H Is For Weekend In Hermanus

I first visited Hermanus years and years ago with my cousins who had a weekend house in the little town. I loved digging for clams in the shallow surf and eating them straight from the braai. A delicious briny appetiser.

I returned to the little seaside town last December. Not so little anymore, it has been developed beyond belief and I was pleasantly surprised that the place we stayed at was a good 20kms from the town on the road to Standford. The Coppull Nature Reserve is off the beaten track – there is not even a sign that says you’ve arrived, so you have to drive slowly once you pass the yacht club and look out for the postbox. You need to get out of the car to open the gate and drive down a dirt road to the houses. It’s lovely and close to nature and home to about 10 peacocks. It’s a fantastic place to go as a big group as it sleeps about 12 people.

It’s not close to the beach but there is a large lake with a small jetty and clear waters, perfect for swimming.

Five words to describe it:

  1. Peaceful
  2. Serene
  3. Rustic
  4. Close-to-nature
  5. Value-for-money

Click here for the Airbnb details.

 

G Is For Gravensteen Castle

It now houses the Justice Museum along with its collection of torture equipment and weapons. The Gravensteen Castle in Ghent is spine-chilling. Also known as the Castle of the Counts, it’s a medieval fortress, with restored stonework, complete with an enclosed keep and 24 towers.

Gravensteen Castle
©2018 Regina Martins

The torture and weapons exhibit is an experience, complete with sound-effects of screaming people coming from the depths of the castle…the dungeon!

Gravensteen Castle
©2018 Regina Martins

The impressive military architecture conveys power and strength which has seen many battles since the times of the Roman occupation.

Gravensteen Castle
©2018 Regina Martins

The torture part of the museum comes complete with a guillotine and an example of torture. Have a look…

Gravensteen Castle
©2018 Regina Martins
Gravensteen Castle
©2018 Regina Martins

For locals, the castle eventually came to symbolise oppression and the abuse of power and it was allowed to decay until it was bought by the government and restored to what it looks like today.

Gravensteen Castle
©2018 Regina Martins

It’s an experience, not for the faint-hearted.

 

E Is For Ericeira

I’d like to introduce you to the small town of Ericeira. When I first went there it was a fishing village. With its close proximity to Lisbon and beautiful beaches, it’s become popular with both locals and visitors alike and grown a lot. I’ve written about it before (click the link above) and posted a gallery of pics so I won’t repeat that. I’ll just post my favourite pic 🙂

Don’t you just love the neat geometric umbrellas on the beach – this is the “Praia dos Pescadores” (directly translated as “The Fishermens’ Beach”

D Is For Durban

When we were kids every holiday was spent in Durban. As landlocked Joburgers the annual beach holiday was something I looked forward to all the time. Once a year we packed our family of 5’s belongings into a VW Bettle and headed down to the coast. As we neared Durban, we played the game of ‘who can see the sea first’, which was accompanied by the briny smells of the ocean.

One of my favourite things to do was walk along the Marine Parade from the South to the North Beach, browsing all the vendor’s stalls. I was a child with no cash and convincing my folks to buy this and that was never successful 🙂

Durban South Beach
©2017 Regina Martins

These days I seldom go into the city, preferring instead the quietude and serenity of the small village of Umdloti Beach.

The smooth sand, ebb and flow of the waves, the winged clouds and the fire of life of the plants holding on to the slippery sands of the dunes
©2017 Regina Martins

The village has changed little over the years but the beach has changed significantly. The beautiful tidal pool most parents felt safe allowing their kids to frolick in is not so safe after all. The promenade has subsided in places because of soil erosion caused by severe storms over the years. When Che and I were last there, in August last year, the tidal beach was closed off for rehabilitation, with a huge bulldozer in the middle of the sand.

Storms have slowly eroded the dune, collapsing the pavement
©2017 Regina Martins

Away from the tidal pool, avid residents walk the beaches at sunset, wielding metal detectors – I wonder what they find…?

Metal detector on a beach
©2017 Regina Martins

Things to remember when holidaying in Durban:

  • It’s on the Indian Ocean coast so the waters are warm.
  • There are amazing dive sites further north, close to Sodwana Bay.
  • There are game reserves with the Big 5 just 2 hours to the north.
  • uShaka Marine World is a haven for kids – the waterpark is a lot of fun.
  • It has, in my humble opinion, the most beautiful aquarium in South Africa.
  • The Durban Botanical Gardens is one of the city’s best-kept secrets.
  • It boasts a large international airport, the King Shaka International Airport with daily domestic flights, and international flights from Istanbul, Doha, Dubai, Mauritius and other African destinations.

It’s a different experience to Cape Town. I don’t venture into Cape Town’s frigid waters but Durban is my happy beach swimming place. And it has great surfing too.

 

Social Entrepreneur, chief wide eyed in wanderer, wonderer and bottlewasher

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