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The Last Leg

We’ve been in Pretoria now since Saturday evening for the final leg of this journey. Sob. To say I’m not looking forward to going home is a serious understatement. Of course I never want a trip to end so this was expected.

We have really enjoyed our time in Pretoria. We’ve been staying in an amazing AirBnB apartment in Waterkloof in basically our own little rain forest. We had a great braai here Saturday night with Wendy, Christo and Wouter and again last night with the Rixs. We have incredible friends here which makes leaving even more difficult.

No trip to SA is complete for us without a trip to the Lion and Rhino park. We make a point to visit at least once while here because we are always so impressed. It’s quite close to where we have normally stayed (Krugersdorp) and not terribly far (under an hour) from our apartment this time. It’s a perfectly sized game reserve for C. You are guaranteed to see animals immediately after entering the park, they have a scheduled lion feed so you can always get quite close to them AND they have a nursery where you can pet baby lions, tigers and cheetahs. Not to mention the restaurant where you can feed the giraffes. It makes for a lovely day.

We had some brunch at the Neck and Deck with the giraffes before heading into the park itself. We caught the tail end of feeding time for the lions which is fine, C got to see them and we just didn’t have as much company. En route to the rest of the predator camp (they also have white lions, cheetahs and wild dogs) Wendy and Christo got a flat tire. Now we know that flat tires aren’t a problem for Jacob, but it does pose a bit of a challenge when the flat happens about 300m from a pack of lions. We radioed the park attendants and they got them straightened away.

While we waited for Wendy and Christo to sort out their tire we headed into the animal nursery so C could spend some time with the cubs. He chose to visit the two month old baby tigers. It probably wouldn’t have been my first choice since they are always a little more excited than the lions and this time was no exception. C’s hat became their new chew toy. With quite a stroke of luck we got the hat back relatively unscathed.

Monday we headed to the Safari Garden Centre for another great family outing. We both commented while we were visiting that it’s rather unfortunate that nothing like this exists at home. We’ve filled a good portion of our days in SA visiting parks, wine estates, farms, gardens all geared towards family. Note that I didn’t say kids, but the whole family. There’s always a nice restaurant serving great coffee, wine and food alongside great play areas.

We ended Monday night our favourite way with a lekker braai with Wendy and Christo. I am so going to miss these two. We sat out in our little garden enjoyed some wine, a fire and some great conversation.

Our final day was pretty chill, we drove out to a rose farm for lunch so C could have some more outside play time before we headed home to winter (sigh). Johann came for one last visit (tear). We had dinner with Wendy and Christo before we headed to the airport (ugly cry).

This marks the end of our third trip to SA and while I joked about not coming home, it wasn’t that much of a joke. We really had a hard time leaving this time. SA doesn’t feel like a foreign place to me, it honestly feels like home. I’m sure it’s in part because of our people here. They were our family for our time in S.Korea and we immediately pick up where we left off every time we see each other. I’m sure this won’t be our last trip; see you soon Africa.

 

Doo-do. Doo-do.

We’ve just been laying low in Franskraal since my last post. We’ve had some more family beach days (hoorah!). C has been joining me for my morning trips to the beach and doing some exploring. We do exciting things like build sand castles, chase his new ball and look at the sea creatures in the tide pools (Dr. Scott would be pleased). Jacob and M typically join in the evening. M also loves the little tide pools, although she seems to think it’s snack time and attempts to eat every snail she can find.

Jacob cashed in his Christmas gift today and went to play with some sharks. As much as I would love to have the experience, hell no, that is terrifying. Jacob was pretty excited (well as excited as Jacob gets) about the whole affair. He saw three sharks half an arms length away. Ha! The shark are just hanging out waiting for the boat to come back from their morning trip. They put on quite a show jumping at the bait and swimming right next to the cage. The pictures certainly looked pretty impressive.


Again, in boring family news, our house sold; while we are in SA. AND as luck would have it we are staying with a real estate agent. So now the million dollar question is, can we get a refund on our  plane ticket? Or do we care? That’s a long old flight back to winter, perhaps we’ll just skip it.

Do you speak whale?

We’ve certainly slowed down our lives and travels these past few days. Phew. We are getting some much needed relaxation, this traveling with babies thing is exhausting (I know you don’t feel bad for me).

We’ve been squatting at Nollie’s parents’ beach house since Thursday. It’s a three bedroom cottage (everyone has their own room!) in Franskraal which is on the doorstep of Gansbaai where they film a large portion of Shark Week. We’ve spent a couple of days hanging out at the beach. The beach gets a serious thumbs up from me (not easy to do) with it’s amazing white sand, dunes and hardly any people. The downside, that water is FREEZING. I’ve been spoiled and been going out ALONE for about an hour each morning for a walk along the beach. Charlie joined me yesterday though and we had some great fun.


It isn’t all beach though (I’m clearly not vacationing alone). We’ve done some day trips as well. Hermanus is about 40km away and a super cute little town. We have visited twice now. They have great restaurants along the coast, a cute little market and whales. In the winter it’s one of the best places to spot whales. Apparently there are so many off the coast that you can hear them singing even in Franksraal. We were lucky enough today to spot one. Honestly it was cooler than I expected. I’ve never seen a whale in the wild and it was actually quite thrilling. There’s always something special about finding an animal like that.


This morning we spent some time at the Klein River Cheese Farm. They had a great play area that C was pretty stoked about – it was huge – with a big climbing structure, balls, sandpit, trampoline and tree houses. They offer picnic lunches complete with basket and blanket. We ordered our lunch and got spread out under the trees when all hell broke loose.

Now a picnic lunch is actually no picnic (ha!) with a crawling baby, but M wasn’t the problem. The problem was the damn chickens. I mean live chickens who attacked us as we spread out our lunch. Seriously. Attacked us. This is my worst nightmare [Hannah Terpstra I know I have your sympathies]. C did a good job at first staving them off, but they eventually became too much. It would have been funny if it wasn’t so damn scary. We eventually had to move when they stole C’s bread and he had a fit.

We moved back into the children’s play area and set up on a picnic table. Unfortunately, these are some smart ass chickens (this was clearly not their first picnic) and they followed us. Now it was time for some serious anti-chicken action. Jacob stepped up and managed to hit two chickens with one bucket. That was the last we saw of them.

In boring family news on the way home today in the car C and M were playing peekaboo in the backseat to much laughter. When they were done C told M that she was his best friend. That he has ever had in his whole life. Oh my heart.

Cape Agalhus

We’ve recovered from our short lived sickness and have finally made it to Franskraal – our final destination. Nollie’s parent’s have graciously and generously given us the keys to their amazing beach house for the remainder of our trip. We are about a 300m walk to the beach (which we haven’t been to yet). Gansbaai is just around the corner where Jacob intends to meet a shark or two.

En route today from Swellendam to Franskraal we stopped up in L’Agalhus – the southern most tip of Africa and where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet. Today was one of those times where it struck me how truly blessed we are to be making this trip and seeing the things we are seeing. The most southern tip of Africa is truthfully not something I ever gave much thought to but as we were walking down the path I realized, this is pretty cool. It certainly was beautiful, and it’s always nice for me to catch a glimpse of my favourite ocean, the Indian.


I’m a little sad to be here because it means our adventure is almost over, but I’m super excited not to have to pack our bags again for a whopping 8 days. And of course there’s the beach.

Shit Happens (Vomit too)

So remember how I said this trip isn’t just sunshine and roses. Ha! That’s an understatement.

After a great day in Swellendam we headed out for dinner with Dene and Jaco (NO KIDS!). Don’t worry we didn’t forget them, we left them with Lienke and her sitters. M safely tucked away in bed and C settled very happily in front of the tv with junk food (it is his vacation too). We went back in to town to De Vagabond. They had a table outside just next to the fire, we had great wine, lovely food, great conversation (remember, no kids) then we headed back home.

We collected the kids got everyone re-settled and sleeping then all hell broke loose. Well at least our bellies. Turns out prawns weren’t a great choice for an appetizer and both Jacob and I got food poisoning. Seriously, so much vomit this trip.

We had intended to leave Swellendam today and were actually considering heading further east (not part of the original plan) to a place called Knysna from Dene’s recommendation and because it looked spectacular. Instead we spent the day attempting to manage the children between bathroom breaks. We have clearly survived and lived to tell the tale, but probably wouldn’t have without the amazing help from Dene.

These folks could not have been better hosts. Kam’Bati has been spectacular on its own without all the added hospitality of braais, treating us to brunch AND dinner (we tried to pay but it just didn’t seem to work out). Laundry service, babysitting, and lasagna brought to our door tonight since we were in no shape to leave. Incredible. We have some baie lekker friends here.

 

 

Kam’Bati

We are staying with our friend Dene now at her beautiful resort Kam’Bati River Resort. This is seriously some of the most spectacular scenery I’ve ever seen. Our chalet is right next to the river. There are geese walking along the lawn in front of me (at a healthy distance) there are mountains behind the trees. Out of this world amazing.

Dene and her husband Jaco with their little girl Lienke hosted us last night for supper – as if us staying here wasn’t enough. They have probably the most jaw dropping breathtaking view I can imagine from their house. Seriously, if our house at home sells we’re not coming back.  Their house is at the top of the hill overlooking the resort, the river, the mountains, the sunset. There’s a fire going that will eventually cook our supper. Idyllic.

After a great sleep – both children managed to make it through the night now that we have two rooms (hoorah!) we headed into Swellendam proper for some brunch and a quick tour around town. We had a huge meal at the Old Gaol a nice chat with Dene, some great cappuccino.

I’m now sitting on our porch looking at the geese (again at a healthy distance away) sipping a beer while BOTH children nap. Life you are currently a dream.

Note: for those of you that read this and think this trip is nothing but sunshine and roses or you think it sounds easy and you’d like to try it yourself (I still think you should!) you should also know that C cries in the car after about 45 minutes saying that everything under the sun hurts. So in a true ‘boy who cried wolf’ fashion, we did not believe him on this trip and he threw up all over everything the minute we arrived at Kam’Bati. We make a grand entrance.

For our final weekend in Cape Town we decided to make it as family friendly as possible. IT’s been a bit of a tough balance between choosing things C would like (and M might enjoy too) vs seeing what we really want to see and experiencing the things that make this part of the world special. We hopefully struck that balance this weekend.

Saturday we headed in to Green Point Park, Cape Town’s “new” green space for families. It sits alongside the Sea Point Promenade and the same grounds as the stadium built for the soccer world cup. The park was lovely, C especially enjoyed the spinning bowl. M had her first ride on the swings.

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We attempted to head to The Grand Beach Cafe for lunch, but were turned down because it was holding a wedding. We had visited The Grand the last time we were in Cape Town with Zanelle – it’s a restaurant set right on the beach – but instead we were pointed towards the City Market held basically overlooking the beach. The market was well done – open air, great food, same community sitting as home. It was a bit more hectic with the kids than I would have liked but we all survived.

After lunch we headed to the Kirstenbosch gardens. In a pro tip from our friend Dene we found out that the Kirstenbosch gardens have a dinosaur exhibit set it in Cycad ampitheatre. Now for those of you who know us, and really, that should be all of you, you should know that C LOVES dinosaurs. It did not disappoint; C loved it. He spent the better part of an hour (basically eternity in toddler time) walking the paths pointing out all the different dinosaurs tucked away in the plants.

Zanelle met us at the gardens and strolled through them with us before we all headed to the restaurant for some dinner. Not bad for day one, if I do say so.

Sunday was a bit more relaxed (as its should be). We stayed closer to home instead of heading into the city. We started our day at the Giraffe House – which is more or less a low security zoo. We got to take our pictures with Gerry the new Giraffe, C got to feed a zebra (well kind of) and see some snakes and crocodiles. He seemed pretty enthusiastic about the whole thing and M didn’t scream, so we’ll call that a success.


After the Giraffe House we headed a little farther down the road to the Spice Route Wine Estate. I can’t say enough good things about this place. It has it all – wine tasting, micro brewery with tasting, chocolate factory (also with tasting!), home made ice cream shop, a kids play area and one hell of a view.

This place was packed. There were families and friends everywhere. The kids were running around on all of the open green spaces, the adults are all relaxing with great food and drinks. This is my kind of place. Again – why don’t we live here???

Janelie joined us and we spent the day enjoying what was on offer. We stayed until they closed down at 5 before heading home with overfull bellies and tired children.

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