Adventure,  Celebrate

Our Scenic Drive to Christmas in Cape Town

After a lockdown, rollercoaster year like 2020 even homebodies like us needed to get away for a few days over the December holidays. Fortunately, Prince Charlie’s family lives in the Western Cape and invited us to spend Christmas with them. My husband loves road trips and relished planning a scenic drive for us through Graaff-Reinet, taking a break in George and then finally arriving in Malmesbury.   We were accompanied by my brother-in-law and his fiancée, which supplied us with endless padkos and entertainment.

Because we were only driving to Graaff-Reinet the first day we did not have to leave Gauteng too early. We embarked with excitement and got the Road Trip playlist pumping. Eventually, we switched over to audiobooks on Audible which is one of our favourite ways to enjoy a road trip. My favourite book from this trip was The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein.

Graaff-Reinet is a surprising oasis in the middle of the Karoo, with well kept old historical buildings and is apparently the town with the largest selection of memorials in the country. On arrival, we were assaulted by the suffocating Karoo heat as we opened the car door at our Toerboer cottage where we spent the night. Our wine gums and skin melted as we tried to adjust, taking off as much of our clothes as decently possible and drying ourselves in front of the fans. We were also surprised at the sheer number of tourists that choose this tiny Karoo town as their overnight stop on the way to the Cape.

Unfortunately, we waited too late to get a booking at one of the recommended restaurants (and many of them are closed on Sundays), so we ate at the Spur. Not our first choice, but they had beers, G&T’s, milkshakes and an air-conditioner so we lingered as long as politely possible.

The next morning we had a delightful breakfast at Our Yard and took a leisurely stroll around the centre of town to admire the architecture, especially the old “Groot Kerk” (Dutch Reformed Church). This Gothic Revival church was the fourth church for this congregation in Graaff-Reinet and was designed based on the lines of the Salisbury Cathedral in England. This stone church was inaugurated in 1887 with a seating capacity of 1250 and has a steeple of 45.72 meters high with a chimney.

We lingered as long as we could stand the humid heat, then escaped into the air-conditioned car and started towards George. After a few short hours, we arrived in a wet George and made our way to our Airbnb apartment in the Oubaai golf estate. This was a gem of a find, with a breathtaking view of the golf course and its many little dams and ducks, as well as comfortable accommodation for four adults. We had spent the afternoon relaxing on the stoep (patio) playing UNO and having a braai before winding down the evening with some Netflix and chill.

The next morning we attempted the local hiking trail, grossly underestimating the scale of the map. We did not make it very far but it was scenic and refreshing.

My one request for our stay in George was a delicious seafood dinner with an ocean view. We found the best of both worlds at Salina’s Beach Restaurant in Wilderness.  I highly recommend this restaurant if you are in the area. They were properly Covid-compliant, and the food was exactly what I was craving – mouth-watering fresh fish accompanied by a glass or two of fruity, revitalizing white wine.

After two leisurely days in the Garden Route, we made our way to Malmesbury to spend some time with family. We were spoiled rotten, relaxing poolside with enough food and drinks to last us a whole year. Morning cuddles with our goddaughters were definitely the highlight of our stay as we miss them and they grow up so fast.

Our Welcome Card

To celebrate Christmas, we ate from Christmas eve all the way to boxing day, and then some. My sister-in-law asked me to decorate the tables for Christmas and I thoroughly enjoyed bringing my vision to life (even though Prince Charlie wasn’t too happy about the extra luggage). I saw the Christmas crackers at Woolworths and fell in love with them. They were the inspiration that tied it all together. Carl chose the Christmas tree candles and the rest were all found in my cupboard from previous functions. The pinecone angels were the result of a special art collaboration with my nieces on Christmas Eve. In my opinion, there is nothing that creates a festive atmosphere like a beautiful table. All the effort was more than worth it when I walked into the living room to find my niece sitting alone at the “kiddies” table admiring all the details while whispering her admiration to the empty room. She begged her sister to join her for a little while and I just had to take a photo.

My sister-in-law even spoiled us with a styled shoot in the backyard to remember the special Christmas.

The rest of our trip was spent admiring the Cape and relaxing. We spent a day at Kirstenbosch with old friends on Boxing day and enjoyed a walk on the Haakgat beach near Melkbosstrand.

Carl and I went for lunch and wine tasting to Rickety Bridge wine farm in Franschoek. Unfortunately, it was a bit disappointing, but the company was excellent.

Our last day was spent on the beach at Langebaan where we had a delectable lunch with strong cocktails. And just like that, it was time to return home.

Even though this trip was by no means extravagant or luxurious, it was exactly what my soul needed. We got to break away to spend time in nature with sunshine and laughter with loved ones but also had time to relax and return home refreshed and ready for the New Year.

I want to say a special thank you to our family who spent hours preparing, cleaning, painting, planning, cooking, and baking to make our stay enjoyable. We appreciate all your hard work and loving hospitality. See you soon!


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