Category Archives: Photo Gallery

Winter Wonderland Fun Rides in Gordon’s Bay (2017-07-23) Kid Activities | Photo Gallery 08 FEB 2018

The Gordon’s Bay Winter Wonderland Festival of Lights has been on the go for a couple of years now, with each year definitely getting bigger and better. Featuring a parade, dance, fun run, arts and crafts, loads of food stalls, music performances, kids entertainment, and of course a whole lot of fairy lights.

However the star of the show as far as what my girls are concerned is without a doubt the fun park, which is filled with all manner of fun rides (mostly things that spin really fast while lifting up and down) for both young and the not particularly so old crowd.

For the really little ones there are trains, bugs, clowns, puppies and octopuses, all of which Emily made very sure to have a go at.

Jessica on the other hand wanted things a little higher and a little faster, and I suspect in a year or two when she’s a bit bigger, she’ll be twisting my arm for the REALLY expensive rides!

(Sure, the tickets are only R10 a piece, but for the bigger, newer machines you are looking at five or six tickets, i.e. R50-R60, per ride! Emily on the other hand should still be a nice cheap date though…)

We don’t have access to fun rides very often here in Gordon’s Bay, so what was nice last year was the fun park hanging around for a fair bit after the Winter Wonderland festival had passed, giving the girls more than a few opportunities to get some kicks in! (Which is why if you look at the photos, you’ll see the girls wearing different clothes and in different light conditions.)

Right, so I imagine then that we’ll find ourselves back in the queue come July again! :)

Related Link: Winter Wonderland Festival | Gordon’s Bay

Milk Tart Jaffles at Signature Divine in Oudtshoorn (2017-07-05) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 06 FEB 2018

Having spent the day being guided around the magnificent Cango Caves, watching people zip-line down to Cango Caves Estate, and letting Jessica ride about on a camel at Wilgewandel, we were now happily making our way back towards the guest house, when the rather inviting scene over at Signature Divine caught our eye and immediately prompted a rather impromptu milkshake and coffee stop.

Originally setup to host events at their lovely small Klein Karoo venue with a view, Signature Divine has since evolved into a wonderful little eatery that offers a great menu packed with all manner of thoughtful gourmet treats.

In particular, the team is known for their menu of interesting gourmet milkshake combinations, basically a great way to try and escape that all oppressing Karoo heat!

To complement the magnificent view on display, Chantelle selected a milkshake, the girls opted for ice cream, and I got stuck into some good coffee – after which, on suggestion of our bubbly waiter for day, I discovered the world of milk tart jaffles.

Seriously, how in the world did I NOT know that this simple but delicious South African dessert morsel existed!

Anyway, adjacent to the eatery and its two beautiful stone barns is also an art gallery (Annie’s Art), showcasing the interesting acrylic work of Annamarie Janse van Rensburg.

(Surprisingly, the art gallery was open to the public but completely devoid of life. Definitely not something that would fly in the city – all her paintings would be off the wall in a matter of minutes! Definitely one of the nicer aspects of small town living though.)

In summary, Signature Divine is a surprisingly lovely stop in what feels like the middle of nowhere. Definitely worth pulling over if you ever find yourself in the area!

Oh, and much to the delight of both Jessica and Emily, the restaurant does have a small trampoline for the kids on the grass patch. Small, but much appreciated touch.

Related Link: Signature Divine | Facebook | Annie’s Art Gallery | Oudtshoorn

Bikes and Burgers at The Cafe Racer in Somerset West (2017-10-20) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 04 FEB 2018

The Beehive building in Somerset West is old, pretty rundown and has been home to a little family run shop for years. It now also happens to be home to a particularly interesting newcomer to the Somerset West restaurant/bar scene – The Cafe Racer.

As you might guess from either the name, the logo, or the shiny hunk of polished chrome standing on two wheels outside the front door, The Cafe Racer is a restaurant that marries biking culture with beer and gourmet burgers – and rather successfully at that mind you.

The staff (and chef) are all relaxed and super friendly, the atmosphere super chill, the balcony space surprisingly nice, and most important of all, the menu mind boggling interesting.

Apart from a seriously good selection of craft beers on offer, The Cafe Racer specializes in some rather unique (and well made) gourmet burgers.

For example, my Mikachu burger (named after one of the waitresses) consists of a beef brisket patty topped with grilled pineapple, bacon, sliced banana – and then drenched in condensed milk of all things!

Chantelle on the other hand had a burger which forgoes standard hamburger buns in favour of chocolate doughnuts. Chocolate doughnuts!?! Who even thought of that!

The place is quirky, the younger crowd seems to like it, and as you might imagine, guys into bikes get a kick out of it.

So certainly a very unusual, but pleasantly enjoyable, addition to the Somerset West food scene.

Related Link: The Cafe Racer | Somerset West

Staying at The Gull in Sedgefield (2017-07-10) Accommodation | Photo Gallery 03 FEB 2018

The last leg of our brilliant June/July holiday breakaway saw us spending two nights based in Sedgefield, a personal favourite stomping ground of mine, thanks to having grown up with grandparents living in this gorgeous sleepy little town.

In terms of accommodation, the Internet had come up with a suggestion of The Gull as a suitable sleepover spot for the four of us, and pleasingly, on arrival it was great to learn that for a change the Internet had most certainly not lied to us.

Built right on the edge of the sand dunes of Myoli Beach, The Gull offers fantastic self catering apartments, all nicely furnished, rounded off with a beautiful garden setting and access to a tiny little gym – in case you are not so keen on giving up all your hard earned gains just because you find yourself on holiday for a change!

In addition to the beautiful surroundings, an unexpected bonus was finding ourselves right next to the quirky PiliPili Xtreme Sports Centre and Bar, whose restaurant area spills out onto the beach sand and is lit up by a great big bonfire seemingly each and every night.

Useful if you crave some pizza and beer and don’t particularly feel like heading out for the evening!

It was a comfortable stay, we were well impressed with the great (and super friendly!) service, good furnishings and fantastic location – easy to recommend in other words! :)

Related Link: The Gull | PiliPili Xtreme Sports Centre and Bar | Sedgefield

Alpaca Wool and Petting at The Alpaca Loom in Paarl (2017-05-27) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 02 FEB 2018

Having told Chantelle all about our visit with the Alpacas at Dietmar Keil and Kerstin Heisterkamp’s The Alpaca Loom Coffee Shop and Weaving Studio, she was pretty eager that the girls and I take her for a visit too – which is why just over a month after that first visit, we found ourselves once again petting and feeding the adorably fluffy alpacas of Paarl!

Jessica was of course super thrilled to be back (feed bucket firmly in hand), and now with her mommy at her side, Emily too was feeling a whole lot braver than what she did on our solo visit!

Naturally feeding and petting the alpacas down in the kids play area was attraction number one for the day, but the roaming llamas, dromedary camels, and alpaca herd were more than just a little eager in trying to grab our attention whenever they were given a chance.

Unfortunately there wasn’t much in terms of cakes and pies leftover in the little “log cabin coffee shop with a view”, so just juice for the girls and coffee for the adults it was.

As it was last time, watching the ladies weaving the alpaca wool was super interesting, the alpaca wool products intriguing, and the view itself over the Southern Paarl landscape spectacular.

Apart from the coffee shop, kids petting area, jungle gym, and weaving studio, the Alpaca Loom also offers short Alpaca Barn Tours, which take place on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 15:00.

(Also, the unexpected bonus of having little newborn alpacas running around the fields with their moms was pretty special too!)

Naturally, I grabbed far more pictures than what was necessary of Chantelle and the girls feeding Alpacas:

In summary, it is really hard not to come and visit this place with kids and NOT leave with a broad smile on your face! :)

Bonus: Obviously the coffee shop and weaving studio is just a small part of The Alpaca Loom’s business. Basically, if you are in the market for it, you can purchase pet alpacas, alpaca wool, breeding stock and even guard alpacas from these guys!

Related Link: The Alpaca Loom Coffee Shop and Weaving Studio | Paarl

A Golf Cart and the Houses of Pinnacle Point Estate in Mossel Bay (2017-03-20) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 01 FEB 2018

Thanks to dad’s amazing fractional ownership of a luxury house in Pinnacle Point Estate (out in Mossel Bay), we end up visiting that area quite a lot – which isn’t a bad thing given that it is of course the start of the famous Garden Route of South Africa!

Last year March saw Jessica and I take a drive up for some alone time with Granny and Grandpa, and while we did jam our long weekend full of outings and activities, we also spent an inordinate amount of time zipping about the estate in the golf cart and taking photos – with Jess adamant on spending time either behind the wheel or behind the camera!

Of course, the thing about Pinnacle Point Estate is that there isn’t exactly a lack of photo worthy subjects.

With so many beautifully designed (if monochromatic) luxury houses dotted along the estate, and given our lack of actual camera equipment (i.e. no zoom), a lot of Jessica and my drives were simply dedicated to pretty house hunting, the result being a lot of neat photos grabbed from the process.

Apart from all the pretty home, there is of course then the photogenic natural aspect of the place, the birdlife, the landscape, the seascape, the caves, the fynbos, the Oyster Bay beach, and the cliffs – not to mention the other man made additions such as the photogenic clubhouse and its restaurant and newly-completed spa, the cliffside boardwalk, the magnificent golf course, the resort’s circular pool, etc.

So basically a never ending stream of pretty things to grab a photo or two of then.

Bonus: The guys over at Pinnacle Point Estate commissioned a promotional video to be made, the end result giving you a rather good idea of what the place looks like (not to mention offers):

Pinnacle Point Estate is pretty easy to find actually – just head straight towards Tsogo Sun’s Garden Route Casino and you’ll stumble right through their front door (or better put, entrance booms)!

Related Link: Pinnacle Point Estate | Mossel Bay

USA 2016 – 15 A Stroll Down the Venice Beach Boardwalk in Los Angeles (2016-07-16) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 31 JAN 2018

Having just completed our super interesting outing aboard the Queen Mary ocean liner/museum ship (out in Long Beach), Johann and Carl next decided that an impromptu drive out to Venice Beach (before we return to Anaheim) would definitely be a good idea.

It was.

Founded in 1905 and established as a seaside resort town, Venice stood as an independent city until 1926, when it and its man-made canals (hence the city’s name) was absorbed into the greater city of Los Angeles.

These days this residential and recreational neighbourhood is known for its bohemian style and sensibilities, long being home to a countless number of artists, poets, and musicians from all walks of life.

Labelled as “a cultural hub known for its eccentricities”, Venice’s biggest tourist attraction (if not Southern California’s number one visitor attraction) is without a doubt Venice Beach, which attracts literally millions of visitors each year.

The actual beach itself is wide, flat, long and covered in soft sand, making it one of those good beaches that people really can enjoy. Other than all the normal beach sports prevalent on its sands, there is also plenty of surfing (and other water sports) to be had in the sea, and a seemingly good lifeguard system in place.

There’s even a long bicycle track that runs parallel to the beach, which, given the number of bicycles cruising up and down on it (not to mention all the bicycle rental spots along the promenade), seems to be a very popular distraction indeed!

But a beach is just a beach, and in reality the real draw of Venice Beach is of course its world famous Venice Beach Boardwalk (sometimes called the “Ocean Front Walk”), a promenade/beach road that stretches for about 2,5 kilometers along the beachfront.

The promenade is vibrant, packed with art murals, buskers, hustlers and little grungy shops of all shapes and form. From clothing stores, marijuana dispensaries, bars, eateries, and curio stops, the Venice Beach Boardwalk is an eccentric mix of people from all races, colours and creeds, trying to simply make a living by selling pretty much anything to anyone.

There is also all the outdoor sports courts to glace over, play areas that include spaces like skateboard parks, paddle ball arenas, and of course all the well known basketball courts from which many a legendary NBA player has been plucked!

That said, honestly, I’m not really the type of person who likes this kind of place (I’m not overly fond of seemingly rundown spots full of hustle and bustle), but it would be a straight out lie to say that I didn’t find the Venice Beach Boardwalk a super interesting and intriguing spot. So many strange (and often eccentric) people to take in, from the hustlers in front of the freakshow attraction, to the preaching gangsters on a podium, to the guy selling insults on the side of the street!

Enjoy the sun on this warm Summer’s day, the three of us slowly ambled down the strip, taking in the sights and sounds, stopping for some frozen yoghurt (and some or other slightly less identifiable snack at a different hole in the wall eatery), before finally turning around once we had hit the famous Muscle Beach section of the boardwalk – which in itself is a very entertaining stop as you get to watch all the musclebound men and women do their strength exercises out in front of all the people walking along the promenade (i.e. showing off), with the guys quite often stepping out of their routine in order to flex a muscle or two while posing for some photo hungry visitor.

Amusing indeed!

So while I didn’t necessarily LOVE the vibe of the Venice Beach Boardwalk, I did very much like the art and appreciate the experience – after all, who hasn’t seen this famous strip of land on American TV before? :)

Related Link: Venice | Wikipedia | #USA2016

Scones and Cream at Hillcrest Berry Orchards in Banhoek Valley (2017-08-13) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 29 JAN 2018

Having spent most of our Sunday enjoying a drive, admiring the Huguenot Monument, and letting the kids run wild and free at the Station Pub & Grill in Franschhoek, we then wrapped up the outing with a stop at Hillcrest Berry Orchard (at the behest of BOTH Chantelle and the girls!) on the drive back.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a long time then you know that we end up stopping here more often than not whenever we find ourselves driving along the R310, better known as the Helshoogte road, through the beautiful Banhoek Valley (which lies on the outskirts of Stellenbosch on your way through Pniel and on to Franschhoek).

If that is the case, then you undoubtedly already know about the fantastic jams and other berry-rich products that Hillcrest Berries produces, not to mention the good, uplifting work opportunities it provides in the immediate area.

If you know about those, then you probably also know that the Tea Garden and its deck with a view is a great option for some good coffee and scones, and furthermore, as a long time reader you would probably then also know that paying a little more for the Devonshire clotted cream REALLY is the way to go.

Unless of course they don’t have any more left for the day, meaning then that your foodie wife is nearly brought to tears with disappointment.

Still, it was a very nice enough stop as always – even if they had already run out of clotted cream for the day.

Related Link: Hillcrest Berries | Facebook

Ice Cream at Lagoon Beach in Milnerton (2017-11-18) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 28 JAN 2018

The girls and I had been out and about on a weekend adventure as always, first with a trip to the venerable Blue Train Park at Mouille Point for some play time, then a stroll over to the Oranjezicht City Farm Market (quickly abandoned because it was far, far too busy for one dad and his two little girls), followed by some Spur time for the munchkins in the V&A Waterfront, and then finally wrapping it all up with some ice cream on the beach.

For this final part of our day, I decided to pay a visit to Lagoon Beach in Milnerton, a place that I don’t think I’ve necessarily visited before.

The GPS and Google Maps took us up through Paarden Eiland, past the Milnerton Flea Market (which I’m sure used to be in Milnerton back when I was a kid), and into the parking lot in front of Wang Thai and the Lagoon Beach Hotel (where I was promptly accosted by a gang of wandering homeless kids and a couple of guys wanting to sell me shark teeth).

At this point the girls were already bothering me for ice cream to no end, so I relented, flagged down a passing Ola ice cream vendor on his bicycle, and bought the girls each a chilled chocolate coated treat on a stick.

This of course didn’t go that well, because it was almost instantly just dropped chocolate and melting ice cream everywhere!

(I was not impressed, and embarrassingly, a little shouty about this. I have no idea why this act of messing sticky ice cream everywhere bugs me so.)

Anyways. It is a bit disconcerting to see all the polluted water warnings for where the Dieprivier river flows towards the sea, but outside of that, the wide concrete walkway makes for a lovely walk along the beach, with the end reward being of course those utterly magnificent views of Table Mountain as you come around the hotel grounds.

Hard not to appreciate the view really.

(In truth, I am a tiny bit jealous that none of my local beaches have such a classic view of Table Mountain as what those on the Milnerton/Bloubergstrand side of Cape Town do!)

Related Link: Milnerton