Be My Guest- “From Zim to Toti”- South Africa

Be My Guest 4#

Joan is a blogger friend of mine, who now lives back in Ireland.  Her story is so typical of these days, she makes me envious!

Joan is a blogger friend of mine, who now lives back in Ireland. Her story is so typical of these days, she makes me envious!


I lived in Zimbabwe up to 2002, and most of my South African memories are of going to Durban and Amanzimtoti on April school holidays in the 90’s.    Zimbabwe school holidays in April did not usually coincide with the South African school holidays, so holiday accommodation was cheaper, it was less busy, and you usually had less crowded beaches. 


 We often used to drive all the way, with 4 kids it was really the only way to travel, but can you imagine the arguments with 4 brothers and sisters squashed in the back seat of the car…seatbelts?  What seatbelts?? 

Lots of  ‘Mom, he is squashing me…Mom…Mom’   One year we had the bright idea to drive down in a bakkie (pick-up) so we laid mattresses out in the back with plenty blankets, and us parents at least had a peaceful trip.  Sorry kids, can’t hear you in the back….Oh we were such cruel parents!!


The drive from Harare to Beitbridge usually took 6 hours or more, we would leave about 1 a.m. in order to get to the border before the heat of the day, anyone who has been at that border post in 40 degrees heat will know what it is like.  

First stop was always the little town about 10kms inside South Africa, called Messina.  There to raid the shop for smarties, fizzers (bright pink and green slabs of pure sugar – yum!) cokes, and all those other goodies we were deprived of in Zim at the time.


Next stop was the “thriving metropolis” of Louis Trichardt or Pietersburg, to visit Game or some such paradise, and of course Reggies Toy Store.   One year as we approached the town, our eldest daughter, who was about 14 at the time, was not feeling very well, and neither was our youngest son,  who was about 6 at the time.  It was probably a bout of car sickness, combined with lots of sugar! 

tzaneen town

We were wandering around ReggiesToy Shop when Jason got violently ill and, as he wrote in a subsequent story at school ‘he puked in the car and he puked in a shop called Reggies’  I would say we had to make a hasty exit with mutterings by the staff!

We would sometimes stop at Tzaneen for a few days, this was a wonderful resort with hot springs, swimming pools, and a great place to relax over a few beers or a glass of wine, while the kids had a ball with all the other children there, it was a real family resort.

Toti-scan 003

After that we made the trek down to Natal, usually stayed in Amanzimtoti, where there were loads of self catering apartments  and chalets, all beach facing, and once breakfast was done, it was off out for the day, and usually we would meet friends and acquaintances on the beach who were also down for the school holidays.  


The beaches were sandy, quite safe, with a shallow sea for a long way out, so it was very safe for the younger kids.  There were lifeguards on the beach – eye candy for the teenage girls!  There were also swimming pools there, but most people stayed sunbathing on the beach, with the occasional dip in the water to cool down.   


‘Toti’ was a great place with everything there that you would need, supermarkets, nice child friendly restaurants, and if any of the kids or their friends had a birthday while we were there, the local restaurant, Spur, made a big fuss of them with a birthday cake, sparklers and the staff sang Happy Birthday.  I think there was even a train service into Durban for the times when we needed to do some serious shopping, stocking up on supplies to take back to ‘Zim’.

Toti 2

We did spend holidays in other parts of South Africa, like Margate, Durban itself, and Umhlanga Rocks, and in later years a few trips to Cape Town when our daughter was in Cape Town University, but ‘Toti’ was definitely our favourite, and we have lots of fond memories of being there.

Thanks Joan!

Visit Joan Frankham’s blog and enjoy!

This is part of a new seris called ‘Be My Guest’


About liz2you

Life just happens when you plan something else. 50 years spent in Africa and relevant stories.
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2 Responses to Be My Guest- “From Zim to Toti”- South Africa

  1. joanfrankham says:

    Reblogged this on Retirement and beyond and commented:
    Thanks Liz, going to reblog.

  2. Hi Be My Guest 4# Your story sounds just like my husband’s childhood and the trips that he and his family made to South Africa from Zim. 🙂

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