29 March 2018

Our favourite kids things to do at the Point


We live in Mossel Bay, a small town next to the ocean.  The town is still mainly a summer holiday destination when thousands of people come here to spend time in the ocean.

The point area is about 2 kilometres from our house and one of our favourite places to go for a quick outing after work or during weekends.  Almost daily, when I get home from work, my son JW asks if we can drive around the Point.

Here are some of our favourite things we do around the Point area:

Swimming in the Paddling Pool
This is one of my son’s favourite activities…in summer, spring and autumn…and even on a warm winter’s day.  The Paddling Pool is a tidal pool. In the summer we usually go to the Point early in the morning (between 8 and 9 am) to swim and return home by 10am.  We do this to avoid the harsh sun later in the day but mainly because there are less people.  The water is cold and refreshing and there is more parking.  The paddling pool is not very deep and the shallow water is very nice for kids to play. 
The Point, Mossel Bay

The Point, Mossel Bay

Sand and shells
If the sun is shining it is always a good time for a walk at the Point. Take a spade and a bucket and build a sand castle or pick up some shells.  Or walk on the rocks and look for fishes in the rock pools.

Jungle gym
Close to the Paddling Pool there is a small jungle gym with a few swings.  JW loves to swing while looking at the ocean and searching for boats.  There is also a nice grass area to run on or kick a ball. 

Ice cream
We love to buy ice cream at the orange and green caravan.  The Oom and Tannie are always friendly and there is always an interesting new flavour to try like watermelon or kaluha.  I think the ice cream is the reason why JW want to drive to the Point each day.  There ia also other ice cream sellers and a coffee shop.  During summer holidays there is also stalls selling food and other items.

Walk /ride on the 3 km-long walkway
 It’s been a while since I walked the whole length of the walkway but when our son was a baby we enjoyed putting him in his stroller and walking along this path.  It is a more difficult with a 3-year old who would rather play in the water and sand.
  

The Shark Lab
There is a very, very small aquarium at the Shark lab. The entrance fee is R20 for an adult, R10 for children over 4 years and free for children under three.  Depending on how much of the information you read, you need between 2 minutes and maximum 15 minutes for you visit.    I personally think it is overpriced for what you can see and we have only visited once but JW loved it. For R150 you can swim in a tank with 2 sharks.
  
The Point, Mossel Bay

St Blaize cave 
The cave is situated beneath the St Blaize Lighthouse. JW is not interested in the information or historical importance of the cave.  He just wants to climb the stairs and run on the wood walkway.  The view of the ocean from the cave is amazing and older kids will probably understand more of the history. 
The Point, Mossel Bay

Playing on the rocks in the Poort at low tide
Climbing from rock t rock and looking for rock pools to jump in is another f JW’s favourite things.  At low tide there is lots of rocks and pools all around the Point. 

Playing at  Fanta Sea / Play@Point
I am not sure what the current name of the play area at the Point is. There is a jungle gym with swings, trampolines and jumping castles.  They also have a put-put course.  On our last visit it was R10 to play and R20 for put-put but this could have changed.
The Point, Mossel Bay

24 March 2018

Dias Museum


It is wonderful what kids can remember.  I only took my son for one visit to the DiasMuseum in January 2017 and every time we drive is the direction of the museum he asks if he can go to the boat.  After another request from him in December 2017 I decided it was time for a second visit to the museum.

The entrance fee to visit the museum complex was R 20 for an adult or for R 40 per adult you can enter the museum and go on the replica of the carvel. For children under 18 the fee is R 5 or R 10.  I think children under 6 years can enter for free. My son, JW was 3 year old and I did not pay for him.

The main attractions of the museum for my son, JW is climbing on the boat. But if we start our visit by climbing on the boat he will never understand why he can’t go back to climb on the boat again. So we start by taking a walk through the garden towards the Shell museum and saved the carvel for almost last.
Aquariums in the Shell Museum

The Shell Museum is in the “Shirley building” that was built in 1902.  JW loves the aquariums with fish in this museum.  There were lots of other families and soon JW was running between tanks with some other kids looking at the fish. While looking at the tank with lobsters, the antennae of one lobster brushed against JW’s hand.  He got such a fright.
Climbing in the Post Tree

Next we walked to the Post Tree.  This Milkwood tree is older than 500 years.  In 1501 The Portuguese navigator Da Nova found a message under a tree near the watering place and this may be the same tree.
The replica of the Dias Caravel

And then it was time to visit the Maritime Museum and see the replica of the Dias Caravel.  In 1988, so celebrate 500 years since the landing of Dias, a replica of the Dias Caravel was built in Portugal and sailed to Mossel Bay.  The building was adapted for the caravel to fit inside and to serve as Maritime Museum.  JW was not interested in any off the displays...he went running to the entrance to go onto the caravel.  We explored the whole caravel…climbing every ladder and pulling the ropes.
The spring

Malay Graves

We bought some cool drinks and then walked to the water spring to see the ducks.  We also walked to the Malay Graves.  There is a path to the graves but it is not marked very well and it felt deserted with no other people around.  I took a few photos and walked back.

By now JW was tired and I had to carry him back to the car and he had a wonderful nap after his adventure as a Portuguese explorer.


USEFUL INFORMATION:
Dias Museum Complex
Address:                       1 Market Street, Mossel Bay, South Africa
Website:                       www.diasmuseum.co.za
Phone no:                     +27 44 691 1067
Fax no:                         +27 44 691 1915
Visiting Hours:              Monday – Friday:             09:00 – 16:45
                                     Weekends:                       09:00 – 15:45

(Not a sponsored post)


02 March 2018

Botlierskop



The type of places I write about on this blog has really changed.  If I look back the posts of 4 years ago they were about my trips to Europe and Switzerland and our honeymoon through the Eastern Cape.  Now most of the posts are about the places I visit with my 3-year old son.

But today I am writing about a grown-up outing to Botlierskop Private Game Reserve.  My husband and I were treated to a night at Botlierskop in January for a friend’s 40th birthday. 

Botlierskop Private Game Reserve is a Little Brak River, about 22 kilometres from our home.  Just outside of Little Brak we turned off of the tar road onto a gravel road.  This road was not in a good condition but we soon arrived at the entrance.



Once inside we met our guide or host for the 2 days.  He gave us a quick tour of the Main Lodge and we completed all the paper work.  Then another guide took us to our tent with a golf cart.

We stayed in one of the Luxury tents close to the Moordkuil River. This was definitely not the kind of accommodation we were used too. When they say “Luxury” they mean it. The tent had a 4 poster bed with mosquito nets, air-con, electric blanket, telephone, safe, coffee and tea making facilities and minibar.  The en-suite bathroom has a deep oval bath and a outdoor shower with lots of amenities.  The tents are built on wooden deck and ours had a nice view of the river and bush.






After settling in and relaxing for a while we walked on the wooden walk-way to the Main Lodge where we were meeting our friends for dinner at the Fireplace Restaurant.  Our friends were not there yet (due to fog the plane could not land and they were redirected to Cape Town and had to drive from there) and we bought some drinks and relaxed in one of the lounge areas.



Then it was time for dinner.  It was lovely.  We started with amazing butternut soup followed by a choice of two starters.  I had the bacon and cheese tart.  The main course is served as a buffet.  The salads and vegetables were placed on the counters and you help yourself.  Then order your meat at the grill.  There were a lot of options for meat…from beef, different game fillets, pork neck and even crocodile tail.  I played it safe and got some beef and pork neck.  All the food was lovely.  Then to end the meal there was a choice between about 4 desserts.  I choose the chocolate malva pudding with ice cream and it was amazing.

It was a great meal and afterwards we continued our get-together in one of the lounge areas before getting a golf cart to take us back to our tent.  It was windy outside but our tent was nice and cosy.  It took a while to get use to the sound of the wind but soon we were asleep.

Some of the guests in our group decided on an early start to ride the horses.  We don’t get many chances to get up late (Our son is usually awake before 6am) and decided against this excursion.  Arriving at the main lodge to early we, settled on the deck with coffee while waiting for the rest of our group.




Breakfast was once again great.  There were lots to choose from…from fruit salad and yogurt, different breads with cold meats and spread and the warm breakfast.  For the warm breakfast we went to the grill and could order the type of eggs you want and what you want with it.  I had a very nice omelette with bacon and cheese and some other sides.  There were lots of different juices and wonderful coffee to drink.  And my favourite thing was the croissants…delicious.


By the time we finished our breakfast it was time to check out.  And of course after all the paperwork was done and we reached the car I realised my purse was missing.  So all the way back I went to get go get my purse in the tent.

It was a wonderful break.  Even though we were only 20 kilometres from home it felt like we were far away.

USEFUL INFORMATION:
BOTLIERSKOP PRIVATE GAME RESERVE

Address:                      Gonnakraal Road, Little Brak River, 6503
Tel no:                         +27(0) 44 696 6055
Website:                      http://www.botlierskop.co.za/  
                       
(Not a sponsored post)

25 February 2018

Blasters Mossel Bay


As I wrote in my post about our favourite kids outings in Mossel Bay, I don’t know why we have not been to Blaster yet and in January we changed this.

It was a rainy Saturday morning when I took my 3-year old son JW to Blasters in Mossel Bay.  We found parking easily and went inside.  I paid the entrance fee of R30 (for 3 hours) and completed the form for JW to play and he could not wait to start playing. Within seconds of telling him “Go play” he was climbing to the slide.

Blasters is a family restaurant with a great play area for kids.


There is the great indoor play area for kids from 1 -12 years.  The jungle gym has three levels, slides and lots of interesting things to do with soft balls like machines that blows wind and then the balls blows out at the top.  These “blasting” machines kept JW busy for a long time.

There are lots of tables and benches for parents to sit. I found a table and ordered a coffee for me and cool drink for JW. It was very busy (I blame the rain outside) but there was lots of staff to watch the kids.  I brought my book with me and read while keeping an eye on JW. 

There is also another room with arcade games for older kids and lots of rides for the younger kids.  JW wanted to get on everyone but at R5 per ride he could only ride a few.  He could not decide which one to climb on but decided on the helicopter and the yellow car. The rest of the room has a ball pit, bikes to ride, trampolines and more tables for parents to sit.



What we loved:
·         Big play area
·         Lots of seating for parents
·         Friendly staff 
·         Menu with lots of variety
·         Free wifi
·         Clean bathrooms

What we did not like
·         It was very very busy
·         Service in the restaurant was a bit slow (I guess because it was busy)



And another reason to go is the 9 hole black light Putt-putt course.  We did not play but did take a look and it looks great. The putt-putt course is in a dark room with glow in the dark decorations and balls.  It is something different and we will definitely go back to play .  (R30 for adults and R 20 for children)

USEFUL INFORMATION:
NAME
Address:                     23 Mascador Street, Voorbaai
Tel no:                         044 692 0521
Website:                      http://www.blastersmosselbay.co.za/
Entrance Fee:             R30 for 3 hours
Trading Hours:            Mondays to Thursday          10:00 – 22:00 
                                    Fridays                                   10:00 – 23:00
                                    Saturdays                               9:00 to late
                                    Sundays                                 10:00 – 20:00
                       
(Not a sponsored post)

09 February 2018

Dias & Port Festival 2018



On 3 February 1488, St. Blaise’s day, Bartolomeu Dias landed at Mossel Bay, which Dias named Aguada de São Bras (St. Blaise’s Watering Place).

The first Dias Festival I attended was in 1988 for the celebration of the 500th anniversary of Dias’ landing.  During the weekend of 1 to 4 February 2018 it was once again time for the Dias & Port Festival.  This year the festival was expanded to include two festival grounds…Santos and the harbour.
 
At the Dias festival in 1988 with my brother and sister
Looking at the Carvel in the harbour
Dias Festival @ Santos

On Saturday morning I took my son JW to the festival ground at Santos.  Entrance to the festival ground and all the shows were free.  JW had no interest to sit down and watch a show.  He just wanted to explore and play.  We walked through a lot of stalls selling toys, clothes, food, etc and then reached the play ground.

JW ran to the nearest ride and I had to quickly stop him.  After catching him we went to buy tokens.  The tokens for the rides were R10 per token.  Luckily for me most of the rides for the young children were only 1 token per ride but some rides are 3 tokens per person.  So it can get very expensive after a few rides.  JW loved it. 

It was a warm day and all the rides are in the sun.  After a while we went to buy ice cream and cool drinks and sat on the ground in the shade to eat.  There were lots of chairs to sit at the stage but nowhere else.  At the stages it was very noisy and we did not want to sit there to eat.  It would be a good idea to put some tables between the stalls and/or play area.

What we loved:
·         Free entrance
·         Lots of shows to watch and entertainment for the kids
·         Lots of food options

What we did not like:
·         No place to sit except at stage
·         Cars driving inside the festival ground





Port Festival @ Harbour

The harbour is usually closed for the public and I could not let the chance to visit the harbour go by.  So on Sunday JW and me went to the harbour for the “Port” part of the festival. 

It did not start good.  We had to park near the Bayside shopping centre and then walk down to the harbour.  This was fine when we arrived but when we went home I had to carry a tired 3 year old boy for a long way and up the bridge to get back to our car. 

It got worse.  The map was not very clear about where everything was.  There was nobody to help at the information stand at the entrance of the harbour.  The Portnet workers at the gates were not helpful at all and we were tired of walking by the time we found out were to go.  It would help if there was banners at the entrance of the harbour to show people where to go.

There were only a few stalls on the harbour on the way to the main stage.  I think 10 maximum, mostly selling food and drinks. We walked past the stalls and the main stage to the Boat and Tugboat rides. 

This was the best thing about the Port festival.  The rides were R 20 per adult and R10 per child.  I paid and we got on the boat but before the boat departed JW changed his mind.  He did not want to be on the boat.  We got off and the kind ticket seller refunded our money.

We then bought some food and cold drinks and sat in the street under an umbrella to eat.  Once again the only seating was at the stage and no other place to sit and eat.

What we loved:
·         Free entrance
·         Tug and boat rides

What we did not like:
·         No signs of where to go
·         Parking far away
·         No place to sit except at stage

Seven Seas Boat Trips

Seven Seas Boat Trips



Other activities

The Dias festival also includes a lot of other activities we did not attend.  They included a fishing competition, maritime museum tours, Street parade (We did see some of the colourful floats when we drove to Santos but did not attend the parade) and even a classical music event at the Dias Museum.  There really is something for everyone. 

I think th festival was a big success and next year can only get better.  Next year we will try the boat rides again and maybe I can get a babysitter and attend the classical music event.


USEFUL INFORMATION:
DIAS & PORT FESTIVAL
Address:                      Santos beach & Mossel Bay harbour
Dates:                          ± 1 – 4 February each year
Website:                      www.diasfees.co.za
Entrance Fee:             Free
           
                       
(Not a sponsored post)

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