15 December 2017

Our favourite kids outings in George

George is our neighbouring town and we visit it regularly 
because my parents live there.  When we go on outings or to
 restaurants we try to find child friendly places
 that our 3-year old son will enjoy.

It is almost holiday time and the perfect time to share some of my favourite places:

Ahavah Cafe & Deli at Outeniqua Palms

We discovered this restaurant recently and have only been there once but it jumped to number 1 on the list.  The outdoor play area is great and there are animals to pet.  The food was also good and reasonably priced.  Entrance is free and the only expense it your food, drinks and maybe buying some food for the bunnies.

Red Berry Farm

The Red berry Farm is always a great outing.  There is a restaurant (I love the strawberry juice) and outdoor play area.  There is also activities like strawberry picking, animals to feed, pony rides, maze, train rides (JW loves this) and more.  There is no entrance fee but you need to pay for each activity you want to do.  Since my son is still small I do a lot of the activities with him and we have to buy tickets for both of us.  This can quickly add up to a lot of money.

Kidz at Mount view is a lovely indoor play area for kids 1 to 9 (Great for rainy days).  There is a toddler play area for kids between 1 and 3 and an indoor jungle gym for kids from 3 to 9 years old.  There are slides, swings and balls and will keep the children entertained for a hour or two.  Next door is “The Coffee Pot” that serves drinks, breakfast and light meals etc.

The entrance fee (Aug 2017) was R 30 per child to play for 90 minutes and R 15 for each additional 30 minutes.  Outside there also is an animal farm and lots of grass for a bit of running.

For a breakfast or brunch we like to go to Kontrei Padstal just outside of George on the N2 in the direction of Wildernis/Knysna at the Sasol Fuel station.  They have a lovely outside play area for kids with a jungle gym, slide and swings.

One of our favourite places to visit in George is the Garden Route Botanical Garden.  Both my husband and I love taking photos and the garden is a great place for photos.  Mostly we visit without JW but it is a great place for a picnic or to take a walk.

Recently we visited the coffee shop in the garden, Getafix Cafe.  There is a lovely play are for kids and the menu has a lot of options. This is a nice place for a drink or light meal after a walk in the garden.

My husband and son both love trains.  We have visited the museum twice with JW and he loved it.  He wants to touch everything and climb into every train.  There is a kiosk/coffee shop refreshments. The entrance fee is R 20 per adult and R 10 per child over 3 years.

We have heard great things about the following places 
and we are going to try them soon:

Happy Valley is another indoor play area for children 2 to 10 with a smaller area for toddlers from 0 to 2 years old.  There is a restaurant to buy refreshments.  The entrance fee according to their website (Nov 2017) was R 30/R40 per child to play for 90 minutes and R 10 for each additional 30 minutes.

My son is still too young for this one but I know my cousins’ kids love this.  Elevate is an indoor trampoline park with more than 60 trampolines.  Entrance fees are R95 for a senior and R 75 for junior jumpers (older than 4 years & shorter than 1.2m) for 90 minutes.

Outeniqua Power Van

My husband and I went on a trip on the Power Van in January 2012 and had a great time.  I think JW is now old enough to enjoy the trip and we plan to do this during the Dec/Jan holiday.  Power Van trips start at the Outeniqua Transport Museum you travel on the railway line into the Outeniqua Mountains with lovely views and commentary about the history.  Take a picnic basket because the Power Van makes a stop in the mountain.  I am not sure of the fee but booking is essential.

08 December 2017

Ahavah Cafe & Deli

The Ahavah Café and Deli and kids play area at the Outeniqua Palms Nursery was a lovely surprise.  I am a creature of habit and when I find a place I like I return to it again and again.  But on Saturday 18 November we decided to try something new.  And I am sure that we will be returning to this restaurant again and again.

Outeniqua Palms is just outside of George on the old Airport road (R102) and we drive past the nursery regularly.  I wanted to take my mom out for brunch for her birthday but also needed a place where my 3-year old son JW can play.  So we decided to give the restaurant Outeniqua Palms a try.

The nursery is easy to find.  If you are travelling from George it is the first nursery on the left hand side of the road.  The restaurant is actually run separately from the nursery but uses the same parking area and entrance.

Ahavah Café and Deli is a farm-style coffee shop with a great outdoor play for kids and a small petting zoo.  They serve all-day breakfast, lunch and deserts.  They also sell small gifts, souvenirs and deli products.

Outeniqua Palms Nursery

Outeniqua Palms Nursery

Outeniqua Palms Nursery

Here are some of the things that we loved:
  • There is a wonderful outside play area for kids.  From all the places we have visited in George this is the best outside play area.  It is surrounded by a fence and feels very save.  It is in great condition with no broken ropes etc. There are a jungle gym, slides, ropes, a sand pit, trampoline, jumping castle, swings and “tree” house to name a few. JW was busy the whole 2 hours we spent there and only sat at the table long enough to drink his milkshake.
Outeniqua Palms Nursery

Outeniqua Palms Nursery
  • There are lots of animals…a pig and a goat, a chicken and duck.  And lots of bunnies. JW (and most of the other kids there) tried and tried to catch a bunny. Some are successful but JW could not catch one.  In the end I helped him and he got to hold the bunny in his arms.
Outeniqua Palms Nursery
  • The food was good and the prices are great. They have breakfast, burgers, tasted sandwiches and tramazzinis and some other options.  There is also a kiddies menu. JW loved his kiddies milkshake served in a lightbulb shaped glass.
Outeniqua Palms Nursery

It was very busy on this Saturday morning with 2 kids parties in process and other visitors.  The waitress was very friendly and service was good.  The only negative was that I had to stand in line for a while to pay.

By the end of our meal JW was tired from all the running and climbing but we wanted to take a quick look at the nursery. There is some gifts and items for your home like photo frames to buy.  The nursery has everything you need for your garden. There are lots of plants and many different trees and I will return to do some plant shopping.

Ahavah Cafe & Deli at Outeniqua Palms Nursery
Address:                      R102, No 204 Gwang Farm (33° 59' 23.3088" S, 22° 24' 49.1184" E)
Tel no:                         065 286 8348
Website:                      http://outeniquapalms.co.za/
Entrance Fee:             None
Trading Hours:            Monday to Friday     8:00 – 17:00                           
   Saturdays                  8:00 – 16:00
                                    Sundays                    9:00 – 15:00
(Not a sponsored post)
Outeniqua Palms Nursery

24 November 2017

Very disappointing outing to the Dino Expo

Our son JW loves dinosaurs and after reading about the Dino Expo on Facebook we knew we want to visit.  As soon as the early bird tickets opened we bought out tickets.  (R100 per adult & R80 per kid for early bird tickets). Even Grandma and Grandpa was excited and decided to join us for the outing. After waiting for about a month it was finally time for the Dino Expo at the Train Museum in George on Saturday 4 November 2017.

The following is a extract of the description of the Dino Expo from their facebook page:
“The Dino Expo is a mesmerizing, not-to-be-missed exhibition of realistic, life size, accurate to science animatronic dinosaurs that capture the imagination with their life-like demeanor and movement. They will ‘prehistorify’ the senses with their life-like legendary roaring sounds that electrify the environs and inspire adrenaline filled excitement.
Get lost in this phenomenally realistic artistically landscaped captivating forest with natural trees canopying a misty pathway. Gracefully meander through a colourfully and magically lit, fog-infused wonderland. This prehistoric jungle setting is gifted with natural shrubs and bushes, prehistoric plants, beautiful rocks and sparkling waterfalls. This is affectionately referred to as ‘the Jurassic tour’. It is a breathtaking and awe-inspiring experience that heightens the emotions and intimately indulges the senses; sight, sound, smell, feeling. See the Jurassic, hear the prehistoric, smell the jungle, feel the wonder. It is a mystifying environment ideal for people from diverse culture and walks of life across all age ranges.

The Expo had a few problems with their arrangements.  The venue was changed after a few weeks.  I think the first venue was too small.  Then something went wrong with the travel arrangements and the expo arrived a day late in George.  The first day of the expo was cancelled and another day was added at the end.

Now I have to say my son loved the expo.  He enjoyed the dinosaurs and loved the rides.  And while the day was for him... and I am glad he had a great outing... I was very disappointed.

Accept for the fact that my son enjoyed the outing there is not really anything positive to say about our experience of the expo:

  • We had tickets for the first show at 10:00 on Saturday.  We arrived at about 9:30 and then waited.  We stood and wait for about an hour before they opened at about 10:30.  No reason was given for the delay.  Hundreds of people stood in the row and did not know what was happening. Organisers stood drinking coffee and nobody could just take the time to walk to us and let us know why things are running late or what was happening.
Definitely not “mesmerizing”
  • The expo was definitely not “mesmerizing”.  The “forest” was a few potted plants between the dinosaurs.  There was obviously a problem with the electricity and lighting and it was not “colourfully and magically lit”.  In fact the lighting was poor.  So poor we could not take decant photos with the dinosaurs.  The T-Rex head had no lighting at all and could not be seen. We love taking photos and it was a big reason for attending the expo and we were very dissapointed.
  • The advertising via the photos on facebook was also false.  On the photos on the website and facebook people stand next to the dinosaurs and even touch them.  But in George we had to walk behind ropes.
The closest we could get to the dino's
  • The activities that were supposed to be included in the ticket price was not there.  There was no “Fossil digging” and the “coloring” was a small table with a few pieces of paper on it.  When we were leaving at about 11:30 they started to set up the jumping castle.  The photo corner was also not nearly as pretty as advertised and we decided to skip it.  
  • All the activities were squashed into a small area. The rides and the rows to buy tickets and snacks was a mess. (And the rides were very expensive)
  • And the control over money was shocking.  We had to buy a tickets for the rides and the money was just pushed into a plastic shopping bag with no control. The auditor in me was just seeing money disappearing.

A lot of my work colleagues also took their kids and all of them were also disappointed. 

I saw photos of the expo on Sunday and it looked a lot better than what we saw on Saturday. The lighting was better and there was a sandpit for fossil digging.  It seems that they were not ready for the expo on Saturday. 

I feel we were cheated. We paid the full fee but the expo was not ready on Saturday and we did not get what was promised on the website.

The expo has a lot of potential but the organising was terrible. The staff were terrible and were no help.  

It felt like they just wanted our money and did not care if we enjoyed it or not.

He loved the rides.  They were very expensive, but look at the smile.

10 November 2017

Kontrei Padstal

I cannot believe that I have never written about Kontrei Padstal on the blog.  This is one of our favourite places for a breakfast or lunch in the George area.  This restaurant can be found on the N2 out of George in the direction of Wildernis/Knysna at the Sasol Fuel station.

We love the breakfast with great coffee and homemade bread.  And we also love the Sunday lunch…a homemade plate with a cooked meal like my grandmother would have made for us.  Usually this meal includes two meats, 2 vegetables, potatoes and rice.  And best of all is the prices are very reasonable.

Outside they have a lovely play area for kids.  The area can only be accessed through a door from the restaurant and it is surrounded by fences.  This area includes a jungle gym with a slide and swings.  On the one side of the jungle gym is a steering wheel, key and gear lever.  JW loves to “drive” in this car.  And usually his grandfather has to climb in and “drive” with him. There is also a jumping castle.

Inside is also a small toddler play area with a ball pool and black board for drawing.

Sundays can be very busy… especially if you arrive just after the church service that is held across the street has just finished.  But we most times we get seated quickly and the service is good.

A part of the restaurant is also a shop selling homemade items like jams, honey, soaps, cream and small gifts.


Address:                      N2 Kraaibosch, At Sasol Fuel Station, George                     
Tel no:                         +27 44 889 0097        
Website:                      http://kontreipadstal.co.za/     
E-mail:                         info@kontreipadstal.co.za     

(Not a sponsored post)

27 October 2017

There is no Fragrance Route in Great Brak

On 24 September it was Heritage day in South Africa.  My husband and I decided to take our cameras and go for a drive.  Great Brak River is about 25 km from our home in Mossel Bay.  I found a leaflet about Great Brak River at the Mossel Bay Tourism office with a bit of detail about the “Fragrance Route”.  Since we love to take photos of flowers, we decided to drive this route.  (There should be lots of flowers on a fragrance route…or so we thought)

The following picture shows the description of the fragrance route.  This is an extract out of the Great Brak River leaflet: 

What we experienced on our drive:

Firstly we could not find the Fragrance route.  We followed the vague map that was on the leaflet but nowhere along the route were any signs to give information or directions.

Secondly, there were almost no flowers along the route…or what we thought is the route.  It is a gravel road that was under construction.  All the plants next to the road were covered with dust and no flowers.  No lavender. No Fynbos.  No Proteas. No flowers.

We drove through Friedersheim and still saw no flowers.  September is the start of Spring and we definitely expected to see some flowers.  I know that there is a drought in the Western Cape but still we expected a few flowers.

While looking through our photos to select some for this post I found that we took photos of three flowers on the whole drive.

While we did enjoy the drive and JW loved seeing the horses and animals along the route we felt cheated by the information in the leaflet. 

There is no fragrance Route in Great Brak River. 

This is a marketing scam from the tourist office.  The only fragrance we smelled was dust.  

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