Our first family holiday
Nov 2, 2017
Our first family holiday. Shaun, Tristan and I set off on 14th October on a 2,5 week family holiday around the Eastern Cape. We had no idea what the trip was going to throw at us in relation to traveling with a toddler but we were all very excited! We had a lot of car time in store for us so we ensured we were kitted out with everything Tristan might need. From snacks (or nacks as T calls them) to the iPad loaded with his favorite shows. We had a great car lap tray for him as well as plenty of suitable toys.
The first leg of our journey was from home to Beaufort West; according to Google Maps that would take us approximately 5h15m. We had planned to stop off in Matjiesfontein which was approximately half way. When we reached the town T was fast asleep so we pushed on. He eventually woke so stopped Laingsburg then did the last stretch. We thought we’d just been lucky as T was so good; but in fact we’d set the tone for the entire trip! Each leg of driving he was a super star. Yes he got niggly and wanted out of his car seat but soon enough he’d been distracted by something and was quite happy sitting a while longer.
Our first stop, Lemoenfontein Game Lodge isn’t particularly note worthy. It’s set against the mountain which meant when the sun went down it got really cold. Also, we took ourselves on a little game drive but there were no animals. I feel the name is misleading. Strangest thing though, it was filled with Russians and Germans on self-driving holidays; weird! The next morning we left early as we were off to Samara Private Game Reserve. It’s sold as a 5-star property however we felt it was much more like a 4-star property, and an average one at that! However, the staff were amazing with us as well as Tristan. He really enjoyed watching all the tortoises and cheeky monkeys that frequent the lodge. My folks joined us for a night there before we all went to the farm in Somerset East.
Family-wise, this was probably my most favorite 3 days because Tristan had a ball (he even started sleeping twice a day again due to being so busy), I loved going back to the farm as I haven’t been there in about 12 years, it was amazing reconnecting with Greg and spending time with Bill and Ale. It was also super special to share this magnificent farm with Shaun and T. We will definitely be going back there again soon! Tristan saw and did so much; he herded sheep & their lambs, he fed a lamb, he fed a kid, he saw horses, saw cows being milked, played with Greg’s girls and just generally loved the freedom of being on a farm. They’ve had so much rain that we were able to walk to the waterfall which was in full flow which was just beautiful to see!
Our next lodge was just the BEST I’ve been to in a long time! We stayed at Ecca Lodge at Kwandwe Private Game Reserve. Everything about it was 5-star and there were zero disappointments. Our suite had a private pool, Tristan was spoilt by the staff and they just loved him, our meals were all fantastic and the game sightings were excellent! We will definitely be going back for a longer stay! We, unfortunately, only had 1 night here due to availability. Tristan came on game drives with us and loved seeing the herd of elephants, giraffes and bucks.
Onward we went and had to spend a night in Port Alfred before going to Oceana Beach & Wildlife Reserve. However, we made a stop at Kenton-on-Sea! It was so lovely to be back here and show it to Shaun. The beach & lagoon area is still as picturesque and perfect as I remember from when we holidayed there on an annual basis with the Browns. We walked around the lagoon and across the dunes to the sea before walking all the way back to our car. This clearly tired T out as he passed out before we’d even left the town! 🙂
Oceana, meh, it’s not as great as I thought it was going to be. There’s so much potential there to make it outstanding but they need to do some things. However, we had a lovely, chilled out 3 night stay. We dined in our room twice which was lovely and the other night we had someone stay with Tristan so we could eat up at the main dining area. We had a lovely beach lunch – well you eat on a deck overlooking the beach and you have to walk about 1km on hot sand to reach the beach but it was still lovely to relax and just recharge our batteries.
Kariega Private Game Reserve, main lodge, was our next home for 2 nights (yes we stayed in a lot of places, 9 to be exact). It was also meh, ok. We have definitely learnt that we are 5-star people and that’s ok because, as hubby said, why pay for something you know you’re not going to be totally satisfied with? But we had good game drives here, Tristan had fun and we ate like kings (you eat way too much from a buffet)!
From there we went, via PE and the Tsitsikamma area down to Plett. I haven’t driven along that way in so long; it’s so pretty (once you leave PE) and you remember why it’s called the Garden Route. We weren’t able to stop because, yup, Tristan was sleeping again but was a nice drive. We went straight to our accommodation – Fynbos Ridge self catering cottages – and then braai’ed for dinner as we didn’t feel like missioning into town as the accommodation was quite far out of town. Tristan and I shared a bed both nights and it was so awesome having him next to me. Special times. We did so much cool stuff in the Crags; big cats, snakes and elephants. We also had a delicious lunch at Enrico’s which is on the Keurboom’s Beach. Food was really nice and great variety.
Our final 2 nights were with mom and dad on Fancourt. That was really chilled as well as T slept downstairs with my folks so we got a lie in for the first time the whole holiday.
Can’t wait to go on another holiday as a family; was really special spending time together and Tristan really loved having both mom and dad around him all the time. It was such a huge learning experience for him and it was a lovely bonding experience for us. Till next time family holiday!