Bushveld living
Could your family survive in the platteland?
Shortly after we found out that I was pregnant the first time, my husband informed me that we would be selling our townhouse in Kempton Park and buying his parents’ smallholding in De Wildt. Luckily it is not too remote, so we have the pleasure of bushveld living with the convenience of a big city within 30 kilometers.

The big change was adapting to the difference in lifestyle. You only have to go outside once... at 6 in the morning... on a cold winter’s day... in your jammies... to remember that you have to pump water regularly. You quickly learn to cope with all the creepies and crawlies that invade your home on a regular basis. Rat poison has to be on our monthly grocery list. And should you forget that essential item, you have to replace various chewed items, including the wiring to the washing machine.

But, the pros are magnificent! We were late one morning because Rivan, then 3 years old, didn’t want to get in the car. All he wanted to do, was look at the neighbour’s cattle that were grazing in our field. We eventually got him in the car, only after he was able to tell both me and my husband several times to look at the cows.

Every day on our way to the kindergarten, we have the opportunity to look at cattle, horses, donkeys, ostriches and wild buck. This is normal for my children. They have no idea what a traffic jam is, they’ve never experienced it. For them it is a major event when an airplane flies over our house.

Of course kids’ imaginations come to life in any situation, but my kids look for the “cocodile” in the dam. Feeding the ducks every afternoon, fixing the old tractor with grandpa and hitting everything in sight with a stick.

Even the kindergarten is a typical farm school. There is a huge selection of animals on the premises. The kids play on homemade swings and jungle gyms. There is an old VW Beetle for them to play in, every child’s dream come true.

It’s not always sunshine and roses. Kids are the reason for grey hair and the open spaces give them lots of opportunities for mischief. At the moment Tristan is really working on my alternative highlights. At age 2 his idea of a fun time seems to be disappearing down the dirt road with Tika our Great Dane the moment our backs are turned.

Our pets seem to enjoy the bushveld living too, although we once had to rescue the puppy Sukkel, when she hid in the house from the jackal that came for a closer inspection. In the five years that we’ve lived here, we’ve had a lot of visitors. A variety of birds (including the stork on 4 occasions), snakes, frogs, turtles, hedgehogs and of course the jackals.

What makes this even better is the quiet at night, when you can hear the jackals crying and answering. The only time you hear a car is if you have visitors. Quite an event out here!

Do you believe that moving out of the city is better for kids?


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