Location: 72 kilometers from Nelson Mandela Bay. Take N2 in direction of Grahamstown, proceed to N10 towards Craddock/Paterson, at the town of Paterson, turn left onto the R342 towards Addo, Addo Afrique will be visible on the left after 5km’s.
Date Visited: 25 – 27 May 2012 (Fall)
Accommodation: We stayed in a beautifully appointed 4-bedroom 5-star lodge with a kitchen, lounge & four bathrooms. The lodge is exquisitely furnished with magnificent art on the walls & every possible creature comfort catered for. The main bathroom has a jacuzi-bath & outside shower. The lodge also has an outside lapa & swimming pool. Eight adults are comfortably accommodated.
What we did: We lounged, talked, cooked together, went for a long walk, did a game drive, read, made the most of the jacuzi-bath & outside shower & savoured time in each others company.
Recommendation: Addo Afrique is exceptionally positioned as upmarket accommodation from which to explore the Addo Elephant National Park & surrounding areas. It provides exceptional private, serviced & luxury accommodation for the traveler expecting a bit more.
Website: Addo Afrique
Tribe Special: Mention the ‘Traveling Tribe’ & claim 40% off on a mid-week stay and 30% off on a weekend stay, until the end of August 2012.
It is our most precious commodity.
It passes unnoticed as we work & struggle & strive.
A decade goes by without us realizing it is slipping away from us.
We assume we will grow old.
We assume our children will bury us.
We assume too much.
We should savour every moment.
We should embrace every opportunity.
To embrace & be embraced.
As we travel, we create the opportunity to step out of the ordinary.
It was Africa Day, this Friday as we left Nelson Mandela Bay.
It was a particularly long week with a lot of work and business consuming my time and energy.
I neglected my family by spending twelve & fourteen hour days at the office.
I was hoping to catch up some.
Although we cannot catch up.
Time which has passed is gone, never to be had again.
We should keep this top of mind.
We should write it on our doorposts & our mirrors.
It should be our screensaver & gravatar image.
Lest we turn sixty or eighty, only to be overwhelmed by the bitter realization that we spent everything afforded us on something we do not value that much.
What do you value?
If it is relationship, then you should consider spending more of the time at your disposal on relationship.
Nobody who loves Jeep, goes out & spend their money on Ford.
Why would we who love our partner & children, our family, spend the bulk of our time on something other than them?
We celebrated the day in-style with music & poems & dreams of hope from all over the continent.
It seemed fitting that we would spend this weekend at Addo Afrique.
At twelve I picked up the Jeep Patriot from Vaughan at Maritime Motors.
A beautiful vehicle.
A somewhat smaller engine than the Cherokee, but at 2.4 litres still powerful & an easy drive.
Zuko loves the comfortable heated seats which seem to be standard in every Jeep.
I love the smooth gearbox. The easy handling. The silent interior, allowing us to talk & laugh & discuss as if we’re in our lounge.
The load space was enough to fit the Tribe’s weekend luggage, including Maddi’s baby-stuff & our supplies.
We left Nelson Mandela Bay at just before five.
We arrived at Addo Afrique at just before six.
It was dusk.
The lodge’s butler had already lit a fire for us; just in-case we wanted to braai.
We unloaded & discovered that we’d forgotten our drinks.
Not a problem.
Moses quickly produced every drink our hearts desired.
He is from Zimbabwe.
He’s been in the hospitality industry for a long time.
He understands service.
As well as people.
The children explore every inch of the lodge, running to us at the fire, every now and then to report on something exquisite they’ve discovered.
Eventually they get comfortable on the leather couches with some TV.
Zuko and I talk.
Of our dreams.
Our hope for this continent & this country.
We talk of finding a new way.
A way in which our time-spend will reflect what we truly value.
This weekend a good start.
It isn’t filled to the brim with activities.
It has space for us just to be.
When we get up on Saturday morning, our butler had cleaned everything & tidied the lodge to perfection.
We make breakfast together.
Without a rush.
Then we take a walk.
The children often running out in front, hoping to spot the giraffe first.
We don’t see them on our walk.
We see Njala & bushbuck, as well as a very tame Ostrich.
Late that afternoon, as we took the Jeep Patriot on a game drive, we did spot the Giraffe & some Gemsbuck.
The walk is enjoyable.
Theunsie plays comedian.
Pippa explorer & Sophia tour-guide.
It is almost twelve as we return to our lodging.
Moses had made the rooms.
He’d sorted the breakfast dishes & made sure there is enough ice in the fridge.
The kids brave the swimingpool despite winter’s chill cooling the water.
Then we start working on lunch.
Cooking together is something we enjoy as a family.
It is as if our thoughts & joy is unleashed with knives slicing & food roasting.
We enjoy lunch outside.
Moses appears from nowhere, assuring us that we shouldn’t bother with taking the dishes inside.
‘You’re here to relax. I’m here to help you. I do this, because I enjoy it. Go rest or read.’
And we do exactly that.
I finish my book about ‘contentment’ not agreeing with the author that contentment is always such a virtue.
We should be discontent if we spend the majority of our time on stuff we do not value most.
And this discontent should motivate us to find a new way.
We should be discontent with injustice.
With mediocre education & failing healthcare.
With millions of children living in poverty & hundreds of thousands of adults satisfied with receiving hand-outs & perpetuating the cycle of contentment.
Zuko remind me that not everyone share my thoughts & heart.
I graciously accept her reminder, but forge ahead with dreams of hope.
For our dreams determine our future.
And if we do not dream of a tomorrow in which we spend our time on relationships, tomorrow will turn into yesterday & we’ll still be working 14 hour days & be absent fathers & incompetent partners.
My thoughts, Zuko, I know.
Late afternoon, as we return from our game drive, the fire is burning warmly with drinks chilled & a table beautifully laid for supper.
Everything is clean & tidy.
We cook our meal on the open fire.
We express gratitude before we eat.
To each other.
To the Creator whose grace is a good kind of grace to be at.
As we eat, we speak.
Of responsibility which comes with blessing.
Of the opportunity to be different in a world which desperately desires to force everyone into its mold.
Pippin serves desert.
Theunsie serves coffee.
A perfect day ends with a perfect meal.
Sunday morning isn’t as slow as we had hoped.
We looked forward to tasting Addo Afrique till late afternoon.
On Friday, just before we left Nelson Mandela Bay, we received an invitation to attend a function in Kirkwood.
The MEC of Human Settlements invited us to be part of the launch of a Youth Build-project.
We couldn’t resist.
Moses helps us to get all our stuff together & load the Jeep Patriot.
We make our way to Kirkwood, which is an easy 40 kilometer drive from Addo Afrique.
The lodge is really perfectly positioned for anyone who would like to explore the area from a comfortable base.
We meet MEC Helen Sauls-August.
She speaks passionately about a country in which people take responsibility.
A country in which parents raise children who will be eager to build.
We meet some young volunteers.
In ‘Youth Build 2012’, 120 unemployed volunteers build 100 homes for families who live in shacks.
Along the way they’re taught skills.
It is a joint venture between government & the private sector.
As we wait for the official program to start, I talk to Mark from Makhana Bricks. They donated the bricks for the first home to be built. The children play on the grass. The dignitaries explore the site where most of the work will be done.
The atmosphere is excited.
There is a feeling of hope in the air.
Perhaps, just perhaps, something wonderful is yet to come.
As lunch approaches, we start our journey home.
An easy drive.
A good weekend.
We stop at Zuko’s parents as we drive into Nelson Mandela Bay.
Her father admires the Jeep Patriot.
Her Mom magically makes lunch appear.
We spend time with them.
For they too are precious to us.
Then we make our way home.
To unload our weekend stuff.
To look back on time spent together.
To dream of hope.
And South Africa.
For our little bit of world.
And our family.