What a fabulous holiday to South Africa! Six weeks of glorious sunshine to enjoy during the UK’s long cold winter as well as Christina finally convincing her mother & father to come out to our home in the bush after five years of trying! They realised that if they didn’t come come now, they may never get there and so at the ages of 76 & 82 Nicole & Jim accompanied us to South Africa for the trip of a lifetime!
Their reaction to their first trip to South Africa was one typical that we have seen from Europeans many times before. They were completely shocked by EVERYTHING they saw and South Africa was ‘nothing like we had imagined’! They loved the diversity of cultures and the beautiful scenery. Cape Town was awesome and Jim was in heaven in the wine estates sipping wine and admiring the beautiful gardens. (www.vergelegen.co.za) We did the usual tourist sights of visiting Table Mountain, Robben Island, Boulders beach with all its penguins, Camps Bay and Hout Bay, to name but a few.
After two weeks in Cape Town we flew to Mpumalanga for a 4 week stay at our house in Kruger Park Lodge. Once again Jim & Nicole were stunned at the beautiful setting of our house by the river on the golf estate. ‘I had no idea it was anything like this!’ said Jim. At 82 he was in his second childhood, running around with the grandchildren, playing with them in the pool, enjoying walks along the river and simply sitting, gin & tonic in hand, watching the river running through the grounds. It reminded him of his childhood in Ireland living close to the River Liffey with its fast flowing waters
Our children loved the impala grazing on the lawns outside the house and the troop of monkeys that often paid us a visit. Nicole was surprised to find a particularly bold monkey in the house one day, it calmly took a mango out of the fruit bowl, walked out, then sat eating it in front of her, leaving the peel for her to clean up!
Mum & Dad loved the little towns of Pilgrims rest, Graskop, Sabie and the visits to the Waterfalls. They also experienced a visit to a rural village that we have been visiting for several years. We took them to Homezeya Primary School and all 900 children and teachers were outside to greet us on our arrival with some African songs.
With donations from the parents at Farnham Gymnastics Club in the UK, we were able to bring much needed sports equipment to the school. The children went wild at the sight of the footballs. The school had no sports equipment at all and the Head teacher told us they used to have a football, but that it had burst and they had been unable to buy a new one. We visited the village Church and again with the donations from Christina’s gym club we were able to give £500 towards bricks for the building of a new Church.
Once visited, South Africa stays with you for ever. Christina’s parents enjoyed every minute of their six week stay and we know they would love to return again. Jim said he was going to come back as soon as he got home! Our enjoyment was seeing them having such a fantastic time. Sadly three weeks after returning home Jim had a heart attack. He is so happy that he was able to see South Africa before his health declined and often thinks about his holiday. Four months on he is recovering and often wonders if he will ever look at our river again.