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Taking a giant's view

Posted On Sunday, 05 August 2007 02:00 Published by
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Memories flood back as Santarama Miniland enchants a whole new generation

By Loren Anthony 

Sometimes you feel the need to revisit those half- forgotten places of your childhood, the places that you slowly outgrew, but which remained buried deep in your stock of memories, until the day your own children arrived to revive them.

And so we made our way to Santarama Miniland and Kidz Kazoo on the shores of Wemmer Pan.

As we pulled into the car park, a massive statue of Jan van Riebeeck loomed over us, and a flood of memories poured in.

Memories of that one time in your life where, as a child, you too loomed like a Colossus over the world around you; where, in contrast to your experience of being small and dependent, you once felt huge and powerful.

For this was Miniland, after all; a scale-model world you could stride over like a giant, even though you were only a child.

The Union Buildings perched atop a rise like a doll's house. The tiny Blue Train, stationed permanently at the Matjiesfontein depot, where the Lord Milner Hotel's flags stand frozen in time.

There's the Big Hole and mine in Kimberley , where diminutive figures bend to their digging amid a cluster of tiny tents.

And you'll find a series of landmarks that inform our collective South African memory.

You'll see, to scale, the Turffontein racecourse, the Castle of Good Hope, the 1820 Settlers National Monument and Groot Constantia.

There's the red-and- white striped lighthouse at Mouille Point and, floating not far off from the shore, Robben Island, with minuscule prison buildings, and the carved-out lines of the limestone quarries.

If you're too lazy to wander through this miniworld, you can catch the train for a journey that takes you across bridges, over the mini-harbour, past a menacing Jaws shark and on a mini scenic route. If you tire of tiny things, there's a ferry ride on Wemmer Pan itself .

You can also visit the spectacular replica of the Drommedaris, the ship that brought Jan van Riebeeck to the Cape. Political sensibilities aside, this doesn't have to be the harbinger of white settlement in South Africa, for you can transform it into a pirate ship if you want.

It's thrilling to clambe r aboard this anchored galleon, and dart into the galley or head up on deck.

There's lots more to do at Santarama jumping castles, climbing forts, electric Kidz Karz and a mini-golf course, coin-fed rides and, indoors, the Kidz Kazoo entertainment centre, where you'll find loads of games and rides. This is a child's paradise, half-forgotten but certainly not lost.

Santarama supports Santa (The SA National Tuberculosis Association). Contact: 011-435- 0543. Entrance fee: R25 per adult, R20 per child under 12 (includes boat ride, train ride, mini-golf and indoor play centre).

Publisher: I-Net Bridge
Source: I-Net Bridge
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