Tierney Family – South Africa (Dec 2018)

To celebrate my twins 21st birthday we travelled to South Africa for Christmas. My late father was born and raised in Cape Town so it was also a chance for my children to see the country that he loved so much. With just over six weeks lead time to arrange the holiday Jules and the team did a superb job finding places to stay was we journeyed from Cape Town to the game reserves of the Eastern Cape.

We started our adventure at the V&A Waterfront – a great choice as it gave us a chance to unwind from our flight and explore the vibrant waterfront from our front door. Once we took possession of our rental car we set off to see the famous Cape penguins – and weren’t disappointed!

On our final day in Cape Town the clouds cleared from Table Mountain and we (i.e. the youth) climbed the mountain – my husband and I decided that the cable car was a more sensible option – we were rewarded to endless views of the city and beyond. In Cape Town we had a chance to visit my father’s old school, Bishops. 

Then we set off for the wine country – arriving at Boschendal an easy 1-1/2 hours later. From the 1940’s to 1969 Rhodes Fruit Farms (as it was then) was owned by a consortium of Cape Town businessmen – including my grandfather, so it was very special to stay in the place where my father spent his childhood holidays. We were given a tour of Rhodes Cottage – where my father spent his holidays as a child and a copy of the book on the history of Boschendal.

Boschendal is a fabulous destination and has so much on offer we could have stayed far longer than two nights – with wine tastings, horse riding and mountain biking all on site it is easy to while away the days. The restaurant at Boschendal (Werf) is very good and we also ventured to Terroir at Klein Zalze.  All of the food and wine in South Africa is extraordinary – both in variety and cost.

From Boschendal we had a breathtaking 4 hour drive into the Karoo – quite incredible landscapes and mountain passes. While in Oudtshoorn we ventured to the Cango Caves – most of us did the Historic tour but my adrenaline junky son opted for the Adventure tour – and wasn’t disappointed. From the caves we made an 11 km detour to the Rust-en-Vrede waterfall – most of the 11 km drive to the waterfall is on an unmade road and not for the fainthearted – but the spectacular waterfall is ample reward.

Christmas was spent on the beach at Plettenberg Bay – a beautiful bay with miles of sandy beaches and lots of excellent watering holes. We (again I’m referring to the “young”) walked off Christmas dinner with a trip to Robberg Nature Reserve – good walking shoes, hats, suncream and lots of water needed. Fifteen minutes from Plettenberg is Africanyon River Adventures – once again recommended by the adrenaline junky son. A gentler option was the riding safari at Plettenberg Game Reserve – a chance to ride on horses among the zebras.

Finally we drove 3 hours to Lalibela Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape, staying in Mills Manor the most amazing property – wonderful staff, wonderful location– seeing most of the Big Five (the leopard was elusive but an unexpected baby giraffe more than made up for that) – there could not have been a more perfect way to end an amazing holiday and 21st celebration!