18 August 2017

Kidz at Mount View

I was a bit skeptic when my mother suggested we go to this play area at the old George Tourism Resort but I was wrong.  Kidz at Mount View is a wonderful place for a family with young children to spend a few hours while eating some food.

There is a toddler play area for kids between 1 and 3 years.  This area includes a slide, lots of balls, cars, dolls and other toys for toddlers.  My almost 3-year old son JW loved the doll house with its basin and windows with shutters.  He also loved jumping in the pool of balls.
Toddler play area

Next to the toddler area is a big indoor jungle gym for kids from 3 to 9 years old.  This is a lovely jungle gym with 3 levels to climb and explore.  There are slides, swings, a tunnel, monkey bars and many other things to enjoy. JW loved the slide into a pool of balls and climbing through the tunnel. 
Indoor play area with 3 levels

As a parent I loved that it is a save place I can take my son to play.  When you enter each child gets a card with the time that you entered.  Only after you receive your card can you enter the play area through a gate.  To exit you must wait for a staff member to open the gate to the reception.  Then you give back your card and they calculate the time you played and then pay.

There is a staff member in each play area to supervise and help the kids play.  My mom tried to explain to my son how monkey bars work from outside the play area.  The lady looking after the kids heard us and climbed to the top to help JW swing on the monkey bars.  She is very good with the kids.

For parents there are tables next to the play area.  And next door is The Coffee Pot, a coffee shop that also serves drinks, breakfasts, quiches, sandwiches, pancakes, salads, kiddies’ food and light lunches. 

The cost is also very reasonable.  It costs R30 for your child to play for 90 minutes.  Then it is an additional R 15 for every 30 minutes after that.  Both occasions we visited we went over the 90 minutes.  The prices of the food at The Coffee Pot are also good.  They have a bottomless coffee for R 30 that was great while spending almost 2-hours watching JW play. 

Outside there is also an animal farm with bunnies, goats, parrots, ducks and ponies.  Both out visits were in the winter on cold and/or rainy days ant we did not spend a lot of time here.  But on a sunny day is would be nice to walk around and see the animals.  There is also lots of grass for a bit of running.

We had a great time at both of our visits.  JW enjoyed playing and my mom and I had some nice food while chatting. We will return and I would recommend it to other parents with small children. (But while I think a 8/9-year old would enjoy the play area they may be a little too big for the facilities)

Address:                       1 York Street | Mount View Resort & Lifestyle Village Garden Route
Tel no:                           +27 44 873 2957
Website:                        http://kidzatmountview.co.za/  
Entrance Fee:               R30 for 90 minutes and R15 every 30 minutes after that
Trading Hours:              Tuesdays - Fridays: 09:00 - 17:00
                                     Saturdays: 09:00 - 16:00
                                     Sundays & Mondays Closed

 (Not a sponsored post)

04 August 2017

The Shark Lab

I have walked pass the sign for the Shark Lab hundreds of time since I moved to Mossel Bay in 2006 and have never been inside.  On Saturday 13 May 2017 I decided to visit with my 2½ year old son, JW. JW watched a cartoon with a shark and is now fascinated with sharks. While he was interested I thought the Shark Lab was a good place to visit.
Mossel Bay

You can enter the Shark lab from 2 sides.  We entered from the Point side.  I knocked en opened the door.  It was dark inside and I could just about see a person sitting at the other end of the room.  She was very friendly and gave us about information about the animals.  I could hear that she cares a lot about them.

We then paid our entrance fee.  It was R 20 for an adult; R 10 for children from 4 years old and children until 3 was free.  For R 150 you can swim with two Smooth-hound sharks but we decided to skip this.  After paying we walked through a small curio shop and entered the aquarium through a security gate.
Mossel Bay

Mossel Bay

The description of the aquarium on some internet sites is “an intimate aquarium”.  This is very nice words to say it is small.  And I mean very, very small. There is a tank for the 2 sharks, the tank for the octopus and about 6 – 8 small tanks.  You could see all the fish in about 3 minutes.

With an entrance fee of R 20 and spending only 3 minutes inside the trip is very expensive.  I tried everything to make the visit a bit longer. We walked around the tanks about three times.  I took photos.  I showed my son every tank.  And still the whole visit was only about 15 minutes. 

Mossel Bay

Overall we enjoyed the visit.  My son has told all his grandparents about the sharks and octopus.  He was ready for another visit the next day.  But at R 20 it is a bit expensive for a weekly outing.  Reading reviews on Tripadvisor I see that many people feel it is too expensive. If I could make a suggestion to the owners I would drop the entrance fee to R5 per visitor and maybe a year membership for locals to make it more affordable. 

21 July 2017

#3322 Dominique

On Saturday 11 March 2017 there was no relaxing in our pyjamas or enjoying a lazy breakfast ,  We had to get ready early to go see the departure of “Dominique”.  “Dominique” is locomotive #3322, an oil burner steam engine, that was restored in Voorbaai, Mossel Bay for the CeresRailway Company.  
Class 19D locomotive
#3322 Dominique

For years my husband would say how sad it is to see all the old trains/locomotives etc just rusting away in the “train cemetery” in Voorbaai.  But the last few years a team has started to restore some of these old locomotives for the Ceres Railway Company.  After the restoration is complete the locomotives are moved to Ceres where visitors can take trips between Ceres and Cape Town.  Before Dominique, they restored “Jessica” a Class 19D locomotive #3321, “Bailey” a Class 19B locomotive #1412 and “Red Devil” a Class 26 locomotive #3450.
Class 19D locomotive
#3321 Jessica

Class 19D locomotive
#3322 Dominique

Dominique was scheduled to leave Mosel Bay at 8:45 Saturday morning and we arrived at the Voorbaai station at just after 8:00.  We were very happy to see that “Jessica” to Mossel Bay to make the trip back to Ceres with Dominique.  Now we could see both locomotives.

I was surprised at the amount of people who came to look at the trains.  It was difficult to take a photo without people in the way.  Our 2½ year old son was with us.  He was very excited about the trains.  He wanted to touch everything and even tried to climb onto the train.
JW and the train tracks

#3322 Dominique

Unfortunately there was a problem with the water pressure and there was not enough water to fill up both locomotives.  Transnet assisted them by using a diesel locomotive to pull them out of Voorbaai to Heidelberg where they had to pick up a wedding party.  This big red diesel locomotive spoiled a few of the photos but it was very nice to see the old locomotives back in working order.

After they left Voorbaai we drove to Mossdustria to see the train at the crossing.  Husband still did not see enough and we drove further to the Gouritz river bridge to see the trains cross before returning home. 

Crossing Gouritz bridge

I hope they will restore more of the wonderful trains and hopefully one can stay in Mossel Bay for us to take a trip.

07 July 2017

Mushroom Meander

Mushroom Meander

We regularly visit the Garden Route Botanical garden for walks and to take photos.  At the end of February 2017 we decided to do the Mushroom Meander walk for the first time.

An article inthe Mossel Bay Advertiser described the trail as follow: “The 800m trail, in a stretch of indigenous forest to the northwest of the garden, has a variety of mushrooms and fungi growing along the path and is a photographer's paradise.” 
Mushroom Meander

Mushroom Meander

Mushroom Meander

The path is easy to follow but there were no signs and a few times I worried if we were still walking on the right path. I was a bit disappointed because there weren’t a lot of mushrooms along the route. I expected more of a trail with “mushroom” in the title.

While driving home we decided it was a very nice walk but as a photography outing it was not successful.
Mushroom Meander

Mushroom Meander

Mushroom Meander

23 June 2017

Swartberg Pass

In October 2015 we took a short trip to Prince Albert.  We ended our trip by driving back home using the Swartberg Pass.

The Swartberg pass was the final pass built by Thomas Bain and was opened on 10 January 1888.  The pass is a gravel road of about 27 km from Prince Albert to Oudshoorn over the Swartberg Mountains.

The pass has many with lots of switchbacks with beautiful views.  The road is supported by an amazing stone retaining walls. It declared a National Monument in 1988.

The pass was very busy on the Sunday morning as we made our way home.  At some places the road is very narrow and one of the vehicles has to stop for the other to pass.  I was very glad that I was not in the driver seat but my husband did a great job.  It is not necessary for a 4x4 vehicle to do this drive. We used our in our Ford Figo and saw even smaller cars also driving along. 


We first stopped at my parents house in George.  I was very glad to see our son (It was the first time that we left him alone at his grandparents for the night).  It was also my birthday and we had a quick birthday celebration before driving home.


Unfortunately the pass was closed on 10 April 2017 after a huge rain shower severely damaged sections of the road.  I hope it can be fixed soon because it is a great experience to drive on this pass. 

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