Meet crazy Tong from China

On a bench at Africa’s most southerly point, Cape Agulhas, we met Tong. Three years ago Tong quit his job as a computer engineer in China, hopped on his bike and left. We’re not qute sure which route he took to get there, but during the last year he has cycled through Africa, from Egypt to South Africa. So there he sat preparing some food.

lina_julia_tong

And now that he’s come as far south as he can, he’ll cycle along the Garden Route and then …well, Europe maybe … 🙂

It’s very cool to just leave like that and live your dreams, but surely one has to be a little crazy. Right?

Have anyone else met or seen Tong along his travels? Please leave a comment and keep us posted!

Cape Aghulas is by the way a very nice destination for a day trip and one of the places in South Africa you need to go to get that classic photo. And it’s kind of fun to say that you have been to Africa’s southernmost point. If you want you can pay R24 to get up into the lighthouse, it’s probably a beautiful view from there, but we chose to stay on the ground since we were in a bit of a hurry.

L’Agulhas is the small fishing village with beautiful fishing boats in the harbour, just north of the cape, and this is Africa’s southernmost village.

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Zaneliza: How The Water Moves.

Today we want to strike a blow for new, exciting, South African music and at the same time ask you to take a little time and a little money to help this very promising artist to realise her dream. Her name is Asanda Msaki Mvana, she comes from East London in the Eastern Cape and this is her story:

“In 2013 I launched my EP “Nalithemba“. It has been two years since that project, and since I took the leap and fully immersed myself in music as a full time singer/songwriter. The journey has been incredible, and so much growth has come since and from that EP, that I feel the time is right to share with you a full-length studio offering. I invite you to be a part of Zaneliza: How The Water Moves.

Msaki @ Red Hot Jazz

The making of this album is almost complete and the music exists! Musicians, who are also dear friends of mine, joined me in my home town from different parts of the country to record the bulk of the album at the Miriam Makeba Performing Arts Centre (ECAVC), a place which has shown me much support and is very close to my heart. In December 2014, I began the recording process with a session at Peter Aurets studio. Three months later, we now have one more Joburg session left in order to add the last layer of flute, harp and cello. This campaign is mainly to bring to fruition what has been created, and to ensure great post- production takes place to honour the creativity that has already been shown.

I have had the pleasure of working with a wonderful production team consting of Nduduzo Makhathini (Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year for Music 2015) and Cobus Van Dyk, who co-produced my EP “Nal’ithemba with me. The amazing Gavan Eckhart of Soulfire studios will be mixing and mastering this album. He has worked with artists like Ray Phiri, Miriam Makeba, Lady Smith Black Mambazo, Marcus Wyatt, Freshly Ground and Bongeziwe Mabandla, to name a few, and has had projects that he has worked on be nominated for SAMAS and Grammies. This project is in good hands.”

msaki_groupThis is a BIG vision,  and big visions require big funding. Recording an album is expensive. In order to raise funds there’s now a campain on Indiegogo, where you can buy anything from a digital album download, to beautiful artworks and piano lessons. The album is planned to launch on  25 September 2015. Help Msaki realise her dream. $10 is not a lot of money to be able to say that you were there, before she made it big 😉

Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden

Last week beautiful Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden was rewarded “Garden of the Year” at the International Garden Tourism Awards. And it really deserves it! Those of you who have been there know what I’m talking about and those of you who haven’t really should make sure to have it on your list the next time you visit Cape Town.

Kirstenbosch is located on the slopes of Table Mountains and covers an area of ​​528 hectares and consists of landscaped gardens with indigenous plants and trees, as well as natural forest that stretches along the slopes. It has been estimated that there are 20 000 indigenous plant species in South Africa and of these you can find 4 700 at Kirstenbosch, and almost 50 percent of the flora at the Cape Penininsula is represented. There are plenty of paved trails that meander through the garden.

Although you may not have a big interest in the flora of the Cape, it’s still a perfect place to enjoy a picnic. That’s exactly what we did … We packed us a lovely picnic and headed off to Kirstenbosch on a wonderfully sunny morning just to enjoy all the beauty that the garden offers.

We laid our blankets out under a giant oak tree that offered much needed shade, albeit at the risk of being hit by acorns but it was worth it, and with geese and guinea fowl walking around next to us.

If you are interested in birds, you can have lots of fun at Kirstenbosch. Our goal was to see and photograph the Orange-Breasted Sunbird, the Lesser Double-collared Sunbird and the Cape Sugarbird. However, we had to settle with just hearing the Cape Sugarbird… Next time!

Recently the so-called The Boomslang opened at Kirstenbosch. This is a walkway that goes high up among the treetops and offers wonderful views of the botanical garden and its surroundings. If you visit Kirstenbosch on a Sunday, during the summer, there are concerts that are very popular.

Kirstenbosch is open until 19:00 in summer and 18:00 in winter. Entry fee is now R50 per adult and R25 for children under 17 years.

Groot Constantia Chardonnay 2013

Groot_Constantia_ChardonnayJust a few weeks after the devastating fire around Cape Town, Groot Constantia won the prestigious Chardonnay du Monde 2015. Their Groot Constantia Chardonnay 2013 beat no less than 825 other wines and took first prize.

This wine has won 16 gold medals during the past 10 years, so it was maybe a little expected.

Congratulation!

Tempel Wines

Between Paarl and Wellington in the South African winelands, about an hour’s drive from Cape Town, lies the small vineyard Temple Wines. The farm is run by Swedish Alf & Marie Ljungqvist, a couple that is impossible not to like. A visit here was a ‘must during our time in Cape Town, we hadn’t been there for several years and it’s always so nice.

Temple Wines specialises in the grape Pinotage, which is a South African specialty created in 1924, when Professor Abraham Izak Perold crossed the two varieties Pinot Noir and Cinsault. The latter was at the time called Hermitage in South Africa, which explains the name Pinotage.

We had the pleasure to try five lovely wines when we were there. Difference and Evidence, of which Evidence was our favorite as it’s a wonderful full bodied Pinotage, 3D, which is a South African version of a Bordeaux wine and Opus 5, Temple Wine’s fifth Pinotage which will certainly be really really good within a few years old (we have a bottle in our wine rack, waiting for the year 2020!).

The coolest wine Temple Wines produces though must be Innocence, which is something as rare as a white Pinotage. Temple Wines is one of only four producers in South Africa that do this. And it’s a very good wine that messes up the communication between eyes and taste buds…

Temple Wines is not only a winery but they also have five lovely rooms where you can stay while exploring the winelands. Affordable and personal, here you will definitely have a lovely time! You have the opportunity to have a braai (bbq) and they also offer a delightful delicacy platter with wine if you don’t want to go into town for the restaurants.

Last, but not least, a stay here also includes wine tasting and a cellar tour with Alf, which is a real experience.

Temple Wines is a wonderful place run by wonderful people!

 

Cricket World Cup 2015

Today, we have moved the office to the loft so that we can sit in front of the TV and work. It’s the quarterfinals of the Cricket World Cup 2015! 🙂 Today, we have to beat Sri Lanka and we got a good start, but there are many hours to go.

Do we understand all the rules? Haha, no not at all! And there are an aweful lot of terms to keep track of overs, wickets, square leg, yorkers the list is very long. But it’s fun to watch and it’s one of South Africa’s national sports.

The team is called The Proteas and let’s hope that captain AB de Villiers leads Amla, Steyn, Miller and all the others to win today.

Fish on the Rocks

When you visit Cape Town please go to Hout Bay and the restaurant Fish on the Rocks. The restaurant is located at the very far end of the harbour, in a rather unassuming venue. It’s not something you just happen to drive past, one must know that it’s there. It’s no fine dining, but they sure know how to cook.
This is probably the best fast food I’ve ever eaten. Large portions and wonderfully cooked fresh seafood. All three of us chose Fish & Chips and Calamari and that’s a hearty lunch. So increadibly good! 🙂 If there are any leftovers there are plenty of seagulls that literally hang in the air and that are happy to receive some food. For bird photographers (amateurs!) such as Lina and I, this was an incredibly fun experience.

Right next to the restaurant is Bay Harbour Market, a really lovely market open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. They offer something different than the usual tourist markets, I saw a lot of things I wouldn’t mind buying. There are also lots of yummy food, if you haven’t still feel hungry after your visit at Fish on the Rocks that is…

Adjacent to the market are also a few shops and art galleries. Freddy and I left with a large candle holder made of a piece of an old wine barrel.

End  your visit in Hout Bay with a walk on the beach and stroll around the marina with all the colourful boats and children that plunge into the water, without an ounce of fear.

Sunset Beach

We’ll continue on the theme of sunsets, it’s hard to get enough of them… 🙂 We had one of our evenings at Sunset Beach in Milnerton north of Cape Town. We made it very easy for us, bought pizza and drinks of your choice and sat down and waited for the sun to go down.

Simple pleasure with wonderful memories!

Signal Hill

During one of our first days in Cape Town we went to Signal Hill in the late afternoon. We had packed a simple picnic and we parked ourselves at one of the tables. You can also take a blanket and sit down on the slope and look out over Green Point/Sea Point and Robben Island out there in the ocean. You’re also surrounded by Table Mountain, which in honour of the day had the table cloth on, and Lion’s Head.

If you want, you can take a photo of you in the giant yellow frame which has been there since 2014 to celebrate that Table Mountain was voted one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. These frames are dotted around Cape Town, including the V&A Waterfront and in Bloubergstrand. Unfortunately, the queue was way too long with photo crazy Asian tourists, so we gave up on that idea … But, we had the pleasure to see a lot of whales down in the bay and also what must have been lots of dolphins – all you could see was a white foam that was moving over the surface of the ocean. Awesome!

When we were there it was very windy and a bit chilly, but it was nice nevertheless. The sunset here is very beautiful, so we really recommend this! Have a designated driver and take a good bottle of South African (of course!) wine along…

When the sun dropped below the horizon everyone ran to their cars all at the same time, to escape the wind. This, along with a couple of tourist buses which very effectively blocked the way going down, resulted in a queue down the mountain. So it’s probably a good idea to not go here on a weekend if possible. Or to not be in a hurry to leave!

On the way down, you can stop at several lookout point (just make sure you pull over properly so you’re not blocking the way!) and here you’ll have a very beautiful view of Cape Town. In the evening the city lights up and becomes, if possible, even more beautiful, which brings out the inner photographer (who also wishes for a better camera or a tripod, or just less wind :))

This was really a wonderful evening and we’ll definitely return!

En route to Cape Town!

We have just arrived back home after nearly two glorious weeks in Cape Town and the surrounding areas. On February 21st, Lina, Freddy and I packed us and a whole lot of stuff into the car and headed south. Its about a 1 400 km drive, so we chose to stay one night along the way. There is not a whole lot of places to choose from, and as we’ve done previous times we have driven this route, we stopped in Beaufort West. In Beaufort West you sleep, fill up with fuel and eat, that’s all this tired little town has to offer.

We had booked a very neat self-catering accommodation on the outskirts of town, Haus Holzapfel, and the next day we continued our journey. We stopped in Matjiesfontein, just under 250 km from Cape Town. This is a well-preserved Victorian railway village, and here you’ll find ,for example, a museum with a collection of historic cars and trains. Rovos Rail stops here during the journey between Pretoria and Cape Town.

We arrived in Cape Town just in time for rush hour traffic which, if you live in Johannesburg, was not so bad and we found our way to the townhouse in Rondebosch that good friends let us use.

We had two exciting weeks, so stay tuned for more!