Last year Chantelle surprised us all when she agreed to join Andy and a few other ladies on the local Muddy Princess Vergenoegd run. Now if you haven’t heard of it before, the Muddy Princess is an outdoor women only obstacle mud run, with an emphasis on having a “girls’ dirty day out” in the mud.
There is no timing or competition, instead it is all about fun, with the 18-19 obstacles delivering a variety of challenges that sees the ladies (all generally decked out in tiaras, tutus and fairy wings) having to run, walk, climb, slide, balance and laugh their way over the finish line.
Needless to say, Chantelle was more than just a little nervous come obstacle run day!
However, a couple of hours and a whole lot of mud later, she and the rest of her very wet and bedraggled group emerged victorious. (My shoes that I had loaned her less so.)
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The girls and I were there to support her at the finish, and despite being super proud of her for having completed something that is so VERY much out of her comfort zone, I still refused to allow her anywhere near my car.
So, so much mud.
Standing right next to the newly opened Reddam House Somerset West boarding school, Somerset Lakes is a pretty good looking gated residential estate that has sprouted up on the outskirts of Somerset West – mind you, as a LOT of others have also done over the last handful of years!
Anyway, the only reason that I’ve ever even been inside this nice estate is thanks to the fact that the Somerset Lakes clubhouse is home to a rather nice, open to the public, restaurant, trading under the name The Lake House at Somerset Lakes.
They serve a fantastic array of pizzas and other light meal options, are home to a brilliant Sunday roast lunch, and of course stock some fabulous wines (which makes sense if you consider that the owners also run the hugely popular Southey’s Family Bistro, also in Somerset West).
Combining all of the above with the estate’s design aesthetic and its picture perfect lake center piece, it then quickly becomes obvious why we rather enjoy paying a visit there every now and then!
One of our last visits to the Lake House Restaurant (November last year) saw us inviting Chantelle’s folks to join us for lunch, all of which went rather well (the food was a hit!) despite the girls for a change not being on their normal standard of best behaviour – plus a rather unexpected visit from an inquisitive but cool as a cucumber stray goose.
With lunch now concluded, the next logical step (as it should always be when you visit there) was to head out along the boardwalk for a stroll around the lake. Amazingly, given that we had experienced a shower or two in the days prior to our visit, the lake was looking in a lot better shape than the last time that we had encountered it, and it was great to see all the local bird populations (who call Somerset Lakes home) in such good form.
The landscaped gardens were in bloom, a short stop at the jungle gym and outdoor fitness gym was enjoyed, and of course the entire visit was capped off with some clamber and play session in the estate’s little pine forest plantation that hides a treasure trove of obstacle course equipment within.
Pretty impossible not to recommend this place to be honest!
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(In all honesty though, I’m not sure how long a private residential estate will continue to host a public restaurant, but given how much I enjoy it, I’m holding thumbs that this place sticks around for as long as possible!)
The other day Chantelle came up with a rather strange suggestion – “Why don’t we go out for lunch at Somerset Lakes?”. Now I know that Somerset Lakes is one of the new fancy Somerset West residential estates that they are building here rather close to us (in fact, it is right next to the brand new, rather posh Reddam School that recently opened its doors), but residential estates aren’t normally open to the public now are they?
Well as it turns out, Somerset Lakes has in fact allowed its clubhouse facility to be converted into a restaurant (aptly called The Lake House), operated by the same team that own the excellent Southey’s Family Bistro (also in Somerset West).
The restaurant itself is situated in this beautiful contemporary designed building that overlooks Somerset Lakes’ titular lake (which is of course nearly empty now thanks to the drought that continues to plague the Western Cape), with its open plan spaces spilling outside in the form of lovely open deck, complete with small swimming pools for both big and small.
Pizzas are currently the hot item on The Lake House’s menu, and it is pretty easy to see why after having tried a few of them for ourselves!
(Unfortunately the restaurant is still waiting to receive their liquor licence, meaning that for now you need to remember to bring your own drink if the non-alcholic stuff doesn’t quite do it for you any more).
The girls were of course completely lost to the pool (which is literally right next to the tables on the deck), meaning that Chantelle and I had even more time to just sit, relax, and enjoy the view.
(Or, if your kids don’t enjoy the pool, they can always go play on the artificial beach in front of the clubhouse as well!)
After lunch, we decided to take a delightful stroll along the lengthy boardwalk that takes you around the central lake. Naturally, the area is usually a lot more pretty (and will be once the rains start coming in again), but nevertheless, it was great way to stretch the legs whilst watching the abundance of bird life that still call this area home.
Along the way we came across a jungle gym for the kids to spend some of their energy at, and a little later, an outdoor gym (complete with concrete weights).
Obviously, without not a single other soul in sight, we had a ball giving everything a quick go ourselves! ;)
Back at the clubhouse, Jessica and I decided to take a quick stroll over to the nearby grove of Pine trees, where we were rather excited to find a full on obstacle course lurking in the small forest. (A pretty handy find considering the fact that Chantelle would be tackling the Muddy Princess obstacle race rather soon!)
Note: I found out later via some Googling once back at home that these are all a leftover from the recent The Grind obstacle race which was held back in February this year.
Also, as you might have suspected, I took loads of pictures with my phone on the day, some of which didn’t come out half bad if I say so myself:
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It is kind of strange that a private residential estate has allowed for the establishment of a public restaurant on their grounds, but I for one am rather glad that they did, because the location is rather stunning and thus well worth the visit if you ever find yourself anywhere near the area!
I stumbled across this gem of a kid friendly place in Stellenbosch by the name of Vredenbosch. It is situated along the R304, heading out of Stellenbosch, on what is or was Pete’s Adventure Farm (I’m struggling to ascertain as to whether or not Pete’s is still a thing – certainly the horse rides through the nearby wildlife sanctuary appears to still be alive and well, based on the website some Googling turned up).
According to the waitress that helped the girls and I out with some ice cream and coffee on the day (we were a little hot and bothered following our morning of gallivanting at Klein Joostenberg and its surrounds), Vredenbosch hasn’t been operating for all that long, but has already proven quite popular for the hosting of kids birthday parties, kitchen teas and that sort of gathering – thanks primarily to its remote location and humongous wide open space which is just perfect for letting the kids run wild in.
I didn’t really order food, so I can’t comment on that, but the menu seemed to cover all the bases, and the girls certainly enjoyed both their milkshake and ice-creams. (Apparently though, they are still waiting on their liquor licence – which was a bit of a surprise considering the location).
We sat in the shade of the outside area, but once the group of ladies celebrating a kitchen tea moved on, we did venture inside to get a better look at what turns out to be quite a spacious restaurant interior.
The real stars of the show were however the miniature horses roaming around the enclosed field, which Jessica immediately made a beeline for. There are also these two awesomely chilled alpacas wandering about, Lucio and Frost, who are quite curious about anyone that steps into their domain.
While Jess rather enjoyed having all these animals freely wander about, Emily was of course absolutely terrified – meaning that whenever they would come in close to investigate us, she would tearfully disappear behind my legs faster than what I could blink!
Apart from the animals roaming about, the expansive field also houses a wooden obstacle course as well as a wooden jungle gym. However, the star of the field is without a doubt the foofy slide (or zipline as it is otherwise known), which at the end of the day provided at least an hour’s worth of entertainment (if not more) to the girls! (More pics in a follow up post!)
So yes, as you might imagine, the girls and I ended up spending quite a bit of time at Vredenbosch on the day. In other words, a good find indeed!
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Here it is on the map in case you think your kids might also like to give it a go:
Related Link: Vredenbosch Restaurant
One of the best extramural activities that we ever enrolled Jessica into at Vergeet-My-Nie playschool has to be without a shadow of a doubt Playball.
Established in 1986 (and offered in numerous countries), Playball is essentially a sports coaching system for children between the ages of 2-8.
The primary objectives are to improve basic movement and sports-related skills, but at the same time to also develop kids’ cognitive abilities and group social skills.
Each age group has a specific programme which is adhered to, and with this evening’s certificate ceremony done and dusted, Jessica has now progressed through two of these levels during her time at Vergeet-My-Nie.
(Next year she is off to Gordon’s Bay Primary, which is of course a whole new kettle of fish!)
In terms of the programmes that she’s now done:
Ages 3+ Programme: This program covers the following basic areas and provides a sound foundation for the next age group.
1. Introduction to basic ball skills.
2. Development of student’s enjoyment for sport.
3. Confidence to participate in sporting activities.
4. Social integration with other students.
5. Development of concentration.
The emphasis is on having fun and playing games with a ball so that the child’s first introduction to sport is a happy and positive one.
Ages 4+ Programme: This program covers the sections listed below and provides students with a solid grounding and a basic competence in ball skills. The children are exposed to a wide variety of different skills in each lesson. It is in this stage that they have the opportunity to practice the skills more rigorously developing competence.
1. Development of a wide variety of ball skills.
2. Emphasis on individual participation.
3. Overcoming the fears that dis-encourage sports participation.
4. Introduction to organized ball skill activities.
Already behind in terms of physical prowess thanks to her prematurity, Jessica has benefitted immensely from this very structured programme of play, and I am thoroughly impressed at just how much her motor skills have improved thanks to all the hard work from the great Playball team.
In other words, if you have the opportunity then I would definitely recommend enrolling your kids into something like this! :)
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Related Link: Playball