South Africa’s winelands

One of our favorite areas of ​​South Africa (yes, there are many of them!) is the winelands in the Western Cape, they have so much to offer. Picturesque vineyards, restored farms in Cape Dutch style, excellent wine routes, fynbos and majestic mountain ranges as a backdrop, the list goes on… Many of the towns and villages in the winelands have historical buildings and monuments that tell of the area’s rich history, and during a visit you will experience so much more than just wine.

Groot Constantia

Groot Constantia

South Africa also has its very own grape variety, Pinotage, which was created in 1924 when Professor Abraham Izak Perold crossed the two varieties Pinot Noir and Cinsault. The latter was called at the time the Hermitage in South Africa, which explains the name Pinotage. However, it took many years before Pinotage received the attention it deserves, the international breakthrough came in 1989.

Huguenot Monument in Franschhoek

Huguenot Monument in Franschhoek

How much time you spend in the area, depends a lot on how interested you are – or how much you like – wine 🙂 You can choose to visit the winelands during the day with your base in Cape Town – within a radius of 100 km there is so much to see and do.

Beautiful house in Cape Dutch style

Beautiful house in Cape Dutch style

If you want to concentrate on a smaller area, make your way to charming Stellenbosch, which is considered to produce the best range of wines with hundreds of vineyards, or Franschhoek, located in one of the world’s most beautiful wine valleys. Both are within a short driving distance from each other through the beautiful Helshoogte Pass.

Harvest time at Ormonde in Darling

Harvest time at Ormonde in Darling

You can also stay at one of the many beautiful guesthouses available here and also enjoy really good food. Franschhoek is such as South Africa’s “food and wine capital” – many of the country’s hundred best restaurants are here!

winelands 5

Beautiful mountains as backdrop

You can also choose to have any of the winefarms as a base. Then you’ll stay at a winery where wine is produced and work is ongoing every day. They come in size large, as for example Spier, to size small as our favorite Temple Wines. Prices vary quite a bit…

Môreson outside of Franschhoek

Môreson outside of Franschhoek

For those of you who don’t want to be self-driving, there are excellent guided tours, both as full-day and half-day options, which provides transportation (even to and from Cape Town) in air-conditioned minibuses, wine tastings, cellar tours and time to discover areas on their own and much more.

Neethlingshof

Neethlingshof

Usually, when people talk about the winelands in South Africa, it is the areas around Paarl, Stellenbosch and Franschhoek that brought to mind. But there are so many other wine routes that all offer high-quality South African wines and beautiful scenery.

Boschendal

Boschendal

Please read more about all the wine regions in South Africa on our website Destination South Africa.

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Wedding

Lately we have – even if it has been a while – told you a lot about our trip to Cape Town. And we will surely have some more small treats from there, Cape Town really is full of wonerful experiences.

The trip to Cape Town had been planned a long time, but we added one more thing that we wanted to do while we were there. We threw in a small wedding 🙂

My Freddy proposed inside the Kruger National Park last August, at sunset by a dam full of hippos. Absolutely perfect… We knew early on that we wanted a small wedding, not a big spectacle that shrinks the bank account and makes you stress, and we agreed that combining a wedding with our trip to Cape Town was a very good idea. The only guest was Lina, who was also the bridesmaid, best man, ring bearer and our right-hand man..eh..woman.

In 2013 I helped a Swedish couple who wanted to get married in South Africa and I put them in touch with Weddings out of Africa who helped them with everything and they got married on top of Table Mountain. When we saw the pictures, I think both Freddy and I quietly thought that this might be it (but by then it was too early to talk about marriage).

We also asked Kirsty at Weddings out of Africa for help and we  too chose to get married on top of Table Mountain. There are some paperwork that needs to be sorted out before you can get married in South Africa and I will soon write a post and tell you exactly what is needed and how to proceed. If you are marrying a South African like I did, you must nowadays also go for an interview at the Department of Home Affairs.

So we booked a time, two days before the wedding, and the interview was a strangely unpleasant experience. I never thought it would be so hard to explain why you love someone, or answer any other questions, but despite my stuttering we were considered to be a genuine couple and we got permission to get married.

On February 25 the day had come and I had the pleasure of being prettified by a real pro who came “home” to us. If anyone ever needs someone who can do your hair and makeup I can really recommend Bernice Dodd.

Unfortunately a big fat cloud, the famous table cloth, decided to park right on top of the mountain and we couldn’t have the ceremony there, so we had it at the foot of the mountain instead but that was very nice too. After the ceremony, and the mandatory paperwork, we went to Signal Hill and Glen Forest with photographer Jilda G, she too is amazing.

The evening ended at the restaurant we chose – The Roundhouse Restaurant that offers really great food!

I’m super pleased with our day and very happy.

Hugs,
Mrs. Lindgren-King 🙂

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.

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!