So traveling with kids under 5 has it’s challenges, said no parent ever. Traveling with kids under 5 is a tight rope walk of being prepared for everything, and being prepared for nothing all at the same time.
Even a usually super organised traveler, like myself, wasn’t even close to ready for our trip.
So lets go back to the beginning, when the discussion came up about HOW we are going to get Cape Town to visit with our family from the UK that only come down every two years. Kind of important to make the trip, you know, come hell or high water.
I do remember a brief conversation about flying, and how expensive it is blah blah blah, anyway, we chose to drive and break the trip up with an overnight stay in Mossel Bay (so that makes it roughly 4 hours driving each day.)
We were planning to “do right” by the kids by having a stop over, and I was going to pack lunch boxes for all of us to save money and stopping time. Basically we were terrified of driving a 800km with two small kids, and it showed.
We managed to pack the kids and the car and leave at a half decent hour to give us enough time to visit Monkey Land on our way to our fist stop. I forgot to eat breakfast, the kids where already rowdy and we were desperate for caffeine. I then realised that I had forgotten to pack lunch boxes and bottles for the boys, that I was hangry and we were still blissfully unaware of the lack of phone charger cables in the car.
This prompted a stop at McDonalds for egg mcmuffins, coffee and bribery, toys for the kids.
We made it to Monkey Land with very little drama and enjoyed our tour around the forest. It’s a lovely slow walk with a guide, through the Monkey Sanctuary with stops at their feeding stations. We had two separate foreign families, one with small kids and one without kids, us and another South African Family.
Of course my youngest, much to childless foreigners horror, is an animal nut and just wanted to run up and grab every monkey he saw. I know that us South Africans can be a little overwhelming for the first worlders who visit, and we are quite relaxed with our parenting and allow our boys room to explore and discover their own boundaries (within a safe distance), but this distance was apparently too small for the foreigners to cope with and they walked the entire route with stressed looks on their faces and very disapproving mumbles every time my youngest bolted towards a monkey (hubby was about a meter behind him ready to pounce.)
The other family with small kids was Brazilian, and just rolled with it, and of course the other South Africans in our group didn’t even bat an eyelid. It was quite amusing to watch the dynamic, and of course I love watching people, so this was possibly my highlight. I think I should have studied foreign cultures instead of photography.
We reached our overnight accommodation and we all relaxed and slept well. In fact the next day ran very smoothly, other than work dramas unfolding around every corner, the kids did very well on their second day in the car.
We arrived at our GORGEOUS accommodation in Scarbourgh late afternoon.
To say that this place is breathtaking, would be an understatement. Villa Misty Cliffs is BEAUTIFULL! Yes, capitals, yes, shouting. It’s that beautiful. You are on the beach, right on that wild,loud, empty beach. There are lots of houses, but no other people in sight. The Scarbourgh village is small, out of the way and nestled right under the mountains. I’ll let the pictures do the talking.
Our family outing.
Because we were only in Cape Town for three nights, we only planned one outing, the Two Oceans Aquarium. It’s my old hang out from my 20’s, I used to drive there on my lunch break from Montague Gardens and stare at the kelp garden while I enjoyed my lunch to clear my head. We have taken the kids before, but they were so young, they don’t remember.
This time, we managed to pick “school visit day” and spent most of the time heading in the opposite direction of the school group. My boys were running from display to display, so eager to see the next thing, we kept having to slow them down so they could take it in at least.
We spent some time at the I & J Predator room, with all 500 other school kids watching them feed the rays and sharks and telling us all each one, it was spell binding! They have a small coffee bar in there and of course it was coffee, juice and donuts all round (sorry school kids).
I can honestly say that the Aquarium is my favourite, I’m a nature nut, so it speaks to me on many levels. Definitely my favourite family outing ever.
Good old South Africa
Our second night at our idyllic location was interrupted by that proper South African local “burglary” or should I say “attempted burglary”? Nothing serious to report, a broken window, some rattled nerves, but to be honest no harm done.
I wasn’t even moved. I actually slept through it all and my husband told me what happened the next morning. Unfortunately it meant that we had to deal with police reports and repair people the next day which kind of puts a damper on things.
I’m not going to dwell on this cause it’s just something that happened, nobody was hurt, nothing was stolen, it was just one of those things.
The hell trip home.
The trip home was long. Goodbye’s are never easy and we will miss our family, my husband only has his Sister (apart from a few cousins here in SA) and he really enjoys getting to see her and her family. So we are always a little sombre in the car after our farewells.
Our timing was perfect as we managed to catch the tail end of an accident on the M3 and so it took us over two hours to just get out of Cape Town.
(insert eye roll here)
We ventured through the Hugenoot tunnel and stopped in Robertson for lunch at that kiddy heaven, Spur! The boys were a little crankier than usual, but they ate and played. We had a nice long lunch after almost 4 hours in the car.
Just outside Swellendam my youngest was getting very irritated with everybody and wouldn’t stop whining, I was wondering how much more of it I could possibly handle and then *blegh*.
He started vomiting in the car.
I kid you not, I did not know that so much vomit could come out of a little person. Isn’t your stomach supposed to be the size of your fist? This was way more than a fist full. Okay I’ll sensor it a little.
We managed to pull over at a gas station not to far away and administer the magic anti-nausea tablet that is Zofer (see my post on 10 things to pack for more on this), and cleaned the kid, the back section of the car, and got back on the road.
By the time we reached our overnight accommodation, we were all tired, tired of driving, tired of junk food and ready to bath and get into bed. I was feeling a little off colour too but managed to have a bath, hubby made us all supper and we fell into bed.
Cue the eldest vomiting in his bed at around 23h00. Nothing like his brother earlier, but vomit just the same. I feel so sorry for our Airbnb host, he was terrified our kids would mess on his couches and covered them with blankets while giving us our tour, now he’s going to have to launder soiled bedding 🙁
Needless to say we were only too happy to pile into the car at 07h00 and hit the road home. We had one stop in Plett for breakfast at the Wimpy (we love you Wimpy) and home to our sweet little town.
In closing I’d just to state that we have decided our next trip to Cape Town will be done via aeroplane and rental car, cause the emotional trauma and extra costs just added up to more than we where willing to pay in the future. Maybe when the kids are bigger we can attempt a long trip with them again, but I think we’ll just fly from now on.
*I have omitted some of our stops otherwise this post would be too long.