There is a reason why George’s Redberry Farm is as popular as it is. Perfectly setup for family outings, Redberry Farm is guaranteed to be packed out each and every weekend if the weather plays along – and don’t even get me started about how swamped with people it gets during the school holiday periods!
Last year we had the rare opportunity to pop in on a week day where we were delighted to find a much more chilled space. I have written about Redberry Farm before, but now the experience has been expanded even more, with the addition of a wine seller, artisan ice cream producer, pizza spot and even a cold meat deli.
That said, Chantelle and I were in the area for one thing and one thing only – ice cream with some of Redberry’s delicious red strawberries!
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Refreshing (and admittedly, rather nice to visit without the kids for change!).
October 2005 saw the official opening of the Cliff Tops Piazza in Hermanus, a bustling central node for the town and one of the most perfect spots to sit, ice cream or coffee in hand, and watch whales come whale watching season in Walker Bay.
In fact, the Cliff Tops site has historically always been a traditional centre of Hermanus, a town that may have started out as a simple fishing village back in the early 1900’s, but which these days is very much the tourism giant of the Overstrand region.
Now while the piazza area is indeed great as a node for the all shops, restaurants and bars inhabiting it, I’m far more smitten with the lush green amphitheatre sprawled out in front of it, and thanks to the bribery of ice cream cones in their hands, I suspect my two small girls now rather agree with me.
Perfect spot to stretch out, take things slow, people watch, and of course admire the beautiful landscape all around you.
Mind you, our traditional walk to the Cliff Tops site is pretty nice as well. Always love all the public art installations (though admittedly this current batch on display isn’t exactly my favourite).
In terms of Southern Right Whale spotting for this particular day that we visited back in August last year, plenty of whales were out to put on a show in the bay – much to the delight of Chantelle who never quite seems to tire of watching whales wallow in water.
As for the girls, as always they were far more enthralled with the jungle gym and the furry dassies that run around everywhere than with boring old art, people on the sea in bright yellow kayaks, or the occassional flip of a whale tail out in the distance.
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Interestingly enough, I have never actually strolled down to the Old Harbour, nor paid a visit to the Whale Museum. I suspect both of these will happen when I one day lose my tail…
(Or I bribe it with something bright and shiny, or sweet and melty.) [Update: I did eventually get to visit the Whale House Museum in 2018]
Last year December I woke up one morning and suggested to Chantelle that we take a drive out towards Stanford for a picnic at Klein River Cheese farmstead, to which she readily agreed – basically because she is head over heels in love with this quaint, oft-overlooked little riverside Overberg town, and will pretty much use any excuse to pay it a visit!
Anyway, a visit to Stanford is not complete without a visit to Don Gelato, makers of fine Italian ice cream, so that’s exactly what we did as we wrapped up our day of dining on little pieces of cheese and bread in the countryside.
Only, we were in for a little surprise when we did reach the distinctively green building towards the bottom of Queen Victoria Street – Don Gelato has more or less been demoted to a tiny “ice cream served from a counter” experience!
Well, that’s only technically true.
The Giovanetti family that launched Don Gelato in 2013 always used to offer authentic Italian meals every now and then from the Don Gelato building/restaurant, but obviously that business was good enough to now give it a proper go, meaning that the Don Gelato and its ice cream operation has been shifted to the side, while the main restaurant has been rebranded into La Trattoria – which very obviously is now Stanford’s premier Italian restaurant experience.
Sadly, this then means no more nice back courtyard to sit and enjoy your ice cream in, meaning that instead we trundled down towards some steps across from the beautiful Dutch Reformed church in order to chow down our expensive (I guess because of all the good, organic ingredients that go into making these chilled delights) gelato treats there.
Pleasingly though, the flavour selection of ice creams on offer is still as it was – i.e. great – and the gelato itself delicious, so still well worth popping into if you feel like a treat on a hot Summer’s day.
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Ice creams devoured, it was then back home, though we made sure to take the scenic drive through Hermanus this time round!
Situated in the fertile Elgin Valley, just outside of Grabouw, Peregrine began life as a humble little fruit vending stall on the side of the N2 way back in 1964, and in the many years since, has morphed into somewhat of a road trip institution for anyone travelling over Sir Lowry’s Pass.
2014 marked Peregrine Farm Stall’s 50th anniversary, but as circumstance would have it, this was also to be the year of tragedy striking in the form of a destructive kitchen fire that destroyed most of the long-standing restaurant area.
This was however a perfect opportunity for new life to be breathed into Peregrine, and the new Peregrine Cafe that rose up in the old restaurant’s place is light, open, and with a very contemporary feel to it.
While the farm stall and bakery continues its long tradition of providing excellent local produce, artisanal creations and mouthwatering bakes to the public, it is the outdoor express section (complete with takeaways, a kiddies play area, and pop-up shops) that excites my girls the most, the result being that we quite often end up at Peregrine without actually stepping inside the cafe or old farm stall itself!
Not that I mind of course, the pies are particularly excellent no matter which counter you purchase them from – and besides, the fact that they wash down pretty well with some of Everson’s excellent locally produced cider (available right there!) doesn’t hurt either.
Also, how could we NOT stop to see the giant blue bunny, courtesy of the Art@Almenkerk project!? ;)
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It’s really, really hard to miss.
It is difficult to deny that the South Peninsula is a particularly beautiful stretch of Cape Town’s surrounds, and in fact, South Africa in general. If you are a surfer or are looking to become one, then Muizenberg Beach’s Surfer’s Corner is probably the spot that you should be – that is if you don’t mind all the sharks in the water!
Funnily enough, despite my main work office being out in nearby Westlake, I hardly ever make the effort of visiting out in that area, so it was thus particularly pleasurable to find myself putting aside some time to visit the Muizenberg beach stretch with my girls for the first time come October last year.
So I guess I had better blog about it then.
As luck would have it, for their very first visit to the famous Muizenberg Beach, Jessica and Emily got to watch some good surfing action, courtesy of a surf competition that was currently on the go.
Also, they got to see a blue bottle (Portuguese man o’ war) for the very first time, which on learning that these things sting and that it hurts when that happens, immediately added it to their ever growing list of reasons not to EVER swim in the sea!
The little coloured changing huts/storage units were of course a big hit, as was the very messy (but delicious) softserve ice cream grabbed from the venerable (and super interesting in terms of vintage decor) Majestic Cafe.
Which just by the way, happens to be the oldest shop in Muizenberg – having opened its doors way back in 1937!
Ice cream. Cones. Sun. Small kids.
Right. As you might imagine then, I was very, VERY grateful for the (architecturally quite beautiful mind you) public amenities that allowed me to get rid of some of that sticky residue that the girls seem to literally manage to get everywhere!
And then the bonus: What we didn’t know was that the day that we had decided to visit this part of Cape Town also happened to be the start of the 2016 Muizenberg Festival – which kicked off right in front of us with a loud parade lead by a giant silver fish puppet being accompanied by a large costumed crowd, and some VERY enthusiastic drummers.
In other words, quite the loud affair.
So, a great vibe and colourful sight indeed, but unfortunately also a completely overwhelming in terms of noise experience for the girls (Emily in particular) – all of which meant that we had to quickly cut our visit short, hightail it out of ground zero, jump into the car, and try and navigate our way to nearby Kalk Bay before the route closed because of the ever approaching parade!
A pity, but I guess then the perfect excuse for another visit in the nearby future – especially since I would love to take Chantelle to the brilliant seafood restaurant Live Bait (which I’ve had the pleasure of eating at for a business lunch before).
She would appreciate that I think.
Also, if you do decide to visit, take your camera along (if you are not going to surf). There is plenty of nice photogenic things to snap away at…
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Also, just in case you can’t quite pinpoint where I am talking about on the map – a map:
The atmosphere is laid back, there is always chill music on the go, you have the openness that comes from being situated in Central Park, you are surrounded by the gorgeous modern architecture that makes up Century City, and most important of all, this always feels like a market that is catering directly for families as opposed to just trying to look cool.
That said, it is a little sad to see the market in its current shrinking form. The number of stall holders is definitely and very noticeably diminishing, which is a pity because as the stall holders become less in number and thus less diverse in offerings, so too does the number of visitors also eventually drop.
Nevertheless, there is still more than enough life in the market, as the girls and I found out for ourselves with an impromptu trip through to Century City at the end of January.
As expected, the music was good, the mini train ride lots of fun, the dog show via Dogz Cool entertained the kids, and all those little treats like hand-folded ice cream, fudge and millionaire’s shortbread delicious!
Not a bad way for the girls and I to start off a day that would eventually see us slumming with the Ostriches down at the Cape Town Ostrich Ranch!
(Naturally, I greatly annoyed the girls by taking pictures at every opportunity that it occurred to me to do so! These are some of the better ones that I decided to hold on to…)
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As always, a handy map:
Related Link: Century City Natural Goods Market
Unfortunately for the traders, thanks to a particularly blustery wind on the day, the number of visitors were a bit on the short side – but when you are being accompanied by two energetic little girls running about on either side of you, then I find that quieter is usually better! ;)
Jessica’s first tooth had officially fallen out, and so the idea was to treat her to something nice at the market – which was why I was particularly ecstatic when we spotted the stall selling softserve ice cream!
I’m not sure, it did look like perhaps the number of traders is slightly less than the last few times that I visited the Paardevlei Farmers Market, but on the whole I thought it a pretty good showing – quite a few varied and interesting stalls (mostly food, with a few arts/crafts and garden related vendors mixed in), and as always, the old warehouse was alive with the bustle and music one usually associates with one of these markets.
(In other words, always a better experience than a visit to the mall!)
Amazingly, after the girls had finished devouring their ice cream (which melted super quickly thanks to that wind!), I convinced them to head back inside, where I endeavoured to introduce them to the world of the bobotie jaffle.
Even more amazing was that Tannie Anna se bobotie jaffle turned out to be a surprising hit with both girls.
Who would have guessed…
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As always, a handy map to the market:
Related Link: Facebook
I stumbled across this gem of a kid friendly place in Stellenbosch by the name of Vredenbosch. It is situated along the R304, heading out of Stellenbosch, on what is or was Pete’s Adventure Farm (I’m struggling to ascertain as to whether or not Pete’s is still a thing – certainly the horse rides through the nearby wildlife sanctuary appears to still be alive and well, based on the website some Googling turned up).
According to the waitress that helped the girls and I out with some ice cream and coffee on the day (we were a little hot and bothered following our morning of gallivanting at Klein Joostenberg and its surrounds), Vredenbosch hasn’t been operating for all that long, but has already proven quite popular for the hosting of kids birthday parties, kitchen teas and that sort of gathering – thanks primarily to its remote location and humongous wide open space which is just perfect for letting the kids run wild in.
I didn’t really order food, so I can’t comment on that, but the menu seemed to cover all the bases, and the girls certainly enjoyed both their milkshake and ice-creams. (Apparently though, they are still waiting on their liquor licence – which was a bit of a surprise considering the location).
We sat in the shade of the outside area, but once the group of ladies celebrating a kitchen tea moved on, we did venture inside to get a better look at what turns out to be quite a spacious restaurant interior.
The real stars of the show were however the miniature horses roaming around the enclosed field, which Jessica immediately made a beeline for. There are also these two awesomely chilled alpacas wandering about, Lucio and Frost, who are quite curious about anyone that steps into their domain.
While Jess rather enjoyed having all these animals freely wander about, Emily was of course absolutely terrified – meaning that whenever they would come in close to investigate us, she would tearfully disappear behind my legs faster than what I could blink!
Apart from the animals roaming about, the expansive field also houses a wooden obstacle course as well as a wooden jungle gym. However, the star of the field is without a doubt the foofy slide (or zipline as it is otherwise known), which at the end of the day provided at least an hour’s worth of entertainment (if not more) to the girls! (More pics in a follow up post!)
So yes, as you might imagine, the girls and I ended up spending quite a bit of time at Vredenbosch on the day. In other words, a good find indeed!
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Here it is on the map in case you think your kids might also like to give it a go:
Related Link: Vredenbosch Restaurant
Chantelle and I decided to make an impromptu afternoon trip out to Kleinmond with the kids, making our way past Rooi Els, Pringle Bay and Betty’s Bay via the beautiful coastal route that is Clarence Drive.
After a bit of driving about and looking at all the houses that make up this small coastal town (including the famous – or perhaps infamous – Western Province rugby supporters’ home that is literally decked out from top to bottom in blue, white and disas!), we next headed down to the popular tourist spot that is Harbour Road, opting to grab a bite to eat from The Boathouse Restaurant – pretty much because the girls were ready to rebel if they didn’t get ice cream right that moment!
Reminiscent of old fishing villages dotted along the southern US coastline, Harbour Road is actually a pretty nice, albeit tiny, waterfront development that puts together a great mix of tourist friendly, colourful shops and restaurants pretty much down a single road, with everything clustered around Kleinmond’s popular fisherman harbour.
Mountain peaks behind you, ocean to the front – it really is a beautiful location to sit and enjoy a beer in!
With her face still freshly painted following Courtney’s birthday party in the morning, Jessica selected which seats we were to sit in (she chose an outside table with a comfy couch at the side), and after ordering some ice cream for the girls, Chantelle and I got down to the hard business of selecting what we ourselves actually wanted for lunch.
As it turns out, fish and chips at the Boathouse is a great choice!
(Also, the surprisingly named Sxollie Cider happens to be quite nice as well. Go figure.)
Not a bad way to start an afternoon that would still see us take a stroll around the small harbour area, as well as brave a small section of the neat coastal walkway!
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