Tag Archives: sir lowry’s pass

Farmers Market at True Grit Bike Park in Sir Lowry’s Pass Village (2017-07-22) Markets | Photo Gallery 09 DEC 2017

If you are into mountain biking, trail running or hiking, then the True Grit Bike Park, tucked away at foot of the mountain alongside the Knorhoek Estate in Sir Lowry’s Pass Village, is most certainly somewhat of a hidden gem.

Having bounced back after the terrible loss incurred through the devastating fires that tore through the Knorhoek area a year or two ago, the True Grit Bike Park is a popular bike riding venue for both young and old, hosts numerous birthday parties and corporate events, and is now even home to its very own farmers market – aptly named the True Grit Farmers Market of course!

Chantelle and I had the opportunity to visit the True Grit Farmers Market back in July this year, taking advantage of a childless Saturday morning (the girls were sleeping over at one of the grandparents’ houses) to check out the new market for ourselves.

(In hindsight though, given how popular the children’s bike track looked, we should probably have dragged them along with us!)

At this stage the market was still pretty small, but given that this then means that it isn’t completely packed full of people as say Root 44 or the Oranjezicht City Farm Market get, neither Chantelle nor I was really complaining.

There was after all, some good food to choose from (Chantelle is in love with the veggie burger that she always picks up whenever, and wherever, she tracks down the stall), live music to enjoy, an audible buzz from a happy crowd, and of course some magnificent views to take in from what is a stunningly beautiful environment.

Bike trails, pony rides, a Zorb orb guy, and wide open spaces also then mean that the kids should be more than okay in terms of keeping themselves busy, so although a bit off the beaten track, perhaps not a bad place to check out if you are looking for a friendly, out in nature, farmer’s market option then.

I guess a re-visit with the kids is still very much in order then.

Related Link: True Grit Farmers Market | True Grit Bike Park | Facebook

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.

dav

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.)

dav

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!)

dav

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.

dav

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!

bty

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.

sdr

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! ;)

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

Things to do with Kids in Cape Town: Eat at The Orchard Farm Stall in Grabouw Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 30 MAY 2015

If you feel like a drive with the kids, then why not shoot up the N2 and tackle Sir Lowry’s Pass, taking it up past Steenbras Dam and then swinging left into Grabouw.

IMG_20150427_121811 the orchard farm stall and coffee shop in grabouw

The first thing you’ll see is the large rolling green lawn of The Orchard Farm Stall, a large airy farm stall filled with all manner of home made treats, farm produce and of course arts and crafts.

Of more importance to us here is the attached coffee shop / restaurant, which features a host of well priced, simple food options, covering you if you just want to stop and have a cup of coffee and a piece of cake, or sit down and devour lunch proper.

IMG_20150427_115549 jessica lotter with a giant choc chip cookie

The huge green lawn means that there is ample space for the kids to run around and play, and the owners also have had a little jungle gym with swings installed, perfect to keep the little ones busy.

Also, there seems to be a permanent jump castle setup as well – which needless to say keeps the kiddies pretty happy!

IMG_20150427_121815 emily lotter about to tackle the jungle gym in grabouw

So if you want to get some fresh air, let the kids run around a bit, and just sit and relax, then a stop at The Orchard Farm Stall in Grabouw is certainly not a bad option.

(My only complaint is a little one – given that it sits right on the N2, you do get the noise of the passing traffic – but in the same breath that gives you a little more to see and to talk about, so it’s not all that bad!)

IMG_20150427_123839 emily lotter going for a ride on dumbo in grabouw

Note, if your kids are of the older variety, then another great option slightly further along the route is Peregrine Farm Stall and its associated Red Tractor Cafe – looking particularly good following its recent refurbishment.

Oh, and on the way back, don’t forget to pull over and stop at the Sir Lowry’s Pass viewpoint. Stunning views of the False Bay, Gordon’s Bay, Strand, and Somerset West guaranteed!

(The day that these photos were taken proved to be a little too windy for the girls – they were back inside the car before you could blink!)

IMG_20150427_125819 looking over the bay from sir lowry's pass 1

IMG_20150427_125839 chantelle lotter with the girls at sir lowry's pass viewpoint

IMG_20150427_125823 looking over the bay from sir lowry's pass 2

IMG_20150427_125902 craig lotter at sir lowry's pass viewpoint

Related Link: TripAdvisor | Sir Lowry’s Pass

Things to See in South Africa: Steenbras Dam Travel Attractions 01 MAY 2015

Aerial photos of Gordon’s Bay always fascinates me, primarily because inevitably they show this massive amount of water, all neatly held by the mountains directly over our little town’s head!

steenbras dam in the hottentots-holland mountains above gordons bay, capet town, south africa 1

When travelling along the N2 away from Cape Town one has to cross the Hottentots-Holland Mountains via Sir Lowry’s Pass. As one goes over the top and starts to descend into the Grabouw valley on the other side, one of the first sights that one sees is the Steenbras Dam.

steenbras dam in the hottentots-holland mountains above gordons bay, capet town, south africa 2

The Steenbras Dam is an earth-fill type dam located in the Hottentots-Holland mountains, above Gordons Bay, near Cape Town in South Africa. For much of the first half of the twentieth century it was the main reservoir (storage dam) for Cape Town (its catchment area is the mountainous areas of Grabouw and Elgin) but is now only one of many dams that supply the city. It was built in 1921 and covers an area of 380ha.

The dam is on the Steenbras River, which, in common with most rivers in the western Cape, has a low sediment load and delivers water of very high quality. The river and dam are named after the steenbras, a fish endemic to South Africa.

steenbras dam in the hottentots-holland mountains above gordons bay, capet town, south africa 3

In recent years the dam has become more visible from the road as many of the pine trees that grew along the mountain slopes have been removed as they have been declared aliens. The dam in fact is split into two sections, the upper and lower dams. One crosses a bridge over the dams on the way to Grabouw.

Although in the past you could actually access the dam and walk through the pine forests surrounding it, not to mention try your hand at trout fishing in the dam itself, sadly for security reasons and due to vandalism and neglect, it has been closed to public access for a couple of years now.

steenbras dam in the hottentots-holland mountains above gordons bay, capet town, south africa 4

Closer to Grabouw above the Steenbras dam is the Palmiet Pumped Storage Scheme. It was built in 1983 and is part of a water transfer scheme. To generate power water is released from the upper Rockview Dam to the two reversible pump turbines located 60 metres below ground level. After flowing through the turbines the water is discharged into the lower Kogelberg dam.

When Cape Town’s water reserves become low water can be pumped from the Palmiet River via the Rockview Dam to the Steenbras Dam to supplement the Cape Town water supply.

steenbras dam in the hottentots-holland mountains above gordons bay, capet town, south africa 5

The turbines at Palmiet have two functions. In the first instance they are used as conventional hydro turbines in the generating of power. When not generating to meet the morning and evening peaks on the system, they are used to regulate the voltage.

The second use of the turbines is to reverse their direction to pump the water from the Kogelberg Dam back to the Rocklands dam. In the pump mode the generator becomes a huge motor which absorbs electricity from the network in order to drive the turbine in the pump direction. South Africa, has two pumped storage schemes, both operated in conjunction with the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry as part of water transfer schemes.

Steenbras Dam seen wedged between the Hottentots-Holland and Kogelberg ranges, with False Bay below, right

Related Link: Wikipedia