Tag Archives: harbour

Music, Fish, and Chips at the Vis Vlekhuis in Laaiplek (2018-03-31) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 25 JUN 2018

Chantelle, the girls and I joined her folks for a weekend up the West Coast back in March of this year, spending much of our time relaxing in the tranquil atmosphere of Jacobsbaai. Monty however very much wanted to show off a local fish and chips stop that they had only recently discovered, which explains then why we found ourselves winding through the small town of Velddrif and ending up in the even smaller town of Laaiplek on a rather warm and sunny Saturday afternoon.

Now we weren’t visiting the historically significant port of Laaiplek (so named because it was the loading area for ships from Europe from where goods were then transported into the hinterland) or its adjacent sister Velddrif for their famed bokkoms or view over the Berg River, instead we were on a mission and heading straight to Die Vis Vlekhuis, a popular bar and fish and chips takeaways situated just off the main harbour of the area.

And I’m not joking about its popularity mind you. The venue was packed both inside and out (shame, their neighbours could truthfully have done with some of Vis Vlekhuis’ patrons), and the queue for food was quite the sight. (In other words, the wait time for fish and chips was a bit on the lengthy side).

Nevertheless, we got lucky in that Monty managed to secure an outdoor table, allowing us to then grab some beers, let the girls entertain themselves by colouring in (they brought their own supplies), and enjoy the live music courtesy of the rather talented and very entertaining Jay Jay who was belting out all the hits from next door in the bar area.

The food did of course eventually arrive, and I have to say, the fish and chips were well worth the wait. Generous portions, good flavour – nothing to complain about at all! Hungers were sated, seagulls were fed, and a lazy walk to look at the boats was taken.

(Oh, and a rather pleasant drive down through Bokkom Avenue along the river completed the trip.)

So, all in all a successful first visit to this small but charming in its West Coast way place then.

Extra Credit: The team behind the Afrikaans travel magazine Weg put together this short video about fish, pelicans, bakkies and bokkoms in Velddrif. Obviously you’ll need to know some Afrikaans to follow what’s going on, though that said, even if you do have a decent understanding, that distinctive West Coast accent isn’t going to make things any easier for you to follow…

In all honesty, now that I think about it, I don’t believe that I have ever tasted bokkoms. Guess I’ll have to rectify that come our next visit up the West Coast then!

Related Link: Die Vis Vlekhuis | Laaiplek | Velddrif

Seagulls and Beer at the Sea Gypsy Cafe in Mossel Bay (2018-03-18) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 22 JUN 2018

I’ve mentioned them before, but heading down to the harbour to enjoy some fish and chips at the Sea Gypsy Cafe in Mossel Bay has become somewhat of a family tradition whenever we all find ourselves up in the area. Thus, my weekend away with the girls, my folks and my brother Ryan back in March this year ended on that exact note.

Situated just outside the main harbour entrance, right across the small Biblia house, the Sea Gypsy Cafe is a lively spot with both an indoor and outdoor eating setup, a place where the vibe is good, the beer always flows, and fish and chips appear all around you.

Unless of course you ordered something else that is.

Historically I’ve always gone for the classic fish and chips, but recently Dad has converted me into grabbing one of their baskets instead, which contains a nice mix of fish, chips, crumbed mushrooms and calamari.

All ready to be washed down with some fantastic Glenhoff beer (that they have on tap). Spoiler alert: it is all rather good.

They have a good view over the bay (Santos beach is just across the water), the food is quite ‘lekker’ and in general it is a pretty good place to meet up with friends and spend an afternoon catching up.

And then if you are anything like us – it is back into the car and on the road for the good 4.5 hour long drive home. Which on this occasion was a lot longer thanks to all the stop and go controls in place. (Am rather enjoying the new N2 road surface though!)

Extra Credit: I mentioned the little Biblia house across from the Sea Gypsy Cafe near the start of this post. If you are aren’t familiar with the group, BIBLIA is a Christian non-profit organization that sees to the spiritual and overall well-being of seafarers coming into South Africa. While their home base is the Cape Town harbour, the movement claims to have a presence in every major South African port, meaning that they should be a reasonably familiar sight for you to encounter when visiting any of SA’s larger harbours.

Related Link: Sea Gypsy Cafe | Mossel Bay

The Harbour and the Lookout Point in Gordon’s Bay (2017-07-29) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 28 APR 2018

It’s not often that I get my brother to come out and visit me here in Gordon’s Bay, but on the odd occasion that I do, it is imperative that the girls and I do something out and about with their ‘favourite uncle’. Luckily, small as it may be, there are more than just one or two pretty things to look at when visiting here in Gordon’s Bay.

On this particular visit of his, we decided to head up for a stroll at the Steenbras Water Treatment Plant Lookout Point, which involves taking a short drive up the mountain overlooking Gordon’s Bay, followed by a walk along a narrow ridge (if you are brave/steady enough) to a clearing that gives you a great view of the treatment plant itself, not to mention an even better view over good old Gordon’s Bay.

A nice addition to the lookout point is the recently installed granite map of False Bay that the local Rotary Club has donated and installed, a great guide to all the major points along this important Cape Town geographical landmark.

Anyway, piggyback rides exhausted, our next stop was back down the mountain and on to the old harbour. (In case you didn’t know, Gordon’s Bay is surprisingly the proud owner of two small harbours!)

Pretty boats in water, what’s not to like? So, two reasonably nice and relaxing sights to see, and one out and about ‘adventure’ with the favourite uncle all done and dusted.

Note: I’m not entirely sure why I didn’t take as many photos as what I normally do when out and about sightseeing, but it probably had something to do with the fact that it annoys Ryan to no end when I constantly whip out the phone whenever I spot something new! ;)

As for the rest of the day, it was probably spent braaing and playing XBOX games – you know as adult brothers tend to do.

Related Link: Gordon’s Bay

A Gourmet Burger and Oscar the Seal at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town (2017-05-11) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 27 APR 2018

Table Mountain Aerial Cableway gives you a free cable car ride for you birthday, and my work gives us the day off on our birthday, meaning that I’m forever trying to go up Table Mountain on my birthday. Sometimes I get this right, but most of the time, thanks to my birthday falling in the middle of bad weather May, the route is closed and I need to come up with something else.

That is precisely what happened last year, and after spending some time walking around Signal Hill, Camps Bay and Sea Point, I headed towards the V&A Waterfront, a place that we visit surprisingly little come to think of it.

As any Cape Town tourist will tell you, the Waterfront does offer a lot of fun things to photograph, and on this particular day I found myself for some or other reason focusing on the hard to miss, gleaming bronze seal statue standing proudly in front of the magnificent Sun International Table Bay Hotel.

Standing adjacent to Jetty 2 and in front of the hotel’s main entrance, “Oscar”, the 2.7 meter high bronze seal statue sculpted and delivered (1997) by South African sculptor Danie De Jager, was commissioned by the hotel group in memory of Oscar the Cape Fur seal (and his fisherman friend – whom Oscar had inherited his name from), the beloved furry figure that called the Table Bay jetty home and whom the opening team had “adopted” during the construction phase of the hotel itself.

For many years Oscar the Seal delighted both Waterfront tourists and locals alike, before sadly dying due to injuries sustained in a boating accident around 2003. However, seeking out a place to bask in the sun, Oscar’s pups continue his legacy of visiting the Table Bay jetty on a daily basis, basically becoming much sought after photographic fodder in the process!

Anyway, Cape Fur seals aside, after a nice photographic stroll around the quieter than what I’m used to area, I decided to stop for a bite to eat, treating myself to one of the delicious gourmet hamburger creations that Gibson’s has become so famous for.

Craft beer in hand, I eagerly tucked into my food, fed the seagulls, watched people zip about, and took in all the sights. Not the worst way to spend lunch hour by one’s self I guess!

(In case you are all wondering where Chantelle was on the day, well she was back home busy frantically baking a cake in front of the camera, appearing as one of the challengers on Via’s – an Afrikaans channel on DSTV – Bak of Brou television show. Apparently this was quite the stressful event!)

One of the reasons I suppose that we don’t as a family visit the V&A Waterfront very often is because it is always so jam packed with people all the time, meaning that I found myself rather enjoying this rare mid-week visit for a change!

Lunch done, photos taken, next up for my birthday walkabout – a visit to the Springbok Experience rugby museum!

Related Link: V&A Waterfront | Cape Town | Gibson’s

Seals, Cannons and Fishing Boats at Hout Bay Harbour (2017-06-24) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 21 APR 2018

Visiting Hout Bay with the girls invariably means one of two things – either we’ll be checking out the bird life of World of Birds, or we’ll be strolling along the old harbour watching all the fishing boats dart in and out, and as you may have surmised base on the photos probably still loading below, this time around it was most definitely for the latter.

Hout Bay is of course a lovely place to visit (though not so much at the moment thanks to all the ongoing unrest and tension following the last major fire that ravaged the Imizamo Yethu informal settlement), with its lush leafy green farmland vibe giving way to the small beach and buzzing harbour district as you head down the mountain – no wonder then that this place is as popular as what it is with both tourists and locals alike!

We actually started our little harbour walkabout with a stop first at the West Fort (or Karbonkelberg) site, where it was rather nice to see that the long neglected antique cannons have finally undergone some much needed, loving renovations. Surprisingly enough though, despite the site’s status as a National Monument, there really is nothing there other than the cannons themselves. A bit of signage would certainly not be amiss!

Next to the cannons, the ever popular “Fish on the Rocks” restaurant was alive and kicking as always, though it was the two busking, colourfully dressed minstrels that stole Jessica and Emily’s attention, with the two of them soon foot tapping and twirling along with the quintessential Capetonian sound/tunes.

Eventually I managed to drag the two of them away, getting our visit to Hout Bay’s working harbour back on track – basically meaning that we gently strolled along the pier, counted coloured boats, and got to watch the Emerald Isle steel-hulled trawler make a surprisingly quick and graceful exit out of the bay. (Truthfully, I rather enjoyed that last part).

Boats aside though, the seals dotted all around were by far the highlight of the walkabout for the girls, while for me it was the neatly dressed skipper with a roll of barbed wire in his hand who took to chatting with us about his restoration of the old SAS Oosterland, a decommissioned SA Naval Ford Class vessel that was built in 1959 for the navy and which then eventually fell into private hands come 1990.

An interesting find indeed.

I am of course joking when I say that a visit to Hout Bay means either the harbour OR the World of Birds though – of course we did World of Birds as well on the day – there is absolutely no way that Jessica would EVER let the opportunity of interacting with squirrel monkeys slip her by! ;)

(In actual fact, this was one of those jam packed outing kind of days – we had already started the morning off with a visit to both Rhodes Memorial and Llandudno beach!)

Related Link: Hout Bay

Fish and Sushi at Harbour Rock in the New Harbour of Hermanus (2017-08-09) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 24 FEB 2018

As is almost always the case, we were in Hermanus to watch whales. We watched whales from the piazza, we watched whales from Fick’s Pool, we watched whales from the cliff path, we… well you get the picture.

Anyway, the point is that after all that whale watching/ambling about, a spot of lunch was required – and so we randomly picked out a new spot for us to try: Harbour Rock.

Designed and built in 1997, the stone, steel and timber Harbour Rock building sits perched atop a cliff overlooking Hermanus’ New Harbour, a premium restaurant known for its wine and more importantly, ever-evolving menu of seafood and grills.

A magnificent view over the harbour and across the bay, competent chefs, an authentic Chinese sushi team, and access to pretty fresh catches, it is no wonder that Harbour Rock is as popular as what it is.

While the girls weren’t particularly enthralled at having to eat at a seafood restaurant (and to be honest, seafood isn’t really my thing either), Chantelle on the other hand was ecstatic, immediately diving deep into a delicious sushi platter

I on the other hand opted for the less exotic fish and chips option, and in terms of drinks, we turned to a delectable bottle of Wolftrap Syrah for the table.

Following our lovely lunch, we next decided to take in some of the sea air with a leisurely stroll out along the harbour wall – a perfect way to stretch one’s legs and give the food a proper chance to settle in my opinion.

This, the girls were a little more pleased with.

In summary: Harbour Rock was a pleasant surprise and definitely worth keeping in mind if you are ever looking for a nice date night venue when in the Hermanus area.

(In other words, I’m rather glad that Chantelle came up with this particular suggestion!)

Bonus: If you would rather just have a drink, then Harbour Rock’s adjoining Gecko Bar is the perfect solution, enjoying the exact same stunning view that comes with the main restaurant experience.

Just follow the motorbikes to find it!

Related Link: Harbour Rock | New Harbour | Hermanus

Fish and Chips from the Sea Gypsy Cafe in Mossel Bay Harbour (2018-01-11) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 25 JAN 2018

I think that it was my folks who originally introduced us to the Sea Gypsy Cafe, one of their favourite spots to tuck into some fish and chips whenever they are down in Mossel Bay (which, given their Pinnacle Point holiday home, is relatively often).

For some or other unknown reason it has now managed to also wiggle its way into being a bit of an institution for both Chantelle and myself, so much so that we now tend to pop in for a bite to eat almost each and every time that we too find ourselves in the general area!

So anyway, two weeks ago Chantelle and I left the kids behind with her folks in Bellville in order to spend the last bit of our holiday driving up to George, where we would then fork over R7,500 to collect our car that had been forced to stay behind for a week at the Kia/Hyundai Service Center for repairs. (More on that story later, I promise. In essence though, it revolves around old spark plugs and coils, just in case you were wondering.)

With the fixed Accent now back in our possession, Chantelle and I opted to not sleep over in George again, but rather drove our two cars down to Mossel Bay for a change of scenery. After spending a lazy day around the Diaz beach area, we did a bit of a ‘taking in the sights of Mossel Bay’ drive out and about, before heading down towards the harbour for a spot of supper – selecting the aforementioned Sea Gypsy as our restaurant of choice for the evening of course!

Situated on Quay 4 along the harbour wall, the bright blue Sea Gypsy and its gorgeous views of Mossel Bay’s beaches and surrounds is admittedly looking rather tattered these days. (Though to be honest it’s probably always been a little… weathered. It just seems to be getting more and more noticeably so with each and every subsequent visit!)

Anyway, looks/first impressions aside, we grabbed an outdoor seat next to the wall, ordered our food, watched some seagulls, engaged in small talk, witnessed a woman awkwardly trip over the foot of one of the benches, and then finally tucked into some pretty good hake and chips. (The calamari was okay at best).

Still, the views were pretty amazing.

(Also, being in the South Cape I very obviously had a Glenhoff Draught to accompany my meal, because as I’ve now very firmly established for myself, I REALLY do enjoy their brew.)

Seeing as sunset was now upon us, we hopped down the road to The Point, now thankfully devoid of most of the crazy holiday caravan crowd that descends upon Mossel Bay each and every December holiday season.

Thanks to the smokey haze stretched across the sky (from a massive fire in the Albertinia area), the sun looked particularly fiery as it worked its way ever lower, with me managing to capture this particularly cool photo featuring the iconic St. Blaize Lighthouse in the background:

I’m pretty chuffed with it actually.

As for the rest of the evening – we spent that wandering about Hartenbos while listening to a Native American busker doing his thing.

Related Link: Sea Gypsy Cafe

Seals and Fishing Boats at Kalk Bay Harbour (2016-10-16) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 11 MAR 2017

It is no surprise really that the working fishing harbour of Kalk Bay, itself a small fishing village,  is as big a tourist attraction as what it is. Situated on a beautiful stretch of the False Bay coastline, the small harbour is home to a handful of eateries, sidewalk artists selling their crafts and wares, seals, and of course, most important of all, a host of colourfully painted fishing vessels.

The fishing community is very active, meaning that the harbour itself is always a hive of fishing-related activity, which then acts as a great tourist attraction (because it is interesting to all us non-fishing and probably hard labour averse people), meaning that one gets the feeling that Kalk Bay Harbour is almost always overrun with people!

The informal fish and chips eatery Kalky’s is somewhat of an institution, but in reality, all the little eateries dotted around the harbour are worth checking out, precisely because of the fact that you are guaranteed in getting some very good, very fresh fish served on a plate.

The girls and I were in the Southern Suburbs for a visit last year October, and seizing the opportunity, I decided to take them for their very first visit to Kalk Bay harbour. As I thought they might, the two of them rather enjoyed the experience, marvelling at the boats, the seals, the actual fishing, and the spectacle of watching seagulls and seals fight for fish. (Very entertaining).

(We also stopped in for a bit at the Imperial Yacht Club  on the west shore of Zandvlei to watch some of the sailboats on the water, but that didn’t last too long thanks to some hastening inclement weather!)

In summary then – If you don’t live near the sea, then a visit to Kalk Bay harbour is well worth the drive. The drive itself to get there is great (that whole stretch past Muizenberg and St James is fantastic (the views, not the roadworks-caused traffic), and the harbour itself is a bustling, tourist friendly (but not overly so), visual spectacle – with the promise of good fish and chips thrown in for good measure!

Bonus tip: don’t do it tomorrow though. Sunday is the Cape Town Cycle Tour, and unless you are really big into bikes and the associated traffic thanks to all the closed roads, I would highly recommend skipping the entire Cape Town region just to be safe! ;)

Also, a handy map if you too want to go and watch the colourful fishing boats go about their business one day:

Related Link: Kalk Bay

Yacht watching in the Gordon’s Bay Harbour (2016-11-05) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 17 NOV 2016

The so-called Old Harbour in Gordon’s Bay (where the South African Naval Training College is situated) is always a nice sightseeing spot, thanks to the large number of yachts moored there.

dav

Tucked safely within the harbour’s stout, dolos-lined walls, the yacht marina is also home to the Gordon’s Bay Yacht Club, whilst dotted around on the outside of the harbour you’ll find restaurants in the form of Harbour Lights and The Thirsty Oyster, as well as a small NSRI sea rescue base, and a few other odds and ends come to think of it.

dav

I was keen for a bit of a morning stretch of the legs, and so coaxed the two girls into joining me for a short walk about the harbour. Naturally, the two were completely terrified of the water, opting to either hold back to the safely of dry land when possible, or alternatively sticking to me like barnacles on a hull.

dav

Surprisingly, there weren’t too many people on the harbour wall trying their hand at catching fish like is normally the case (though I did spot a couple having a go from the adjacent Bikini Beach).

dav

The photos that I did end up taking when I managed to pry my hand loose from the tight grip of my two girls every now and then are a little misleading in that the sea appears rather calm – when in fact the reality was that there was a fair bit of swell breaking against the harbour walls! (Which seemed to both delight and terrify Jess and Emily mind you!)

dav

Anyway, once they finally calmed down enough to enjoy the sights, the girls did eventually agree that they rather liked the short sightseeing outing, and after a bit of time spent yacht watching and keeping an eye out for seals (no luck on that front), we turned back and left the beautiful sanctuary that is the Gordon’s Bay old harbour.

These are the few pictures I managed to grab, a feat considering just how stuck to me both the girls were for the most part!

Also, a map in case you want to check out the boats for yourself the next time you find yourself in my neighbourhood:

Related Link: Gordon’s Bay Yacht Club | Gordon’s Bay | A Little History