Feeling the Vibe at the Root 44 Market in Stellenbosch (2016-11-20) Markets | Photo Gallery 26 FEB 2017

The Root44 (or Root 44 depending on what marketing material you look at) market is one of those unusually nice markets precisely because so much money has been thrown in behind it. (Also, the fact that its surrounds are so damn pretty doesn’t hurt either!)

There is literally loads of seating and chill areas (more than enough to cater for the massive crowds that seem to visit the market each and every weekend), plenty of different stall vendors, evenly split between crafts and foods, constant live entertainment, and even better still, actually roofing which make this one of the more weather resistant markets in the area.

(One of the only minor complaints that I have is that they stole away most of what was an okay kids play area and commercialized it into an offering that is okay if you plan on hanging out at the market for most of the day, but completely overboard in price if you are just popping in for a half hour long visit.)

Whilst both Chantelle and I actually prefer Somerset West’s Lourensford market in terms of the actual food stalls, there is no denying the absolutely pleasurable vibe that you get from visiting Root 44 – thus effortlessly retaining its spot as one of the most popular Saturday morning hangouts in the Stellenbosch surrounds.

(Oh, and have I mentioned that its weekly Parkrun is apparently one of the prettiest in Cape Town?)

We took a bit of a break from visiting markets last year, with these photos from November 2016 being one of the few occasions that we did actually venture down to Audacia’s grounds for a Root 44 market excursion… meaning that we are probably now somewhat overdue another Saturday morning pancakes fix! :)

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Bonus: As always, here is a handy map, just in case you want to figure out for yourself where in the world this place I’m talking about actually is:

Related Link: Root44 Market | Facebook

Weekend of Root 44, Mondeor, and Blaauwklippen (2015-04-25) Photo Gallery 03 SEP 2015

Back in April this year we enjoyed a nice long weekend thanks to Freedom Day falling on a Monday, and looking back at the photos, it looks like we might just have filled up the weekend with visits to perennial weekend favourites of ours – namely Root 44 market, Mondeor Garden Restaurant, and of course, ponies and pancakes at the Blaauwklippen Family Market.

IMG_20150425_142850 craig and jessica lotter at root 44 market

Seems like a decent way to spend a family-orientated weekend to me! :)

IMG_20150425_142837 chantelle lotter with emily at root 44 market

And Monday the public holiday? Well that saw us drive through to Grabouw of all places.

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Related Link: Freedom Day

Root 44 and Burger King Ice-cream (2015-08-22) Photo Gallery 24 AUG 2015

It was girls and I again last weekend, so after we did all the chores (that involved riding around trying to source fridge lightbulbs and other odds and ends), I figured it a great idea to take advantage of the unusually warm weather and drive out towards Stellenbosch for a visit at the always super popular and busy Root 44 market at Audacia.

IMG_20150822_130504 jessica at root 44 market on audacia farm

As expected, the vibes were great, The Professors were creating some fantastic music up on stage, and Jessica and Emily enjoyed clambering about the sandpit and jungle gym.

Sadly for me though, Pure Pancakes continues to disappoint with its pancakes that leave that horrible dry, baking soda taste in your mouth once they’re done. Sigh, I really wish they’d fix their recipe! (Or at least copy Catje’s Pancakes of Blaauwklippen Market fame’s delicious recipe!)

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Oh, and because I had dressed the girls for Winter and in the end it was more like Summer, I was ‘forced’ to stop for a quick ice-cream at our local Burger King in Somerset Mall – mainly because I wanted to see what their kids play area looks like…

IMG_20150822_141839 jessica eating ice-cream at burger king in somerset mall

Turns out Emily is rather fond of ice-cream…

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And thanks to all that… stickiness, it was completely impossible for us to escape bath time come evening! :)

IMG_20150822_191602 emily and jessica lotter in the bath

Pancakes at Root 44 Market (2015-03-07) Photo Gallery 10 MAR 2015

Following our feeding of the ducks at the Strand duck pond (kicking off our jam-packed family activities weekend), we found ourselves driving down the R44 in the direction of Stellenbosch, our destination being the always family friendly Root 44 market – the end goal… well pancakes with the kids of course!

IMG_20150307_121513 chantelle lotter waiting for pancakes at root 44 market

As always, Pure Pancakes didn’t disappoint, and soon we found ourselves a nice little spot on the grass in the kids play area on the edge of yet another bustling market day, and with all the pancakes now happily devoured piece by piece, it was time to play!

In the blink of an eye, Emily was clambering up and over everything (loving the slide at the moment it would seem – keeps me on my toes mind you!), whilst Jessica made a beeline for the sand pit – where she pretty much spent the rest of the morning!

IMG_20150307_124224 toddler emily lotter playing in the sand at root 44 market

Chantelle wandered off to browse the market (she doesn’t get to come out here quite as often as I do), whilst I just sat back and watched the kids at play.

So certainly not a horrible way to spend a beautiful Saturday morning then! :)

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At Root 44 on Japan Day 2015 (2015-02-28) Photo Gallery 02 MAR 2015

Well that’s a bit embarrassing isn’t it? You see, I was on daddy duty with the girls on Saturday thanks to Chantelle working, and so I thought it would be nice to get out for a bit with a trip first to Root 44 Market, followed by some time in Stellenbosch.

The embarrassing bit is that it turns out that Saturday 28 February was The Office of the Consul of Japan in Cape Town’s Japan Day at the Root 44 market on the Audacia wine estate – and I pretty much took absolutely NO photos at all.

Zip, zero, zilch.

In other words, you’ll just have to take my work for it then! (Below? Not my photo.)

kendo at japan day 2015 at root 44 market

With our shopping at Somerset Mall done and dusted, Jessica, Emily and I then headed down the R44 until we reached the Audacia wine estate, ready for some Root 44 market action. As we climbed out of the car, the distinctive sound of taiko drums being beaten could be heard – in fact, it was our usual Helderberg culprits in the form of the Tamashii Daiko drumming troupe!

We had in fact just arrived for the start of Japan Day 2015, and dotted around the market were all sorts of Japanese related tables and exhibitions, from Bonzai to Calligraphy to Sumi-e art, and Origami to koi fish to Ikebana flower arrangement – and even a display of traditional Japanese children’s toys!

The main stage featured a continuous rotation of displays that included things like the taiko drumming, aikido, Japanese flute playing, kenjutso, kendo, karate, Japanese food preparation – and of course cosplay. (It goes without saying that the Cape Town Cosplay crew pretty much always show their faces if an event even mentions the words Japan or comic book!)

Anyway, perhaps the reason for me not taking any photos was the fact that the girls weren’t too interested in all of this going on around them – as far as they were concerned (well by ‘they’ I mean Jessica), we were there for one thing and one thing only – pancakes!

IMG_20150228_113532 jessica lotter waiting for pancakes at root 44 market

Of course, this DID mean that after much ambling about, we settled down with some pancakes, playfully devoured them, and then spent much time playing in the kids’ area on all the slides and swings – which needless to say both Jessica and Emily rather enjoyed.

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With the market (and thus Japan Day 2015) done and dusted, my next leg of the day out with the girls was a scenic drive down Adam Tas to meet up with Baden Powell, travelling past Spier and then into Stellenbosch, all with the plan to hit the market up at the Oude Libertas amphitheater.

However, on arrival there, my plans were somewhat dashed when I found both Jessica and Emily to be fast, fast asleep, and so in an effort not to disturb my two little sleeping beauties, I instead drove through Stellenbosch in the direction of home, stopping only once we were back in Somerset West in order to surprise Jessica with an McDonalds ice cream.

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Of course she decided to then pick a burger and chips instead. Sigh.

IMG_20150228_132453 jessica lotter at mcdonalds

Still, it was a great day out with my two little girls – as always! :)

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Spur, Root 44, and Boerewors Rolls My Life 25 FEB 2015

As per usual, we had a nice and busy weekend, with things kicking off on Friday when Chantelle abandoned us for Bellville in order to go and watch the much hyped 50 Shades of Grey movie with Natasha and Michelle Garrett. She opted to take Emily with in order to leave her with Ouma and free up some Daddy/Daughter time for me with Jessica, and taking full advantage of this generous offer, I picked up Jessica from Vergeet-My-Nie at the end of the work day and headed off to the Gordon’s Bay Spur!

jessica lotter with face painted like a buttefly, courtesy of spur

Needless to say, Jessica was particularly excited, even more so when we were handed a table literally next to the play area! For the next hour and a half she was bobbing between playing in the kids area (our Spur has really jacked this part of their operation up!), eating food and drinking pink milkshake with her dad, and running around with two other random little girls who seemed to be having just as much fun over at the Spur as what she was!

jessica lotter drinking a spur pink milkshake

(Footnote: I didn’t stay up to find out how much Chantelle enjoyed the BDSM-tinged 50 Shades of Grey movie – which as it turns out was quite a lot – but I am rather pleased to report that I didn’t wake up chained to the bed or something like that the next morning).

With Chantelle working and an Eskom loadshed looming, Saturday morning saw me escape to Somerset West with the girls for some retail therapy (no, actually just household and DIY shopping – lightbulbs seem to be really, really expensive these days, not to mention the price of garden tools!), followed by a visit to the always busy, always pleasant Root 44 market at Audacia.

There it was to be pancakes, playing in the sand pit and of course going down the slides (yes, even Emily joined in) that was the order of the day!

jessica lotter at the sandpit at root 44 market

The rest of the afternoon/evening was pretty uneventful now that I think about it – Chantelle and I attempted to watch Liam Neeson getting rather confused in the movie Unknown, but sadly as we got just over half way, Chantelle’s gentle snoring and permanently shut eyes became a subtle enough hint, and so we abandoned the film for some much enjoyed bed time.

emily lotter at the sandpit at root 44 market

Sunday was work day for Chantelle once more, but I had more than enough on my own plate to keep me busy. I had invited all the friends around for a Boerewors braai at our place – the first informal get together at Country Mews of the friends in I don’t know how long!

Anyway, all the rushing around paid off, because by the time our guests in Michelle, Damen and Logan, and Evan, Natasha and Evalynne arrived, everything was set up and ready, meaning that chilling in the driveway around our newly bought outside table could commence in ernest!

What followed was an enjoyable afternoon of chatter, boerewors and spanspek, and even a short trip to the park here in Country Mews. Of course, boys will be boys and FIFA did at one point get hauled out and played – and to make things even better, Ryan eventually showed up in Gordon’s Bay, coming through for a visit and some FIFA following his outing to the Art of Brick exhibition in Waterfront earlier in the day.

Eventually though, the day and early evening were done, and with the kids in bed and the last of our guests gone back across the Boerewors curtain, Chantelle and I settled down to finish off the enjoyable Unknown (for the record, Chantelle didn’t quite make it – she’d have to catch the ending again the next morning), rounding off what was a great little weekend.

Photo Gallery: Root 44 Market Discovery (2013-01-20) Photo Gallery 20 JAN 2013

A new market recently opened up on the R44 on your way into Stellenbosch, named Root 44 (well, it is on the wine farm Audacia after all). Being a direct challenger to Blaauwklippen as well as Oude Libertas markets, Chantelle and I thought it would be cool to head on down and check out what this new kid on the block offers – and boy were we impressed. A lot of things still need to be tweaked, particularly for the traders, but other than that, this new market definitely has the potential to become big.

Loads of space, plenty of activities for families to do, so definitely a thumbs up from us then!

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Ending a Touchwork year at Groot Constantia and Pastis, Cape Town (2018-12-11) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 26 FEB 2019

Following the last year-end function at Monkey Valley in Noordhoek, 2018’s Touchwork/Hypenica year-end function moved a little closer to home with a delightful session of wine tasting at the granddaddy of Cape wine estates, Groot Constantia, followed by a delectable French-themed lunch at nearby Pastis Brasserie.

Now a provincial heritage site, Groot Constantia is recognised as being the oldest wine estate in South Africa, with this age old winery having been established in 1685 after the land was first granted to Simon van der Stel, the then VOC Governor of the Cape of Good Hope.

These days, in addition to the production of excellent wine, Groot Constantia is also a major Cape Town tourist attraction (a member of Cape Town’s Big 6 to be exact), with the grounds being home to the Cape Dutch Manor House, the famed Cloete Cellar, two restaurants, a wine tasting centre, wine and cultural history museums, and walking tours of the vineyards and modern-day production cellar.

As for us on the day, we were there to taste wine, and taste wine we did.

Next up, a short stroll down the road lead the French-themed team to the Pastis Brasserie, a French inspired eatery that has been around since 2004. More wine was drunk, speeches had, Mystery Santa played, and lunch tucked into.

Great way to end off another good year for both sister companies really.

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Farmers Market at True Grit Bike Park in Sir Lowry’s Pass Village (2017-07-22) Markets | Photo Gallery 09 DEC 2017

If you are into mountain biking, trail running or hiking, then the True Grit Bike Park, tucked away at foot of the mountain alongside the Knorhoek Estate in Sir Lowry’s Pass Village, is most certainly somewhat of a hidden gem.

Having bounced back after the terrible loss incurred through the devastating fires that tore through the Knorhoek area a year or two ago, the True Grit Bike Park is a popular bike riding venue for both young and old, hosts numerous birthday parties and corporate events, and is now even home to its very own farmers market – aptly named the True Grit Farmers Market of course!

Chantelle and I had the opportunity to visit the True Grit Farmers Market back in July this year, taking advantage of a childless Saturday morning (the girls were sleeping over at one of the grandparents’ houses) to check out the new market for ourselves.

(In hindsight though, given how popular the children’s bike track looked, we should probably have dragged them along with us!)

At this stage the market was still pretty small, but given that this then means that it isn’t completely packed full of people as say Root 44 or the Oranjezicht City Farm Market get, neither Chantelle nor I was really complaining.

There was after all, some good food to choose from (Chantelle is in love with the veggie burger that she always picks up whenever, and wherever, she tracks down the stall), live music to enjoy, an audible buzz from a happy crowd, and of course some magnificent views to take in from what is a stunningly beautiful environment.

Bike trails, pony rides, a Zorb orb guy, and wide open spaces also then mean that the kids should be more than okay in terms of keeping themselves busy, so although a bit off the beaten track, perhaps not a bad place to check out if you are looking for a friendly, out in nature, farmer’s market option then.

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I guess a re-visit with the kids is still very much in order then.

Related Link: True Grit Farmers Market | True Grit Bike Park | Facebook