Spoilt for choice at The Crags
When you live in Nelson Mandela Bay, you are spoilt for choice, with surrounding weekend destinations in close proximity.
Whichever way you go — east, west or inland — there are places to explore and enjoy.
We chose to spend our latest holiday weekend at The Crags, a short two-hour drive westwards from Port Elizabeth.
When travelling with teens, it is important to find a place with lots to do.
Our crew loves fishing and the outdoors so we always choose a destination surrounded by natural beauty with loads of outdoor activities.
We decided to spend our weekend at Kundalila Farm, which checks all of our boxes.
Its self-catering Cashel Cottage sleeps six people and is one of the best-equipped cottages we have stayed at.
From an adjustable braai with tongs, grids, firelighters and lighter, to a tranquil hammock, a small kitchen brimming with everything you could possibly need, a games cupboard, novels and books, fluffy knee rugs — you name it, this quaint little log home has been so well thought out.
And the artworks on the walls are gloriously original, most being from resident artist Leigh Wolfaardt, who has her studio on the farm.
Judging by the information folder, there are unending possibilities of things to do in the area and you would have to stay for a few months to get through everything.
Here are the five things we chose to do on our weekend in The Crags:
Always top of our boys’ list is somewhere to fish, preferably fly fishing.
Kundalila Farm boasts three beautiful dams brimming with black bass.
Loads of fun for fishermen and non-anglers alike — the environment is so pretty and tranquil, it is relaxing to sit on the banks of the water, listen to the birds and watch the clouds go by.
Jacob and Cian both hooked quite a few decent sized fish, which were all safely released again.
Nature’s Valley is right around the corner from The Crags and offers some phenomenal day hiking trails.
On our way to The Crags, we detoured via Nature’s Valley and wandered the wheelchair-friendly Groot River trail, marvelled at the giant yellowwoods and watched a huge troop of baboons grooming each other.
On our first full day, we chose to hike from Nature’s Valley to Salt River — taking the coastal trail on the way and returning over the mountain via the forest trail.
We packed a picnic lunch and spent the most blissful day on the secluded lagoon beach at Salt River — swimming, snorkelling, fishing and sun-tanning in paradise.
There are a multitude of other hikes to enjoy and though we were planning on hiking to the Eastern lookout on our final day, the 40° heatwave put us off.
We will definitely return to tackle more of the marvelous day hikes in the area.
Nature’s Valley has an incredible beach with a lovely large lagoon and an unspoilt bay with soft, sandy shores.
We visited in spring, and enjoyed our first swim of the season in the sea.
And what a swim it was — after crossing the river and sharing the shady shores of the lagoon with baboons, we noticed that the tide was streaming in from the sea and it was getting dangerously high to cross the raging waters so we headed back onto the beach and wandered to the mouth.
The water was a crystal clear aquamarine and was literally gushing into the river mouth.
We took one look and jumped right in — safe in the knowledge that we would be washed into the lagoon, not out to sea.
We lay like starfish on our backs and bobbed along with the raging current until we were spat out into the lagoon.
This was exactly like a giant natural water park ride, and we giggled like little children, leapt up and ran back to the beginning to do it again.
Feeling refreshed and 20 years younger, if not a bit cold, we were delighted to find thousands of dolphins had swum into the bay and were surfing in the waves, leaping into the air and zooming on their tummies and backs all the way into the white shore breakers.
What a treat to stand and watch this natural spectacle.
4) Farm stalls
Between The Crags and Nature’s Valley, there are some fantastic farm stalls.
We first visited Nature’s Way, where we parked next to a couple of little goats who love being brushed on their tummies — there is a small hairbrush available for you to use and the cute little darlings adore the attention.
There is a lovely little gift shop, a deli brimming with wholesome farm goodness (we bought farm eggs, freshly baked bread and some delicious homemade ice cream), a little tea garden overlooking fields with bunnies hopping around and a gorgeous plant nursery.
We also visited Bread and Brew next to The Crags Superette on the N2, which doesn’t look like much on the outside but is a little piece of heaven inside.
They make the best homemade pies we have yet tasted — they were so good that we visited a second time during our stay and sat outside in the quaintly decorated garden where we were thoroughly entertained by two cute piglets, a drove of loudly braying donkeys and some very fancy feathered chickens.
The food was sublime, especially my caramel tart which is literally worth planning a visit to The Crags for.
5) Wine farms
Since Bramon Wine Estate planted the first grape vines in The Crags in 2001, wine estates have popped up all over the area, collectively forming the Plett Wine Route.
The cooler climate lends itself to sauvignon blanc, chardonnay and pinot noir and many of the farms also produce Methode Cap Classique bubbly.
The farms are a treat to visit — we didn’t taste the wines as we were driving the Kombi full of our family, but we bought a few bottles which we thoroughly enjoyed when we got home, and enjoyed cooldrinks in the stylish wine farm restaurants as we had a look around.
We popped in to Lodestone, which has a charming restaurant overlooking a pretty dam, and then visited neighbouring farm Kay & Monty, where to my absolute delight we bumped into a large vintage carriage drawn by a pair of magnificent Percherons.
We were too late to join the tour, which has to be pre-booked, but I can’t say of a better way to tour the vineyards in The Crags and cannot wait to revisit for a full wine-tasting carriage experience.
All in all, we highly recommend a visit (or two or three) to The Crags. There is literally something for everyone to enjoy and it is a perfect family destination.
Cashel Cottage at Kundalila Farm
Sleeps 6 people in 3 bedrooms, from R1,200 per night with a minimum stay of two nights. Call
079 066 6255 to book
Nature’s Way Farm Stall
Open daily 9am-5pm, www.naturesway-sa.com
Bread and Brew
Open Tuesdays — Fridays 8am-5pm, Saturdays 8am-4pm, Sundays 8:30am-2pm
044 534 8861
Lodestone Wines and Olives
Open Tuesdays — Sundays 11am-4pm
Kay & Monty Vineyards
Open Tuesdays — Sundays 11am-4pm
Wine Tasting by Horse & Carriage
Hog Hollow Horse Trails — www.horseridinggardenroute.com
From R380 for 30 minutes to R1990 per person for a full day tour. Must be pre-booked.
Sarah Dirsuwei — Chasing the Rainbow travel blog
For more family adventure travel inspiration visit www.chasingtherainbow.net