Life in the Singh household is crazy at times. We all have hectic schedules and don’t get to bond as much as we should. Early January 2017 saw me booking a holiday, saving up for it, planning all the finer details and mostly getting excited as time ran towards it.
The destination chosen was Pine Lake Marina, a resort in Sedgefield, Southern Cape. The resort boasted tons of activities to keep our teenage daughters and ourselves occupied. The period of our stay was 7 days. We were booked in a double story face brick house. It had everything we needed, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, full of comfort, kept cool with industrial ceiling fans in each room. A balcony with outdoor braai area overlooked lawns that weren’t lush and green, a constant reminder of the drought experienced in the Western Cape. A brown picket fence cocooned a prized blue pool that kept tempting me to take a dip. A flight below the pool was the bank of the Swartvlei Lake. Calm waters stretched for kilometers, dotted with boats, people jet-skiing, canoeing, some even swimming. It was picture perfect and I felt like I was in a dream.
As much as we wanted to explore every nook and cranny outdoors, it had to wait. First was buying groceries in Sedgefield for our stay. Since it was two days before Christmas, the shops were packed, queues were snaking from one end to the other, but it didn’t bother me knowing I’d be returning to paradise. Neil had started the braai and the girls were playing a game of 30 seconds. We enjoyed a light meal of boerewors rolls on the balcony as the sun dropped into the Lake. After supper we donned our jackets to explore our backyard. First up was the pools. There was a child and adult pool, decked with sun lounges and hammocks. The water was surprisingly warm to the touch. We explored a walkway and found it led to a gate running down the embankment of the Lake. It was so quiet, the only sound was the rippling water ebbing to and fro. We walked along a pier to where people were night fishing. A bright new moon gleamed from above and the stars winked at us and we just knew we’d made the best holiday choice.
The second day of our stay saw me getting up early, feeling rested. I brewed a cup of coffee, opened the curtains and unlocked the sliding door. It was a beautiful sunny morning. The Lake was sparkling like diamonds as the sun glistened on it. It was breathtaking to behold and I sat there for a long time drinking its splendor. Some children were frolicking in the pool, soaking up the sun and I was torn between wanting to explore it and the Lake simultaneously.
We were excited to try everything at once but had to pace ourselves. We had 7 days to get through and wanted to enjoy every moment. The girls ventured to the pool and spent a few hours there. Upon their return we decided to head out to the Lake to see what activities were on offer. They had everything from peddle boats, kayaking, jet skiing and yachting. We opted for the peddle boats. We were strapped into life jackets and hopped in two boats. The boats were controlled by a lever for directions whilst pedals maneuvered it around the Lake. It was great exercise pedaling away, exploring the Lake. The water was shallow, which was a relief should one topple over. We pedaled and pedaled around the vast expanse of the Lake tiring ourselves so much that we stalled, allowing the sun to embrace us. The water swayed around the boat as we found renewed energy to return to the pier.
Lakeisha wanted us to play tennis in the afternoon. We took a stroll to the games room to collect rackets and balls for a game of doubles tennis. I hadn’t played tennis in a while and thought I’d be rusty, but as soon as I hit a few balls I was back in the swing of things. We had great fun, shouting and screaming as we lost a ball or a game. Sweaty and tired we returned home only to jump in the pool to cool off. Neil prepared us another delicious braai in the evening. As I tumbled into bed later I was exhausted but so content.
Day three and it was Christmas. If I was in Cape Town I would be slogging in the kitchen preparing a big lunch. Not this time! We decided to take a drive to Knysna, 30kms along the Garden Route. It has everything from luxurious homes, a lagoon, forest and Lakes. Sadly a fire devastated parts of the town in June 2017 leaving nine people dead, homes destroyed and blackened trees, evidence of its destruction. Many of the restaurants were closed and we opted for sushi at a quaint Chinese restaurant. We topped it off with ice creams for dessert. No hassle for Christmas lunch and no stress either, yay!
Day four and we decided to explore the resort on foot. Pine Lake Marina resembles a little village of houses, grouped in various colours. There was a Piazza that housed a small cafe selling all sorts of necessities. There was a bar with a karaoke, a gym, hot water pool, jacuzzi’s, sun lounges and hammocks. Family favorites were tennis courts, a squash court, trampolines, putt-putt and a game house with every game imaginable. What caught my eye was a love bench with a wedding arch wrapped around it, containing locks, inviting lovers to lock their love while on holiday. Eager to comply, we bought a lock, had it engraved with our names and had a small ceremony officiated by our girls. Hand in hand we promised to love each other forever, locking our love in Pine Lake Marina.
Day five saw us heading to the Lake again. This time around we opted to go on a cruise boat called the Loose Goose. Captain Sane helped us aboard a white and blue weathered boat. He sported a white beard, lit a pipe and took the helm, navigating it around Swartvlei Lake. He relayed the Lake was formed by two conjoined rivers. The further we sailed, the darker the water became living up to its Afrikaans name. Captain Sane pointed out where he stayed on a small hilltop called Leopard’s Ridge where wild animals roamed free. It became cooler the faster we went, taking in some of the width and length of the Lake. He even made “donuts” in the water before returning us to shore. Exhilarated after the ride we decided to play a round of volleyball with the girls. It was such fun – jumping, running, smashing the ball over the net. After a quick bite, Lakeisha and I returned to the tennis court for a match. We enjoyed it so much, playing two matches to even the score 🙂 Once again we finished the evening with a swim in the pool, the cold water soothing us as we swam and splashed around.
Day six saw us playing putt-putt. The course contained obstacles of stones, windmills and bridges making it hard to gain a good score. Neil won the round as he did most games we partook in. Luckily he never lets it go to his head (another reason why I adore him so much <3 ). It was a blazing hot day in the Marina, to cool off we bought ice creams at the Piazza. We tried our hand at table tennis. It was way easier to play than tennis and so much fun tapping the ball of air onto the table. Upon returning home, the girls swam and I assisted Neil with a lamb potjie for supper.
Day seven arrived and the girls were tired, opting to laze around. Neil and I wanted to go cycling and went to the Lake House to hire bicycles. Cycling is not my forte, having rode only during childhood. Straddling the bike, I wobbled a bit to find my balance, pedaling slowly to gain confidence. Before long I got the nick of it and followed Neil around, dodging cars and people as we meandered around the Resort. It was another scorching day, the only shelter available from shaded trees we passed. After an hour of cycling, we returned our bikes to the Lake Shop. We walked along the pier to cool off, relaxing under a covered bench. The wind had picked up and a cool breeze embraced us as we enjoyed the Lake one more time. We returned home for lunch and Lakeisha wanted us to play another round of tennis. My arm was tender after the previous match but we didn’t want to disappoint her and decided to play again. Once the match was on, I forgot the pain, enjoying the banter between us. It was becoming easier to serve and hit balls with all the practice. We played two matches, each winning a set much to our delight.
So came to an end a delightful holiday in a resort that became like a second home to us. I was going to miss the serene Lake, the sounds of holiday-makers having endless fun, the stress-free days, all the activities we seldom get to partake in. As a family we bonded, made the most of our time together and enjoyed everything to the fullest. I have no doubt the memories we created will remain carved in our hearts forever <3