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Back in the snow after a month in the South African sunshine


Sibella
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We (me, hubby and our 2 girls aged 8 and 3) spent a month in South Africa - four days in Joburg, then the rest in the Cape - mostly with my inlaws in Betties Bay.

We had a wonderful time. In Johannesburg all our friends spoilt us with a braai (at each one of their houses!) and my kids swam and played with the dogs. I experienced a Highveld thunderstorm again and was amazed at the water coming down in buckets one moment and the sun shining lovely and warm the next. The clouds and the sky and the beautiful highveld sunset was amazing.

We drove past our old house and its still beautiful - the trees are just a bit bigger. Everything is really green as they had a lot of rain. Visited Clearwater Mall often and ate at all our favourite haunts - especially the Wimpy (I know - how lame!). There was police presence at Clearwater and when we left stuff on our trolley at the airport while unloading the guy from the car hire company warned us to be careful. People are really friendly and the patience and effectiveness of the waiting staff brought tears to my eyes (I'm obviously not used to much here in the UK!). It upset me that many South Africans are very rude and abrupt with waiters, etc. - they should be thankful for the service that they are getting.

We had no safety issues at all and I was amazed that my friend didn't have burglar bars at her house and she opened all the windows every day - they never had burglar bars before but my perception of what I remember life as changed over time and it really is not that bad - I mean not as bad as what I thought it was. Just the same as when we left 3 years ago.

The are really gearing up for the world cup - working on the roads etc. and there are loads of new developments and shops in the West Rand. Its the same in the Cape - everyone seems to be really working together to make it happen which is nice.

Then we flew to Cape Town and first drove to a farm in Swellendam for some 'just us' family time. It was amazing - we canoed and swam in the river and the kids fed the horses and caught a frog and was frightened by the baboons who came to empty our dustbins for us. It was absolutely beautiful and I couldn't believe how big Africa was - how you can drive for miles and miles and not see another living soul and how the horizon stretches on forever. Having been in the UK so long where you only see as far as the next hedge this was really breathtaking for me.

Then back to Betties Bay for Christmas and family time which was awesome as always. We spent days on various beaches and went hiking in the Kogelberg reserve where we swam in the river. We are all (responsibly) brown and its nice to see some colour on my girls.

We also visited the aquarium at the Waterfront and it was spectacular - we also enjoyed the Waterfront itself but it was very expensive. Service was also excellent - the parking areas were full and we stopped in front of one asking if we could go in as we saw a car leave. The attendant said that he is actually supposed to wait for 15 cars to leave but as we had kids he would let us through - they then showed us where to park and walked with us to show us where the aquarium was from there.

New Years Eve we watched the sunset from the Blue Peter Hotel in Bloubergstrand (famous for its sunsets!) and then spent the evening relaxing at my sister in law's place (also no burglar bars and no alarm!). You could see the new soccer stadium across the sea from her house.

The negatives in South Africa at the moment - quite expensive especially since the pound has weakend against the rand.

Some areas have deteriorated - I've noticed this around Hout Bay & Gordon's Bay.

But apart from that we had a wonderful time which actually makes coming back worse! Once we went to the movies at Somerset Mall and I left my pram outside and when I went to the toilet I noticed it was gone. I asked around and one staff member said that she put it in the office so that it doesn't get stolen - they are much more paraat than I am!

The day before we left Betties Bay there was a heat wave in the Cape and it was about 37 degrees and no wind. The kids splashed around in their little pool and that evening we strolled for the last time to the beach to watch them play in the waves and chase the dogs. Then we flew back to the UK and here it is snowing and really freezing cold!! What a shock!!

I'm stuck in my little house waiting for the weather to clear so my kids can go to school again, my skin is cracking from the cold and my ashtma seems to be creeping back. My mother in law has skyped us 3 times since we got back a few days ago and I can see she really misses the girls.

So sometimes I also wonder if all this is worth it...

Edited by Sibella
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It upset me that many South Africans are very rude and abrupt with waiters, etc. - they should be thankful for the service that they are getting.

I couldnt agree with your more! South African hospitality is excellent. Whilst living in SA 3 years ago, both my children waited tables at the Walter Sisulu botanical gardens restaurant. They were very badly tipped but received more than the non-white waiters. Their basic was pathetic and they had to pay for breakages even if they did not break anything. Patrons were very rude to the non-white waiters which embarassed my children.

Glad you had a good time!

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That is why I am heading towards Australia and not the UK.....

Mmmm I wouldn't expect too much from the wait staff here...although there are always exceptions to the rule, I have found the waitrons here to be in general... not enthusiastic, unhelpful and even bored?? Of course most restaurants here don't work like they do in SA with sit down service...mostly its order from the counter take a number and they bring you your food. So often their income comes exclusively from been paid by the restuarant and very few tips.

Candice

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We (me, hubby and our 2 girls aged 8 and 3) spent a month in South Africa - four days in Joburg, then the rest in the Cape - mostly with my inlaws in Betties Bay.

We had a wonderful time. In Johannesburg all our friends spoilt us with a braai (at each one of their houses!) and my kids swam and played with the dogs. I experienced a Highveld thunderstorm again and was amazed at the water coming down in buckets one moment and the sun shining lovely and warm the next. The clouds and the sky and the beautiful highveld sunset was amazing.

We drove past our old house and its still beautiful - the trees are just a bit bigger. Everything is really green as they had a lot of rain. Visited Clearwater Mall often and ate at all our favourite haunts - especially the Wimpy (I know - how lame!). There was police presence at Clearwater and when we left stuff on our trolley at the airport while unloading the guy from the car hire company warned us to be careful. People are really friendly and the patience and effectiveness of the waiting staff brought tears to my eyes (I'm obviously not used to much here in the UK!). It upset me that many South Africans are very rude and abrupt with waiters, etc. - they should be thankful for the service that they are getting.

We had no safety issues at all and I was amazed that my friend didn't have burglar bars at her house and she opened all the windows every day - they never had burglar bars before but my perception of what I remember life as changed over time and it really is not that bad - I mean not as bad as what I thought it was. Just the same as when we left 3 years ago.

The are really gearing up for the world cup - working on the roads etc. and there are loads of new developments and shops in the West Rand. Its the same in the Cape - everyone seems to be really working together to make it happen which is nice.

Then we flew to Cape Town and first drove to a farm in Swellendam for some 'just us' family time. It was amazing - we canoed and swam in the river and the kids fed the horses and caught a frog and was frightened by the baboons who came to empty our dustbins for us. It was absolutely beautiful and I couldn't believe how big Africa was - how you can drive for miles and miles and not see another living soul and how the horizon stretches on forever. Having been in the UK so long where you only see as far as the next hedge this was really breathtaking for me.

Then back to Betties Bay for Christmas and family time which was awesome as always. We spent days on various beaches and went hiking in the Kogelberg reserve where we swam in the river. We are all (responsibly) brown and its nice to see some colour on my girls.

We also visited the aquarium at the Waterfront and it was spectacular - we also enjoyed the Waterfront itself but it was very expensive. Service was also excellent - the parking areas were full and we stopped in front of one asking if we could go in as we saw a car leave. The attendant said that he is actually supposed to wait for 15 cars to leave but as we had kids he would let us through - they then showed us where to park and walked with us to show us where the aquarium was from there.

New Years Eve we watched the sunset from the Blue Peter Hotel in Bloubergstrand (famous for its sunsets!) and then spent the evening relaxing at my sister in law's place (also no burglar bars and no alarm!). You could see the new soccer stadium across the sea from her house.

The negatives in South Africa at the moment - quite expensive especially since the pound has weakend against the rand.

Some areas have deteriorated - I've noticed this around Hout Bay & Gordon's Bay.

But apart from that we had a wonderful time which actually makes coming back worse! Once we went to the movies at Somerset Mall and I left my pram outside and when I went to the toilet I noticed it was gone. I asked around and one staff member said that she put it in the office so that it doesn't get stolen - they are much more paraat than I am!

The day before we left Betties Bay there was a heat wave in the Cape and it was about 37 degrees and no wind. The kids splashed around in their little pool and that evening we strolled for the last time to the beach to watch them play in the waves and chase the dogs. Then we flew back to the UK and here it is snowing and really freezing cold!! What a shock!!

I'm stuck in my little house waiting for the weather to clear so my kids can go to school again, my skin is cracking from the cold and my ashtma seems to be creeping back. My mother in law has skyped us 3 times since we got back a few days ago and I can see she really misses the girls.

So sometimes I also wonder if all this is worth it...

i wonder all the time!!

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Oh wow, what a wonderful holiday you all had!!! Ha, ha, must admit felt a little homesick reading your post, Betty's Bay is

soooooooo amazing, and yes the sunsets are just the 'best in the world' viewed from the Blue Peter on the soft green grass! :wub:

It is a massive shock to one's system landing in a freezing cold country in winter after being in a hot Country, we too landed

in London and Northern Ireland in the month Feb, after leaving Cape Town in a 38 deg heat wave. :blink:

Do all the stunning wintery things now like we did for 6 years.....cook, eat, board games, read, sip red wine next to the fire and play

eye spy for hours on end! :whome:

You have a whole month of stunningly memories to keep you warm!! Enjoy!

Erica

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Mmmm I wouldn't expect too much from the wait staff here...although there are always exceptions to the rule, I have found the waitrons here to be in general... not enthusiastic, unhelpful and even bored?? Of course most restaurants here don't work like they do in SA with sit down service...mostly its order from the counter take a number and they bring you your food. So often their income comes exclusively from been paid by the restuarant and very few tips.

Candice

I should have been more specific :whome: . Was focussing on the weather. I would never last in the UK weather.....

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I should have been more specific :blink: . Was focussing on the weather. I would never last in the UK weather.....

Oh come on....yes you would! Some furry boots, ear muffs and of course some thermal undies....and Bob's your Uncle.......on ya bike ye go!! :whome:

Erica

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I should have been more specific :wub: . Was focussing on the weather. I would never last in the UK weather.....

Sorry :blink: Obviously the 37 degree heat is affecting my comprehension abilities....I would gladly swap some snow for this heat :whome:

Candice

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A recent study (can't remember the name, but was in a recent news24 article) cited Zimbabwe as number 1 in the world for best climate, so if weather is a priority, ha, ha ... :whome: South Africa came in at number 2 for climate, and was rated quite well on a number of other factors. But I reckon Australia is a great choice for weather too, and we will definitely be heading there this year.

Holidays in South Africa are definitely wonderful, especially if crime was not a factor. Hope you took lots of pictures! - the ones you loaded are great! :blink:

Edited by Tree
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That's the bit I am scared of!!!!

:whome::blink: Classic!

Erica

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A recent study (can't remember the name, but was in a recent news24 article) cited Zimbabwe as number 1 in the world for best climate, so if weather is a priority, ha, ha ... :whome: South Africa came in at number 2 for climate, and was rated quite well on a number of other factors. But I reckon Australia is a great choice for weather too, and we will definitely be heading there this year.

Holidays in South Africa are definitely wonderful, especially if crime was not a factor. Hope you took lots of pictures! - the ones you loaded are great! :blink:

lol I spent years 4 to 12 in Zim (when it was Rhodesia) - best years of my life. 6 hours tennis a week. Best time to swim - all year 24 hours. rain et all.

i remember riding for km's with my 2 alsations in the veld.. daming rivers, swimming in rivers. holy siht I was blessed!!!!

Fishing, vic falls, sinoa caves (however you spell that), Kariba, Lake Macilwayne, not to mention sugar cane peeps!! and mazoe oranges!!!!

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Byron, loved your post about Zimbabwe - nostalgia is great, and nothing can replace our best memories. Here's the article I mentioned: 2010 international quality of life index

And yes, we are still moving to Australia, even though the article has many positives about South Africa! :whome:

Edited by Tree
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Byron, loved your post about Zimbabwe - nostalgia is great, and nothing can replace our best memories. Here's the article I mentioned: 2010 international quality of life index

And yes, we are still moving to Australia, even though the article has many positives about South Africa! :whome:

Here is the link to the 2010 Quality of Life survey

http://www.internationalliving.com/Interna...ty-of-life-2010

reading through their 'western bias' block, it states there Please also remember that statistics obtained from official government sources are not always current, accurate, or reliable. which makes me think twice of the accuracy of the safety and risk category regarding SA.

Candice

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Hi Candice,

Ha, ha, good point. :lol: The original index as per the link you included makes for interesting reading. And also goes to show statistics can be interpreted to show information differently, depending who relays them - the journalist did a good job of using the available stats to good advantage as related to South Africa. I love holidays in South Africa ... when I feel safe. Easy to forget crime when on holiday, but there are constant reminders of the skewed socio environment, e.g. when driving to Cape Town past Khayelitsha. Not sure who provided the stats, but certainly interesting!

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I do agree with Sibella though - I love holidays in South Africa ... when I feel safe. Easy to forget crime when on holiday, but there are constant reminders of the skewed socio environment, e.g. when driving to Cape Town past Khayelitsha.

But I was amazed at how many residens of Khaelitsha had DSTV satelittle dishes!! :lol:

I might move back to South Africa just for DSTV with PVR (I think its called?). Its amazing compared to the television here in the UK- we have a Virgin package here but on Saturday night the only movie on was 'Neverending Story II'!!!

Nothing to do here in winter but watch terrible TV...

Also it took me the whole morning to drop my daughter off at school due to the snow - first walked with little one to pre-school, came back to pick big one up, drove to the park and ride carpark, took the bus to town, walked half an hour up the hill slip sliding on the ice and snow, dropped her off and then the whole process in reverse!! When I got home it was time to pick the little one up from pre-school - 3 hours later!!! And I have to leave soon to start again. Maybe we will stay at home tomorrow...

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