For the past three months, I have been searching, no, HUNTING, for somewhere to go for the July school holidays; somewhere that’s affordable, spacious enough for all kids and stuff and peaceful so I can really unwind. We recently took a long weekend break at Pat Busch Mountain Reserve outside Robertson, but I have been so looking forward to a full week off work, off life, off laundry and cleaning the kitchen (Oh glory).
Ed and I have spent many a fabulous full 10 days at the Knysna Oyster Festival back in the day (as in, when I was a student and I had a crazy long mid-year vac, and his teaching holidays stretched a casual 3 weeks). There we would camp near The Heads in freezing weather, slurp on boxed red wine, swallow cheap oysters by the dozen (to our detriment), party till 1am at some neon-glittered nightspot on the main road, and then run the half marathon in partial agony, only to wind up our muscles on the dancefloor that evening.
Pretty much life before kids as we know it.
And so in the blur of all of that fun, the Garden Route has always been one of my favourite destinations. Maybe it’s just because it’s close to Cape Town, scenic and foresty; or maybe it’s because I’ve worked in travel marketing since I was in my early 20s, and the Garden Route featured on many an itinerary. So, I decided sometime in March, the Garden Route would be the destination for our mid-year family holiday, complete with a 3 year old and a now-crawling 10 month old.
But man. Finding something has been tough. Sure, there are gorgeous spots, but most of it has appeared to be booked up (damn you Oyster Fesival), or too expensive (yowzers, might as well go to Thailand for a week) or warmly announces that the kiddie bed is a fold-out in the lounge. Yeah right. Like we really want kids sleeping in the lounge when we are trying to have a moment of peace and good quality red wine from a bottle with a cork (see boxed wine comment from my 20s above).
Anyway, long story short after bugging various self-catering establishments via AirBnb, Booking.com and SafariNow, we settled on a lovely holiday resort just outside George, which really was a Godsend I must say. 25% off if you stay 4 nights or more was the cincher, as was a guest room with two bedrooms and a quiet balcony with lovely views of the valley.
I am so ready for a wonderful family break, filled with some great adventures, special moments and laugh-out-loud memories that we can treasure for a long time still. It’s amazing how we just adjust as life shifts, so the appeal of a crazy, fun party week in Knysna in 2007 has now turned into a holiday break with my precious boys, going to bed early in 2017.
Leave the Chateau Libertas, bring on the Diemersdal.