTH luxury apartment “RivervieW” in February 2021 so we hope our guests feel as highly about our new baby as they do about our more established properties!

What is the Traveller Review Awards all about?

The Traveller Review Awards is an annual appreciation programme that recognises partners for their exceptional hospitality, as evidenced in the review scores left by travellers after their stay or experience.

The 2021 edition review score is based on the average score of all guest reviews published on the website and app between 30th October 2018 and 30th October 2020. Not only did dk villas’ three properties make the Traveller Review Awards list for 2021 but we absolutely knocked it out of the park with a scoring not even we could have anticipated: 9.9, 9.6, and 9.5 out of 10.

What is

What is is a travel fare aggregator website and search engine for accommodation reservations at a vast spectrum of properties all over the world, from hotels, guesthouses, and villas to hostels, backpackers, and bed-and-breakfasts. Headquartered in Amsterdam, is a trusted booking platform with over 2,598,000 hotels worldwide, of which dk villas is the loving owner and operator of four.

The site enables users to get honest information about potential accommodations in the city they intend to visit (through descriptions, amenity details, guest reviews, and photographs). Once they have made their choice, they can book through the platform with absolutely no booking fees and 24/7 customer service. It’s quick, simple, and secure for travellers to use, and is convenient and has a wide reach for hospitality establishments such as dk villas.

To all our guests who stayed with us and rated us so highly: a heartfelt thank you from the dk villas team!

Get Excited About Travel Again:
2021’s Best Travel Destinations, PART 3

2021 Has been heralded as an excellent year to think about planning your next international adventure. Why? Well, think of all those previously terribly congested tourist attractions and in-demand restaurants and hotels: wide open! With the world only just getting back on its feet, now is the time to plan those travels and make the most of those special deals and discounts and relative quiet.

Previously, in Part 1 (December) and 2 (January) of this three-part blog series on the best travel destinations in 2021, we took readers on an exploration of Costa Rica, Kenya, New Zealand, Mexico, Slovenia, Cape Town, Qatar, Puglia (Italy), the Islands of Tahiti, Ireland, Rwanda, and Greece. Now, in this blog, the final instalment of the series, we’ll set flight for Egypt, the British Virgin Islands, Bodrum (Turkey), Tunisia, and Antarctica!



Does Egypt even need any introduction? The “Land of the Pharaohs” is literally biblical in reputation for its archaeological marvels and mystery. A staggering third of the world’s antiquities are housed within the borders of this beguiling country. And even if you aren’t keen on history, there are few sights as awe-inspiring as the pyramids at Giza, one of the original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

To make Egypt an even more tempting travel destination, it’s generally considered quite affordable and there are many comprehensive packages, deals, and tours on offer. Combine this with rich, pink sunrises, the coruscating Nile River, the bustling market places, and the brand new Grand Egyptian Museum—officially the largest archaeological museum in the world, opening this year—and you’ve got an unforgettable journey into the heartland of human civilization.

British Virgin Islands

British Virgin Islands

Like emerald jewels scattered over a turquoise blanket, the British Virgin Islands have, for centuries, offered sailors paradise on Earth. Today, this volcanic archipelago in the Caribbean is the go-to place for tourists in pursuit of crystal clear waters, tranquil beaches, lush, verdant landscapes, and sunsets that seem to last forever (washed down with cocktails, of course).

The British Virgin Islands consist of more than 60 mountainous, rainforest-carpeted islands, which are constant companions to the horizon; in whichever direction you look. This Caribbean Eden is known as much for its luxury resorts, hotels, and boat charters as it is for its beach bars. I mean, can you think of a better way to wash away the bad taste 2020 left if you mouth than with a cocktail at the Soggy Dollar?

Bodrum, Turkey

Bodrum, Turkey

Stretched out along the Bodrum Peninsula from Turkey's southwest coast to the Aegean Sea in the north, you’ll discover the historic and spellbindingly beautiful coastal city of Bodrum. While Turkey is better known for its capital city of Istanbul, this Turkish Riviera beach town is becoming increasingly popular for its cerulean ocean views, twin bays, and medieval fortress: the Bodrum Castle. Built in the 4th Century B.C., this major attraction includes stones from the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Other things to look forward to on a visit to Bodrum are its long beaches framed by tangerine trees, open-air restaurants, beachfront clubs, and seaside bars (all outdoors so its much safer)! The “new St. Tropez” (as it’s called) is also known for its gulets: traditional, wooden yachts, which you can rent and use to explore the stunning Turkish coastline.



At the far end of the African continent—in fact, the northernmost point and therefore the counterpoint to us here in the Cape—is the Republic of Tunisia. This North African country is composed of a patchwork quilt of landscapes that are as varied as they are enchanting, from the glittering, turquoise waters of its Mediterranean coastline to the desolate white expanses of desert in the south (which was where scenes of Star Wars were filmed).

Then, there are farmlands in the north, gorgeous seaside villages, historic archaeological attractions, and the thrilling and colourful capital city of Tunis. Home to the world’s oldest medinas, Tunisia is the full package for off-the-beaten-track travellers who love to experience history, culture, and beautiful landscapes all rolled into one destination!

Antarctica (oh yes)

Antarctica (oh yes)

Okay, so this may sound like a bit of an odd travel destination but you will be hard-pressed to find as majestic, dramatic landscapes and unusual, unique wildlife as you will in Antarctica. The southernmost continent and home to the South Pole, Antarctica is an ice and snow ensconced landmass that is virtually uninhabited by humankind.

For South Africans unaccustomed to snow, it is a striking contrast to our sun-drenched continent with its iceberg-flanked passageways, snow-capped peaks, and vast expanses of ice shelf (populated by penguin colonies and sun-bathing seals). Antarctica is truly a bucket list destination. And the fact that so few other travellers go there makes it an even more desirable location for 2021.

Travel in 2021: In conclusion

After 2020’s global travel restrictions, the idea of getting on a plane to explore the world seems like an impossibility. But with borders beginning to reopen and a COVID-19 vaccine on the way, travel in 2021 is looking more and more like a distinct possibility…one made even better by the fact that the world’s top attractions are relatively uncongested by tourist traffic.

We hope you have been inspired by the destinations we have explored in this three-part blog series and that when you do eventually hit the road, you do so safely and enjoy the journey of a lifetime!

Delicious virgin cocktail recipes for a booze-free summer

Just when we thought we’d seen the last of prohibition, BAM. Like the tremor that comes after a devastating earthquake, Uncle Cyril drops another alcohol ban on the country. Effective immediately. So if you, like millions of South Africans, didn’t have the chance to stock up and are now facing down a booze-free summer, we have these words of advice for you: fake it until you make it with these delicious mocktail recipes!

1. Blueberry ginger cooler

Blueberry ginger cooler

What you need:

  • 1 Litre water
  • 1¼ Fresh (or frozen) blueberries
  • Fresh ginger, grated (one heaped tablespoon)
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons sugar (depending on the sweetness you like)
  • 2 to 3 tins of unsweetened lemon/lime sparkling water (or just sparkling water and then the juice of one lemon)
  • Crushed ice

How to make your blueberry ginger cooler:

  1. Add water, fresh blueberries, and grated ginger to a pan on medium-high heat and bring to boil.
  2. Stir in the sugar until it dissolves.
  3. Lower the heat and mash the blueberries until you have a jam-like mixture.
  4. Allow to simmer for a further 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat and allow to cool down to room temperature.
  6. Then, cover with cling wrap and leave for the flavours to develop for two to three hours.
  7. Strain the syrup into a clear bowl or pouring glass. If you don’t intend on using it right away, you can put it in the fridge.
  8. To craft your blueberry ginger cooler, fill ⅔ of your glass with your delicious syrup and add crushed ice.
  9. Then, add lemon-lime sparkling water and stir to combine the syrup and soda.
  10. Garnish with fresh lemon or mint and blueberries and enjoy!

2. Roasted peach and strawberry fizz

What you need:

  • 3 Peaches
  • 600 Grams of strawberries
  • 1½ Cup apple juice
  • 1½ Sparkling water
  • Lots of crushed ice

How to make your roasted peach and strawberry fizz:

  1. Preheat the oven to 175°C.
  2. Halve the peaches (removing the pits) and strawberries
  3. Put on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and roast for 25 minutes.
  4. Take out and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before peeling off the peach skins.
  5. Blend the peaches with the apple juice to make a smooth purée.
  6. Blend the strawberries separately.
  7. Divide the strawberry purée into six glasses and add ice.
  8. Pour the peach and apple juice mixture over the ice, add sparkling water, and enjoy!

Check out the original recipe on Use Your Noodle.

3. Grapefruit kombucha agua fresca

Grapefruit kombucha agua fresca

What you need (makes two cups):

  • 1 Cup 100% grapefruit juice
  • 1 Cup (unflavoured) kombucha tea. If you can’t find that, use rooibos.
  • 1 Teaspoon of maple syrup (or more if you like your mocktails sweet)
  • 2 Sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • Crushed or whole ice (depending on your preferences)
  • Optional: sparkling water

How to make your grapefruit kombucha agua fresca:

  1. Mix together your grapefruit juice, kombucha (or rooibos tea), and maple syrup in a pitcher or two-cup measure.
  2. Fill two glasses with ice and pour in your delicious mixture.
  3. Add a splash of sparkling water if you’d like an effervescent drink.
  4. Finish off with a sprig of rosemary (but rub between your hands before to release the oils).
  5. If you want it sweeter, just add a little more maple syrup, and enjoy!

Check out the original recipe on the Will Frolic for Food.

4. Virgin piña colada

What you need:

  • 1 Cup of pineapple juice
  • 1 Cup canned coconut milk
  • ¼ Cup of granulated sugar
  • ¼ Cup of heavy whipping cream
  • 1 Teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 8 Cups of cubed ice

How to make your virgin piña colada:

Easy peasy: throw all the ingredients into a blender and blend until they’re reduced to smooth, velvety, and delicious mocktail! Garnish with a slice of pineapple.

5. Mango lemon margarita mocktail

Mango lemon margarita mocktail

What you need:

  • Fresh mango (puréed)
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons of simple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 500 ml of sparkling water
  • 1 Wedge of fresh lemon
  • Coarse sugar (to coat the rim of your glass)
  • Ice cubes
  • Fresh sprigs of mint to garnish

How to make your mango lemon margarita mocktail:

  1. Peel and cut up your mango and purée it in a blender until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Pour four tablespoons of water and four tablespoons of sugar into a pan and heat (while stirring) until the sugar has fully dissolved.
  3. Allow to cool to room temperature before using. Congratulations, you have just made your own simple syrup!
  4. Combine the mango purée, homemade simple syrup, and lemon juice in a large pitcher and stir in the sparkling water. Be careful not to over-stir or else you’ll lose all that sparkle!
  5. Rub the fresh lemon wedge over the rim of your glassware and then dip into the coarse sugar.
  6. Place a few ice cubes in each glass, pour in your mocktail, garnish with mint, and enjoy!

Check out the original recipe on An Edible Mosaic.

6. Tropical mocktail

What you need:

  • Two oranges
  • 1 tin of pineapple-flavoured sparkling water
  • ¼ Cup of raspberries
  • 8 to 10 large strawberries, chopped
  • An ice-cube tray

How to make your tropical mocktail:

  1. Optional step: Cut a strawberry into small pieces and place one piece per ice cube compartment. Fill with water and freeze.
  2. Chill your glasses by filling them with ice and water or putting them in the freezer for an hour.
  3. Muddle the strawberries and raspberries into a paste.
  4. Juice the oranges and add the pineapple-flavoured sparkling water.
  5. Add the mashed strawberry and raspberry paste and gently stir in.
  6. Add your fruity ice to your chilled glasses and strain your tropical fruity mixture into them.
  7. Bottoms up!

Check out the original recipe on Jess Explains It All.

7. Orange mint mocktail

Orange mint mocktail

What you need:

  • 2 Cups orange juice
  • ¼ Cup lemon juice (squeezed)
  • ½ Cup club soda / carbonated water
  • ¼ Cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 to 3 slices of orange
  • Fresh mint
  • Ice cubes (as required)

How to make your orange mint mocktail:

  1. Mix orange juice, lemon juice, water, and sugar in a pitcher until the sugar has completely dissolved.
  2. Throw in a sprig of mint (but crush beforehand to liberate the oils) and allow to steep for 10 to 20 minutes.
  3. Garnish a glass with slices of orange, mint leaves, and ice cubes and pour in the desired volume of your juice.
  4. Top up with soda water and serve!

8. Raspberry lemonade virgin mojito

Raspberry lemonade virgin mojito

What you need (per serving):

  • 15 mint leaves
  • 30 ml simple syrup
  • 60 ml freshly squeezed lime juice
  • One cup (235 ml) raspberry flavoured sparkling water
  • Fresh raspberries, mint, and wedge of lime to garnish

How to make your Raspberry lemonade virgin mojito:

  1. Throw the mint leaves into a tall glass.
  2. Gently crush the leaves with a pestle or other blunt tool (this is called muddling in mixology)!
  3. Pour in the simple syrup and lime juice and add a handful of ice.
  4. Fill the remaining glass with raspberry flavoured sparkling water.
  5. Garnish with fresh raspberries, a sprig of mint, and a lime wedge.

Check out the original recipe on West of the Loop: a Cook in Cook County.

Get Excited About Travel Again:
2021’s Best Travel Destinations, PART 2

With the arrival of a COVID-19 vaccine and—FINALLY—a much-anticipated handle on this virus that has caused such global upset, countries around the world are reopening their borders and welcoming international travellers. And while some may be hesitant to venture forth so soon after such a catastrophic 2020, many are saying 2021 may be the best possible year for travel.

Why? Well, think of all those previously terribly congested tourist attractions and in-demand restaurants and hotels: wide open! With the world only just getting back on its feet, now is the time to plan those travels and make the most of those special deals and discounts and relative quiet.

Previously, in Part 1 of this three-part blog series on the best travel destinations in 2021, we took readers on an exploration of six different countries/cities: Costa Rica, Kenya, New Zealand, Mexico, Slovenia, and, our very own backyard, Cape Town, South Africa. Now, in Part 2, we’re going to travel to Qatar in the Middle East, Puglia (Italy), the Islands of Tahiti, Ireland, Rwanda, and Greece.

Let’s go!

Qatar, UAE

Qatar, UAE

Located on a peninsula jutting out into the Arabian Sea, Qatar sits like a veritable jewel of futuristic skyscrapers and ultramodern architecture on the shimmering shores of the Persian Gulf, where desert meets sea. Here, an abundance of wealth is ostentatiously splashed out on the design of buildings that seem to come straight out of a science fiction movie set one century in the future.

But, side-by-side with this modernity are vestiges of a truly ancient culture, which are evident in the citywide songs of the Imam (prayer leader), the fragrant souks (marketplaces), and the Islamic design of many of its heritage buildings. Qatar was also recently voted the number one safest country in the world, which may come as a relief to anyone unsure of travelling to a destination such as the Middle East, which perpetually finds itself in global news headlines (and usually for all the wrong reasons).

So, what is there to do in Qatar? Being the wealthiest country on Earth, there is no shortage of glamor to be found here: glitzy hotels, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and resorts. You can meander through Souk Wakif, Doha’s ancient marketplace, or walk along the Doha Corniche, waterfront promenade. Then there’s dune bashing, the Museum of Islamic art, a visit to Al Zubarah Fort and the abandoned village, and so much more!

Puglia, Italy

Puglia, Italy

If our words don’t do Puglia justice, the above photo certainly will! Although Italy was amongst the first countries hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a resurgence of tourism here, quite simply because it is so irresistibly beautiful! Puglia perches at the heel of the “boot” of Italy and is known for its twinkling whitewashed hill towns and hundreds of kilometres of stunning Mediterranean coastline.

Here, there is historical sightseeing to do, gorgeous seaside resorts to steep yourself in, olive groves to meander through, and a rather romantic tradition of wine-making to explore. The capital Bari is a colourful and energetic university town; Alberobello and the Itria Valley are home to gorgeous, distinctive stone huts with conical roofs; and Lecce, with its baroque architecture, is known as the “Florence of the South”.

Being southern Italy, food is a key attraction in Puglia too; so don’t expect to honour any kind of diet (unless it’s a “see-food” diet: you see it, you eat it).

The Islands of Tahiti

The Islands of Tahiti

If one were to call up a picture of your archetypical island paradise, complete with palm-fringed beaches, turquoise water, and tropical climate, the island of Tahiti would be it: the largest islands in French Polynesia, an archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean. Tahiti is divided into two islands: Tahiti Nui (the larger, western section) and Tahiti Iti (the eastern peninsula) and boasts all kinds of exciting attractions like black-sand beaches, lagoons, overwater accommodations, extinct volcanoes, sailing, and waterfalls embraced by thick jungle.

The nice thing about the islands of Tahiti and the greater French Polynesia (there are 118 South Pacific islands) is that they offer visitors so much remote coastline and so many secluded beaches that safe, social distancing is effortless. They’re also pretty good about pre-testing each traveller for COVID-19 and have implemented a “Common Cancellation Policy” so, if your trip is cancelled, you don’t have to worry about losing your money.



Home to Guinness, rolling green countryside, Irish whiskey, dramatic Atlantic Ocean cliffs, and charming Irish pubs, Ireland is, for visitors, the whole package: history, natural beauty, gastronomy, and great drink!

Ireland is a North Atlantic island separated from Great Britain by the North Channel, the Irish Sea, and St George's Channel. Given its size, one of the Emerald Isle’s greatest draw cards is that you can take in five, breath-takingly beautiful yet totally different regions in a single trip, giving you a really diverse yet authentic experience.

Explore the Wild Atlantic Way, which stretches from the West Cork coastline to the beaches in Donegal; the Hidden Heartlands; Ireland’s Ancient East; the beguiling capital city of Dublin; and Northern Ireland, with its wild landscapes and opportunities for stargazing.



Sustainable, safe travel has been at the forefront of Rwanda’s tourism efforts since 2005, when the program to help communities near Rwanda's national parks was established. So, with the world tentatively emerging from COVID-19, Rwanda has responded swiftly in an effort to resume tourism activities with an emphasis on safety, not only to protect locals and visitors, but also its indigenous and severely threatened populations of primates.

Located in the lush, volcanically active Great Rift Valley of East Africa, Rwanda is a destination for tourists whose fascination in Africa extends beyond the typical luxury safari experience. It’s most famous attraction are hikes deep into its rainforests to spot rare, shy birds, and families of gorillas, and it’s the strict limit on tourist numbers that makes these experiences both intimate and safe (from a COVID-19 perspective).



The prospect of travelling to Greece brings to mind the famous cliffs of Santorini, where whitewashed cottages cling to the hillsides, overlooking the glittering Aegean Sea below. But there’s a lot more to this country than these postcard images (although they, in themselves, are enough to convince one to go). For example: there’s Athens, the capital city, which is home to many of Greece’s iconic and historic monuments and landmarks, including the 5th Century B.C. Acropolis citadel with the Parthenon temple.

Greece actually consists of thousands of islands, which are scattered throughout the Aegean and Ionian seas like jewels. In ancient times, Greece was a place of enormous influence, giving rise to the disciplines of philosophy, mathematics, and democratic government. Its contributions to humankind are, in fact, what has credited Greece as being the cradle of Western civilization!

Stay tuned for Part 3 in February 2021

Next month, we take a look at a final six gorgeous bucket-list destinations to explore in 2021, so stay tuned for Part 3!

New Year’s Resolutions for a New Life, Post COVID-19

Lose weight. Get fit. Eat better. Quit smoking. Get a boyfriend. Master the electric guitar. Learn to speak Spanish…sound familiar?

New year’s resolutions are those things we love to hate. On the one hand, is there any better start to a fresh year than with the hope of a “new you”? On the other hand, when the clock strikes midnight, you’re still…well, you (a few glasses of bubbly down). There is no magic transformation.

To make matters more difficult, after the year we’ve all had, few people have the emotional fortitude to kick old, hard habits…especially when they involve cheesecake and “Netflix and chill”.

BUT, we’re not suggesting you develop washboard abs or quit sugar. We’re suggesting a new theme for 2021—new resolutions for a new life, post COVID-19—because we could all do with a bit of a break from the pressure of chronic over-achievement.

And, one thing is for certain: we could all do with a little more of the following…

New Year’s Resolution # 1: Practice compassion and patience…with YOURSELF

Practice compassion and patience…with YOURSELF

One of the things we lack MOST in this life, and yet has a remarkable influence on positive mental health, is a loving internal dialogue. All-too-often, we tend to speak to ourselves without any sensitivity, love, or compassion and we berate and shame ourselves when we fall short of other people. We’ve just emerged from one of the hardest years the world has seen in decades. We’re all struggling in different ways and what you need now more than ever is compassion and patience.

So, when you’re not feeling productive or you fall short of your goals (whether personal or professional), rather than shame and guilt yourself over it, practice that compassion and patience. Cut yourself a break. Forgive yourself. Give yourself permission to do absolutely nothing. Be compassionate. You can always pick up and start over tomorrow, or the next week, or the next month. However long it takes. You’ve got this.

New Year’s Resolution # 2: Be grateful for your body

Be grateful for your body

Another way in which we tend to be so hard and unloving with ourselves is through our body image. We throw ourselves into diets and exercise regimes and when we fall off the wagon, we feel literal guilt, shame, and even self-loathing. But if there’s anything 2020 has taught us, it is to be grateful for good health. So, rather than fixating on your imperfections, be grateful for your body.

Besides, less than 1% of the planet’s population is as ripped as Brad Pitt in Troy or Gal Gadot in Wonder Woman (and they would probably have killed for a cheeseburger during filming).

If you want to create an actionable goal around this resolution, take five minutes—literally just five minutes—a day to think about all the things you like about your body and are grateful for. Recite them to yourself silently or out loud: whatever works for you, and feel the gratitude flooding your body.

I have beautiful skin. I’m grateful for my skin.
I am in good health. I’m grateful for my health.
I have two, strong legs. I’m grateful for the ability to run.

New Year’s Resolution # 3: Get outside more

Get outside more

During the darkest months of the pandemic, after weeks inside and with very little open (like restaurants, cinemas, and gyms), we rediscovered the sublime joy of being in nature. We allowed green back into our lives: oxygen, birdsong, the smell of leaf litter, and the sound of tinkling water, and it fixed something we didn’t even know was broken before. So keep it up. Keep getting out into nature. Keep going on those walks, runs, hikes in the mountains, farmlands, parks, beaches, and more. Nature is so deeply restorative because it is our first and original home.

New Year’s Resolution # 4: Stop comparing your suffering to others

Stop comparing your suffering to others

All-too-often, people suppress their emotions because this or that person has it harder than them.

“What right do I have to cry when there are people with so much less or who are suffering so much more than me?”

To that, we say: you are missing the point entirely.

You have a right to feel pain, disappointment, frustration, and sadness. 2020 Has been so incredibly painful, even if your home and health situation was, by comparison, pretty good. It has still been a traumatic year and you have every right to have a good cry if you need to.

By the same token, don’t ever shame anyone else out of his or her emotions by comparing their suffering to Joe Soap’s. Allow the people around you to grieve as and when they need to. Feelings are there to be felt. Once they are felt, they can be safely and healthily filed away.

New Year’s Resolution # 5: Redefine your heroes

Redefine your heroes

Real life super heroes don’t wear colourful spandex or expensive Italian business suits. They wear Mr Price clothing, blue hospital scrubs, and delivery overalls.

This has been one of the key lessons 2020 taught us: society’s (and the world’s) greatest heroes were the front-line workers breaking their backs to keep us safe, heal us, and send the sick back home safely to their families. They were the nurses, the emergency responders, the deliverymen and women keeping grocery store shelves stocked, and the essential business staff who came to work every day, even when the rest of us sought shelter in our homes.

They were the scientists working around the clock to develop a vaccine; the people who volunteered to take the vaccine in its experimental stages; and the logistics people who are hard at work distributing and deploying that vaccine around the world.

2020 Showed us a whole house of new (real) heroes and exposed the house-of-cards heroes we foolishly worshipped before…the politicians and the rich who didn’t even put a cent on the line, never mind their own lives, to save people.

New Year’s Resolution # 6: Be grateful for the lessons COVID-19 taught us

Be grateful for the lessons COVID-19 taught us

COVID-19 and the million-plus lives it claimed will have been in vain if we did not recognise and learn from the lessons it taught us:

  • Humankind is frail alone, yet powerful when united in a common cause.
  • Black, white, Asian, Indian, Latino…we are not each other’s enemy. It took a more sinister enemy than the ones we thought we were fighting to show us that.
  • Human connection and time spent in nature is VITAL to good mental health.
  • Good mental health is VITAL to overall physical health.
  • Society is capable of change: of rapid evolution. We should use that to our advantage in combatting serious issues like systemic racism and the climate crisis.

These are just a few. We’re sure you can think of even more.

So, with these six new year’s resolutions for a new, post-COVID-19 world, it is our most ardent hope that you and your family are able to heal in all the ways you need to heal and that 2021 brings us all much better health and happiness.

From the team here at dk villas, happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

2020 In the rear view mirror: what we’ve learned

Right about now, social media platforms like Facebook will be showing you posts you made this time one year ago… in December 2019, when you had absolutely no idea of what 2020 would bring. You don’t know whether you want to laugh or cry seeing photos of yourself happily braai’ing with friends or going to live concerts with thousands of other people, or travelling to exotic destinations. Those were the days. If only you knew. In these pictures and posts you were probably a much happier human being, or at the very least a lot more carefree. But this year has been a global reckoning of sorts and a tragedy for millions of families all over the world. Maybe even your family, too.

Even those of us in the best possible situations—with the finances and support system needed to get through the crisis—are grappling with the depression of isolation and collective trauma of watching humankind stagger against a viral pandemic, as well as the terrible mistakes of our forefathers in building political and economic structures that were both systemically racist and misogynistic and environmentally damaging. It has been a devastating year in so many ways to so many people.

To make matters worse, life goes on, as they say. People continue to get sick with non-COVID diseases, accidents happen, and people suffer. We know. The team here at dk villas has had a few of its own personal crises this year, as have many, many other people. And with 2020 drawing to a close, it compels one to say…

What a SH*TTY year 2020 has been!!

A dangerous and highly contagious virus swept the entire planet, affecting even the most remote reaches of all five continents. A wildfire of equal intensity swept the world, drawing awareness to the deep roots of racism that persist in our society. There were deadly earthquakes near Greece, a freak explosion in Beirut, wildfires in California and Washington, a humanitarian crisis in Yemen, floods in Vietnam and Cambodia, a volcanic eruption in the Philippines, and many, many other disasters and tragedies.

In spite of all this, we would like to propose an alternative narrative to the current doom and gloom. We propose a more hopeful narrative:

2020 Has not brought us sickness. It has brought us awareness of the illnesses and vulnerabilities with which we have been living for decades, if not centuries. 2020 Brought us awareness of our frailty as a species and how we should be protecting ourselves; it showed us how terribly we’ve been polluting the planet when, after a few weeks in lockdown, the skies and rivers cleared; it taught us that our greatest heroes—teachers, healthcare workers, and all the people who keep our grocery store shelves stocked—live amongst us as perfectly ordinary yet essential, brave, (and all-too-often underpaid) people.

2020 Taught us, with every aching heartbeat, the importance of friends and family; it showed us how resilient we are as a society when lead by brave, knowledgeable, and intelligent leaders; and it proved that, if need be, we CAN change. We can change our habits, our lifestyles, and our ways of thinking, even overnight if called for…and it was called for and we rose to the challenge.

We here at dk villas emerge from 2020 feeling utterly broken yet proud of ourselves for having made it through. And instead of sinking into the sadness of it all, we choose to honour a different narrative: one of gratitude and greater awareness. Before 2020, we took for granted the gift of human connection: now we see and feel how very essential it is. Before 2020 people like nurses and teachers were under-appreciated. Now we see them as heroes

All around the world, we see evidence of change and hope. And not only change in the course of the virus humankind is collectively fighting but also within some of the longest established political and economic structures of the world’s most powerful nations. There is so much more hope now than there was in 2019, even though society today feels as thought it’s been dragged through broken glass backwards.

You’ve got to break the bone to reset it so that it can heal properly. And that’s what 2020 has done in so many ways; though for many it must feel impossible to see and appreciate it. With time, we hope, you will.

For us here at dk villas, we see 2020 as an opportunity to learn, to become aware, and to practice gratitude for all the things we had before but didn’t appreciate, like friendship, connection, and good health. Now, with the festive season upon us, we would like to send our love to every one of you reading this and wish you a more hopeful perspective for the coming year. May 2021 see healing in all the ways that you and humankind require healing.

Merry Christmas and a much happier and healthier 2021 to you!