A Tower of Giraffes please!

Sinead Bailey

Last October, I visited South Africa with my family – my husband and 2 boys age 9 (James) and 12 (Charlie). We travelled from Cape Town, along the Garden Route and ended with a safari in the Eastern Cape.

We all had our own highlights, and I asked the kids for their favourite bits – there were many!! Here are their Top 3!

Charlie’s Highlights (age 12)

1 Fat Scooters – Scootours Cape Town
With our guide, we jumped on fat wheel scooters and descended down both Signal Hill and Table Mountain. So exhilarating and great fun. The views were stunning, and of course the kids’ highlight – watching Mummy give it a go! (I thought I was quite good actually!)

2 Watershed – Cape Town
There are A LOT of places to eat on the V&A Waterfront, but this was hands down Charlie’s favourite. Just a stone’s throw from our apartment, the Watershed is home to many different food stalls – from dirty burgers to more traditional South African fare. Great for a quick stop. The lady at the smoothie stall recognised Charlie by the time we left!

3 Night drive on safari
Our final stop on the trip was the Amakhala Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape, staying at Hlosi Game Lodge. Lots of great sightings here, but Charlie’s high point was seeing three lionesses hunting on an awesome night drive. The red spotlight that is used on these night drives so as not to disturb the animals added to the drama. It was our David Attenborough moment.

James’ Highlights (age 9)

1 The Winelands
As James is clearly underage, this one may come as a surprise! But there were a few favourite moments from our visit to Franschhoek and the surrounding area. We started in Boschendal, where we hired bikes and cycled through the vast vineyards – followed by slumping on a bean bag under the shade of the trees and enjoying an ice cream.

A day hopping on and off the Franschhoek Wine tram was very entertaining – the guides are so lively and it’s a fun way to see a variety of the vineyards. James loved the hot chocolate, cheese and chocolate tasting alternatives for kids.

2 Paddle Boarding and Horse Riding
As we travelled further along the Garden Route, we arrived at Hog Hollow Country Lodge. A lovely option for families, and the kids made plenty of new friends here. There’s a number of activities available. An afternoon spent paddle boarding on the Keubrooms River was a real adventure, even when falling off! A glass of bubbly for the adults (balanced on the board!) was a lovely touch.

James and Dad also visited the stables at Hog Hollow, and spent a few hours riding sedately through the meadows and nearby forest. James nicknamed his horse ‘Hungry’, with lots of stops for grass munching!

 

3 Unsurprisingly, James also has a safari moment in his top 3! Our final afternoon on safari, we headed out with our guide, named Lucky. It was James’ turn to sit in the front and help with the spotting. After asking Lucky a million and one questions (all patiently answered, well done Lucky!), Lucky asked him – “What would you like to see on your final safari drive James?”. The answer: “A Tower of Giraffes please!”

We continued our safari, and as we headed closer to sunset, we saw the first few giraffes appear over the tree line. The vehicle slowed down, and we soon realised that we were surrounded by giraffes, at least 20, totally unfased by us and not going anywhere. We parked up, and as Lucky set up the sundowner drinks, we all watched in awe. It was breath-taking and I was even rewarded with hugs from the kids for the best holiday ever. Truly special.