Category Archives: Photo Gallery

Play Time at Mondeor Restaurant (2015-03-15) Photo Gallery 23 MAR 2015

Although I’ve already mentioned our play time trip for coffee and cake with Monty, Cheryl and Chantelle at Mondeor Restaurant the Sunday before last, I thought it a good idea to post some more photos of the relaxing afternoon out – after all, it isn’t every day that I can get Emily and Jessica on the trampoline at the same time!

IMG_20150315_163218 jessica and emily lotter on the trampoline at mondeor restaurant

Cake, coffee, milkshake, beer, and lots of things for the kids to clamber on, what more could you ask for? :)

Related Link: A Weekend of Tygervalley, Newlands, Blaauwklippen and Mondeor!

St. Patrick’s Day at Blaauwklippen Market (2015-03-15) Photo Gallery 23 MAR 2015

I’ve already written about our trip through to the Blaauwklippen Market Sunday before last, where we were delighted to find an unexpected St. Patrick’s Day celebration on in full swing.

Lots of green (basically everywhere you looked), lots of feel good Irish pub music, and of course the odd Irish dancing lass or two.

IMG_20150315_141420 jessica lotter watching irish dancing girls at blaauwklippen

Of course, thanks to the phone in my pocket, plenty of photos too, meaning I had best post some more pictures from what was a pleasant afternoon out and about!

And if you are not familiar with the Blaauwklippen market, I thought it best I swipe it from their website:

This family market started in March 2011 as a once-monthly market, but due to its popularity we changed it to a weekly market and are now open every Sunday 10h00 to 15h00. The market has a range of stalls from fresh produce and homemade products to crafts and plants. There is also live music, delicious food stalls and of course Blaauwklippen wines to enjoy, so bring a blanket and relax under the trees.

And now you know.

P.S. The pancakes on sale there are the absolute best!

Related Link: A Weekend of Tygervalley, Newlands, Blaauwklippen and Mondeor!

Picnic in the Jack’s Back Garden (2015-03-08) Photo Gallery 12 MAR 2015

It’s ridiculous that I’m still busy posting photo sets from this past weekend, but I guess it just goes to show that I really wasn’t lying when I said we had a jam-packed weekend on our hands! In case you haven’t been following, Saturday saw us feeding ducks, eating pancakes at the Root 44 market, playing with animals (and tarantulas!) at Giraffe House, date night supper at Cocoa Wah Wah in Rondebosch, and if that wasn’t enough, capping it all of with Nik Rabinowitz’s What the Eff at the Baxter Theater.

Sunday saw us eat cheesecake at Lourensford Harvest Market, and getting something to drink at Stodels in Bellville. And before we capped off the weekend with supper with the Montgomery Clan, our last big activity for Sunday was a outdoor picnic with the ducks of Sonstraal Damn.

Except, that isn’t quite how it went down…

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You see, it turns out that Sonstraal Dam wasn’t all that inviting on Sunday afternoon, with a miserable wind kicking up sand and dust and in general just making for a rather unpleasant outdoor experience.

So a new plan was hastily hatched, and with the agreement of Damen, Michelle, Evan, Natasha, Dean and Zania, we phoned up Andri and Malcolm (who live down the road) and asked if we could instead set up picnic shop in their backyard garden.

Happily they said yes, and so the next couple of hours was spent on blankets, dipping into picnic baskets and chatting about life, work, and whatever else sprung to mind – surrounded by vibracrete walls and the kids jumping the socks off of the trampoline!

In other words, a great example of making lemonade when life hands you lemons! ;)

Coffee at Stodels (2015-03-08) Photo Gallery 11 MAR 2015

Having had quite a busy Saturday out and about with the kids, followed by a rare date night, Sunday saw us finish up our market cheesecake and make the drive through to Bellville in order to pick up the kids from Oupa and Ouma – and treat Monty and Cheryl to something to drink at perennial crowd favourite, Stodels nursery, in the process!

IMG_20150308_125535 monty montgomery with cheryl and jessica at stodels in bellville

As it turned out, Sunday was a particularly gorgeous day, and Stodels nursery as expected was jam-packed with people. Although we weren’t there for flowers, Jessica loved seeing all the fish, birds and other little animals in the pet section of the nursery, and needless to say rather enjoyed playing in Stodels’ big kids area – until her nasty fall that gave her a blue eye of course!!

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As for the adults, well we eventually managed to squirrel a spot at a table, and after a lengthy wait, managed to enjoy some coffee and beer – which isn’t the worst of ways to spend a late Sunday morning after all! :)

Giraffe House Visit (2015-03-07) Photo Gallery 10 MAR 2015

Saturday. Having already fed the ducks in Strand and eaten pancakes at the Root 44 market, Chantelle, the kids and I next jetted off through Stellenbosch and along the R44, until we reached the next destination on our epic weekend of family activities – the Giraffe House wildlife awareness center.

IMG_20150307_144132 craig lotter takes selfie with baby emily at the giraffe house

There we met up with Evan, Natasha and Evalynne, and with our tickets bought and monies handed over, we were handed a plastic bucket of feed and let loose upon the animal sanctuary.

The star of the show is without a doubt the hand reared Gerry the giraffe (which actually ate out of Evan’s hand!), but the Giraffe House also plays home to a variety of other African wildlife examples, like eland, ostriches, springbok, crocodiles, meerkats, llama, small deer, foxes, flamingoes, caracal and of course a plethora of farmyard animals, including the odd pony or two – perfect feeding targets for the little ones in other words!

IMG_20150307_143529 chantelle lotter, natasha granger, evan granger at the giraffe house

It took Jessica a little while to get into it, but once she had gotten the hang of it no goat was safe from her holding out a handful of pellets, letting the goat eat out of her hand, and then laughing her head off as if this was the funniest thing in the world!

Evalynne and Jessica soon got into a competition in terms of trying to show each other all the wonderful animal discoveries they were making, and with a little breeze keeping us cool on a rather warm day, we ambled (and were occasionally pulled) around the sanctuary for a pretty decent while!

The Giraffe House also houses the odd snake or two, and as such they have a short reptile show a couple of times a day. They have a nice little pavilion theater going to allow for the best views of the encounter, and with a wonderfully charming and humorous animal wrangler by the name of Pieter leading the show, this quickly turns out to be the highlight of the day’s outing!

Of particular surprise to me was just how brave Jessica suddenly became, going so far as to volunteer alongside the other kids to hold the big albino python at the end of the show. (Apparently she still thinks that it wasn’t a real snake which may just explain the bravery away, but nevertheless, I was suitably impressed and proud of my little girl!)

IMG_20150307_154043 jessica lotter holding a python at the giraffe house

As for me, I too had an encounter which I never thought I would ever have – as a hapless volunteer I had a live, hairy tarantula plonked down in my hands!

And if that wasn’t a freaky enough of a first time experience, I then got a “facebook” photo opportunity… i.e. the tarantula was unceremoniously put on my face!! (It is a pretty weird sensation for sure, but surprisingly enough, not actually all that bad.)

tarantula crawling on craig lotter's face

Will I purposefully put a tarantula on my face given the opportunity ever again though? Probably not! Will we visit the Giraffe House sometime in the future again? Most definitely yes!

Related Link: http://www.giraffehouse.co.za/

Pancakes at Root 44 Market (2015-03-07) Photo Gallery 10 MAR 2015

Following our feeding of the ducks at the Strand duck pond (kicking off our jam-packed family activities weekend), we found ourselves driving down the R44 in the direction of Stellenbosch, our destination being the always family friendly Root 44 market – the end goal… well pancakes with the kids of course!

IMG_20150307_121513 chantelle lotter waiting for pancakes at root 44 market

As always, Pure Pancakes didn’t disappoint, and soon we found ourselves a nice little spot on the grass in the kids play area on the edge of yet another bustling market day, and with all the pancakes now happily devoured piece by piece, it was time to play!

In the blink of an eye, Emily was clambering up and over everything (loving the slide at the moment it would seem – keeps me on my toes mind you!), whilst Jessica made a beeline for the sand pit – where she pretty much spent the rest of the morning!

IMG_20150307_124224 toddler emily lotter playing in the sand at root 44 market

Chantelle wandered off to browse the market (she doesn’t get to come out here quite as often as I do), whilst I just sat back and watched the kids at play.

So certainly not a horrible way to spend a beautiful Saturday morning then! :)

Feeding the Strand Duck Pond Geese (2015-03-07) Photo Gallery 09 MAR 2015

We kicked off an incredibly busy weekend (more on this at a later stage) by heading to the family favourite Strand duck pond (just across Strand High School) in order to feed all the hungry quackers. Armed with a loaf of fresh white bread purchased on the way at Cinnamon Square Spar, we arrived at the duck pond only to discover Emily fast asleep in her Bambino car seat.

Not wanting to wake her seeing as she needed the sleep having woken up particularly early on this Saturday morning, we left the windows wound down and stepped out onto the grass embankments – and were immediately flocked by dozens of geese and rather cute white ducks.

(For a change, Egyptian Geese didn’t dominate the scene. Also, the duck pond was at a mysteriously low level, certainly much lower than what I’ve seen it before. Not sure whether maintenance, leak, or just old fashioned Summer evaporation.)

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Jessica quickly clambered up onto a park bench and started dishing out white bread slices left, right and center, and it wasn’t long before Chantelle and I found ourselves also joining in on the fun!

Lots of quacking, flapping and bread devouring was to be had, and no time at all the bread was done and we could make a run for it, back to the safety of the car and ready to head on to the next stop of our jam-packed family activities weekend!

Picnic in Kirstenbosch (2015-03-01) Photo Gallery 03 MAR 2015

I checked – the last time that we’ve had an outing to the world famous Kirstenbosch gardens was back in early 2012 in celebration of Ryan’s birthday. Well, fast forward three years and things have gotten a fair bit busier – after all, Mom and Dad now have four lovely grandchildren to dote on instead of just little Jessica as it was back then! :)

IMG_20150301_110657 - chantelle lotter with jessica and emily at kirstenbosch

With Chantelle off from work on Sunday, I thought a nice family picnic out to Kirstenbosch would be just the ticket, but as it turned out, neither Claire, Riley, Ryan or Robert could make it, meaning that in the end it was to be a day out for the kids and the grandparents – which is never a bad thing anyway!

Leaving the gale force winds of Gordon’s Bay behind, we made the trek through to Table Mountain, where on arrival we were rather surprised to find that the main parking area at Kirstenbosch was already full – meaning that we were diverted to the overflow parking area.

Eventually we had trudged our way up to the gardens, bought our tickets (Kirstenbosch really is worth the R50 entrance fee), and set about trying to link up with Monty and Cheryl, who had arrived a little earlier than us (we were held up leaving from home thanks to an epic throw up from Emily that pretty much decimated her entire cot!).

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The hook up didn’t go quite as smoothly as planned though – Monty and Cheryl had managed to come in via a different gate to us, and in the end, Kirstenbosch is simply too big to rely on luck in terms of randomly spotting another couple that you’re looking for!

After lots of huffing and puffing, marching about, and a lot of frustrated phone calls, we did eventually find one another, and more importantly, found a delightful little picnic spot close to a dam (so, so many overly friendly birds!) and with a LOT of shade to cover us for the day.

Mom and Dad on the other hand managed to miss out on all the shenanigans (they went to church first), by cleverly arriving a lot later and thus simply having us meet and lead them back to the picnic site! No hassle, no fuss! :)

IMG_20150301_150756 cheryl and ronnie lotter in kirstenbosch

Apart from a minor incident with a park official who wanted to fine Dad for bringing a chair in (honestly, we didn’t know that you are in fact not allowed to do so), what followed was a wonderfully tranquil day of lazing about, grazing on all sorts of picnic food, rolling around on the grass with the kids, and of course catching up on all the news, like Monty and Cheryl’s recent trip to Warmwaterberg Spa and Mom and Dad’s trip to New Zealand.

We did of course HAVE to also check out the recently unveiled Boomslang canopy walk, a park addition which I have to really commend it must be said. A beautiful bridge with fantastic views, and a cleverly implemented idea at that.

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I think we were probably in the park for something like five or six hours if not more, and at the end of a long day (we all got rather sun burnt – even Jessica now that I look at it), with the crowds flowing in for the evening’s Goldfish music concert, we packed up from our little spot and bid a fond farewell to everyone – bringing to an end what can only be described as a day of perfect relaxation.

IMG_20150301_123557 craig lotter with emily selfie in kirstenbosch

And pictures? Or course I caught more than just a few with my trusty old Huawei phone:

Related Link: http://www.sanbi.org/gardens/kirstenbosch

At Root 44 on Japan Day 2015 (2015-02-28) Photo Gallery 02 MAR 2015

Well that’s a bit embarrassing isn’t it? You see, I was on daddy duty with the girls on Saturday thanks to Chantelle working, and so I thought it would be nice to get out for a bit with a trip first to Root 44 Market, followed by some time in Stellenbosch.

The embarrassing bit is that it turns out that Saturday 28 February was The Office of the Consul of Japan in Cape Town’s Japan Day at the Root 44 market on the Audacia wine estate – and I pretty much took absolutely NO photos at all.

Zip, zero, zilch.

In other words, you’ll just have to take my work for it then! (Below? Not my photo.)

kendo at japan day 2015 at root 44 market

With our shopping at Somerset Mall done and dusted, Jessica, Emily and I then headed down the R44 until we reached the Audacia wine estate, ready for some Root 44 market action. As we climbed out of the car, the distinctive sound of taiko drums being beaten could be heard – in fact, it was our usual Helderberg culprits in the form of the Tamashii Daiko drumming troupe!

We had in fact just arrived for the start of Japan Day 2015, and dotted around the market were all sorts of Japanese related tables and exhibitions, from Bonzai to Calligraphy to Sumi-e art, and Origami to koi fish to Ikebana flower arrangement – and even a display of traditional Japanese children’s toys!

The main stage featured a continuous rotation of displays that included things like the taiko drumming, aikido, Japanese flute playing, kenjutso, kendo, karate, Japanese food preparation – and of course cosplay. (It goes without saying that the Cape Town Cosplay crew pretty much always show their faces if an event even mentions the words Japan or comic book!)

Anyway, perhaps the reason for me not taking any photos was the fact that the girls weren’t too interested in all of this going on around them – as far as they were concerned (well by ‘they’ I mean Jessica), we were there for one thing and one thing only – pancakes!

IMG_20150228_113532 jessica lotter waiting for pancakes at root 44 market

Of course, this DID mean that after much ambling about, we settled down with some pancakes, playfully devoured them, and then spent much time playing in the kids’ area on all the slides and swings – which needless to say both Jessica and Emily rather enjoyed.

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With the market (and thus Japan Day 2015) done and dusted, my next leg of the day out with the girls was a scenic drive down Adam Tas to meet up with Baden Powell, travelling past Spier and then into Stellenbosch, all with the plan to hit the market up at the Oude Libertas amphitheater.

However, on arrival there, my plans were somewhat dashed when I found both Jessica and Emily to be fast, fast asleep, and so in an effort not to disturb my two little sleeping beauties, I instead drove through Stellenbosch in the direction of home, stopping only once we were back in Somerset West in order to surprise Jessica with an McDonalds ice cream.

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Of course she decided to then pick a burger and chips instead. Sigh.

IMG_20150228_132453 jessica lotter at mcdonalds

Still, it was a great day out with my two little girls – as always! :)

 

World of Birds in Hout Bay (2015-02-15) Photo Gallery 18 FEB 2015

Last Sunday (following our relaxing picnic on Saturday), Chantelle and I rounded up the girls and headed off nice and early across the Boerewors Curtain to Hout Bay, where the plan was to meet up with Monty and Cheryl at the world renowned World of Birds sanctuary. As it turned out, neither of us quite made the 10:00 meeting time – we got stuck behind a sightseeing bus whilst they got stuck behind cyclists! (Not that one complains though – driving past Kirstenbosch and then on to Hout Bay is always a fantastic treat in terms of the scenery).

Anyway, in the end we arrived at the World of Birds at pretty much the same time, and first stop for the in-laws was a cup of coffee at the little Robin’s Nest restaurant. There it was a rather nice surprise to have Robert and new squeeze Tarryn join us for the day, and with everyone now awake, and Jess pretty restless, it was off to view the feathered fowls!

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World of Birds bills itself as such:

“World of Birds is the largest bird park in Africa and one of the few large bird parks in the World. Over 3 000 birds (and small animals) of 400 different species are uniquely presented in more than 100 spacious landscaped walk through aviaries, allowing you the most intimate closeness with nature.

A tropical garden setting in the Hout Bay Valley is the environment in which the aviaries are spaced over 4 ha of land, framed by the back of Table Mountain, the Twelve Apostles, Constantiaberg, Chapman’s Peak and Little Lion’s Head. A paradise for nature lovers and photographers, the World of Birds is one of Cape Town’s premier tourist attractions which no visitor should miss.”

IMG_20150215_120426 chantelle lotter and jessica ride a gorilla

Yup, that’s a lot of ground to cover and a lot of birds to see, so it’s no wonder that we ended up wandering around the sanctuary for 3 hours or so! The variety of bird life (from literally right across the world!) is always astonishing, not to mention the fact that you literally walk alongside them in the enclosures it an absolute delight. In fact, it is best summed up as a proper treat of an outing!

(If I was a photographer with a proper camera I would be in seventh heaven thanks to all the feathered models I would have access to… but I’m not, which explains all the tiny, tiny birds on the photos taken with my phone!)

IMG_20150215_120325 monty and cheryl montgomery with jessica lotter

The weather was perfect, and apart from a little slip and slide that saw Jess soaked to the bone, boots and all, everything ran pretty smoothly, with the kids (and adults) thoroughly enjoying themselves.

As you can see, I was pretty busy with my camera phone as well:

Having seen our fill of eagles, owls, storks and chickens, we ended our adventure in Hout Bay by joining the heavy traffic to the harbour, where our initial plan of enjoying some takeaway fish and chips fell through based entirely on just how busy the harbour was – i.e. it was packed!

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In the end, we headed up the ramp to the nautically themed Mariner’s Wharf, where after a bit of a wait in the bar for a table, we sat down and enjoyed some particularly tasty (but expensive!) fish and chips.

All in all, a fantastic day out for the family, and as always, a trip that I can highly recommend! :)

Related Link: http://www.worldofbirds.org.za/

Weekend Away in Jacobsbaai (2015-02-07) Photo Gallery 17 FEB 2015

The Oppiwa Festival held annually in Jacobsbaai is a brilliant little Afrikaans music festival with an interesting twist. Each musician get assigned a tractor-pulled wagon for which you then buy a ticket for, the end result being a two hour excursion that includes a ride around the dusty town with the artist, getting up nice and close and personal, with the whole thing then culminating with a stop at a random guest house for a spread of delicious eats and of course an impromptu private session with the musician.

Oh, and at the start of it all you get given a tin mug which is kept filled with wine from start to finish. In other words, a recipe for a guaranteed fun afternoon out!

IMG_20150206_182109 first jacobs bay oppiewa tractor sighting

Monty and Cheryl had invited Chantelle and myself to join them for the festival this year, and after an eventful journey from Gordon’s Bay to Jacobsbaai, we found ourselves in the calming and tranquil little West Coast village of Jacobsbaai late Friday afternoon, meeting up with everyone at Priscilla’s The Artists’ Retreat Guest House – our usual go to destination for whenever we’re on that side of the world! :)

Joining us for the weekend was Robert and his new girlfriend Tarryn Botha, and with all the sleeping arrangements organised and bags unpacked, it was decided to keep out of Priscilla’s hair (who was scrambling about, trying to get all the food preparations done for her hosting of a wagon on Saturday) by going out for supper to the Weskus Mall (in Vredenburg).

We knew that Panarottis in the mall has a play area, but our plans were scuppered when on entering the mall, Jessica spotted Yukon Spur’s huge outdoor play area – which of course meant Spur it was! With Jess immediately off to play, the rest of us settled down to enjoy some family food (I can never really bring myself to call Spur’s food good) and plenty of excited chatter.

IMG_20150206_211753 chantelle, emily and cheryl outside of spur

Happily, despite all the tummy bugs that seemed to be in the air (Emily, Chantelle and I were struggling a little), and despite Emily’s horrendous head butt of the wall a little earlier when we were first setting up the room (the bump on her forehead pretty much remained there for the rest of the weekend!), the kids and Chantelle and myself enjoyed a good night’s sleep, only waking up on Saturday at a much later time than normal! (Sleep, beautiful sleep!)

The morning was spent walking, eating a delicious guest house breakfast, playing pool, and of course a trip through to Paternoster for a beer (with the lovebirds) at the Paternoster Hotel.

IMG_20150207_115632 having a drink in paternoster with robert montgomery and tarryn botha

Back in Jacobsbaai, everyone got ready for their Oppiwa experience – well everyone but me.

As things turned out, when we’d originally bought tickets for the sold out festival, we managed to get just enough for the five of us (Anna Davel, formerly of Cut Glass, being the only wagon we could still book). However, with Robert now bagging a girlfriend at the last minute (and the first one in a very, VERY long time), I refused to stand in the way of young love and gave my ticket up to Tarryn, meaning that for the afternoon whilst everyone was drinking wine and making merry, I would be spending some time with Emily and Jessica, treating them to clothes and ice cream at the mall. (Which I always enjoy doing anyway!)

IMG_20150207_154806 jessica lotter and a wooden fish statue in the weskus mall

From all reports the Oppiwa experience was loads of fun, Anna Davel was mesmerizing, and we’ve pretty much already decided that we’ll just have to be back next year again! The evening was then spent around a blazing fire on the roof deck, dancing to some Afrikaanse treffers and chowing on all the Oppiwa stopover leftovers – the perfect way to round off what had been an excellent day.

As for Sunday, well that was spent mostly around the pool table and big, big braai on the deck – yet again the perfect was to spend a Sunday at the close of a good weekend away. Oh, and of course, I managed to grab some photos on my phone whilst we were there:

(Oh, and unlike our trip there, we didn’t get lost on the way back).

IMG_20150207_115655 chantelle and craig lotter drinking in paternoster

Related Link: http://www.oppiwa.co.za/

Baby Steps Picnic at Helderberg Nature Reserve (2015-02-14) Photo Gallery 16 FEB 2015

Valentine’s Day fell on Saturday this year, and as such I treated Chantelle to a lovely candlelit dinner in the braai room* (whilst she bought me a selection of delicious Woolworths choccies) – but that’s completely beside the point, because what I wanted to mention here is the lovely picnic we enjoyed in the morning with the kids at the Helderberg Nature Reserve.

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Baby Steps owner and head honcho Rochelle Kelders had organised the morning picnic as a way for the parents and kids to have a bit of a social get together together, and pleasingly, despite the heavy clouds that looked rather threatening, there was a nice little turn out and everyone was able to enjoy some seriously relaxing time on the grass with the kids. (So, so many tiny cute faces!)

Emily was adorable (as expected), and even managed to stun Chantelle and myself by rooting out a nectarine from our bag and devouring it whole – nothing subtle there. It was basically just nectarine juices on everything!

(The rest of us made do with the blueberry muffins we had picked up from Woolworths on our way – though Emily was quite adept at stealing quite a bit from those as well!)

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We’ve been with Baby Steps for quite some time now – just short of three years with Jessica and now 1 and a little bit years with Emily – and funnily enough, this is the very first time that our schedules actually allowed us to join in on the fun.

And I’m kind of glad that we did.

*small kids are so, so limiting.

Pitstop at the Weskus Padstal (2015-02-06) Photo Gallery 09 FEB 2015

Friday saw our weekend away down the West Coast kick off, and with the kids collected early, it was off in the Accent (which embarrassingly turned out to need two full cans of oil added before our departure – been a while since we last checked it would seem!).

Even more embarrassingly though, our trip to Jacobsbaai took an eventful turn when, as we were hurtling down the N7, it dawned on us that we had completely missed the Melkbosstrand turn-off to join the R27, meaning a sudden and slightly confused stop was in order.

With the radio immediately silenced because I couldn’t think (beautifully detailed in Defending the Caveman, well worth checking out if you ever get the chance), it was a quick husband/wife argument, then some fumbling with Google Maps on Chantelle’s phone (the GPS on my phone remains broken), followed by some jerky wandering around through the Atlantis area.

Sadly, our (unnecessarily) chosen route to join up with the R27 turned out to be a long, dusty, gravel road affair, which needless to say didn’t please me very much. However, as luck would have it, we did stumble upon a pretty cool sight: a light aircraft coming in for a landing right across the road in front of us – turns out we had happened upon Skydive Cape Town’s home base!

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Anyway, we did eventually join up with the R27 and were soon happily hurtling along again (or at least, driving as fast as the average speed camera system would allow us), and before long we happened across the eccentric West Coast Farmstall, that farm stall/diner/aviary/lion park/nursery that we’ve stopped at before.

Perfect… time for lunch (and a well deserved lunch if I say so myself)!

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As per usual, the Weskus Padstal is an absolute assault on the visual senses, the artistically inclined owners literally throwing anything and everything on the walls, creating an absolute visual treat that keeps you interested despite the fact that you just know that you’re actually sitting amongst a giant junk site.

I love it. It’s like being in a typical, junk-laden Afrikaans bar that just happens to have spilled outside.

Anyway, with Jessica and Emily happily entertained, Chantelle and I both ordered some wildsvleis (venison) pie, which I am happy to report was quite delicious.

IMG_20150206_150605 chantelle lotter eating venison pie

A relaxing, tranquil and enjoyable stop, it’s no wonder that I now seem to always include the West Coast Farmstall on the itinerary whenever we head down the West Coast! :)

Related Link: http://www.westcoastfarmstall.co.za

The Morning of Jessica’s Birthday (2014-11-14) Photo Gallery 31 JAN 2015

Last year Jessica’s actual birthday fell on a Friday, which is of course a normal Vergeet-My-Nie playschool day, which in turn then meant that it was “wake the kids up super early” day!

Sticking to tradition, we spruced up some cupcakes, placed some presents on the floor, and then filed into Jessica’s room singing “Happy Birthday to you!”, which needless to say woke her up with an enormous smile on her face! :)

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Then we encountered a bit of a flaw in our plan.

We lit the candles on the cupcakes, placed the tray on the floor, and asked Jessica to blow them out – only to quickly react after she had bent over to blow out the candles and her loose hair dangled in the flame.

Instant smell of burning hair in the morning. Yummy.

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Nothing serious though, the cupcakes were devoured, and the presents ripped into – all of which brought tremendous joy to our little girl who had just turned four!

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Le Bonheur Crocodile Farm (2015-01-17) Photo Gallery 29 JAN 2015

The Le Bonheur Crocodile Farm is a CITES registered breeder and tanner of the African Nile crocodile, a crocodile that is a resident reptile in many of South Africa’s game reserves but which no longer roams free in the country – meaning that this is a great spot to see them in real life if you haven’t done so before!

In addition to its primary crocodile farming activities, Le Bonheur (which means “happiness”) also just happens to be a beautiful estate in Simondium, offers catch-and-release fishing, has wedding and conference facilities, and also caters as a children’s party venue.

Oh, and it is one of the few places in Cape Town that you can of course get a delicious crocodile pie.

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Always on the lookout for things to go see with the girls, Chantelle and I decided to head out towards Simondium/Paarl one recent gorgeous Saturday afternoon after hearing about this Le Bonheur crocodile farm. It’s a great drive out there if you’re coming from our Gordon’s Bay side of the world, though the last stretch to actually reach the estate itself is a quite a bit of a bumpy gravel experience!

The Le Bonheur setup is such that you can spend the day at the estate without ever visiting the crocodile dams (which is a paid for experience), though if you haven’t yet seen the crocodiles before then of course this would be a rather silly thing to do.

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The crocodile ‘tour’ happens every 45 minutes throughout the day, and after paying your money, things are kicked off with a short introductory information session before everyone heads out to the walled crocodile pens.

There you’ll have a bit of an interactive session with some baby crocodiles (we handled six month old crocs, and I have to say, it’s certainly the first time I’ve ever held a crocodile!), before being set free to stroll along the walkway that stretches between the various dams, all containing a multitude of different aged crocodiles.

(Though you won’t find anything much older than three years in there – that’s pretty much the best age for harvesting the leather off the crocodile in terms of it still being relatively easy to do. Anything older and it becomes a major mission because of the thickness of the hide!)

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Because this is a working farm, there are a lot of crocodile leather items on display and for sale – but be warned though – a full crocodile hide will set you back R20,000! (After all, this is a luxury leather in great demand over in Italy and some other parts of Europe.)

The crocodile pens aren’t particular large and you’ll breeze through it pretty quickly, but again, if you haven’t seen crocodiles in real life before then this is certainly a good way to go about it.

Needless to say, apart from the nosebleed that kind of spoiled this part of the outing somewhat, Jess did enjoy seeing all these beasts up fairly close – though not enough that she’d actually touch one of course! :)

Outside of the crocodile pens is then the estate itself, and it has a cozy dining area with a kitchen that serves all manner of foods – though if you are first timers like we were then the crocodile pie is definitely recommended.

Chantelle turned out to be not so much of a fan of the crocodile meat, but I have to say that I did actually enjoy it. Very much like chicken in terms of texture and taste, but with a definite, strong venison flavour teasing your palate throughout.

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On the bottom level, next to the fishing dam, is a kids’ play area, plus a few scattered eating/picnic spots under the abundant trees, all of which opens up to a lovely grass bank which is perfect to laze about on whilst you watch the eager beavers hire some rods and attempt to catch some fish.

A really relaxing and beautiful venue then in other words.

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Jess, Emily, Chantelle and I had a thoroughly marvelous day at Le Bonheur in the end, and if you haven’t been there before then it is definitely worth the recommend – again, especially if you haven’t seen crocodiles in real life before!

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