My share of the holidays with my 7 year-old Benjamin* was approaching, and with telephone communications with him where he lives (mostly) at his mother’s house difficult, I couldn’t really prepare. We don’t really have the spare cash to fly anywhere, but the thought of a 13-hour drive to a best friend and his family – which includes a 9 year-old daughter – is equally daunting.
Many mothers would just insist on the Dad promising he would call with details each night. As it is, with cellphones communications these days are extremely easy. Unless, as can sometimes be the case, it’s more about control than communcation. Anyway, robbing a child of a seminal, impromptu road-tripping adventure with his Dad – or his Mom – would be cruel.
That was my thinking before we started. The trip has been over now for just over a week as I write, and it was a brilliant bonding experience. Here’s a visual precis of how it went.
Day 1. We left a day late because Benjamin’s mother had not released him on his due day for holiday with me. This is not extraneous to the topic, this is what single parenting can be like if you’re unlucky. So I had to readjust my thinking. A first night in Montagu, about two and a half hours from our Cape Town home, followed by a drive down the R62 – a South African roadtrip classic – had been the plan.
This wouldve included the Cango Caves and ostriches of Oudtshoorn, and taken in the Outeniqua Pass to George, Knysna and our 2nd night in the Crags, outside Plett on the southern Cape coast. But him not being releases on the day we were meant to start called for adaptation. So we headed straight for the Crags at about 08h30, and at about 3.30 that afternoon – with food-stops and points of interest not only included, but actively encouraged (otherwise it wouldn’t be a road trip) – and pulled in to our sumptuous, very child-friendly accommodation at Hog Hollow.
We settled in with some Lego games and popcorn (already in the room) for the afternoon, before going out for a walk in the brisk and qiet country freshness. Then went through for the sort of meal that you’d expect of a four-star establishment. The owners are good people, and run a fine establishment that was Fair Trade long before the brand was established out here. And children are so very welcome in this part of the world. The next morning would see us at the quite brilliant #Monkeyland and #Birds of Eden across the ravine, before conitnuing on our journey.
Moneyland is a brilliant facility, built and owned by a caring couple, best place to see lemurs, capuchins etc in their natural habitat.
*Benjamin, a pseudonym