South Africa · 15 Days · 30 Moments · December 2016

The Yarde-Leavett's in South Africa Dec 2016

31 December 2016

Before and after........11 years ago.

30 December 2016

Today we celebrated the double birthday in absolute style! The sun sone and the animals came put to play.........more to follow......

29 December 2016

28 December 2016

Leave Durban at about 10am and head to Hilltop Camp where we arrive to find we are billeted in the exact same chalet we had 11 years ago - number 7. Go out for a quick drive in the afternoon and watch 3 rhino from about 20 feet for 15 minutes. All good........more later.....

27 December 2016

Breakfast on the terrace at Gobles then off to Giles's for some well earned pool/sun bathing time.
Yeah! The sun has got its hat on!!! 🌞

26 December 2016

Lunch at the Oyster Box.
Archery lessons from Jonathan.

25 December 2016

Couldn't miss the opportunity to go swimming on Christmas Day! Skyped Gran! Returned to the b & b where they have an honesty bar.
Christmas Day!🌲🌲🌲Father Christmas visited our humble b & b overnight leaving stockings for Beth and Evie. After a quick breakfast Giles picks us up and takes us to his local church for a very non-traditional (for us) Christmas Day service. Then on to the Durban Country Club where the girls were able to thank Father Christmas in person because he was there to greet us. Lovely buffet lunch in this old school club. Time for a quick power nap back at the b & b before Claire picks us up and takes us to have tea at the Y-Ls. It's cloudy but Evie and I can't pass up the opportunity of taking a swim on Christmas Day - won't happen again for a while for us! Speak to Mum on skype, a bit of Michael Mcintyre on the TV, then home! Evie, Rosemary & I play cards in the "honesty bar" (you write down what you drink and they add it to your bill) before bed. Great day.

24 December 2016

To the Durban Y-Ls beautiful house for drinks, nibbles and presents. Speak to Mum and the Salmons via skype. Lovely evening.
From Durban Airport we taxi to Goble Palms guest house, a small tropical oasis in the middle of a no-go zone. The rooms and public areas are beautifully decorated in colonial style. A different world once the electric gates are closed.
Early morning start - leave at 6.30am for our 8.30am flight from Cape Town to Durban.

23 December 2016

A really grim, grey day, and blowing a gale. A lazy morning before heading off to our lunch date at The Brass Bell, not before trying to find a 3A fuse for our travel plug which took us through Wynberg's busy taxi rank and other strange places that caused some anxiety amongst the troops. Lashing with rain as we arrived in False Bay for our fish and chip lunch. When we get home - after more attempts to buy a fuse - siestas are the order of the day. Watch The Holiday movie, with Rosemary & Evie knowing every word, before bed. Early start tomorrow.

22 December 2016

In the evening all except Beth (who was revising for her exams) went to The Vineyard hotel for cocktails. We last stayed here about 15 years ago - old-school classic hotel with beautiful gardens. Under £3 for a mojito!! Nothing seems to have changed in 15 years or more. Sadly no sign of the famous tortoises.
Relaxed morning - except for an hour spent in Vodacom trying to get sim cards sorted for the family. Got 3 out of 4 - only Beth is without. After lunch made our way to Cheetah Outreach where we had a unique experience stroking cheetahs. Awesome!

21 December 2016

Breede River canoe trip. Very early start - 6.30am depart - then a 90 minute drive to near Worcester to hook up for our day on the river. Its hot, very hot. Welcome breakfast then put into a very rickety coach to the launch area for our river trip. After a safety briefing off we go - I'm in a boat with Evie after our successful partnership in France in the summer. Rosemary's with Jonathan who manages to fall out at the first rapid, becoming the first person to do so this year apparently. He's unique! Beth and Claire ogle at Brendan, a crew member, but fail to get his number. A member of our party is best friends with Gareth Quinn, who I know through work. In itself that's a weird co-incidence. To find the connection out is also weird (Giles discovered it through chatting to him). It's a hot, wonderful, day.

20 December 2016

Langa township tour.

19 December 2016

Claire's 21st birthday!!

18 December 2016

The gang reconvenes for dinner at The Grand - beach restaurant. Happy days!!
A bucket list destination - Robben Island. An unforgettable day. 45 minute ferry journey takes us from Cape Town harbour to the island where Mandela (and others) spent time incarcerated as a result of challenging the apartheid regime. We work out the Mandela was imprisoned in the year R and I were born, and freed in the year we got married. Guided round the high security prison by an ex-inmate - eloquent, entertaining and informative. Consumed by a sense of humility and guilt - the "National Government" took power in SA 3 years after Hilter's murderous regime was exposed and defeated - how could that happen? Same story - persecution of humans based on difference. The island was larger than I expected. A privilege to visit and a reminder of the power of forgiveness and tolerance.

17 December 2016

Dinner in Blues restaurant in Camps Bay watching the sun go down over the beach. Best mojito and calamari ever.
Up Table Mountain - no queues!! How did we manage that?? AMAZING! A real thrill of a lifetime. Wander around the top taking pictures (all), posing (all) and trying to dry out our sweaty armpits (Evie). Unforgettable.
Visit to Table Mountain
Morning spent at the Old Biscuit Mill with thousands of others browsing alternative stalls and boho people watching.
I've joined the journi

16 December 2016

Giles and Claire meet us at the airport then off to Newlands for a full family reunion - first time the 'Super8' are together in 7 years - first time in SA in 12 years. Dinner, wine & bed! Exhausted. Let the fun begin.......
After 23 hours the UKYLs finally arrive in Cape Town. A sick passenger was taken off the plane at Heathrow and it took an hour to find his luggage. The one hour delay meant we missed the connecting flight to Cape Town. Still, 5 hours later we were on our way. Fabulous views of Table Mountain as we flew in.