If you don’t follow me on social media (and really, you should), you might not realize just how much fun I had last week. Dean, Harley and I went with Dean’s friend Kris from Iceland down to Knysna. I had been promised that Knysna was beautiful, that it was a land of whales, oysters and wine. I’ve been wanting to go there for years, but the timing never seemed to work. Until last week, when we all piled into our little car and made the trip down. Yes, that’s right, we did it as a road trip, making plenty of stops along the way.
I tried to do a bit of an update while I was away. In fact, I had planned on blogging while I was gone. But it just wasn’t really doable from my iPad, so I instead decided to enjoy my time away and worry about putting it all into words when I returned. So, here are all the words.
Thanks to Harley still not having a birth certificate (yes, still!), plus just general logistics, we decided to drive on down to Knysna. That was two days of driving ahead of us, but with a night spend in Colesberg there and back, it seemed totally doable. That first day, we set off full of optimism. I even posted on Instagram.
In fact, I posted a few pictures of Harley in her car seat along the way, mainly because she just looked so damn adorable. It was also interesting for me – since being involved in #CarseatFullstop, I’m way more aware of just how important car safety is. I always strapped Harley in anyway, but I was much more aware of just how precarious so all were. I mean, Harley was the safest one in the car thanks to her awesome, rear-facing seat, but still… going 120km per hour down the highway, we are basically just bags of meat if we crash. Obviously you never want to be in accident, but I think my whole awareness campaign made me realize just how important road safety was – how important it was to take frequent breaks, to drive while rested, to be vigilant and aware.
Beyond that, though, it was really a nice journey. We stopped for breakfast in Parys (at an awesome place called Hoi Polloi) before journeying on to Bloemfontein for lunch and a nice long stretch at Oliwienhuis, a gorgeous museum and sculpture garden. Then it was the long slog through the rest of the Free State to hit Colesberg. Our overnight stay was nice enough, and we used Harley as a natural alarm clock to get up crazy early and hit the road. The journey along the N9 wasn’t so pretty, but it was great when we hit the mountain pass down into George. So beautiful to see the mountains making way for the sea. The rest of the journey was simply stunning – that Garden Route really is as beautiful as everyone says.
The return road trip was also nice. On the way back, we went through Outshoorn and visited the Cango Caves. No, we didn’t do the adventure tour, just the walking tour, but it was still really interesting. Of course, carrying Harley the whole way (taking turns with Dean when either of us got tired) made it a bit more tiring, but it was still a good adventure. Our stop in Colesberg on the way back was also nice and included some better food – how could it not with a sign like this!
And our last day of driving was pretty much a slog. We only stopped at roadside things, really, as we were all just interested in getting home. After a nice holiday, the road trip home somehow seems less exciting.
Knysna and surrounding areas
Knysna was so beautiful. It is definitely way more of a tourist town than it probably used to be, but it is still lovely. I ate a ton of oysters, drank beer at Mitchell’s brewery, and generally just enjoyed being in a walking city. It felt so safe, even alone – Harley and I were able to go out for breakfast together, or wander along the water while the boys went on their own adventures. I have really missed that here in Joburg, and it was so nice to walk along with plenty of space in my head instead of driving and dealing with the aggravation of other people on the road.
We didn’t just stay in Knysna, though. We also journeyed to Wilderness to walk on the beach, to George for some quick shopping, and to Mossel Bay for a lunch that has forever ruined hake for me. We went to a place that pretty much looked like a beach shack called the Sea Gypsy and their seafood platter was ridiculously fresh. I mean, the hake was so fresh and soft and delicious, I actually liked it more than the prawns, and that’s saying something for a shellfish junky like me.
We also journeyed up the coast, visiting a monkey and a cat sanctuary. It was great to enjoy the wildlife, although by the end of the day I was pretty exhausted – it’s hard enough walking around these enclosures as it is, but add in a baby and it feels that much more difficult, especially seeing as Harley just wanted to be held the whole time.
I know I’m not doing the trip justice, and I generally suck at taking pictures. But I did try… so here’s what I managed to capture from the trip. (I realized after uploading just how many of these are pictures of my food. I’d apologize, but i’m not sorry.)
Part of my goal was to take in more of South Africa, particularly if we’re looking to emigrate. It just doesn’t seem right to leave this country until I’ve really seen it. Now, I just have to get to Cape Town and I think I will be pretty much well travelled within South Africa. By then, Harley needs to have a birth certificate, and that can be her first flight. Still, I’m just so glad we got to see Knysna and the surrounding areas. What a wonderful time away!