A Travellerspoint blog

Cape Town - Off the Beaten Path

The West Coast

sunny 20 °F

On The Way to Paternoster

Sometimes as a tourist I want to get off the beaten path and driving up the west coast out of Cape Town is a good way to do that. You really need to bring some supplies and perhaps plan to spend an overnight or two along the way. This is more for the adventurous soul who would like to get a little closer to nature.
About an hour north of the city you will arrive at the West Coast National Park. You could spend a day here easily if you have packed a lunch (or visit the restaurant in the park), have water, sunscreen, hats, hiking boots or flip flops depending on if you prefer hiking or playing on the sandy beaches or bays. The entrance to the park is 75 rand for foreigners and 50 rand for locals. It might be a good idea to have a 4 wheel drive vehicle to manage the sand roads here.
There are animals wandering around including snakes, but no predators. My friend told me she was there with her family and they saw a wildabeast!
We drove into the park and stopped at Preekstoel, a beautiful spot with a vista of the lagoon that is fed by the Atlantic Ocean. The beautiful white sand beaches and shallow waters of the salt flats with rolling hills all around make for a great picnic spot. The cove is protected from the shore so not much wind here. You may need an umbrella or a big hat and sunscreen if you want to spend time here. LGS_0502.jpgLGS_0505.jpg
We made another stop at Churchhaven for a beautiful view of the Atlantic with the waves crashing on the shoreline. Unfortunately we left the park to head up to paternoster another hour's drive. But had we stayed we could have hiked down to the beach or enjoyed the bird hides to view the many species of birds in the park. We did see a rock kestrel perched on a post over looking the area down to the beach. The rock kestrel is a small bird of prey belonging to the falcon family.
So after a brief stay in the park we head up to the fishing village of Paternoster. It is one more hour north and an easy drive, along the way you may see some sheep or ostriches but mostly just rolling hills and because the is a drought now everything is pretty brown.
The village of Paternoster is not at all touristy and you may think you have been teleported to Greece. The buildings are all bright white with blue trim and low profiles. A small village where you can also book a bed and breakfast and stay for a couple days for some R&R on the sea. We had lunch at Voorstrand Restaurant on the beach, it has a red roof so you can't miss it, the food was great and the view was outstanding. It is the complete antithesis of Cape Town with it's hustle and bustle.
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Posted by Lauriesam 01:04 Archived in South Africa Tagged #offthebeatenpath #capetown #westcoast #west_coast_national_park #paternoster Comments (1)

It's A Wonderful World in Cape Town

Cape Town, the city that has it all

sunny 18 °F

Cape Town is so beautiful I can easily imagine living here.
Life can be very good here, people are quite friendly, food is fantastic, the weather is excellent and the physical beauty is remarkable.LGS_0215.jpgLGS_0239.jpgLGS_0341.jpg
The climate is a good place to start it is warm and dry here most of the year, winters are mild. The city with it's many different vistas is stunning, the city is on the sea, with mountains, marinas and many green spaces as well. Kirstenbosch is a beautiful park at the base of table mountain that is maintained with love, caring for over 7,000 species of plants, including some that are rare. There is also beach front towns, fishing villages, surfing villages, and of course to the very south the cape point where the Atlantic and Indian Ocean meet, a dramatic spot that is unique. There is also wine country, within an hour of Cape Town you have three amazing wine areas that will take your breath away.
Besides that, which might be enough for some Cape Town has access to soccer, rugby, cricket, cycling, hiking, surfing, sailing, fishing and more. It's all at your finger tips.
The food scene is really fantastic. There is local fresh produce with a variety of fruit that we don't have easy access to where I live. The food markets are amazing, almost any products you want can be found from a locally sourced and sustainable vendor. The other thing about the food is the mix of cultures here also bring a diversity in food the food culture. With India, Asia and European influences the flavors of South Africa can take you on a journey of it's own.
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Here is a lovely example of a beautiful salad and Babotie we had at a wine farm called Spice Route.
Bobotie is a Cape-Malay creation, and they spice it up even more with cumin, coriander and curry. This one was made with lamb and there are many versions of this dish, but it is truly delicious and a local favorite.
Cape Town has a great vibe, and you could spend a week here and not even skim the surface of great things to see and do.

Posted by Lauriesam 00:18 Archived in South Africa Tagged #food #capetown #southafrica Comments (0)

The Chef's Table (for real)

A divine dining experience

sunny 80 °F

A Night to Remember

This was a special night for so many reasons starting and ending with great company, fantastic food, too much wine and lots of laughter. What more can you ask for.
Our group started the evening in the Planet bar on the terrace at the Lord Nelson hotel in Cape Town. The hotel itself is over 100 years old and is the Grand Dame of Cape Town. The gardens are beautiful and everything about the inside says grace and class. Knowing the wine parings would accompany our dinner I skipped the fantastic looking drinks in the bar. The atmosphere was warm with the glistening stars above our heads adding to the ambiance.
After drinks we were escorted through the secret passages and locked doors of the hotel into the belly of the building to be seated at our table in the kitchen. What fun!
Chef Rudi Liebenberg is one of the top chefs in South Africa and he is all about clean food and sustainable farming. He supports the Abalimi bezekhaya (Planters of the home in Xhosa) a farm in the Khayelitsha township in Cape Town.The farm is a volunteer association working to empower the disadvantaged through it's organic urban agricultural program and projects. He also buys all meat from Farmer Angus www.farmerangus.co.za. Farmer Angus was raised on a cattle farm in Kwa-Zulu Natal, studied Management Accounting at Stellenbosch University and was a stock broker for Goldman Sachs in London. At one point he moved to South Africa, built a clay home and became a biodynamic student, grass farmer and carbon sequestrator. I was told Farmer Angus loves his animals and there are pictures of him giving his chickens back massages. Check out his website for more info. So this is a win, win. We are happy to support Chef Rudi and in turn support the ideals and programs he is so committed to.
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So these are the first two plates we received with a pairing of a local bubbly Chardonnay . The breads were delicious and the sour dough with the bone marrow made my mouth delighted and this was just the first bite. I am not a big meat eater, but this was definitely the time and the place to eat meat.
Next course:90_IMG_8751.jpg was the beet salad.Our lovely chef Kirstin described each dish in detail and I will hardly do the plates justice, but I will attempt to make her proud. The plate had thinly sliced beets, yellow and red with a vinagarette dikon radish and home made danish feta. The cheese was a bit salty, the beets had some sweetness and tartness from the dressing and all that paired with the Rhine Riesling that balanced the dish with some very light sweetness. There is a party going on here.
The conversation is getting lively as the wine is poured with each course and somehow we have four Penny's at the table and two James Bonds! Oh boy.
Suprise ceviche is served even though it is not on the menu, sorry no photo, marinated in orange and lemon juice presented in a small bowl with an emulsion, and some cilantro on top. (Really it was so much more than that)
Now the Prawn or fish curry (your choice) 90_IMG_8753.jpg all I am going to say is delightful, served with a De Wetshof Rhine Riesling . I am not usually a Riesling fan but this was not too sweet and was a great balance for the other flavors in the curry.
With some time for more photos and trying to decide who was the best James Bond and the best Bond girl we get interrupted by the lovely Lisa with anew wine.
Avondale Anima 2009 Chenin Blanc followed by a really delicious smoked chicken
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This was served on Bulgarian pinks, a tomato similar to our beefsteaks, it was such a light and lovely complement to the tortellini and it made me happy to think that when I go home I will be able to plant my own tomatoes! If I wasn't happy enough that made me think of summer and it took happy to another level.
Finally came the braaided springbok, it was served on sago risotto, with crushed nuts and lovely roasted baby squash. The wine was a Saxenburg Shiraz. We did not allow Lisa to describe the wine and all took guesses about what we tasted, she said we did a great job and our prize was more wine.90_IMG_8756.jpg The saga risotto looked like chia pudding, but we were told it was from the same plant as tapioca and usually used as a desert ingredient. It was very tasty and I loved the ground nuts which added a little crunch.
The final plate of course is desert, no one really has room even though we didn't finish all the previous. Plates, but who can say not to chocolate mint ice cream served on a delicate portion of lemon curd, tiny bits of lemon cheese cake, lime flavored jellies and a beautiful yellow cake. The ice cream was chocolate peppermint. Allan asked the pastry chef it she used wine gums for the lime jellies and she thought that was so funny and then Tee asked if she cheated and used peppermint crisps in the ice cream and she said yes, but could not believe we asked ! She was delightful and i am so sorry I did not get her name.
I know I could never describe the food with the accuracy of Chef Kirstin, but I can tell you everything was so delicious and everyone was so fantastic to us, we really could not have had a better experience. It's a great place to celebrate life with good friends if you have the opportunity.

Posted by Lauriesam 15:27 Archived in South Africa Tagged #chefs_table #mount_nelson_hotel #chef_rudiliebenberg #funwithfriends Comments (2)

ARGUS 2017

Cape Town Cycle Tour

80 °F

Cape Town's ARGUS bike race was scheduled for this morning with 35,000 cyclists from all over the world here for the big event were disappointed when the race was cancelled due to extreme high winds. Watch the short video on the link below to see the first group of riders trying to hold on to their bikes.
http://inthebunch.co.za/2017/03/video-wind-stops-cape-town-cycle-tour/

Posted by Lauriesam 22:13 Archived in South Africa Tagged #ctargus2017 #windyday #bikerace Comments (0)

Welcome Back to Cape Town

Beauty, grace and true hospitality

sunny 90 °F
View South Africa Take IV on Lauriesam's travel map.

It took us 38 hours door to door from our home in the US to our home for the next week in Cape Town. This included two overnight flights and a lengthy layover in London, and the final hop from Joburg to Cape Town where our friend Leo scooped us up at the airport. Vicky and the staff at the Cape Grace were waiting for us as we stumbled in clearly not knowing if it was day or night. The welcome was warm and it was like coming home.
Allan was unpacked, showered, changed and off to explore in under an hour. I took my time so when I unpacked I might actually remember where I put my things.
The four of us went to an early dinner. We could hardly keep our eyes open and I literally caught Clive's eyelids closeing and his head bobbing slightly down. Clive stopped short of landing in his soup and all four of us fought the same desire to give in to the goddess of sleep so we could finish our meal. Our goal was to stay up until 9 pm, I slept very little on the overnight flights tuesday and wednesday so I was praying for a good night's sleep to make up for that. I am sure the others felt the same.
I passed out at 10 ish and woke up at 8 AM to the alarm on my nightstand which had been set by the previous guests. I almost had a heart attack as I was sound asleep. After that shocking jolt from sleep I realized how fantastic to wake up, throw open the curtains and see the beauty of the marina just below signal hill, Table Mountain and the sunny blue skys of Cape Town. What a beautiful day and a great way to start our vacation.
After a delicious breakfast we went on a 7 mile walk along the promenade down to Sea Point where we watched the hang gliders landing after their launching point on signal hill. We actually met some friends along the way who have a flat on the beach road. The saw us through the window and came down to walk with us. It's so fantastic to be far away from home and meet people you know. It was a great first day which we ended with a nice evening with Vicky our friend and travel agent par excellence,( I think at this point more a friend). We discussed the plans for the next week and Vicky will help us coordinate everything.
Saturday is market day and Sunday is a big bike race in Capetown so we will stay around the hotel on Sunday.
Cape Town is full of fun and the energy that I remembered.
This morning, Saturday, we visited the Oranjezicht City Farm market by the soccer stadium, do not miss this if you are in CT on Saturday morning. The market has fantastic locally sourced produce, amazing food, juices anything you can imagine plus some crafts and plants. The sounds and smells are fantastic, it is a great place to hang out and meet the locals. For more information just google 'OZCF market'
Later we then went to the roof top bar at the Silo hotel which just opened less than two weeks ago. This new property has 28 rooms and the roof top bar has a 360 degree view of CT. This great bar has a terrific menu, and it's another place to not to be missed. We will come back for sunset one day during the week. After that we stopped at the VIRGIN Active gym next door. The best gym I have ever seen with the latest equipment on the market, a lap pool, spinning bikes, Pilates room, yoga room with silks, men and women's locker rooms with a salon for women as well. The main area has computers, food, couches, a balcony, a place to drop off your shoes to be shined and most likely something else that I have overlooked. If you want to work out in CT this could be the place for you.
So that is the beginning of this adventure, it's great to be back in Cape Town, the vibe, the people and the limitless activities make it a vacation destination that is hard to beat.

Posted by Lauriesam 07:30 Archived in South Africa Tagged #capetown #jetlag #longflights #letsgetthispartystarted #cape_grace_hotel #silo_hotel #virgin_gym Comments (1)

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