CONGRATULATIONS to Sicelo & Rose who each won a set of five-day passes (valued at R1000), complements of Kingfisher FM & Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism.
The day pass gives you access to a whole range of activities & discounts. It is a fun & affordable way to travel Nelson Mandela Bay.
LOCATION: Nelson Mandela Bay is located in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. It is 763 km east of Cape Town.
DATE VISITED: 1 & 2 September 2012 (Spring)
WHAT WE DROVE: A Jeep Compass complements of Maritime Motors
WHAT WE DID: We had lunch at Pine Lodge & The Boma. We enjoyed a donkey-cart ride, visited a marine rescue centre, a reptile centre, a farmyard and a predator park. We also climbed one of the highest dunes in our bit of world, discovered the Sacramento Trail & Grysbok Nature Reserve.
WHO GUIDED US: Craig Duffield from Mosaic Tourism
RECOMENDATION: Nelson Mandela Bay is the ultimate family destination. If you’re traveling with children, you’ll want to travel this part of South Africa. It’s not only accessable, it is perfectly geared for families, from accommodation to restaurants & activities. It is as crime-free as it comes & the beauty of this bit of world is immense.
WEBSITE: Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism
How easy it is to become blinded to the beauty of something you’re free to enjoy every day.
An exquisite painting in the foyer.
An ocean view from the deck.
The breathtaking soul embracing yours from moment to moment, as you share life.
We grew up in Nelson Mandela Bay.
We did our walk-about.
Living in the Freestate & Kalahari.
We returned to Nelson Mandela Bay to be a family.
I don’t think you can raise a family.
That’s as much as we can do.
Experiencing & becoming along the way through moments shared.
The sharing of moments seem to be the key.
It is almost a decade since we’ve come to be in Nelson Mandela Bay again.
We love this city.
Somehow, however, a feeling crept into our being.
A feeling that we weren’t experiencing it all.
And so we resolved, along with Spring’s arrival, that we would explore our city.
In all her beauty.
Seeking the places & people who might’ve eluded us.
Revisiting those which made a deep impression on who we are.
Perhaps encouraging others to do the same.
See the exquisiteness of this bit of world.
Friday was filled with all the rush & tumble of a week too short to complete the work needing attention.
It is something I struggle to come to terms with.
The pace of our lives.
To churn out more and more.
At well after going home time I stumbled home.
Just to get ready for one more engagement, before the weekend’s travels could begin.
At King’s Court Mall.
The soon-to-be new home of Kingfisher FM.
That was the announcement made to an excited crowd of tenants & residents.
Kingfisher FM would be relocating to this niche-market filled with artisan stalls of designers & growers & creatives.
Before 2012 gives way to a new year.
It is almost eleven when we find our beds at our little wooden house on the not so little hill.
A birthday not celebrated.
Two days’ work crammed into less than 24 hours.
‘Saturday will come’, my only comfort as sleep overwhelms my racing mind.
And it does.
Which is never guaranteed.
Which has become an alarming whip.
As I make my way from day-to-day, wondering about meaning & purpose.
Wondering even more about the way we live & how we should then live.
We grab a bit of breakfast, before piling into the comfort of the Jeep Compass.
Heading to Pine Lodge where Craig from Mosaic Tourism will meet us.
The weather is less than sunny.
Our disposition in contrast.
The children of our little tribe excited.
Pine Lodge is on the edge of our city.
Almost a gateway to the wild side of our coast.
A stunning log-construction establishment set amongst Pine Trees, right on the ocean.
It is perfectly kept.
Three star rated with 4-star delivery.
The children play in Pine Lodge’s Pirates Cove while the Donkey Cart is being readied.
Then we take the Donkey Cart ride to SAMREC in the Cape Recife Nature Reserve.
The reserve offers beautiful unspoilt beaches, natural dune vegetation, rocky outcrops, a lighthouse built-in 1851, an old military observation post, as well as a bird hide, Craig explains.
At SAMREC Eddie takes us on a tour.
It is a Marine Rescue & Education Centre.
For African Penguins who breed on nearby St Croix Island, which is part of the Addo Elephant National Park.
Their population is dwindling.
At the biggest breeding colony in the world.
Decreasing fish population.
Some of the contributors competing to rid the earth of one more species.
Eddie is an environmental veteran.
He grew up on a nature reserve.
Left the world of conservation to become a civil engineer.
Couldn’t resist the pull of the world which stole his childhood heart.
Working tirelessly to save a population taken for granted.
Eddie has purpose.
He speaks of how he finds enjoyment in the work with which he fills his days.
Craig spoke of it as well.
Somewhere between SAMREC and Grysbok Nature Reserve & Sacramento Trail.
How do we end up filling our days with work we do not enjoy?
Work that does not excite us?
Is it fear?
Grysbok Nature Reserve is hidden amongst the drifting sands on the campus of this city’s University. It protects one of the most endangered habitats on the continent.
A habitat made up of a mosaic of Coastal fynbos and the Eastern Cape’s Sub-tropical thickets.
I’m impressed by the intentional conservation efforts of so many.
This is my city.
Craig explains that the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University is the only University in South Africa which is set right in the middle of a Nature Reserve.
It speaks to the uniqueness of this institution.
Perhaps because we do not know.
I did not know.
I’ve lived here a lifetime.
Before Saturday gives way to night we head to the Sacramento Trail.
Where a Portuguese ship wrecked on rocky shores.
From where a crew made their way to Mozambique.
Too obstinate to seek assistance from Dutch.
Dying along the way.
Only a handful making it.
That night more than a handful congregate at our home for a celebration of life.
A fire is lit.
Zuko & the girls peel & slice organic vegetables supplied by Organic Footprints.
Theunsie helps to knead and create artisan bread from fresh stone ground flour.
We talk, laugh, remember.
It is in relationship that we live.
Long after the clock strikes twelve the last guests say goodnight.
Life a little lighter.
Sunday morning we meet Craig at Maitlands.
Where we climb to the top of one of the highest dunes in our little bit of world.
Craig explains that this area was once known for its mines.
If you walk along the well-marked path you’ll come upon the old mines.
Ruins of old miners’ homes.
Today Craig’s family joins us.
We like it when other families travel alongside us.
It enriches the experience.
At Homeleigh Farmyard Danielle welcomes us with a scrumptious breakfast in their tea garden.
The children play with their new friends in the large play-area.
Then Danielle takes us to meet all the farm animals.
She is another person who loves what she does.
She’s been with Homeleigh Farm for decades.
She came here as a little girl.
This is where she should be.
And when the owners needed to retire, her family was ready to continue a legacy.
Steadily growing & improving this wonderful family affair.
Many children remember celebrating a birthday here.
Or touching a cow for the first time.
Or riding a pony.
A tractor ride concludes our visit.
We could’ve stayed the entire day.
But there is still The Boma & Reptile World, as well as Seaview Predator Park.
So we say our goodbyes.
At The Boma we’re just in time for feeding time.
The exceptional guide talking about each snake as he feeds them.
The children astounded by every word.
Theunsie’s resolve to own a snake renewed.
A daring presentation with a Cape Cobra wraps it up before we sit down to lunch under a canopy of Milkwood Trees.
Everywhere we go, well trained staff.
At Seaview Predator Park we’re greeted by a family of Giraffe.
It is right in our city.
Antelope graze nearby.
Tamz welcome us when we arrive at the restaurant & reception area.
She is from Australia.
There are others.
From other countries.
Never fewer than twenty-four volunteers from everywhere in the world.
Embracing the opportunity to experience predators up close and personal.
That is what you do at Seaview Predator Park.
You meet Lions & Tigers & Leopards from no more than a meter away.
We’ve traveled thousands of kilometres into Africa.
Nowhere did we experience this.
Tamz came here as a volunteer.
Traveled a bit more.
Traveled a bit more.
Now she runs the Park’s Volunteer Programme.
Constantly drawn back to the excitement of this place.
Penguins, Farm Animals, Reptiles, Giraffe & Predators.
Mixed with scrumptious food, a donkey cart ride and exceptional people who love what they do.
All in one weekend.
In one city.
We drive past Lakeside on our way home.
The Jeep Compass our comfortable & reliable transport.
Ideal for a family seeking something somewhat out of the ordinary.
Something beyond more normal.
The lake is filled to the brim, after extraordinary winter rain.
We see with the eyes of a visitor.
Aware that you can fall in love again.
Not only with a city.
Perhaps if we find the enjoyment, shedding burden & responsibility, for us too it will be different?