Posted in Cape Town - Things to see & do

The Tinie Versveld Wildflower reserve

Tinie Versveld Wildlife Reserve
Hamish at the Tienie Versveld wildlife reserve

The Tinie Versveld Wildflower reserve in Darling

Yesterday we set out to view the spectacular fields of flowers that grow wild along the Cape West coast this time of the year.

We decided to stop at The Tinie Versveld Wildflower reserve in Darling. If you haven’t yet been this spectacular area boasts the most amazing colours over late Winter and early Spring time.

This beautiful reserve was donated to the National Botanical Society of South Africa by Oom Tinie, Martin’s Versveld.

FIELD
Wide open spaces and beautiful wild flowers

The reserve spans 20 hectares of land that has never been plowed and due to this has given rise to a plethora of sandvlei wildflowers, which comes alive during the annual flower show.

arum lily
Arum Lily

You can visit the reserve any time of the year, although the flowers are most prominent from Spring to Summer.

Whilst on the reserve keep a look out for the Graves of Martin’s and his wife Beatrice ( also known as Baby) .

It is interesting to note that Marthinus’s sister, Muriel, was a founding member of the Darling Wildflower Association.

yellow wildflower
wildflower

This region boasts 1200 different plant species of which 80 are endemic to the West coast.

For me it was an absolutely spectacular view of open fields and Spring time colour. Hamish enjoyed running around discovering the new flowers and insect and bird life was abundant.

Definitely great place to view those springtime flowers.

hamish and flowers
hamish enjoying the flowers

 

You can see more of our trip here and enjoy a fun Instagram reel of our trip here

Posted in Blog posts, Cape town accommodation

Nuy Valley guesthouse

Earlier this month, whilst in Worcester,I was hosted by the magnificent Nuy Valley guesthouse.

This increadibly serene and beautiful guesthouse is situated in one of the most beautiful valleys of the Cape Winelands.

About Nuy Valley Guest House

Nuy Valley Guesthouse is a family owned wine farm with a boutique wine cellar, owned and managed by the Conradie family.

Upon entering the farm, I was immediately struck by how lush the gardens were as a long row of trees,purple flowering bushes, grape vines, wine barrel fountains and towering palms welcoming us to the Victoria Manor guest house which was built in 1871.

Nuy Valley guest house gardens are breathtaking and referred to as “The garden of Eden” .

I can easily see why. Beautiful green grass areas and colourful flowers are all around. The garden boasts an impressive aviary and trees, that in the autumn season hang with vibrant red leaves.

For the more adventurous, there is a walking trail leading into the vineyards to enjoy.

My visit

I was happy to spend the few hours I had spare, watching the majestic Langeberg mountain view from the verandah.

The accommodation itself was comfortable and we were warmly welcomed.

The room was a typical quaintly decorated in older furniture pieces which to me, lend to the authenticity of both the farm and the town.

Coffee and tea was provided in the room as well as fresh towels. The linen was clean and the reception were quick to attend to any of our needs.

There was a TV in the room and wifi signal was decent considering the amount of mountains we were surrounded by.

Over all my impression was one of serenity. A place to relax and slow down from the mad rush of every day.

Facilities

The farm can accommodate 29 guests In 12 rooms. All the rooms are large and have a balcony or mountain view.

V.I.P backpacker facilities are available in a renovated wine cellar for up to 29 people sharing, making the farm a popular venue for team building and conferences.

This is also an incredibly gorgeous wedding venue and offers a vineyard or garden ceremony venue with the capacity for 130 guests.

Activities

Some of the activities you can enjoy whilst you stay at Nuy Valley guest house include :

Wine tasting at Conradie Penhill winery

Walking trails in the vineyards

Bird watching in the gardens

The guest house is child friendly and boasts large open lawns for the kids to play on, safe playground and a farmyard experience.

For more information:

INFO@NUYVALLEI.CO.ZA  

 TEL: 023 34212 58 l 060 708 7792

http://www.nuyvallei.co.zawww.nuyvallei.co.za

Posted in Cape town accommodation

Tyger Hills guest house – A Place called home

When travelling you want to know that your accommodation is welcoming and offers all the comforts of your home.

Photo credit: Tyger Hills Guest House

Which is why guests refer to Tyger Hills Guest House as “A Place Called Home.”

Tiger Hill Guest House is an owner-managed 3-star Guesthouse and you can expect top quality in the overall standard of facilities, furnishings, service and guest care.

Tyger Hill Guest House offers both Self-Catering or Bed & Breakfast Accommodation with enclosed Lapa with braai facilities.


Easy access to main routes. Close to the airport and Cape Town Central as well as to various popular tourist attractions.

Photo credit: Tyger Hills Guest House

For more information contact

Tyger Hills Guest House
265 Uys Krige Drive
Loevenstein Bellville
Contact Person: Martin Nel
Phone (021) 9132050
Email: info@tygerhills.co.za

Posted in Cape town accommodation

Taylor’s Place Self Catering Accommodation- a little haven of peace and tranquility in Durbanville

As we travel locally and discover all the hidden gems our country has to offer I thought I’d share this little haven of peace and tranquility in Durbanville with you.

Photo credit: Taylor’s Place

TAYLOR’S PLACE, situated in Durbanville Hills,provides fully equipped and furnished Self-catering accommodation that ensures comfort in an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity.

Photo credut: Taylor’s Place


It is conveniently central to many of the tourist attractions and offers great value for money to all travellers, holiday makers, relocating families or business men and women.


Secure Parking, swimming pool, private garden with braai and air conditioning are all provided in your comfortable stay.

Photo credit : Taylor’s Place

Note :

A minimum of two nights stay is required.

Credit Cards are not accepted.

Photo credit: Taylor’s Place

To book or for more information contact:

Taylor’s Place Self Catering Accommodation
4 Hangklip Rd Durbanville Hills
Contact Person: Marlene Taylor
Call +27(0) 21 976 8554
Email: taylor@taylorsplace.co.za

Posted in Cape Town - Things to see & do

All about craft beers

Since moving to the Cape I discovered a love for good wine on beautiful wine farms and Brent developed a palate for craft beers.

Luckily several wine farms now have craft beer on tap which means we can spend a lovely day out as a family and enjoy our beverage of choice at lunch.

But what is a craft beer?

Melvin Brewing is quoted at saying ” If your beer is not madness, it’s not beer.”

Craft beers are produced by microbreweries, also known as craft breweries, that produce small amounts of beer.

These breweries are independently owned and do not supply the large demands like corporate breweries.

A craft brewery will often place a huge emphasis on quality, flavour and brewing technique.

Worldwide there are many great craft beers and we take a look at a few.

Craft Beer styles

Worldwide there are many craft beer styles and as it is up to the individual brewer to decide if they want to brew to a specific style or break away from a traditional mould and forge their own unique path and style.

Because there are so many styles, both traditional and new, it is almost impossible to list each craft beer style, but I found this guide informative.

South Africans can list over 100 different styles of beer from pale ales to stouts and pilsners.

These style groups usually fit under the main categories of ales ( these are heavy beers with intense flavour) and lagers ( these beers are clean and crisp)

Craft beer styles are categories according to characteristics like flavour, colour,aroma, body and location of the beers origin.

How to make craft beer

In order to brew beer you need:

  • Water
  • Malted barley
  • Hops
  • Yeast

The malted barley is responsible for producing the sugars needed to sweeten the beer and that react with the yeast to form the alcohol.

The hops balance the harleys sweetness and add bitterness. Hops gives the beer aroma and flavour and will act as a natural preservative.

The effect of the hops in the beer depends on when you add it in the brewing process. Adding it early in the brewing process will produce a heavier, more bitter beer whilst adding it later in the brewing process will produce a lighter more crisp beer.

Yeast is responsible for the beers alcohol content. The yeast converts the sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide. The yeast also adds the final flavour to the beer and determines if the beer is fruity or spicy.

You can find a variety of recipes over at Beer and Brewing

Buy a kit or try a beer

If you are looking to start the hobby of brewing your own craft beers there are many online craft beer kits you can purchase to make the process easier and less daunting.

Whilst these will only be available after lockdown in South Africa you can purchase kits.

I’ve also seen many beer subscription boxes and online stores that will deliver these uniquely crafted beers to your doorstep in order for you to taste.

Last word on craft beers

Brewing your own is not for everyone and many people prefer to indulge in the crafts of others.

Whilst I have a son in law who enjoys home brewing, my own husband and adult sons enjoy a good Artisan brew.

I personally do not like the taste of beer but am no stranger to a craft beer in my kitchen to improve my culinary skills. They add an added flavour to many meals from hearty stews to indulgent desserts.

And if you are not sure which craft beer style is for you, or you’ve not yet discovered the cast variety of craft beers avaliable add this to your bucket list, you’ll thank me later.

Posted in Book Reviews, Cape Town - Things to see & do, Education, Family Life, Parenting

Table mountain Ariel Cableway release Free educational activity book for kids to download

Join the Table mountain friends, Phumi the Protea, Dale the dassie and Larry the lizard and learn all about Table mountain, the history of the cable way and nature in the mountains.

A fun and engaging truly South African educational activity book which you can download free to use here

The book contains:

  • Fun facts
  • Colouring pages
  • Quizzes
  • Treasure hunt
  • Dot to dot pictures

Whilst the activity book is geared at older children, Hamish enjoyed working through many of the fun pages, meeting the cute characters and colouring in the pages.

He loves Table mountain and points it out on our daily walks.

Although he hasn’t yet been able to go up the mountain, he is now aware that a cable car will take him to the top and we have set the treasure hunt aside and decided his birthday gift in September will be a trip up his beloved mountain.

This is a great way to teach the kids and build their general knowledge.

It would make a lovely family project or fun extra activity if your child is completing this assigned school work earlier.

Posted in Cape Town - Things to see & do, Education, Family Life, Life with my bears

Homeschool open day at Butterfly world

On Monday we attended our first Homeschool event for 2020.

Butterfly world hosted a homeschool open day at their beautiful grounds.

We rounded up fellow homeschool mom @parentingbarely and her little boy and my friend Colleen and we set off for a morning of adventure.

About Butterfly world

Butterfly world is the largest butterfly park in South Africa and is situated near the quaint little town of Klapmuts.

Open Monday to Sunday 9am to 5pm*, with friendly and knowledgeable staff to make your visit educational, entertaining and enjoyable.

(*The only day they are closed is Christmas day.)

All the animals at Butterfly world, with the exception of the butterflies, have been donated to the centre.

Butterflies

Within the 1000 square meter greenhouse are hundreds of free flying butterflies. Some of the exotic butterflies are from a far afield as Costa Rico.

We used this chart to try and find each butterfly and I will print a butterfly treasure hunt for Hamish to check off before our next visit.

I was interested to read that the Butterfly world team fly pupae in from around the world to hatch in this miniature tropical paradise.

One of the things I was most greatful for was the opportunity to explain metamorphosis in real life to Hamish as we have just finished learning about the butterfly life cycle.

We were able to see eggs, chrysalis and butterfly emerging.

Sadly no caterpillars but in the eco centre the kids were treated to a beautiful puppet show depicting the life cycle of a butterfly. This was certainly geared at the foundation phase children and Hamish was mesmerized.

Of the other highlights were having butterflies fly around them, watching a butterfly feed and getting to hold one.

The eco centre

As we have been to butterfly world as a family I was eager to view it from an educators perspective and the eco centre certainly gained my attention.

I love the rustic lapa feel and the few decorations that di not attract to much attention, allowing your child to focus on the person giving the talk show or demonstration.

It was amazing. We unfortunately left half way as a three year old does not have the same attention span as a 10 year old.

My only critique would be a love to see the talks divided into age categories and specifically geared to preschool, middle school or high school with the home school children slotting into their age or ability category. This would allow for smaller groups and less stress on the animals, and preschool moms.

Having said that, I’m really looking forward to the next Butterfly world homeschool open day.

Up close and personal

Whilst in the eco centre we learnt about two types of lizards and the information was child centered, interesting and factual.

Hamish walked away knowing a lot more about lizards and got the opportunity to touch them both.

He also got a quick lesson about salamanders

And we got to see an axitoli ( a Mexican salamander) up close. It’s been on my wish list to own one, until I read how endangered they are.

But how beautiful is he?

Other animals

Butterfly world is also home to many other animals.

You can see tortoise, lizards, spiders,lemur, Guinea pigs,monkey, scorpions, snakes, meercat, and many bird species.

There are some stunning viewing decks and one of those house two friendly owls that we were privileged to say hello to.

There is also a road kill museum where your child can view several skeletons and preserved butterflies.

Conclusion

In conclusion, this is a beautiful day out with a lovely gift shop and delectable restaurant with affordable pricing.

It’s incredibly humid in the greenhouse, as these are the temperatures that the butterflies need to survive, so I would suggest taking water with for the kids.

There’s an outside area, so it is also advisable to pack in a cap and some sunscreen and don’t forget the camera as there are many photo opportunities, both with the animals and with the unique art works around the grounds.

Posted in Cape Town - Things to see & do, fun runs, Life with my bears

The slave route challenge

Today, I headed down to city hall with my husband and 6 of my 7 children to take part in the 5km Slave route challenge.

Judy running
Ready to run

About the slave route challenge

The Slave route challenge is a Cape Town race. One rich in heritage and historical significance.

The event traces the old ‘ slave route‘ and honours those amazing people who physically built Cape Town.

Bringing together a diversity of people from all walks of life, the slave trade route offer’s a variety of races.

  • 21km marathon
  • 10km run
  • 10km big walk
  • 5km fun run/ walk

The first Slave route challenge was run in 2011 and 2020 celebrates 10 years of this unique race.

Route

The full Slave run route starts at The City Hall, through District six, Gardens, The company gardens, whale street, Bo- Kaap, Seapoint, Green point and the CBD before heading back down Darling street, through the Castle of Good Hope to finish on the Grande Parade.

This route was selected to highlight the historical landmarks along the way.

Some of the Landmarks you will see along this route are:

  • the whipping post ( where the slaves would be whipped),
  • the hurling slave pump ( where they had to pump water for their masters),
  • the company bell ( which rang to call the slaves),
  • Gallows hill ( where they were executed) ,
  • the Castle ( where the slaves were tortured and imprisoned)
  • and the Slave tree plaque ( where slaves were sold)

The castle Cape town
Runners entering the castle

In Bo- kaap runners and walkers can enjoy a traditional Cape Malay koeksister.

Hamish running
Hamish running

Children

All children need to be accompanied by an adult at all times.

We weren’t required to register for Hamish at 3 years old but did to ensure he too could get a medal.

Slave run medal
Proudly showing off his medal

Our run

As a family we signed up for the 5km ( mostly because most of us are rather unfit and also because that way we could run/walk with Hamish)

Waking everyone up was most likely the hardest part of the morning.

My family
My family

As we had checked routes and parking the night before, we had no struggle with leaving home on time nor finding parking.

Waiting the hour for the 5km race wasn’t that bad and everyone kept themselves busy. ( Big families come in handy at these events – we bring our own crowd)

After the hundredth selfie, our race began.

Selfie
Me and kerri

The route itself was well marshalled and not at all crowded.

It’s one of the most scenic routes I’ve done and was really enjoyable.

Hamish walked about 3km of the 5km, with big brother Shaun carrying him quite a bit of the way.

Carrying Hamish
He ain’t heavy , he is my brother

For R40 a person we had a wonderful family morning out, got some exercise, enjoyed a refreshing coke at the finish line, ( somehow I missed the koeksister) and collected the first of our run medals for 2020

We also discovered on the race number are free entry to both the District six museum and The Castle.

On collecting our race numbers yesterday we recieved tickets to visit the Jewish museum, so we will take full advantage of enjoying Cape Town’s museums this month.

Art gallery
Art gallery

This truly was a lot of fun, and I was amazed to hear that 9000 registered to run for today.

We look forward to booking for next year.

Posted in Cape Town - Things to see & do, Family Life, Family Time, Life with my bears, Parenting

Our mom & me date – Two oceans aquarium

Last year Hamish and I would spend most Fridays on a mom & me date exploring new places or finding new adventures.

These moments have become extra special as my workload increases and he gets older.They are times where, the focus is truly on just us.

I try to choose places I know he will enjoy and we make a full morning our of it.

First 2020 date

We started our first Mom & me dates quite late into January this year, and on Friday I decided we needed an outing to our favourite place ….Two Oceans Aquarium

We both enjoy nature and could spend every day at the aquarium given half a chance.

There is always something new to see or discover.This year I’ve promised myself, I’m buying membership as I visit so often.

Our morning started off with me rushing to get a few things done in order to leave.

I don’t drive so we travel by Mycity bus and it’s an almost hour long drive into the city. Hamish enjoys the drive, chatting to the commuters and looking out the window to see the view.

Just before we were ready to get out the door, a courier dropped these adorable mom and me matching shirts from Fabulous Finds Botique . We quickly changed into them and started our adventure.

The aquarium

The aquarium is always exciting and we headed to the penguins first. They are just the cutest.

Not only does Hamish enjoy seeing the African penguin in it’s rocky shore environment but he also loves to watch the others dive and swim in and out the kelp forest.

In the penguin exhibit, there is a row of penguin cutouts that name several penguin species and tell you their height.

Each visit I take a photo of Hamish next to the penguin he is as tall as. He was thrilled to find out that he is now as tall as a king penguin.

Did you know that there is a fairy penguin?

Let’s play

After a visit to the penguins we headed to the I & J kiddy area where they have set up an amazing yellow submarine for the kids to be able to play in and watch the fish.

Hamish spent some time building Lego, drawing, doing magnetic puzzles, enjoying the sand pit and putting on his own puppet show for me.

We had our snack and headed back to enjoy the exhibits but not before following the cute trail of fish on the floor.

Learning

Our first stop was the fossil dig, where Hamish became a junior paleontologist and discovered a giant coelacanth fossil.

Next we went over to the touch pool and felt the sea anenome, kelp, sea weed and sea stars .

For the first time Hamish was interested in the microscope exhibit and he got to touch shark and skate eggs, called mermaid purses. Afterwards we went over to the stingray tank to see if we could identify the skate among them.

Sharks

We strolled around looking at all the tanks, and I realised we never saw an octopus so that’s on our list to find next time.

But Hamish can now identify easy sea creatures like sea stars, sea anemones, sea weed and coral. So, as we looked into the tanks we discussed the items in the background that we found.

Eventually we found the sharks.

These powerfull creatures almost glide in the ocean.

Of course my three-nager couldn’t resist singing Baby shark.

Kelp forest

I think to me personally, the kelp forest is the most beautiful exhibit.

With it’s giant fish swimming past the tall kelp, penguins diving through the green tinged water and the sun shining down casting light.

I always find a reason to linger longer, look a little closer and stare up through the waters towards the surface.

Nemo

Lastly, before ending our visit and heading home, we stopped by the nemo tank and Hamish climbed under to get a photo.

As we sat on the bus going home, Hamish looked at me and without missing a beat said “I love you mom” and we both knew, with hearts full, it was an amazing day.

Do you go on dates with your kids? Share some of your favourites with me in the comments below
Posted in Cape Town - Things to see & do

Tweede Nuwe Jaar 2020

The Cape Town Street Parade bring you the annual Tweede Nuwe Jaar parade on the 4th of January instead of the 2nd as is traditional.

This year the sunset of the 2nd January coincided with the Friday Jum’ah of the Muslim community.

The Cape Town street parade and the choral competitions , both presented under the Cape Town street parade banner, promise to yet again deliver a world class showcase of the best of “Klopse” entertainment at the largest cultural festival in Africa.

Entertainment starts at 12pm with an opening ceremony in the Grande Parade at 1 PM. Entertainment will continue until 10pm tonight.

The event,which has been celebrated in the Cape for 110 years expects to draw crowds of 60 000 – 100 000 people.

Minstrel troupes from all areas of Cape Town will perform in the streets of the city centre. You can watch this delightful display between Hannover street in District six to Rose street in Bo Kaap.

The choral competitions will be held at Athlone stadium on the following dates:

  • 1 January 2020
  • 11 January 2020
  • 18 January 2020
  • 25 January 2020
  • 1 February 2020
  • 8 February 2020
  • 15 February 2020

Previously known as the Tweede Nuwe Jaar Minstrel Parade, the Kaapse Klopse Karnival Association ( KKKA) has been the organiser of the new format Cape Town Street Parade since it’s launch in October 2017.

For the 2020 events, MTN South Africa and Samsung will join the city of Cape Town, the Western Cape government and Coca Cola ( Peninsula Beverages) in presenting this traditional parade.

Tickets are available for the Golden circle and any of the choral events at http://www.computicket.co.za although the event is free to the public.