Tag Archives: june holidays 2017

Staying at De Oude Meul Country Lodge in Oudtshoorn (2017-07-03) Accommodation | Photo Gallery 24 APR 2018

One of our stops on last year’s June Holidays Road Trip was the ever delightful Oudtshoorn, a visit filled with caves, ostriches, camels and milk tart jaffles. In terms of accommodation, we went with De Oude Meul Country Lodge, a fantastic family friendly self-catering accommodation complex that lies about 14km out of Outshoorn, at the foot of the Swartberg Mountains.

A working ostrich farm come season, De Oude Meul has no shortage of facilities,  counting among its many offerings a restaurant, two pools, free (and pretty decent) Wi-Fi, game hunting, hiking routes, 4×4 trails, a kids play park, fishing, a wedding venue/conference hall, and yes, as you can see from the photo above – a whole lot of bunny rabbits! (Plus a Shetland pony or two).

Our unit was more than spacious enough for the four of us, the braai worked a charm and a working DSTV a nice bonus. I adored the open space (prompting many a stroll through the well tended, lush green grounds), while the kids absolutely loved the animals and the play area.

The restaurant was pretty decent as well.

Being in the shadows of a mountain meant that it got bitterly cold at night, but nothing that a few extra blankets couldn’t solve! Besides, everybody cheered up the minute the bales of hay was carried towards the rabbit pen anyway…

Bonus find – De Oude Meul commissioned this video to give you a bit of a better feel of what to expect when staying with them:

Pretty accurate and thus not hard to see that this is indeed a thoroughly enjoyable place to call home for a couple of nights – especially if you have small kids in tow like we do!

Related Link: De Oude Meul Country Lodge | Oudtshoorn

Seals and Penguins at the Bayworld Oceanarium in Port Elizabeth (2017-07-09) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 16 APR 2018

While the days of the crowd being splashed wet while being entertained and enthralled by Bayworld’s team of well trained bottlenose dolphins are now long since passed, the now visibly less vibrant (despite its R10 million 2013 revamp) Port Elizabeth tourist attracting complex is still worth the visit – even if the oceanarium is no longer the star of the show.

While our day out to Bayworld revolved mostly around the excellent Port Elizabeth Museum (which I’ll dedicate a separate post to), we did of course kick things off at the oceanarium (animal activists perhaps look away now), where the kids were delighted to watch the seals and penguins splash about and play in the two open view pools (next to the sadly, but thankfully hidden, dilapidated dolphinarium zone).

Next came the short seal (and turtle) show, with Jessica particularly pleased at being called out to the front to receive a kiss from a superbly trained seal and his flexible whiskers. (Turns out, the kiss was a lot more ticklish than what she was expecting!) 

Following that, the last remaing thing to be seen in the Oceanarium section of Bayworld was of course the actual oceanarium itself, though to be fair, with the large tanks now all out of action, the dimly lit space is perhaps better referred to as an aquarium, containing only a few tanks, but thankfully filled with enough interesting fish species to make it worth the while.

(When you have a small fish tank dedicated to a LEGO shipwreck build then you might just realise that perhaps something is not running 100% according to plan…)

Anyway, I grabbed a few photos here and there, but honestly, given the oceanarium section’s now diminished state, there isn’t a whole lot to actually take photos of! Still, the kids all seemed to enjoy the space enough to have made the visit worthwhile…

Still, I have to admit, seeing the now abandoned dolphinarium (which holds such wonderful childhood memories for me) is admittedly more than just a little heartbreaking.

Next up: Bayworld’s much more amazing Port Elizabeth Museum!

Related Link: Bayworld Oceanarium | Port Elizabeth

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

Sightseeing from Shark Rock Pier in Port Elizabeth (2017-07-08) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 09 APR 2018

When in Port Elizabeth, head out for a stroll along Shark Rock Pier. Or rather, that is what it feels like every tourist to Port Elizabeth does at least once while visiting the Friendly City. (Well certainly that is what my Instagram feed seems to suggest anyway).

To be fair though, that is of course exactly what we did when we visited Port Elizabeth as part of last year’s June Roadtrip Holiday.

Built in 1998 and measuring 137 metres in length, Shark Rock Pier can be found between Hobie Beach and the Red Windmill, and interestingly enough, is the only public accessible pier in Port Elizabeth.

Situated at the very center of the Port Elizabeth beachfront, free to access, and giving amazing views across Algoa Bay, it is no wonder then that the pier is both a major landmark of and drawcard for P.E.

Or at least that is what all the travel operators say about it.

I have to say, it is pretty cool though, and we all enjoyed the gentle amble out to its end and back again. The views are great, non locals like us are easily bamboozled by the hordes of open water swimmers who look just like dolphins in their wetsuits, and there are plenty of friendly ice cream vendors waiting for you to look hot on hand.

Oh, and interesting fact. The famous Hobie Beach only exists thanks to Shark Rock Pier’s presence. Its positioning is such that the pier blocks the tidal drift of sand northwards, causing it to instead build up and thus pile on the layers of fun for this super popular sun soaked beach.

Basically, well worth the walk if you find yourself in the area then.

Related Link: Port Elizabeth

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

The Cape Recife Lighthouse and Nature Reserve in Port Elizabeth (2017-07-08) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 28 FEB 2018

Built way back in 1851, the Cape Recife Lighthouse was originally established to warn passing ships of the dangerous Thunderbolt Reef (named for the HMS Thunderbolt, a British Royal Nave Sail and Paddle Frigate that wrecked at Cape Recife in 1847), a job the venerable (albeit upgraded) lighthouse still admirably performs to this very day.

In 1973, a surrounding 366 hectare large area was proclaimed as the Cape Recife Nature Reserve, thereby transforming Cape Recife into a protected sanctuary for the Summerstrand region’s coastal and marine ecosystems to thrive within.

These days, in addition to the walking routes, countless unspoiled beaches, picnic areas, and accessible to the public lighthouse, the Cape Recife Nature Reserve is also home to the Port Elizabeth branch of SANCCOB (otherwise known as SAMREC), which provides rehabilitation and care facilities for many of the regions coastal bird species.

Seeing how I rather enjoy visiting lighthouses and was after all now in the area (as part of our June 2017 Holiday Adventure), I dragged everyone over to the nature reserve (most who were visiting it for the very first time), where after securing our entry permits, we enjoyed a rather tranquil stroll around the area.

Well not the kids mind you. They were far too busy chasing up and down the sand dunes like energetic little bunnies of course!

Extra: On exiting the nature reserve our initial route to the Grass Roof Farm Stall for a spot of lunch and play was blocked by a rather angry veld fire. Apparently, thanks to the dry seasons Port Elizabeth is also experiencing, wild fires like this is now pretty much a daily occurrence now…

Related Link: Cape Recife Lighthouse | Cape Recife Nature Reserve | Port Elizabeth

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