River Place Manor, where the wind blows gently on our skin, the crisp temperature reminds us that winter is still saying its last farewells as it kisses our cheeks before night falls. We watch as the sky slowly turns a collection of shades, from pink to orange, igniting what is left of the day’s visible sky.
A sip of wine from the on-site vineyards, a bite to eat and the flame from an oil burner bringing us warmth, happiness and comfort as we dine along the banks of the mighty Orange River.
The accumulation of our never-ending to-do-list begins to fade as stress from the outside world falls away from our shoulders. We are fully immersed in the ‘now.’
Months of preparation, emails, hope, fear and faith had led us to this moment. The ban on travel had somewhat been eased and interprovincial travel was once more allowed.
We eagerly packed our bags, did a few last-minute checks, said a quick prayer and we were on our way. Our 64-Day South African Road Trip had begun, our biggest South African adventure yet… one that would highlight the beauty that South Africa has to offer, and, along with that, the incredible people in our tourism industry who showcase the best of our country.
Our first mission was to explore South Africa’s outback, the Northern Route, on a hunt to find the flourishing wildflowers of the Namaqualand, and as long as we were travelling up North, we wanted to see the Orange River in all of its glory.
Fun Fact: The Orange River is the longest river in South Africa and the only city that it runs through is Upington.
The decision was practically made for us, Upington it was.
Not very long after that, we found our Orange River oasis. River Place Manor, a modern, lush escape perched along the edge of the river itself.
Talking to Piet and Ronel, the owners of River Place Manor, you can clearly see the love and deep connection that they have with this place.
Purchased in 1968 by Piet’s father, the building of the original family home was finally finished in September 1973, a year after the completion of the Verwoerd Dam (now called the Gariep Dam) which was meant to tame the mighty Orange River.
However, in February 1974, they had one of the worst floods. The water rose to a meter deep in their home, taking a week to subside. Restoration took 6 months.
This family home, now turned guesthouse, has stood the test of time, again and again, standing up to the Orange River in the face of a number of floods throughout the years.
Living here on the banks of the Orange River does come with its own perks. As children, growing up here with your siblings must have provided endless adventures whilst playing along the banks, swimming, fishing and other fun activities.
Gratefully, Piet and Ronel, have now opened their doors and given us the opportunity to enjoy it.
River Place Manor is a 5-Star Guesthouse with 15 rooms.
It has modern, minimalistic styling along with lush green gardens (if you visit in the summer). There is an infinity pool where you can take a dip, relax and admire the river in front of you.
Fun Fact: As you enter the property, the long driveway takes you past their vineyard which produces grapes for nearby wineries.
There are three different types of rooms on offer:
Standard Rooms: These are the cheapest option and do not look out onto the river, rather the vineyards on the property. They also do not have their own balcony.
Deluxe Rooms: This is where we stayed. They are spacious, have a kitchenette, a bathroom with a shower and a patio with chairs and a table overlooking the river.
Superior Rooms: They offer a little more luxury. The bathrooms include a bath and the rooms have a little more space, as well as a small lounge/ seating area inside. The balconies are a little bigger and overlook the river. These also have their own built-in braai on the patio.
Where you should stay depends on your visit. Of course, we would always say go superior because everyone has to admit the fancier side looks more appealing, however, if you are looking for a simple stopover, all you really need is a standard or deluxe room. They are still beautiful. If you plan on staying for the weekend and braaing with your family, then definitely the superior.
Enjoy a snack platter, drink some wine from the Orange River Wine Cellar and chat while watching the sun go down.
You have to canoe on the river, whether it’s just for pleasure or to race your partner up and down the river. If it wasn’t for that chilly winter nip, we would be full-on competitive mode on the water.
In summer you could literally spend the whole day just lazing about the pool! Doesn’t it look inviting?
They do offer breakfast, lunch and dinner which you can eat in the dining room, on the patio, or as room service. However, unfortunately, these are not covered as part of your stay and you will have to pay extra to include them.
For breakfast, you have the option of a continental buffet consisting of your regular options like fruit, yoghurt, muesli, baked goods, juice, coffee, tea etc. You can also have your choice of hot breakfast. Think farm style, family cooking.
Lunch is not a meal generally offered, but if you are feeling peckish, you are more than welcome to order a light meal, like a toasted sandwich, to enjoy, whilst you are lazing about the pool soaking up the sun.
Currently, due to lockdown, their dinner services are not up and running just yet.
There are alternatives:
River Place Manor was a great first stop on our 64-day road trip. It was our first time to unwind since lockdown. If you live near the Upington area, consider a weekend away and escape your normal weekend routine.
If you decide to visit River Place Manor, please tell us about your experience in the comments below!
Disclosure: We received a sponsored stay at River Place Manor in exchange for this written article and inclusion in our video travel guide series. We always give our honest opinions and beliefs on products and services; our views, reviews and opinions are entirely our own. See our Disclaimer Policy for more info.