We’ve just come back from a weekend away in Hazyview, Mpumalanga again! This time Seans’ old varsity friends came from near and far to meet, catch up, check in and bond. Picture it  15 adults and 17 children (ages 5 months to 15 years old) descending on Mpumalanga – like a zoo, a plague – no – thats much too negative. More like one happy boisterous family!!!! Our neighbours at the Cabanas certainly thought so when  complaints rained in about noise levels at 7h30 pm. My first thought was: ” Really ! – So jealous”.

We stopped at the magnificent Sudwala Caves before checking in. Just awesome making our way through the oldest cave in the world – 250 million years. It once was the home of 3000 Swazi fleeing from their brethren in a bitter family feud for the throne. In about 2 hours we learnt so much, from geography, archeology and geology to  anthropology and history. You get my meaning. Saying it was a rich experience is an understatement.  Its the kind of place you take your child to over and over again so they can grasp its fullness with the different stages of their development. The darkness of the cave is haunting yet exquisitely beautiful. My daughters were keen to bend low into the dirt to get to the fairy chamber where the shallow lake showed still reflections of the rock above – just like a mirror.

Then to the Cabanas we went. No frogs this time. In the heart of winter the place was warm enough for the kids to swim. They had an amazing time with so many friends.

Our trip to the Kruger National Park was on a Safari vehicle with a ranger this time. Its an experience all on its own. We were so blessed – one of one thousand leopards crossed the road in front of our vehicle that morning. What are the chances, in a Park the size of the State of Israel?

That cat was awesome !!!!,  but boy oh boy if you saw the girls, you’d be gob smacked.  A while later five lionesses walked out of the bush into the road to parade their strength, their fierce beauty. I don’t think there was one person in an open truck who didn’t feel a cold rod of panic pierce their core at some point. Those beasts were simply breathtaking. Having them come so close to the vehicle was met with a strange sense of disbelief. The children’s emotions moved from heightened excitement to fearful and freaking out. And when Mufasa made his appearance after the pride, we were all quite simply in awe. Majestic. Hands down its the place for families and kids of all ages.

It sure beats TV and mobile phones and what ever other techno junk besets our children. It got me thinking about nature and how little of it our kids get to experience. There are very few little peeps who ask for the channel to be changed to national geographic or animal planet. but after the park my kids can sit through an entire show. And even so- there’s nothing like being in the midst of it. I loved giving the experience to my kids – deliberately giving them the alternative, giving them nature. I left feeling its a kind of responsibility, a duty to show them real beauty, real history and the fun they can have when outdoors,  against a back drop of mountains, tall trees and African sunsets.