Talking Birds at West Coast Farm Stall outside Yzerfontein (2019-09-01) Farm Stalls | Photo Gallery 05 JAN 2020

The West Coast Farm Stall has for long been a popular farm stall stop on the R27 (otherwise known as the West Coast highway), conveniently located right on the corner where the R315 bisects this important coastal road network artery – literally at the crossroad to either Yzerfontein, Darling or Langebaan.

Its owners, with their unusual love of animals and more importantly pets, have crafted an eclectic road stop experience that despite having lost the big cats (a good thing mind you), offers a visually interesting experience for any first time visitor.

There is the unusually decorated farm stall itself, selling all sorts of snacks and crafted goods, there is the indoor restaurant with its high thatched ceiling and beautiful mural staring down at you, there is the outdoor eating area with all manner of junkyard/boere-chic art installations, a nursery providing greenery, a small sandy play area for little kids, and to crown it all off, a large aviary filled with all sorts of exotic and colorful birds.

It makes for a pleasant if slightly bewildering, noisy, visually stimulating stop – one particularly worth doing if you are travelling with small kids in the car.

This particular visit came along in September last year, on our way up to the West Coast National Park to see the Spring flowers in the Postberg Flower Reserve. With such a lot to take in, naturally I happily spent the time taking quite a lot of photos while Chantelle grabbed herself a cup of coffee.

A Year of Beach Walks in Gordon’s Bay (2017-12-31) Nature and Animal Attractions | Photo Gallery 01 JAN 2020

Another entry in the “slowly clear all the unposted images out of my very large Unposted Photos folder” series. I enjoy living in a small harbour town and very much doubt that I will ever willingly choose to live far from the sea again – primarily because it makes for such great (picturesque) walking routes.

Gordon’s Bay is home to two harbours and two beaches (main and bikini), with a mountain overlooking it all – so in other words scenically perfect. With me working from home, this translates into plenty of opportunity to head out for a stroll – which I invariably do.

So here is a bunch photos from 2017 documenting some of these walks along my home town beaches.

Sand and Tea at La Galerie in Pringle Bay (2019-07-13) Food and Drink | Photo Gallery 31 DEC 2019

So when I took possession of my replacement car, I immediately took it for a spin out along Clarence Drive, dragging Jessica along with me for the ride. One scenic drive followed by a trundle alongside the baboons in Rooi Els later, we popped over to Pringle Bay for a stroll on the beach.

Of course, dragging my eldest daughter along for all this aimless driving and strolling around didn’t come without its price, which is why then we capped off my new car run with a bout of daddy/daughter tea, flapjacks and scones at La Galerie.

With its bright red exterior drawing you in, La Galerie is a great little restaurant/cafe venue in the heart of Pringle Bay’s business center, filled with art, books and even a boardgame or two. It is run by the same couple that used to own the excellent Sage & Thyme cafe in Somerset West, and as such makes for a well run, delicious breakfast/light lunch/coffee and cake stop in this charming little coastal village.

Easy to recommend.

Mini Golf at The Golf Village Tygervalley in Bellville (2019-05-04) Family Attractions | Photo Gallery 30 DEC 2019

Putt putt. Mini golf. Adventure golf. Whatever you call it, I always enjoy tackling this fun little distraction whenever the chance presents itself, and back in May I found myself wandering about Bellville sans wife and kids. So I called up my brother and asked if he wanted to meet up for some putt putt. Surprisingly he said yes.

The Tygervalley Golf Village has been around for quite a number of years now, part of Pro Range’s host of driving range setups, and features quite a few facilities on site, including the main golf driving range with target greens and pins, medium and fast paced putting greens, a chipping and pitching practice area, a bunker practice area, a pub, and even a fully fledged golf academy.

Oh, and the all important 27 hole adventure mini-golf course.

The lengthy, colour-coded putt putt courses have always been on the more challenging side of things, but seeing as we aren’t just kids having a swing any more, it makes for an enjoyable (sometimes frustrating) challenge. That said, the Golf Village’s age certainly isn’t doing it any favours, because disappointingly we found the facilities to be in pretty bad nick overall.

Nevertheless, despite the obvious need for some maintenance, care and probably a lick of paint, the mini golf itself is still a lot of fun and if I remember correctly, on the day I had a slightly better round than Ryan. I think.

Antelope Spotting at Bontebok National Park in Swellendam (2019-09-27) Nature and Animal Attractions | Photo Gallery 29 DEC 2019

Bontebok National Park is an unusual SANParks site in that it is a species-specific national park, originally established in 1931 to try and ensure the survival of the relatively rare Bontebok antelope. In this they succeeded and today the park is home to around 200 Bontebok, the maximum amount of antelope a park of this size can support.

Situated 6 km south of Swellendam in the foothills of the Langeberg Mountains and bordered to the south by the mighty Breede River, the Bontebok National Park is the smallest of South Africa’s 19 national parks, covering an area of about 27 km².

In addition to Bontebok, the park is also home to Cape Mountain Zebra, Grey Rhebok, Cape Grysbok, Duiker, Red Hartebeest and the African clawless otter. Bird species thrive, with over 200 different types recorded, including Stanley’s bustard, Secretary birds and Blue Cranes (South Africa’s national bird).

The park also serves as a protected area for the conservation of coastal renosterveld and other endangered fynbos veld types, with a total of nearly 500 grasses and other plant species on the books. Home to some of the largest remaining ‘renosterveld islands’, the park also contains several plant species that are found nowhere else in the world.

With no large predators prowling the grounds, this park is open for self-guided drives, hiking, picnics, fishing and all manner of other outdoor recreational activities, and with both camping and accommodation options available (at the Lang Elsie’s Kraal Rest Camp), the park welcomes both day and overnight visitors.

September saw Jessica and Emily join me for a little long weekend up in Mossel Bay, and on the way up I decided to take the opportunity to swing left and first head off for a spot of Bontebok spotting – marking the first time that I had actually ever visited this particular park.

(We were successful in our antelope spying mission and in the end, despite the heat, enjoyed a lovely drive and stroll around the area.)

Much like the West Coast National Park, the Bontebok National Park is certainly not the most thrilling of national parks to visit (unless of course you are REALLY into birding), but if you are looking for veld, wide open space to enjoy, and the tranquility that comes with all of that, then this site certainly ticks all the right boxes!

A Year of life in the Helderberg (2017-12-31) Photo Gallery 28 DEC 2019

2016’s bundle of random life event photos rescued from my “Unposted Photos” folder on my laptop is already up, which means then that I’m making steady progress in making that irritating folder smaller and smaller.

Again, these photos are all important reminders of my very happy life and as such are memories that I very much want to safeguard (and share) – and posting them to my site is one way of doing this.

This then is 2017’s collection of life in the Helderberg photos that didn’t do enough to earn or simply weren’t selected for their own blog posts on this site:

A Year of Beach Walks in Strand (2017-12-31) Nature and Animal Attractions | Photo Gallery 27 DEC 2019

Catching up with another trove of files from the “Unposted Photos” folder on my laptop, this is a whole lot of images of Strand beach taken during walks/visits in 2017.

5 km of white sandy beach overlooking False Bay, one of the safest swimming beaches in Cape Town, surfing, kiteboarding, water slides and a tidal pool, and some pretty impressive buildings dotted along a renewed promenade.

Hard not to love as a beach destination.

Pigeons and Parrots at Birds of Eden in Plettenberg Bay (2019-01-05) Nature and Animal Attractions | Photo Gallery 25 DEC 2019

Wolves, snakes, elephants, monkeys, lions and tigers, the achingly scenic Crags area near Plettenberg Bay is home to a smorgasbord of wildlife sanctuaries, with one of our absolute favourites being the incredible Birds of Eden free flight sanctuary, home to 3,000+ birds comprising of more than 220 species. In other words there is a lot to see!

Birds of Eden has been around for quite a few years now and this large free flight sanctuary is a sight worth seeing. A small forest enclosed in a giant mesh tent, this wide open space allows all manner of rescued birds to thrive and survive, and in the process create an incredibly family friendly viewing experience.

A wooden walkway snakes through the enclosure allowing you plenty of close up opportunities to watch the birds feed, fly and play, and with so many of these animals coming from a life as caged pets or hand-reared/imprinted companions, most are quite content to hang around humans and have their picture taken. (No touching though!)

It is lush, it is humid, there is a great little cafe on the water to watch the water fowl from, and the incredibly burst of colours and constant bird calls that surround you all come together to make for a remarkable experience – one that Chantelle and I enjoy sharing with the girls as often as what we can.

Jessica Jamming Art for her Birthday in Somerset West (2019-11-16) Kid Activities | Photo Gallery 20 DEC 2019

Jessica turned 9 this year and we decided to celebrate this birthday by allowing her to invite some of her school friends over for a bit of a tropical themed birthday cake bash, followed by a paint session at the newly opened Artjamming Somerset West.

As always the incredible Helderberg Cake Company (i.e. Chantelle) went all out with the tropical themed biscuit and cake decadence, and after a flurry of excitement from a gaggle of girls in Lei garlands at Country Mews, we piled everyone into our cars and headed off to Bright Street in order to get all the girls jamming some art.

Chantelle had pre-selected the painting for the day (a tropical themed toucan naturally), and with a bubbly young instructor heading things up, Emily and I then left the group (to go do some LEGO shopping) so that the tweenagers could get their paint on (hopefully mostly on the canvas).

Great, colourful fun was had by everyone, with pretty much all particularly proud of their toucan productions. Definitely a great birthday outing idea!

Following that Saturday of fun, we next hosted a big birthday pizza day at Monty and Cheryl’s house for the family, complete with jumping castle and of course even more cake!