Tag Archives: holiday

Our Upcoming June 2017 Family Holiday My Life 23 JUN 2017

In just ten or so days’ time, Chantelle and I will be packing our bags, bundling the girls into the car, and fumbling to find a radio station that both of us can agree on, all so that we can hit the road and enjoy what should be a super awesome, nine nights long mid-year school holidays breakaway.

Interesting fact: this will officially be the longest road trip holiday that Chantelle and I have ever had with the girls – so it should be a pretty interesting experience all around!

Now, knowing that I despise just languishing in one place for too long, you might have guessed that this holiday road trip will involve a fair bit of driving around… and you would be 100% correct. Of course it does.

So, on to the rather exciting breakdown for our upcoming July 2017 holiday then:

We kick things off with a three night stay in Oudtshoorn (a place I’ve last been to a full decade ago!), using the wonderful looking De Oude Meul Country Lodge as our base of operations. From there we should be more than adequately placed to visit with ostriches, cheetahs and camels, go spot a waterfall or two, and of course enter some very famous underground caves.

Next we head straight up to the Main Rest Camp in the Addo Elephant National Park, where we’ll sleep for just one night. This should be an unforgettable first time experience for the girls, and I am looking forward in particular to staking out the main waterhole with them come sundown!

(Bonus fact: the last time that I was in Addo was back in 2009, when Chantelle and I embarked on our epic Honeymoon road trip around the country!)

From Addo we will then drive down to Port Elizabeth and spend three nights there in the company of Evan and Natasha. The girls are SUPER excited at the prospect of playing with their friend Evalynne again, while I have to say, I’m secretly rather excited to try and find an opportunity to slip out and visit the PE branch of the SAAF Museum, or perhaps make an attempt to see the infamous Cape Recife Lighthouse if the wind blows that way.

The last leg of our July holiday sees us shack up at The Gull self-catering chalet (right on Myoli beach!) in Sedgefield for two nights, a town of particular nostalgic value to me seeing as that was where I spent the vast majority of my holidays as a child thanks to it being home to my mom’s folks.

In other words, I may be even MORE excited than the girls for this upcoming little breakaway! ;)

Milktart Pancakes at Koffie Stories in Gouritz (2016-12-31) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 16 FEB 2017

We enjoyed a great end of December family vacation in the seaside holiday/fishing village of Gouritz (aka Gouritsmond) last year. One of the nice little discoveries that we made whilst there was this tiny little coffee shop squeezed into the premises of Swanepoel Algemene Handelaars (General Dealer) on the outskirts of the town.

Koffie Stories (which is now in its new location and under new ownership) has kind of drifted from its original premise as being Gouritz’s first ever coffee shop where you could actually go for a cup of coffee and pay to hear a story told by one of the locals, transforming itself instead into a more conventional coffee shop/eatery (and art gallery), though still sporting a very homely atmosphere.

The coffee is not bad (and well priced), but the real draw card is by far their dessert filled pancakes – with the milk tart filled and peppermint crisp tart filled pancakes demanding that we go for tea pretty much each and every day that we stayed there!

So just a heads up then if you have a sweet tooth and find yourself in Gouritz one day…

(Also map in case you too need to taste these rather tasty dessert pancakes)

Related Link: Koffie Stories | Facebook

Gordon’s Bay Beach with the Girls (2016-11-15) Photo Gallery 28 DEC 2016

Both of my girls are comically afraid of the sea. I’m not sure if Emily shares the fear because  of Jessica, but regardless, both my girls are terrified of the incoming water.

They are more than happy to run around and play on the sand, or perhaps venture into the sea when it is only at most low ankle height, but the minute any wave higher than their ankles comes rolling in, they are out of the water screaming blue murder.

So, with a beach bound December holiday coming our way (we’re off to Gouritz), I’ve been hard at work trying to convince them that the sea is not so bad. (If you can call going to the beach as often as possible ‘hard work’!)

Pleasingly, it appears to have been working in that I can now at least get them into knee-high water with me (though they cling to my hands like limpets), and I have managed to convince them to wash their hands in the water by themselves, every time we pack up for the night.

I’ve kind of run out of time now, so I’m hoping that I’ve done enough that I can at least kind of enjoy the sea/beach at Gouritz without hearing the screams of two little girls every minute and a half!

We’ll see, we’ll see…

A handy map as always, just in case you want to check out my home beach while you still have a couple of vacation days left:

Rainbow Glen in Montagu (2015-07-07) Photo Gallery 17 JUL 2015

We enjoyed one of our first holidays away together as a family (just the four of us) this July, with a four day long adventure in the Montagu area.

IMG_20150709_103348 emily lotter at rainbow glen accommodation in montagu

We were originally booked in to stay at the Montagu Springs resort, but Chantelle got a little spooked when Andy and Albert returned early from their break a lot less than impressed, plus some of the information we were receiving from Montagu Springs in regards to their warm pools wasn’t helping either. So instead, Chantelle made a last minute switch to Rainbow Glen, a quaint little self-catering guest farm setup run by a family of rock climbers (Montagu is after all heaven for South African rock climbing!).

We rented the Garden Cottage, which although being a little sparse and not particularly modern, housed the four of us easily enough, with access to a great little braai lapa, a big lawn for the kids to play on, kids toys like slides, a trampoline, and a jungle gym, a rabbit hutch, a chicken coop, and a cool little paddock with two horses roaming about in it.

Jessica immediately made friends with some of the other kids staying there and what followed was a particularly enjoyable week away from home and work.

IMG_20150709_102048 kids feeding horse at rainbow glen accommodation in montagu

We built each day up around a primary focal point (Robertson Birds Paradise, Viljoensdrift River Cruise, and Montagu Guano Cave) and spent quite a bit of time driving around and taking in the sights of the Robertson, Ashton, Montagu, Barrydale area – made particularly easy by the fact that we got a great mobile data signal throughout plus a Google Navigation app that works really, really well!

IMG_20150710_090838 feeding the rabbits at rainbow glen accommodation in montagu

Even the odd power break or two couldn’t quite dampen this great week of out and about with the family! :)

Related Link: http://rainbowglen.co.za/

Japan 2014: An Adventure in the Land of the Rising Sun My Life 07 MAY 2015

In October 2014 I embarked on my very first overseas trip ever – to the one destination that I’ve always wanted to see above all others: Japan.

Terrance, a friend I have known since primary school, has been living in the land of the Rising Sun since 2011, teaching English as part of their JET programme. In that time, he also found a fiancé in the form of Yuko Omiya, and thoroughly besotted with this wonderful woman, the date for their wedding was set: 12 October 2014.

Of course, he was very keen to have any of his South African friends come up and join him and Yuko on their big day, and although it was certainly something that I wanted to do, it wasn’t something that I could actually afford to at the time (you know, all the usual expenses that comes with being a married adult with children and bonds to pay).

However, my brother Ryan certainly could, and as such, he implored and convinced me to join him on the trip – and thus our Japan 2014 adventure was forged!

craig lotter, ryan lotter, yuko omiya, terrance brown in komagane japann 2014

Surprisingly, we didn’t actually put loads of research into the trip, in fact, it boiled down to less than a handful of Skype and e-mail chats with Terrance, and one or two real life meetups for Ryan and myself. However, it took almost no time at all to come up with a plan that would see us in Japan for a period of two weeks, travelling to the metropolitan marvel that is Tokyo, then to the rich spiritual, historic and cultural hub that is Kyoto, and finally enjoying the fresh, more rural air and pace of Ina and Komagane, situated within the Nagano prefecture.

With our destinations and our period of stay in each decided, Yuko handled the task of tracking down affordable accommodation for the two of us (it was much easier to organise that on their side than for us to try and do it from here), while Ryan handled the nitty gritty of all the flight tickets, insurance, etc. – and once the final hurdle of getting our Japanese visas via the embassy in Cape Town was cleared, all that was left was a little bit of wait time until we finally took to the skies.

Needless to say, I was excited as a puppy dog who has just discovered he can actually chase cats and they WILL run away!

terrance brown and yuko omiya wedding - craig and ryan lotter pose with the main attraction

The trip itself was everything I could ever have wished for (I’ll sum it up as amazing, and not at all what I might have imagined), and despite the fact that we actually spent very little time with Terrance and Yuko as a whole, Ryan and I were more than capable of getting around by ourselves in a land where very little English is spoken – and get around we most certainly did!

(Though to be fair, a big thank you to the wonder that is mobile data and Google Maps is in order.)

I’ve got 47 photo albums taken over the course of those 14 incredible days, all neatly sitting on my hard drive, patiently waiting to be uploaded and thus see the light of day – and although it is now nearly a year later (life as a dad to two small kids is so incredibly busy), I think that you’re finally in for a treat.

In other words, prepare for an upcoming deluge of amazing sights courtesy of probably one of my most favourite countries in the whole wide world – this is Japan 2014! :)

Holiday Adventures with the Girls (2014-12-27) Photo Gallery 12 JAN 2015

As you might have noted from the recent run of blog posts (almost all photo gallery entries mind you), Jessica, Emily and I really did get up to a lot over this December break. The girls all ended their respective playschool years around the 12th of December, and I joined them on leave around the 18th, meaning that we’ve had a good two or so weeks of each other’s undivided attention.

Unfortunately Chantelle was working for pretty much the entire duration of my two weeks’ leave period (in the end, she actually got two days off over that entire period, when at the start of the run she was expected to get none!), meaning that it was pretty much just me and the girls most of the time, and as you might have been able to tell by now, I did my absolute best to ensure that we did at least one fun outing on each and every day of our holiday together!

We fed ducks, we fed rabbits, we saw monkeys, we saw butterflies, we played at Blasters, we looked at lions, we visted with Oupa and Ouma, we swam with Granpa and Granny, we opened Christmas Presents, we ate Christmas lunch, we played on New Year’s eve, we ate New Year’s lunch, we went to the beach, we went to outdoor markets, we fed chickens, we played at Mondeor, we devoured McDonalds ice cream… well, you get the picture.

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Photo Gallery: Butterfly World Expedition (2013-01-05) Photo Gallery 05 JAN 2013

I spent the second last day of my holiday with Chantelle, Dad and Jess at Butterfly World – Mom unfortunately missed out due to an emergency Devon look-after call, following the unfortunate burning of Riley’s fingers on the lawnmower.

It was a beautiful summer’s day and despite the unbearable humidity in the butterfly enclosure, and what seems to be the loss of the porcupine exhibit, as well as the dried up river, little Jess seemed to thoroughly enjoy her big expedition.

We capped off the visit with a quick bite to eat, followed by a trip back to Pop’s pad for a nice, refreshing swim in the pool (while Chantelle enjoyed an impromptu nap). So, a good day out then.

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December and My Christmas Vacation 2012 My Life 04 JAN 2013

So I’m hurtling towards the end of my year-end vacation time (ugh, work starts on Monday again), and overall December and Christmas holiday 2012 has been quite the relaxing and enjoyable time, so I thought I’d better highlight some of it just for reference’s sake.

chantelle lotter and toddler jessica lotter in Hermanus

jessica lotter getting present from father christmas dean stapelbergOther than the passing of Chantelle’s grandfather early December, the period has been an entirely positive one, and it all kicked off with the awesome birthday party celebrating Zandea’s 3rd birthday. Dean and Zania went all out, and I must admit to feeling a tinge of pride when Jessica was the only little one not to run away crying at the appearance of Dean in his traditional Father Christmas suit!

With most of Chantelle’s time being taken up by all the baking for her Sacred Ground Franschhoek deli contract, Jessica and I found myself spending an inordinate amount of time together, spending plenty of time at the beach and in the sea, wandering about the mall or any plastics shop that I could find, or visiting with the grandparents in Bellville, always packing in the swimsuits for just in case! (I even bought an electric pump and gazeebo to make the outside swims for little Jess in her inflatable pool more fun).

craig lotter and toddler jessica lotter at hathersage farm night market

We pulled off a brilliant night market at Hathersage Farm to end off the market season, where we were lucky enough to be joined by both sets of parents, making it a proper family night out on what turned out to be a glorious summer’s evening with the most incredible vibe.

We had a stunning picnic at the Helderberg nature reserve with Ryan, Evan, Natasha and little Evalynne (plenty of frisbee was thrown that day), and we entertained Wayne and Candice, first at our place (or more specifically, breakfast at Sunset Spur in Gordon’s Bay), followed by a return visit to Hermanus. (This was particularly awesome because we hadn’t seen Wayne in two years, basically since they moved up to Potchefstroom!). We played host to Retha, enjoyed a rare date night which saw Chantelle and I dine at the fabulous Casa in Willowbridge, followed up by the excellent Skyfall James Bond movie.

toddler jessica lotter and chantelle lotter at picnic at helderberg nature reserve

candice smith and her birthday cake in onrus

In addition to all of that, I played a disastrous, but hugely entertaining, round of golf with Dad, Ryan and Jaco at Bellville Golf Course (thanks lastminutegolf.co.za), and although our New Year’s celebrations fell a little flat (fallen through plans and a frozen bottle of champagne), our Christmas 2012 was pretty damn awesome that to the brilliant Christmas day family get together that Claire and Riley organised.

I’ve been playing Gears of War 2 and FIFA 13 with Ryan at night, and even found myself helping out on a cake one evening, though the only true constant that played itself out each and every night was of course the big clean-up after a day of Jess running around the house! :)

chantelle lotter and jessica lotter toddler playing with bubbles

chantelle lotter and toddler jessica lotter walking in Hermanus

So yeah, despite not going away or being particularly productive in my two and half week long, well deserved break from work, I still managed to make a good thing out of Christmas Vacation 2012 I reckon.

Joke Factory: A Different Vacation Experience this time around Jokes & other Funny Stuff 27 JUL 2012

Paddy walked into his travel agent’s office. “Brian, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my annual vacation getaways over these last three years, but this year I want to do something completely different”.

“Well Paddy, what do you mean by that?” asked a startled Brian.

“Three years ago, I thoroughly enjoyed the trip to the Bahamas. But on the return, we found out that my wife Victoria was pregnant. Good news for sure. Then two years ago, the trip to Hawaii was just as fantastic, but come to the end and Victoria was pregnant once again! And as you very well know, last year the trip to Mauritius was a right old success, but would you believe it, on the return we found out that Victoria was once again expecting!”

“Well, that’s a fantastic tale Paddy, but it still doesn’t tell me what you want to do differently for this year’s annual vacation?” replied Brian.

“That’s the thing Brian. This year I’m thinking of taking my wife Victoria along with me on holiday for a change!”