Category Archives: Photo Gallery

Ambling along Gordon’s Bay Beach (2016-05-25) Photo Gallery 26 MAY 2016

I’ll let you in on a little secret of Gordon’s Bay – Winter is one of the best times of the year in our village. The reason being that the wind pretty much goes away, leaving you with beautiful winter sun soaked days that are absolutely perfect for taking long lunch break walks along the beach.

Which is exactly what I’m trying to do on a daily basis now, working at strengthening my knee by trudging through soft sand and water. Could be worse ways to go about it!

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Wednesday I ended up taking my phone along, hence all these lovely sandy pictures…

Aah, now I remember why I love living in Gordon’s Bay!

Jessica and Emily get a Double Bunk Bed to Share (2016-05-24) Photo Gallery 25 MAY 2016

Jessica was 3 when she got to sleep in her own big bed for the first time. Emily beats that by about six or so months because as of right now, the two girls are roommates and sleep on their very own, brand new double bunk bed!

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With the walls now freshly painted by Creative Designs All Sorts, the sagging cupboard repaired with a screw into the wall, Jessica’s old single bed sold via Facebook, and the carpets nice and clean thanks to the work of AJ’s Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning, Chantelle was ready to put her Girls’ Room Transformation plan into action.

First things first, we needed to buy a double bunk bed, and after a little time spent bed window shopping one Saturday (a while back), Chantelle and I both agreed on a beautiful, kid friendly (i.e. low) double bunk bed sourced from Bed Zone at the Somerset Decor Centre. (The same place that we bought our queen sized bed a couple of years ago, albeit now with a new name). All in all, the purchase set us back R4,300, which is broken down into R2,800 for the actual bunk bed, R1,400 for the two foam mattresses, and a paltry R100 for delivery and setup.

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Chantelle donated the cot (and a lot of baby toys, plushies and loads of kids clothing as well!), meaning that Emily’s old room (aka my old office) is now the dedicated toy/play room.

A trip to Mr Price Home ensured that we now had new matching bedding and a couple of cute decor finishes, with the end result making for two VERY excited little girls – both of whom are convinced that being on top is by far the most fun!

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The girls are loving the new setup and so far have taken to the new sleeping arrangement like ducks to water.

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Which is good, because we love the new look girls room too!

A Birthday Rainbow Cake Surprise (2016-05-15) Photo Gallery 19 MAY 2016

On Sunday we enjoyed a brilliant braai at the Montgomery Clan Stronghold, welcoming back Rob and Tarryn who had just returned from their 3 week long honeymoon holiday in Thailand! It was brilliant to hear all about the sights and sounds that they had encountered, leaving both Chantelle and myself super jealous in the process!

IMG_20160515_162552 birthday rainbow cake from the velvet cake co

The best part of the day was however dessert time, when out of the blue, Chantelle came strolling out carrying a rainbow cake of all things! What I didn’t know was that it was a surprise cake for me in celebration of my birthday that had fallen earlier in the week, which meant that I got the Full Monty in terms of having Happy Birthday sung to me and blowing out the candles (which of course, Jessica did on my behalf).

I love rainbow cakes in general – how can one not like this happy clappy cake! – and this particular one from The Velvet Cake Co. (situated in Rosenpark, Bellville) was delicious, tasting as good as what it looks!

What a nice Sunday surprise.

Related Link: The Velvet Cake Co.

Birthday Supper with the Girls at Sunset Bay Spur (2016-05-11) Photo Gallery 15 MAY 2016

I turned 36 on Wednesday, and spent the first half of the day with Chantelle up on Table Mountain, taking advantage of the cableway’s free birthday ride offer. The latter part of the day I spent with my two girls, heading out to Sunset Bay Spur, because well, kids love Spur’s play areas.

IMG_20160511_174631 teddy, emily and jessica lotter at sunset bay spur in gordon's bay

Sunset Bay Spur does of course have that fabulous beach view, so I didn’t mind too much being left alone with Teddy and my Savanna Dry for the odd now and then, but for the most part the girls chose to hang out with me – with plenty of colouring in and milkshake swigging taking place.

IMG_20160511_173859 savanna dry at sunset bay spur in gordon's bay

Spur food is Spur food (in other words, I’m not really a fan), but the girls had a ball playing and occasionally eating, meaning that the trip was totally worth it – even if Jess forgot her part and totall didn’t tell the waiters that it was my birthday.

Sigh, I was looking forward to that sparkler.

Oh, and of course, one milkshake was dropped, and two bouts of tears had to be dealt with – Emily over her milkshake, and Jessica who walked into the slide forehead first!

Perhaps next time I should invite an adult along…

Related Link: Sunset Bay Spur

Table Mountain Cableway Birthday Trip (2016-05-11) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 14 MAY 2016

The popular Table Mountain Aerial Cableway company gives South Africans a free cable car ride on their birthday, and although I’ve unsuccessfully tried to take advantage of the offer before in the past, this was the first year where I’ve finally been able to go up the mountain on my birthday – and what a great trip it was!

IMG_20160511_120025 craig lotter grinning like an idiot on my table mountain cableway birthday trip

Traditionally, Touchwork gives us the day off on our birthday, and so roping Chantelle along (she was working an afternoon shift on the day), we dropped the kids off and then headed out to Cape Town, with the trip through to the mountain going surprisingly fast (we were expecting loads more traffic).

The mountain itself was however a different story – despite it being a Wednesday morning, there were loads of tourist buses dropping people off, and after eventually finding a spot to park (behind a bus), Chantelle and I strolled down to the Lower Cableway Station and joined the queue – a waiting process that would last a good hour and a half in the end!

IMG_20160511_113856 cable car leaving the station on my table mountain cableway birthday trip

Eventually, our turn to board the Visa branded cable car arrived, and with each and every ticket scanner having happily proclaimed “Happy Birthday Craig” as we passed through, I climbed into the car grinning like a complete idiot.

This was my first time ever using the revolving cars (the last time I took the cable car was back as a kid – I’m reasonably sure of this), and I have to say, gimmick or not, I quite enjoyed this little trick up the rather impressive cart’s sleeve.

(That said, the cable car ride itself is of course ridiculously short, so there isn’t all that much time to admire things, revolving or not – so completely unlike 2014’s longer and thus slightly more enjoyable ropeway ascension in Komagatake that I did with Ryan.)

IMG_20160511_131216 mountain binoculars on my table mountain cableway birthday trip

As luck would have it, it was an absolutely beautiful day at the top of the mountain, sunny skies, no wind, minimal cloud cover and thus great visibility – meaning that one could take their sweet time strolling around the tourist paths and admiring all the stunning views at whatever pace suited them best.

(It’s been a while since I’ve been up the mountain, and although ascending the mountain in this manner and this particular tourist friendly part of the mountain is not the greatest, it still remains a pretty awesome experience in terms of sights to be had!)

IMG_20160511_123032 view outside table mountain cafe restaurant on my table mountain cableway birthday trip

Chantelle was pretty keen (read: hungry) on eating something, so we headed over to the Table Mountain Cafe, ordered what on the menu reads “Ostrich Subs”, but is in reality a ostrich boerewors roll, and grabbed one of the outdoor tables that were open – quite surprising considering the amount of tourists milling about on the top!

IMG_20160511_125542 tourists with a view on my table mountain cableway birthday trip

Unfortunately we couldn’t spend too long up on the mountain because unlike me, Chantelle actually needed to go into work, but I was fortunate enough to catch two dueling birds of prey before going down – which I thought was a pretty good birthday present to myself!

The cable car ride down was smooth (with our enjoyable cable car ‘conductor’ putting on a great show in the process), and finally, the drive back to Gordon’s Bay went without incident.

In other words, it was a pretty good birthday outing!

Related Link: Table Mountain Aerial Cableway

Chantelle’s Norwegian Salmon Mother’s Day Lunch (2016-05-08) Photo Gallery 13 MAY 2016

On the Saturday before Mother’s Day, I took the girls out to go and buy something nice for Chantelle. We did however start our trip by dropping in at our local Gordon’s Bay public library first – the first time any one of us had actually been there!

The girls were quite impressed by all the books, and after a quick story or two (and the promise to sign up for our very own library cards), we left again, battling the strong wind and heading off through Strand to the Paardevlei Farmers Market.

IMG_20160507_114519 Jessica and Emily with the Proteas bought for Mothers Day

After years of not being particularly impressed by proteas and the rest of the fynbos family, Chantelle has since done a u-turn and as such, the girls helped me pick out two beautiful bunches of proteas which would serve as Chantelle’s Mother’s Day gift. (We also stopped at the shops to pick up Lindt Chocolates too, just to be safe.)

IMG_20160508_130514 Chantelle Lotter with her Mother's Day Norwegian Salmon Spread

Come Sunday, despite the fact that she was working a split shift, it was in fact the rest of us who were in for a treat. Chantelle had invited the folks over for Mother’s Day lunch, and with Monty and Cheryl joining us for the day, Chantelle arrived back from her first shift at work and set about whipping up an absolutely fabulous chef-level lunch with the brilliant Norwegian Salmon  (sourced from Gordon’s Bay Fisheries) as the hero of her dish!

(Not to mention the delicious home-made seed bread that she too somehow found the time to bake!)

IMG_20160508_130502 Norwegian Salmon Mothers Day Lunch

And if the main course wasn’t enough to leave our mouths watering, she also delivered a delicious Banoffee Pie for dessert.

IMG_20160508_143434 Chantelle Lotter and her Banoffee Pie dessert

Sadly of course, after finishing our meal and enjoying the dessert, it was back to work for Chantelle, meaning that at the end of the day, it was actually the rest of us who were more spoiled for Mother’s Day than what she was!

(But at least she had her Lindt chocolates to return to that evening…)

Lunch at The Orchard in Grabouw (2016-04-17) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 12 MAY 2016

To round off our weekend away with Oupa and Ouma in Barrydale, we stopped for lunch on the way home, pulling in at The Orchard Farm Stall & Coffee Shop in Grabouw – a pleasant N2 stop that I’ve mentioned before, perfect if you have kids that need a little space to run around while you tuck into something a little more substantial.

IMG_20160415_145352 at the orchard farm stall and restaurant in grabouw

As luck would have it, by now we had escaped the overcast weather that had followed us all the way to Swellendam from Warmwaterberg Spa, meaning that we were treated to blue skies and a little bit of sunshine to go with it.

We picked an outside table, meaning that Jessica and Emily could get on with running around, climbing the jungle gym and falling off the swings.

IMG_20160417_141929 montgomery clan eating outside at the orchard farm stall and restaurant in grabouw

Sadly though, Emily did have a bit of an accident with the milkshake, but other than that, we enjoyed a pleasant family lunch (hamburgers and sandwiches!) before saying our goodbyes and parting ways.

In other words, great end to our little Warmwaterberg Spa weekend adventure!

(Oh, and in case you spotted the different timestamps on the photos, yes we did actually stop there on the way up – to stock up on biltongs and pies for the road!)

Related Link: The Orchard Farm Stall & Coffee Shop

Milkshakes at Tredici in Swellendam (2016-04-17) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 11 MAY 2016

In March Chantelle, the girls, and I had discovered the fantastic Tredici bakery and restaurant in Swellendam on our drive back home from Mossel Bay. Eager to show off our find to in-laws Monty and Cheryl, we made a point of making a quick stop there on the way back from our Barrydale weekend away – which was just as well as it turns out that in addition to great baked treats, they also make fantastic milkshakes!

IMG_20160417_114229 entering at tredici bakery and restaurant in swellendam

If you aren’t familiar with Tredici (which is Italian for “Bakers Dozen”), it is a Swellendam-based bakery, restaurant and functions venue that is known for both its great output as well as its stunning building and vibe – a classical mix of Cape Dutch, French and Italian stylings.

IMG_20160417_115146 jessica and chantelle lotter at tredici bakery and restaurant in swellendam

The place was jam-packed (which I guess then means that Tredici is a popular Sunday stop for a lot of people), and we were lucky to get a table on the elevated floor – though only thanks to the waiter relocating two bikers from a table for six for us.

I can only assume that the two guys (pictured now sitting behind us) were not impressed!

IMG_20160417_115137 monty and cheryl montgomery at tredici bakery and restaurant in swellendam

As I mentioned, we made this a milkshake stop, which of course both Jessica and Emily were seriously on board for!

IMG_20160417_121454 craig lotter drinking a milkshake at tredici bakery and restaurant in swellendam

The milkshakes were good, everyone enjoyed themselves, and I sneaked in buying a chocolate chip cookie for myself on the way out. Seriously, what’s not to love about this place?

Related Link: Tredici

Coffee at The Blue Cow in Barrydale (2016-04-16) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 10 MAY 2016

Recently we enjoyed a great weekend away at Warmwaterberg Spa, situated on the R62 about 30 km past Barrydale in the Western Cape. Saturday afternoon we decided to take a drive out to Barrydale to have a look around town, and in doing so ended up enjoying a great coffee stop at The Blue Cow – described as the coffee shop on Barrydale’s “Waterfront”!

IMG_20160416_140210 chantelle lotter feeding the fish at the blue cow coffee shop and restaurant in barrydale

Situated on a calf paddock next to the farm’s dam, The Blue Cow is a small, stylish coffee shop that serves great coffee and good treats. The water below the deck is teeming with giant koi fish, and on arrival the girls were both handed pieces of bread to feed the demanding mouths – which obviously was a big hit for the two of them!

There is also an abundance of weaver bird nests alongside the water, and we were treated to a great weaving display by one of the birds while waiting for our order to arrive.

IMG_20160416_143117 monty feeding emily at the blue cow coffee shop and restaurant in barrydale

The atmosphere is tranquil and the views superb, making this quiet coffee shop quite a jewel in Barrydale’s tourist offering.

Plus, I kind of like the description/history on their menu:

“Six generations ago Robert Cooke, a farm worker near Dublin in Ireland fell in love with a landowner’s daughter, Mary-Anne Proudfoot they were forbidden to marry because of the class difference so, undeterred, they jumped aboard a ship to Cape Town and then took an ox-wagon to Swellendam in 1890 the Cooke Family ended up with the farm in Barrydale where they have been farming dairy and fruit ever since.

Boetie and Hannette Cooke continued farming in the family tradition and raised their children Bertus, Anika and Danel on the farm. About eleven years ago Hannette had an idea. She told Boetie what she wanted to do and in true male tradition he told her it was a silly idea and wouldn’t work. It took Hannette two years of female guile to convince Boetie that a restaurant in the “calf paddock by the dam” on the farm would be a good idea.

And a great idea it was… The Blue Cow was born! 11 years running, moo!”

IMG_20160416_142909 cake with ice cream rose at the blue cow coffee shop and restaurant in barrydale

Oh, and everyone rather enjoyed their food!

Related Link: The Blue Cow | Facebook

Weekend away at Warmwaterberg Spa (2016-04-15) Photo Gallery 10 MAY 2016

I may have mentioned it already, but I had a horrible end to last year and a bad beginning to this one. Thus, now that I can pretty much walk normally again (at last!!), I’m doing my best to salvage the year by attempting to go on at least one getaway a month for the rest of the year – and so far we’re doing a pretty good job of it!

IMG_20160416_104325 chantelle photobomb with craig lotter at warmwaterberg spa near barrydale

February was Jacobsbaai, March was Mossel Bay, and April was Warmwaterberg Spa (just outside of Barrydale if you are looking for it on the map).

Warmwaterberg Spa is one of the oldest hot spring resorts in the country, having opened in 1887, meaning it turns a healthy 129 years old this year! Chantelle and I have actually been there before, way back in 2010, and we were both pretty excited to now head back and show off the place to the girls.

IMG_20160416_094055 restaurant at warmwaterberg spa near barrydale

If you have never been there before, Warmwaterberg Spa is a very simple operation, a place with all the necessities in place but without much luxury attached to it. There are quite a couple of different accommodation options, including caravan and tenting sites, to be had (we chose a timber cabin for the six of us), a restaurant and little shop on the grounds, and most important of all, the pools.

However, what it does have in spades is space, starlit skies, and stunning landscape scenery, with idyllic views that literally stretch on for miles – no matter which direction you look.

IMG_20160416_093425 landscape at warmwaterberg spa near barrydale

Discounting the historic Roman baths on the property, there are three public pools in total, each a different temperature. Seeing as it was too cold to make use of the cold water pool, we pretty much stuck to the two warm pools, with Jessica surprising us all by declaring her independence (thank you water wings!) and swimming on her own without clinging to us each and every second like she normally does!

IMG_20160416_071931 morning coffee at warmwaterberg spa near barrydale

We were joined on this trip by Monty and Cheryl, and the girls thoroughly enjoyed having Oupa and Ouma along for the adventure. Our weekend flashed by, with lots of swim sessions (including a night dip for Chantelle and myself), peacock stalking, chicken chasing, braai and a potjie suppers, a restaurant breakfast and even a coffee trip to Barrydale.

Oh, and Emily was particularly impressed by being allowed to sleep in her own big bed for a change!

IMG_20160416_113821 girls walking to the pools at warmwaterberg spa near barrydale

As luck would have it, the weather played along beautifully for the Friday and Saturday of our weekend away, with the clouds only rolling in on Sunday, making for a slightly damp car packing session.

The girls had fun, I had fun, so yes, apart from the horrible 3 km dirt road to get to resort’s reception, Warmwaterberg Spa Weekend Away 2016 was a brilliant success!

(Naturally, I took loads of photos, as is customary on any of my weekends away…)

Sadly though, despite it’s close proximity to Warmwaterberg Spa (it is literally just before the gravel road turn off), we didn’t make time to pop in at the famous Ronnie’s Sex Shop pub. Maybe when the girls are a little older…

Related Link: Warmwaterberg Spa

Kinetica at the Cape Construction Expo (2015-08-12) Photo Gallery 09 MAY 2016

August 2015 saw Touchwork’s sister company Hypenica run their successful Cape Construction Expo at the Cape Town International Convention Centre(As you may have guessed by the date, this continues the trend of me finally getting around to publishing articles that have sat gathering dust in my Drafts folder for far too long now…)

IMG_20150812_130246 red human sculpture outside the cape town international convention centre (cticc)

By this stage the usage of Kinetica (my rather flexible feedback gathering solution) as a visitor, exhibitor and delegate registration and badge print system was quite well established, meaning that unlike the Sandton trip, I didn’t have to tag along to offer front line technical assistance for the show.

IMG_20150812_114330 hypenica cape construction expo at the cape town international convention centre (cticc)

Rudi suggested that I come through and have a look anyway, which I eagerly agreed to (the prospect of not spending the day behind the keyboard is always a nice one – plus, I hadn’t ever been to the CTICC before, so this was as good an opportunity as any).

IMG_20150812_125549 kinetica registration system at cape construction expo 2015 at the cape town international convention centre (cticc)

Pleasingly, my system was running smoothly, and badge registration/redemption was quick and efficient, drawing lots of compliments from all quarters. (It was particularly satisfying, because right next door, Spar was doing a trade show with their suppliers, and their registration/badge process was this horribly slow, paper-based solution).

IMG_20150812_123642 makerbot at cape construction expo 2015 at the cape town international convention centre (cticc)

Some of the exhibits on the floor was pretty interesting, particularly the varied 3D printing solutions on show. (Surprisingly, there was even a MakerBot exhibit of all things!)

Behind the scenes things seemed as hectic as always, meaning that I was more than pleased to just be wandering around as a visitor instead of doing actual work like the rest of my frantic Hypenica colleagues!

All in all though, the expo was a big success – which is probably why this year’s version is already penciled in to be an even bigger and better affair.

Related Link: Cape Construction Expo | Cape Town International Convention Centre

Meeting Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife in Pietermaritzburg (2016-04-12) Photo Gallery 08 MAY 2016

We’re currently working on implementing my Kinetica feedback system for Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (we’ve have been running SANParks on one of my systems for years now), and they needed a technical lead at the project initiation meeting – which naturally meant that I got to pack my laptop and join our sales lead Athi Myoli on a trip through to their Pietermaritzburg stronghold for the engagement.

Touchwork VERY seldom ever needs me to go out on business trips, in fact, up until April this year (seven and a half years in) I’ve only ever been to a handful of trips to Distell in Stellenbosch and two outside of the Western Cape (both to Johannesburg now that I think about it).

In other words, I genuinely was looking forward to the outing!

IMG_20160412_1 Cape Town International Airport early in the morning

The cheapest tickets are of course the earliest, which meant that just after 05:00 on Tuesday morning, I found myself milling about Cape Town International waiting on our Flysafair plane that would shortly be winging us to Durban.

Despite the relatively full airplane, I struck it lucky and got an aisle seat with no one directly next to me, meaning that I had ample amount of space on either side of me. Combine that with Flysafair’s slimline seats, and I enjoyed quite the comfortable flight.

(Though I do feel a little sorry for the lady and her baby sitting at the window seat of our three seat row – I still get quite excited by the prospect of flying, meaning that I’m forever straining to look out the window at all the sights!)

IMG_20160412_2 Landing at King Shaka International Airport in Durban via a pink and white Flysafair boeing

We landed at King Shaka International to a sunny and warm Durban without incident, where next we headed off to pick up our rented car – only to discover that Meghan hadn’t actually organised it yet! Luckily, sorting it out didn’t take long, and pretty soon we were taking possession of our good looking, blue Honda Brio.

As you might gather from the above sentence, I actually quite like the styling on the plucky little Honda, with the cabin being surprisingly spacious and the car pretty easy to drive. However, that said, the Brio is absolutely useless on the highway – it literally has no power whatsoever!

IMG_20160412_3 Hiring a Honda Brio car rental at King Shaka International airport durban

The drive through to Pietermaritzburg from Durban remains a beautiful, lush affair, and I thoroughly enjoyed the scenic trip – even without the ability to actually overtake anyone on the road. Google Maps handled all of the navigation, and outside of one small incident at the start where I changed lanes without spotting a Land Rover bearing down on me, the drive was pretty uneventful.

We did however hit a snag once we finally made it to the leafy entrance of Ezemvelo’s offices – we were a good two hours too early!

IMG_20160412_5 Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife headquarters in pietermaritzburg

Luckily for us though, the nearby Victoria Country Club, usually only open to golf club members, took pity on these two unusually on time Capetonians and allowed us to sit and enjoy breakfast in the otherwise deserted restaurant – somewhat of a treat when you consider the jaw dropping scenic beauty that the 120+ year old country club’s balcony tables deliver!

IMG_20160412_9 View from the restaurant at Victoria Country Club in Pietermaritzburg

Plus, breakfast was particularly delicious.

IMG_20160412_10 Athi Myoli eating breakfast at the restaurant at Victoria Country Club in Pietermaritzburg

Now thoroughly sated and relaxed, we returned to the leafy gates of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (situated in the Queen Elizabeth Park nature reserve) where the meeting went well and the day therefore a success.

With time to kill before we needed to be back in Durban for our evening flight back home, I convinced Athi that we simply HAD to go to the KwaZulu-Natal National Botanical Garden, which she reluctantly agreed to despite her high heel shoes.

Following a brilliant stroll through some beautiful and exotic gardens (which I’ve already documented in the link above), we left the sadly slightly rundown Pietermaritzburg and made the long scenic drive back to Durban – though this time around it was a lot more excruciating thanks to the peak hour traffic we were caught up in!

IMG_20160412_15 Cattle sculpture Outside King Shaka International Airport in Durban

After some beer and ice cream at King Shaka Airport’s Spur franchise of all places, we accidentally nearly missed checking in for our flight, but following that everything ran smoothly as we returned safely to the arms of the Mother City.

(Pleasingly, my leg held up nicely for the full day of sitting, flying and walking about, though Athi did complain that it was like strolling around with an old man the entire day. I on the other hand complained non stop about the humidity and heat that is Durban/Pietermaritzburg.)

Sadly, due to misunderstanding how the Huawei P8 stores photos when launching the camera directly from the lock screen, I lost a lot of photos taken on the day, so there goes that. Luckily for me though, these few were posted to Facebook (thankfull, I’m pretty good with that), so something was at least salvaged for you to see:

(Note. All of this now reminds me that I still have a year old post regarding to last year’s trip to Sandton sitting in my Drafts folder! Guess I should actually get around to publishing that one day as well…)

Related Link: Touchwork | Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife

Tian and Monica’s Wedding in Simondium (2016-04-23) Photo Gallery 06 MAY 2016

At this point pretty much all of our friends and family are married off, meaning that getting the opportunity to go to a wedding (which I enjoy) is becoming a pretty rare thing. Having already missed Retha and Miguel’s South African wedding in December thanks to my injury, I was definitely not going to turn down the opportunity of attending cousin Tian and Monica’s wedding – which in any case was already long overdue according to some family members!

IMG_20160423_164352 beautiful bride monica at simondium's country lodge

Tian and Monica settled on having their wedding at the Simondium Country Lodge in Simondium, situated on the R45 somewhere between Franschhoek and Paarl. (In other words, this afforded us quite a scenic drive to get there!)

The venue itself is leafy, rustic, peacock inhabited, and comes most important of all with a pretty cool card up its sleeve – this brilliant, artsy, ramshackle chapel that fitted the vintage theme of Monica’s  decor perfectly!

IMG_20160423_165225 interesting, ramshackle chapel at simondium's country lodge

The ceremony had everyone’s attention, the company (which for us included the priest and his wife as they were seated by our table) was great, and the food particularly delicious – I mean, oxtail, pork, stuffed chicken, you literally can’t go wrong!

The music had a distinctly 80s/vintage vibe to it, and it definitely had all the old folks finger and toe tapping along, and I have to say, it was great to finally get out on the dance floor and take Chantelle around for a few spins once more! (Amazingly, my knee held up and I only trod on her foot like once or twice max…)

IMG_20160423_211306 chantelle and craig lotter at tian and monica wedding at simondium's country lodge

It was a great wedding and an enjoyable evening out, so here’s to wishing the beautiful bride and her groom all the best for the future going forward together!

Oh, and I even managed to snap a pic of my photo elusive brother for a change:

IMG_20160423_165301 ryan lotter at tian and monica wedding at simondium's country lodge

(Ah, and in case you’re wondering where the girls are, they rather enjoyed their sleepover with Oupa and Ouma back in Bellville!)

Related Link: Simondium’s Country Lodge

Playing at Bikini Beach in Gordon’s Bay (2016-05-01) Photo Gallery 03 MAY 2016

Last weekend was a long weekend, thanks to Worker’s Day being celebrated here in South Africa. The glorious weather we enjoyed on Sunday was literally begging me to take the kids out to the beach – and so that’s exactly what I did.

IMG_20160501_114705 kids looking out at bikini beach in gordon's bay

Bikini Beach is of course our little Gordon’s Bay beach that continuously earns itself a Blue Flag Beach status.

IMG_20160501_114929 jessica and emily play in the sand at bikini beach in gordon's bay

If you are not familiar with it, this tiny beach (rumoured to have received its name from the bikinis worn by female students from the the University of Stellenbosch) lies at the foot of the Hottentot’s Holland mountain range, tucked up against the Gordon’s Bay harbour wall – making for a wind sheltered, safe bathing spot.

It’s popular with both the locals and overseas visitors, and I’ve even done a bit of karate there back in the day!

IMG_20160501_123520 sail boat on the horizon at bikini beach in gordon's bay

As you might expect, despite the girls still being terrified of getting too close to the water, both of them thoroughly enjoyed their play time in the sand and sun.

(I on the other hand found the soft sand a little too challenging for my weak knee, meaning that I got to stretch out on a bench looking out over the beach for most of our stay!)

And yes. The phone camera once again got a decent workout on the day:

Related Link: Bikini Beach Blue Flag Status

Travelling through Tradouw Pass to Barrydale (2016-04-15) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 28 APR 2016

Continuing the trend of this being the year of weekends away as a result of my lack of mobility throughout December and January (February was Jacobsbaai, and March was Mossel Bay), April saw us head out to Warmwaterberg Spa near Barrydale – one of the oldest hot spring resorts in South Africa!

IMG_20160415_171030 hyundai accent in front of the beautiful scenery of tradouw pass in south africa

For us, the best route to get there is the N2 and then cut across the R324 to hit the R62 – in other words, we get to cross the magnificent Tradouw’s Pass in the process!

IMG_20160415_170123 beautiful scenery of tradouw pass in south africa

Originally opened in 1873 and built by the famous South African road and pass builder Thomas Bain, the Tradouw Pass (which more or less means Women’s Path in Khoi) is a 17 kilometer mountain drive through the rugged Langeberg region. It connects Swellendam with Suurbraak and Barrydale, and is by far one of the top tarred passes in the Western Cape in terms of beauty and engineering.

The road offers spectacular views of the surrounding areas, and numerous lookout points have been added over the years to make the most of this.

That said, this route has suffered severe flood damage in its 130+ years of existence, with several rebuilds occurring during its lifetime. 1974 was one of the big ones, with the pass being almost completely rebuilt, widened in places and a couple of hairpin bends removed for good measure. It was also completely tarred in the process, and to add an element of landscaping to the project, 4000 aloes and 2500 indigenous trees and shrubs were also planted!

Mountain Passes South Africa has a great informational video showing off the pass and its story up on their website:

Naturally, we stopped at more than just one lookout point to admire the view (and take a few phone camera snaps!) – after all, the last time that we tackled this pass was literally at the dead of night!

Related Link: Tradouw’s Pass