You’d think that by now we would have road tripping down to a fine art as we have driven to so many parts of our beautiful South Africa. But now that we do it with a toddler, things have changed drastically and we have started to do things so differently. Everything from where we choose to stay, to how many times we stop along the route to driving times change when you have a little person in the car with you.
This July we embarked on a road trip with the FreshStop Goodness Gang Minis from Cape Town to East London. In this post we will share some tips, highlights and travel hacks on our leg of the trip from Cape Town to Plettenberg Bay.
Cape Town to Caledon
Only and hour and a half from Cape Town, our first stay of the road trip was 8km outside of Caledon at Chavonnes Farm Cottage. After a dusty drive along farm roads, with green hills cascading outward in every direction; we were overjoyed to have chosen this self-catering cottage. With nothing else around except for the owner’s farm house, sheep and blue cranes, it was bliss, especially for Caleb. Every morning he could run out to the bleeding sheep, play in the sand, paint pictures on the grass and go for walks beside the stream.
Cape Town Airport and Strand FreshStops
If you’re flying into Cape Town, the airport FreshStop is one of their flagships and has won retailer of the year award globally. With multiple healthy options for snacks and food, Caltex to refuel and seattle coffee company for coffee, this store is a winner. The Victoria Street FreshStop is a smaller one but very neat with essentials for a quick lunch and refuel on the go.
What to do in Caledon
Given that the winter cold has already crept in, the Caledon Hot Springs was the perfect answer on what to do during the day. R165 per person over holidays and weekends ( Kids under 6 are free), we put on our swimming trunks and enjoyed the many pools available. The really hot pools ( over 40 degrees celius) were the highest up and as the lower you went down the stairs ( all the way until the changing rooms), the cooler the pools became. There’s also an outside kids play area and loungers beside the victorian bath.
Caledon Fresh Stop
This was one of our favourite FreshStop as it has a grassy outdoor area with a jungle gym for the kids to run free plus a diner insider with a spacious area to sit and eat. There are multiple options of food here ranging from the healthier options to grills and more. And of course, always top of our list is the Seattle Coffee Company stand with every form of espresso-based goodness to fuel your journey.
Caledon to George
With a toddler, this was quite a long stretch and whilst we didn’t stay in George, we recommend spending a night or two here as we love Victoria Bay for surfing, bodyboarding, beaching. Carmel Guest Farm for stays with kids, the botanical gardens and the ‘Map of Africa’ lookout point plus the neighbouring Wilderness area with its beaches, kaaimans River for kayaking and abseiling and much more.
George Fresh Stop
In more of an industrial area, this Fresh Stop is not too far of the N2 with a hot food stand and coffee machine. Plus a place to have your car washed. A true highlight here are the friendly staff and great manager.
George to Knysna
There is so much goodness between this route. And it will take you through Knysna, a town very dear to our hearts and looking surprisingly great after a fire ravaged large parts of it. Already the town is back on its feet and inviting visitors to stay. With so many wonderful options of where to stay don’t forget to take a boat cruise to the Knysna Heads and visit the market in the main Road.
Knysna Fresh stops
There are two fresh stops here: one in the Knysna Quays store which has an outdoor seated section, a seattle and a spectacular view over the Knysna Lagoon.
Knysna to Plett.
Our second overnight stay was just outside of Plett at Bella Manga Country Lodge. We couldn’t believe our luck at finding another farm stay where Caleb could feed nguni cattle, wake up and play with chickens and run free on the huge land. When he permitted, we lazed on a hammock on the wooden deck and enjoyed lazy breakfast on the stoep. This is a truly special stay and owned by a wonderful family who have amazing plans for this space.
What to do in Plett
Monkeyland is a brilliant place for families and friends. A tour guide will take you around for an hour as visitors are not permitted to walk around without a guide. Monkeys of all species roam around and live freely throughout the forest and you get the chance to see them eating, swinging and playing together.
There’s a great restaurant enclosed only be a net so you can watch the monkeys while eating. Something your kids ( and you) will love.
Home of one of the world’s best right-hand point breaks, Jeffrey’s Bay is fondly known by locals and visitors alike as JBay. If surfing, and surfing lessons are not for you, there’s horse-riding, restaurants, the Billabong Sale shop, coffee shops and a kids waterpark to enjoy.
JBay Wavelands FreshStop
Travel Hacks for Road Tripping with a Toddler:
1. When booking places to stay, it’s best that you state the age of your child when booking on an accommodation site or directly with the place. They can then advise whether it’s child-friendly or if it’s unsafe for kids under a certain age. With Caleb being under 2 years old, we look out for places with stairs inside, pools ( right near the accommodation), balcony’s with big openings and tiny rooms with no outdoor areas and avoid all of the above. With toddlers you always want an outdoor space, places that have places for them to play without having to leave and ones that hopefully provide a camping cot.
2. With driving distances you really want to remain modest with these. When Vaughan and I road tripped alone we could drive for hours at a time with no worry about the time or when we stopped. With Caleb unless he’s sleeping, we have to stop multiple times for nappy changes, loo breaks, play time and lunch. So factor this into your travel time and don’t be overzealous with your route planning.
3. Make sure your car is kitted out with everything that could keep your child happy. We no longer go anywhere without the Tab and we put Caleb’s favourite videos on it to keep him occupied. Travel cds, toys, cooling in books and books plus loads of snacks are all necessary to maintain their peace and your sanity.
Which tips do you have for road tripping with a toddler?
Don’t forget that you can redeem Standard Bank UCount rewards at all FreshStops. To refuel and refresh for your road trip journeys, FreshStop at Caltex is a great option with healthier alternatives for on-the-go snacks.
You still have a chance to win FreshStop vouchers and Goodness Gang Minis, so follow our journey until the 14th July 2017 and enter.