Tag Archives: june holidays 2018

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.

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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.

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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!

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Driving over the Outeniqua Pass outside George (2018-06-28) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 26 SEP 2018

Whilst in Mossel Bay with the girls and my folks for a bit of the June school holidays this year, we were rather hoping to catch a ride on the Outeniqua Power Van – a 2.5 hour return trip aboard an old Transnet railcar up into the Outeniqua mountains via the historic Montagu Pass. Of course, my severe aversion to planning, let alone making reservations of any sort, resulted in us not getting a spot – though it did facilitate a madcap race through to George just in case some seats were left open on the morning!

There were none. So instead, we camped outside the George Botanical Gardens in order  to take a photo of the Power Van as it powered on by, following which we immediately hopped back into dad’s car for an impromptu drive over the famous Outeniqua Pass, the mounain pass that was built to replace the Montagu Pass as the primary route connecting George and the Garden Route coastal plain with Oudtshoorn and the Little Karoo.

Built over a period between 1943 and 1951 (and undergoing more than a few upgrades along the way), the stunning Outeniqua Pass contains over 40 bend, corners and curves, and along the way you are able to spot four other passes in the area, not to mention gain an aerial view of George and the sea down in the distance.

As it turned out on the day, the weather was perfect for the drive (due to the elevation, the pass is often subject to mist and rainfall – and the occasional truck breakdown), and we were even lucky enough to hear and watch the Power Van chug along the Montagu Pass on the opposite side of the valley from one of the lookout points that we were stopped at!

After driving over the pass, turning around and then driving back over it (the best views – and lookout points – are in the Oudtshoorn to George direction), we next headed down into rural George, for a coffee, cake and ice cream with strawberries stop for the kids at Redberry Farm – a firm favourite family hangout for both tourists and locals alike.

And yes, of course the girls went for a spin on the mini train while we were there.

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From there dad randomly selected a dirt road to follow, and eventually we ended up back home. Exactly how a day out and about driving should be enjoyed.

Related Link: Outeniqua Pass | Outeniqua Power Van

A Week of Golf and Ice Cream at Pinnacle Point in Mossel Bay (2018-06-23) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 08 SEP 2018

It’s kind of nice, this year the girls and I are getting to see quite a bit of Mossel Bay thanks to mom and dad’s place in Pinnacle Point (in particular because they managed to secure an additional week to their share, making the window of opportunity that much larger), though sadly for Chantelle, the cake business pretty much always prevents her from tagging along!

For example, these past June school holidays were especially nice – the girls and I managed to go up for a week (but only once the school concerts finally concluded of course), with the visit made that much better thanks to Riley and his two little boys also joining in for the fun.

Despite the season, we actually had some great weather and the week quickly flitted by, filled with golf cart explorations, short walks and plenty of card games. Soft serve ice creams at The Point,  putt putt at FantaSea, play time at Da Playhouse, heck, even a surprisingly good round of golf at the Mossel Bay Golf Club (where I somehow managed to split a ball in half!) all happened during the course of what was a particularly enjoyable week.

The girls and I finally got to explore the lush Harry Giddey Park, drove along the picturesque Outeniqua Mountain Pass, saw the old Post Tree, observed the fish and boarded the caravel in the Bartolomeu Dias museum complex, and in general just enjoyed a really relaxed, good time away from home.

Oh, and the girls and I even got spoiled with some whale antics in the bay on the final day of what can only be summed up as a successful school holiday family getaway.

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(Sure, mind you, it is worth mentioning that the last day wasn’t quite without its frustration. Angry people and hectic protests on the N2 shut down the main road out of Mossel Bay, and so after patiently waiting for most of the day to see if they would calm down, I eventually bit the bullet and followed the dirt back-roads to get out. Still, even that little bit of unpleasantness was in no way enough to detract from the good vibes overall!)

Related Link: Pinnacle Point Estate | Mossel Bay