Tag Archives: december holidays 2017

Roosterkoek Burgers at the Old Gaol on Church Square in Swellendam (2018-01-05) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 03 MAY 2018

The last time that we had visited the Old Gaol on Church Square restaurant in Swellendam it was raining. And we walked out with a delicous milk tart. This time however it wasn’t raining. And we were instead with my father, who was graciously giving us a lift back to Gordon’s Bay following our little George holiday detour.

In a way it is a bit of a pity that the Old Gaol restaurant no longer resides in the old jail over at Swellendam’s Drostdy Museum, because then obviously the name makes a lot of sense. However the restaurant’s new(ish) location in the historically significant building on Church Square makes for a good enough replacement – perhaps even better given the great outdoor space now on offer.

Given the good weather, we found a nice table in the shade, partook in the Old Gaol on Church Square’s reasonably good roosterkoek hamburgers whilst cooling down with an age appropriate assortment of beers, sodas and milkshakes – all while giving the legs a neat little stretch.

The restaurant appears to have undergone a bit of a face lift, with updated branding, a new menu and a staff complement which felt a little more snappy compared to the last time that we visited.

All in all, another pretty neat lunch time stop in Swellendam then.

Pro Tip: Can’t find the restaurant? It is literally across the road from the magnificent NG Church that dominates Swellendam’s main road! (Also, the old carriage standing out in front makes for a decent marker as well.)

Related Link: Old Gaol on Church Square | Swellendam

Gourmet Burgers at Pure Craft and Foods in George (2018-01-03) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 29 APR 2018

George isn’t really known for being a foodie hotspot, which means then that both Chantelle and I were way more than pleasantly surprised when we stumbled upon the fantastic Pure Craft & Foods during our short stay in the “Capital of the Southern Cape” at the start of this year.

Standing where the long running institution that was the King Fisher Restaurant used to be, Pure is like one of those hip, young eateries that you would expect to find in some trendy Cape Town neighbourhood like Woodstock or Observatory. Except that it is in George. Which is kind of at the other end of the trendy spectrum.

Owned by a young guy, heavy on the wood and brass look, the double storey high Pure features loads of table space (both inside and out), and oozes a contemporary feel with just about everything that it does.

Their menu and food presentation is just as up to snuff, and pleasingly, the waiters all seem to be young, energetic and eager to interact. In addition to their great dishes, Pure, as what any other contemporary eatery simply needs to have, has a great range of craft beers and sushi (of course!) available, and as you might have guessed by now, this rather popular new spot definitely has quite the good vibe going for it.

Although not exactly overly kid friendly in that they don’t have a space available for kids to play (the girls did love their colour-in kiddy menus though), Chantelle and I absolutely loved it and its offering, so much so that we actually visited there twice over the handful of days that we were in George!

Impossible not to recommend really.

Related Link: Pure Craft & Foods | George

Mini Golf at FantaSea at the Point in Mossel Bay (2017-12-29) Kid Activities | Photo Gallery 17 APR 2018

Now that she is more or less old enough to play, I suspect that this might now become a thing whenever I find myself down in Mossel Bay with the eldest munchkin in tow – putt putt at Fanta Sea at The Point.

This particular round of mini golf happened as part of our lovely December holiday getaway, though funnily enough, Jessica and I had actually already played at Fanta Sea back in March. Thing is – all of a sudden the joint was sporting a burst of color and a whole lot of upgrades since we last were there, plus this time around we had both Chantelle and Emily to watch us in action!

(Also, it was believe it or not, quieter than what it had been in March – that Buffalo Biker Rally of the Nomads Motorcycle Club sure knows how to pile the people in here at Mossel Bay! I suspect though that we were somewhat lucky, perhaps most of the Christmas holiday crowd had already packed up and headed off before we finally made the time to come down for a game.)

Anyway, as I mentioned last time, the downside to playing at Fanta Sea with smaller kids is that they only have the adult length putters available, making it pretty difficult for Jessica to play 100% properly – and near impossible for Emily who is still way too small. (Not that that stopped her grabbing a putter and trying of course!)

The weather was good, the putt putt rather nice, and pretty much everyone put in one or two quite excellent shots. I can’t remember exactly, but I’m pretty sure that my mom managed to sink the most hole-in-ones on the day.

I can’t remember having a particularly good day at the office though – maybe I should have worn a pair of my lucky socks

Fanta Sea at The Point is actually a great spot for families with young kids. Putt Putt, skateboarding, a jungle gym play area, light meals, splash pool, car rides, ice cream – there is more than enough here to keep the young ones happy for a fair bit!

Related Link: Fanta Sea @ The Point | Mossel Bay

Coffee and Cake at Old Mill Guest House and Restaurant in Swellendam (2017-12-26) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 07 APR 2018

When I am in the mood to holiday then I holiday, and invariably that then means that I double the length of all long drives because I pretty much want to stop anywhere and everywhere.

Case in point: I felt like a Swellendam cake and coffee stop on the way up to Mossel Bay last December, but I didn’t feel like popping into (the almost always busy) Tredici as per the norm. So instead, Chantelle dug deep into her memory banks and came up with this little gem: the Old Mill Restaurant.

Situated at the foot of the Langeberg Mountain range, in the heart of the Overberg, the Old Mill business is primarily that of a guest house, operating out from a beautiful old, protected national monument building set along the main road, where Belgian owner Nikki and his staff do their utmost to offer accommodation that comes intertwined with warm, friendly Flemish hospitality.

In addition to the guest house (and art gallery/curio store), the Old Mill also operates a lovely restaurant, featuring both an indoor and outdoor dining area.

The menu on offer is a diverse à la carte menu inspired by both traditional Afrikaans and international recipes, all waiting to be washed down with some imported Belgian beer. (The Old Mill appears to be rather proud of this offering).

And yes, as it turned out, they also do good cake and coffee as well.

We were of course super interested in finding a space under the canopy of trees that provides the much needed shade over the outside dining area, and pleasingly we did manage to grab just such a table on what was a particularly warm Summer’s afternoon in the end.

So. Coffee, cheesecake, carrot cake and sorbet was then (more or less equally) shared all around, thus making for a lovely little road trip leg stretch stop.

Lovely find and definitely a place I’ll stop for a bit longer at the next time that I find myself back in the Swellendam area again!

Related Link: Old Mill Guest House and Restaurant | Swellendam

A December Holiday in Gouritsmond (2017-12-29) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 04 APR 2018

Last year December saw us enjoy a holiday break in three parts – first Christmas at home, then a splash at Pinnacle Point Estate in Mossel Bay with my folks and my sister’s family, followed by a (because we were already in the area) final stretch in Gouritsmond with both my folks and Chantelle’s folks. (So yes, basically a full on family time holiday then!)

This was my second time holidaying in Gouritz (or Gouritsmond depending on who you ask), and to be honest, despite not being into fishing (which technically you should be if you are going there) I was really looking very much forward to the quiet, chilled nature of a stay in this little coastal holiday town.

The house that we had rented wasn’t 100% perfect thanks to its strange living arrangement (it had only just hit the holiday rental market), but beggars can’t be choosers (we only made the decision to go right at the end of the year), and in the end the actual accommodation was more than comfortable enough for the eight of us, so all was good on that front.

With my parents in the mix, there was of course a LOT of card games over the next couple of days to be had (Monopoly Deal for the win!), plus of course the LOADs of leftover Christmas snacks to be devoured, not to mention all that relaxing walking about town to be done – which I most certainly did my fair share of! ;)

We braaied, we rung in the new year with a potjiekos get together in the caravan park, we hunted for small little fish in the rock pools, we went on exploratory drives around the area, and of course, we tucked into delicious milktart and peppermint crisp tart pancakes whenever the opportunity arose.

In other words, it is basically impossible to come away from a stay like this NOT feeling 100% chill, refreshed, and ready to tackle the new year head on!

(Or rather, that is how one would normally come away feeling after such a good seaside getaway, unless of course they experience a blown coil in their aging Hyundai Accent, which then triggers a chain of events that eventually leads to a quite unscheduled holiday extension in George…)

Related Link: Gouritz | Gouritsmond

Kids Indoor Play Area at Happy Valley Kids Play Centre in George (2018-01-03) Kid Activities | Photo Gallery 29 MAR 2018

So now having had to tack on a trip to George thanks to our car trouble, we left Gouritz nice and early, made the stressful drive down to George (every uphill had me nervously chewing my nails), and arrived with some time to kill before we could check in at the guest house which was to be home for the next couple of evenings.

Given that bit of time to kill, I sought out some entertainment for the girls, and thanks to my Google-Fu, found the perfect spot – Happy Valley Kids Play Centre.

Situated right opposite the excellent Robertson Brewing Company, Happy Valley is home to a fantastic kids play area, centered around a massively fun jungle gym area and supplemented by all kinds of extras like a trampoline, climbing wall, as well as a dedicated play area for the smaller toddlers.

Chaos central in other words. That said, the whole setting is bright and breezy, and pleasingly, Happy Valley also has a lovely little kitchen that is perfect for coffee and a light meal while you sit and watch your kid go wild – I mean play to their adorable little hearts’ content.

Also, they host birthday parties, useful to know in case you aren’t particularly keen on having 20 or so kids running around your home the next time your child’s birth anniversary roles around! ;)

All in all I think Jessica and Emily were rather happy with my ‘on the fly’ discovery.

(I’ll be honest with you though, had I known about Robertson Brewing Company across the road first, that’s most definitely where we would have killed the time! :D)

Related Link: Happy Valley Kids Play Centre | George

Roosterkoek and Smoor at Veepos Padstal in George (2018-01-04) Farm Stalls | Photo Gallery 12 MAR 2018

I mentioned earlier that we were forced to tack on a short stay in George over the December holiday period, during which we hired a Volkswagen Tiguan to do a bit of driving about in (our car was in the shop for repairs).

Now December holidays is not great for our usual tactic of just randomly rocking up at places because of the sheer number of people out and about (visits to Victoria Bay, Herolds Bay, and Redberry Farm confirmed this hypothesis), but pleasingly we did stumble upon one place that seemed rather deserted – the newly established Veepos Padstal.

(And by newly established I mean that we had literally stumbled upon them on their very first day of business!)

On a hill, off the highway, and right outside George Airport, the Veepos Padstal (or Cattle Outpost Farm Stall for us English readers) has been setup by the team who also own/run the small Bargain Nursery next door.

Consisting of three neatly arranged, converted shipping containers, the farm stall has a collection of small pretty things for purchase, as well as a few drinks and some local produce on sale. The main attraction is however their roosterkoek menu, as well as their particularly delightful milkshakes – in fact, Chantelle couldn’t stop gushing over just how much she enjoyed her peanut butter brittle shake!

Once you’ve finished your snack and taken in the tranquility and views of the surrounding area, you can leisurely saunter over to the nursery if you so want, though if you have small children they’ll undoubted clamor to use the toilet, and in the process fall down the stairs and graze their knees, thereby starting a whole chain reaction of unhappiness among everyone.

(Or at least that was our experience in this neat little nursery).

So, all in all, a surprisingly peaceful (and pleasant) little stop.

“Hartskos”. I rather like that little tagline of theirs.

Related Link: Veepos Padstal | Bargain Nursery | George

Staying at the French Lodge International in George (2018-01-03) Accommodation | Photo Gallery 06 MAR 2018

Last year’s December holiday was pretty nice, kicking off first with some beach time at Pinnacle Point in Mossel Bay, followed by some more R&R in Gouritz for New Year’s. Sadly for us though, our ten year old Hyundai Accent developed a problem (lost power thanks to a blown coil), which then meant an unscheduled extension to our holiday with a trip through to George – the nearest town with a proper Hyundai Service Center available in it.

That of course then meant that we needed to source accommodation in the middle of the December holidays – not exactly the easiest thing in the world to do!

As things turned out though, we managed in the end to find space at the French Lodge International, a charming African-themed guest house situated right along George’s York main street (which coincidentally is also a delight thanks to the fact that it has a decent run of Christmas street lights strung up down the length of it!).

Owned for ten or so years by a charmingly helpful Frenchman with a penchant for motorbike safaris, these days the French Lodge International (complete with small replica Eiffel Tower out front) consists of the main building (which houses a number of the larger rooms) and a whole lot of smaller, more private thatch roof rondavels – all of which are centered around a large pool that quite truthfully, saw a LOT splash time from myself and the girls over the course of our short stay!

In short – our family sized room, the breakfast, the free WiFi, the convenient location, and the French Lodge International’s super friendly staff were all great, making for a good, comfortable stay.

As for George itself, we hired a nice Volkswagen Tiguan from a local care hire company AutoHireSA, did a lot of driving around, visited a lot of nice places (as is our norm), and did our best to put our minds off the fact that the rather expensive R6,000+ repairs were going to take much longer than what we could afford to stay.

Luckily for us though, my Dad was on hand to help us out by driving all the way from Bellville to come and ferry us and our luggage home! Talk about Uber service! ;)

Related Link: French Lodge International | George

Cookies and Coffee at Ikigai Artisan Coffee Bar and Deli in Riversdale (2017-12-26) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 18 FEB 2018

I don’t normally pull over at Riversdale on any of my N2 jaunts (it’s usually too close to my destination), and on the odd occasion that I do stop, it’s usually to give Die Rooi Aalwyn/Bali Trading a spin so that the girls can have a little run around on their lush green lawn and enjoy their play area.

However, thanks entirely to the power of Instagram and clearly a very clever restaurateur, Chantelle and I now most definitely do have a reason to stop. Ikigai.

Named for the Japanese concept meaning “a reason for being”, Ikigai is sandwiched in next to the Spur (to your left as you travel on the N2 towards the Garden Route), and is best described as an artisan coffee bar and deli, with a sense of style that leaves you confused as to whether or not you forgot to leave home and are actually still lounging about in Observatory, Cape Town.

Trendy decor and inspirational quotes aside, Ikigai is obviously known first and foremost for its good selection of coffee and other warm drinks. Then of course there are its light meals and snacks, the most important being their delectable selection of pies – which Chantelle and I simply couldn’t get enough of!

(That said the girls would of course argue that no, their massive selection of baked cookies are by far the best!)

In summary: The space is small and intimate, the service prompt and friendly, the food good, and thanks to Ikigai’s trendy decor, visually everything is a treat for the eye.

Definitely well worth a coffee run stop then!

P.S. Chantelle and I enjoyed Ikigai enough to prompt a return visit on our way back home!

Related Link: Ikigai Coffee Bar & Deli | Riversdale