A Long Weekend in Pinnacle Point, Mossel Bay (2018-09-22) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 17 JUN 2019

The Heritage Day long weekend last year saw Jessica, Emily and I take a drive up to join Mom and Dad at their holiday house in the Pinnacle Point golf estate just outside Mossel Bay. With Spring now upon us, we were treated to plenty of sunshine and flowers – as well as some pretty rough seas thrown into the mix!

Starting off with breakfast and some silly fun at Tuinplaas outside Albertinia, the rest of the laid-back weekend revolved around long drives in the golf cart, ice creams at The Point, sightseeing drives around the area, lots of Jenga block towers, and even an enjoyable dip in Diaz Water Park’s indoor heated pool (in case you were wondering, the one at Hartenbos was closed for renovations).

All in all a fantastic way to spend a long weekend then.

Relaxing as always!

Related Link: Pinnacle Point Estate | Mossel Bay

Jessica Birthday Fun at Wild Wild West Kids Play Park in Strand (2018-11-11) Kid Activities | Photo Gallery 16 JUN 2019

Last year Jessica took the option of enjoying a nice big birthday party with her friends and as such, we ended up taking her and a couple of her school pals to the awesome Wild Wild West Kids Play Park out in Strand industria to celebrate her eighth birthday.

Situated in a nice big warehouse with no residential houses nearby to complain about noise, kids can properly run wild as they tackle Wild Wild West’s Cowboys and Indians themed six level high climbing grid maze, climbing wall, 5m high slides, highline balance course, and Ninja Warrior course!

As you might then imagine, the girls had an absolute blast running themselves ragged on the exceptionally high quality wooden structures and at the end of the day, loads of fun was had by all (even if it does tend to run a little hot in the not that well ventilated industrial space).

Unfortunately for us on the day though, Wild Wild West’s little catering kitchen wasn’t particularly well stocked (not sure why, we had made the necessary inquiries beforehand), but luckily that was something easily solved by a jaunt down to nearby McDonalds (at Waterstone Village – they’ve got the nicest space) in order to feed and thus appease the pack of now ravenous young ladies.

And as if that fun day out with her friends wasn’t enough, Jess also got treated to Belgian Waffle House waffles, finally got her hands on a scooter (which at first ruthlessly extracted a lot of skin off her knees!) and, as a cherry on top, a lot more Lego.

Gah, my little girl keeps on getting older!

Related Link: Wild Wild West Kids Play Park | Facebook | Strand

Whale Watching from the cliffs of Hermanus (2018-08-25) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 15 JUN 2019

As my regular readers would by now very much know, Chantelle absolutely loves whale watching and given our general proximity to South Africa’s best land based whale viewing area, i.e. Hermanus, we always tend to make at least one trip each and every Walker Bay whale watching season.

Last year August saw us take a drive down to a very windy Hermanus for a spot of Southern Right whale watching, and although the gusty conditions ruled out a walk up Hoy’s Koppie, it didn’t seem to bother the whales at all as we enjoyed a fabulous day of watching whales cavort around in the windswept surf.

For a change we did most of our whale watching to the east of the Cliff Tops Piazza, favouring spots along the Hermanus Cliff Path like Sieverspunt, Kwaaiwater, Skulpiesbaai, Langbaai, Kammabaai and Voëlklip Beach. The adverse wind conditions meant that we weren’t jostling through crowds of fellow whale watchers, making for a whale watching expedition that felt leisurely and not people pressured at all.

That said, the delightful Aromatish Cafe and Bakery still proved to be way too popular for us to grab a seat (so we settled for a cup of coffee at the pleasant enough Groves Cafe instead). Pleasingly, Chantelle also relented and sacrificed some of her whale watching time to allow me the opportunity of popping my head into the Old Harbour Museum, the Whale House Museum, and the De Wet’s Huis Photographic Museum. (All things that have for long been on my list of getting around to).

Basically, a little bit of something for everyone but the kids then.

A whale of a time was had. (Again, not by the kids. This was definitely more of a mommy and daddy outing through and through.)

Related Link: Hermanus Cliff Path | Hermanus

The Silverhurst Trail in the Constantia Valley Greenbelt, Cape Town (2018-09-09) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 14 JUN 2019

The leafy, affluent suburb of Constantia in Cape Town is blessed with incredibly fertile soil and a lot of precipitation, meaning that greenery and natural beauty abound in every single direction. Towards the east is Constantia Valley, home to a wondrous Greenbelt area that features a large number of publicly accessible walking trails, all of which lazily wind between residences and natural features alike.

One of the easier, more accessible walking trails is the Silverhust Trail which starts just off Constantia Main Road and ambles along the Keysers River, past the Silverhurst Estate. It’s not much longer than 2 km in length (return trip), but of course you can easily make your stroll last longer by either hopping onto another trail or switching to some residential streets for a bit.

It’s tranquil, its green and you are alongside a stream, so super popular with dog walkers and lazy weekend strollers alike. (Or a family walking off a big Sunday afternoon lunch like we were on the day!)

Ridiculously relaxing to say the least.

Related Link: Silverhurst Trail | Constantia | Cape Town

Burgers and Play at Skilpadvlei in Stellenbosch (2018-09-15) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 13 JUN 2019

After a morning of strawberry picking at Polkadraai Farm you could of course just grab a simple bite to eat there, but if you want something a little bit nicer (with a 100% more beer), you would do well to quickly nip down the road to nearby Skilpadvlei, a wine farm, accommodation hub, wedding venue and most important of all, family-friendly restaurant.

This is exactly what the girls and I found ourselves doing one afternoon out and about in the Stellenbosch surrounds, and again, thanks to Skilpadvlei’s lovely kids play area (featuring an amazing jungle gym setup), friendly atmosphere and a good food and beer selection, I find myself once more highly recommending this as a lunch time option if you are out and about with small kids.

And yes, the 78 hectare, fully operational farm is charmingly named after the colony of tortoises that were found in its vlei back in the 1800’s.

Honestly, a lovely option for a family with kids lunch stop then.

Related Link: Skilpadvlei | Stellenbosch

The Whale Museum in Hermanus (2018-08-25) Historic Attractions | Photo Gallery 12 JUN 2019

The Whale Museum, or more accurately, the Whale House Museum can be located within the historic Fisherman’s Village section (right next to De Wet’s Huis Photographic Museum) of the Old Harbour Museum complex in Hermanus.

By the early 1990’s, whales had become the primary tourist attraction for this popular coastal town, and as such it was suggested that Hermanus establish a whale museum with the mission of informing and educating both local and international visitors alike. Built up over 3 distinct phases, the main hall (which was completed in 1998) is the museum’s centerpiece, now dominated by the suspended skeleton of a young female Southern Right whale that had washed ashore at nearby Onrus River in 2003.

With a strong focus on digital displays with audio/visual interactions, the Whale House Museum is a treasure trove of cetacean information and although not a large space by any means, it provides a good learning experience for any youngsters stepping through its doors.

There is a also a very interesting mini-sub lounging on its floor (a favourite with the girls) and naturally, there were plenty of photos taken on the day:

So a perfect little distraction to slot in on a day filled with actual whale watching then.

Related Link: Whale House Museum | Hermanus

Breakfast Snacking at the Schoon Manufactory in Stellenbosch (2018-09-15) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 09 JUN 2019

Fritz and Chanelle Schoon’s beloved bakery has certainly moved around a bit. Having started out as Oude Bank Bakkerij in Stellenbosch, then reformed as Schoon de Companje, then moved to Somerset West with the opening of Schoon Bright Street Café, and now back in Stellenbosch with the Schoon Manufactory Café, the team must be doing something right because their devoted fans seem to follow them everywhere!

The new Schoon Manufactory in Stellenbosch is actually quite interesting to visit. The manufactory (derived from ‘manual factory’) acts as the centralized hub for Schoon, giving them one large space to produce all their bread, pastries and café food in, while also allowing them to run an experimental kitchen and small onsite café from. The end result is a very much factory like space that is open to the public and allows interested fans the opportunity to observe the ongoing artisan baking taking place, whilst all the while tasting and spreading the word of Schoon’s decadent bakes.

The girls and I started one of our big day out adventures with a breakfast run at the manufactory, and I have to say that their pastries are just a thing of absolute delight. Unfortunately for you though, this stop involved a full on effort of marshaling of two very excited (at the prospect of all that custard, chocolate and other sweet treats) little girls, so I didn’t exactly take any pictures of what was put down in front of us!

Never mind though, all the more reason to pay them another visit then.

Absolutely decadent.

Related Link: Schoon Manufactory | Stellenbosch

Art Deco and Apple Juice at the Elgin Railway Market in Grabouw (2018-07-22) Markets | Photo Gallery 09 JUN 2019

The Elgin Railway Market is an incredible addition to the Elgin Valley tourism scene. Launched in 2018, the market resides in an old apple packing warehouse (built in the 1940’s by Italian prisoners of war and right on the Grabouw train station itself) which has been refurbished and styled with the most elegant of wood, steel and wrought iron in a decidedly artisan Art Deco/Art Noveau theme. (Hint: It’s gorgeous.)

The end result is a visually captivating space which, thanks to its two level stacking with an open center, always feels open. The mouthwatering food stalls and clever craft vendors all operate from within dedicated booth spaces and the abundance of long tables and benches means that there is almost always seating available for you to sit down with your family and enjoy some of the decadent treats on offer.

(In fact, one of the things that this market does that sets it apart from other market experiences is that the food vendors all supply you with your food on an actual ceramic plate, complete with knife and fork or whatever other eating utensil may be required. A small touch that very much heightens the experience in my opinion.)

There is a small play area with a climbing wall outside, and of course lots of live music on offer, but it is the excitement that comes with the Ceres Rail Company’s vintage steam train that pulls into the station every now and then that most often steals the show for the kids and adults alike.

Honestly, it’s a treat.

Well, well worth a weekend trip out to Grabouw then.

Related Link: Elgin Railway Market | Grabouw

Fun and Games at the Winter Wonderland Festival in Gordon’s Bay (2018-07-08) Family Attractions | Photo Gallery 08 JUN 2019

Next week Friday (the 14th of June 2019) the ninth edition of Gordon’s Bay’s very own Winter Wonderland Festival kicks off with its annual evening parade – and this time we even have one of our daughters dancing in it!

Started back in 2010 by the newly launched Gordon’s Bay Business Forum as a way of attracting visitors during the quiet winter months, the festival has gone from strength to strength, morphing from an intimate collection of food trucks on the site of the old Van Riebeek Hotel and lots of fairy lights running through the milkwood trees, to the slickly run, well marketed, sprawling array of tents and fun rides that you find on the carnival weekends today.

Every year the “Carnival Park”, now situated in Hendon Park right on Gordon’s Bay’s beautiful main beach is a blast, with loads of food trucks and food stalls, virtually non-stop live music, beer, arts and crafts, family activities and just plenty of fun. That said, the highlight of the festivities as far as the kids are concerned is always the fun park set up and operated by Funland Amusements SA – their collection of fun rides is always a massive hit for the event!

This year (as it has been for the last couple of years – basically a safeguard against the whole thing being rained out entirely), the festival is spread over two carnival weekends, 14-16 and 21-23 June. And yes, obviously we are going to have just as much fun as what we did last year!

Seriously, the girls can’t wait.

Related Links: Winter Wonderland Festival | Gordon’s Bay