When was the last time you were at Spier?
I’ll admit that up until easter it had been a while for me, as like most of you I thought there was nothing to do now that the cheetahs are gone and Moyo has closed down but there is SO MUCH more to the stunning “little” piece of land than just those two attractions.
It’s a great place to put a day aside and the great thing is you can take the kids along and if yours are like mine you’ll hardly even know they’re there while you have a stunning day full of good foods, good company (if you take it with) and good times.
Very lucky to say that I was invited (along with momma, my brother and Fysh) to spend two days and an evening over the easter weekend trying out all the activities they have on offer so that I can let you know which ones are the best and which ones to avoid, which are child friendly and which you should drop the kids off at the play centre for (yup they even have a play centre if you need a few kid free moments and they just won’t comply with entertaining themselves outside or so)
So let’s let you know what there is to do and what I had fun doing. Starting from the far left of Spier and working our way right to where the hotel and play centre is.
Drive in and hook a left all the way to the end and you’ll find the eagle centre. Entrance fee is R an adult and R a child. If you’d like to actually get to hold an eagle on your arm (sadly didn’t get to do this) it’s an extra R per person. There are all sorts of eagles in habitats for you to view and they have little owls (and if I remember correctly a few little eagles as well) for you to actually touch. They have a crow they took in to rehabilitate as well and he was oddly enough what got my attention and not the owls or eagles, one of the staff even laughed at the fact that out of all the predator birds I choose a crow. He snaps at kids though so just be careful around him. There’s a giant boa constrictor named Charlie and I totally tried to sneak him off in my shirt, pity he was big enough to strangle me if he decided that human is on the menu, he does tense up a bit when he’s feeling overwhelmed or when you hold on to him a little too tight cause you’re nervous (momma learned this).
Have you seen those things that the security guards use in malls and so one? Those things that they whizz around on? That’s a segway. First off, they aren’t as easy to just zip about on as they look, they aren’t difficult perse as they’re pretty straight forward to but they they are awkward to get used to; you have to lean forward to make them go forward etc but you have to lean forward enough to make em go so and you actually feel like you’re going to go head over arse to the ground but you don’t. They help you get used to it and then put you through a little obstacle course before you go for a bit more of a challenging tour of the farm and vineyards. At R a person I’ll admit the price is a smidge steep but it’s completely worth it. The scenery is great and it’s one of those things you want to put on and tick off your bucket list.
I’m not into wine tasting (I know I go often but it’s more for the company and to make sure that who I go with can drink and get home safely) but the rest of the group had a ball tasting all the wine’s that Spier has to offer… that being said, I did actually enjoy this one even though I didn’t drink any wine. How so? Well they have this frigging awesome offer as part of their tasting: a KIDS wine tasting! Where the adults get 3 glasses of wine (and whatever pairings you choose or none at all) the kids get three glasses of different grape juices to taste paired with wine gums and a colouring page! So the lovely pregnant group member and myself sat with the kids and thoroughly enjoyed our tasting. One of their juices (I need to find out which one so I can get some for when we go out) tastes exactly like wine. You could use it as a placebo and see how people react on it. The prices vary on which tasting option you choose (they have some fun ones like biltong pairing and then the usual ones like chocolate or meringue) so you’ll have to peruse the menu and decide. You don’t need a reservation but I’d suggest you make one just in case you get there and you have to wait for a table.
For the grumbly tummy:
You have a few options for lunch, the 8 restaurant, a picnic or the hotel. We got to have lunch at 8 on the first day and on the Sunday we were treated to a huge braai buffet lunch at the hotel. As I mentioned we were there over easter and I adore how they went all out keeping to the theme, the hotel’s buffet breakfast on Sunday even had easter eggs on the table! (Though momma said they were probably just for decoration when I should up with a a few of them for the kids… my bad). The 8 restaurant was kind enough to deal with my food difficulties and made up a small salad sans cheese or any dairy sauces as well as a the same for a small bowl of roast veggies for me when we were there – all you have to do is ask! Again I’d suggest you make a booking so you know you have a table and for the hotel and the picnic baskets (taking your own is not permitted) booking is essential as spaces are limited and they fill up fast and the baskets need to be made up in advance as everything is put together specially for you. Also, all the veggies and meat (cept the chickens) are from the farm itself!
It’s extremely child friendly as I’m sure you’ve gathered, I mean they even had kids wine tasting! Between the amply open space for cavorting around and just being a kid and the huge jungle gym they aren’t going to be bored. There’s a little “forest” that mine missioned about in “protecting” the wild kittens so the other kids didn’t chase them and there’s a play centre just other side the hotel where the kids can do activities such as painting, crafting, watching TV etc. I’ll have to find out for you if it’s only for the hotel stayers but as far as I know it’s open to anyone visiting for the day.
The hotel is AMAZING! I don’t get to do the hotel thing often as you can imagine but I thoroughly enjoy it when I’m treated to a stay, I mean who doesn’t love chocolates on your pillow and those little bottles of shampoo and conditioner? It’s the first hotel I’ve been in where I’ve been tempted to taking home the shampoo – it smelled SOOOOOOO good. The rooms are clean and smell great, they’re built around little gardens with a pool (no we didn’t swim, am not that brave…). I think that pricing depends on the room you choose so you’ll have to email them and enquire.
I mentioned they went all our for easter and I think that might be an understatement. The easter egg hunt that they planned was so much fun and it made me wish I was under 12 again! They had a maze, a “dig for your egg” section, a “eggs and ladders” part and so on, the kids were to follow a path marked out in string and the trail ended up at a giant jumping castle, moerse big piñatas and an egg decorating section where you could paint and “bedazzle” the eggs you collected on the hunt with food colouring and sweets. I couldn’t hold back here and joined in the decorating under the pretence of helping Fysh ;) I’ve heard that they take holidays seriously and had a lovely open air evening picnic and projected movie night for valentines day. Keep and eye out on their webiste, twitter and facebook page for upcoming events so you can book your spot.
It was such an experience and I’m honoured to have been asked to join and I really hope I’ll be able to go back again one day (hint hint haha). So you see… despite the cheetahs being gone there is still so much to do there. Go for the day, even if it’s just for one of the things listed. You’ll enjoy it, take my word for it.