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…
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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! ;)
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…
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I have a soft spot for Sedgefield, and honestly, I kind of think that this special place rather deserves it anyway.
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!
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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! :)
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! :)
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Worth popping into then in other words.
The final leg of our June Holidays road trip saw us spend two evenings in Sedgefield, a particularly favourite spot of mine seeing as I had spent countless school holidays there with my grandparents as a small kid.
As it so happens, the small town of Sedgefield is also home to the highest fossil sand dunes in South Africa – and by sheer chance our accommodation was pretty much right next to some of these super interesting geological formations.
We were staying at The Gull, right next to the PiliPili restaraunt and Afrovibe Adventure Lodge, but more importantly, right on main entrance to Myoli Beach – a popular wave riding beach and of course just one of Sedgefield’s five stunning beaches.
In other words, perfectly positioned to head out for a walk along the sand and get a better view of the famous petrified sand dunes.
(Interestingly enough though, given the time of year that we were visiting, the sand of Myoli beach was beyond frigid, meaning that without shoes an evening walk in the sand very quickly became quite a painful endeavour – so much so that all my girls, including Chantelle, basically flat out refused to join me on any of my walks!)
Bordered by a series of parallel fossil sand dunes that run between Kaaimans River in the west and Brenton on Sea in the east, Sedgefield is surrounded by the Indian Ocean and an extensive coastal lake system, meaning that there is plenty of water all around.
Over time, and we are talking millions of years here, the lower layers of a sand dune, thanks to the combined pressure from the layers above and the dissolved minerals like calcium carbonate present in the plentiful ground water, work together in cementing and compacting the sand into sandstone, with the layers often visible as ‘epoch bands’ within the resulting formations.
The result is stunning, ochre coloured, wind eroded, twisted rock formations, dramatically rising out of the sand around you.
We were unfortunately not in Sedgefield long enough to give me an opportunity to do the famous Gericke’s Point beach walk and get a better view of THOSE fantastic examples of fossilized dunes, but the nevertheless, the ones at Myoli Beach (and its sister, adjacent Cola Beach for that matter) certainly didn’t disappoint.
So perhaps well worth taking a look around at your surroundings the next time you find yourself playing in the surf on one of Sedgefield’s spectacular (but not necessarily safe for bathing) beaches.
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Also, a handy embedded Google map, just in case you can’t quite place where Sedgefield is on the map.
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! ;)