A Day Trip with Door of Hope Volunteers

We discovered Door of Hope a  year or more ago, when we went to Riverside Community Church. We have met some amazing people who are involved with this organisation, one of which is now a very special friend of ours; Marcelle.

Marcelle is part of a small group we used to visit and through her we have met some of the volunteers that come from around the world to volunteer their time, love and enthusiasm to the babies and toddlers at Door of Hope in Johannesburg.

Whilst chatting to Amanda, (a young lady from Georgia, who has volunteered two years to Door of Hope!), I thought it would be nice for the volunteers to be able to see more of South Africa seen as they have come all this way! I know, I know, they have come to look after babies at Door of Hope not travel, but South Africa is so awesome – I think they need to experience a bit of it too and have a break from their hard work on their day off!

So Erik and I decided to volunteer our time in helping these volunteers experience a little bit of South Africa in their time here, when we can.  The volunteers time is short though as they are very busy at the baby houses, but we managed to squeeze in a day trip to Pilanesberg Game Reserve with two volunteers, Hannah from Ohio and Ruth from Aberdeen.  We hope to be able to do this again for future volunteers.

We grew up visiting the game reserve, and it is so wonderful to see people experiencing this for the first time! So this is really a win win situation; Erik & I get to do what we love, we get to meet new people and hear how God lead them to Door of Hope, the volunteers get to experience the beauty of South Africa. I think these volunteers are absolutely inspiring and I love hearing their stories.

On the list were lion and elephant; unfortunately we only saw the latter. It was a surprisingly quiet day for game viewing really, but that just teaches us to look for the beauty in other things such as the bird life and landscapes.

Unfortunately we didn’t get many pics – I always forget because I am so busy enjoying looking! We also saw elephant, giraffe, impala, zebra, springbok, wildebeest, warthog, waterbuck, crocodile and hippo.

Really looking forward to doing this again.  Other ideas on the list are Cradle of Humankind, Mountain Sanctuary, Golden Gate and when the weather warms up maybe camping at our place at the Vaal. Any other ideas suitable for a day trip or overnight?

Weekend Getaway at L’Abondant Vinge Stone Cottage

Not too long ago, on my search for locally grown, packaging free, organic vegetables, I discovered Johan & Vida.

About 5 years ago they decided to make the town-to-country move. They have built their home just outside Heidelberg from scratch.  What was once a very large empty piece of land, is now a much loved smallholding where Johan, Vida and their two children live, with some very happy dogs, cows, sheep, horses, pigs and chickens!

You only need to spend 2 minutes with Vida to see how passionate she is about living a simple & loving life, living off the land they now call home. She grows all their vegetables from non-gmo and heirloom seeds, no nasty pesticides in this kitchen garden! We now have a delivery of vegetables every week from L’Abondant Vinge Organic Farm Produce with the option of fresh milk (fresh as in Vida milked the cow herself that morning!), yoghurt,raw honey and eggs. We are very excited to be able to get some meat from them in the near future.

The main reason for this blog post is to tell you about L’Abondant Vinge Stone Cottage.  I just feel that the true beauty of their Stone Cottage lies not just within the cottage itself, but within the whole vibe that Johan and Vida have created.  From the moment you amble down the driveway, you just know that this is a family who loves their land, loves their animals and just want you to be there to share in the beauty of their little haven.

L’Abondant Stone Cottage is beautiful!  If you love quirky touches and the rustic vibe then you will love this place. Every where you look you can tell it has been built and decorated with love. It is set on the banks of the Suikerbos River, just 18km from Heidelberg and 100km from Pretoria. This spot makes for the perfect weekend getaway from Joburg.

You can enjoy some flyfishing, rowing, mountain biking, birdwatching, hiking, romantic picnics or just settle yourself on the stoep, put your feet up and enjoy the tranquility with a good book or a pair of binoculars.

The cottage is self catering and sleeps 4; a double bed downstairs and two single beds in the loft. The cost of the cottage for 4 people Friday to Sunday is R1800. You could even get some fresh farm produce from Vida’s kitchen and garden. I almost wish we didn’t live so close, then we could stay their ourselves!

To make a booking contact Johan on 082 853 4790 and visit them on Facebook.

Bhanga Nek Community Tent Camp

 * Bhanga Nek featured in “12 Secret Off The Grid Spots” in the September edition of Getaway mag *

So last week we returned to glorious Bhanga Nek, a trip we had booked not long after our honeymoon, we loved it so much. Also, Heidelberg is freezing in Winter, compared to the 24deg on a “winters” day on the North Coast!

This trip was somewhat different from the first, in that we had some rather annoying fellow campers who had brought their barking dogs, loud pumping music and boring drunken behaviour. Luckily they left after a few nights and then we had the place to ourselves for 3 nights. From this I took lessons of … patience and acceptance … 😉

Another group of 4 couples arrived with their awesomely kitted 4×4 and we drooled over their LandCruisers and holiday antics.  They all met on a trip in Tanzania, bonded and continued holidaying together.  We are LONGING to meet others like that!

So anyway, this is just a blog post to share some detailed pics of Bhanga Nek Community Tent Camp, as my last post about it was rather uninformative on the photographic front.

There are 6 already set up tents on platforms with two wooden single beds and a side table inside.  At the top of the camp is a lapa with a basin and some tables and chairs and an area to make a camp fire, this is for the use of people booked to stay in the tented camp, not for own tent camping. Being a community run camp, be aware that it is rustic, this place is all about location, location, location, not your fixtures and fittings! Continue reading

Zwakala & Minas Neighbourhood Market – Haenertsburg

A few months back my husband spotted a snippet about the Minas Neighbourhood Market in the Getaway magazine.  As usual, we were inspired by Getaway and I didn’t take long to make our booking.

We made a long weekend of it, leaving Heidelberg on Friday morning, and getting to the little town of Haenertsburg early afternoon. It is a very little town indeed! Our first stop was the Iron Crown where we had Guinness and amazing burgers, the staff here are so friendly and instantly welcome you. Continue reading

SANParks Lower Sabie Restcamp

After 4 nights at Marlothi Safari Park we set off for one night at SANParks Lower Sabie Rest Camp. If you don’t like busy camps then I certainly couldn’t recommend this. It felt very strange to me, as I am not used to camping in this sort of environment. All the camps were neatly laid you with brick paving and shrubs and trees between, and each had a plugpoint. Maybe it’s better if it is not such a busy time, but for me, it felt very commercial. But I appreciate some people like that. Being quite a large camp, the ablutions were a short walk away, and they were not as clean as Malelane. There is also a Mugg & Bean On The Move and Restaurant with a deck overlooking the river, it is very busy and noisy and I found this quite bizarre?! But I certainly wasn’t going to turn down a Mugg & Bean cappuccino! Continue reading

It’s Put Foot Rally time ….

I was lucky to take part in Put Foot Rally 2014, travelling over 8000km in 18 days through 4 southern African countries in a 1981 VW Kombi.  This was to help raise funds and awareness for the Put Foot Foundation; an experience I cannot recommend highly enough. So for anyone who follows me on Twitter or Facebook, you will understand why I continually promote them! Whether you are in your early twenties or late 50’s, this rally is a blast.  The mix of people and ages on this rally is, in my opinion, what made it so fantastic.

I found out about Put Foot Rally from friends, Andrew & Shane in Eshowe and I was super keen.  So I went onto the website and saw there was a Facebook group for the various crews; to keep in touch and look for crew members!  Each crew is allowed up to 5 people. I saw Cat looking for members, and so I emailed her to discover she was in Pinetown, only a couple of hours away.  We met up and that was that! Continue reading

Camping at Marlothi Safari Park

After 3 nights at Malelane Camp we headed to Marloth Park; it was Easter and Kruger was completely booked up. We spent 4 nights there, making day trips in via Crocodile Bridge which is 14km away, thank goodness for our WildCard! It was busy though, and we started queuing at 4.45am to get in. Word of advise – probably best to not go to Kruger on Easter weekend!! Continue reading