Christmas 2013

The Rissington Rag - December 2013 Rissington Inn Should the images for some reason not show, click here to view this email online

Welcome to the
Special Christmas 2013 Edition
of the much sought-after and unusually prompt
- Rissington Rag -
views and a little news
from your favourite Lowveld lodge ...

To unsubscribe, click the link at the bottom of the page
when you have finished reading the Rag
if you REALLY don't want to receive it ever again

THE GOOD NEWS : 2013 has now OFFICIALLY been Rissington's busiest year EVER!

And ... of course ... the long-expected BAD NEWS. Farewell Nelson Mandela! There will never be another like you. But how wrong can the world be? Everyone thought Madiba's death would destabilise our society and that we would descend into chaos but instead, while the rest of the world is mourning the death of our hero, we South Africans are holding a huge PARTY to celebrate his long and incredible life. And quite right too. I love this country! Anyway, on with the news ...

A Christmas Day in the Life of an Hotelier

I was accused of being grumpy in the last letter - I know, can you imagine it? - so here's some more upbeat stuff instead ...
It is 36 degrees - and not snowing at all - as I write this and the first Christmas cards have just arrived. South African Christmas cards, perversely, are always covered with snow just like anybody else's. And reindeer and robins. But not the white-browed robins we get at Rissington...
So yes, it's wonderful to be reminded of the fabulously Eurocentric nature of our celebrations. But surely the reindeer could be replaced by kudu and the snow by blazing sunshine with turkeys on the braai? Father Christmas could wear shorts. Here he is, below, ready to go on safari. He'll obviously be recounting his experiences on Twitter by the look of his rather splendid headgear...

Santa goes to Kruger - or is that David Bellamy?
Admittedly, it would have been winter, if not actually snowing, in Bethlehem at the time of Christ's birth, the star-gazing would have been a bit hit-and-miss and you'd have needed a fire around which to gather whilst flock-watching. And anyway who's to say that those shepherds weren't just about to indulge in the local Judean Desert equivalent of a fine Karoo lamb chop (and certainly not reindeer meat) on the fire when the Angel of the Lord popped in and interrupted the preparations. Here, in an unusually handy service from a South African hotel, is the REAL Christmas weather:

Weather Averages for Jerusalem in December

And since Christmas is a time of giving, of which Rissington has always been a great fan, if you are looking for an ideal Christmas present, why not give a Rissington T-shirt or baseball cap ... and on a more serious note, we support both a school and an orphanage so if you are coming this way, do bring old clothes and children's books. Not pads and pens. Why does everybody bring us pens? We have pens in Africa! And we live in the middle of the largest man-made forest in the world so we are not short of paper either!

A True Story from a Rissington Guest

The perfidious Car Hire companies give lots of advice (and charge plenty of surcharges) to safeguard their clients and to insure themselves against damage to their vehicles but some Rissington guests were given a most unusual piece of advice the other day when they picked up their hire car from Nelspruit Airport...
They asked, quite reasonably, like good responsible adults, what the drinking and driving laws were in this country.
"You are not allowed to drink and drive," the employee of the well-known, to-remain-unnamed Car Hire Company said. When pushed for clarification as to what the legal limits might be etc, he went on to explain that there were absolutely no limits of any kind on how much you were allowed to drink before driving - if you can still see you can drive - but if stopped by a traffic cop, it was important not to be caught with a drink actually in your hand when behind the wheel. He went onto explain to the incredulous visitors that simply putting your glass between your legs was not advisable when espying a traffic officer (because the contents might spill) so the best plan would be to pass it to the passenger to hold, or put it into the cup-holder. If you are sober enough to find it, presumably ...

Cybele Forest Lodge - The Sad Demise of an Icon

Forgive a self-indulgent moment ...
This driveway lined with giant turpentine trees and decked with jacaranda flowers once led to Cybele Forest Lodge, my alma mater. I started my career as an hotelier there in 1983, and over the intervening years, like me, dozens, if not hundreds of people learned the gentle art of hospitality there. And we learned it from Cybele's ground-breaking and inspirational owners, Rupert and Barbara Jeffries.
Sadly, as of last month, the great Cybele exists no longer, due to the sheer stupidity and incompetence of those in charge of South Africa's land reform programme. I had a final, somewhat-emotional lunch there the other day, just before the said owners of 34 years moved out and the community took over. The lodge is now closed, presumably for ever, as nobody in government is prepared to assist the successful land-claimants to equip, manage and run it.
In a strange way, as the sun sets over one of Africa's greatest hotels, I believe (and humbly hope) that Rissington may be able to continue and to immortalise some small part of Cybele's legacy. I worked there for about ten years, managing it for the last few of those and Rissington has now taken on a couple of the Cybele staff, made redundant by the chaotic events of the past year. I also believe, after 18 years of Rissington and with my 30-years in the industry, that Rissington is one of Hazyview's last two country lodge hotels in the old tradition. I hope this is a mantle we can wear with pride. (And I will leave it to you to guess which the other one might be!)

Rissington WIldlife

We have become used to our huge shuffling leguaan (monitor lizard), our mongoose and our duikers and we have had some lovely kingfisher sightings already this year, including both malachite and pygmy, but at the top of the wildlife list at the moment is a pair of zebras who frequently hang around on the open lawns in front of the lodge at dinner time, letting out occasional intriguing whoop-whoop calls. They sound like car alarms and have guests scurrying to disarm their vehicles! And they are regularly joined by 11 wildebeest. It's saving us a fortune in lawnmower repairs ...

Rissington's latest resident
We have also rebuilt two of the dams in the main Rissington donga (river-bed) in the hope that we might lure back a couple of hippos when the water levels rise after the rain. After all, what's the point of having a hippo fence if you don't have a hippo?

Upgrades and some Gluten-free Nonsense

This is the boring bit that you have to read in order to make reading this letter into real work, if you are in the travel industry, or tax-deductible if you are not.
So what have we just done to make Rissington even better? We have refurbished and rebuilt the bathrooms in the hillside suites, tiled the outside showers and around the bath, added more pictures and pot-plants and generally upgraded those rooms. In fact, we have improved the shelving in most of Rissington's bathrooms and added more plants, carvings and pictures throughout. And we have taken out a number of subscriptions to local and international magazines to improve the reading matter and improved the aesthetics (and the smell) by introducing flower arrangements into the dining room and the library as well as to our welcome notes in the rooms.
The gardens are still an absolute triumph after the last couple of years' massive improvements. The road is holding out fairly well and we have improved the signage on our entrance road with distance countdowns for those who find a kilometre on gravel to be a long way!
Under pressure from the afflicted, we have also introduced a menu where, in addition to our significant range of vegetarian dishes, we show the diabetic-friendly and gluten-free items. In addition, we are now keeping a permanent supply of wheat-less ricecakes (a bit like eating beige polystyrene coated with superglue) and, for the lactose intolerant, soy milk (which looks and tastes like whitewash). And on the subject of horrible food ...
You may have read on Rissington's Facebook page that the Kruger National Park's catering is to be outsourced to new service providers including Mugg & Bean and Wimpy. Despite the purists' horror, this has to be an improvement and apparently Wimpy has agreed to replace their signature red plastic seats with a far more tasteful khaki version.
Of course, Nando's would have been better but somehow didn't make it - and please stop being surprised that we have Nando's here in South Africa. Like Appletiser, we invented it. In 1987. We are surprised you have taken so long to catch on everywhere else!
And what did we get from you in exchange? McDonalds Drive-ins! A second of these abominations has just opened in Nelspruit. At least, in order to eat at most Nando's branches you need to be fit enough to walk inside the building and order your food. It can even involve standing up for a while too so you could lose a few calories while you wait.

The Where in the World Competition

We had many, many attempts at the September Where in the World competition (picture left) and the answers given ranged from the Lake District to Poland and New Zealand. The photograph was actually taken at Glendalough, the Valley of Two Lakes, in Ireland's County Wicklow. The winners - absolutely spot-on with their answer - are two of Rissington's most stalwart supporters over more than a decade: Carol and Richard Veitch. They win a three-night stay for two, bed and breakfast.
Here are this month's pictures. The six make up the Christmas Competition, which traditionally wins the bigger-than-usual prize of three nights, dinner, bed and breakfast, for up to four people in a hillside suite at Rissington (two bedrooms, two recently refurbished bathrooms, sitting room with television, outside shower, air-conditioning, private swimming pool).
Where were these six photographs taken? Click on the pic for a larger version:
Get your answer to before 15th January to go into the hat for the prize. And remember, even naming one of the above absolutely correctly might well be good enough to win the prize...

A New Website for Rissington

The new website is live with an exciting light and digestible look and dozens of fabulous new photographs. See it here Do have a look. Please. It looks so great and really shows us off at our best.
My old travel story website is also still up and running on and you can keep up with the Rissington Facebook page by clicking below. LIKE us please and keep up with very occasional relevant news.
And, as always, you can still download Do Not Take This Road to El-Karama (by Chris Harvie) onto your iPad or Kindle. Buy it on Kalahari here or on Amazon here.
I was also responsible for the written content on the new Kruger Lowveld site, which can be seen here on It is a great step forward in the marketing of our region.

On Yer Bike: Our Travels ...!

We are off to Tanzania for former colleague Anton du Toit's wedding to Katie Brice-Bennett at her family's hotel in Marangu, Tanzania, the best launch point for an assault on Kilimanjaro and - evidently - for an assault on a marriage. Look up the hotel's website here: Marangu Hotel. I will report back on the event in the March newsletter.
Some of the bureaucratic stuff was dealt with last month, at the Department of Home Affairs in Hazyview, when, among other dramas, the office’s glass front door fell off its hinges and the Very Important Presiding Official confused the ID books and accidentally almost caused Katie to be married to Anton's father.
During our travels, which will include a couple of nights at Tarangire Safari Lodge, we shall be following my friend Nic Andela's maps specially designed for tablet-users - that's iPad owners, not the takers of Statins, Viagra, Prozac and Doxycycline. Keen travellers can download the maps HERE.

Give me your tired, your poor huddled masses, yearning to breathe free ...

The view from Rissington under a brooding sky
We continue to keep our rates down and our menu and drinks prices are also still unchanged. For the latest prices, check the website. And remember that we offer a corporate rate for people staying on business and generous discounts and upgrades to returning guests.
We also have space for one gap year student from March onwards and another from July. So if you know someone young, useful, intelligent and insightful who is at a loose end, ask them to get in touch with us.

Baobab room - complete with Baobab tree
And my Guest Quote of the Month from a departure note: "We had an excellent stay! The frog/lizard droppings here and there were surprisingly big, but they were always taken care of during the day. Thank you!" There you have it. Huge poos. The terrors of the bush.
Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.
Come and see us in 2014. It'd be madness not to ...
Chris the almost half-centurion, Hlengiwe who is about to take in her fourth and fifth African country, Swirly Shirley, Kevin from Barberton who was kidnapped by a 9-year-old and a 10-year old on his 20th birthday but survived, Sipho who turned 50 in November putting him only a few months ahead of me, Kanan the Barbarian, Nikiwe (formerly of Cybele), Thandi the Head Chef, Cindy, Gertie (formerly of Cybele), Yvonne, Emelda, Betty, Thuli, Gladys, Sanny, Zenzile, Sisters Ntombifuthi (Foots) and Nokuthula (Noggs), Patience, Joseph, Aubrey, Sbusiso, Patrick, Rasta (whose real name, we have discovered to our amusement, is William) and Simon (formerly if Cybele). Not forgetting Hans and Stefan, the twins who are helping out over Christmas. And of course JJ who is the school's top player of kickball, whatever that it is. And Bull, the dog, who is a great and patient mentor to Rusty, JJ's messy new Jack Russell puppy!
And in fond memory of Cassim Mhlanga, who has left us for a better place. In our pre-wildebeest days, he pushed a lawn mower much larger than himself around the lawns at Rissington, day after day, from December 2001 until two days before he died in October.
And, of course, RIP Nelson Mandela. In his own words, dating back to 1994, he is "Free At Last".
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October 2013

Welcome to the October 2013 edition of the much sought-after Rissington Rag
News and Irreverence from the Proprietor of the South Africa's most lekker Lowveld lodge ...

when you have finished reading the Rag
if you REALLY don't want to receive it ever again

Rissington is still expecting to record its best year ever
and it is looking better than it has ever looked.
Here's the news ...

A Day in the Life of an Hotelier

After last month's menu discussions, I thought it might alarm and amuse you to hear about some of the trickier situations we have recently faced and which have tested our customary diplomacy. Here are a couple of examples ...
  • A guest last night actually had the gall to ask us to collect his Debonair's takeaway pizza from his room and heat it up for him as it had become cold on the way back from town. And, yes, of course we agreed to do so. And delivered it back. Free of charge. With the clever little red dot on the box showing it was hot enough to eat in case he asked us for his money back.
  • We offered a couple of regulars a free lunch during their stay - out of sheer goodwill - and they took it. Two Roast Beef, Sun-dried Tomato and Rocket Salads and a couple of puddings. Cost R130. The next day they ordered two picnics to the value of R140 and asked if they could swap and take that as the free lunch instead of the previous day's meal, thus saving themselves R10! It was a gift! What a cheek!
  • Who swiped the plastic Addis water bottle from the Baobab room's bar fridge for heaven's sake? They cost less than R50. If you can afford to go on holiday, you can afford to buy your own water bottle, can't you?
  • And to the person who nicked my complete collection of old Zimbabwean banknotes from the loo (but left the frame), you are as worthless as they are. Should you find a $100 trillion note on your kid's bedroom wall, explain that it's not worth the paper it is printed on as shown in this page from The Zimbabwean newspaper. And ask where it came from!
End of rant.

Reasons to be Positive about South Africa

There's so much bad news and cynicism around and yes, South Africa obviously still faces some very serious issues. HIV/AIDS comes to mind. Prevalence in the province of Mpumalanga stands at 23%, apparently, but the major positive change is the increasingly successful de-stigmatisation of the disease. We have come a long way from the days of our fruitcake former president who denied the link between HIV and AIDS and his equally bonkers late health minister who claimed that AIDS was particularly prevalent in Africa because the down-trodden masses couldn't afford televisions and turned instead to rampant sex with multiple partners. The same woman advocated a diet of garlic, olive oil and lemon juice to cure the disease. Barking, both of them.
Meanwhile, whereas only a few years ago we were losing several members of staff every year, most of them dying as a result of HIV/AIDS-related illness, no-one on the team has died for two years and a couple of staff members have visibly bounced back from death's door as a result of prescribed anti-retrovirals. It is very exciting. Education is working, at least in that field, even if much of it comes from us, the employers, and not from the government.
Rissington has always been an optimistic organisation when it comes to the future of South Africa and we post frequent good news in our guest information and on the loo walls. For a batch of recently-updated uplifting facts and dozens of other positive aspects of South Africa - and there are lots of them - visit my website HERE
It will make you feel better.

What makes South Africa different?

Apart from the obvious, of course, which is that we are the only country in the world that has a president who has no formal education, has had 6 wives, one of whom killed herself rather than live with him, and for whom, when you type in his name on Google, the first suggestion to come up is Jacob Zuma shower.
Well, apart from that, I think it comes down to our hospitable people and to an unusual subtlety and gentleness in our approach to looking after guests. We talk about Guests. Not Clients. Everyone who visits Rissington is our Guest. It's an interesting distinction, isn't it? In South Africa we don't have Tourists (or Grockles, as they say in the West Country). We have Overseas Visitors. And some Adventurers and Explorers.
We are in the Hospitality Industry. Not the Tourism Industry. And there lies the difference. It strikes me as uniquely South African. Am I wrong?

Rissington Wildlife

The birds are flooding back, just as the tourists are - sorry, the visitors - to avoid the increasingly chilly northern hemisphere winters, which, bizarrely, are apparently caused by global warming. Here's a pair of black-collared barbets in the bonny bean tree by the Rissington pool, as taken by our very own Kevin from Barberton:
We have a pair of magnificent fish eagles which swoop and call above Rissington almost every day. Our crocodile seems to have disappeared, hopefully not onto the same neighbour's dinner plate as three of our hippos, but we have had some lovely mongoose sightings, including a white-tailed mongoose, we have seen a honey badger and whilst we knew we had a number of common (grey) duiker, JJ cleverly snapped this much rarer red duiker in the donga between my house and the rooms the other morning.
And the government has removed, free-of-charge, all the lantana and other invasive plant species from the Rissington property, so our undergrowth is recovering fast. There. More South African good news.

Lowveld Loving

It is a mystery to me how many people from Johannesburg and Pretoria arrive in our region, known as the Lowveld, especially in the winter, and announce that they haven't been here since a school trip in the 1970s. Where have you been going for your holidays in the meantime? Do you go to the Hartebeespoort Dam every weekend? How could you? Or are you joining the caravanner gangs in Warmbaths aka Bela-Bela? Or the coffee and cake brigade in the Magaliesberg?
Well, I have to tell you that the Lowveld is much more exciting. We have - obviously - the world's third largest canyon, the MacMac Falls, Pilgrim's Rest and so on. All the stuff you know about. But we also have the magnificent 165-hectare Lowveld National Botanical Gardens with its giant collection of cycads. We have the Samora Machel monument near Komatipoort - probably the coolest monument I have ever seen. The Sabie River Valley apparently has more than 800 species of butterfly and, bird-wise, the elusive Narina Trogon is easily visible from the superb Skyway Trail.
We also have a string of amazing, galleries, potteries, craft shops and furniture makers. So forget about visiting every 20 years. Come every year. Several times. And to keep up with the news, download the FREE Lowveld Living App onto your tablet or phone to see what you are missing. Available from the App Store. It's our local lifestyle magazine and it is brimming with temptations. I even used to write for them, but they fired me, years ago, for being politically incorrect. Ag well. Nothing wrong with that.
Oh, and we have this thing called the Kruger National Park, home to 336 tree species, 34 amphibians, 114 reptiles, 507 different bird species and 147 mammals. You should try it. It's very popular and it's only a ten minute drive from Rissington. You too could take pictures like this one, taken near Biyamiti:
Like all such shots, it looks as if she is roaring but she is actually just having a bit of a yawn. A bit like a weekend anywhere other than in Lowveld, I guess.

The Where in the World Competition

The answer to the July Where in the World competition: Charlie and my late Land Rover, Larry, are standing on Chapman's Peak Drive, looking out to sea beyond Hout Bay's Sentinel. The winners of a three-night stay for two, bed and breakfast are John and Marie Roux, who coincidentally also sent some very fine pics in response to our appeal for photos of Rissington. Come and stay, any time you like.
Here's this month's picture:
It's tricky (but a wonderful picture) so I will accept a very broad answer. Even a country, if you can't get any closer than that. Get your answer to before the end of October to go into the hat for the prize. A three-night stay for two at Rissington on a bed and breakfast basis is again up for grabs.

A new website on the way for Christmas

We have now decided to redesign our website completely and employed the services of the Lowveld's favourite photography and website creation team, Chris and Derek from Artography and Webthings, to take some new fresh photos and to redesign our look. Their challenge is to show off Rissington at its best, to use photographs to demonstrate fine hospitality (tricky one) and to emphasise our open space and fabulous views. We have been told hundreds of times that our website undersells us and we are going to put that right.
A couple of Chris's and Derek's photos feature in this newsletter including this interior shot. (NB new bedside reading lights, for those who have been requesting them. We have put them into all our rooms.)
They also took the pool shot at the top and the dusk shot at the bottom. The new website will be launched before Christmas but to see more of their pics, in the meantime, visit our Facebook page by clicking on the logo below. And LIKE us please. We have some good controversial stuff on the page from time to time, including my latest run-in with a former guest on TripAdvisor (I don't think I have ever been hated so much by somebody who had never met me!) and my article in the Sunday Times (RSA) on the subject of that website, published yesterday, which is taking the tourism industry by storm. Take a look HERE - and see how Rissington's loyal supporters react with outrage. Share please. And we'd like to go over 500 LIKES. I am told it is important.
And, as always, you can still download Do Not Take This Road to El-Karama (by Chris Harvie) onto your iPad or Kindle. Buy it on Kalahari here or on Amazon here.

On Yer Bike: Staff Travels ...!

Hlengiwe and Sammie just came back from Swaziland, where they narrowly avoided being roped into the Reed Dance and married off to His Majesty King Mswati III. What a loss that would have been. They loved their stays at Foresters Arms and Mlilwane and paid a legitimate R60 speeding fine right at the border. Beware!
I went to Rocktail Bay and Tembe Elephant Park. The latter is a really great find. A good quality community project with great accommodation and some huge, huge tuskers and more nyala than I have ever seen anywhere. For more information on my other discoveries, look at my website and read the pieces as I get around to writing about my experiences. In the meantime, here's some advice from a loo in Mozambique's Niassa National Park.
Is it is a pun to say The Mind Boggles?

Come and stay ...

We are keeping our rates down, as usual, with our cheapest rooms staying unchanged once again at only R500 per person per night and our menu and drinks prices also unchanged. And remember that we offer a corporate rate for people staying on business and generous discounts and upgrades to returning guests. Even if they haven't been to the Lowveld for ages. And Rissington has plenty of those. Can you believe we are 18 years old this month?
As one regular guest said the other day: "Rissington is like a leather glove; it just fits perfectly."
I liked that.
Come and see us. It'd be madness not to ...
Chris the TripAdvisor Warrior, Hlengiwe the Explorer who recently conquered Swaziland, Swirly Shirley, Kevin from Barberton, Skinny Sheila, Sipho who is still married nearly a year on, Kanan the Zambian who announced himself on his new Twitter account as a Barrister but has now corrected it to Barista, Sammie from Rick Stein’s and Will the Gapper, Thandi, Cindy whose ever-increasing wealth means she nicks my parking place, Dudu, Yvonne, Emelda (our new chef), Betty, Thuli, Gladys, Sanny, Zenzile, Sisters Ntombifuthi (Foots) and Nokuthula (Noggs), Joseph, Cassim, Aubrey, Sbusiso, Patrick and Rasta. And of course JJ who won Cricketer of the Season this term. I am more excited about that than I am about any other of his school achievements. And Bull, the dog, who is not good at cricket, but passable at Frisbee-dodging.

July 2013

Welcome to the July 2013 edition of the much sought-after Rissington Rag And now (honestly) for something completely different ...

To unsubscribe, click the link at the bottom of the page
when you have finished reading the Rag

Rissington is so busy we have decided to celebrate by giving you an absolutely minimal amount of Marketing News and lots of other interesting stuff instead.
So here goes...

A Day in the Life of an Hotelier

In place of the usual comic stories about hotel life (you'll have to wait for my next book for that) I thought I would share a couple of old menus to titillate your taste buds. Firstly, here is Rissington's Menu from when we opened 18 years ago in September 1995. It was a fixed price affair, hand-written, and cost R45:

Chilled Avocado Bisque
With Extra Fresh Cream
And finely Chopped Herbs (R5)
Gently fried Mushrooms topped with a Dill and Anchovy Cream,
Served with finely Chopped Parsley
On a round of Toasted Home-made Whole-wheat Bread (R10)
Rissington's own World-class Bobotie,
Rich with interesting Fruits and Spices
And served with Today's Fresh Vegetables (R25)
Caramelised Brandy Oranges topped with Fresh Cream (R5)
Filter Coffee or Twinings Tea (included)
Wow! What a great healthy menu. Plenty of cream but, what, I wonder, was Extra Fresh Cream? There's lots of Topping and Fine Chopping. Worse still, I put Brandy Oranges on the Menu? Who did I think I was? Robert Carrier? Or The Galloping Gourmet? And then, at the bottom stood the words Get In with the Inn Crowd. Oh dear! You could tell I was eventually going to be a writer from the fabulous turn of phrase...
Here's another one. This menu, from The Carlton Hotel, Johannesburg, dates back to 1963:
Bear in mind that the weekly wage earned by a manual worker was then R9 per week. Hmmm.
And finally here's the 1983 Menu - the so-called Bill of Fare - at Nelspruit's sadly-defunct Red Lion Tavern:

Red Lion Tavern

Bill of Fare


Asparagus á la Caréme
R 3,00
Room van Aspersies
Turtle a la reine
R 3.00
Skilpad "a la reine"
Consommé Nouvelle Régime
R 3,00
Helder "Nouvelle Regime"
Chicken Broth
R 3,00
Mushroom De Couche
R 3,00
Room van Sampieone
Leek Potage
R 3,00
Dik Preisop
Lobster Bisque
R 3,50
Lobster Bisque
Hors D'Oevre
Rolled Ham & Asparagus
R 4,75
Ham en Aspersie Rolletjies
Hot Asparagus Spears in butter sauce
R 4,25
Warm Aspersie in bottersous
Fresh Oysters per 1/2 Doz.
Vars Oesters, per 1/2 dos.
Pate Maison
R 3,75
Paté "Maison"
Smoked Trout "Horseradish"
R 4,75
Gerookte Forel met peperwortels
Smoked Salmon "Caviar"
R 5,25
Gerookte Salm met Kaviaar
Seafood Fantasy
R 4,50
Seekos fantasie
Escargots Au Gratin
R 4,50
"Escargots Au Gratin"
Braised Celery Hearts
R 4,25
Gesmoorde seldery harte
Grapefruit Cocktail
R 2,75
Pomelo Kelkie
Coquille St. Jacques
R 4,75
Coquille St. Jacques
Crayfish Mayonnaise
Kreef Mayonnaise
Crayfish A'la Meuniere
Kreef "Meuniere"
Grilled Prawns Portuguese Style
Gebraaide Garnale Portugese
Per Doz.
Manier per Dos.
Grilled Langoustines
Gebraaide "Langoustines"
Kingklip St. Geran or Mornay
R 7,75
Koningklip "St Geran of Mornay"
Sole a la Provencale
R 8,25
Tongvis "a la Provencale"
Sole Waleska
R 9,25
Tongvis "Waleska"
Sole Maniere
R 7,95
Tongvis gemarineerd
Almond Trout
R 6,95
Forel met amandel
Coquille St. Jacques (Grandé)
R 8,25
"Coquille St. Jacques" (Grandé)
Poultry/ Pluimvee
Duckling bordelaise
R 7,50
Jongeend met wynsous
Duckling with Peas
R 7,50
Jongeend met ertjies
Chicken Peri-Peri
R 7,50
Hoender Peri-Peri
Chicken Gabrielle
R 7,50
Hoender "Gabrielle"
With Prawns
R 6,25
Met Garnale
With Mushrooms
R 5,75
Met Sampioene
With Cheese
R 5,75
Met Kaas
With Ham
R 5,75
Met Ham
Fillet Steak Poivre
R 9,00
Beeshaas met sous
Entrecote Steak
R 8,25
Grilled Rump
R 8,25
Gebraade Kruisskyf
Rump with Sauce
R 8,75
Kruisskyf met sous
Garlic sauce, Mushroom sauce
Knoffelsous, Sampioensous
Pepper sauce, Cheese sauce
Perersous, Kaasous
wine sauce
King Steak
Koning Biefstuk
to fill your plate
om u bord te vul
Tournados Beaugency
R 9,50
"Tournados Beaugency"
Lamb Chops Rosemary
R 8,50
Rosemarie Lamskottelette
Roast Beef and Mustard
R 7,75
Geroosterde Beesvleis & Wortels
Braised Ox Tongue
R 8,00
Gesmoorde Beestong
Braised Ox Tail
R 8,00
Gesmoorde Beesstert
Roast Pork and Apple Sauce
R 7,75
Geroosted Varkvleis met Appelsous
Rabbit Coquibes
R 7,75
Haas "Coquibes"
Rabbit Casarole
R 7,75
Haas Kaserol
Homemade Apple Pie & Cream
R 2,25
Tuisgemaakte Appletert met Room
Cherries Flambé
R 2,50
Kersies Flambé
Red Lion Logolla
R 2,50
Rooi Leeu "Logolla"
Stawberries with Cream (in season)
R 2,25
Aarbeie mer room (in seisoen)
Ice Cream with Hot Choc. Sauce
R 1,95
Roomys met warm sjokoladesous
Haig Plaige
R 2,25
"Haig Plaige"
Sherry Trifle
R 2,25
Irish, French, Jamaican, Russian
R 2,25
Ierse, Franse, Jamaika, Russies
and Liqueur Coffees
en Likeur-koffies
Filtered Coffee
R 0,60
gefiltreerde koffie
A Selection of Local
'n Verskeidenheid van
and Imported Cheeses
R 2,25
ingevoerde Kase
Only Red Room
Luncheon Menu/Middagete Spyskaart
Steak & Kidney Pie
R 4,75
Beeshaas- en Niertjie-paté
Curry & Rice
R 4,75
Kerrie & Rys
Sausage & Mash
R 4,75
Wors & Kapokaartappels
Cold Platter
R 4,75
Lewer & uie
Mini Carvery
R 4,75
Mini Vleis-buffet
Salad Bar
R 4,75
For all outside catering
requirements contact
us at 26951
Vir alle spyseniering
kontak ons by 26951
Sales Tax Excluded
Verkoopbelasting uitgesluit

French- and Afrikaans-speakers will take particular pleasure in some of the unusual translations, the punctuation and the chronic accent abuse but either way there are some ideas to be conjured with. I love the ‘King Steak to fill your Plate' and I wish I could remember what a Red Lion Logolla was. And a Haig Plaige. We were hooked on the place and went for lunch every week on our marathon Nelspruit shopping trip from Cybele. The Coquilles St Jacques - shellfish topped with cheese and grilled in a kind of ashtray - were delicious. We always went for the "Grandé" !
On a more serious and up-to-date note, for anybody visiting the Cape and looking for an unforgettable meal, I cannot recommend too strongly the Tasting Menu at the Haute Cabrière restaurant in Franschhoek. See above and click on the barrels to visit their website. Food and Wine combinations to send your taste buds soaring and enough coulis, drizzled oils and green foam to sink 'The Flying Dutchman'.

Weather Envy and a Currency Check

The R500 per person Bed and Breakfast cost of staying in the cheapest rooms at Rissington at the current exchange rate works out at approx £33 or €38 or US$50. And our weather in winter is as good, in many cases, as a Northern Hemisphere summer's day. Compare your weather today with ours by clicking HERE. See how it says No Rain, No Rain, No Rain. It is a gloriously sunny day today and bear in mind that we are always a good 3 degrees warmer than the website claims so, for interest's sake here are a couple more useful facts:
  • Ice cream at Rissington costs £1.60. A half-decent ice cream in London is £7 plus 30p for each extra topping. An ice cream in Rome (according to The Guardian) last week cost a 'whopping' £13.50. That's just over R200!
  • A fine South African beer at Rissington costs R12 which is £0.80 or US$1.20. A Coke at the Royal Livingstone Hotel in Livingstone, Zambia, costs US$6.50. A good beer in London is £6.00. A cheap-cheap beer (Pabst) in New York would cost you US$3 (as well as being undrinkable and labelling you an alcoholic).
  • Point made.

Chris becomes Something of an Interior Designer

I was actually talked into this moment of drama by Molly, my Indian style-guru at Valencia Wholesalers in Nelspruit. I would never have dared to do it on my own. New cushions in the sitting room (and new pool cushions in the background). I have to give it to her - although she has never been to Rissington, it's a big improvement on the striped 1980s stuff we had before and gives a welcome dash of colour to our best (and least-used) room.
Also, do you know of a good furniture-restorer? I am looking for someone to restore an antique writing bureau desk. I'd pay the going rate and offer a room at Rissington if they can come and collect. Please email with any suggestions. Thanks!

The Battle of The Gappers - the Result and an Appeal

Our gappers continue to give us and our guests a great deal of pleasure. The recently home-departed Alice and Charlie were reconciled after the childhood battles we revealed in the last newsletter; so much so that we all visited the Cape together before I put them on separate planes to the UK where they are currently gearing up for university. Both of them did us proud and we wish them well for the future. I am sure they will be back.

Alice and Charlie on the Robberg Hike, Plettenberg Bay.
Sammie Swabey, who arrived a month or so ago from Cornwall, is our most highly-qualified gapper ever, with two years' experience under her belt working at Rick Stein's restaurant in Padstow. She's a total star.
Our gapper roles are filled until July 2014 and include some English lads, a Welsh boyo (Siwrne dda!) and, over Christmas, Hans and Stefan Minnaar - a pair of twins from Graaff-Reinet. So we really shall be seeing double. If you know of anybody looking for a 3-6 month stint in Africa between school and university (or after university) next year, please put them in touch with me. It's great fun, offers good experience in management at an early age and it inevitably also gives them a few good travel jollies as well. Remember the rules: No problem children. If you don't know what do with your errant son or daughter for six months, then neither do we!

Corrupt Cops

It is a never-ending source of shame to us South Africans that the number of reported cases of corruption amongst police and traffic officers in South Africa is increasing sharply.

I fear the Police and the gifts they seek
When travelling on our roads please, please... Never ever pay cash to a traffic officer
  • If a traffic officer tries to extract a cash payment from you, insist on accompanying him or her to the nearest police station. He or she will almost certainly give up.
  • To dispute the fine, you will have to go to a police station
  • Remember - corrupt traffic officers are already nervous of being caught, so take down registration and badge numbers and watch their confidence wilt.
Only by standing up to these appalling scourges of our society can we puncture their arrogant and corrupt ways. Everyone can do their bit. Two very determined Rissington guests were so horrified to learn that they had unknowingly paid a bribe to the cops in Graskop last month that they went up again the next day and demanded their money back. And got it, too!
If you get the impression I feel strongly about this... YES I DO. I hate these leeches as much as I hate People who Skype in Public Places.

The Where in the World Competition

The Answer to the April 'Where in the World' competition - JJ, Oscar and HM The Queen (Please Stand) plus a corgi (or is it a dorgi?) are photographed in Bachelor's Acre, Windsor, Berkshire. Patricia and Benny Catteeuw-Duthoo, from Adinkerke in Belgium, win a three-night stay for two, bed and breakfast. They also win the prize for the largest number of double letters in a surname ever in the history of mankind.
In case you missed it, click on the picture above for another opportunity to view JJ's entire holiday homework slide show on YouTube.
Here's this month's picture of the now-home and therefore-lamented Gapper Charlie and my late Land Rover. Cool picture, hey? But does anybody know where they are standing?
Get the right answer to before the end of August to go into the hat for the prize. A three-night stay for two at Rissington on a bed and breakfast basis is up for grabs.

Send us your Pictures and Win a Prize

We also want your best Rissington photos, so that we can see how you see us through the lens of your camera. Please email your favourite shots – only a few really good ones per person please – which best show Rissington as you loved it. There will be a suitable prize for any photos used in our marketing material (so please don't send them unless you are happy for us to use them).

Rissington's Best Year Ever Continues

We are sailing towards our best year ever (by far) and we are very grateful to all of those loyal folk who keep coming back. There are more and more of you and I always think it is such a great tribute to the team here that the number of returning guests continues to rise. New tariffs are available until end October 2015. Let us know if you need them. We have frozen the rates in the courtyard rooms again and also in the larger rooms.
Remember that we always offer upgrades to the best rooms and discounts to returning guests and favoured tour operators whenever we can and that we have a corporate rate for bona fide businesspeople. To stir a few memories, have a look at the website
Our Facebook page still gives details of last minute deals and occasional tantalising photos. Sign up below. The Twitter account sends out very occasional opinions and humour but no celebrity nonsense. Become a follower to keep up with us – click on the logo below – but if you are interested in Justin Bieber or the Kardashians, follow them instead.
We have just been awarded Trip Advisor's Certificate of Excellence for 2013. If you are really desperate for something to do, you can catch up on the latest reviews by clicking on their logo above. And you can still download Do Not Take This Road to El-Karama (by Chris Harvie) onto your iPad or Kindle. Buy it on Kalahari here or on Amazon here.

On Yer Bike: Chris's Travels... and Hlengiwe's!

I have just been to the Cape in winter and do you know it really wasn't that bad? The weather was considerate, the flowers were out and the roads were empty. If you are looking for a really great place so stay around Plettenberg Bay, I strongly recommend a few days (or weeks) at Fairview in The Crags. Deep in the fynbos, this gracious home gives you the chance to imagine that you have your own baronial manor on the Garden Route … Click on the Fairview logo below to visit the website:
For more information on my other discoveries, look at my website and read the pieces as I get around to writing about my experiences. Forget the Blog. I stopped that long ago. I am however now blogging on the Portfolio website. You can catch up with those tourism-related thoughts by following Portfolio on Twitter or clicking on their logo here:
Hlengiwe, the sharpest pin in the Rissington box, has also become a traveller and is just back from Zimbabwe. I offered her a free holiday because she has had such a busy year on reservations and filling in for me in my absence. She went to Victoria Falls, was completely blown away by the friendliness and diligence of the Zimbabwean people and even ended up having lunch with the Zimbabwean Minister of Tourism. She is definitely the coolest person I know.

Come and stay ...

Winter Sunshine
We look forward to seeing you. We offer fantastic value and great hospitality and the food gets better and better. And, even more interestingly, remember that guests who stay three nights or more get to choose the special at dinner, on their their last night, from a wide range of old favourites and new ideas.
There. A different kind of Newsletter. Finally, a comment in the Visitors Book from a Colombian guest a few weeks ago: We love it here. Very nice staffs and you have an uncommon sense of humour. Followed by this morning's Dutch guest who wrote Thank you for the very good hospital.
Well, I don't know. But we try.
Come and see us. It'd be madness not to ...
Chris, Hlengiwe the Explorer who has just come back from Zimbabwe, Swirly Shirley, Kevin from Barberton, Skinny Sheila, Sipho, Kanan the Barbarian who has a new Barack Obama hairstyle in honour of that President’s visit, Sammie (Star) and Will the Gappers, Thandi, Cindy, Dudu, Yvonne, Zelly, Hendrina, Betty, Thuli, Gladys, Sanny, Zenzile, Sisters Ntombifuthi (Foots) and Nokuthula (Noggs), Joseph, Cassim, Aubrey, Sbusiso, Patrick and Rasta. And of course JJ who had an absolutely great mid-year school report. And Bull, the dog, whose report, if he had one, would say that he is becoming braver when faced with small children. This is where he and I differ.