Tag Archives: market

Cotton Candy Cuties at ROOT 44 Market in Stellenbosch (2019-07-21) Markets | Photo Gallery 15 FEB 2020

So I had successfully managed to convince the girls (my Jessica and Emily plus one Cara) to come out with me for a healthy late afternoon walk in Somerset West’s Radloff Park – the only catch being of course that they TOTALLY expected a reward for having agreed to the outing in the first place!

The walk was lots of fun (primarily because the numerous dogs being walked around Radloff at any point in time always give my girls a big entertaining fright), but with that now done and dusted it was time to pony up with a reward – so I decided to take a drive down the road to Stellenbosch for some pancakes and cotton candy at the Root44 Market.

The Stellenbosch/Somerset West area is blessed with a number of amazing family friendly market experiences, from the likes of the exceptional Lourensford Market, the Oude Libertas Slow Market, the Blaauwklippen Family Market and of course the aforementioned Root44 Market, a market that we have certainly visited more than just a few times in the past.

Situated on the Audacia Wines estate (right next to the big Mooiberge strawberry farm with all its crazy colourful scarecrows), Root44 is a sprawling market space with its ample food and craft traders operating out of big sturdy marquee tents, absolute loads of seating for visitors (both covered and uncovered), space for the kids to get rid of their energy, constant live music to entertain, seemingly endless wine and beer options, and of course the constant energy and buzz of what is basically a never ending crowd of excited patrons.

It’s an incredibly busy market with just about something for everyone and of course the incredibly stunning mountain and vineyard backdrop that is the hallmark of any Stellenbosch winelands experience.

As for our visit, I managed to successfully browse through everything without losing a single child, indulge in pancakes, samoosas, springrolls and all manner of other little spicy bites, entangle the girls in seemingly endless cotton candy (so, so sticky), and then watch them attempt to climb the nearby trees.

Winelands Markets fun at Blaauwklippen in Stellenbosch (2019-11-10) Markets | Photo Gallery 10 JAN 2020

It’s all a little confusing really, but for all intents and purposes the famous Blaauwklippen Family Market (which has been running since 2011) doesn’t exist any more – except that it is still very much thriving if you rock up at the beautiful Blaauwklippen wine estate on a Sunday. So what gives?

Well the organisers behind the super successful market have decided to flex their market organizing wings a bit and as such having a name that ties them to a single estate is a bit limiting – hence the birth of Winelands Markets. (Not the most distinct of company names to run a web search against to be honest!)

Anyway, as part of this process they dropped the whole Blaauwklippen Family Market moniker, the signage has all come down, and instead their most famous creation now operates under the name of Winelands Markets at Blaauwklippen, with I suppose the idea being that they can substitute the @ part of the name with each new venue that comes aboard.

Naming shenanigans aside though, the lush green, family-orientated, pet-friendly market still makes for one of the best lazy Sunday afternoons out and about, with plenty of vibe, delicious food and drink options, and interesting crafters offering up all manner of wares for your perusal.

Mind you, on this particular visit both Chantelle and I thought that the number of stalls is now markedly less than what we remember (bear in mind that we did take a year long break from markets), and the market area itself is definitely looking a little more tired than what it used to – but so long as Catje’s and their delicious pancakes remain onboard, we’ll be okay! ;)

Steam Train at the Elgin Railway Market in Grabouw (2018-12-16) Markets | Photo Gallery 25 SEP 2019

An excellent addition to the Grabouw/Elgin Valley tourism scene is without a doubt the fantastic Elgin Railway Market. Residing in an old apple packing warehouse right on the Elgin train station, this Art Deco/Art Noveau styled market is an absolute must visit come weekend time – especially on days when the steam train comes rolling in!

With a carefully curated list of stall vendors, the market has a little taste of something for everyone, with flavours from all over the world, including proper South African market fare, on offer. A few well made arts, crafts and designs are on show, and of course there is local craft brewed gin to be had. (Seriously, gin is everywhere at the moment).

And don’t forget to admire the fantastic metal and wood work that has gone into crafting the ornate Art Deco styling of the building itself!

Then there is the innovative Liberty Books bookstore parked outside, showing off the second addition to their book-bearing fleet, the Liberty Books Brigade – a 1970s Provincial Library Bus! (I’ve mentioned their Burning Books fire engine on these pages before.)

But of course, the star of the show for me is whenever the Ceres Rail Company comes steaming into the station with one of their classic locomotive and coaches combination. On this particular visit pictured below, it was Jessica, a Class 19D-3321 steam locomotive from the 1940’s that chugged into view bearing its load of market visitors!

So yes, trains were admired, food devoured, and photos taken:

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Fresh Farm Produce at Wild Oats Community Farmers Market in Sedgefield (2019-01-05) Markets | Photo Gallery 20 AUG 2019

There are a lot of weekend markets dotted around Cape Town and the winelands, but to be honest, very few (okay fine, Oranjezicht City Farm Market counts as one) are actual proper farmers’ markets. That said, even if there were a couple in easy reach of you, you would still be doing yourself a massive disservice if you never ever make the trip up along the Garden Route to Sedgefield, home of the multiple award-winning Wild Oats Community Farmers’ Market.

Situated adjacent to the beautiful Swartvlei lagoon on the outskirts of Sedgefield, this 20 year old, world renowned farmers’ market was first launched back in 1999 and operates every Saturday morning from 08:00 to 12:00 (07:30 in Summer) come rain or shine. The market brims with the choicest locally produced foods, including all sorts of free-range meats, cheeses and dairy, bakes, and of course, fresh-from-the-field fruit and vegetables.

(And given the huge amount of locals and visitors who descend upon the market, there is a mass of vendors catering with a range of fresh breakfasts, coffee and other treats!)

The stalls are all covered, there are loads of trees to provide shade for everyone, and the constant buzz of people happily milling about or sitting and enjoying company of friends and family over a good cup of coffee (or pancakes like we did) makes for a wonderfully charming and vibey atmosphere.

The market is of course pet friendly, and if you want a little more visually, then the equally impressive Mosaic Outdoor Market at the Scarab Arts & Crafts Village is literally across the entrance from the Wild Oats Market.

It is fun, authentic and home to some truly delectable tastes of the Garden Route.

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Food and Crafts at Lourensford Market in Somerset West (2018-12-16) Markets | Photo Gallery 20 JUL 2019

I do think that it is impossible not to love the Lourensford Market experience. Situated on the gloriously scenic (and historic) Lourensford Wine Estate in Somerset West, everything about a visit to this well run (and well supported) market screams class, from the well maintained estate, manicured gardens, and exquisite sculptures, all the way through to its excellent vendor space.

The traders themselves are a wonderfully diverse lot, with delicacies from all around the world on offer, some good wine, beer and ciders available, and loads of sweet treats wherever you look, all mixed in with a creative mishmash of art, clothing and craft stalls. (And on this particular visit, even a 3D Printing booth).

The live music and excited vibe completes the experience, and as if all of that isn’t enough, then there is still the rest of experiences of the estate itself on offer – wine tasting, a coffee shop or two, art galleries, clay pigeon shooting, and thanks to the recent(ish) introduction of the MOTOR Studio, even vintage cars on display!

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Steam Trains at the Elgin Railway Market in Grabouw (2018-08-11) Markets | Photo Gallery 15 JUL 2019

I have mentioned the wonderful Elgin Railway Market in these pages before, but a visit to this fantastic market with its breathtaking 1920s Art Deco inspired styling is even better if you manage to come through on a day that the brilliant Ceres Rail Company rolls one of its immaculately restored vintage steam locomotives into the station.

Like I previously said, the market on its own is a wonderful experience, well worth a visit if you do ever get the chance. Located in an old apple packing warehouse that has been transformed with the most gorgeous of steel, iron and wood finishes, the market features plenty of communal seating, an incredible atmosphere or vibe if you will, and some really interesting food and craft stalls, with their offerings stretching all the way from artisan gin through to couverture chocolate.

(There is technically a small play area outside for the kids, complete with climbing wall, as well, but seeing as I haven’t really had the girls running around that particular space yet, I can’t really comment all that much on it.)

As for the steam train element, watching one of these smoke billowing beasts pulling into the station is a crowd favourite, even more so when you realize that the train is actually ferrying people in from Cape Town to Elgin on what must be a thoroughly special trip. (So yes, one more thing to add to the never ending list of Cape Town adventures still to be had then I guess! :D)

On the day of this particular visit, it was beautifully restored Bailey, the 1930’s Class 19B No. 1412 steam locomotive, doing the charge to Elgin, with the equally stunning Dominique, the late 1940’s Class 19D No. 3332 steam locomotive, hitched to handle the reverse work.

Basically train heaven then.

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Art Deco and Apple Juice at the Elgin Railway Market in Grabouw (2018-07-22) Markets | Photo Gallery 09 JUN 2019

The Elgin Railway Market is an incredible addition to the Elgin Valley tourism scene. Launched in 2018, the market resides in an old apple packing warehouse (built in the 1940’s by Italian prisoners of war and right on the Grabouw train station itself) which has been refurbished and styled with the most elegant of wood, steel and wrought iron in a decidedly artisan Art Deco/Art Noveau theme. (Hint: It’s gorgeous.)

The end result is a visually captivating space which, thanks to its two level stacking with an open center, always feels open. The mouthwatering food stalls and clever craft vendors all operate from within dedicated booth spaces and the abundance of long tables and benches means that there is almost always seating available for you to sit down with your family and enjoy some of the decadent treats on offer.

(In fact, one of the things that this market does that sets it apart from other market experiences is that the food vendors all supply you with your food on an actual ceramic plate, complete with knife and fork or whatever other eating utensil may be required. A small touch that very much heightens the experience in my opinion.)

There is a small play area with a climbing wall outside, and of course lots of live music on offer, but it is the excitement that comes with the Ceres Rail Company’s vintage steam train that pulls into the station every now and then that most often steals the show for the kids and adults alike.

Honestly, it’s a treat.

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Fun and Games at the Winter Wonderland Festival in Gordon’s Bay (2018-07-08) Family Attractions | Photo Gallery 08 JUN 2019

Next week Friday (the 14th of June 2019) the ninth edition of Gordon’s Bay’s very own Winter Wonderland Festival kicks off with its annual evening parade – and this time we even have one of our daughters dancing in it!

Started back in 2010 by the newly launched Gordon’s Bay Business Forum as a way of attracting visitors during the quiet winter months, the festival has gone from strength to strength, morphing from an intimate collection of food trucks on the site of the old Van Riebeek Hotel and lots of fairy lights running through the milkwood trees, to the slickly run, well marketed, sprawling array of tents and fun rides that you find on the carnival weekends today.

Every year the “Carnival Park”, now situated in Hendon Park right on Gordon’s Bay’s beautiful main beach is a blast, with loads of food trucks and food stalls, virtually non-stop live music, beer, arts and crafts, family activities and just plenty of fun. That said, the highlight of the festivities as far as the kids are concerned is always the fun park set up and operated by Funland Amusements SA – their collection of fun rides is always a massive hit for the event!

This year (as it has been for the last couple of years – basically a safeguard against the whole thing being rained out entirely), the festival is spread over two carnival weekends, 14-16 and 21-23 June. And yes, obviously we are going to have just as much fun as what we did last year!

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Ciders and Coffee at the Lourensford Market in Somerset West (2018-03-04) Markets | Photo Gallery 21 JAN 2019

The Lourensford Market in Somerset West has easily the nicest selection of market foods and crafts on offer, with constant live music and of course the immaculate grounds of the estate to bolster the offering even further.

I have written about this great market before and as is always the case, this particular visit was as relaxing as one could get (even if we did arrive a little too close to the market’s end). The girls had sweet treats, I went a little Portuguese, and the Everson’s ciders were (as always) superb.

And if you don’t quite feel like the market vibe, then there are a couple of restaurant options, one coffee cafe, and one wine tasting room to visit instead. Which we did.

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A great way to while a lazy Sunday away then.

Related Link: Lourensford Market | Lourensford Estate | The Coffee Roasting Company | Somerset West