holy moly, it’s only 18 odd days and then my SUMMER HOLIDAY starts. today i’m reflecting on summer holidays of old, 99.9% of the time spent by the sea (where else?). our family haunts were:



when i was very small, we went camping in knysna. i don’t remember much else apart from squishing around in the mud of the lagoon when it was low tide looking for crabs. the ever present silver kombi was there (that thing took us everywhere, all over south africa, for years and years – then it was stolen from outside my parent’s house and found weeks later in lesotho full of chicken feathers)




and more significantly…

kraalbaai, langebaan:


we stayed on a wooden houseboat that was owned by the south african parksboard (i think it still is). my dad played a role in helping sanparks establish the west coast national park (and designed the houseboat) in the late eighties – evidently why we went there so often. it was the BEST!


the houseboat when it was launched


i distinctly remember the long drive there in the trusty kombi, and finally arriving in the public parking lot. it was ‘paved’ with hot white/grey gravel and those horrible 3 sided thorns that you had to watch out for as you made your way to the path that wound down to the jetty (there were also public long drop loos in the parking lot, they fascinated me – in a gross way). i can actually smell the sea and that beachy fynbos aroma just thinking about it…. also the constant low hum of cicadas in the heat.


don’t forget the rubberduck, holiday necessity of note (and how you got to the houseboat)


my dad & brothers would sail our yacht (teenybobber – heee) from gordon’s bay harbour and park it (park it? anchor it) next to the houseboat and we would stay there for what felt like…. months.


in our swimming costumes all day


jumping off every possible surface into the sea (including from the roof)


giggling at people trying to windsurf (my dad in that picture)


if not swimming, then colouring stuff in (also looking fashionable)


chops & wors from the teeny tiny braai (wearing super white block out sunblock)


drinking cooldrink (sometimes coke, if you were lucky) as the sun went down (no beer for me back then, my dad drank castle dumpies though). aaaah… it was truly flinging flanging magical! really the best holiday a kid could have (and all done without any TV’s or video games).

nowadays we hang out in betty’s bay, where we’ve had a holiday house for almost 10 years.



our dogs having a good time

it’s my seaside destination of choice because not a lot of people bother with betty’s (they usually scoot straight past to hermanus, which is so overcrowded you couldn’t pay me to go there) and it’s close enough that the drive is only around an hour, but far enough away that it really feels like holiday.


not exactly the prettiest town, but certainly some of the prettiest beaches (usually it’s all clear skies in summer, but check that cloud out!)

coastal road

… and definitely one of the most beautiful coastal stretches in the world.

if you’re on holiday soon (or not), a happy summer to you! if you live up north and you’re in the grip of winter, well, dream of africa?


  1. I want to go there too! Such cool photos and remind me of 2 holidays in Knysna when I was a wee lass (one on houseboat) before it was the overpopulated tourist circus it is now. Will always love that muddy squelchy divine lagoon though.

  2. such a lovely post – has inspired me to dig thru some old albums again. We still go to Kraalbaai every summer and the houseboats are all still there. Happy days.

  3. When I was a lighty we took a camping trip to Plett, staying on the Keurbooms river. It’s where I caught my first fish. Years later we moved to Knysna where I finished school and for a few years every weekend felt like a holiday: houseboats, yachts, jumping bridges, catching crabs. Thanks for the post, I’d not thought about those times for a while now…

    Happy holidays…

  4. oh man, we need some kind of holidays of old forum where people can post pics & share stories. lekker.

  5. i love this post and so wish it was summer NOW! Have spent a few weekends on that very houseboat – so cool that your dad played such an NB role in preserving pristine spots like Kraalbaai – we spent many a lazy day this past December anchored there, eating tinned mussels off Salticrax and skiiing, skiing, skiiing..who needs the Med?! V x

  6. Rachel Townsend Reply

    It was lovely reading about such good childhood memories, and i totally agree i had many holidays or much of my childhood not near a tv and we never had a playstation as we were very happy. x I love the beach and have spent many a day there in heaven.

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