James gets First Prize – takes after Ma!
Just got back last evening.
Nine slow hours there on Thursday, and nine hours back today. Dawdled through the Oos Vrystaat. Saw jackal (Tommy spotted him just outside Clarens), mongoose, springbok, blesbok, hartebeest, white-tailed gnu, zebra, grey rhebok, and lotsa birds. Sterkfontein full to the brim and looking blue as the sky. Fascinating to think beneath those clear waters is Nuwejaarsvlei, the farm my Mom was born on in 1928. Lived there till she was eight.
The air was crystal clear, we could see every detail of the Malutis and the ‘Berg. Here’s the whole High Berg from Sentinel to Giants Castle (click on the pic).
Kids were a pleasure. Jess took a friend Savanna, and they giggled and ogled the ski instructors non-stop. The Naudes joined us again, so Tom had Joshua and we had James and Michael, old-time skiers all, now – *yawn*!
Ma Michelle took to skiing like a duck to water and won all the bum boarding races hands-down. Must be technique, as I thought my superior attraction to gravity would beat her, but no.
Car Trouble! Craig had car trouble and spent two nights in Ficksburg after we’d all left!! He took his new black Jeep CherryOkie and burnt out the starter motor trying to ignite frozen diesel. Ernest the resident Afriski diesel mech (he keeps the Pisten Bullys going) tried, but no go, so a flatbed truck was summoned from Ficksburg, land of the Cherry Cherry beauty contest.
Before the flatbed arrived, he borrowed my bakkie and took his vrou Michelle and three boys to the Free State Holy City by the River Jordan (OK, Bethlehem). Hired a car for them, so they got back to Westville one night before we did (Monday night). He got back to Afriski late Monday, just before Braam arrived wif ve flatbed. R3600 later the Jeep was dropped on (or off) a jack at the Ficksburg auto-electrician’s, cracking the sump.
So Craig is still in F’burg, two nights later. F*ckit, I think he said . . .
The Resort: Afriski is MUCH more organised now that PIN (the guys I bought thru) have 51% and management control.
This was our seventh trip, so I’m happy we’ve made good use of it. The kids still look forward to it all year – they’re already plotting next year! And they always ask, “Can we go again in the holidays?” and I have to explain how it costs a stack if you go out of your allocated week.
I paid R125 000, so still expensive, but getting less each year! The big question will come when we decide to sell! (update 2020: Well, COVID lockdown played havoc with the resort’s finances; if it survives – it’s touch and go – it’ll be a while before we’ll be able to sell ).
Our chalet is very comfy, 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a big lounge, 12 beds. Lovely kitchen, well-equipped. About 500m from the slope, so we get plenty of exercise in the thin air!
Eye Candy: On our last day six gorgeous shapely models arrived for a photo shoot and had a ski lesson. It was a glorious bright sunny day so they all wore skimpy tops and I had to check up on the kids wif me binocs.