Tag Archives: boardwalk

USA 2016 – 15 A Stroll Down the Venice Beach Boardwalk in Los Angeles (2016-07-16) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 31 JAN 2018

Having just completed our super interesting outing aboard the Queen Mary ocean liner/museum ship (out in Long Beach), Johann and Carl next decided that an impromptu drive out to Venice Beach (before we return to Anaheim) would definitely be a good idea.

It was.

Founded in 1905 and established as a seaside resort town, Venice stood as an independent city until 1926, when it and its man-made canals (hence the city’s name) was absorbed into the greater city of Los Angeles.

These days this residential and recreational neighbourhood is known for its bohemian style and sensibilities, long being home to a countless number of artists, poets, and musicians from all walks of life.

Labelled as “a cultural hub known for its eccentricities”, Venice’s biggest tourist attraction (if not Southern California’s number one visitor attraction) is without a doubt Venice Beach, which attracts literally millions of visitors each year.

The actual beach itself is wide, flat, long and covered in soft sand, making it one of those good beaches that people really can enjoy. Other than all the normal beach sports prevalent on its sands, there is also plenty of surfing (and other water sports) to be had in the sea, and a seemingly good lifeguard system in place.

There’s even a long bicycle track that runs parallel to the beach, which, given the number of bicycles cruising up and down on it (not to mention all the bicycle rental spots along the promenade), seems to be a very popular distraction indeed!

But a beach is just a beach, and in reality the real draw of Venice Beach is of course its world famous Venice Beach Boardwalk (sometimes called the “Ocean Front Walk”), a promenade/beach road that stretches for about 2,5 kilometers along the beachfront.

The promenade is vibrant, packed with art murals, buskers, hustlers and little grungy shops of all shapes and form. From clothing stores, marijuana dispensaries, bars, eateries, and curio stops, the Venice Beach Boardwalk is an eccentric mix of people from all races, colours and creeds, trying to simply make a living by selling pretty much anything to anyone.

There is also all the outdoor sports courts to glace over, play areas that include spaces like skateboard parks, paddle ball arenas, and of course all the well known basketball courts from which many a legendary NBA player has been plucked!

That said, honestly, I’m not really the type of person who likes this kind of place (I’m not overly fond of seemingly rundown spots full of hustle and bustle), but it would be a straight out lie to say that I didn’t find the Venice Beach Boardwalk a super interesting and intriguing spot. So many strange (and often eccentric) people to take in, from the hustlers in front of the freakshow attraction, to the preaching gangsters on a podium, to the guy selling insults on the side of the street!

Enjoy the sun on this warm Summer’s day, the three of us slowly ambled down the strip, taking in the sights and sounds, stopping for some frozen yoghurt (and some or other slightly less identifiable snack at a different hole in the wall eatery), before finally turning around once we had hit the famous Muscle Beach section of the boardwalk – which in itself is a very entertaining stop as you get to watch all the musclebound men and women do their strength exercises out in front of all the people walking along the promenade (i.e. showing off), with the guys quite often stepping out of their routine in order to flex a muscle or two while posing for some photo hungry visitor.

Amusing indeed!

So while I didn’t necessarily LOVE the vibe of the Venice Beach Boardwalk, I did very much like the art and appreciate the experience – after all, who hasn’t seen this famous strip of land on American TV before? :)

Related Link: Venice | Wikipedia | #USA2016

Stony Point Penguins in Betty’s Bay (2017-05-06) Animal Attractions | Photo Gallery 14 DEC 2017

There are only a few land-based African Penguin colonies in the world, with South Africa lucky enough to be home to two of these – the first being the famous (and tourist popular) Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town, and the second, the slightly lesser known Stony Point Nature Reserve in Betty’s Bay.

I’m particularly fond of the much quieter but equally as good Stony Point penguin colony, with its beautiful raised boardwalk that snakes through the penguin’s homes and breeding ground.

The compact reserve is home to a colony of African Penguins (who by now are quite acclimatized to the humans peering down at them from above), three species of cormorant (the Crowned cormorant, the Cape cormorant, and the Bank cormorant) that breed on the outer rocks, Harlaub’s Gulls and Kelp Gulls that forage in the colony, as well as a big troop of Rock Hyrax or as we locals like to call them, dassies.

The boardwalk gives you an excellent vantage point from which to watch the penguins go about their daily lives, and come breeding season it is particularly cute to watch the furry youngsters try and strut their stuff!

The colony lies on the site of the old Waaygat Whaling Station which was used to harvest and process whale meat in the early to mid 1900s. Although nearly no remnant of this industry remains in sight, there are plenty of signage boards dotted around in order to give you an idea as to the scale of the whale trade that used to happen here.

Cape Nature manages the nature reserve and there is a lot of very interesting bits and pieces of penguin-related information posted everywhere, making a visit quite educational if you want it to be. (As a bonus, the entrance fee is relatively nominal – making it a much cheaper visit than say a trip through to the comparable Boulder’s Beach.)

Also, there is now a small restaurant built alongside the parking area, useful if you have complaining kids which aren’t all that enamored with the super cute seabird action along with you. Pleasingly, this isn’t us.

We tend to visit this penguin colony at least once a year (more or less), and this year was no different, with Jessica and Emily joining me for a visit to the penguins back in May (all part of our larger day out and about in Rooi Els, Kleinmond and Betty’s Bay).

Pleasingly, for a change the wind stayed away, leaving only perfect weather for us to have to contend with…

The surrounding landscape is quite pretty and there are plenty of opportunities for some great photos to be taken, making a visit to this well managed and relatively quiet nature reserve definitely worth the while!

Related Link: Stony Point Nature Reserve

Lunch at the Lake House Restaurant in Somerset Lakes, Somerset West (2017-04-08) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 30 APR 2017

The other day Chantelle came up with a rather strange suggestion – “Why don’t we go out for lunch at Somerset Lakes?”. Now I know that Somerset Lakes is one of the new fancy Somerset West residential estates that they are building here rather close to us (in fact, it is right next to the brand new, rather posh Reddam School that recently opened its doors), but residential estates aren’t normally open to the public now are they?

Well as it turns out, Somerset Lakes has in fact allowed its clubhouse facility to be converted into a restaurant (aptly called The Lake House), operated by the same team that own the excellent Southey’s Family Bistro (also in Somerset West).

The restaurant itself is situated in this beautiful contemporary designed building that overlooks Somerset Lakes’ titular lake (which is of course nearly empty now thanks to the drought that continues to plague the Western Cape), with its open plan spaces spilling outside in the form of lovely open deck, complete with small swimming pools for both big and small.

Pizzas are currently the hot item on The Lake House’s menu, and it is pretty easy to see why after having tried a few of them for ourselves!

(Unfortunately the restaurant is still waiting to receive their liquor licence, meaning that for now you need to remember to bring your own drink if the non-alcholic stuff doesn’t quite do it for you any more).

The girls were of course completely lost to the pool (which is literally right next to the tables on the deck), meaning that Chantelle and I had even more time to just sit, relax, and enjoy the view.

(Or, if your kids don’t enjoy the pool, they can always go play on the artificial beach in front of the clubhouse as well!)

After lunch, we decided to take a delightful stroll along the lengthy boardwalk that takes you around the central lake. Naturally, the area is usually a lot more pretty (and will be once the rains start coming in again), but nevertheless, it was great way to stretch the legs whilst watching the abundance of bird life that still call this area home.

Along the way we came across a jungle gym for the kids to spend some of their energy at, and a little later, an outdoor gym (complete with concrete weights).

Obviously, without not a single other soul in sight, we had a ball giving everything a quick go ourselves! ;)

Back at the clubhouse, Jessica and I decided to take a quick stroll over to the nearby grove of Pine trees, where we were rather excited to find a full on obstacle course lurking in the small forest. (A pretty handy find considering the fact that Chantelle would be tackling the Muddy Princess obstacle race rather soon!)

Note: I found out later via some Googling once back at home that these are all a leftover from the recent The Grind obstacle race which was held back in February this year.

Also, as you might have suspected, I took loads of pictures with my phone on the day, some of which didn’t come out half bad if I say so myself:

It is kind of strange that a private residential estate has allowed for the establishment of a public restaurant on their grounds, but I for one am rather glad that they did, because the location is rather stunning and thus well worth the visit if you ever find yourself anywhere near the area!

Related Link: The Lake House Restaurant | Somerset Lakes

A Boardwalk down to the River Mouth at Gouritz (2016-12-31) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 18 MAR 2017

The girls and I had the pleasure of spending some time down at the fishing/holiday coastal town of Gouritz (or Gouritsmond depending on who you ask) last December, with the trip being sweetened even further after learning that Chantelle could also come down to spend a few days with us on our holiday.  (December holidays are of course peak season in the Guest House industry, meaning that while the rest of us play, she has to stay!)

Gouritz’s main beach carries an official Blue Flag status (meaning that it is a very well looked after beach in terms of water quality and facilities), and while that itself is great fun in terms of waves, a lot of the families with smaller kids prefer the sheltered tranquility of the Gouritz river mouth – which is honestly just as great, thanks to its soft white sand and calm, warm waters!

Very recently the Gouritsmond committee decided to have a beautiful wooden boardwalk installed in order to make access to the river mouth easier for elderly and young alike.

The project was pretty expensive (around R160,000 apparently), but the result is spectacular – a snaking, raised wooden walkway that lifts you above the sand and gives you a great view of the underlying dune ecology, while at the same time making access to the river itself a breeze.

For anyone that knows us, you’ll know that my girls aren’t at all fond of getting near water that might have living things in it, meaning that for the most part swimming in rivers and the sea is a complete no no.

However, with mommy on hand we did half manage to get these two little drama queens wet!

It didn’t last very long though.

So while the girls played on the sand with their Ouma, Chantelle and I got to spend some alone time in the water – which really wasn’t that bad a way to spend the last day of the year really.

(Especially if you knew that the night was going to be rounded off with a spit roasted lamb!)

Also, handy tip. Keep your slip-slops at hand when visiting the river. That walkway and surrounding white sand gets seriously hot in the middle of summer! :)

Plus, a map – just in case you feel in need of a fishing holiday too:

Related Link: Gouritz | Wikipedia

Tackling Kleinmond’s Coastal Walkway (2016-08-20) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 28 AUG 2016

The Kleinmond area is literally littered with fantastic hikes and coastal walkways, giving plenty of different views of the magnificent combination of sea, fynbos and of course the Kogelberg mountains that frame the area.


We were enjoying a nice impromptu afternoon out in the fishing/tourist village of Kleinmond, and following our lunch at the Boathouse and then stroll around the small harbour, the girls next decided to scurry over to the start of the short boardwalk (accessible from the harbour) that leads to the old ‘kerkgrot’ (‘church cave’), essentially an overhang that used to pass for a spiritual meeting place back in the day.


The lure of the adjacent steep stone steps was more than strong enough to entice Jessica to head straight for the top, which then of course meant that Emily just had to follow – in other words, now with absolutely no choice in the matter whatsoever, mommy and daddy had to follow suite!


Although we didn’t follow the path very far (Emily is still short of 3 after all), we were rewarded with spectacular views of both fynbos, the ocean and the mountain, and to be honest, I’m pretty sure I’ll be making my way back here for a proper walk once the girls are slightly older.

(Sadly, no Southern Right Whales were spotted on the day though…)


In other words, yet another great reason to pull into Kleinmond the next time you find yourself taking a road trip down the coastal R44!

Related Link: Kleinmond | Kleinmond Walks

The Boardwalk of the Pied Kingfisher Trail in Wilderness (2016-06-26) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 20 JUL 2016

The Pied Kingfisher Trail is situated in Wilderness in the Western Cape, South Africa. The 11 km long trail is popular with birdwatchers and makes for an ideal morning hike that should take about 3-4 hours to complete. It is an easy going flat circular trail that begins at the Ebb and Flow South Rest Camp in the Wilderness National Park.

However, with two little girls, one toddler and a baby, we weren’t really interested in all that, now were we?


Instead, with our hunger and thirst now satisfied, we next struck out for the popular boardwalk section of the greater Pied Kingfisher Trail, a pleasant walk all along the edge of the Touwsrivier.


Access is easy enough (you can jump on the boardwalk directly from Waterside road), and the result is an easy, pleasant stroll along the water’s edge and through the reeds – affording you some great bird-watching opportunities in the process!


The views are great and for the kids it is a big adventure, meaning that this little stroll definitely has something for everyone!

(And from there, it was back to Far Hills Country Hotel for a bit of a rest break following the day’s activities, before we once again headed out for some well deserved supper and play time at the classic George Geronimo Spur!)

Related Link: Pied Kingfisher Trail