First Time Family Road Trip: Malelane, Mpumalanga

Sushi and Seals at Vista Marina Restaurant
Time Apart Diary Day 1: Bye-bye Mommy!

It’s 6 weeks into your first stint at the new job, Motherhood. Your new title, ‘Mother’ (of a newborn), Mommy, Mom, Mama, Amai* is a little demanding and you are struggling to get the hang of it. When you think you have finally, got a grip on your new tasks and role, you realise you don’t. Your new boss keeps changing the script and your co-worker (let’s call him Dad or Daddy) is none- the- wiser. You feel alone most of the time, stressed and sleep deprived even though you are trying to sleep when the boss is asleep and everyone is around you often. It’s a lot. A whole lot of lot. One day Daddy get’s home and you have to request a formal meeting to suggest a team building event. A Getaway, let’s call it a Family trip for the purpose of this conversation.

Mambo was 5 weeks old and I was exhausted. I felt like the walls were constantly keeping me trapped with this crazy baby who had spent the first two weeks of her life (while we were surrounded by grandparents who wanted to help every two minutes) blissfully, fast asleep. Its like her eyes opened in week three and she was not having anymore peace! Wow. Beautiful.

So, Week 5. I requested that Tatenda organize a family trip. I was not coping, and I needed my kind of trip. It needed to be a surprise, and I needed to get the heck out of Johannesburg. ASAP.

Firstly, let me explain why I needed to give some instructions. I do not like disappointment, therefore if it has to be a surprise, I will request the surprise. I am not the kind of person that has time to sit around waiting for the surprise to take form and shape, etc, and then be upset that it never happened. So I will literally asked to be surprised. In this case I requested a trip, but did not want to know where we were going or what we were going to do when we got there. Tatenda already knows me well, and so this was no shock to him. The rest of you can stop judging now, this is who I am… The end.

Anyway, Thursday morning came and I was so excited. We were on our way to somewhere by the late morning. I had been up packing until quite late the night before. Anxious and quite excited to finally be getting out of Johannesburg. I guess also hoping that this trip away would miraculously change my mind state, give me a little time to calm down. Maybe.

I overpacked. Of course. The car was packed to the brim with about 60% Mambo’s belongings, leaving her father and I to share the last bit of trunk space. This would be our lives for a while.

We put Mambo in her car seat, drove out of our little complex and to the nearest drive through for some coffee. And we were off! Kind of. We were off for 5km before the unmistakeable sound of back screaming in the back seat… Of course, we stopped the car and I had to get myself into the back seat as quickly as possible. I balanced my McDonalds coffee and our baby and again, off we went.

I switched between the front seat and back seat in a bid to keep Mambo quiet but still get some conversation time in with Tatenda. I would put her back into her carseat when she was asleep and we would stop the car so I could go back and forth. This had to be the longest road trip I had ever been on to Mpumalanga. It was winter then and Johannesburg had been quite cold. We got closer to Malelane and one-by-one, we got rid of the layers. This is where I learnt how to dress the little one for trips, I realised I was more impractical than practical, and have probably never made the same mistakes again.

The change in scenery began to ease my anxiety.

We arrived at Rio Vista shortly after 3pm, tired and a little sweaty. The weather really had changed.

When we got to the lodge, the staff helped us move into our room and there we found rose petals all over the furniture and floor, as well as a cooling bottle of sparkling wine with two glasses. I cannot tell you how happy it made me to walk into what felt like paradise.

Rio Vista is not the cutest of places, in no way is it quaint or extraordinary, but the service is lovely, the staff are very friendly and it is right by the river which makes for amazing scents in the air and an amazing vacation for a set of new parents with their new born. No one ever complained that the baby was crying too much or that there was too much noise coming from our room at night when the baby was sleeping. Though they didn’t have a crib for the baby, we didn’t mind at all, she sleeps with us after all.

This very first road trip was really good for us as a family, we needed it, to get out, and reset. There is obviously a lot more about the trip, and I will break this into the next few posts.



*Amai – Shona for mother.


  1. Winford Wiliaeli Minja says:

    Hi friend

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