Tag Archives: june holidays 2017

Sand Dunes Sunset at Sardinia Bay in Port Elizabeth (2017-07-07) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 12 FEB 2018

Having now arrived in Port Elizabeth following our short stay in the Addo Elephant Park (all part  of last year’s June Holidays road trip), one of the very first experiences that Evan and Natasha guided us to was enjoying a spectacular sunset from atop the sand dunes of Sardinia Bay.

Lying between Schoenmakerskop and Seaview, and complete with public picnic facilities, Sardinia Bay is a popular beach strip that due to its miles of unspoiled coastline, has a reputation as being one of the best walking beaches in the area.

Thanks to its status of Marine Reserve, fishing is off limits in Sardinia Bay, though the waters are popular for both snorkeling and scuba diving. Incidentally, the beach also marks the starting point of the very popular eight kilometer long Sacramento hiking trail.

Anyway, the legendary sand dunes of Sardinia Bay are themselves quite the beast. Ever shifting, ever encroaching across the access roads, it takes quite the effort to make one’s way to the top – or at least it does when you are as big as what I am and struggle with a wonky knee!

(Not that this bothers the light as a feather kids of course, and besides, the views from the top really are worth making the effort! Also, the sunset from there really is magnificent.)

As darkness fell, we left the popular sunset watching spot behind (seriously, I was amazed at the number of people perched atop the sand dunes to watch the sun go down), making our way back into Port Elizabeth, where we stopped off at the wonderfully lit Boardwalk Casino and Entertainment World complex in order to catch their very entertaining music and lights water fountain show for the girls.

Needless to say, the little ones were well impressed.

Finally, we capped our first evening in Port Elizabeth off with a visit to the vibey Something Good Roadhouse, somehow miraculously securing a table big enough for the whole group, allowing us to take in the live music, tuck into some delicious food, and more importantly, get down to the business of catching up with old friends.

(Also, you’ll notice that none of these photos appear to have come from my phone camera. This would be because I forgot my phone back at the car, meaning that I have had to borrow these snaps from Evan. Hence the selfies.)

Sunset from the sand dunes of Sardinia Bay is a definite must if you ever find yourself in the area.

Related Link: Sardinia Bay Beach | Port Elizabeth | The Boardwalk

Milk Tart Jaffles at Signature Divine in Oudtshoorn (2017-07-05) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 06 FEB 2018

Having spent the day being guided around the magnificent Cango Caves, watching people zip-line down to Cango Caves Estate, and letting Jessica ride about on a camel at Wilgewandel, we were now happily making our way back towards the guest house, when the rather inviting scene over at Signature Divine caught our eye and immediately prompted a rather impromptu milkshake and coffee stop.

Originally setup to host events at their lovely small Klein Karoo venue with a view, Signature Divine has since evolved into a wonderful little eatery that offers a great menu packed with all manner of thoughtful gourmet treats.

In particular, the team is known for their menu of interesting gourmet milkshake combinations, basically a great way to try and escape that all oppressing Karoo heat!

To complement the magnificent view on display, Chantelle selected a milkshake, the girls opted for ice cream, and I got stuck into some good coffee – after which, on suggestion of our bubbly waiter for day, I discovered the world of milk tart jaffles.

Seriously, how in the world did I NOT know that this simple but delicious South African dessert morsel existed!

Anyway, adjacent to the eatery and its two beautiful stone barns is also an art gallery (Annie’s Art), showcasing the interesting acrylic work of Annamarie Janse van Rensburg.

(Surprisingly, the art gallery was open to the public but completely devoid of life. Definitely not something that would fly in the city – all her paintings would be off the wall in a matter of minutes! Definitely one of the nicer aspects of small town living though.)

In summary, Signature Divine is a surprisingly lovely stop in what feels like the middle of nowhere. Definitely worth pulling over if you ever find yourself in the area!

Oh, and much to the delight of both Jessica and Emily, the restaurant does have a small trampoline for the kids on the grass patch. Small, but much appreciated touch.

Related Link: Signature Divine | Facebook | Annie’s Art Gallery | Oudtshoorn

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

Pizza and a Zipline at Cango Caves Estate in Oudtshoorn (2017-07-05) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 07 DEC 2017

Having decided that she wasn’t particularly keen on eating lunch off a bench table at Wilgewandel following our exciting morning of exploring the world famous Cango Caves, Chantelle was instead much happier with the idea of taking a short hop up to the Cango Caves Estate (which itself is just below the Cango Caves), home to both an interesting looking deli and a rather scary looking zipline!

This turned out to be a really, really good idea, because a) the deli afforded fantastic views of the swartberg mountains, b) the tranquility of the Grobbelaars River was right there if needed, c) the zipline made for some exciting people watching, and d) the coffee at the Cango Caves Estate turns out to be rather good.

Aside from its main business as a wedding or private event facility (the restored Manor House elegantly caters for this), the Cango Caves Estate also operates a very popular deli, which has its own coffee roastery and curio selection, not to mention its impressive stock of all the local fine wines, cheeses and biltong.

Then of course there is their zipline.

The Cango Caves Zipline is a double zipline setup, meaning that two people can slide side by side at the same time.

The ride starts at the parking area of the Cango Caves, with an initial teaser zip of some 155 meters over a Karoo ravine, followed by the big 465 meters trip over a game enclosure and all the way down to the Cango Caves Estate!

My girls are of course too small for this, (while Chantelle and I too heavy), so we opted to rather make do with some delicious pizza and ice cold drinks, admire the view, and perhaps try and beat the heat instead.

Can’t say that it wasn’t an enjoyable attempt.

Their food is good and the deli air-conditioned (and rather comfortable), making this a worthwhile stop if you ever do find yourself out and about in the middle of a sweltering hot Karoo afternoon.

Related Link: Cango Caves Estate

Camel Rides at Wilgewandel Holiday Farm in Oudtshoorn (2017-07-05) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 02 DEC 2017

Three minutes down the road from the world famous Oudtshoorn Cango Caves is the popular (and relatively well known) Wilgewandel Holiday Farm, a family friendly accommodation option situated at the foot of the Swartberg mountain range.

Famous for their camel rides (which is precisely the reason we simply HAD to take Jessica there following our exploration of the caves), Wilgewandel is built around its kid friendly activities, offering things like water slides, donkey cart rides,  the humorously named Ghwarra-Ghwarra Golf Course (putt putt), a foefie slide (zip-line), pedal cars, farmyard animals and rowing boats – basically it should technically be near impossible for your kids not to find some form of entertainment that they enjoy on the grounds!

Centered around a lovely dam, there is plenty of space to run around, the farm atmosphere keeps everything relaxed, and the onsite restaurant works hard to ensure that everyone has a plate of food and full glass in front of them.

Oh, and Wilgewandel sports a pretty well stocked curio shop as well – useful for all those touristy people among us.

The place is then as you imagine a magnet for day visitors and as such can get quite busy at times – so worth keeping in mind if you were originally looking to get away for some complete peace and quiet!

Although we weren’t staying at Wilgewandel (we were bunked down at the lovely De Oude Meul Country Lodge further down the road), and we didn’t grab a bite to eat here either (Chantelle preferred to grab something a little better looking from the nearby Cango Caves Estate instead), we did however hang around long enough give the girls a good chance to run around and play and talk to all the animals – and of course let Jessica tackle her second camel ride of the year.

(Which she absolutely LOVED of course!)

So, if you have kids with you and are looking to escape the the hot Oudtshoorn/Klein Karoo sun (and maybe recharge your batteries for a bit by letting the kids run off to play), then marking Wilgewandel on your travel map is definitely quite the good idea.

Bonus: It is worth noting that I’m not overly excited by their pricing model mind you – basically you need to pay for every single activity as opposed to bunching every thing up under a single access fee, meaning that a day out at Wilgewandel as a day visitor has the potential to get really expensive really quickly if you have two or more kids running around who demand to try absolutely each and everything on offer.

That said, Wilgewandel Holiday Farm is out in the middle of nowhere and is definitely an oasis of entertainment if you ever find yourself lounging around Oudtshoorn with bored kids that are maybe a little tired of seeing ostriches every time that they look out of a window! :D

Related Link: https://wilgewandel.co.za

Mozart Cake and Memorabilia at Nibbles Bistro in Sedgefield (2017-07-11) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 27 NOV 2017

Seeing as we had happily been spending the day driving around, spotting mosaics and exploring the lovely little Sedgefield on the final leg of our June Holidays road trip, I decided that a suitable reward (in terms of cake and refreshments) was now very much in order for the girls and one super patient Chantelle.

Having just completed a short drive on The Island, we emerged (after dodging some bulldozers and diggers working on one of the roads) at the door of Nibbles Bistro, standing in the middle of the small Mosaic Market which itself is neatly tucked in between the Scarab Arts Village and the super popular Wild Oats Market location.

In addition to its welcoming outside seating area (hard not to love all that colour), the interior is actually well worth meandering through, primarily because all the walls are literally covered from floor to ceiling with all manner of for sale sports, music and movie memorabilia.

(Note, these memorabilia products are in fact sold by some other online company, the name of which has unfortunately now completely escaped me. It has something to do with golf, I’m sure. Anyway, if someone could drop me a line with the name it would be much appreciated!)

All this of course then means that there is no shortage of conversation fodder around the table – which could either be a blessing or a curse depending on how annoying your significant other is in terms of popular culture knowledge!

If I remember correctly, we ordered a couple of cakes to all share, the girls had hot chocolate and I had a nice coffee, with the star of the show for me being a piece of very delicious Mozart Cake – the first time that I’ve ever encountered this particular cake, much to the eye-rolling surprise of Chantelle.

The cafe was rather busy on the day that we were there, so service wasn’t that great (in fact I can remember to having become slightly annoyed with matters), but with that said, the cake was delicious, the food menu looked good, and the atmosphere was pretty laid back – so exactly what one would expect from this self declared “slow town” then! :)

Worth popping into then in other words.

Related Link: Nibbles Bistro

A Bite to Eat at A Taste of Africa in Colchester (2017-07-07) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 21 NOV 2017

After a long morning spent game watching (after having enjoyed our night spent in the Addo Elephant Park as part of our June Holidays 2007 road trip), we were now about to embark on the drive down the road to Port Elizabeth, where we would be staying with Evan and Natasha for a couple of evenings.

However, a quick poll around the car quickly established that first a stop for something to eat was very much in order, and so instead of turning right towards Port Elizabeth, we turned left and ambled down towards nearby Colchester.

Having been established in 2015, the conveniently situated A Taste of Africa restaurant can be found at the BP petrol station complex at the start of Colchester, hard to miss thanks to its current brilliant blue paint job.

Passing the pizza oven out front and heading inside, you’ll find a cozy space with a lot of home industry products lining the wall. The restaurant/coffee shop has both indoor and outdoor seating arrangements, and from the look of things, capable of running a small bar setup just as easily.

The menu is decent, nice and casual, the food okay enough, and the staff more than welcoming and friendly. (The girls loved all the special attention that they were getting).

Seeing as we were pretty much the only people there for our stop, it isn’t really possible to comment on the vibe, but guessing from the setup, I suspect that more than a FEW party groups get together here every now and then!

Oh, and they do have a nice little garden setting too.

Bonus: Colchester (affectionately known as the Jewel of the Sundays River by locals), is itself a pretty interesting little place mind you. Twenty minutes outside of Port Elizabeth, lying on the banks of the Sundays River and bordered by the South Gate of the Addo Elephant National Park, the settlement of Colchester rose (nearly a century ago) as a challenge to Port Elizabeth (apparently), with the original vision of the engineer behind the whole thing for it to become the railway center for the whole of the Eastern Cape.

That battle was obviously lost, but Colchester, named after the oldest town in the United Kingdom, is however surrounded by ancient sand dunes (dating back about 100 000 years), and is situated in a part of the country that remains largely unspoiled – thereby meaning that the opportunities for fishing, hiking, river cruises, sand boarding, sand sledding, canoeing and swimming are plentiful.

So worth looking into if you want to escape the built up confines of Port Elizabeth then.

Related Link: A Taste of Africa | Facebook

Burgers and Milkshakes at Diesel & Creme in Barrydale (2017-07-03) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 19 NOV 2017

It seems weird to say, but finding a place to stop for a bite to eat in Barrydale (as you move between the Overberg and Klein Karoo) is actually harder than what it should be – primarily because there are nowadays so many interesting places to choose between!

So after entering Barrydale and driving a bit of this way and then that, and faced with names like A Place in Time, The Country Pumpkin, Mez Karoo Kitchen, Bistro Blues, The Jam Tarts, and the Blue Cow at the Barrydale Waterfront (which we’ve actually been to before), Chantelle and I eventually settled on pulling in at the Karoo Moon Motel and more specifically, its vintage diner (and super popular) sister, Diesel & Creme, for our “halfway to Oudtshoorn” lunch time stop.

Situated on the Route 62 tourist route, Diesel & Creme was established in 2013 and is made up of a vast array of bits and pieces collected from all over the area and more importantly, across the ages.

The result is a weird mishmash of antiques and vintage props that some people find super interesting and charming (note, I am not one of those people), but nevertheless results in some good talking material for around the table.

That said, the corrugated shed is populated by a very charming and friendly group of people that produce some very enjoyable food and by all accounts, some super interesting gourmet milkshakes (one of the reasons Chantelle picked this stop  in the first place!).

The girls wanted waffles and ice cream for lunch (and we didn’t feel like a fight), while I instead tackled one of their delicious gourmet burgers and gave some of their decent craft beer selection a good go.

Seeing as this is a popular stop on the main road through Barrydale, you can almost always expect a lot of people to be sitting down for a visit, and with that comes a very fun vibe which definitely enhances the whole Klein Karoo experience.

Again, I didn’t LOVE the decor, but then as Chantelle always succinctly puts it, I’m very much in the minority when it comes to ‘interesting’ places like this!

In summary: The food is pretty decent, the spot is always bustling, and so if you are looking for a food stop in Barrydale, Diesel & Creme is certainly worth a visit.

Next up for us on our June Holidays 2017 road trip? The ostriches and caves of Oudtshoorn!

Related Link: Diesel & Creme | Facebook

Donut World Doughnuts at Dolphin Beach in Jeffrey’s Bay (2017-07-10) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 15 NOV 2017

Having now completed the Oudtshoorn, Addo and Port Elizabeth legs of our June Holidays Road Trip, we were driving through the Eastern Cape down along the coast (via the N2) towards the Garden Route, to spend a couple of nights in Sedgefield as the final stop on our journey.

By this stage, both the kids and Chantelle were all fast asleep in the car next to me, so I decided to make a stop for doughnuts, hanging a sharp left and heading down to South Africa’s de facto surfing capital – Jeffrey’s Bay.

Traditionally the town has always been known as a sleepy little fishing town, transitioning into a fully hippie hangout in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and out of which emerged the now burgeoning surf community.

These days that only holds partly true, as over the last couple of years Jeffrey’s Bay has seen a rapid urban expansion – something very visible when you first enter what used to be quite the small little seaside town!

Having first been given a clue to the existence of a doughnut shop from Natasha, some quick Google work led me to punch in the coordinates for Donut World into the GPS, a small shop that is very close to the Jeffrey’s Bay famous Blue Flag Beach – the aptly named Dolphin Beach.

Perfect. A spot for me to stretch my legs and take some photos then! :)

While the others continued their nap in the car, I parked close to the waterslides of the Dolphin Beach Entertainment Centre and went for a short exploratory stroll. Sadly for me though, not too many people were on the beach on the day, never mind the fact that no one was actually in the water for a change. (For reference, there seems to almost always be someone in the water at Surfer’s Corner in Muizenberg!)

(Depressingly, I later learned that we had also just, just missed the running of the renowned Corona J-Bay Open, which by all accounts was quite an exciting surfing contest this year – shark attack and all!)

Anyway, I returned to the car (where by now everyone had already woken up), and we then headed out in search of the little Donut World shopfront, finding it easily enough (it’s super close to the Shell Museum – which funnily enough none of us actually thought of entering) and each then grabbing something off their sickly sweet menu.

My choice looked rather funky I thought:

Donuts devoured, we then let the girls stretch their legs a bit on the nearby jungle gym before hopping back into the car, grabbing some road trip refreshments from Mentors Plaza at the edge of the town (where I read up on some very cool information around the big Jeffrey’s Bay Wind Farm that we where about to drive through), pointing our nose towards the Western Cape border and then hitting the road once more!

Bonus: There is a very cool scale model outside Mentor’s Plaza depicting the 2013 record breaking big wave surf by Garrett McNamara. It’s crazy to think that any sane human would ever attempt to surf a 30+ meter wave!

Related Link: Jeffrey’s Bay