Coming home is an exciting experience, especially if you have been away for a long time. Blame it on Covid, finances, studies or personal situation; travelling to see the family has not been the easiest for anyone in the past few years. It’s the same the world over; long overdue homecomings filled with emotions such as happiness, excitement and lashings of happy tears. Unless, of course, you are coming home to South Africa, this act alone requires the dexterity of a professional juggler! Family members visiting South Africa know that aside from a joyous homecoming, there is the added prospect of ensuring you see ALL family members – most of whom are not blood-related but considered family purely by default.
South African family
South African definition of ‘family’
If you are a true blooded saffa, no further explanation is needed. However, if you are new to the concept of South African ‘family,’ perhaps now is the time to explain. For South Africans, the word family is attributed to ALL of those we love and care for. This means you don’t have to marry into the family, have the same blood or be related in any way! For example, Tannie Steenkamp, who lives down the road, has known the family for years, watched the kids grow up and helped with frequent babysitting; yup, you guessed it, she’s family! But so is Oupa Oosthuizen, who once helped Pa fix the roof for nothing more than a lekker kuier by the braai and an ice cold beer.
As a South African, you know that family is a ‘big thing’, and chances are you’ve had that phone call from your mother. You know the one explaining that Marie from your mom’s knitting circle has a friend whose daughter is coming across to your side of the world and needs a place to stay? Yes, she’s family too! So you understand that visiting South Africa after a long period is bound to be a momentous occasion, and that’s not even taking into account the weather, wildlife or much missed beloved braai vleis!
Memorable places for family gatherings
Of course, such occasions require momentous places to gather, and no one understands this better than the Finglobal team. Check out the fabulous places you can get together with family and friends (aka family) and enjoy a lekker catch-up! It’s long overdue!
Nothing says tradition quite like Babylonstoren. This Cape Dutch farm can be found nestled at the base of Simonsberg in the luscious Franschhoek wine valley. Book a hotel or cottage stay; alternatively, simply take a day trip and enjoy the farm’s delectable restaurants, garden, and spa. Take the family on a garden or cellar tour or dive into a mozzarella or bread baking workshop. There truly is something for everyone at Babylonstoren!
Situated on the slopes of Table Mountain in Cape Town, the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden is one of the best in the world. According to our standards anyway! Visit the Kirstenbosch manor, luxuriate in its bespoke accommodation options or book the conference centre for a massive 400 family member shindig complete with catering, aircon and parking. That should just about accommodate the Tannie Steenkamps and Oosthuizen’s in your life! In addition, its brilliant Moyo restaurant and Fynkos tea room provide tasty morsels for hungry visitors and parched family members.
If adventure and wildlife are on the cards, there’s no better place than Augrabies Falls National Park. Augrabies is filled with something for everyone, from walks to hikes, running, biking, bird watching and a fabulous beach. Accommodation comprises 59 chalets (again, perfect for large families) or simply pitch your tent or caravan and enjoy being close to nature. Wildlife is in abundance at Augrabies, home to the African wild cat and bat-eared fox; you may even stumble across a leopard; if you are lucky!
If history is more your style, this hotel has a lot to offer. The Lord Milner Hotel or Matjiesfontein Hotel is set in the wild Karoo and steeped in South African Heritage. Founded in 1884, its seen the many twists and turns of South African history. However, this national heritage site is by no means old fashioned. With impeccable accommodation that includes a private swimming pool, historic cottages and a stunning villa- family members are spoilt for choice. Surrounded by a plethora of historical attractions, including a historic cricket pitch and a pink church, the family won’t be stuck for things to do or see!
Fellow saffa foodies will love the Hazel Food Market based in Lynnwood Pretoria. Entry is free, and the market is literally stuffed with every type of cuisine you could think of, from speciality foods across the pond to traditional saffa fare! Yum! Choose your organic veggies, sample cheese and munch on an olive as you allow the flavours and scents to transport you around the globe while standing in sunny South Africa. This market truly is where cultural diversities collide and blend to form a sensational tastebud journey!
The Northern Cape (Karoo Hoogland) is home to the town of Sutherland; this is where the South African Astronomical Observatory is based. Famous for being the best place to star gaze, you can also enjoy walking and biking adventures, golf or tennis. Book a stargazing experience for the whole family, view the Southern Cross or Magellan clouds and enjoy a guided tour of the observatory.
While the above list contains some truly remarkable places to visit with family and friends, nothing beats a traditional kuier with copious amounts of tasty South African kos. However you decide to spend time with family this year, we are sure it will be both memorable and filled with loving ‘family’ members! From the FinGlobal team, lekker kuier!
Expert Advice for SA expats right here at FinGlobal
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