A trip to Agulhas this weekend abandoned for technical reasons, we took the kids to Ratanga Junction today – and what a day we had. While I hadn’t been to the park as a proper visitor before (I was there for some corporate do back in 2004, but had three prolapsed discs at the time), Mrs 6000 had taken the kids along over the summer holidays this year, and they’d had a great time. But they had stuck around Hippo Hollow, doing the kiddies stuff.
It was while we were doing the kiddies stuff today that Alex noticed a giant tap attached to a tower and I used his curiosity to get him up and onto the Stargazer: A “supertubes” ride that you do in a tiny inflatable boat. We went down at high speed, Dad got a very wet bum and Alex couldn’t wait to have another go.
From that point, there was no turning back. Suddenly, the Monkey Falls log flume, complete with its sheer 19m drop, was Alex’s target. And where Alex (almost 6) went, his 3 year old sister was sure to follow. There was a slight moment of concern as we were at the front of the queue, as the attendant had to get her clipboard out to measure Scoop against the minimum height mark (107cm), but with a teensie hint of tippie toes and some ever so subtle stretching, she made it. My daughter is 107.1cm tall. I know adults who are only a ruler and a half taller than that. Scoop will be there by age 7.
What followed was a revelation to myself and my wife. Our kids, usually pretty backward in going forward and trying new things, couldn’t wait to have go after go after go on the log flume, Alex describing each time the “funny feeling” he got when we went down the big slope. We finished the day soaking wet, very tired and very happy. I managed to tick the Cobra:
a suspended looping coaster which catapults riders from a height of 32m along 779m of track at up to four times the force of gravity and speeds of close to 100km/h. Adding to the thrill of the ride is the suspension of riders beneath the track, feet flying free. This ride is not for the faint hearted.
off my bucket list, having driven past it many times, although not quite at that speed.
We had such a great family day today that I’m sticking this one in the elusive 6000 recommends category. Ratanga Junction isn’t cheap (adults R152, kids R75), nor will it compare favourably with that famous theme park you visited in America, but it still offers great value for money if you do it right. And that means picking your day carefully, arriving early, and – it seems – having kids above 3 years of age, and above 1.07m, but below 1.30m in height. This last one means that they’ll be able to enjoy just about all the rides on offer.
Queuing times were minimal. 10 minutes tops for the Cobra, Stargazer and Monkey Falls, walk straight on to the kids’ stuff. I can imagine that you could have a nightmare time when the queues are an hour for each ride, but that’s why you must choose your day carefully. Parents will want to take a couple of spare sets of clothes for the kids (and maybe for yourselves) as you know that once kids get wet, they may start to get cold and once they get cold, they start to lose interest. We didn’t quite hit that point, but then again, we did take some spare clothes.
Photos, such as they are, (the gravitational pull of the Cobra and the hydrological aspects of the Monkey Falls not being conducive to active photography) can be found here.