Tag Archives: december holidays 2018

Pigeons and Parrots at Birds of Eden in Plettenberg Bay (2019-01-05) Nature and Animal Attractions | Photo Gallery 25 DEC 2019

Wolves, snakes, elephants, monkeys, lions and tigers, the achingly scenic Crags area near Plettenberg Bay is home to a smorgasbord of wildlife sanctuaries, with one of our absolute favourites being the incredible Birds of Eden free flight sanctuary, home to 3,000+ birds comprising of more than 220 species. In other words there is a lot to see!

Birds of Eden has been around for quite a few years now and this large free flight sanctuary is a sight worth seeing. A small forest enclosed in a giant mesh tent, this wide open space allows all manner of rescued birds to thrive and survive, and in the process create an incredibly family friendly viewing experience.

A wooden walkway snakes through the enclosure allowing you plenty of close up opportunities to watch the birds feed, fly and play, and with so many of these animals coming from a life as caged pets or hand-reared/imprinted companions, most are quite content to hang around humans and have their picture taken. (No touching though!)

It is lush, it is humid, there is a great little cafe on the water to watch the water fowl from, and the incredibly burst of colours and constant bird calls that surround you all come together to make for a remarkable experience – one that Chantelle and I enjoy sharing with the girls as often as what we can.

Lions and Leopards at Jukani in Plettenberg Bay (2019-01-05) Nature and Animal Attractions | Photo Gallery 15 DEC 2019

If you have kids then animal attractions always make for a big entertainment hit, and if you find yourself wandering about the Plettenberg Bay area, a glance at Google Maps will quickly confirm that you’re certainly spoiled for choice when it comes to animal sanctuaries!

Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary is all about big cats, so if you are keen to see a tawny lion, a white lion, a jaguar, a cheetah, a Siberian tiger, a Bengal tiger, a white tiger, a puma, a caracal, a leopard, and a serval cat all in one place, then Jukani has your back.

(For good measure, they also have a couple of zebra, springbok, a honey badger, and a tree full of American raccoons. Also a zorilla, otherwise known African polecat aka African skunk!)

After an initial stint in Mossel Bay, followed by a move to The Crags about 10 km out of Plettenberg Bay, Jukani has morphed into a proper wildlife sanctuary, providing a home and good care for these mostly rescued big cats that aren’t able to be released back into the wild ever again.

With a strict no touching, no breeding, and now no personifying names for the animals, Jukani focuses on conservation education and specifically on the plight of large predators in captivity.

The massive grounds allow for big forested enclosures which constant guided tours then snake through introducing you to each and every one of Jukani’s furry inhabitants. The girls enjoyed the experience (Jessica instantly bonded to our guide), we loved the fresh air and interesting sights, and of course, the thrill of hearing a lion vocalize around feeding time is something that one never really tires of hearing!

December Holiday Family Fun in Mossel Bay (2018-12-29) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 03 OCT 2019

So the last term of school has just kicked off, meaning that we are now happily barreling towards the end of the year again. I’m not entirely sure what we’ll end up doing for the holidays this time around, but last year certainly saw us repeat what has become a bit of a tradition over the last couple of years – i.e. spend a chunk of the December school holidays with family on Pinnacle Point Estate in Mossel Bay.

Having now well established that December in the Mossel Bay/Hartenbos area is absolute chaos because of the hordes of people that make their way down to this popular coastal resort town for the holidays, we much better tailored our holiday expectations and managed to miss pretty much all of the crowds.

That’s not to say we just stayed in the estate and didn’t have any fun. Besides the swimming, exploring and enjoying of the natural fynbos beauty of Pinnacle Point, we also indulged in plenty of ice-cream fuelled strolls at The Point and Cape St. Blaize Cave in Mossel Bay, silly fun at Tuinplaas in Albertinia, cotton candy and wine at Jakkelsvlei near Herbertsdale, a walk through the ferns and forest in the Garden of Eden outside Knysna, fresh farm produce at Wild Oats market in Sedgefield, coffee and sliders at Getafix in George, and of course marvelled at the lions and jaguars of Jukani and the pigeons and parrots of the Birds of Eden at The Crags near Plettenberg Bay.

We tucked into donuts in Hartenbos, ambled down the beach in Dana Bay, took a bite at the Nibbling Squirrel in Riversdale, enjoyed refreshments at Pure Craft & Foods in George, admired the lagoon and Heads of Knysna, watched the sunset in Buffalo Bay, and sipped on milkshakes from Milk & Sugar in Buffeljagsrivier.

My mom and dad, my sister and her family, Chantelle’s mom and dad (who were also holidaying in the region) – in other words a proper big family December holiday experience!

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Fresh Farm Produce at Wild Oats Community Farmers Market in Sedgefield (2019-01-05) Markets | Photo Gallery 20 AUG 2019

There are a lot of weekend markets dotted around Cape Town and the winelands, but to be honest, very few (okay fine, Oranjezicht City Farm Market counts as one) are actual proper farmers’ markets. That said, even if there were a couple in easy reach of you, you would still be doing yourself a massive disservice if you never ever make the trip up along the Garden Route to Sedgefield, home of the multiple award-winning Wild Oats Community Farmers’ Market.

Situated adjacent to the beautiful Swartvlei lagoon on the outskirts of Sedgefield, this 20 year old, world renowned farmers’ market was first launched back in 1999 and operates every Saturday morning from 08:00 to 12:00 (07:30 in Summer) come rain or shine. The market brims with the choicest locally produced foods, including all sorts of free-range meats, cheeses and dairy, bakes, and of course, fresh-from-the-field fruit and vegetables.

(And given the huge amount of locals and visitors who descend upon the market, there is a mass of vendors catering with a range of fresh breakfasts, coffee and other treats!)

The stalls are all covered, there are loads of trees to provide shade for everyone, and the constant buzz of people happily milling about or sitting and enjoying company of friends and family over a good cup of coffee (or pancakes like we did) makes for a wonderfully charming and vibey atmosphere.

The market is of course pet friendly, and if you want a little more visually, then the equally impressive Mosaic Outdoor Market at the Scarab Arts & Crafts Village is literally across the entrance from the Wild Oats Market.

It is fun, authentic and home to some truly delectable tastes of the Garden Route.

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Blacksmith Coffee and Sliders at Getafix Garden Cafe in George (2019-01-06) Food and Drink | Photo Gallery 15 AUG 2019

George is the second largest city in the Western Cape, in order words, there can be a fair bit of hustle and bustle at times, meaning that the perfect place to grab a coffee and a bite to eat is somewhere that takes you away from all that busyness. Exactly why I like the Getafix Garden Cafe so much then.

Situated in a house on the grounds of the charming Garden Route Botanical Garden, this Asterix and Obelix themed eatery offers simple outdoor eating with a nice big kid (and dog) friendly lawn and a view of the magical Outeniqua Mountains in front of you.

If you don’t mind waiting (the kitchen is SUPER small), then the African Blacksmith coffee is particularly good, the menu fun, the vibe chilled, and of course whenever you feel like it, you can get up and stroll through the natural beauty of the botanical garden itself.

Oh, and they host an evening market every now and then too.

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Pizza and Wine at Jakkalsvlei near Herbertsdale (2019-01-04) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 31 JUL 2019

Herbertsdale is a small settlement that lies east of the Gourits river, 56 km north west of Mossel Bay. Travel another 6 or so kilometers on from there, and you will stumble upon a most unexpected sight – a winery and its vineyard, better known as Jakkalsvlei.

Situated at the foot of the Langeberg mountains with its cool temperate climate, Jakkalsvlei (named after the once abundant jackals found in the area) with its 34 hectare vineyard is perfectly positioned to produce high quality mountain-grown grapes which are then turned into a host of awarding winning wines.

The site is also home to a stunning tasting room/restaurant facility which surprisingly is almost always busy – despite Jakkalsvlei being VERY much out in the middle of nowhere! (In fact, they are so busy that come the December holiday season, the team has to put up an outside tent in order to cope with the sheer volume of visitors!)

Pizza, burgers, wine and cotton candy tastings (and the occasional live music act), Jakkalsvlei is more than worth the lazy drive out to the middle of nowhere.

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Ferns and Forest in the Garden of Eden, Knysna (2019-01-05) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 29 JUL 2019

Halfway between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay sits an ideal spot to introduce your kids to the gorgeous forests of the Garden Route National Park, a literal stop and stretch your legs point right along the N2 itself.

Part of the Harkerville Forest, the Garden of Eden is a long running site that has been welcoming visitors to its short shady paths since 1926. A superb example of the Wet High Forest biosphere, the Garden of Eden contains a number of moist ferns and tree species, including tall stinkwood, kalander, and wit-els.

The site only has about 1 km or so of wooden boardwalks to follow through the forest (arranged in two 500 m loops), making it particularly suitable for young kids, the elderly and of course the disabled. There are plenty of benches and tables scattered about, so you could also theoretically enjoy a nice picnic whilst watching all the moss and lichen grow.

During the day the site is manned (and so there is a small SANParks entrance fee to pay), and on the whole the Garden of Eden is a very well maintained and signposted taste of the Garden Route’s gorgeous nature.

So naturally we had to stop and take some pictures.

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Surfers and Breakfast at Delfino’s Restaurant in Mossel Bay (2019-01-07) Food and Drink | Photo Gallery 24 FEB 2019

We ended off the last December holidays (which were really more January holidays than anything else) by dragging Mom and Dad with us for a goodbye breakfast at Delfino’s, the popular beach-facing restaurant at the Point in Mossel Bay.

I hadn’t been there in years, and to be honest, I rather enjoyed being back. All the old brown colour scheme has now been switched out to beach friendly blue (with a LOT of Flying Fish sponsorship), the restaurant is as well staffed (and popular) as ever, and it was a rather nice surprise to find out that over season they offer a proper breakfast buffet as part of their menu – which most of our party actually opted for on this particular morning outing. (I of course was going to be difficult.)

Plus, lazily watching the surfers hit the waves while your kids play on the lawn and beach out in front of you makes for a pretty chill breakfast expedition. A pretty decent start to the day then.

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