RIEBEEK EAST, SOUTH AFRICA
OK, I have to admit something… Before heading out on this adventure I didn’t know that Riebeek East existed. I just didn’t. Maybe it’s Cape Town ignorance or maybe it’s because it’s because it’s the tiniest town I have ever seen, either way, we were surprised to be there. We literally drove from the one side to the other without even realising it haha.
But we were glad to be there and to stay in a house again. Guys you forget how freaking lucky we are that we have toilets right next to our bedrooms, or at the least warmly inside of our houses. And a hot shower. Gosh, this is something I will no longer take for granted. We were blessed to be able to stay at the generosity of Yvonne and Jimmy who run Lost In Time.
Given the fact that Riebeek East may only have one shop and a beautiful church you may be inclined to brush over it as a place to skip of your travels around South Africa. And I guess if you are looking for the hustle and bustle of city type life then it possibly wouldn’t actually be for you. But if you are looking to get away from technology, want to sink into nature and marvel at how simple life can be, then this is totally for you!
We enjoyed the feeling of being “off grid” without actually being completely without the luxuries we take for granted. Plus, if you can’t deal without a variety of shops to spend your time and money in, then Grahamstown is only about 40 minutes away. And Bathurst just a bit further than that for a nice day out near a massive pineapple – as one does.
At this point we were still a month in to the adventure and life was still fresh. Getting used to the smaller space and being squished together was still a lot. But the good news was that the side walls that we ordered arrived and so we could add an extra room onto our space.
The bad news is that they actually don’t fit the way they are supposed to and so we hard ever use them. But you live and you learn and this was definitely one of those learning experiences for us.
As you can see, Seth underwent a bit of a change at this point in our travels… No more jeans… Nope, it was time to whip out the travel pants. He’d been searching for them for a while so what luck when we found them inside a giant pineapple in Bathurst.
On that note, I could easily have spent a couple days in Bathurst, so if you are planning an itinerary then you must add this as a stop on it, you won’t regret it.
We also had to stop in Grahamstown to pick up the sides for the tent and to do some laundry. The absolutely great thing about Grahamstown being a student town is that this is the very least that we have ever paid for laundry ever! R80 foor something like 3 loads – washed, dried and folded. Magic!!
Aside from eating at a million different restaurants there, we were hoping to get to see the Camera Obscura at the Observatory Museum. Sadly it was closed for renovations and I am absolutely bummed about this. I learned so much about it that I was really excited to see it in person. But I suppose now we have a reason to go back.
What we did do to pass the time and was totally free was go Geocaching. I spoke about it once before… aaaaaaaaaages ago. But we never actually got around to doing it ourselves. But with free time waiting for laundry and a tight budget, we gave it a go. It was SO fun!!
While we were in Riebeek East we enjoyed a wonderfully delicious home cooked meal with Yvonne and Jimmy and learned a bit more about the town. The church is 195 years old and has recently been renovated to bring it back to its beautiful self. It is just wonderful. The house that they are staying in is also really old and has a story to tell as well. I love old houses, they just have so much character.
We really enjoyed our time in Riebeek East and sharing time with new people and hearing their stories. It’s one of the best parts of this adventure.
Scroll through the daily Instagram posts of the days while we were there, some extra videos and more pictures, if that’s your thing.
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Day 29 – Addo to Riebeek East 1. Changing places brings out a couple of things in me. A huge surge of excitement at experiencing a new place – staying too long in a place now gives me itchy feet instead of a longing to stay. But it also brings out quite a big dose of anxiety. The unknown is sometimes daunting for me and managing the logistics of getting there, meeting people, settling in and getting used to the new sounds and things often freak me out (at every place we’ve gone – even without the van). But I’m all about trying to better myself and push those comfort zones to grow myself a bit. This trip is going to obliterate those kinds of things from my life soon I’m sure. 2. Another thing that I have learned about myself, is that if I don’t eat then I turn into a full blown negative monster. It wasn’t too bad at work, but being with the kids and a lot more active has thrown me. Today Seth gently pulled me aside and asked when last I ate and then I realised why I was being a total butt head. Going to Grahamstown tomorrow to stock up thoroughly so this doesn’t happen again in a hurry. 3. Riebeek East really is a town off the beaten track. It has one shop and absolutely no petrol stations. However it does have a beautiful church and so much history that it makes it a charming place to visit. 4. We haven’t really had time to explore it yet, but we’ll get a chance to do that later this week. Right now I’m thankful for a picturesque town with fantastic hosts offering up their house with all the comforts of home. 5. Moving places also means a distinct lack of photographic moments because we’re all over the place and it’s not really a priority on these days. 6. Totally didn’t realize that this month had 31 days! Might have to relook at our itinerary. But then again I hardly ever know what day it is never mind how many days in a month. It’s crazy trying to keep track. Everything just sort of blurs into one.
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Day 30 – Riebeek East (and Grahamstown) 1. We woke up realizing that during the night we’d gone dark. Crazy how much we rely on the internet these days. Without it we had a small bit of panic trying to figure out how to send off some urgent work emails. Weirdly my phone service still worked and so we got it sorted. I can do the country, off grid life for the most part, just don’t take my internet haha 2. We had to stock up on supplies and do some washing, and with Riebeek East only having one shop we thought we’d head to Grahamstown to take care of it and cross another town off our list. 3. The highlight of Grahamstown for me was going to be the camera obscurer that they have at the Observatory Museum. However this is currently closed for renovations. I was SO bummed. 4. On the up side we got our laundry done at student prices! Yes please! 5. We had some time to kill and without the museum to spend it in, we started Geocaching. What fun!! Some of them are so little it was really hard to find. The kids really enjoyed going on a real life treasure hunt so we’ll definitely keep doing this as we go along. 6. Kyla has a full on black eye because Riya punched her in one of their pre bedtime fight sessions. I can’t believe it, it’s proper purple. But at least it taught them a lesson and they seem to have calmed down before bed now (although have now replaced it with crazy giggling ?) 7. The road in and out of Riebeek East is 25km of dirt road either way you leave. Wow. My little Figo is not a fan hey. You feel every single bump. It’s the only time I have ever wished for a bigger car. 8. I was going to take a picture of our view this morning but instead I thought I was stepping down a step (I wasn’t) and threw my phone out of my hands in excitement of not falling on my face. Needless to say the photo didn’t get taken but tomorrow we’ll give you a good look at where we are (if you aren’t a fan of watching the stories and want a photo instead).
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Day 31 – Riebeek East 1. It’s about 10pm and the whole house is sleeping around me. I was about to put my phone down and call it a day when I realised that I hadn’t done an update! 2. Today was a good day. We stayed “home” while we worked, focused on school and caught up with ourselves. It was good we needed it. 3. Tomorrow we head back I to Grahamstown to get the sides that we ordered for our awning. I’m sure we’re going to need them soon for those rainy days. 4. While we’re there we’ll probably pop over to Bathurst to check out thag Pineapple. Though in excited for this, I’m not excited for the dirt road. I’m sure my little car isn’t either. 5. Is there anything that you’re dying to know about what we’re doing? I’m trying to work questions into blog posts for the next week or so and I have some good ones. Not that anyone reads the blog anymore but in case you’re interested in something specific and I’ll definitely answer you. 6. We’re washing up in a bucket at the moment (because this place is being renovated to make it extra awesome and so doesn’t have a kitchen) but even though it’s the chore I hate the most, it’s not bad with this view. 7. I made a pretty decent lunch of her bed sautéed sweet potato with egg. Man it was good. I love it when it actually works out! 8. Are you enjoying these posts last thing at night or should I make them the first thing the next morning?
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Day 32 – Riebeek East (Grahamstown and Bathurst) 1. We’ve been on the road for a whole month now. ? Although it may look it, it hasn’t been all beach days and touristy stops. It’s been a month of adjusting – a bunch of character building for us individually but collectively we have been growing our love for our beautiful country and each other. Despite the challenges that we have and are still to face, I’d still say it’s worth it. 2. To be real frank here, I didn’t think I was going to be able to do this. I mean I was going to do it. But I thought I would really struggle to conquer all my niggly little hang ups and live so unpredictably. But I’m really enjoying it more than I thought I would, even though I have cried more this month than I have for the entire 6 months prior. Working through emotions and difficulties is par for the course of any lifestyle choice. 3. We went to Grahamstown again today to get our awning sides so that when we do land up in colder, rainier areas we will have an extra “room” to be in. 4. The Rat & Parrot is where we ended up for lunch and it was good. The pizza pie blew the kids minds. 5. From there we had to go over to Bathurst to see the big pineapple. It was very cool and not what I expected at all. There wasn’t much else to do there though, I think it might be because it was a Wednesday afternoon. There was no one around. But it did give us a chance to check out the little stores and one day I want to have my very own art corner, it’s just great seeing people express themselves so differently. It’s the kind of town I could picture myself living in and I don’t say that easily. 6. We didn’t find SpongeBob in the pineapple but Seth did find the pants he’s been searching for. They aren’t exactly what we had in mind but I love that the story will always be that he bought them in a giant pineapple ?? 7. Knox figured out that he has a bit of a six pack going and so he couldn’t stop checking himself out in the mirror haha.
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Day 33 – Riebeek East 1. Today was our last full day in Riebeek East. At first it was difficult for me to settle into such a quiet town but now I’m not sure I want to leave. However Hogsback beckons. Any recommendations on lunch places in Fort Beaufort? 2. It was another day of working and getting school work done. Today we introduced Banana Grams which is a great way for the kids to learn words and spelling etc. Although it’s quite something to get into, I think they were a bit daunted in the beginning but we’ll all get the hang of it soon. 3. We looked at options of having a map printed onto our table and then had a bit of a laugh at the price. Our budget just didn’t have it available. What we do have available though, is @moderndaddiy, who is not only gifted at rebuilding campervan interiors, home schooling our children and being a cool dude, he’s also pretty good at drawing things. Map soon to be sorted. ?? 4. We had such a lovely dinner with our hosts Yvonne and Jimmy. They welcomed us into their home with amazing food, sincere hospitality and we are lucky to have been able to stay here with them. Thank you both again for an amazing night. 5. Riyas favourite glasses broke and I’m quite sad. I loved that she loved them so much and wore them every day. They were just so her. 6. Another game we play often is Uno. But sometimes we play on teams and I cannot tell you how much it warms my heart to see my kids working together to beat me. (They hardly ever do. Beat me that is, because I don’t go easy on them, where would the fun be in that? Plus losing is character building ?) 7. We just finished Grampas Big Escape and it was such a great book (thank you to all of you that recommended it, you were bang on the money). The kids and even us adults loved it. Looking forward to our next book!
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Day 34 – Riebeek East to Hogsback 1. We packed up our van yet again to move on to our 10th stop of the trip. We’re getting better at it now but it’s still a mission to move places, looking forward to getting it waxed and maybe also getting up earlier on these days instead of later (the kids slept until 9 this morning!) 2. In the process of packing, I picked up my DSLR to start taking real pictures again but the battery was dead. I’ve been wanting to take proper pictures on it for a while now but just haven’t. Not entirely sure what’s been holding me back, but it changes now. 3. Before we left we checked out the church in Riebeek that is 195 years old! The kids loved it. 4. We left Riebeek East at 12pm and only got to Hogsback at 5. Literally double the time Google maps told us it would be. But we’re used to that now. 5. We’re staying at a backpackers up in these mountains and it’s great. There’s a little restaurant (I say little because they literally only serve breakfast or pizza) but it’s just what we need. 6. I’m loving the forestyness of this place, looking forward to doing some hikes this weekend as well as checking out the town. 7. It is flipping cold here. Wow. I thought the 2deg in Riebeek was cold but it has nothing on the cold here. Apparently going to be – 3 on Monday! No snow though. 8. At the bar I ordered the cider and because it was the last of the keg and not a full mug, it was free. Yes please.
A bit of an idea of what goes in to a travel day…
Then here are a few more pictures of our stay there…