The Vancans Family

Neil, Gaye, Lara and Guy

Los Angeles - USA

11 July 2001

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Day 1 - Wednesday

I met the Vancans family at the Cape Town airport on the Wednesday night (11 July) and we went straight to their hotel as they had been through a long day and needed much rest.

Day 2 - Thursday

Neil phoned me at about 13h00 and we decided to go have some lunch and work out an afternoon itinerary as we traveled. We started off at the Gardeners Cottage for lunch.


Guy sampled and eventually purchased the hat in this picture at the shop next to the Gardeners Cottage restaurant.

After lunch we we went down to the rugby museum at  Newlands Rugby Ground and from there we decided that with the weather being perfect it was time to ascend Table Mountain.


Lara doing her Titanic bit on Table Mountain's edge.


Guy doing his Titanic Table Mountain stunt


Guy, Gaye, Lara and Neil standing on the view site of Table Mountain


Guy phoning his friend Graham in LA from the top of Table Mountain


We all shared some champagne as we enjoyed the fantastic Cape sunset on Table Mountain


Another photo/silhouette of us all with the sunset directly behind us.


We could not resist taking this photo at the bottom of the mountain with the fantastic Cape sunset in the background.

After our trip up Table Mountain we went into the city so a to enjoy a wonderful meal at the Africa Cafe. Great evening. Thereafter I took the Vancans to the Cape Town Waterfront where they got in about an hour of shopping.

Wow - what a wonderful day this truly was.

Day 3  -  Friday




We first stopped in at Kirstenbosch gardens where Ron Ferguson took us around the Garden on his mini tourbus

Here we see all the Vancans near the King Protea garden


Guy showing off his sprinting skills as he chases us on the mini tourbus


Here we see Ron Ferguson in his mini tourbus that he used to tour us through the gardens


Father and son posing in front of the Protea garden


Guy having fun with the traveling family statue in the gardens


Guy and Lara posing like two peas in a pod. J J


After our visit to Kirstenbosch we went to Pollsmoor prison for lunch. After this fascinating experience we traveled to Simonstown and stopped for a short while at Jubilee Square.


Guy and Lara posing at the Just Nuisance statue


From Simonstown we went straight on to Cape Point


Here we see the family fighting with the wind at the top of Cape Point


After going to the top of Cape Point we met up with Joe Kannemeyer who is the lighthouse keeper at Cape Point. The lighthouse I am referring to is the working lighthouse right at the bottom of Cape Point. We managed to get hold of Joe via a contact of Neil's. Joe took us down to the lighthouse and then into it. In all my years of going to Cape Point this was the very first time I had ever done this journey and it was one of the most exciting and exhilarating events I have experienced while touring. The Vancans also were very excited about the event. We stayed at the bottom lighthouse till close to sunset and eventually we were the last people to leave the cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. What a highlight this last part of our journey truly was! WOW!!!


Lara and Gaye standing in front of the lighthouse


Part of the "treacherous" climb down to the lighthouse


Gaye standing at the top of one of the ladders inside the lighthouse


The family and Joe Kannemeyer on the lighthouse balcony with Cape Hangklip and Hermanus in the background.


After this exhilarating experience we traveled back to Cape Town and had an early night.



Day 4  -  Saturday


Winelands here we come!


We started our day by going to Plattekloof so as to see the splendid Cape Town view from the Plattekloof hill. Then we moved on to Clara Anna Fontein. We just peeked in on the game farm and saw springbok, bontebok, zebra, wildebeest, ostrich and tortoises


The family and Titia from Clara Anna Fontein posing for an early morning picture


We then traveled to Cotage Fromage near to Franschoek where we had lunch.

Everybody enjoying the sun and food on the Cotage Fromage patio.



Guy, Lara and Neil inside Cotage Fromage


We went to Franschhoek where everybody was celebrating Bastille day. We went to Franschhoek G-spot, Belgian Chocolate factory and the Corkscrew Antique shop.

From Franschhoek we travelled on to Stellenbosch where we went to Khaya Mandi./ While in the township we met up with some congregants from the Church of Zion. AS can be seen Lara had a very moving experience in the township and even got involved with the digging of the church foundation.






Addendum to the original website of this tour.

When the Vanscans family arrived back home Lara wrote the following amazingly perceptive poem for her school project relating back to the above experience.


Young, na´ve and innocent she stands,
Oblivious to the unimaginable poverty that surrounds her.
The hardest thing to swallow is that she is happy.
She knows no better and neither does anyone else.
Holding her hand, my skin glows against hers,
Despite our many differences, I understand her
Her scruffy well-worn pink dress hangs just above her knee,
It is a sign of her mothers love and attempts to give her all she can.
Still clinging to my arm in the burning sun
She says in broken English, "I love you, I love you"
The tears swell in my eyes like water balloons ready to burst,
I must hide them or she'll question.
She knows not of sadness, but only freedom and happiness.
I feel guilty, sad and so much love all at the same time.
These people have fought for so long and gained only one thing.
Something that man should never have to fight for but is always forced to.
It's called freedom, and its all they need.

Lara Vancans


After that very moving moment lets get on with the tour.....


We then traveled to Neethlingshof Winefarm where Elton gave us an informative tour of the cellar

Here the everybody enjoys some wine and information about making wine with Elton at Neethlingshof winefarm.


After Neethlingshof we traveled to the Cheetah farm where all had a great time petting the cheetahs as the below photos show.




We then traveled back to Stellenbosch and went to Coetzenburg so that all could say "hello" to Danie Craven as the below pictures show




After our trip to Coetzenberg we returned to Cape Town where we all went to the Golden Jewel, Chinese restaurant for supper.

After supper Neil, Guy and myself returned to my apartment and watched the Lions-Wallabies game that was played in the morning and after taking both then back to the hotel we ended the day preparing for tomorrow which will be our touring the Garden Route.

Day 5  -  Sunday

The Garden Route


We left Cape Town early and travelled on to Kleinmond as we made our way to Knysna.


In Koeelbaai (Bullet Bay) we saw two whales. Here Neil, Lara and Guy take advantage of the great weather and views while watching the whales


We travelled on to Swellendam and had late afternoon tea in the town. The next two pictures show what fun was had at the open air tea garden at "Belle Alliance"


After Swellendam it was a case of on to Knysna and we arrived in the town at 19h15. We went straight to Main Street Restaurant for dinner and after that moved on to Overmeer Guest house where we would stay for the next 3 nights


Day 6 - Monday


After a hearty breakfast at Overmeer we went down to the lagoon where we took the ferry to the Featherbeds Nature Reserve. The following pictures depict our journey over to the reserve as well as the time we spent there.


This picture show the very unusual event of seeing a boat go through The Heads. If one takes a look at the right hand side of Lara ones sees the Navy minesweeper moving through The Heads.







The tunnel of love 


After our journey to Featherbeds the family traveled by steam train (Outeniqua Choo Choo) to Sedgefield where I met them after their ride.



We returned to Knysna and moved on to the Waterfront area. In the below photos we see Guy trying his hand at "Flying sticks" and Lara contacting her friends on the internet at the Internet Cafe.



After the Waterfront we stopped in at Papillon's for a great meal.


Day 7 - Tuesday

This was the day that Guy and Lara were waiting for as we traveled on the Garden Route as it was going to be ostrich riding day.

The morning started off with the Vancans family taking an early walk on Brenton on Sea's unobstructed 3 mile beach. I dropped all off at the Brenton side of the beach and with Guy armed with football in hand and everyone else ready to get rid of some sleepy eyed blues the Vancans took off on their walk.

It was a case of brrrr in the morning

The Vancans on the beach

A panoramic view of Brenton Beach

The Vancans complete the 3 miles


We arrived at Oudtshoorn Ostrich Farm where Guy and Lara had fun in a "push war" with the farms Billy Goat


Guy gets brave and feeds an ostrich while Neil captures the event on film


Lara feeds a female ostrich while Xavier, our ostrich farm guide, looks on


Lara and Guy test the ostrich egg strength


Not to be outdone Gaye tests the egg strength too.




You can be the judge if fun was had by all!







During this ostrich riding activity we all could not stop laughing!


After the ostrich farm we went to a restaurant in Oudshoorn for lunch. Thereafter we traveled on to Plettenberg Bay. We arrive just before sunset. Neil and Guy had a run on the beach playing with Guy's football. We then travelled back to Knysna where we had dinner at Changes restaurant.


This was a wonderful fun day for all


Day 8 - Wednesday


L L Goodbye day! L L

(This was going to be a real toughie day)


We packed up at Overmeer and took the below picture from the establishments balcony as a reminder of the wonderful view from the guesthouse.  We then said farewell to Ludwig and family and made our way to the "Map of Africa" in the Wilderness. From there we traveled on to George airport where we all said goodbye and the Vancans departed for DurbanL L


Please use the right and left arrow keys to follow this panoramic picture


This tour is going to be one of those journeys that is going to be very difficult to forget. The Vancans family were wonderful folk to tour with. Neil is the ultimate gentleman and Gaye is a wonderful, bubbling personality with a huge heart of gold. Lara is a very intelligent young lady with an intense sense of caring for others while Guy, oh well what more can one say other than one day this wonderful little jack in the box might play rugby for England!


Received from the Vancans family on our last day of touring


In response to the Vancans family

"My home and city will always be yours too".