It feels like ages ago - The Big Trip. That's why it feels a bit odd blogging about this now. But, I promised to blog about it all, so I'm delivering on that word (whether you like it or not ;-)).
Looking at these photos still make me smile though, no matter how long ago this may seem to be.
Anyway, since we spent almost four weeks in Johannesburg, South Africa, a day-by-day recount of our trip is definitely out. Let me just share with you some of my favourite memories and highlights from my fifth South African trip (this is my boy's 3rd trip, and my li'l girl's first official trip):
- Our arrival at the airport - with our family waiting for us. Such a nice sight!
- Going to the Mountain Sanctuary for a four-day camp. Lots of nice things here - barbecues, star gazing, swimming at an infinity pool, seeing baboon and warthog families in our camp, hiking to rock pools, toasting marshmallows on the campfire, reading... It was really nice of my sis-in-law and her family to organise this for us. They even paid for everything. How sweet, eh? Oh, and yeah... Funny moment for me was when I knew I just had to enrol in one of these courses at Uni, so I ended up with my brother-in-law's laptop with a wireless connection... enrolling at Uni in the middle of the night, inside a tent, with warthogs just outside. How strange can that be?! Anyway, the views to this place were amazing!
- Lazy days at my parents-in-law's place - Got to do lots of reading, even watched some movies (on Christmas Eve - I overdosed on FOUR sappy Christmas movies via cable - heh). There was also art-making and lots of swimming in the pool, some croquet and cricket, mini tea parties, and more... especially for the kids.
- Christmas Eve/Christmas Day - Fun gift-giving! We mostly stayed at home and just had a very traditional Christmas lunch with the family.
- Some shopping and eating out - I love shopping and eating out in Johannesburg. Really cheap - and lots of variety. Some of my favourite places to eat out there: Mugg & Bean, Ocean Basket, Nando's (I first discovered Nando's in South Africa, about 9 years ago, on my first trip there...), Bambanini, and Spar's, among other places. There are also several nice places to shop at, and in this trip, I even discovered a shop that I really fell in love with called Young Designers' Emporium (YDE) --- such gorgeous clothes. Unfortunately, I discovered it too late, we were just about over-baggage (and over-spent! :-D)... so I didn't get to buy much from there. But, I'm definitely hunting that place down when I get to visit again. 🙂
- Going to Montecasino and the Bird Park - Well, we only really went to Montecasino for the park, but we did stop by for a quick lunch in their food court. The kids really loved the park. We remember this place really well because the last time we were there (some 5+ years ago), my boy was only 11 months old and he talked for the first time saying "bird" over and over again.
- Going to Johannesburg Zoo - Another favourite place to go to. Although, I must say, the zoo was looking a bit sad this time around. Hmmm...
- Going to the Botanical Garden - My sis-in-law often chooses to spend her birthday at this place, to meet up with family from our side and her hubby's side. We have a nice lunch at their open air cafe, go for a walk, visit the beautiful waterfalls, and due to kids, we often take the mini train back to the entrance.
- Spending some time at sis-in-law's place - They've hosted us for breakfast and a couple of lunches. Each time, they've been wonderful. There were barbecues - and even a yummy potjkie (a local thing!).
- New Year's Eve / New Year's Day - Lovely time with sparklers and braais (barbecue), which I've already blogged about here.
- Going to The Lion and Rhino Park - Another fave. It's a great way to do a mini safari for the kids. It's not like "the real safari" - but the real one will bore kids like crazy, I think, as it can take a while to find animals in the wild. This one's almost as good - and definitely fun. We had a real nice experience spotting the lions!
- The Boy's Advanced Surprise Birthday Party - My in-laws even went out of their way catering for this party with great food and fabulous party games, with prizes. It was so much fun, seeing how the kids reacted to this. Especially the boy. He didn't expect it. It was sooo cool.
There are many many other moments that are not easy to capture in words and pictures. But yes, that's why that "goodbye scene" at the airport is always tough.
In any case, yes, it has been an amazing trip.
Shai has been managing and blogging here at ShaiCoggins.com for 17 years. Here, she writes about creativity, productivity, and how to recharge for a better, happier lifestyle. She is the author of Today: Life Journal, Colour Bliss: Kaleidoscopes, and a little known children's book.
A serial entrepreneur, Shai also currently runs Vervely.com, a boutique digital media agency offering online content, community, and conversion marketing services. Her blogging experience and digital work have been featured in various media, including being listed in Fast Company's "Most Influential Women in Technology" list.
Originally from Manila, Shai lived in Singapore and the USA before moving to Australia with her British husband. They have two children, a pet bunny, and a rambunctious rescue Labrador.