Road-Tripping South Africa with My Boy: Part 2

And so we set off for Boggomsbaai, 20 minutes shy of Mossel Bay, in South Africa’s western Cape province, for the first part of our December school holidays. Me and my seven year-old road-warrior.

In our language we had the scent of a real holiday coming up. Although only a few days, it was the type where a little boy gets to play at the beach, discover stuff and ride his new bike on quiet holiday-village streets.

Afterwards we would head for our ultimate destination, upcountry Johannesburg, to see what remains of our tiny family there – a gran, an aunt and a cousin. But any plans to head inland from our southern Cape beach breakaway had been scuppered by a co-parent insisting (with the assistance of our facilitator) our son return to spend a night with her before we headed upcountry.

That meant returning to Cape Town for a night, and then engaging that long, flat and hot Karoo road with the son in your eyes. That’s the single-parenting package for you, unless you strike it lucky and can have your ex as your best friend, as many do. Luckily I love the Karoo, and my son had loved his first cross-country road-trip to East London earlier in the year. But that was for later.

First up was Boggomsbaai (pictured top of page). We stopped, many times, wherever we wished, for a coffee or diesel or just to shoot some snaps. After 45 minutes, with the N2 urban traffic crawl and the steep climb over Sir Lowry’s Pass behind us, we stopped at Houw Hoek farm-stall for things we like; a quiche and a pie (for later), a swing, a pee and a stretch. Mutual need. Mutual appreciation. Appropriate father-son democracy in action. No squabbling.

Spying with new eyes, inventing new games, discussing wind farms and renewable energy and making up ridiculous stories, the time flew by. That’s how we got there.


We rode bikes, visited an archeaological dig at a cave where the origins of modern man were discovered, got to dissect a squid with his fingers, and took a boat-trip around an island. It would’ve been better for him with a mate, but planning ahead can diffiuclt in separate parenting world if  both parents are on the same page. We stayed in a really cool cottage, (‘Mosselkraker); from the kitchen window, surrounded by nature, I took this image, looking to the corner of the bay in the top-left corner, with the ocean and largely empty beach just to the left.

Live with it, show love and affection, that it’s ok to be vulnerable, and move on. You can still have happy times in beautiful places.



Annemarie Beukes
Tel+27(0)44 699 1204
Fax to Mail 086-2281985(SA only)
Fax+27(0)44 699 1951 (International)



















Single Parenting Holidays: Joburg for Christmas again ?


So Christmas has passed and December’s approaching yet again. A little quicker than last year, which was already a little quicker than the 12 months before and so-on and so-on.

That’s what I was thinking last year in about August. Such is the calendar of a single parent battling to see his children; I was thinking this would leave me four months in which to arrange what has become the annual Cape Town–Johannesburg flight to see ageing grandparents and maintain connections with cousin, aunt and friends.

Without being morbid, the thing with the sharp end of ageing is that you don’t know which trip to see the children’s gran or grandad will be their last, so going elsewhere, like a holiday destination, doesn’t happen. Just in case. Like my Dad. He hardly got to know his grandchildren before he moved on. My son has meanwhile learnt about ageing from these visits, and is far braver than I remember being about ‘old people’ at that age.

IMG_4473Drawing with Gran.

There hadn’t been timeous agreement regarding the previous three Christmas holiday suggestions with the my boy’s mother, and again I had no option but to book flights the week before the big day; which for me and my 6 year-old pretty much cost half the price of a ticket to London.

Which, heading off on a tangent, leads me to think how our holiday expectations evolve . If not my son’s friends’ going to the proverbial family holiday house at Kenton-on-Sea or ‘Plett’, favoured holiday spots here in South Africa, my now-global school friends are taking their kids to Europe and the US for skiing holidays.

Cousin T has joined uncle pat as a firm favourite for Fynn. Sassy joined in.  IMG_1057    IMG_1213_2

In comparison, spending my share of the annual big Christmas vacation with my boy and our family down the road from Westpark cemetary in Johannesburg was ok. That’s another  reality of the single-parenting world; if you’re close to your family and not necessarily flush, horizons often don’t extend much beyond remaining families.

We enjoy the relative peace. Well I do, my boy obviously lives for the moment, and if he’s surrounded by love and his holiday animals – with a swimming pool as a bonus – he’s happy.

He loves being with his aunt and cousin. So does his four year-old sister, but unfortunately she only gets to see them on one day a year (for reasons that won’t be addressed here).

I appreciate the quiet of Jo’burg, driving avenues lined with the trees of my childhood (the Joburg-Pretoria conurbation represents the world’s largest urban ‘forest’). It reminds me too, earlier comments or morbidity aside, that the children spending quality time with their fast-ageing and generally immobile granny is also pretty key, to nurture their sense of paternal family.


And anyway, peak-season airports are hell.