Firstly I must apologise for the length in between my posts.
I have recently started teaching once again at a local school and have been consumed with learning the different rules and regulations at school, as well as with lessons and school activities. I will do a post on the school soon as it is very different from my previous experience. This is the only nature based school in South Africa and I am extremely excited about my new endeavour.
This post is to share with you a little piece of heaven we discovered recently, a mere 20 min drive from our home.
We have come to realise that in order to instil value and appreciation for our environment and nature in our boys, it would mean US as parents showing this to them through our behaviour. We began this year with our second visit to the Berry Festival (we chose blueberries- my favourite) in Magoebaskloof, where we picked (and munched on) organic berries, enjoyed freshly blended berry juice and later blueberry muffins using our organic pickings.
We also enjoyed the Mango Festival at the Bavaria farm just outside of Hoedspruit. The children had the opportunity to ride at the back of a truck (yes very exciting) and picked a box full of mangoes right off the trees. They also learnt about different varieties of mangoes.
The absolute highlight so far in our ‘Nature Adventures’ was the hike we attempted to a waterfall nearby. We were slightly nervous as to whether the boys little legs would manage the walk but decided to attempt it as it is something we had not done with them as yet. So on Friday, (the public holiday) after prayers, we geared up for the hike with some ‘padkos’ (light snacks to have along the way). We packed a backpack with the necessities like water; caps, sunblock, some towels for after the swim and off we went.
My oldest son who is almost 6 was rather nervous once we started our journey into the ‘woods’ … you see… according to him, this was where the wolf lived! The wolf?! Yes, the wolf….you’re familiar with the one…he tried to eat the 3 little pigs and harrassed Red Riding Hood. He knew these stories and many more very well with all my mother’s fairytale telling. We eased his fears by telling him that “that” Wolf actually stayed in a different woods and that this was a good forest, so there was nothing to fear.
We stopped along the way to look at strange mushroom type plants growing on the barks of trees… of course my younger son looked quite confused as there were no ‘dogs’ there, so it was a learning opportunity as he realised that trees have barks as well. It took us approximately 20 mins to reach our destination as we paused along the way showing the children different aspects of nature, the roots from trees uprooted by recent floods, butterflies, and parasitic trees; which grows from the ground up, to nearest tree and basically strangles it. So it seems that this forest wasn’t as good as we made it out to be as pointed out by the older son. We also had to cross a rickety bridge which swayed from side to side as we crossed. My younger son thoroughly enjoyed the danger in this, true to his fearless spirit.
They did manage the hike quite well but once we reached the waterfall, being typical boys said they were starving. We let them enjoy their burgers while dipping their feet in the crisp and clear water of the waterfall. This has to be one of my favourite places in the world and lucky me; it’s just a stone’s throw away. We let them climb up rocks and explore the shallow water while throwing stones as far as they could. They actually had so much fun they did not want to leave so we spent a fair amount of time there – taking in the mesmerising sight of the sun as it hits the waterfall and the sound of the water hitting the bottom blocking out all the other sounds of the world… a little piece of heaven.
We also spent some time admiring the views further up of the blyde dam.
If you do happen to be on this side of the world … a trip to the Swadini Nature Reserve Waterfall in an absolute must.
Ps. Even though we took the kids to the loo before we left, my little one needed to ‘go’ at the falls… and was quite surprised when he realised that in the bush- the toilet is found behind the biggest rock you can find …where ‘no one can see you’…. Yep- Nature at its best 😉
**March is a busy birthday month in my family, so I was quite the ‘baker’ recently… here are 2 of the cakes I managed to bake for people close to my heart** I’m still a beginner… but I do try 😉