Tag Archives: helderberg

Lunch and a Stroll at The Lake House Restaurant in Somerset West (2019-06-02 ) Food and Drink | Photo Gallery 25 NOV 2019

There is quite a number of housing estates rising up in and around the Helderberg area, with a lot them sitting quite squarely on the VERY nice side of things. One of our favourites is Somerset Lakes, built on a beautiful piece of elevated land that gives a great view of both the Hottentots Holland mountains and the Atlantic Ocean, with a birdlife-rich lake serving as the estate’s sparkling centrepiece.

As luck would have it, the estate happens to contain a wonderful restaurant known simply as the Lake House Restaurant which is housed in Somerset Lakes’ club house area. The restaurant feels light and airy, offers a fantastic view over the lake, and is home to some particularly delicious dishes – from divine thin based pizzas to freshly prepared steaks and even a lamb bunny chow.

Although no longer really encouraged, the estate does make for a great place to wander about, and if after a stroll around the lake you duck into the grove of pine trees just across the road from the restaurant, you will be delighted to find some rather unexpected child friendly entertainment.

The restaurant is certainly one of those hidden delights and well worth a visit if you ever find yourself looking for somewhere spacious to spend a relaxed afternoon with glass in the hand and without having to first drive out all the way to the winelands.

Craft Beer at Triggerfish Brewing in Paardevlei, Somerset West (2019-04-09) Food and Drink | Photo Gallery 21 OCT 2019

The guys at Triggerfish Brewing started brewing commercially in 2010, making them the second oldest craft brewery still brewing in the greater Cape Town area. That said, they are also so tucked away that unless you know about it, you’ll probably never stumble into them either!

Situated in an old factory building deep at the back of Paardevlei (an old forgotten industrial area which is currently undergoing a massive revitalization with a hospital, houses, apartment blocks, and office space all popping up at a rapid pace (the sculptures and vlei are my favourite bits), the brewing operation is also home to a tap room, restaurant, and small live-music/event space. (Plus a small pottery studio of all things).

Popular with locals in search of a removed from the city bustle Friday night beer, Triggerfish also makes for a quirky lunch spot, with the particularly nice bonus of being able to phone in your order beforehand (if your lunch hour is say a bit on the short side), allowing you to stroll in and sit down to food that has just been made – which then is exactly what Chantelle and I took advantage of one afternoon in April.

Surprisingly, the food is actually really good, well presented, and much better than what the scribbled walls, dimly lit, and slightly falling apart building would indicate! So very much like another favourite of ours Im Eimer, where first impressions really do mask a particularly nice food experience!

Also, the craft beer is fantastic.

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Nature Walk around Paardevlei in Somerset West (2019-04-06) Nature and Animal Attractions | Photo Gallery 17 OCT 2019

All the newly developed houses, apartment blocks and office spaces are now quickly springing up all around Paardevlei, but pleasingly the nature walk that takes you around the vlei is still open to the public – and if you know about it, then you have another great stretch your legs kind of place to add to the local list.

Seeing as this particularly shallow vlei relies almost entirely on rain and ground water for its supply, this year’s decently wet winter means that the vlei is again sparkling blue, and is once more brought back to life by the cacophony of bird life that has returned to its wetland charms.

With neither Chantelle nor the girls keen on joining me for a healthy walk on this particular day, I had the excuse to leisurely walk as far as what I wanted (for those who keep track of things like that, it is more or less 3 km of path if you go right around), to go as slow as what I wanted, and to stop and take as many photos as what I wanted.

Which I then did.

I also strolled about the business area a bit, taking in all the beautiful sculpture work on display. As one does in such pretty surroundings of course!

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Walking alongside Dogs at Radloff Park in Somerset West (2019-05-05) Nature and Animal Attractions | Photo Gallery 01 OCT 2019

Lying in the Helderberg Basin, surrounded by an amphitheatre of mountains, and squeezed in between the Cape Winelands and False Bay, Somerset West is naturally a beautiful space. A great way to get a taste of its natural splendour is by heading over to the green grass of Radloff Park and indulging in a lazy stroll along the banks of the Lourens River.

A number of sporting codes call this greenbelt home, including the local cricket, croquet, squash, and baseball clubs, and there is even a small skateboarding park for those less interested in playing with balls.

The park with its wide open space, grass fields, tree-shaded paths, and refreshing river water is an especially big hit with dog lovers – so much so that locally the site is pretty much exclusively referred to as the Radloff Dog Park. (Basically, go there expecting to come home with at least one big slobbery wet kiss and a butt sniff under your belt.)

Dogs and sporting code fields aside though, the area is green, tranquil, full of trees, teeming with bird life, and comes with amazing views combined with a lazy river walk to enjoy. In other words, impossible not to recommend!

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Slides and Life Jackets at Water World Strand (2019-02-23) Kid Activities | Photo Gallery 05 AUG 2019

In February we took Emily to a friend’s birthday party held at Water World Strand. Although we kind of had an idea what the place was about, truth be told, we had never actually visited it before (shameful, I know), and so were in for quite the peasant surprise when we finally did!

Water World Strand (as the name might suggest) is a kid focused water play paradise, filled with all manner of small water slides and pools, an outdoor play area, picnic spots, and birthday party tents. The park is fully manned with lifeguards, meaning that your kids are always under a watchful eye, and the action is very smoothly controlled with the lifeguards ensuring that everyone sticks to the rules.

The coolest feature however is the abundant availability of life jackets – perfect for if your kid is small, a bit nervous, or you as the parent are terrified of the thought of them hurtling down a water slide under all that water! As it stands, neither of my kids are particularly comfortable with water, so they each immediately donned a bright orange life jacket and quickly managed to find eager ‘big people’ to go down the slides with them.

In addition to all the splashing happening around you, there is also a small beach bar restaurant type setup, serving pizza, snacks, ice cream, and cooldrinks to all the starving young ones (and parents who didn’t bring their swimming costumes).

It’s noisy, it’s vibrant, it’s just oodles of fun in the sun.

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Poinsettia Dam and Park in Somerset West (2017-08-12) My Life | Travel Attractions 25 OCT 2017

There are not a lot of freshwater fishing spots in the strictly Somerset West/Strand area. However, out of those few that do exist, without a doubt Poinsettia Dam is by far the most popular one with the locals.

(Or at least, that’s what it looks like and that’s also what Google searches seem to corroborate).

To be honest, Jessica and I actually stumbled upon it by complete accident the other day. We had just finished buying a new, bright green lunchbox and bottle from Mambos for her, when, after purchasing a couple of snacks for us to enjoy, I punched in a search for the Dick Dent Bird Sanctuary (Strand) into Google Maps and off we went.

As it turns out though, the incorrect search result didn’t exactly take me where I wanted to go, and instead we ended up at Poinsettia park, where after devouring our snacks, we took a stroll, then a drive along the dirt path up the dam, and finally sat and watched the fishermen try their luck.

It seems a good park for stretching legs, walking dogs and catching a fish or two, so all in all, not a terrible little discovery then.

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A map – primarily because Poinsettia Dam is easily spotted from the road when travelling between Somerset West and Stellenbosch, but not quite as easily reached. (Hint, access it via Poinsettia Street).

Related Link: Somerset West

Steenbras Dam and Sir Lowry’s Pass over the Hottentots Holland Mountains (2016-09-10) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 05 OCT 2016

We find ourselves taking the short hop over the mountain to visit the apple rich Grabouw/Elgin area quite often, which of course then means we travel via the N2 national road over Sir Lowry’s Pass and past the Steenbras Dam (Upper) to get there.

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On one of my recent expeditions to the area with my girls, I thought it a good opportunity to stop at both the entrance to Steenbras Dam (which is these days sadly closed to the public of course), as well as the Sir Lowry’s Pass view point.

(The girls were of course not impressed with this plan of mine, but I bribed them with the promise of ice cream, so all was good in the end.)

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Although still a bit on the low side in terms of water level, thankfully the Steenbras Dam (a reservoir for Cape Town as well as part of a pumped-storage power system) is looking a lot better than what it was just a few short months ago – which is a big relief when you consider just how gloomy the outlook in terms of Cape Town’s water supply for the upcoming season originally was.

(Sure, it’s still not great, but it is a damn sight more positive than the original forecast outlook!)

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Anyway, after a couple of minutes of standing next to the car and taking photos of the dam, guarded entrance and pretty tree next to me, I hopped back into the Getz and headed up the road, only to pull off at the Sir Lowry’s Pass view point which is probably only a kilometer or two away from where I had first pulled off the road for the dam.

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The girls opted to stay in the car once more, allowing me to take my time strolling around the rather large view point area, happily snapping pictures with my cellphone in pretty much every direction that presented itself to me!

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Named after Sir Galbraith Lowry Cole, governor of the Cape in 1828, today’s modern and upgraded Sir Lowry’s Pass is essentially a cantilevered four-lane highway which then crosses the Hottentots Holland mountain range between Somerset West and the Elgin Valley.

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As you might imagine, the lookout point affords you a spectacular view of the Helderberg basin… not that you would necessarily say that if you have only ever had my not so great cellphone camera photos for reference! ;)

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Lastly, a handy map in case you need a better idea of where this view point actually is:

Related Link: Steenbras Dam | Sir Lowry’s Pass | Wikipedia

Jessica and The Little Cooks Club in Somerset West Jessica 10 FEB 2016

Last week I put my newly unlocked ability to drive  to the test, by taking Jessica through to Somerset West for her weekly Little Cooks Club cooking session (normally this is some special bonding time for Chantelle and Jess, but seeing as she was super busy with orders before our weekend away in Jacobsbaai, I took a stab at it instead!).

IMG_20160204_152619 jessica lotter making couscous salad in little cooks club somerset west (with Kim Meierhans)

Started in 2006 by chef Christine Phillips, Little Cooks Club is all about teaching families about healthy food choices and providing them with an appreciation of good food through a range of relevant cooking programmes for Little Cooks and aspiring Junior Chefs, as well as helpful Adult Courses for school leavers and domestic helpers.

Chef Kim Meierhans recently opened the Helderberg franchise, basing it in Somerset West and in the process getting Chantelle quite excited because I’m pretty sure that she is just as keen to do it as what Jessica is!

At age 5, Jess falls into the Little Cooks programme, which means hands on preparation of simple but delicious meals that can then be replicated back home with the help of mom and dad.

IMG_20160204_142132 jessica lotter making couscous salad in little cooks club somerset west (with Kim Meierhans)

In the class, the kids get to taste and use their hands preparing the dish of the day, with the tricky bits like putting it in the oven being handled by the teacher. Naturally, the whole process is loads of fun for the kids, with the added bonus of the food prepared being actually quite delicious – the other day Jessica and Chantelle returned with Banoffee  Pie pudding of all things!

This time around it was couscous salad with baked vegetables.

Which came out pretty nice – thus leaving us with one pretty chuffed Jess!

IMG_20160204_152604 jessica lotter making couscous salad in little cooks club somerset west (with Kim Meierhans)

IMG_20160204_152614 jessica lotter making couscous salad in little cooks club somerset west (with Kim Meierhans)

IMG_20160204_152625 jessica lotter making couscous salad in little cooks club somerset west (with Kim Meierhans)

Related Link: Little Cooks Club | Little Cooks Club Helderberg

Photo Gallery: Helderberg Nature Reserve Picnic Outing (2012-12-16) Photo Gallery 16 DEC 2012

In joint celebration of Natasha and Chantelle’s birthdays, we decided to organise a picnic outing, taking a break from our usual haunt of Klein Joostenberg and instead opting for the Helderberg Nature Reserve, a gorgeous picnic venue – provided you manage to grab a spot under the huge shady trees of course!

As it turned out, pretty much no one from the invited guest pool could join us on the day, so in the end it was just Evan, Natasha, little Evalynne, Ryan and the Gordon’s Bay Lotter clan who got to soak up the sun, throw plenty of frisbee and ball, play loads of ring-a-rosie, and of course, tuck in the mouthwatering fabulous picnic spread!

(And yes, there WAS cake!)

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