We’ve been happily ensconced here in Noordhoek Cape Town for 3 months.  I can’t believe it has been that long!

Noordhoek and Kommetjie now have a special place in my heart – and, I suspect, if we were to consider settling down and buying another house – this is the area we’d probably want to move to.

We’ll probably say goodbye to Cape Town at the end of May, now that Nick’s film is drawing to a close.  In the meantime, here’s a bit of a photo-journal of what we’ve been up to over the course of the last 3 weeks…

A week or two ago, we spent a day in Simon’s Town.  Simon’s Town is a picturesque and historical seaside village – home to South Africa’s naval base… and home to the penguins at Boulder’s Beach… and home to lots of beautiful and historical buildings.

We decided to visit a few museums – starting with the Simon’s Town Museum – followed by the Naval Museum.  I strongly recommend a visit to the Naval Museum which has been beautifully curated – and is situated in an old boat-building factory – and offers an interesting (and disturbing) insight in to South Africa’s past wars.

My favourite part was the building itself – which boasted an old clock tower, accessed by a steep, narrow staircase… (I have a thing for old clock towers, bell towers, wishing wells and graveyards).

The kids asked a lot of questions about weapons and war… partly because of the museum, but also because the navy people were test-firing huge guns into the bay as we drove into Simon’s Town.  The sound was incredibly loud – and it gave me the chills to think that those weapons were designed to kill people.  🙁

simons town museum

simons town2

The following day, we took the kids to Acrobranch in Hout Bay (we’ve been to the Joburg franchise before).

Acrobranch is a climbing course  offering 4 tree-top obstacle courses (different levels of difficulty depending on the age and the bravery of the participants).  Morgan and Joah easily completed the kid’s course – and graduated on to the “Green Course”… which involved all number of tasks to get them from tree to tree.

The whole thing culminated in a very high zip-line experience – which utterly delighted them both.  Here’s a few pics…

That's Morgan on the landing platform of the last zip-line. The starting platform was actually much higher. Clearly, my kids don't have issues with heights.

That’s Morgan on the landing platform of the last zip-line. The starting platform was actually much higher. Clearly, my kids don’t have issues with heights.

acrobranch2

acrobranch3

On Easter Sunday, we had an early morning egg-hunt at the house… with Joah, Morgan and Jonty-from-Next-Door.  Then we went for a fabulous Sunday lunch at Vergelegen Wine Estate in Somerset West.

There are so many fabulous wine estates here in Cape Town and most of them have 3 or more of the following:  restaurants or bistros, delis, play areas for kids, picnic spots, tours, museums, wine tasting, ridiculously beautiful gardens to explore, cheese making & tasting, regular family-friendly events…

Vergelegen deserves a post on it’s own… it’s so, so beautiful – and there is so much to see and do.  We enjoyed a lazy lunch of slow roast lamb and – of course – some of the wine.

winelands 4

Later in the evening, Morgan decided to cook spaghetti… and mistakenly dropped the stirring spoon into the boiling water…. and was splashed in the face… resulting in ugly burns on her cheek – and above her eye and lip.

She has been incredibly brave.  Apart from the initial yelp of pain… she’s treated the whole experience as par-for-the-course of a new cook.

The burns don’t hurt any more, and she’s been diligently applying her burn cream every day… and she says she doesn’t care if people stare at her or not.  🙂

The following day, we spent the morning exploring the Constantia Wine Route.  We stopped off at 3 wine estates until we settled on Groot Constantia (South Africa’s oldest wine estate) for lunch… and a visit to the museum.

One of the restaurants at one of the Constantia wine estates...

One of the restaurants at one of the Constantia wine estates…

Lots of grass and gardens for lots of running and exploring...

Lots of grass and gardens for lots of running and exploring…

Morgan standing by the old vats at Groot Constantia...

Morgan standing by the old vats at Groot Constantia…

After lunch… and an lots of exploring… we stopped over at the Lego store and treated ourselves to a Lego Family Project:  a haunted house!  It took us the whole afternoon and evening to complete… but we loved it (we love, love, love lego… all of us!)…

lego unpacking

lego building

The finished product!

The finished product!

The next day, we collected Cousin Mike from the airport (our first visitor!)… and, after a beach walk, we spent the evening braaing ostrich steaks on the deck, overlooking the divine sunset (which never disappoints) and discussing movies, unschooling and religion.

Mike had brought gifts for the kids:  some baking supplies for Morgan (who promptly whipped up a strawberry cake in her new cake moulds)… and a tractor for Joah to build out of metal strips and bolts.

Here’s a photo of the cake Morgan made:

morgan's cake

The following day,  while Nick and Mike went to off to Nick’s business meeting… the kids and I spent the morning at the South African Museum.  It’s a natural history museum, but decidedly less slick than the DC version… (albeit – with more oddities).

Our favourite part was the Discovery Room… hidden within the bowels of the museum… down empty corridors… with NO signage (we only stumbled upon it because we’re the types of people who like to explore empty corridors and open shut doors).

The Discovery Room is 3 huge rooms… bursting at the seams with:  stuffed animals and birds… (hundreds of ’em!)… horns, hoofs, an ostrich toe, giant pine cone, every kind of bug or beetle impaled on pins, shells (sea shells, tortoise shells, etc)… and (the most fascinating part)… endless dead things in bottles.  Bottled piglet, bottled snake heads, bottled chameleons and lizards… lots and lots of dead things in bottles – and (even better)… the Discovery Room was a touch-friendly zone.  Nothing was off-limits for the kids to touch and hold….  (we stayed in there for quite a while, as you can imagine!)…

Bottled chameleon...

Bottled chameleon…

Bottled dead things behind her… and a few stuffed birds on her left… this was just a TINY taste of what we found in the Discovery Room...

Bottled dead things behind her… and a few stuffed birds on her left… this was just a TINY taste of what we found in the Discovery Room…

museum 5

 

… also in the Discovery Room...

… also in the Discovery Room…

museum 7

museum 6

The museum had other interesting things of course… and to be honest, it was so big – we didn’t manage to finish exploring it!  They have an enormous section on birds, mammals and sea creatures – and they have a planetarium too.  Apart from the Discovery Room, the kids’ favourite exhibit was the dinosaur dioramas.  Here’s a pic:

museum

After the museum… we headed off to Marshal Music and bought Joah a kid-sized learning guitar.  Joah has been expressing interest in music for a while now.

Since Nick and I are both musicians (we met in a band), it wouldn’t surprise us if one of the kids have a leaning towards music… and right now, it seems to be Joah.  Here’s a pic:

joah's guitar

The following day… Mike and I took the kids ice-skating…

ice skating

And… in the evening, we all went down the road to Cape Point Wine Farms to enjoy their (very wonderful) Thursday Evening Food Market…

cape point

…. where we ate home-made lasagne… and Greek spinach & feta philo-pastry pies… and salad… and nutella crepes…. and enjoyed our last evening with Cousin Mike….

Mike looking very fetching in my sunglasses (which were a free gift from a magazine I sometimes buy)...

Mike looking very fetching in my sunglasses (which were a free gift from a magazine I sometimes buy)…

The kids…. thoroughly enjoying Mike...

The kids…. thoroughly enjoying Mike…

Anyway….

After Mike had left… we had a day or two to ourselves.  Nick needed to work, so I took the kids to Dunes in Hout Bay… where I could hole up in a lovely nook overlooking the beach (and get a bit of work done)… while the kids played on the sand-engulfed jungle gyms outside.

Life is good.  And I am very grateful.

Morgan stirring my coffee for me...

Morgan stirring my coffee for me…

My little nook at Dunes.

My little nook at Dunes.