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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.

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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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Freedom!

Our amazing friend Nollie is a teacher at the Curro High School around the corner from where we are staying. The Curro branch also has a daycare and she arranged for the kids to go for Thursday and Friday. Seriously. Two whole days. With no kids. In Cape Town. Dream come true. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my kids. But I also love going places without them. So now the question became what to do.

With the help of Zanelle we settled on the city bus tour for the first day. We figured it was an easy way to see the downtown area without the stress of having to drive or park. She recommended the blue line which takes you around Table Mountain by the coast. We wandered around in a pedestrian square hosting a market. We passed through the oldest wine estate in Cape Town, Constantia. We hopped off and wandered around Hout’s Bay and had sushi lunch in Camps Bay.


Day two we figured when in wine country, better visit the wine estates. Conre and Janelie gave us amazing suggestions and we set off. Our first stop for the day was Simonsig. Simonsig is known as the first wine estate to make bubbly in SA. They’re very sure to say that it is NOT champagne (but really it’s the same). At Simonsig they give you a sheet listing all of their wines, you select five you would like to sample and then you work through them at your own pace. We also did a short cellar tour to see how they process the grapes. Our first stop cost a whopping $3 each,

Next on the list was Brenaissance where they do a pizza and wine pairing – four different wines paired with four different slices of pizzas. We followed it up with a nougat/fudge/wine pairing at JC Le Roux. Seriously delicious.

We had time for one more stop before collecting the kids so we headed to Conre’s favourite stop and we were so glad we did. Delheim estates is tucked in behind another wine estate but it was so worth the journey off the main road. It is a cute little cottage covered in vines set in an opening of trees overlooking the vines growing in the valley. The cellar where they do the tastings was full so we just ordered a glass before ending our wine tour day.

Note: The kids loved the daycare – C got to run around, play with blocks and paint a picture (his recap) and M got along perfectly as well (their recap).

 

Wine Estates and Jungle Gyms

Cape Town you are awesome. We had a few options on what to do today. There was a giraffe house not too far from where we are where we could go see some more animals (and a decent selection), a cheetah run, a water park or the SA version of That Fun Place. We opted for the fun place. Great decision. C had a blast. M had a nap. Jacob and I had coffees uninterrupted. Everyone wins.

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So the SA version of That Fun Place is hands down better than our version. First off, it’s outside and I didn’t have to put anyone in a snowsuit to get there. They have two huge jungle gyms, a race track with little bikes to ride and trampolines. And wait for it, the Carnival area (the name) is actually set inside a wine estate. This means that while your kids run around and have fun, you can do a wine tasting or just sit and enjoy a glass. Amazing! Oh and did I mention the admission is 90 cents.


We spent the majority of the morning there. After C tired himself out he got to make his own pizza, Jacob and I opted to have one made for us and we headed home.

After the kids were in bed we had a lekker kuier (fun get together) with our lovely friends. Zanelle, Janelie Abri and Conre came over for a braai. It was great to get to see everyone again. Zanelle was our first friend in Korea and even though we only spent about 6 weeks together we became fast friends. Similarly, we only spent a few weeks with Abri at the end of our time in Korea but again, he was just one of those people that once you meet you know you’ll be great friends. And of course, Janelie was my co-teacher and another life long friend.

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