When you’re looking for Wilderness accommodation, self catering options tend to be high on the pecking order for the simple freedom offered while staying. It’s like a car hire service in the fact that you have a place to yourself, to really feel as though you’re living where you’re visiting while there. There is much debate over which ends up cheaper in the long run, because self-catering options can help you budget your expenses better and choose things that aren’t as costly, whereas all-inclusive offers it all at a package rate, and you might be able to beat it on your own.
Weighing up the good and bad sides of both options, we’ll tackle food and drink first. Self-catering places allow you to go shopping at local supermarkets for foods you might not get to experience otherwise, to provide glasses of wine (famous in South Africa) or just some snacks. If you have a special dietary requirement or you want to do your cooking yourself and see it as part of the experience, self-catering is definitely the way to go. If you don’t think you’re going to be using the kitchen, or might overspend at the supermarket, going with something more all-inclusive might be a better option. The only issue with all-inclusive is the fact that you’re going to be at the place you stay pretty much full-time also. The whole point of a holiday is to get away and go out to enjoy the world around you, and an all-inclusive option, particularly with food means that you’ll be spending twice as much money to eat if you decide to leave to eat somewhere else where you’re visiting.
South Africa has a ton of amazing food choices offered by both street vendors and in shops, ranging from super healthy to world cuisine that has been passed down in their culture by every settler who ever landed there. It’s easy to see in the curry dishes that are a reminder of Cape Point and the East India Trading Company, whose spice trade made the area wealthy and prosperous. Also present are treats more commonly seen in England, like scones and things like ‘high tea’ and Dutch influences in everything from rice dishes to the farmer’s sausage ‘boerewors’ that comes in giant rolls and is cooked without cutting on a braai. A braai is a barbeque where the food is cooked on a rack over wood fire coals, and a huge social occasion. By going with something all-inclusive, many cultural things would be missed by staying near the place you’ve booked to eat for free.
In terms of the cash you plan to use while away, there’s no cheaper options than self-catering, and they tend to be the best option for independent people who are good at budgeting their time and money. South Africa is one of the cheapest places for your money and it definitely doesn’t look like it. You don’t sacrifice extreme vistas or comfort in any way by choosing South Africa as your destination, rather – your money goes far far further due to their exchange rate. Something that says all-inclusive may not actually include everything either, so be sure to read the fine print, because many have limitations on how much they will give away for the package deal. Also be aware that most meals given at all-inclusive rates tend to be buffet style, so if you’re looking for a more unique experience, going with a self-catering option means the ability to choose when you eat and what you want to eat, and how much you want to spend on excursions.
Flexibility of a self-catering place is something that cannot be overstated. You get to come and go as you please, and make your own itinerary for while you’re away. It allows you the absolute freedom to be there as much or as little as you like, exploring the surrounds with a place all your own waiting for you. The town of Wilderness is tucked away into the scenery as though it was always there, with sounds of a lulling ocean and picturesque landscapes, it’s a favorite among travelers to the area, and can be thoroughly enjoyed without feeling as though you must be modest with your expenditures. An all-inclusive may only be a better option if you are bringing along a passel of children who need constant entertainment, which is usually part of a package, and you can count on where they’ll be every day with meal times and the venues already taken care of.
Self-catering places like Wilderness on Sea also tend to have much more space than a hotel room will, and are the perfect choice for large groups or a family. Most also have communal spaces for mingling with other visitors if you choose to do so, and get a feel for the area around you, and meet people from all over the world. The ability to feel as though you have a home away from home is so important to get the most out of a relaxing trip away, and self-catering places give you an abundance of room, comfort and the ability to treat it as you would your own home. All-inclusive places tend to be the opposite, generally crowded and with a communal pool, restaurant and many other things, you might hear your neighbors through the walls, or the noise of other guests before you want to be up in the mornings. It is however, a great way to socialize with others, due to the amount of people present.
Be sure to read reviews about the place you intend to stay to ensure that it’s not just smoke and mirrors. Real people who have been there and can report pleasant news about their stay will make it much easier to make the decision to stay there. Pictures are great, but nothing beats a call to speak with property owners to see what they believe, an get an idea about the best things to do while there. You can set up a rough idea of where to go and what to see before you even board the plane. The end result here is self-catering equals real freedom and independence, where all-inclusive means all the decisions are made for you. Both kinds suit different sorts of people, so do your homework first.