Category Archives: Photo Gallery

Penguins and a Beach in Betty’s Bay (2019-03-16) Nature and Animal Attractions | Photo Gallery 05 FEB 2020

Who doesn’t love watching pengweenis waddle around, cool off with a dip in the sea, and occasionally bray like donkeys? In terms of African penguin colonies in the world, there aren’t exactly many of them, but as luck would have it, the Western Cape is home to two, the first being the world famous Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town, and the second, equally as enjoyable site, being Stony Point in Betty’s Bay.

The girls and I tend to visit the penguins at Stony Point at least once a year, primarily because I really do love the exquisitely scenic drive along Clarence Drive to get there. On this particular visit we first paid a visit to the white sands of the Betty’s Bay main beach, before wandering over to the penguin rich boardwalk of Stony Point, and then finally off for a leisurely trundle along the nearby coastal pathway.

Stony Point has a great set up of this well maintained wooden boardwalk that allows you to walk right through the penguin colony (by this point the penguins are quite used to the hordes of silly humans who keep stopping to take photos of them and the dassies), and come breeding season you can actually look right into the nests, see the eggs, and watch the young ones slowly make their appearance.

When you do eventually get bored of the frolicking dassies, blue lizards, cormorant colony, and sea-diving penguins of the little nature reserve itself, then there is the small restaurant (On the Edge) and edu-centre near the reserve entrance, and of course the spectacular Kogelberg views that comes bundled with a visit to Betty’s Bay.

So definitely yet another scenic feather in the Western Cape’s cap.

Scooting about Pinnacle Point Estate in Mossel Bay (2019-09-28) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 01 FEB 2020

Last year September saw me take the girls up for a weekend away at Pinnacle Point in Mossel Bay, a slightly more out of the ordinary visit than normal given that mom and dad were restricted to home in Bellville (due to mom’s hip replacement) and Chantelle was busy frantically churning out cakes in Gordon’s Bay, meaning that it was just me, my two girls, and my younger brother Ryan inhabiting the great big house for the handful of days.

Obviously we made the most of it (despite the damp, overcast, predominantly grey conditions). Lots of sport on TV, golf cart shenanigans, animal and fynbos spotting in the estate, fish and chips at the Sea Gypsy (as is now customary for any visit to Mossel Bay), Lego building, colouring in, and the highlight of each and every day – a swim in the warm water pool at ATKV Hartenbos.

We also confirmed that scooting around on scooters in such a hilly estate is no fun at all – if you’re little.

Honey and Buzzing at Bee Things in Swellendam (2019-09-27) Photo Gallery | Shopping 30 JAN 2020

If you are rather fond of honey and happen to ‘bee’ in Swellendam, then it might just be worth your while to buzz across the main street to the brightly hued, honeybee-themed, hard to miss Bee Things shop.

As it stands, Bee Things is part of the Ubusi Beekeeping company which rose out of founder Jaco Wolfaardt’s beekeeping hobby that first morphed into JW’s Beekeeping Honey & Equipment, before finally emerging as this full scale commercial beekeeping operation that provides beekeeping, mentorship, supplies, and most important to me and you as a consumer, honey direct to the public.

Currently there are four Bee Things shops in operation, in Swellendam, George, Mosselbay and Barrydale, and these stores provide both an awareness and retail avenue for Ubusi’s honey and wax as well as for an assortment of bee-related products from 3rd party producers.

The end result? An amazing little shop experience that is crammed with the most exotic collection of honey (with some of it even on tap!), honey products, and locally manufactured hand crafted items, as well as a plethora of information about the beekeeping industry and practices, and of course bees themselves.

There is also a hive with honey bees on show (great for the kids), and this particular store in Swellendam (the home base so to speak) also features an amazing wall of Jaco’s private collection of honey that he has collected from literally all over the world!

A Year of Beach Walks in Strand (2018-12-31) Nature and Animal Attractions | Photo Gallery 25 JAN 2020

Presented here as a form of personal archival (and to get my “Unposted Photos” folder looking a little better), is a collection of random photos taken at Strand Beach (where I do the majority of my evening walks).

I have said it before, but 5 km of white sandy beach overlooking False Bay, one of the safest swimming beaches in Cape Town, surfing, kiteboarding, water slides and a tidal pool, and some pretty impressive buildings dotted along a renewed promenade – what’s not to love?

There’s a river estuary, a protected marine area, good fishing, a lifesaving club, gorgeous sunsets, and soft serve ice cream. Lots of soft serve ice cream.

Heading over Tradouw Pass towards Suurbraak (2019-07-01) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 20 JAN 2020

I genuinely enjoy travelling over the magnificent Tradouw Pass as it snakes its way over the Langeberg mountains, linking up the three towns of Swellendam, Suurbraak, and Barrydale as one moves from the Overberg towards the edge of the Klein Karoo.

Having been built by the legendary road and mountain pass architect Thomas Bain, the 17 kilometer long Tradouw Pass was officially opened in 1873, taking its name from a loose Khoi translation meaning roughly “women’s path”.

The stunningly beautiful pass cuts through green mountains and runs alongside gorgeous canyons – though its original form did make it rather prone to flood damage. Over time a number of renovations would help stabilize the pass, with the biggest of these coming in 1974 when the pass was basically completely rebuilt, with hairpins removed, the road widened, and its surface completely tarred. As part of this process, an additional 4,000 aloes and 2,500 indigenous trees and shrubs were planted, adding another layer of landscaping to this already scenic mountain pass.

Today there are plenty of viewing points to stop at and admire the landscape, which is exactly what I then did as we travelled over the pass on our way to Barrydale for last year’s June School Holidays trip to Warmwaterberg Spa.

(That said, only Emily was eager enough to actually abandon the car and head up to the Drupkelder cave with me!)

A Touchwork Year-end HintHunt in Woodstock (2019-11-29) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 15 JAN 2020

To celebrate the end of a successful 2019 work year, the sister teams of Touchwork (Yay!), Hypenica, RegNow, African Agri Council, and Cape Business News all gathered together at The Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock, ready to forgo last year’s wine tasting in exchange for some mental gymnastics instead. Hello HintHunt.

I won’t lie, when I heard that we were doing HintHunt this year I was pretty excited. The escape room concept is brilliant – basically they lock a small group of you in a staged room, start a timer on the wall to mark your 60 minutes, and then every so gently nudge you to use all of your mental abilities and powers of observation to try and unearth an incredibly intricate chain of clues, hints, locks and keys that will eventually unlock the door and stop the timer.

It is an absolutely brilliant experience. The incredible stress that comes from the relentless timer countdown, the thrill of finding hidden drawers, pockets and containers in just about every inconceivable location, the frustration at bashing your head against a combination lock one to many times – it is an absolute intense bit of intellectual fun.

Our group was split up into four teams and each given their own room, two of the teams heading off for the hardboiled detective themed JM’s Office game, and other two to the Japanese-themed Zen Room game.

As it so happened, I was drawn into a team with Jason, Wendy and Beryl, with the four of us getting whisked off to the delightfully themed, but devilishly difficult Zen Room, where we were confronted by not just intricate puzzles (include a splash of Sudoku), but also the need to do on the fly Japanese translations!

(For reference, the Zen Room’s scenario is as follows: “A recently orphaned Japanese girl has requested your help in retrieving her priceless family heirlooms. Latest intel suggests that the heirlooms are hidden within one of the culprit’s safe houses, you don’t have much time till they are sold in the black market and completely lost forever. This mission will require your teams cooperation and fine eye for detail if you intend to succeed in the recovery of the heirlooms. Act now, you don’t have much time!”)

It was incredibly tricky, incredibly frustrating, incredibly fun – but I literally won’t say anything more so as not to spoil it for anyone still to play. In the end the escape room proved to be too challenging for our quartet, with the timer running out with a few locks still lying in wait for us. Nevertheless, I think we did a damn fine job anyway. (In fact, as far as what I can remember, none of our four groups actually managed to escape – so there is some solace in that! :P)

Having all taken the bus from our Westlake office to Woodstock, the next leg of our year-end function required us to bundle into some Ubers and head down to the always vibrant V&A Waterfront, where lunch at the Mozambique-themed Mozambik restaurant awaited us.

It was good, very good. And the plenitude of wine certainly didn’t hurt either.

Winelands Markets fun at Blaauwklippen in Stellenbosch (2019-11-10) Markets | Photo Gallery 10 JAN 2020

It’s all a little confusing really, but for all intents and purposes the famous Blaauwklippen Family Market (which has been running since 2011) doesn’t exist any more – except that it is still very much thriving if you rock up at the beautiful Blaauwklippen wine estate on a Sunday. So what gives?

Well the organisers behind the super successful market have decided to flex their market organizing wings a bit and as such having a name that ties them to a single estate is a bit limiting – hence the birth of Winelands Markets. (Not the most distinct of company names to run a web search against to be honest!)

Anyway, as part of this process they dropped the whole Blaauwklippen Family Market moniker, the signage has all come down, and instead their most famous creation now operates under the name of Winelands Markets at Blaauwklippen, with I suppose the idea being that they can substitute the @ part of the name with each new venue that comes aboard.

Naming shenanigans aside though, the lush green, family-orientated, pet-friendly market still makes for one of the best lazy Sunday afternoons out and about, with plenty of vibe, delicious food and drink options, and interesting crafters offering up all manner of wares for your perusal.

Mind you, on this particular visit both Chantelle and I thought that the number of stalls is now markedly less than what we remember (bear in mind that we did take a year long break from markets), and the market area itself is definitely looking a little more tired than what it used to – but so long as Catje’s and their delicious pancakes remain onboard, we’ll be okay! ;)

Talking Birds at West Coast Farm Stall outside Yzerfontein (2019-09-01) Farm Stalls | Photo Gallery 05 JAN 2020

The West Coast Farm Stall has for long been a popular farm stall stop on the R27 (otherwise known as the West Coast highway), conveniently located right on the corner where the R315 bisects this important coastal road network artery – literally at the crossroad to either Yzerfontein, Darling or Langebaan.

Its owners, with their unusual love of animals and more importantly pets, have crafted an eclectic road stop experience that despite having lost the big cats (a good thing mind you), offers a visually interesting experience for any first time visitor.

There is the unusually decorated farm stall itself, selling all sorts of snacks and crafted goods, there is the indoor restaurant with its high thatched ceiling and beautiful mural staring down at you, there is the outdoor eating area with all manner of junkyard/boere-chic art installations, a nursery providing greenery, a small sandy play area for little kids, and to crown it all off, a large aviary filled with all sorts of exotic and colorful birds.

It makes for a pleasant if slightly bewildering, noisy, visually stimulating stop – one particularly worth doing if you are travelling with small kids in the car.

This particular visit came along in September last year, on our way up to the West Coast National Park to see the Spring flowers in the Postberg Flower Reserve. With such a lot to take in, naturally I happily spent the time taking quite a lot of photos while Chantelle grabbed herself a cup of coffee.

A Year of Beach Walks in Gordon’s Bay (2017-12-31) Nature and Animal Attractions | Photo Gallery 01 JAN 2020

Another entry in the “slowly clear all the unposted images out of my very large Unposted Photos folder” series. I enjoy living in a small harbour town and very much doubt that I will ever willingly choose to live far from the sea again – primarily because it makes for such great (picturesque) walking routes.

Gordon’s Bay is home to two harbours and two beaches (main and bikini), with a mountain overlooking it all – so in other words scenically perfect. With me working from home, this translates into plenty of opportunity to head out for a stroll – which I invariably do.

So here is a bunch photos from 2017 documenting some of these walks along my home town beaches.