Tag Archives: cape town

Smelling the Roses at Chart Farm in Wynberg (2019-03-17) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 08 OCT 2019

Understandably, Chantelle was a little miffed that she still hadn’t been to visit the charming Chart Farm in Wynberg, despite my blog having already loudly exclaimed what a lovely place to visit it is. Obviously this then needed to be rectified, and seeing as we were off to traipse through the gardens of Kirstenbosch for the day anyway, I carved out a little piece of time for us to also stop and smell the roses. After all, happy wife, happy life.

As I mentioned last time around, Chart Farm (situated right across from the bustling Wynberg Park) is known for cultivating all manner of fresh produce across its 18 hectares of land, but is especially known for its robust rose growing operation.

Home also to the famous Ludwig’s Roses, Chart Farm grows an amazing array of rose varietals in their rose garden, all of which can be ready picked for special orders, or if you feel like using your own hands (and the secateurs and buckets supplied down at the farm stall out in front), snipped straight off any bush that is looking at you funny.

The farm stall itself stocks a dainty selection of preserves and other produce produced on the farm, and then there is The View @ Chart Farm, a charming coffee shop that serves a mix of delicious home-made cakes and light lunches while offering up a spectacular view over what is a very lush Cape Town greenbelt area.

Although this particular visit wasn’t ever going to show off Chart Farm in its best light (at the end of rose season, loadshedding affecting the kitchen), it nevertheless did more than enough to charm Chantelle, meaning a return trip is now definitely on the cards! And so, a fan is born…

...

Sharks and Skates at The Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town (2018-11-17) Nature and Animal Attractions | Photo Gallery 05 SEP 2019

I was fifteen years old when the Two Oceans Aquarium at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town first opened its doors to the public in November 1995. A world class aquarium showcasing the incredible diversity of marine life found in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans through awe-inspiring exhibits and interactive touch-points, with a vision and mission to encourage love and respect for our ocean, and in so doing, train up a generation of young people to understand the need for using marine and other natural resources in a much more sustainable manner.

It also just so happens to be a wonderfully entertaining activity for parents with young kids.

After all, there is quite a lot to see and take in! From the big I&J Ocean Exhibit, the eerily quiet Predator Exhibit, the serene Kelp Forest Exhibit (unfortunately closed for reforestation during this particular visit), the always cute (if a little smelly) Penguin Exhibit, the interesting Touch Pool & Microscope section, the educational Smart Living Challenge Zone (lots of interactive/digital games to play around with!), and the Diversity Gallery, there is more than enough to keep you busy for a decent amount of time!

Then there are the various feeding times (the penguins are always a treat, not to mention the diver entering the big tank with all the sharks and rays), and if you are feeling particularly brave and have a few extra bucks burning a hole in your pocket, you can head over for a diving experience that lets you scuba down into either the Predator, I&J Ocean or Kelp Forest exhibit!

Jellyfish, sharks, rays, crayfish, eels and sea horses, the girls were kept absolutely enthralled with everything they saw – even if they weren’t really all that sure about actually touching anything in the touch pools!

As always, a wonderful educational experience that I’m thrilled to have been able to share with my kids. Makes me wish all that much more that Cape Town still had a proper zoo to enjoy with them as well. Anyway, as expected, a lot of photos were taken on the day:

...

The Western Province Live Steamers and their Miniature Trains in Parow (2018-09-01) Kid Activities | Photo Gallery 25 AUG 2019

The first Saturday of every month, from 13:00 to 16:00, shrill whistles, puffs of steam and the occasional whiff of diesel fill the air from a small field in Parow, right next to the soccer fields of Vasco and Ajax Football Clubs. If you turn sharply and follow the unassuming little road, you will end up in front of a small little club house emblazoned with the words “Western Province Live Steamers”. Welcome to their running day.

Founded in 1980 by the late Jack Love, a school teacher with a love of building and running miniature steam locomotives, the first 13 years of the Western Province Live Steam Society’s existence were lived out on a piece of the famous Cape Show Grounds in Goodwood (better known as the Goodwood Showgrounds, now of course the site of the GrandWest casino complex).

However, with the subsequent sale of that particular property in 1993, the club found itself undertaking a long hunt for a new home, eventually finding their current space with the help of the Parow Municipality at the end of 1997.

A small, but passionate group, the Live Steamers built their own club house, laid the track of their main loop, and then slowly began the process of (successfully) building out their little rail empire.

As with most hobbies, constructing and running these little trains are the most rewarding when you can share you passion with other people, and as such, every first Saturday of the month the club’s gates are thrown open and the general public are invited (free of charge) to come along to watch and ride the trains with the model builders, to take advantage of the fresh air and green open space, and perhaps even throw a few pieces of meat on some coals.

Naturally this is something that I just HAD to show the girls, and given that it’s reasonably close to where my brother and folks are based (Bellville), I got Ryan and Dad to tag along on what turned out to be a particularly pleasant way to spend Spring Day.

...

A Gallery of Art and Concrete at the Zeitz MOCAA in Cape Town (2019-01-09) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 10 AUG 2019

Simply put, the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, more commonly known as the Zeitz MOCAA, is a magnificent addition to the V&A Waterfront and Cape Town offering. Chantelle and I had for a long time been eager to visit the art museum since their grand opening back in September 2017, and come early January this year, we finally got around to walking through their impressive doors.

The Zeitz MOCAA lives in the wonderfully re-imagined historic Grain Silo (built in 1921 and decommissioned in 2001), with its space artfully carved out of the 42 densely-packed concrete cylinders that made up the original silo structure. The end result is a magnificent endless array of concrete curves and walls rising and falling around you, with a look guaranteed to leave a striking impression on any visitor that enters through its doors.

With the Silo Hotel and its stunning glass windows sitting high above you, the museum is scattered across a number of levels, requiring the use of either the spacious lifts or ornate metal staircase to access everything on show. (It’s well worth it though, because the higher you go, the better the views get!)

Interestingly enough, the Zeitz MOCAA is actually a not-for-profit public museum, commissioned through a public/private partnership between the V&A Waterfront and German businessman (and ex-CEO of Puma) Jochen Zeitz, with Zeitz’s extensive African art collection being available to the museum for the duration of his lifetime. In addition to these pieces, the chief curator also sources work from across Africa, resulting in an ever-changing collection of vibrant colours and cultural ideas.

Truthfully though, modern art isn’t really our thing (both Chantelle and I prefer the technical skill of classical art to the focus on idea that comes with contemporary art), but nevertheless there is more than enough to see, discuss, and make you think, that one can easily keep wandering through the museum’s many rooms for countless hours if you so wish.

It’s an incredible addition to the city, and injects a huge amount of life, feet and business into what used to be a pretty underutilized district. For art lovers it is a must see, and even for those of us that aren’t, it is well, well worth the visit – even if just to experience the amazing building itself!

...

Birding on Intaka Island in Century City, Cape Town (2018-11-04) Nature and Animal Attractions | Photo Gallery 23 JUL 2019

You will discover Intaka Island about 7 km out from the Cape Town CBD, tucked away behind the tall buildings of Century City and its Canal Walk shopping mall. Built by Century City developer Rabie following an initial project environmental impact assessment, Intaka Island is a 16 hectare large wetland conservation area.

As such, it serves as a crucial bird sanctuary for the area and the nature reserve itself is setup around this idea, filled with a well maintained walkway that features plenty of hides and viewing platforms that are perfect for local birders. It’s a great way to step into a little nature without having to go out on a full blown hike!

This particular visit saw me leave Chantelle and the girls behind and instead ring up my brother to join me for a stroll among the reeds. Pleasingly, he agreed – and didn’t even moan at all the pictures I kept stopping to take! ;)

...

The Silverhurst Trail in the Constantia Valley Greenbelt, Cape Town (2018-09-09) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 14 JUN 2019

The leafy, affluent suburb of Constantia in Cape Town is blessed with incredibly fertile soil and a lot of precipitation, meaning that greenery and natural beauty abound in every single direction. Towards the east is Constantia Valley, home to a wondrous Greenbelt area that features a large number of publicly accessible walking trails, all of which lazily wind between residences and natural features alike.

One of the easier, more accessible walking trails is the Silverhust Trail which starts just off Constantia Main Road and ambles along the Keysers River, past the Silverhurst Estate. It’s not much longer than 2 km in length (return trip), but of course you can easily make your stroll last longer by either hopping onto another trail or switching to some residential streets for a bit.

It’s tranquil, its green and you are alongside a stream, so super popular with dog walkers and lazy weekend strollers alike. (Or a family walking off a big Sunday afternoon lunch like we were on the day!)

...

Tea in the Park and a stroll along Sea Point Promenade in Cape Town (2018-05-01) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 01 MAY 2019

It is an absolute Cape Town institution to head out for a walk along the Sea Point Promenade. Stretching all the way from the Waterfront at Mouille Point all the way down to Sea Point, the promenade is perfect for a family outing on foot – it is free, there is loads of space, it is an healthy activity, there is a playground or two dotted along the route, and of course the views are absolutely phenomenal.

Despite all of the above, we don’t actually go for too many walks along the promenade, primarily because we don’t live particularly close to it. So on the odd occasion that we do head down that way, it’s like a little mini travel adventure.

On this particular outing in May of last year, we hopped on the route at Three Anchor Bay, strolled along past the Blue Train and the Putt Putt, turned at the Green Point Lighthouse and then ambled over for a light refreshment at Tea in the Park situated in the fabulous Green Point Urban Park.

The girls made sure to give all the playgrounds a go, we had fun with the crashing waves spilling over the promenade, and finally ended it all off by watching the kayaks set out from the protected cove of Three Anchor Bay. An absolutely perfect afternoon out!

...

Feeding Squirrels in the Company’s Garden in Cape Town (2017-08-20) Historic Attractions | Photo Gallery 14 MAR 2019

The historic Company’s Garden in the heart of Cape Town is always worth a visit. A hearty breakfast or light lunch at the now renovated (and very family friendly) Company’s Garden Restaurant is a must, a stroll around the beautifully cultivated gardens a pleasure, and the buying of bags of peanuts from the local vendors to feed the abundant squirrels and pigeons a necessity.

Originally created in the 1650s as a resource from which fresh produce for ships rounding the Cape could be harvested, these days the Company’s Garden enjoys a role of providing a much visited lush and tranquil green space for city dwellers to escape the nearby bustle of the Mother City.

Centrally located, the Company’s Garden is bordered by Parliament and Tuynhuys, the National Library of South Africa, St George’s Cathedral, the Iziko Slave Lodge, Centre for the Book, the South African Jewish Museum, the South African National Gallery, and the Iziko South African Museum – basically a heap of really good tourist options for any visiting history enthusiast.

The garden itself is home to a number of interesting artifacts, plants, war memorials and monuments. For example, the oldest cultivated pear tree in South Africa (circa 1652) calls the Company’s Garden home, as does a rose garden that was designed and build in 1929. Then there’s also the Dellville Wood Memorial (1932), a small aviary, a towering statue of Cecil John Rhodes (1910), an Artillery Memorial, a Japanese Lantern Monument (1932), and a striking figure of Jan Smuts (1964) to name but a few.

As for my kids – well, they’re just there for the squirrels and pigeons of course!

...

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.

...