A Scheepers’ HOLIDAY Update

The best thing about South Africa is our public holidays. And well, Cape Town, Kruger National Park and the men… Hello?!?! My sister and I both married one. 🙂

Back to the holidays… Since the 15th of December I have been on vacation and will only return to work on the 3rd of January. The 3rd, not the 2nd.

So, today is day is the forth day of my leave. What have I done in these days of luxury you ask? Let’s start with Friday. FRIDAY, we met a few friends for a little Secret Santa party at Toni’s. They have a wonderful play area for the kids. Thankfully mine is still stuck to me like glue and I can relax and not keep all eyes on the jungle gym.

Saturday brought on a serious case of summer cleaning, which Ava destroyed only moments later.

Sunday, grocery shopping and making yummy baby food with this book. Ava LOVES the chicken and broccoli. Add a little salt and pepper, minus puree and even I’d eat it!

There really isn’t anything other than breastfeeding that makes me feel more momly than pureeing food for my child.

Well except for…

MOMMY FAIL NUMBER (I don’t even know how many…) Ava fell off the bed and got a scrape on her nose. Insert heartbreak.

Monday, even though I am on HOLIDAY and the most of South Africa as well, I offered to forward all work calls to my cell phone. Number of calls during a week – MAYBE 5. Monday = 5 wrong numbers. Which = 1 super annoyed employee.

Number of shops Ava and mommy went to, 5!

Oh my, almost forgot, Monday was our 2 year anniversary. Loved that day.

I took my mom’s dress from this:

To this:
A few favorites…

Not cheesecake, a cake made out of cheese!

My BFF making grown men cry!

Tuesday, swimming at Ouma’s and Oupa’s. YES, I feel more comfortable in a one piece these days.

OMW, I am a mom in a one piece!

and she is one happy baby!

 Then a bit of shopping.

Funny, I use to enjoy shopping. I use to dream about being a SAHM (stay at home mom). Both those days are long forgotten. Running in and out of a store, people do that? However, I was really proud of Ava. Out of the bazillion kids in the first store we went to, Ava was the only one NOT crying. I was so scared, I left without buying a thing and it wasn’t even a toy store!!

On the way to store number 2, she fell asleep. I really toyed with the idea of just leaving her in the car. KIDDING!! REALLY KIDDING!! I am just the mom that wakes her kid up to go shopping. Bought nothing again at store 2.

Store 3, thought to myself again, should I take out the pram? No, it will only be a few minutes. Thank goodness, as the store I wanted to go to was on level 1 (okay American peeps, floor 1 is where you start, floor 2 is one up, right? Here not the same, anywho…) The elevator was broken, so with Ava in tow I braved the one flight of stairs and it worked out! Found the corks I was looking for. Corks for her Message in a Bottle 1sr birthday invitations. Which I made today…

One thing I LOVE is iced coffee, especially on a warm summer’s (apostrophe because summer owns days!) day. A Gooooogle search lead me to an all time favorite site, with a now all time favorite recipe, The Pioneer Woman’s iced coffee. Delicious!

Saving the hubby money on iced coffee this summer, he would say priceless, me? Maybe 400 Rands?

Wait, what day is today?

The Blairadise Guide to South Africa

As per request from my cousin April, here is the Blairadise Guide to South Africa. I don’t claim to know everything about this beautiful country, nor do I claim to have traveled the country over. This is just a peak into what I have discovered and hopefully it will entice more friends to come and explore SA. And visit us, of course.
Buying Tickets
Johan and I have made it back to the states twice since I moved here in 2008. Each time, we have scoured the internet looking for the best deal on flights, and not once have we bought directly from the airlines. South African Airways is way too expensive when dealing direct and Delta isn’t too far behind. For Natalie’s ticket in April, I found the cheapest tickets at Travelstart.  For our most recent trip in October, we bought our tickets on Flight Site. Today, I checked and Flight Site was cheaper. The lowest ticket prices I’ve ever found was around $1,200, and the price normally fluctuates between that and $2,000. You can always check with your local travel agent to see if they can get you a better deal with a layover. The direct flight from the states is almost 18 hours, so a few days in London is a nice way to avoid such a long flight.
When to Come
There is a website, thebesttimetovisit.com, that states from November until April is the best time visit South Africa. I agree. Who wants to come to Africa during the winter time? It’s not our snow you want to see, it’s the hot African sun you want to feel. Personally, I say come in December, because then we will also be on holiday and might get to travel with you.
Where to Go
There is so much to see and do here, so I suggest staying at the very least, two weeks. Especially considering you loose a few days while traveling. Where you should go, depends on what you want out of your trip. If you want a safari, you go to the Kruger National Park. If want breathtaking views, you head to Cape Town or the Panorama Route. Surfing, Durban. If you want a bit of history and city life, you stay right here in Joburg.
If you are into 4×4 off road travel, then you have to check out my brother in laws site, Ivory 4×4 Hire. They offer 4×4 rentals with all the essentials you need for camping in the African bush. He will also recommend a route for you to travel and places to stay along the way. All suggested routes he or some mates have traveled. Johan and I went along on one of his trips in 2008. It was one of our most memorable trips to date. We saw a mother cheetah catch an ostrich, THEN call it’s four cubs out and teach them how to finish the kill. Amazing!! Straight out of the National Geographic. He can’t promise you such an adventure, but I am sure your trip will be just as memorable.
My two favorite places are the Kruger National Park and Cape Town. If you’ve seen those two, you will go home more than satisfied.

Where to Stay
The best site I’ve found for accommodation in South Africa is SA-Venues. They have a huge selection, from luxury homes and villas, to backpackers and hostels. In the Kruger, I would suggest staying in a tented camp. There you can also find the most luxurious tents to budget rentals.

We’ve always stayed with friends in Cape Town, so I can’t recommend a certain place, but there are loads of wonderful choices from backpackers to the fanciest hotels. Once there you will also need to venture down to Stellenbosch and check out the wine farms. Even if you aren’t a big wine drinker, you must go enjoy the scenery. One thing to remember when booking your accommodation is that most places charge per person, per night, opposed to per night.

There is always a free place to stay in Pretoria at the Scheeper’s house! I’d say it’s 6 star.
What to Do
Again, there is so much here to do and see for everyone. Safaris, cage diving with Sharks, whale watching, hiking Table Mountain, exploring the vineyards, the Cradle of Humankind, tour Diamond mines, watch a Rugby game or Cricket match, travel along the Panorama Route, braai with the locals, and the list goes on and on.
South Africa isn’t as far away as it sounds. Here are few of my favorite photos while on holiday in SA:
The Vortrekker Monument – Pretoria – May 2011 – Don’t believe what you read in your travel guide.
Mine and Amanda’s first rugby game in 2008
Botswana with Ivory 4×4 – May 2008 – Can you spot the lioness?
Knysna – March 2008
The Kruger National Park – December 2009
The Kruger National Park – December 2009
Cape Town – December 2009 – The view of Table Mountain from our dinner table.
Stellenbosch – December 2009
Table Mountain – December 2009 – The view from the top!
Cape Town – December 2009
Botswana with Ivory 4×4 – May 2008
The Free State – March 2008 – Sunflower Fields
Uvongo – February 2011
Oribi Gorge – February 2011
Panorama Route – April 2011 – God’s Window
Panorama Route – April 2011
Are ready to book your trip? I’d love to help you. Email me.