Category Archives: Photo Gallery

USA 2016 – 08 Disneyland Park – Critter Country (2016-07-13) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 04 DEC 2017

Having already ambled through Main Street USA, Fantasyland, Mickey’s Toontown, Frontierland, New Orleans Square, and Adventureland, I was rapidly running out of themed lands to visit on this warm, crowded, windless Disneyland day – so I decided to cool down with a visit to Critter Country, or more specifically, its famous Splash Mountain!

Originally known as Indian Village and then later Bear Country, Critter Country is situated on an area that was split off from Frontierland and is themed to resemble the great American Northwoods – with its towering pines, waterfalls, and rustic buildings.

With the Indian and Bear motifs now quite diminished, Critter Country is very much inhabited by the Winnie the Pooh franchise, much of it centered around the super kid friendly The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh attraction.

However, if you aren’t really little enough to appreciate the wonderful world of Pooh, you could always hop on the big 20 person canoe and go for a paddle along the Rivers of America as part of the Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes attraction.  (Sadly, along with the Hungry Bear Restaurant, closed on the day of my visit.)

That said, if you really want to get wet then you should probably join the queue for Splash Mountain, Disneyland’s iconic log flume ride.

As with most rides, making use of the FastPass system or being a single rider allows you to progress much quicker to the front of the seriously long queues, and given that I was traipsing along Disneyland all by myself, I found myself stuffed into the back of a hollow plastic log in a relatively short amount of time.

It was, as advertised, a great way to cool down on such a hot day! ;)

Next up, a squelchy amble to the last remaining themed land for the day – Tomorrowland!

Related Link: Disneyland Park | Wikipedia

USA 2016 – 07 Disneyland Park – Adventureland (2016-07-13) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 03 DEC 2017

Having happily traipsed through Frontierland and New Orleans Square, the next themed Disneyland area that I entered happened to be Adventureland, home to the iconic Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room attraction.

Styled on that idea of 1930’s colonial exploration into the jungles of Africa or South America, Adventureland is all about the leafy exotic, with attractions including the likes of the Jungle Cruise, the Indiana Adventure and Tarzan’s Treehouse.

(And of course shops. Lots and lots of merchandise selling shops.)

Interesting fact – originally this themed land (based on Walt Disney’s award winning nature documentaries on Africa and Asia) was intended to have real animals from Africa inhabit the jungle river, but after zoologists told Walt that the real animals would either lie around or hide, the imagineers built mechanical animals instead!

By this stage of the day though, Disneyland was already packed full of people, which of course then means lots and lots of queuing. So pro tip – investigate the lands and their attractions before you visit the park, i.e. know what you want to see and which rides you want to ride before you enter, instead of just aimlessly wandering about like I did!

Honestly, other than the Tiki Room (which I just had to see for myself in person), I didn’t spend too long strolling through Adventureland – at this point I was hot and bothered, there were too many people, and the jungle atmosphere made everything feel quite drippy humid.

So instead of climbing up Tarzan’s Treehouse, I grabbed some photos on foot and continued my one day only tour of Disneyland…

Next up for me – Critter Country and a wet encounter on Splash Mountain!

Related Link: Disneyland Park | Wikipedia

Camel Rides at Wilgewandel Holiday Farm in Oudtshoorn (2017-07-05) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 02 DEC 2017

Three minutes down the road from the world famous Oudtshoorn Cango Caves is the popular (and relatively well known) Wilgewandel Holiday Farm, a family friendly accommodation option situated at the foot of the Swartberg mountain range.

Famous for their camel rides (which is precisely the reason we simply HAD to take Jessica there following our exploration of the caves), Wilgewandel is built around its kid friendly activities, offering things like water slides, donkey cart rides,  the humorously named Ghwarra-Ghwarra Golf Course (putt putt), a foefie slide (zip-line), pedal cars, farmyard animals and rowing boats – basically it should technically be near impossible for your kids not to find some form of entertainment that they enjoy on the grounds!

Centered around a lovely dam, there is plenty of space to run around, the farm atmosphere keeps everything relaxed, and the onsite restaurant works hard to ensure that everyone has a plate of food and full glass in front of them.

Oh, and Wilgewandel sports a pretty well stocked curio shop as well – useful for all those touristy people among us.

The place is then as you imagine a magnet for day visitors and as such can get quite busy at times – so worth keeping in mind if you were originally looking to get away for some complete peace and quiet!

Although we weren’t staying at Wilgewandel (we were bunked down at the lovely De Oude Meul Country Lodge further down the road), and we didn’t grab a bite to eat here either (Chantelle preferred to grab something a little better looking from the nearby Cango Caves Estate instead), we did however hang around long enough give the girls a good chance to run around and play and talk to all the animals – and of course let Jessica tackle her second camel ride of the year.

(Which she absolutely LOVED of course!)

So, if you have kids with you and are looking to escape the the hot Oudtshoorn/Klein Karoo sun (and maybe recharge your batteries for a bit by letting the kids run off to play), then marking Wilgewandel on your travel map is definitely quite the good idea.

Bonus: It is worth noting that I’m not overly excited by their pricing model mind you – basically you need to pay for every single activity as opposed to bunching every thing up under a single access fee, meaning that a day out at Wilgewandel as a day visitor has the potential to get really expensive really quickly if you have two or more kids running around who demand to try absolutely each and everything on offer.

That said, Wilgewandel Holiday Farm is out in the middle of nowhere and is definitely an oasis of entertainment if you ever find yourself lounging around Oudtshoorn with bored kids that are maybe a little tired of seeing ostriches every time that they look out of a window! :D

Related Link: https://wilgewandel.co.za

USA 2016 – 06 Disneyland Park – New Orleans Square (2016-07-13) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 01 DEC 2017

Seeing as Frontierland basically bleeds into New Orleans Square, that then was organically the next part of Disneyland that I found myself wandering through, though to be fair, thanks to the massive crowd now queuing around the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, a lack of interest in Haunted Mansions from my side, and a not running Disneyland Railroad attraction, it was a pretty quick stroll through this particular themed land more than anything else.

Based on 19th century New Orleans Louisiana, this small 3 acre area was in fact the first land to be added to Disneyland Park after its opening. (Costing Disney a neat $18 million in the process).

The name New Orleans Square is also a bit of a misnomer in that the layout doesn’t actually resemble a traditional urban piazza whatsoever – rather it consists of an intricate number of “streets” that weave around the shops, restaurants and the Pirates of the Caribbean show building that call this themed land home.

That said, it is pretty cool to walk through (the French Quarter looks lovely), though you do get the feeling that this space is more about the shopping and eating than the actual attractions – meaning that unless you are there for maybe the vibe and probably a taste of Captain Jack Sparrow lore, you probably won’t linger here in New Orleans Square for all that long.

As I mentioned at the start, I didn’t gain access to either of the dark rides on offer (seriously, that Pirates of Caribbean queue was immense!), and unfortunately for me, the one thing that I did actually want to ride on (i.e. the heritage narrow-gauge railroad train of course!) turned out not to be running on the day – so a bit of a pity that.

Still, the vibe and live music – well worth the amble I thought.

Anyway, next up for my first ever wander about Disneyland Park (which I’m only writing about here more than a year later), Adventureland – and thus of course, Walt Disney’s legendary Enchanted Tiki Room!

Related Link: Disneyland Park | Wikipedia

USA 2016 – 05 Disneyland Park – Frontierland (2016-07-13) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 29 NOV 2017

Moving on from the small kid orientated lands of Fantasyland and Mickey’s Toontown, I next found myself wandering into Frontierland, another of Disneyland’s famous eight themed lands, this one styled to match the aesthetic of the 19th century American Wild West.

Conceived by Walt Disney as one of the five original themed lands in Disneyland, Frontierland did not initially contain many attractions – but rather centered on open expanses of wilderness which could be travelled across via stagecoach, pack mules, wagon, hiking and even a sedate train ride.

That has of course long since changed and these days every instance of Frontierland across all the Disney theme parks include a Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ride and a stretch of riverfront.

In this park’s case, the Rivers of America is home to the Mark Twain Riverboat as well as the Sailing Ship Columbia (a replica of American explorer Robert Gray’s 18th century ship that circumnavigated the globe), with the Pirates Lair on Tom Sawyer Island sitting in its middle.

If you feel like food with a show, step into the Golden Horseshoe Saloon, or sharpen up your shooting skills at the Frontierland Shootin’ Exposition, situated just as you enter through the fort style gate.

(Neither of which I actually tackled mind you, primarily because I was far more interested in standing in a queue for what looked like it was going to be pretty decent roller coaster ride!)

As fun as a ride on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster was, I was actually a bit unfortunate on the day in that a large number of Frontierland’s attractions were currently either shuttered or closed to the public – all in an effort to make way for the new Star Wars themed land currently under construction (which you could peek at if you found a high enough vantage point like I did), slated for a 2019 grand opening.

Not that it mattered all that much though – there was still a lot of crowds left to work my way through and PLENTY of Disneyland still left to see!

Next up in my first ever (and realistically, only) exploration of Disneyland – New Orleans Square!

Related Link: Disneyland Park | Wikipedia

Mozart Cake and Memorabilia at Nibbles Bistro in Sedgefield (2017-07-11) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 27 NOV 2017

Seeing as we had happily been spending the day driving around, spotting mosaics and exploring the lovely little Sedgefield on the final leg of our June Holidays road trip, I decided that a suitable reward (in terms of cake and refreshments) was now very much in order for the girls and one super patient Chantelle.

Having just completed a short drive on The Island, we emerged (after dodging some bulldozers and diggers working on one of the roads) at the door of Nibbles Bistro, standing in the middle of the small Mosaic Market which itself is neatly tucked in between the Scarab Arts Village and the super popular Wild Oats Market location.

In addition to its welcoming outside seating area (hard not to love all that colour), the interior is actually well worth meandering through, primarily because all the walls are literally covered from floor to ceiling with all manner of for sale sports, music and movie memorabilia.

(Note, these memorabilia products are in fact sold by some other online company, the name of which has unfortunately now completely escaped me. It has something to do with golf, I’m sure. Anyway, if someone could drop me a line with the name it would be much appreciated!)

All this of course then means that there is no shortage of conversation fodder around the table – which could either be a blessing or a curse depending on how annoying your significant other is in terms of popular culture knowledge!

If I remember correctly, we ordered a couple of cakes to all share, the girls had hot chocolate and I had a nice coffee, with the star of the show for me being a piece of very delicious Mozart Cake – the first time that I’ve ever encountered this particular cake, much to the eye-rolling surprise of Chantelle.

The cafe was rather busy on the day that we were there, so service wasn’t that great (in fact I can remember to having become slightly annoyed with matters), but with that said, the cake was delicious, the food menu looked good, and the atmosphere was pretty laid back – so exactly what one would expect from this self declared “slow town” then! :)

Worth popping into then in other words.

Related Link: Nibbles Bistro

Sand and Boulders on Llandudno Beach in Cape Town (2017-06-24) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 25 NOV 2017

Just outside of Hout Bay and on the way to Camps Bay lies Llandudno (named after the Welsh town with a very similar look), an extremely upmarket, small and particularly picturesque residential suburb of Cape Town.

Despite their well to do status, Llandudno residents strive to maintain a private, coastal village feel to their suburb, achieving this by banning the operation of any shops or restaurants, disallowing the installation of street lights, and maintaining only the most minuscule amount of public parking spaces in the area.

Despite all of this, their tiny Llandudno beach is a popular beach with many Capetonians, thanks in no small part to its boulder strewn rugged beauty, the magnificent fynbos to each side, the view of the Twelve Apostles, Little Lion’s Head,and the Karbonkelberg Mountain all around, and its surfer exciting waves!

Popular with families for picnics, beach sports and sun worshipping in general, it really is difficult to walk away not appreciating this small beach’s well earned charm.

(Oh, and for nudists, it also marks the start of the 20 minute long, apparently not so gentle, walk to Cape Town’s famous nudist beach, Sandy Bay.)

Back in June, as part of my day out and about with the girls, I took a slight detour on our way to Hout Bay Harbour in order to see what this beach looks like for ourselves – and I’m pleased to report that neither the girls nor I left disappointed! :)

A pretty little beach indeed.

Related Link: Llandudno

Jam and Scones at Hillcrest Berry Orchards in the Banhoek Valley (2017-04-22) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 24 NOV 2017

It is nowadays quite impossible for me to travel the road from Stellenbosch, past Pniel and on towards Franschhoek without it being requested that I stop for scones and cream at Hillcrest Berry Orchards by young Jessica.

(Not that I mind though – a visit to Hillcrest Berries, on the outskirts of Stellenbosch, is always quite pleasant!)

While you can sit and dine in the remarkably popular restaurant/tea room if the weather doesn’t play along, it is by far the best to grab a spot on their terrace, with its beautiful views over the Banhoek Valley.

You’ll be rewarded with some crisp fresh air and some particularly pretty scenery to look at.

Primarily a producer of a wide selection of fine jams from the assortment of berries grown on the working berry farm, a visit to Hillcrest Berry Orchards is definitely defined by tucking into their scones, first choosing the jams to accompany and then deciding on what to round it off with.

Pro Tip: the Devonshire Clotted Cream is the MUST go to option, no question about it!

The atmosphere is relaxed (though on this particular visit there was a gaggle of girls celebrating someone’s 16th birthday, which on its own made for a very entertaining watch – so much posing and so, so many selfies!), the scones, jam and coffee great, and the view is fantastic.

Hard to argue against visiting this great little business that coincidentally also does so much good in its local community then.

Oh, and they even have a couple of weekend away guest cottages for rent available these days – just in case you’re looking for a bit of a Banhoek Valley/Stellenbosch getaway.

(Bonus: You’ll note the sad face photo of Jessica towards the bottom of the photo gallery. It was just me and the girls on one of our days out and about and unfortunately for Jess, it was a bit of a knee meet cement slab moment.)

Related Link: Hillcrest Berries | Facebook

A Bite to Eat at A Taste of Africa in Colchester (2017-07-07) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 21 NOV 2017

After a long morning spent game watching (after having enjoyed our night spent in the Addo Elephant Park as part of our June Holidays 2007 road trip), we were now about to embark on the drive down the road to Port Elizabeth, where we would be staying with Evan and Natasha for a couple of evenings.

However, a quick poll around the car quickly established that first a stop for something to eat was very much in order, and so instead of turning right towards Port Elizabeth, we turned left and ambled down towards nearby Colchester.

Having been established in 2015, the conveniently situated A Taste of Africa restaurant can be found at the BP petrol station complex at the start of Colchester, hard to miss thanks to its current brilliant blue paint job.

Passing the pizza oven out front and heading inside, you’ll find a cozy space with a lot of home industry products lining the wall. The restaurant/coffee shop has both indoor and outdoor seating arrangements, and from the look of things, capable of running a small bar setup just as easily.

The menu is decent, nice and casual, the food okay enough, and the staff more than welcoming and friendly. (The girls loved all the special attention that they were getting).

Seeing as we were pretty much the only people there for our stop, it isn’t really possible to comment on the vibe, but guessing from the setup, I suspect that more than a FEW party groups get together here every now and then!

Oh, and they do have a nice little garden setting too.

Bonus: Colchester (affectionately known as the Jewel of the Sundays River by locals), is itself a pretty interesting little place mind you. Twenty minutes outside of Port Elizabeth, lying on the banks of the Sundays River and bordered by the South Gate of the Addo Elephant National Park, the settlement of Colchester rose (nearly a century ago) as a challenge to Port Elizabeth (apparently), with the original vision of the engineer behind the whole thing for it to become the railway center for the whole of the Eastern Cape.

That battle was obviously lost, but Colchester, named after the oldest town in the United Kingdom, is however surrounded by ancient sand dunes (dating back about 100 000 years), and is situated in a part of the country that remains largely unspoiled – thereby meaning that the opportunities for fishing, hiking, river cruises, sand boarding, sand sledding, canoeing and swimming are plentiful.

So worth looking into if you want to escape the built up confines of Port Elizabeth then.

Related Link: A Taste of Africa | Facebook