Lothian Vineyards is a family vineyard on the Palmiet River in Elgin, South Africa, producing Burgundian style wines like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
The area is well worth the hour-and-a-bit drive required to get there from Cape Town, the wines and food are outstanding and it’s something a little different from the usual fare of the traditional tourist wine routes. For starters, the estate has been established incorporating its own private lake. This is a place where natural beauty is merely a glance away, with sightings of rare Cape Leopard, African Fish Eagle, Cape Clawless Otter and Cape Eagle Owl.
Indulge in the luxury wine tasting experience, or, for the more adventurous, go horseback riding or fishing (there are even jet-skis and a boat to take for a spin).
With plenty to enjoy, under amazing African skies, Lothian Vineyards is an absolute pleasure to experience.
Cape Town, and South Africa are home to the best beaches in the world, along with that come some of the best waves (breaks) too. The shore is the meeting of two ecosystems and the various creatures that inhabit both, seals, penguins, sea gulls and surfers.
If you haven’t braved the waves before, never fear, there are many extremely qualified folks that would be more than happy to show you the ropes. Stoked surf school offers a variety of local breaks for all surfing difficulty/experience levels as well as SUP (Stand Up Paddling).
The school as formed in 2009 by a former marketing manager who “got the stoke”, left her job and travelled the world surfing.
There are few more valuable or beautiful experiences than standing up on a board and riding a wave, it is something that practically anyone can have a chance to experience, and it gets you out and about!
You can do very little to prepare yourself for what it feels like to see your first whale, its sheer immensity, and awe-inspiring ability to cut through the ocean and frolic despite its bulk is breathtaking. They are huge but seemingly gentle, and while they displace a LOT of water, they have grace. Hermanus is one of the most popular venues to enjoy some recreational whale watching. While South Africa’s shores are proud home to various species of year-round whales and dolphins it’s the annual migration of the Humpback, Brydes and Southern right whale that draws the crowds. Between Cape Hangklip and Witsand southern rights come in particularly large numbers to mate and rear their young. All of this ocean commotion is underpinned by the (land based) annual whale watching festival, with a beautiful market and all the local restaurants and bars on their best behaviour. The town turns out, the stalls are in abundance and the whales dance in the sea, certainly an experience not to be missed! (P.S. Hermanus has a beautiful set of amazing beaches and a footpath that takes you along all of them).
Hermanus is a beautiful seaside hamlet 120 km’s drive from Cape Town, taking you over the Houw Hoek Pass with spectacular views over False Bay and all the way back to our beloved Table Mountain. The drive is a scenic one, and the destination is picturesque as can be, a perfect little haven to taste some wine, sip some cocktails and view the life aquatic.
From Cape Town:
Take the N2 through Somerset West and Grabouw and travel towards Caledon.
After crossing the Houw Hoek Pass (just before Bot River), the road will split, one fork will take you on the N2 towards Caledon and the other will take you on the R320 towards Hermanus.
Take the R320 to Hermanus.
At the T-junction, turn left and follow the R43.
Pass the Kleinmond turn-off.
Drive past Hawston and Onrus and head straight into Hermanus.
This heritage protected building houses a 78-seater theatre and a restaurant in a lovingly restored split level interior. We would strongly advise to take advantage of the entire package, the three-course dinner, (two courses before the performance, and desserts/coffees afterwards) and a show.
The venue is incredibly intimate and the artists/performers are a selection of well-loved favorites and special performances. They do a great sharing mezze platter with parma ham, chorizo, beet hummus, Danish feta and tzatziki served with hot pitas. Also amazing is the artisan ravioli with napolitana, blackened sesame seeds and parmesan, available in either roast chicken or spinach and ricotta.
The restaurant is upstairs, with a gallery opening down on to the stage below, it is a cosy, warm and inviting affair, well worth a visit. Booking is essential!
Seeing the sights and sampling the goodies can be fatiguing, and it’s a great idea to take a day or two to engage in more laid back and easy going activities, allowing yourself the time to soak up some of the more down-tempo aspects of cape town. A chilled breakfast, a walk amongst some beautiful gardens, and a little spot of theatre, just enough to recharge but not lose momentum.
Evita Bezuidenhout aka Tannie (Auntie) Evita aka Pieter-Dirk Uys, is hailed far and wide as the South African doyenne of political incorrectness, and South Africa’s most famous white woman (a slightly more self-imposed moniker).
She has witnessed first-hand, railed against, performed about and been outrageously outspoken on issues such as apartheid, AIDS and the South African political system (then and now). She is a voice for the people, and you will rarely find such an insightful glance behind the petticoats of what is happening in South Africa, and what has happened, and what has yet to happen.
After discovering that a place called Darling existed, it didn’t take long for Evita to descend on this sleepy little Swartland town and paint it pink. She opened Boerassic Park, a wittily themed satirical garden and Evita se Perron, which was the local train station (perron in Afrikaans), a beautiful cabaret and theatre venue, all in her brilliant style.
Not only that, but she managed to get the local community involved, opening their hearts and doors to visitors coming for their now legendary Voorkamer Fest (where small intimate musical performances, theatre and poetry take place in people’s sitting rooms all over town). It is practically sinful to come within 100km’s of this spot without popping in, indulging in a show, and witnessing the beautiful, humorous and slightly wistful tale of South Africa.
Any bookworm will attest to the smell, the unique, relaxing, embracing scent of a freshly “minted” book, being the best thing about purchasing and owning them.
As a bookshop, Bibliophilia stands apart, unique and quirky, the sheer passion for the written word is embodied and expertly conveyed by the owner Xavier Nagel, and his team. With a penchant for the “out there” and also local work, you will find a cleverly curated selection of material from social realism to history, illustration to hobbies and from body art to gardening.
Regularly hosting book launches and other cultural events, this is a venue to keep an eye on, and one to leave loads of cash behind at. Bibliophilia is everything its name suggests and more, if you love the written word, or know somebody who does, this is a certain bet to find some treasure or another.
These days it seems that The Old biscuit Mill is more things than it’s not, making it a great place to find a large variety of fairly specific things. Casamento and Quirky Me/Abode offer an amazing range of drop dead gorgeous furniture and home accessories, from retro to funk, modern and classic, you’re covered.
Once you have picked up that “little-something-that-brings-the-room-together” head over to Mu & Me to have it expertly gift wrapped, in handmade paper, with a custom card. Photography enthusiasts are catered for as well courtesy of The Exposure Gallery, which stocks a large variety of lomographic equipment, from the classic Diana F+ to various fish-eye lenses and other necessary accoutrement.
If you have a sweet tooth, you must visit Cocoaffair, where you can watch artisan chocolatiers assemble all manner of cocoa bean goodness. Handmade truffles, gourmet chocolate bars and on and on, the list is endless and the variety is astounding.
This former eye-sore on the outskirts of the city has a lot to offer and we’ve only skimmed the surface, there are many more shops and boutiques, as well as the weekly Neighbourgoods market. Every Saturday over a hundred specialty traders open up shop to offer their wares, with craft beer on tap and live music.
Kirsten Beets is a local artist whose main subjects and themes are how people interact with nature in a recreational way, observed from a high vantage point and neatly rendered in minute detail. Her work includes intricate and astute observations of people, places and objects, their interaction with one another, and the moments of enlightenment sometimes produced by the observed phenomena.
This artist has exhibited both locally and internationally (Royal Academy of Arts in London, Cape Town and Johannesburg Arts Fair and others) and this is her third solo exhibition at Salon91. This venue is a boutique-style gallery and art consultation service based in Kloof Street, Cape Town.
They showcase work of all disciplines by both established and newcomer artists, set on creating and curating the emerging local scene. Pop round in the evening, meet the artist, a born and bred Capetonian, discuss the work and have some bubbly, the intimacy of the experience is what makes it so worthwhile.