Lornae and Simon Lowe are usually on the receiving side of the reception desk. The couple own and manage Aspen Manor Motel on Hamilton’s Grey Street and are used to greeting guests and telling them what Hamilton has to offer.
Recently they turned the tables and went from hosts to travellers when they packed their bags and embarked on a three-week holiday in South Africa.
Travelling with three young children could have been a challenge in itself. However, Lornae grew up in South Africa and has family in Port Elizabeth, a popular seaside city on the Eastern Cape.
“It was lovely being home and the kids had a ball,” says Lornae. My mum enjoyed babysitting and we made the most of that, too.”
The couple had the chance to experience a very different perspective on the business of tourism and hospitality when they stayed two nights in a Safari tent in Addo Elephant National Park, the third largest game park in South Africa, which boasts healthy populations of elephants, Cape buffalo and antelopes, as well as endangered black rhinos, lions and hyenas.
“Staying in the safari tent was our compromise on camping,” says Lornae. “It’s a permanent structure with verandah. From our verandah we could see buffalo and elephants.”
If you’re wondering at this point whether it’s safe to be camping in a tent amongst wild African animals, Lornae explains.
“They laughed at me for asking that question,” she says. “There’s a security fence around the park. The only thing we saw inside the enclosure was monkeys.
“There was a lookout within the enclosure and wooden cubicles by the fence with windows where you can look out. You have to be very quiet when you move down the pathway to sit there. 20 metres away could be an elephant at the watering hole. It was very special to be able to get that close.”
Simon and Lornae “hit the ground running” on their return to Hamilton, back in charge at Aspen Manor Motel the day they arrived, re-energised and ready to throw themselves back into what they love – meeting, greeting and helping guests enjoy their visit to Hamilton.
Contact Aspen Manor Motel:
Address: 209 Grey Street, Hamilton East, Hamilton, New Zealand
Phone: +64-7-856 9029
Fax: +64-7-856 9028
Reservation Freephone: 0800 ASPEN 9 (0800 27736 9)
Phone: 0274 587 724