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)
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Six & The Shoelace

I never quite attached the importance to shoelaces that I did last year, the sixth time the earth has circled the earth since my son was born. We had sat on his floor a bunch of times, him fumbling with those laces, me silently willing him to get it right while offering mild encouragement.

Being aware that he has limited patience for fiddly things, akin to my own, I understood the frustration that I was witnessing.

I remember when collecting him from school on ‘my day’, that a classmate was sitting on the brick floor outside the classroom, tying his laces. Around him, children grappling with bags half their size stumbled towards their waiting mothers*, but the boy remained resolute, focused, and finally stood with a look of triumph.

My first thought was a vaguely competitive ‘hey, we have to practise’. That was something of a knee-jerk, primitive response, but looking back, I hadn’t been here before. With each new developmental day comes a new experience, but I knew this was a landmark event, along with learning to ride a bike and catching his first frog.

Allied to this sense of understanding and appreciation, was a realisation that at his mom’s house he didn’t have lace-ups, only those shoes with velcro straps. Which meant no opportunity to practice.

Yes, they’re much easier to put on and take off, but learning this skill is obviously a non-negotiable that will equip him in his battle with the drawstring in his shorts, and I suppose later on with knotting the rope in the tree he wants to swing from, like the one outside our home.

Luckily this was happening a few months ago, as winter got going and footwear – as opposed to slip-slops – were a necessity. It would’ve been harder now, with summer at last here, as I support he and his little sister going barefoot as often as possible and when appropriate.

But that’s all history now, he’s pretty much got it mastered. Check this out from a few months back:

Yes, he did start with the laces the wrong way around, but here’s a tip (if it’s needed): it’s important to let our children make mistakes, to give them the chance to work them out themselves. The sense of achievement visible on his face when he got it right was a highlight of my year, almost up there with learning to ride his bike.

I will soon be sharing that experience, plus the process of learning to read with this excellent reader I came across. In the meantime when I get my boy this weekend after ten days apart, we’ll fit in a shoelace refresher, working on that coordination needed to tighten those laces. Further down the line, when he turns seven in February, we’ll have a separate bunch of challenges on our hands.

If you have your own tales of success, failures and lessons learnt, please share with me, and in so doing help us all learn from each other.

Parentally, Happily and Paternally Yours 🙂

* not too many dads seem to do the pick-ups at our school. Luckily I work for myself, and with minimal time to see him I treasure the opportunity to learn about what’s going on in his world, even if it’s just a lift, so he knows his dad is present.

PS – you might also enjoy this link.