The joys of the open road

Travelling with small children does sometimes feel a bit like spinning plates, and we were served a lesson this week on how a couple of minor oversights can quickly snowball into some broken crockery.

We had made an early arrival at the highly impressive Ithala game reserve and all parties were thoroughly enjoying the fine weather and the pleasant swimming pool in the central camp. We should have probably called it day at that point but in what turned out to be quite a suboptimal idea, we decided to head out for an evening game drive and in doing so, push back the regular supper time and bed time. It all started out very well but as the road became far less appropriate for our chosen vehicle, progress became excruciatingly slow and as one child cried from a missed sleep another cried from a missed lunch. Not wanting to be outdone, the third then chipped in by projectile vomiting over the passenger airbag, twice. The chorus of wailing and general panic was not exactly in-keeping with the serenity of the park and as the sun was setting over this beautiful reserve, we couldn’t help but reflect on just how well things had panned out. 

After regrouping and a thorough cleaning operation we departed Ithala the following day, though our woes were not yet behind us. We have typically tried to limit any travel day to no more than three hours; anything beyond this, then all occupants become progressively unsettled and the whole situation becomes progressively less bearable. The eight rainy hours of weaving through some fairly cavernous potholes wasn’t exactly conducive to happy driving and although we didn’t quite reach breaking point during these eight hours, we weren’t far off. The pressure test was adequately rewarded though as we settled into the aesthetically and culinarily pleasing surrounds of Clarens.

Clarens is a cracking little place close to the Lesotho border and Golden Gate Highlands Park, and although the grandeur of the park can’t be denied, for us this has been outshone by the substantial punch packed by this little mountain town. The excellent network of trails in the hills above Clarens have kept us very busy; either with the full entourage in tow or lightweight and at pace (or at least what little pace we can muster up these days).

Given what an enjoyable stay this has been and what we endured to get here, everyone seems a little gun shy about getting back in the car. 

All smiles at this point
The Kudu were not phased by our shenanigans
The impressive Golden Gate Highlands National Park
She marched them up to the top of the hill….
….and she marched them down again.
Hiking above Clarens
An impressive little walk for Harriet


  1. Goodness me, and this is just the start of this leg! Brace yourself girls (and thank goodness Gin in on the cards again)

  2. Hahaha Fran and Phil, thanks for the amazing pics of you and your stunning little daughters and the hilllllariously entertaining and informative posts. Where to next? I told a friend the other day about how I met you 2 in front of a spice shop in a bustling market in New Delhi when you were on your way to China and I was off to Bhutan. It makes one think that perhaps the chance of winning the lottery may be realistic! Hamba Gahle and enjoy every minute, just watch out for the projectiles….:))). Eline.

  3. Amazing Fran well done to you and Phil. We just about to get to Gracetown 3 hours south of Perth in one piece with our 2!! Wonderful photos, love to you all xx

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