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Blog Article from “Making Mountains” by Belinda Mountain at

It’s Gareth’s birthday today (if you are new to this blog, he is also known as The Husband – not the Hubby, because that is a terrible word that I do not use in real life). Anyway, I find buying gifts for him incredibly difficult. Mostly because he just wants expensive gadgets or surfboards. Or the things he really needs are so boring that I actually let out a yawn whilst shopping for them. Socks. Shirts. Underpants. See? YAWN.

So I decided this year that I didn’t want to get him anything like that. I wanted him to experience something that would create memories for us that we’d look back on and smile about, and which were out of the ordinary – not something he may normally choose to do himself. Enter Buy a Gift Experience, who have brought together a whole collection of incredible experiences for you to choose from.

Hot air balloon ridesRomantic horse trails. They’ve rounded up only premium quality experiences here from companies they know are top-notch (no random massages in someone’s aunty’s house – like I once went on through one of those “special deal” group buying websites!). Sure, some of them are not cheap, but they’re the perfect thing for an extra special occasion or notable birthday gift. Instead of everyone clubbing together to buy you something you maybe don’t really need or want, why don’t they club together and buy you an unforgettable experience instead? And if they don’t want to pick one, they can always give you a voucher, so you can choose any experience you really want.

In order to review the service, Gareth and I went on a Russian sidecar experience through the winelands (with a company called Sidecar Adventures) – and the day surpassed all of our expectations, in every way. This is what made the day so amazing:

  • The weather. It was one of those crisp autumnal mornings and the sky was blue and the leaves were golden and the landscape around us was just incredible.
  • The novelty. I’m not a motorbike rider so I always thought that doing a trip by bike would be similar to driving that route – but it’s not at all. When you’re driving a car, you’re distracted by kids or other traffic and you don’t get to sit back and soak up the experience.
  • In Gareth’s words: “It’s every boy’s dream to own a motorbike and I really liked being able to look 360 degrees and enjoy the open road, with no radio or phone to distract me – just the sound of the wind and the scenery all around me”.
  • You feel like a celeb! People from all walks of life smile and wave at you as you drive past, which makes you feel pretty special.
  • It’s comfy. The side car is really warm and comfortable, and the seat behind the professional driver is extra roomy, so you never feel uncomfortable.
  • You feel safe. The driver doesn’t speed – the average speed is 60-80km and you’ve got bars to hold on to and support yourself.
  • It’s your day – you get to choose where you want to go and what little restaurants or micro-breweries you want to stop at along the way and I loved this aspect (Joburgers: they also run these sidecar tours in The Cradle).
  • The sidecar itself is produced to look like a vintage bike and if you’re into that sort of thing (which Gareth was!), you’ll love finding out more about the machinery and history of it all.
  • After driving through Jonkershoek, and then having a quick picnic snack at the top of Franschoek, we went on to Babylonstoren for lunch and it was amazing (it deserves a blog post all on its own!).
  • Our driver Don was a wonderful driver and guide, with interesting stories to share with us. He really made the trip special.

All in all, it was a day we’ll cherish for a long time and it has me even more committed to giving more people in my life experiences, and not things.

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