Tag Archives: garden route

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.

And then, seeing as this was our last day in the Garden Route, in true Mossel Bay fashion the girls and I ended off our June Mossel Bay holiday by watching a whale frolic out at The Point. Perfection.

Related Link: Harry Giddey Park | Mossel Bay

Caravel and Post Office Tree at Bartolomeu Dias Museum in Mossel Bay (2018-06-26) Historic Attractions | Photo Gallery 01 JUN 2019

As one of the larger Western Cape museums in existence today, Mossel Bay’s Bartolomeu Dias Museum Complex is a treasure trove of local cultural, Portuguese maritime, and natural history. In addition to the outside displays of the famous Post Office Tree, the Ethno-Botanical Garden, the Fountain, the Munrohoek Cottages, and the Malay Graves, the complex is also home to three distinct museums, The Granary, The Shell Museum (the largest shell museum in Africa), and the primary focal point of the complex as a whole, the Maritime Museum.

Although its history stretches back to that of about 1963, the museum complex in its current form was only really established in 1989, a direct outcome of the incredibly successful and well attended 1988 Dias Festival which celebrated the 500 year anniversary of the 1488 arrival of the first European explorer to set foot on South African soil, the highlight of the festival being the big spectacle landing of a seaworthy, life-size replica of Bartolomeu Dias’ famous caravel.

Now after dawdling through the grounds, touching everything in the garden, reading up on the historic mountain passes in The Granary, marveling at the beautiful mollusk homes in The Shell Museum, hiding under the Post Office Tree, and rolling down the sloped lawns (the kids, not me), we next traipsed over to the secret big reveal of our museum visit – the nondescript stone building marked as The Maritime Museum.

And yes, just like the surprise we ourselves as kids experienced when walking into the museum for the very first time, my girls got just as big a thrill when they entered down the stairs and walked into this:

And yes, of course we explored it.

What can I say, a visit to the museum is always a good way to spend some of that holiday free time!

Related Link: Bartolomeu Dias Museum Complex | Visit Mossel Bay | Mossel Bay

Fish and Shells at The Shell Museum in Mossel Bay (2018-06-26) Historic Attractions | Photo Gallery 15 MAY 2019

The Bartolomeu Dias Museum Complex in Mossel Bay consists of a number of different elements all clustered in one location. There are the outside attractions of the famous Post Office Tree, the Munro Cottages, the Ethno-Botanical Garden & Braille Trail, the Fountain and the Malay Graves, and then the main buildings namely the Granary, the Maritime Museum, and finally the Shell Museum.

The Shell Museum is an interesting little animal in that it is part aquarium, part shell museum, and part African mask museum. Housed in a building that was erected all the way back in 1902, this small museum is a wondrously colourful look into some interesting examples of aquatic life (complete with touch tank – an absolute delight for the little ones), and hosts a very nicely displayed collection of sea shells and masks – all well presented with copious amounts of interesting, informative (and quite often artistic) displays.

The museum itself is not a particularly big space (it does have two levels though), but as with any museum installation, the value that you get out of visiting is directly proportional to how long you stay and more importantly how much you read.

And if you are as curious a person as what I am, then those two usually end up being a lot longer than any of my kids like!

So nothing shellfish of me wanting to go there after all.

(Plus, it was rather nice to be able to share this museum visit experience with my folks for a change. I think the kids rather enjoyed having Granny and Grandpa tag along!)

Related Link: Bartolomeu Dias Museum Complex | Visit Mossel Bay | Mossel Bay

Hitting Balls at the Mossel Bay Golf Club (2018-03-18) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 06 APR 2019

See the sea from every tee. That’s the tagline on the Mossel Bay Golf Club’s official website. Mind you, that is pretty true. Sitting nicely elevated above sea level means that you do have a pretty good view no matter what direction you look in, not to mention the added glee of having a herd of springbok bounce out in front of you every now and then.

The Mossel Bay Golf Club itself is well over a hundred years old, having been established way back in 1905. However, its current grounds only came into play around 1924, with a massive redevelopment taking plac in 1999, resulting in the creation of the Mossel Bay Golf Estate and massively upgraded facilities.

The end result? A delightful course that is well looked after, offers great views, and is easy enough for a rank amateur who only plays golf a handful times a year (i.e. me) to tackle.

So that is exactly what Ryan, Dad and myself then did.

And no, of course I didn’t win.

Related Link: Mossel Bay Golf Club | Mossel Bay

Elephant Dung Paper at the Scarab Art and Craft Village in Sedgefield (2017-07-11) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 10 APR 2018

Just across the road from Sedgefield’s super popular Wild Oats Community Farmers’ Market grounds stands another, even more colourful entry into the weekend market scene – The Scarab’s Craft Market at Scarab Village.

Leaving the fresh produce and eco-friendly themes for the Wild Oats Market to pick up, the Scarab’s Craft Market instead doubles down on being the source of the best authentic, handmade craft to be found along the Garden Route.

The musical, colourful, welcoming market is held beside the titular Scarab Art and Craft Village, which itself is also home to more than just a few super interesting stores.

Beads, exotic plants, stone art, ornate light fittings, wooden crosses, owl boxes, woodcraft furniture, and my personal favourite, craft paper made from Elephant Dung can all be found as you flutter between one artsy shop and the next.

There is an outdoor red roof venue which you can hire, there is a small diner ready to see to any hunger pangs that you might be experiencing, and there is a small, octopus under the sea themed kids play area for the little ones. (Which the girls of course enjoyed).

Oh, and Sedgefield’s very own little craft brewery also just happens to be situated in the village…

Sadly for us though, our short Sedgefield stop didn’t quite fall over a weekend, so we missed out on experiencing the vibrant atmosphere that surely must be on display here come each and every Saturday – which I guess just means we need to make our way back there sooner than later then! ;)

Related Link: Scarab Village | Scarab Paper | Sedgefield | #JuneHolidays2017

Mosaic Sculpture Hunting and Paragliding in Sedgefield (2017-07-11) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 28 MAR 2018

In 2010 Sedgefield became the first African “Cittaslow” or “Slow Town”, joining the global movement that promotes quality of life and resisting fast-lane lifestyle. The town takes this denomination seriously, and because of this, remains a leisurely, tranquil little Garden Route stop, worth paying a visit to if you are looking for a quiet escape in the area.

We spent two nights in Sedgefield as part of our lovely June Holidays breakaway last year, primarily because I, having spend large swathes of my holidays there as a child with my grandparents, wanted to show off this beautiful little slice of the Southern Cape to Chantelle and the girls.

That of course then meant going for a decent drive about town drive, hunting down the public mosaic art pieces scattered throughout the village (these days  Sedgefield associates itself a lot with mosaic art work, and pleasingly, the girls seemed to rather enjoyed this miniature ‘treasure hunt’), taking them to see the beaches, the Island, the art and craft markets, and of course stopping for a nibble or two along the way.

We also drove up the back of the town, following the steep dirt roads up the hills that are home to Sedgefield’s more rural farm areas. The route that we took on this particular day lead us all the way to the Sedgeview Paragliding Site, launchpad for all the paragliders that you often see floating above in the skies over Sedgefield.

(Annoyingly though, when we did get to the site, no paragliding was taking place – the wind conditions only played along again once we were back in town! Gah!)

Oh, and I took some pretty pictures as always…

I have a soft spot for Sedgefield, and honestly, I kind of think that this special place rather deserves it anyway.

Related Link: Sedgefield | Sedgeview Paragliding Site | #JuneHolidays2017

Roosterkoek and Smoor at Veepos Padstal in George (2018-01-04) Farm Stalls | Photo Gallery 12 MAR 2018

I mentioned earlier that we were forced to tack on a short stay in George over the December holiday period, during which we hired a Volkswagen Tiguan to do a bit of driving about in (our car was in the shop for repairs).

Now December holidays is not great for our usual tactic of just randomly rocking up at places because of the sheer number of people out and about (visits to Victoria Bay, Herolds Bay, and Redberry Farm confirmed this hypothesis), but pleasingly we did stumble upon one place that seemed rather deserted – the newly established Veepos Padstal.

(And by newly established I mean that we had literally stumbled upon them on their very first day of business!)

On a hill, off the highway, and right outside George Airport, the Veepos Padstal (or Cattle Outpost Farm Stall for us English readers) has been setup by the team who also own/run the small Bargain Nursery next door.

Consisting of three neatly arranged, converted shipping containers, the farm stall has a collection of small pretty things for purchase, as well as a few drinks and some local produce on sale. The main attraction is however their roosterkoek menu, as well as their particularly delightful milkshakes – in fact, Chantelle couldn’t stop gushing over just how much she enjoyed her peanut butter brittle shake!

Once you’ve finished your snack and taken in the tranquility and views of the surrounding area, you can leisurely saunter over to the nursery if you so want, though if you have small children they’ll undoubted clamor to use the toilet, and in the process fall down the stairs and graze their knees, thereby starting a whole chain reaction of unhappiness among everyone.

(Or at least that was our experience in this neat little nursery).

So, all in all, a surprisingly peaceful (and pleasant) little stop.

“Hartskos”. I rather like that little tagline of theirs.

Related Link: Veepos Padstal | Bargain Nursery | George

Staying at the French Lodge International in George (2018-01-03) Accommodation | Photo Gallery 06 MAR 2018

Last year’s December holiday was pretty nice, kicking off first with some beach time at Pinnacle Point in Mossel Bay, followed by some more R&R in Gouritz for New Year’s. Sadly for us though, our ten year old Hyundai Accent developed a problem (lost power thanks to a blown coil), which then meant an unscheduled extension to our holiday with a trip through to George – the nearest town with a proper Hyundai Service Center available in it.

That of course then meant that we needed to source accommodation in the middle of the December holidays – not exactly the easiest thing in the world to do!

As things turned out though, we managed in the end to find space at the French Lodge International, a charming African-themed guest house situated right along George’s York main street (which coincidentally is also a delight thanks to the fact that it has a decent run of Christmas street lights strung up down the length of it!).

Owned for ten or so years by a charmingly helpful Frenchman with a penchant for motorbike safaris, these days the French Lodge International (complete with small replica Eiffel Tower out front) consists of the main building (which houses a number of the larger rooms) and a whole lot of smaller, more private thatch roof rondavels – all of which are centered around a large pool that quite truthfully, saw a LOT splash time from myself and the girls over the course of our short stay!

In short – our family sized room, the breakfast, the free WiFi, the convenient location, and the French Lodge International’s super friendly staff were all great, making for a good, comfortable stay.

As for George itself, we hired a nice Volkswagen Tiguan from a local care hire company AutoHireSA, did a lot of driving around, visited a lot of nice places (as is our norm), and did our best to put our minds off the fact that the rather expensive R6,000+ repairs were going to take much longer than what we could afford to stay.

Luckily for us though, my Dad was on hand to help us out by driving all the way from Bellville to come and ferry us and our luggage home! Talk about Uber service! ;)

Related Link: French Lodge International | George

Staying at The Gull in Sedgefield (2017-07-10) Accommodation | Photo Gallery 03 FEB 2018

The last leg of our brilliant June/July holiday breakaway saw us spending two nights based in Sedgefield, a personal favourite stomping ground of mine, thanks to having grown up with grandparents living in this gorgeous sleepy little town.

In terms of accommodation, the Internet had come up with a suggestion of The Gull as a suitable sleepover spot for the four of us, and pleasingly, on arrival it was great to learn that for a change the Internet had most certainly not lied to us.

Built right on the edge of the sand dunes of Myoli Beach, The Gull offers fantastic self catering apartments, all nicely furnished, rounded off with a beautiful garden setting and access to a tiny little gym – in case you are not so keen on giving up all your hard earned gains just because you find yourself on holiday for a change!

In addition to the beautiful surroundings, an unexpected bonus was finding ourselves right next to the quirky PiliPili Xtreme Sports Centre and Bar, whose restaurant area spills out onto the beach sand and is lit up by a great big bonfire seemingly each and every night.

Useful if you crave some pizza and beer and don’t particularly feel like heading out for the evening!

It was a comfortable stay, we were well impressed with the great (and super friendly!) service, good furnishings and fantastic location – easy to recommend in other words! :)

Related Link: The Gull | PiliPili Xtreme Sports Centre and Bar | Sedgefield | #JuneHolidays2017