Luxury in Ladybrand-Gutsy Living

Bedroom Cranberry

After six months in Lesotho, I was finally allowed to leave the country, and spend a luxury day in Ladybrand, South Africa. I took one vacation day to cross the border for a haircut, a massage a pedicure, and some good food.

Thanks to another Peace Corps friend, I booked a room at Cranberry Cottage, a serene, boutique-style hotel, with beautiful gardens, the sound of water trickling from fountains, and a spa.

Cranberry gardens

My room was pure luxury with a shower, TV and a firm mattress. I could not believe how lucky I was to find such a deal for $32 on the website: My Peace Corps friend, Marybeth, told me about this site.

The first thing I longed for after crossing the border was a good cup of coffee. I headed down the wooden steps to the coffee shop, nestled among the trees, where the fountain and soft music put me in a relaxed mood. I had one hour before heading to the wellness center for my massage and pedicure, and decided to do something quite unusual for me; I ordered cake for lunch. I normally order healthy salads, but the waitress told me their carrot cake, and cheesecake were the best, so I thought, what the heck, I haven’t had cake in ages.

Carrot cake

Best carrot cake ever!

After my massage, pedicure and yes, I added a facial, all for less than $60, I called the artist I wanted to meet who lives in Ladybrand.

Her name is Thandi Sliepen, and I found out about her paintings from the French lady who owns Morija Guest House, where I stayed during Easter. Thandi invited me for dinner, and I had a wonderful time looking at her art gallery, and discussing life topics. We have become good friends, and I am taking some of her prints back to decorate my “future” home, wherever I end up after the Peace Corps. I love African art, and portraits like the one of this man.


Thandi, and her painting that I love.

Thandi told me that she met him, took his photo, and this has turned out to be one of her most popular portraits. I just love the expression she captured in his eyes.

It was late when Thandi drove me back to Cranberry Cottage, but that did not stop me from ordering a drink at the bar, and going to my room to watch CNN. I have missed the news on TV for the past six months, however, CNN kept showing the refugees on the island of Lesbos, and I was craving some U.S. political news about the upcoming elections.

The following morning, I had another amazing cup of coffee, with real cream, and fresh yoghurt, fruit and granola.

I could not wait to meet Joan, the English hairdresser recommended by several expats in Lesotho, and to get my first haircut and a weave since I came to Lesotho. I don’t care if you think this is luxury and a waste of money for a Peace Corps volunteer, but I still want to look my best. It makes me happy, so why not do something that makes me feel good about myself. As the ad says, “I’m worth it.”

I felt as though Joan and I have been friends for a long time. She has her own salon in Ladybrand, called “A Cut A-Buv.” She trained in Liverpool, London, Paris and Berlin, and worked in a salon in a 7-star hotel in Dubai. I didn’t know that 7-star hotels existed.

I wish I could pop over to Ladybrand to spend time with my new friends, but this means taking a vacation day, and Peace Corps only allows us two days a month. Weekends do not count as holidays so I have to save my 2 days a month to visit my dad, three sons, and all my wonderful friends in Paris and California, this July.





Comments (8)

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  1. dkzody says:

    Definitely not a waste of money. You have been working so hard, and I can’t imagine going six months without a hair appointment. Good for you to take some time to refresh your spirit.
    dkzody recently posted..If it still works My Profile

  2. Jennifer Graham says:

    What a wonderful well deserving treat and pampering after roughing it for so long! Save those days for Cape Town next Feb! It will be well worth it! That’s a promise ???

  3. Getting pampered with friends – a refreshing idea. Your story and photos invited me to join you.
    marian beaman recently posted..Any Hats in Your History?My Profile

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