Road-tripping with kids is never dull

We’re now in Plett, safe and sound at my aunt and uncle’s house and glad of it. This past week has been a crazy ride, with intense heat, delicious food, illness, fun excursions and a few hours of driving thrown into the mix.

April broke out in hives on Tuesday, her skin a map of raised angry islands. She had fallen asleep in the car on her way back from the Cango Caves, and we left her in the car to sleep. When she awoke, she complained that she was itchy.

“Did you get bitten again?” I said to her, “let me see.”

I lifted her arm and saw a mass of red splashed over her armpit. Pulling her dress off, it had covered all of her soft parts

“Josh, come take a look at this. She’s covered in hives.”

I ran to the reception at the guesthouse and asked if they had any antihistamines. We rifled through the first aid kit. No luck. So Josh hopped into the car and headed to the pharmacy as I took the girls inside the house where I put April into a cool bath to help the itching.

A couple of minutes later, Josh was back.

“It’s closed. It’s after five.”

“Shit.”

I ran back to the reception and asked the guy what he thought. He suggested maybe the supermarket, and I relayed the message to Josh. He hopped into the car again. Five minutes later he texted me: “nada”. I ran back to reception and the helpful guy there called his mum.

“Watson and Brink,” he told me after a quick chat on the phone in Afrikaans. They’re open till eight.”

I ran back to the room and texted Josh. But I had run out of credit on my phone. I had to wait until he returned, irritated, to relay the news. Back into the car he went, and finally, after three outings, he came back with a bottle of antihistamines. He gave a dose to April and we hoped for the best.

It started to clear up almost immediately. While the redness receded, the major victory was that it no longer itched. April sat and watched movies on my laptop all evening, while Josh cooked up a yummy dinner and we tried to have a normal night. We had booked a safari for the following morning, but if April was still itchy, I didn’t think we should go.

When she awoke, the hives had receded on her body, but new ones had appeared all over her legs and face. I didn’t feel it would be fair to take her out in the heat, so we spent the day at the guesthouse, hiding out by the pool.

It was a scorcher of a day in Oudtshoorn. Around noon Josh informed me that it had hit 40’ on the car’s thermometer. The air felt sauna-like as it moved across the hill, but with an added film of water, it cooled you right down. It was a day to be glad of a pool.

The night brought thunderstorms and a bit of relief from the heat. And this morning was overcast, yet muggy. We headed to Buffelsdrift Game Park for our safari. We were delighted to discover that it was just the four of us, and April squealed with glee as we bounced along the rocky track. We spotted hippos, a white rhino, a dozen giraffes, some springbok, both brown and yellow mongooses, to name just a few and learned all about the fascinating plants and birds of the semi-arid desert. Mariné, our sweet young guide, was full of information and clearly loved what she was doing. This allowed me to be a giant geek and ask millions of questions about the plants and insects. Score.

We were going to drive to Wilderness today, but April was very keen to see Auntie Lynda and Uncle Bobby, so we decided to skip it and just head straight for Plett. It’s already been lovely, and we’ll probably stay at least a week. I think it’s going to be good for April, who has been struggling a bit with all of the constant change.

I had hoped to keep a more detailed diary of the goings-on of our travels, but the pace has been hectic and with two kids to cater to, time is something hard won. And I don’t always feel like writing when I haven’t passed out nursing Charlie.

In the days to come I plan to write in more detail about our excursions. Highlights have been the tractor ride up the Langeberg Mountains in Montagu after a delicious potjiekos lunch (traditional Afrikaans food cooked in big cast iron pots). This morning’s safari was fantastic. Lunch and wine tasting at the Joubert-Tradauw winery was a culinary highlight (and given that I left my car keys there, might be repeated.) And even though it ended poorly, our day in Oudtshoorn – from breakfast beside the watering hole, watching hippos at Buffelsdrift, to a tour around the Cango Ostrich Farm, followed by a guided trip through the amazing Cango Caves – was super fun stuff.

But now I must go back to sleep.

Giraffes at Buffelsdrift

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