Bundu Bashing at the Rietvlei Nature Reserve

23rd Jan 2018 at 9:45 am

Bundu bashing in our backyard!

Living on a farm in the city, we get to experience nature a little more first-hand than most. Monkeys, rabbits and the occasional squirrel are often exciting sightings as we go about our daily lives. But Bill and I have been wanting to experience true ‘Africa’ with the calves for quite some time now, so when we read up about Rietvlei Nature Reserve in our Destination Irene magazine, we decided it was time…

Loaded with some yummy snacks (from The Deli, of course) and with three very excited calves in the back seat, we made the 5 minute journey just across the R21 Highway. From the moment we drove through the reserve entrance gate, we felt a sense of bushveld bliss that we so often dream of escaping to.

On arrival at reception, we opted for the self-drive option – being the first time our calves were experiencing wild animals up close we thought it best to keep them contained in our vehicle! The reserve, however, offers organised game drives, walks and lion tours – all of which come highly recommended for your African bush experience.

And off we went…

Entering the reserve, we were met with the most beautiful view. A majestic dam and grassland all around. We started seeking all there was to see with a competition in the back seat as to whom could spot something first.

Just a few minutes into the drive and there stood a herd of blesbok. A good start to our day which got even more exciting as our next sighting was a white rhino with her calf. We sat watching them for a while as the calf playfully jumped around beside its mommy – such a treat to see.

Ambling through the dirt roads, we came across numerous other sightings before stopping off at the coffee shop (once a farm house) for a break. Also a large picnic area, the calves enjoyed the jungle gyms whilst Bill and I sipped on cappuccinos.

Then it was back into the car for a late afternoon drive. As we made our way to the main road we were met with the most exciting sighting of all – a cheetah with her cubs (three of them). The calves were jumping around on the back seat with excitement (exactly why we didn’t want them on a game drive!) and they gushed at how adorable the cubs were. We sat on the road and observed them for well over half an hour as they rolled around and played with each other, only paying attention every now and then to what their mother was doing (typical).

Reitvlei Nature Reserve - Cheetah

We returned to the barn feeling like we had been on a safari and the calves went to bed that evening chatting about their exciting day.

Rietvlei Nature Reserve is well worth the visit and the best part is, it’s right in our backyard!

Till Next Week,
The Dairy Cow

 

 

 

The Smuts House Museum

17th Jan 2018 at 10:00 am

Smuts House Museum (the ‘Big House’) was home to General Jan C. Smuts (1870 to 1950), one of South Africa’s greatest sons.

He bought the wood and iron building that had served as the officers’ mess for £300.

It is believed that the building was originally prefabricated in Britain, taken to India by the British Army and later shipped to South Africa. It was then dismantled and brought to Pretoria by rail. It arrived at the Doornkloof farm by ox wagon, where it was re-erected at the substantial cost of £1000 in 1909.

General Smuts was at sea, on his way to England. He was a member of the National Convention delegation, when Mrs Smuts moved her family into the house on 10 July 1909.

The plan was altered on rebuilding and as the years passed, a kitchen and pantry (1918) and other rooms were added. The veranda’s were enclosed (front veranda, 1942). The Big House is, however, substantially as it was a century ago.

A visit to the Museum:

When you visit the museum, the unpretentious building strikingly illustrates Smuts’s indifference to luxury and ease of living, and here he spent the happiest hours of his life.

After his death in 1950, Mrs Smuts continued to live in the only real home she had ever known, until her death in 1954. Both General and Mrs Smuts died in the Big House.

Their ashes were scattered, as were other members of the Smuts family, on the top of Smuts Koppie – the rugged hill behind the house

The Smuts House Museum seeks to represent General Smuts’s lifestyle and multi-facetted career, as well as to promote the holistic vision on which he expounded in his life and writings.

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Contact details:

Tel:  Anne Anspach (General Manager) 012 670 9017

E-mail: admin@smutshouse.co.za

Website:  http://www.facebook.com/smutshousemuseum

Opening hours:                08h00 to 15h30 every day except Good Friday, Worker’s Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Facilities include :

  • Ouma Isie’s Tea Garden:  open daily, (except Mondays) for teas and light meals, with special Buffet Lunch on Sundays.
  • The Oubaas Walking Trail, a circular walk of 2,3km up to the Kopjie and Smuts’ Monument.
  • An Arboretum and Place of Quiet.
  • Tranquil Picnic spots in beautiful, shady areas on the grounds.
  • Catering for functions and events in peaceful, secure surroundings.

Till next week!

THE DAIRY COW

Smuts@Irene

9th Jan 2018 at 1:22 pm

 

MOOOI!

Moooi! Craft and market are two of my favourite words, so when I recently spotted the street advertisement for the Irene @ Smuts Market I decided it was time to pay it a visit…

With Bill and the calves in tow, we moooseyed on over to the Smuts House Museum last Saturday morning only to be met with the most wonderful vibe. Craft market heaven!

Bill headed straight for the newly built wooden deck where live music set the tone for an enjoyable morning. Craft beer and great food options meant that he was quite happy to soak up the tunes whilst the calves and I strolled around the stalls.

Proudly South African handmade products resulted in us spending quite some time chatting to the vendors – getting to know their crafts and admiring their makes. From handmade glycerine soap (which smells divine) to perfectly sewn Barbie doll dresses, there is something for everyone at this market.

I was mostly impressed with the creativity and originality of some of the vendors. I purchased a lovely shopper bag, which I plan to use for my weekly Irene Farm Shop visit, made out of recycled washing powder packets – who would have thought! Not only did I enjoy every minute of exploring this market, but I felt like I was helping to save the environment in my own little way!

Another one which caught my eye (and my wallet!) was a vendor making Tree of life décor from old bicycle rims. Mine will be proudly displayed on our barnyard gate entrance. I’ll be sure to post a pic on my Facebook page as the Tree of life photos are all the rage right now!

Beautiful jewellery, clothing, paintings and more – you can see why we were there for the whole morning! Not forgetting the antique stalls. The calves and I had so much fun checking out all the old goodies, much of which I had to explain what they were!

It wasn’t long before my youngest calve was tugging at my hoof for something to eat and drink so we decided to stay for lunch.

Vetkoek, gourmet hot dogs, pizzas, paninis, pull pork sandwiches – you name it, they’ve got it! And the drinks aren’t far behind… We saw many happy market goers with a glass of wine in their hands and the craft beer vendor seemed rather busy too… I stuck to my trusty favourite – coffee – and it was a mooovelous one at that, whilst the claves had their all-time market must – bubble tea!

Together with Bill, we sat on the deck and enjoyed the time spent together. The market buzz in the air made the atmosphere complete.

On the walk home, the calves moooed about how much fun the morning had been and asked when we could go back! I’ve since discovered that they hold a Moonlight Market on the last Friday evening of each month – I’m going to pencil that into the calendar right now…

 

 

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