Well, hello! It feels like such a long time since I was last here. The big children went back to school today. I missed them. As ever the summer holiday seemed too short but I suppose it is better that way.
Thank you so much for the lovely comments that you made at the beginning of the summer. I really appreciated them and feel bad that I wasn’t able to reply. We set off at the beginning of July for a month long trip. We have come home with such wonderful memories from a very special trip. As I have mentioned before my parents spend half the year in South Africa and, with some very generous help from them, we were fortunate enough to have a real adventure trip to South Africa and Namibia. We spent the last 2 1/2 weeks in Namibia with mum and dad which was a new country for them as well as us – they make the most of their 6 months away each year and spend a lot of time exploring Southern Africa so it was especially fun to spend time with them in a country that was new for all of us.
I don’t want to bore you rigid but I do want to share a little of these special counties and all that we were lucky enough to see and do (and document it for myself too) – I’ll try not to take too long but I do plan to share a few posts breaking the trip down into chunks……and then I’ll go back to the normal crafting and homelife and outdoors documenting!
We first flew into George in South Africa which is mum and dad’s home town. We had three nights there to allow us to do some stocking-up for later in the trip and just generally relax from the 36 hour journey to get there……..we had originally wondered about a 2 night stop but decided we’d be safer with an extra night in case of flight troubles and/or lost luggage…..lucky, because we were delayed by nearly 12 hours and arriving late at night bedraggled and tired, so thankful to be able to catch a taxi to a house we knew (i.e. mum and dad’s!) which had all the basic supplies we needed.
Then the road-trip began. With my parent’s Landover loaded to the gunnels with essentials such as air jack (for flat tyres on sand), normal jack, tools, water, large set of first aid supplies, border-crossing documentation, cool bags and food plus our belongings for the next 3 and a bit weeks.*
Off to Cape Town. We spent three nights in Simon’s Town, to the south of Cape Town on the Peninsula which runs down to Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope. Much of the way was a beautiful drive, it was especially dramatic coming over Sir Lowry’s Pass and looking across False Bay towards the Cape and the huge area of flats in between – home to the Cape Flats, a series of Townships including Khayelitsha, which you may have heard of. Hills border this whole stretch of coastline, and we had travelled alongside them for the 5 hours from George, but I hadn’t been prepared for how spectacular the mountains around Cape Town are.
There was time for a quick walk down to Boulder’s Beach and the colony of endangered African Penguins, in Simon’s Town, just before dark (dark falls fast in Africa and at this time of year it is pitch black from around 6pm to 6am). The penguins were very fun and noisy – and the reason for their previous name, ‘Jackass’, was pretty evident! We all enjoyed watching them surfing in on the waves.
We had a day in Cape Town making what we felt was an important trip to Robben Island. It didn’t disappoint. Our guide was a former political prisoner and the stories and images he conjured were very strong and poignant. What impressed me most was the way the prisoners managed to fight against the regime they were under – never accepting anything, always questioning, trying to finding ways round situations, prepared to make a point at every turn. I have included some photos of personal accounts which were displayed in many of the cells – I think these give a feel for the place.
By this time it was early afternoon and we had time for a quick look around Victoria and Alfred Waterfront (which is beautiful and would be very easy to part with a lot of money!) before heading for Table Mountain. If we had more time we would have preferred to walk up, but the trip to Robben Island takes several hours so we opted for taking the cable car. Once again I really was bowled over by the natural beauty of the area – the combination of mountains and sea with a city and surrounding towns squished between is very special. I’m not a city person by any means but I would recommend visiting this beautiful place without hesitation.
I think that is probably enough for one day…..I’ll be back in a little while with more. I do hope you are well and have been enjoying a lovely summer.
* I thought it might be useful to share what we packed in the way of entertainment for a month-long trip with four children (aged 12, 11, 8 and 3)……….very little……..we don’t tend to take much away with us anyway but because of the nature of this trip there really was almost no space for anything other than bare essentials.
We had the following: 1 pack of cards, 1 travel scrabble, several books per child, 3 soft toys for Katie, 1 colouring book for Katie, 1 journal each for the others, felt tip pens, coloured pencils, 4 pencils with rubbers and 1 pencil sharpener…….plus two parents and, for much of the time, two grandparents! We rarely had access to a television and we had no electronics. They didn’t get bored. It probably helps that they don’t watch much TV at home and access to electronics is very limited too but it just shows how little children actually need other than their imaginations and some space to run around.