When I was ten years old,my late Dad had planned the most EPIC Summer Road Trip holiday ever through South Africa.My Dad had always been about giving us new experiences and that was heavily filled with Travel and Food adventures.After weeks and weeks of planning we were ready for our road trip to Cape Town along the Garden Route.
Little did my brother and I think about the logistics,planning,bookings ,packing and keeping two young children occupied all we were concerned with was going on holiday.At this point my brother and I had shared a love/hate relationship which often ended in physical fights.Mum sorted out our luggage and packing and we were only allowed to take three toys/books with us.As usual my brother wanted to take every sporting equipment he owned while I just wanted a pile of books.It is important to note that we were travelling in a small car ,with no aircon and a radio cassette player.And yes we had to carry road maps as there was no GPS or Garmin devices around at that time.
The day of our Epic Road Trip arrived ,car packed and a picnic basket filled with homemade goodies from my beloved Gran ,we set off at the crack of dawn on our journey to East London.As much as we were excited deep down ,my heart was sore to be going and for so long without my grandparents.Our month long trip was over the Christmas and New Year Holidays and missing my grandparents who both spoilt us rotten was going to be hard.
The first few hours of the road trip went pretty smoothly until brother bear and I started waking up from our slumber and needed feeding and space to stretch.A roadside picnic spot was soon where we could stretch our legs and fill our tummies and have a toilet break.Gran had made roti wraps with tinfish curry and potato the road food /padkos of champions and we thoroughly enjoyed this.For the remainder of our journey Mum switched places with my bother and sat with me in the back.Brother was rather chuffed with himself landing a front seat,controlling the radio and having man to man chats with Dad.Finally we reached East London where we would stay two nights before continuing our journey.For the entire trip we were staying at the Holiday Inn chain of hotels.Once we checked in the first thing us kids did was jump on the beds something we were not allowed to do at home.After testing the beds it was time to swim a favourite pastime of ours.Dad had itineraries for each place we stopped at including finding time to visit family and friends along the Garden Route to Cape Town.
After two days we headed to the friendly city of Port Elizabeth.Even though it was mid summer with very high temperatures ,the friendly city also termed the Windy city lived up to its name.While we were out exploring we ran into family friends with kids the same age as my brother and I who were also heading to Cape Town for the festive season.It was so good to see friendly faces from home.Four days in minus a few tantrums,tears and fights we were finally getting the hang of Road Tripping and enjoying exploring South Africa with my parents.
From here we headed to Oudtshoorn a dusty dry Karoo town known for its Ostriches and World Famous Cango Caves.We got to visit an Ostrich Farm which was pretty cool and I stood on a batch of Ostrich Eggs which have an extremely hard outer shell and 1 egg is equivalent to 26 chicken eggs.Brother been the crazy sports fan opted to ride an Ostrich which was rather scary.Dad been the adventurous foodie had an Ostrich Steak and mum and I preferred shopping for Ostrich bags and wallets.The Cango Caves was amazing with the rock formations and best yet it was my school books coming to life.As much as this road trip was a holiday it was a time to bond,a learning experience and a way of cultivating our love of travel by exploring locally first.
Before heading to Cape Town we got to visit the quaint and gorgeous town of Knysna.It wa here I had my first taste of fresh oysters on a boat cruise .Boy oh boy did I feel all grown up slurping my oysters back with a hint of tabasco and lemon.So beside travel and Dad was adamant we had food experiences and yes I have eaten snails too and no I will not be eating them again. Knysna was like a town that time forgot about and everything was so laid back and green. It was a perfect stop for a few days to reboot the soul and body.
On Christmas Eve we finally arrived in Cape Town,exhausted like weary travellers we made our way to our hotel.On checking in we met with more family friends from Durban, so this meant we had more friends to get up to all sorts of fun.After our ritual of testing out the hotel room beds by jumping on them,we were hungry but refused hotel food.Mum was tasked with finding us food and managed tp find a tiny home industry serving Durban Mutton Curry .
After tummies full we headed off to Santaland dreaming of Christmas.We were spending Christmas with Mum’s friend and her family.It was so special as we joined their extended family in celebrating and we even got gifts.Our adventures in Cape Town took us to Stellenbosch,Table Mountain,Hout Bay,Cape Point and literally every tourist attraction in Cape Town.We even met Winnie Mandela and her daughters who were staying at our hotel while visiting Nelson Mandela who was still imprisoned in Robben Island .As kids we were having the time of our lives exploring South Africa and living our best life indeed. I could not wait to get back to school and tell everyone about our epic Road Trip through the Garden Route discovering the hidden gems of South Africa.
After the New Year ,we made our way back home to Durban.By this time we were all exhausted and longing for home ,home food and my grandparents.My parents had foreseen our longing for home so the journey home was fewer stops literally overnight stops to rest and then continue our road trip home.One of our surprises Dad had planned was for my brother and I to do a morning steam train trip through the Wilderness area.This was such a special treat that was arranged with the hotel,specially packed breakfast packs and goodies from the hotel.The train journey was exciting and we got to see the most beautiful places along the area.And it was here my love for train journeys actually all started.
Our next stops were Port Elizabeth and East London and then we were home.Coming home all I could think of was seeing my grandparents, my own bed and eating food my gran had cooked. After so many days on the road there is only so may hotel meals and takeout’s one can eat before one starts craving home cooked meals. My brother and I came home with a million stories to tell our grandparents, friends and families and not forgetting all the souvenirs from our travels. Looking back now that specific road trip was indeed something very special for many reasons:
- It was a fantastic way of bonding with our parents away from the hustle and bustle of every day life.
- We got to see all the things we had learned about in school about our amazing country.
- My love for South Africa was ignited and appreciation for the world we live in.
- Our passion for travel was born and over the years my Dad made it his duty to nurture this passion which fuels my life every day.
- I learnt the greatest gifts you can give your children are your time and the gift of travel.
I hope someday to do this exact trip again with my own children and hopefully create amazing travel memories for them just like how my parents did for us all those years ago.So one of my travel goals has always been to explore the African continent some more so when I came across a post on a fellow blogger Journalist on the Run’s Blog about a competition open only to bloggers hosted by Yellow Zebra Safaris I knew I had to enter.The winner, with a plus one of their choosing, will be flown out to Tanzania next October for the famous wildebeest and elephant migrations in the Serengeti and Tarangire National Parks. It will be the absolute trip of a lifetime and something that has been on my Bucketlist forever and a day.
I would love to win this prize for several reasons which include :
- I am a full-time Travel and Tourism lecturer at a local college in South Africa and I actually teach my students about East Africa especially Tanzania which is part of my syllabus.
- So getting the opportunity to explore this beautiful country would not only be amazing but be professional development for me in terms of my work life and passing on information to my students.
- The Wildebeest Migration has been something that has always intrigued me and I have even watched in online and can not get over the beauty of animals and their behaviour, so getting the opportunity to watch this in reality would definitely be something on another level.
- Fulfilling my goal of travelling more into AFRICA.
- One of my goals as a blogger is to encourage people to travel locally and explore as much as possible.
So winning something like this amazing trip from Yellow Zebras Safaris would really be mind-blowing. Check out this page on Tanzanian Safaris and find out why I really really want to win this prize.
Have you visited Tanzania before ? Share your highlights with me in the comments below.
Be Inspired !