It has been five years now since good friend Terrance (I’ve known him since school days) left our sunny shores for a life of teaching English in Japan. He has of course subsequently made a life for himself over there (Ryan and I were lucky enough to attend his wedding in Komagane back in 2014), so I doubt that he will ever call this part of the world home again.
He has however been pretty good in coming back to South Africa in order to spend time with his folks from time to time, and as circumstance would have it, this year we got to catch up twice – back in February where I introduced him to the Vergelegen Estate (and caught a screening of Deadpool in the process), and now again at the end of July.
This time around though, as both he and I were flying solo (more or less – I still had the girls with me), I opted for a kid friendly venue which lead to us meeting up at Wild Clover, a frequent favourite spot for the Gordon Bay Lötters!
The girls and I arrived a little early, so we did a spot of exploring around first, but pretty soon we grabbed a table (they have a new chef, so the place is pretty popular again!) and were joined by an eager Mr. Brown for some craft beer, pizza and a great catch up session!
Still eager for some more time swapping stories, I next suggested that we move up the road to Weltevreden, as the play area at The Carnival (which we only recently discovered) is nicely shaded and makes for a better afternoon play spot than Wild Clover.
Pleasingly he was keen, and so a quick drive later (Jess enjoyed being his passenger in the Citi Golf), we were once again seated and chatting, with the girls happily running around searching for ladybirds and whatnot.
All in all, not a bad way of catching up on all the news from the Land of the Rising Sun! :)
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If you have kids and find yourself in the Stellenbosch area, then Wild Clover situated on the R304 makes for a great stop. The kids have plenty of space to run around and things to play with, while the laid back, shaded outside eating area (which is often accompanied by live music) really makes for a relaxing afternoon out.
Apparently the old chef that used to work there has now been replaced, meaning that the kitchen is making quite good food again, and these days I usually find myself tucking into one of their delicious pizzas every time we head out that way.
There’s a small brewery on the premises as well (Wild Clover Brewery), which produces a nice selection of craft beer for you to taste and indulge in if you are into that sort of thing.
There is a small farm animal enclosure which the kids can explore, as well as an equine center right next door, perfect for those of us who enjoy the prospect of trotting about on a horse!
The local archery club also calls Wild Clover its home, and just behind the archery butt, you’ll find a model aircraft flying strip of all things! (Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, Wild Clover also had accommodation available, and if you like destroying things, there’s clay pigeon shooting on offer as well!)
On this particular day out, we’d already spent some of our energy playing over at the gorgeous kids play area called The Carnival on Weltevreden Estate, but because we had found the service their slightly poor on the day, we ended up at Wild Clover for lunch instead.
(I have no idea why Chantelle opted to eat a salad on the day though!)
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Related Link: Wild Clover
I’m not really familiar with the Greater Tygerberg Partnership (GTP) at all, though their website pegs their purpose as being: “GTP pursues the goal of an inclusive and economically prosperous greater Tygerberg region. Much of our energy is focused on assisting the area to become a vibrant, thriving and desirable place to live, work and play. To this end the Greater Tygerberg Partnership offers various services for investors, business owners, building owners and developers, students and the community in the area.”
That said, one of their events did however catch our eye on Facebook, namely their Movie in the Park initiative, which saw GTP rope in the excellent (and popular) Galileo Open Air Cinema company to host movie evenings in the beautifully renovated Jack Muller public park in Boston, deep in the heart of Bellville (my old stomping ground).
All in all, four movie evenings were held in the park, with us catching the last screening in the series – a Saturday evening viewing of firm family favourite, Disney’s Lion King!
Alongside friends Evan, Natasha and Evalynne, Chantelle also roped in Monty and Cheryl, as well as Rob and Tarryn to join us for a movie evening under the stars, which I am happy to report was a huge success! (Apparently, just about 800 people pitched up!)
Chantelle went all out in terms of the picnic basket, whipping up a delectable selection of gourmet treats, the weather was absolutely perfect (if a bit nippy towards the end of the evening), the entertainment was top notch (a Settlers High flash mob dance performance added to the night), and both our little girls seemed to thoroughly enjoy a grand old evening out (even if said evening out included the surprise pop up of the sprinkler system half way during the movie!).
Also, I have to add, I was suitably impressed with the visual and audio quality on the night, meaning that now that I’ve experienced Galileo’s Open Air Cinema experience for the first time, I’ll definitely be making it my mission to catch more of their showings in the future!
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Seeing as it was a pretty late evening out in Bellville, we opted to sleep over the night at Monty and Cheryl’s place, meaning that come Sunday, we needed to come up with a spot of entertainment for us and the girls.
Having seen Internet mentions of the kid friendly Fun House situated in the Durbanville winelands before, I thought it a good idea to try them out for a change, and so put out a pretty late invite to our friends to see if anyone in the area wanted to join us on the day.
Of course, the late notice was pretty much of no use to anyone, but amazingly Michelle answered our call for company and so came out to join us with young Logan in tow!
Sadly though, on arriving at the Fun House (which is really, really, deep in the Durbanville winelands by the way), it quickly became apparent that they were closed on the day (something regarding an emergency having arisen thanks to a cat and baby bunny incident from what we could glean), meaning a quick change of plan was now in order.
Although looking rather pleasant, we decided that Ntida wasn’t quite what we were looking for either, and so we decided to head all the way back towards Michelle’s stomping grounds, heading up the R304 to Wild Clover, a particular favourite of mine when it comes to kid friendly places on days with good weather!
Finally there, we secured a good table, took in the great music and ambiance, enjoyed some food (my pizza was pretty good), and chatted up a storm, all while the kids happily entertained themselves on what turned out to be a gorgeous summer’s day!
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(And pretty exhausting too by the look of it!)
Situated on the edge of a private nature reserve along the R304, Wild Clover farm is a smorgasbord of activities, included among which is a more than decent restaurant, a onsite brewery, large secure outdoor kids play area, cottages for accommodation, a weekly market, archery field, clay pigeon shooting facilities, horse riding, and a RC airplane landing strip!
Chantelle’s best friend Retha is once again down in South Africa (she and Miguel usually come home once a year – though this time around she has good reason to be back – in a few weekends’ time it is her big South African wedding!), and as such was spending a couple of days with us and the kids.
Taking advantage of the great weather, we thought it a good idea to show her this excellent spot we’ve become rather fond of in recent times,
Despite Chantelle’s still throbbing toes (more on that saga later, I promise), the five of us bundled into the Hyundai Accent and made the pleasant drive through Stellenbosch until at last we pulled up at the rather bustling Wild Clover parking area.
The horses were out in their numbers and the vibes coming from the kids play area and restaurant were pretty inviting. Battling through the rather loud (pity) live music, we found a nice table in the shade and let the girls loose to go and play.
(Which of course, they didn’t. They never do exactly what you plan, in case you didn’t know that already!)
Of course, eventually everyone did get settled in, the girls sped off to play, the live music stopped which meant that the noise subsequently abated, meaning that once the delicious pizza’s arrived, things got properly enjoyable.
All in all leading to a rather pleasant afternoon out and about at Wild Clover!
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Related Link: Wild Clover
With Chantelle now back in the fold, last Sunday saw us braving the now overcast and slightly damp weather (a surprise given that Saturday was such a hot day) with a drive out to Wild Clover, a fantastic spot on a farm that features a indoor/outdoor restaurant, large kids play area, small farmyard, archery butts, model aircraft flying zone, farmer’s market, accommodation, wedding venue, and even a small brewery!
We opted to sit under the roof with the gas heaters turned up high, while Jessica ran around outside and Emily busied herself playing in the drainage chips keeping the floor dry.
The atmosphere was good as always, the music pleasant, and pleasingly, the pizzas that we ordered were divine! (I had some of the local brewery’s ale as well – sadly though, I didn’t enjoy that quite so much).
Following a pleasant lunch, we strolled around the area for a bit, and were treated to quite a nice encounter with a pair of horses and their foal.
After the dad checked us out and made sure that we weren’t a threat, the mother and foal decided it okay to approach, and needless to say, Jess was quite thrilled at seeing these magnificent beasts up so close and personal!
(Plus, the foal was thoroughly entertaining, prancing and running around to its heart’s content!)
Emily on the other hand wasn’t quite as thrilled with all this farmyard activity – especially when it came to the noisy (but oh so cute) piglets running around!
What a treat of a Sunday afternoon!
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Related Link: http://www.wildclover.co.za/
Taking advantage of the stretch of good weather we had been enjoying for the last big, Saturday saw me abandon Chantelle with her work and the need to sort out the baking/braai room, and head out with the girls to the middle of nowhere, corner of the R304 and R101 to be precise.
This is of course the location of The Giraffe House wildlife awareness centre, and where we happened to be meeting up with Michelle and little Logan for a fun day out looking, touching and feeding the animals!
(Naturally, the moment Michelle arrived I pretty much lost Jessica, with her absolutely refusing to let go of Michelle’s hand for more than 30 seconds at any point in time!)
Thanks to the earlier spell of wet weather, everything was pretty slushy and muddy, but regardless (or perhaps because) of this, the kids thoroughly enjoyed a day out in the sun, seeing the various animals (Gerry the giraffe was, as expected, a big hit), feeding the farmyard goats and ponies, taking in the entertaining reptile show, and of course clambering all over the central jungle gym!
(Pleasingly, unlike the last time I found myself there, I walked away without having a tarantula clamber all over my face!)
In case you aren’t familiar with The Giraffe House, I grabbed this off from their website:
“At The Giraffe House Wildlife Awareness centre we provide easy access to some of Africa’s wonderful wildlife and bird species. Focusing on African wildlife, Giraffe House aims to provide a place for people to enjoy the outdoors, whilst experiencing and learning about animals and why they are special.
Most of the animals at Giraffe House form part of our wildlife education program. The giraffe, for instance, is the tallest land animal on earth, eland is the biggest antelope, the blue duiker the smallest antelope and ostrich the biggest bird. We are also proudly South African by having our national animal, the springbok and national bird, the blue crane bird forming part of our team.”
It certainly is a varied selection of animals housed, that’s for sure. Jackals, servals, flamingos, snakes, bat-eared foxes, goats, ponies, chickens, crocodiles, warthogs, springbok, zebra, blue cranes, eland, giraffe, duikers, ostriches, monkeys… well, you get the picture.
In other words, more than enough going on to keep the little ones entertained! :)
(Oh, a nice touch that I forgot to mention. On entry each child gets handed a bucket full of food to feed the farmyard animals with – which Emily usually promptly trips with and spills half out all over the floor. Judging from the amount of feed lying all over the place, this is a relatively common occurrence though…)
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At the end of what was a good outing, we opted to head down the road to Wild Clover, in order to meet up with Damen who had just finished his archery session at their field.
This was the first time I’ve ever been to the wine farm / brewery / restaurant / archery field / model aircraft flying strip / farmyard animals / accommodation establishment that is Wild Clover – and I have to say, I was seriously impressed.
Extremely kid friendly in terms of a great outside play area, the restaurant features both a great indoor and outdoor space, and quite frankly, it really has everything that makes for a ‘lekker kuierplek’.
(In other words, I’m pretty sure I’ll be back again!)
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(I ordered a pizza to share with the girls. Happily, they turned out not to want much, meaning that I ate most of it. Oh, and it was quite a treat to watch a couple of guys flying their model aircraft about. One sometimes forgets just how big they actually are!)