Category Archives: Family Attractions

Searching for Strawberries at Polkadraai Farm in Stellenbosch (2018-09-15) Family Attractions | Photo Gallery 19 JUL 2019

When Spring rolls in at the start of September, the strawberry plants start bearing fruit, and as such, Stellenbosch’s firm family favourite, Polkadraai Farm, opens its gates and allows the public to stream in and start hunting out the best of these sweet red juicy delights.

The last couple of years has seen the farm really cement its family outing offering, with the completion of a host of different upgrades, resulting in an experience with better parking, more shopping variety, outdoor eating options, a mini golf course, jungle gyms, dedicated party venues, pony and tractor trailer rides, and of course expanded strawberry fields for the picking.

It’s a colourful assault on the senses (even if the clouds were a little grey on this particular occasion) and a fun experience for the kids, whom these days don’t often have the opportunity to see just where their food actually comes from. Plus, the strawberries are absolutely delicious, so there’s that too! :P

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A Giant Jersey, Pancakes and Silly Fun at Tuinplaas in Albertinia (2018-09-22) Family Attractions | Photo Gallery 05 JUL 2019

With the impossible to miss combination of colourful flapping flags and ridiculously dressed ostriches waving to you from the side of the road, sooner or later you are simply going to have to pull off the N2 at the edge of Albertinia and investigate just what exactly this silliness is that labels itself Tuinplaas. So that then is precisely what I did.

With the girls and myself travelling up for a weekend away in Mossel Bay with my folks, I decided to call up mom and dad (who were already there) and asked them to drive down and meet us in Albertinia for a quick breakfast. Amazingly, they agreed to my plan and soon enough we both pulled up in the vast parking lot of our destination. Hello Tuinplaas.

As it turns out, Tuinplaas is in fact a business that is wonderfully not afraid to throw anything and everything at you in order to be successful. At its core, Tuinplaas probably started out as a garden concrete mouldings specialist (hence the many concrete statues, pots and other garden pieces for sale), but then also successfully dabbles as a plant nursery, with a specific focus on its many beautiful succulents.

On top of all that, next is the homely restaurant (situated right next to all the plants and pots), and beside that, the intriguing farm museum that is host to an incredible collection of scale models (with over 8,000 models on display), ten vintage tractors (the oldest being a 1933 McCormick Deering), and incredibly (because this is Albertinia of all places), the Guiness World Record certified largest hand-knitted jersey (jumper) in the world!

And then there is the very silly, impossible to categorize, R.O.A.R., aka the Royale Ostrich Ancestral Republic, concrete ostriches “installation”. It is very silly (in a good way).

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

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

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

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

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

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The Birds and the Trees of Harry Giddy Park in Mossel Bay (2018-06-29) Family Attractions | Photo Gallery 05 JUN 2019

Right as you start your entry into Mossel Bay’s old CBD, at the very top of Marsh Street on the right is a lush green haven called Harry Giddey Park (or Harry Giddy, the Internet can’t quite make up its mind), a public park with trees, running water, a bandstand, a playground, an aviary and even a couple of farmyard animals scattered about.

First laid out as Victoria Park in 1887 (complete with ornate metal gates erected in 1903 in commemoration of Queen Victoria’s Jubilee), the park was later renamed as Harry Giddey Park in honour of the man who spent much of his time and money revitalizing the grounds during the early 1940’s.

The end result of all this work is a wonderfully laid out park that has a little bit of something for everyone. It has a good collection of interesting trees and plants, interesting pathways, a few bits and pieces with historical significance dotted around, the triple play of birds, animals and a small playground area as entertainment options for the kids, and then of course a lot of lawn to be enjoyed by families in search for some family down time in what is a lush green tranquil space.

(It also just happens to be the home for the Mossel Bay bowls club too).

Honestly, I’m a little surprised that it took the girls and me so long to get out and explore this little block of green on the Mossel Bay map.

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Platters and Picnics at Klein River Cheese Farmstead in Stanford (2017-12-16) Family Attractions | Photo Gallery 31 MAR 2019

After a relaxing drive and one coffee stop at the charming Van Brakel Stoor between Caledon and Napier, we reached the outskirts of Stanford and turned past some interested cows to reach the Klein River Cheese farmstead.

For twenty years this family-run business has been producing award winning artisan cheeses on the outskirts of the art and foodie heritage village of Stanford, using local inputs against the magnificent backdrop of its lazy river, meandering forests and jagged grey-cliff mountain slopes.

The range of cheeses artfully produced on the farmstead is staggering. There is their Gruberg and Stanford brushed rind cheeses, the Danbo, Havarti, Overberg and Raclette washed curd cheeses, the Grana and Parmesan hard cheeses, and finally the popular Leyden and Colby young cheeses.

To complement their fine cheeses, Klein River have set up a magnificent picnic space, complete with a huge lawn, a big kids play area (with a few farmyard animals thrown in), and a nice stoep for when you need some shade (or in our case cover, seeing as every now and then a bit of rain would jump out and surprise us).

Sourcing fresh local ingredients and produce, they then offer a variety of picnic platter and basket options, basically providing everything that you need in order to enjoy a most relaxing day out in the countryside.

In essence, the perfect family day outing.

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Strawberries and Ice Cream from Redberry Farm in George (2018-01-11) Family Attractions | Photo Gallery 20 JAN 2019

There is a reason why George’s Redberry Farm is as popular as it is. Perfectly setup for family outings, Redberry Farm is guaranteed to be packed out each and every weekend if the weather plays along – and don’t even get me started about how swamped with people it gets during the school holiday periods!

Last year we had the rare opportunity to pop in on a week day where we were delighted to find a much more chilled space. I have written about Redberry Farm before, but now the experience has been expanded even more, with the addition of a wine seller, artisan ice cream producer, pizza spot and even a cold meat deli.

That said, Chantelle and I were in the area for one thing and one thing only – ice cream with some of Redberry’s delicious red strawberries!

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Refreshing (and admittedly, rather nice to visit without the kids for  change!).

Related Link: Redberry Farm | George

Scratch Patch Gemstone Delight in the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town (2018-05-05) Family Attractions | Photo Gallery 05 OCT 2018

Honestly, taking your kids to go semi-precious stone hunting at the Scratch Patch is pretty much a Cape Town institution now. The original Scratch Patch in Simon’s Town was started in 1970, but of course it was the opening of the V&A Waterfront branch back in the late 90’s that really saw the experience take off as a fun little distraction for parents with small kids.

Anyway back in May this year, the girls and I got to head out to Pinelands for a friend’s birthday party at the hugely fun be.UP Park in Pinelands, a huge indoor trampoline and clamber activities haven that is guaranteed to put a grin on pretty much any kid’s face. (It was a first time visit for us, so the girls were HUGELY excited).

Successful party concluded (with remarkably few injuries to boot), I next decided that a long overdue visit to the V&A Waterfront was in order, more specifically a stroll over to the Scratch Patch – only fair considering that the last time we had treated the girls with a visit there was three whole years ago!

We don’t visit the Waterfront all that often, meaning that I almost always actually enjoy a trip there, primarily because there is always something to see and grab a nice photo of. Of course, this then means that I like to wander about, inflicting a massive amount of frustration upon two small girls impatiently champing at the bit to find out what the surprise for the day is going to be.

Pleasingly (they literally had NO clue as to our final destination), as we finally snaked our way over to the big unpolished stones serving as an advertising marker at the foot of the Scratch Patch building, they twigged where they were and literally ran around in circles yelling with excitement. Mission success I reckon.

From there it was through the door and straight into admiring the jewelry on display (they are girls after all), grabbing a container, and gleefully scratching about for brightly coloured stones until their cups literally runneth over – with daddy put on strict quality control duties of course.

Sadly, Emily is still a little too young for putt putt (mini golf) so we skipped out on a round of Cave Golf for this particular visit, but I reckon that it will be on like a scone the next time we pay a visit to this tiny little kid friendly wonderland.

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Oh, and in case you didn’t know about it, in addition to the classic Simon’s Town and V&A Waterfront locations, these days Scratch Patch/Mineral World also has an outpost at the tourist friendly Cape Town Ostrich Farm. All the more reason to head out ostrich feather hunting again I guess…

Related Link: Mineral World Scratch Patch | V&A Waterfront | Cape Town

Feathers, Eggs and a Tractor at Safari Ostrich Farm in Oudtshoorn (2017-07-04) Family Attractions | Photo Gallery 29 SEP 2018

When in Oudtshoorn with kids, visit an ostrich farm. I am pretty sure that this is a rule for the Little Karoo, and certainly one that I followed when we found ourselves spending some time in the ostrich capital of South Africa as part of last year’s June school holidays road trip.

Established as a tourist attraction in 1956 by 4th generation ostrich farmers Derek Fisch and Harry Lipschitz, Safari Ostrich Farm is a commercial ostrich breeding farm in Oudtshoorn with a focus on extensive farming of ostriches for meat, leather/skins and feathers.

The 1800 hectares large farm is built around a beautiful old sandstone homestead called the “Feather Palace” – built in 1910 and harking back to the beginning of the ostrich industry when the Oudtshoorn farmers farmed with ostriches exclusively for their feathers (which at a stage ranked fourth to gold, wool and diamonds in terms of the value of exports from South Africa).

The farm has about 280 breeding South African Black ostriches onsite, of which about 60% are female. Interestingly enough, Safari Ostrich Farm also happens to be the first South African ostrich farm where you can see both the Kenyan Red and Zimbabwe Blue ostriches (both of which are surprisingly a lot more aggressive than our local variety). The farm is also home to a few rare white ostriches, as well as some Australian emu.

For the visitors to the farm there is obviously the ostrich product shop and little eatery to enjoy, but by far the biggest hook is of course the Safari Ostrich Farm’s little ostrich ‘safaris’ – an informative stroll and tractor drive among the ostriches and around the ostrich farm itself. In other words, loads of fun for the little ones.

Basically, expect all the staples of an ostrich farm visit, made all the better thanks to a polished experience and super friendly guides.

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And yes, of course I had some ostrich for lunch.

Related Link: Safari Ostrich Farm | Oudtshoorn | #JuneHolidays2017

Freedom Day at the Green Point Urban Park in Cape Town (2017-04-27) Family Attractions | Photo Gallery 27 AUG 2018

The expensive whirlwind of hosting the FIFA World Cup back in 2010 brought a lot of welcome development and renewal to the Cape Town suburb of Green Point, ultimately transforming the road network, Green Point Common and of course stadium all for the better. One of my personal favourite legacies stemming from the hosting of the tournament is the establishment of the Green Point Urban Park, otherwise simply referred to now as Green Point Park.

This large, bright green lawn slathered slice of family outing heaven is the perfect venue for families to enjoy some outdoor life, or for people wishing to get some fresh air and a stretch of the legs in without having to leave the city or climb the mountain.

There are expansive lawns for picnics, a dedicated stage for performances, a delightful little restaurant perfect for a tea and light lunch stop (which naturally we make use of because planning ahead for something like a picnic is something seemingly beyond us), multiple play areas for the kids, outdoor gym equipment for those of us who never rest in bettering our bodies, and curved walkways perfect for both walkers and young cyclists alike.

The park is also home to a carefully curated Biodiversity Showcase Garden, whose sculpted pathways reveal some 25 000 indigenous plants, trees, shrubs, bulbs and ground-covers, all in all representing about 300 different plant species!

Also scattered about is a multitude of wonderfully quirky little nature sculptures and other exhibits, with all the important bits covered with some wonderfully informative signage.

So in summary, romantic fynbos strolls aside, the park is thus perfect for family get-togethers, picnics, birthday parties, and outdoor exercise. Also, don’t forget the scenic views either. In other words, the perfect place for Chantelle, the girls and I to spend a lazy Freedom Day public holiday together then!

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Side Note: The kids play areas are amazing. Split into two, one for the older kids and one for the smaller tots, the equipment is very much unlike the standard stuff (i.e. way more exciting) that you would find in our older municipal parks. Explains perhaps why then the girls seem to absolutely love visiting there!

Related Link: Green Point Park | Cape Town