Far from the madding crowd
I love living in Cape Town and often count my blessings that I am fortunate enough to do so. However, in summer it can become rather over-crowded, sometimes to the point that it’s almost impossible to escape the masses without simply staying home.
The Christmas period can be especially frenzied, and usually has me longing for a respite from the madding crowd…. and just a small patch of beach to call my own. Driven by this yearning, I awoke early on a sunny Sunday morning and packed my family, a picnic basket and assorted beach paraphernalia into the car and we headed out of town in search of wide open spaces.
Those in the know will tell you that the best path to take for such an excursion is Route 27, locally known as the West Coast Road. Not wanting to waste a lovely day by spending too much time in the car, we decided on just three destinations no further than an hour from the city, which is enough to make the trip an adventure without being tiresome.
Our first stop was Melkbosstrand, a picturesque seaside village only 30 minutes from Cape Town. Popular with locals, this is a great beach for all sorts of activities, from lazy sunbathing and fishing to body boarding and surfing, and little ones love the rock pools for a spot of net fishing. And as there are always life guards on duty here, mom and dad can relax while the kids have fun. There are also several great beachfront restaurants, so you need only stroll across the road when you have worked up an appetite.
After a great hour of paddling in the rock pools and an ice cream cone as a mid-morning snack, we decided to head off to Yzerfontein’s famous 16 Mile beach to see what was happening there.
A perfect beach day would be the simple answer. There was a wonderfully cooling sea breeze, small kiddy-friendly waves and loads of space to lay out our towels and enjoy ourselves without being on top of anyone else. Dad and Ariana spent ages in the water trying out her new wetsuit and body board while I was blissfully happy to have time to read my book uninterrupted.
Picnic eaten, and little bodies tired out from the waves, we headed off to check out the Weskus Farm Stall which we had driven past when we turned off the R27 to Yzerfontein. What a little gem it turned out to be! Not only do they sell everything from homemade preserves and snacks to all manner of gifts, there is also a great restaurant with a wonderful outdoor area and an amazing aviary which is home to dozens of exotic birds. The farm stall is also home to the Yzerfontein tourism office and it is here that you can find out about the amazing new biosphere hiking trails in the area.
Our final stop was the Groote Post Country Market and for this we earned lots of brownie points from horse-mad Ariana as they were offering guided horse rides for the youngsters. After I had watched her complete one lap I left her and dad to the next two rides and took myself off in search of a glass of wine and for a stroll around the market. While the stalls were offering great products, this is clearly not the only reason people attend this market. Everywhere I looked were happy groups of people camped out on hay bales and under trees, tucking into picnics and sipping on wine. Kids were running around having a ball and the atmosphere, in general, was one of laid back fun.
Thankfully, eight-year olds actually do have a limit on their energy levels and by 4pm it was definitely time to head back home. And I must say I wholeheartedly agree with her final words before she passed out on the back seat of the car: “That was the best day ever!”