Tag Archives: somerset west

A Bobotie Jaffle from the Paardevlei Farmers Market in Somerset West (2016-11-19) Markets | Photo Gallery 13 DEC 2016

I popped into Paardevlei with the girls for a quick visit to the farmers market there the other day, and I’m happy to report that it looks like they are still running nice and strong.

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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! ;)

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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!

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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!)

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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…

As always, a handy map to the market:

Related Link: Facebook

Following the Lourens River through Radloff Park in Somerset West (2016-10-22) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 13 DEC 2016

If you are in Somerset West and are looking to stretch your legs, or walk your dog for that matter, but don’t necessarily want to pay the entrance fee to the nearby Helderberg Nature Reserve, then the fantastic Radloff Park complex that stretches along the Lourens River is a brilliant choice.

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A large number of sports disciplines call Radloff Park home, including the local cricket club, squash club and even baseball club (against which I played many a competitive baseball game when I played for the Bellvile Tigers back when I was still a kid)!

Consequently, there are a lot of different types of sport fields lying to the front of Radloff Park, the likes of which even include a skateboard park of all things!

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Once you pass through all the sports fields however, then the real gem of Radloff Park reveals itself – the so-called river walk which is a walking path that takes you all along the Lourens River. The route is shaded by a multitude of established trees, and there are plenty of park benches scattered about for you to sit and relax on while taking in the tranquil surrounds.

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The river is of course a super fun activity for the smaller kids to splash about in and get wet, while the walk itself has become super popular with dog walkers in the area – so no wonder Radloff Park is often referred to as the local dog park!

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Of course, this could be either a boon or bust – if your kids are like mine, i.e. terrified of dogs, the walk might just be a little more stressful than relaxing! ;)

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Nevertheless, this is an awesome little nature experience which is open to all and not going to cost you a cent to enjoy – which you then really should if you find yourself in the area!

(Oh, and on this particular day, the girls were rather pleased that I decided to reward the willingness to explore Radloff Park with me by treating them to some milkshake and play time at the nearby Indigo Spur in Waterstone Village. I suspect that this may have been their favourite part of the outing!)

As always, a handy map if you aren’t familiar with the area:

Related Link: Facebook

A Quick Craft Beer at Vredenhof Organic Estate in Somerset West (2016-09-17) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 17 OCT 2016

Driving home after having spent a lovely Saturday eating lunch at the beautiful Tokara wine estate, Chantelle asked if we could pop in at Vredenhof Organic Estate so that she could also see their cool play area that I was so enchanted by on a recent visit there with my girls.

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I happily obliged, but as luck would have it, by the time we walked through their gates, it was already pretty much closing time. (According to their website, they are open: Tuesday to Saturday from 08:00 to 16:00. Probably should have checked up on that first!)

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So no real showing off of this little hidden Somerset West gem to Chantelle then, but at least there was enough time for a quick coffee for her and a craft beer for me (a locally brewed, rather nice Stellebrau Craven Craft Lager if you must ask), while the girls enjoyed the already deserted, Disney-themed play area.

I guess then another future visit is in order?

As always, a handy map, and for more information, refer to my previous post on Vredenhof!

Related Link: Vredenhof Organic Estate | Facebook

Play at Vredenhof Organic Estate in Somerset West (2016-09-03) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 25 SEP 2016

Having been tasked with entertaining ourselves for the day while Chantelle treated her mother with a birthday high tea at the Mount Nelson, the girls and I stumbled across a great little find in the Somerset West area – Vredenhof Organic Estate.

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Billing itself as an organic, eco friendly estate of the Cape Winelands, the estate is run by a Swiss family that immigrated to South Africa from Geneva, Switzerland, settling at Vredenhof in 2002.

Following their belief that processed foods are inherently nutrient poor and that poor food quality is a leading cause of many health problems, they established Vredenhof as an organic farm with a farm store in order to supply locals concerned with their health with good quality, fresh organic produce all year round.

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Vredenhof itself is a farm of 27 hectares situated on Bredell Road between Stellenbosch and Somerset West which has been certified organic (complying with European organic standards) every year without interruption since 2004, either by AFRISCO or SGS.

Around 50 different herbs, fruits and vegetables are grown, and you are guaranteed to almost always find something rather unusual being grown out in their fields. Organic seeds are both produced and bought, with sowing and harvesting happening all year around.

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Of course, absolutely nothing of the above are things that interest the girls or myself – what we were however interested in seeing was Vredenhof Organic Estate’s absolutely fabulous play area, which simply put, one of the better ones that I’ve seen in a long time. Covered in wall to wall Disney story murals, the play area features wooden castles, walkways, a pirate ship, and even a gypsy caravan.

(In other words, expect to lose your child to their play area for more than just a little while!)

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On arrival, the girls and I first explored the lower ends of the premises, playing with the giant chess set, examining the mini golf course, and of course interacting with the pigs, goats, and yes chickens that roam about in the pens.

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From there we had a stroll through the rose garden, wandered about the gazeebo, examined the giant stone harp and bucket well water features, looked at the seedlings in the nursery section, splashed in the fountain, admired the art in the art studio, studied the carrots and other vegetables in the farm shop – and then sat down for some coffee, milkshake – and delicious carrot cake.

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It was at this point that my kids ran off to play, leaving me to enjoy a peaceful morning of contemplation over a nice cup of coffee.

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Also, I took a LOT of photos on the morning – much to the annoyance of my kids of course!

Here’s a handy map if you want your kids to experience this brilliant playground for themselves:

Related Link: Vredenhof Organic Estate | Facebook

Exploring the Paardevlei Nature Walk in Somerset West (2016-08-09) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 14 AUG 2016

National Womens Day rolled around, which of course meant no work (it is an official South African public holiday after all) and thus, given the good weather, a chance to get out of the house and do a little bit of exploring.

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Seeing as Chantelle had yet to stroll around the Paardevlei Nature Walk area in Paardevlei, Somerset West, I suggested that the four of us head out that way to do a spot of flamingo watching while getting some fresh air – an idea which both she and the girls were instantly onboard for!

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With Spring just around the corner, a lot of wild flowers are now starting to bloom, with the end result being of course a more colourful than usual spectacle on show.

Sadly though, the flamingos were content to stay on the far side of the dam where we couldn’t get a decent look at them, but luckily there was still more than enough active bird life in among the reeds to entertain us – turning both Chantelle and I into somewhat amateur bird watchers for a wee bit!

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Hairy worms were also in abundance, and the girls took great pleasure in pointing them out!

Amazingly, the little ones did a lot better this time around than the first time I did the walk with just the two of them, meaning that we made it further down the path – though of course it did eventually get too much for them resulting in piggyback rides for most of the trail back to the car.

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As you can tell from the pictures, it really was a beautiful day to be out and about in nature, and pleasingly, Chantelle quite liked this little gem of a walk that the girls and I discovered – meaning that I’m pretty sure we’ll be heading out this way more than just a few times in the Spring and Summer months to come!

(I have written about the Paardevlei area before, but just in case you haven’t caught those, the usual suspects in terms of related links can be found at the bottom of this post again)

Related Link: Paardevlei | Paardevlei History

Lunch at Mondeor Garden Restaurant in Somerset West (2016-07-24) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 30 JUL 2016

In an effort to get out of the house on a Sunday afternoon, but facing the challenge of not actually feeling like driving anywhere, Chantelle and I opted to take the kids for lunch and some play time at Mondeor Garden Restaurant, a perennial favourite of ours out in Somerset West.

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Although it is too cold for the girls to make use of the fun splash pool on the premises, there is more than enough space for them to run around and make a noise, while enjoying the multitude of jungle gyms, swings and trampolines scattered around the outside lawn.

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The weather on the day was great, meaning that instead of sitting under the porch area like we usually do, we opted to enjoy some of the winter sunshine by grabbing one of the outside benches.

The girls made and tucked into their own pizza creation, while I went for the delicious Fat Bastard Burger – always a winner!

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Naturally, as she does every time we go there, Jessica begged us to be allowed to do some sand art, which we eventually gave in to and then essentially lost her for the rest of the afternoon to that particular craft station.

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Not that it was a bad thing mind you! ;)

Related Link: Mondeor Garden Restaurant

Ducks and Play Time at the Dam Park in Strand (2016-07-03) Photo Gallery 06 JUL 2016

We used to head out and feed the ducks at Dam Park in Strand (just opposite Strand High School) quite often when Jess was still a baby, but in recent years we’ve kind of slowed down on doing that for some or other reason. (Maybe the fact that it has become socially unacceptable to feed ducks bread has had something to do with it?)

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Anyway, Sunday saw Chantelle working, and so not wanting to waste the wonderful sunny Winter weather of the day (and also not really being in the mood for the last day of this year’s Winter Wonderland Festival – which we sadly completely missed out on by the way), I rounded up the girls and headed out towards Strand to the duck pond for a bit of a play and walkabout session.

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Obviously, the girls were overjoyed at the prospect, and pretty soon the two of them were darting between all the play equipment, making sure not to miss any in the process!

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The old, colourful tractor and train remains the biggest hits of course, a problem because Emily is way too small to clamber all over those by herself yet – which of course she simply HAS to do, seeing as big sister Jess is doing it!

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We spent a good amount of time playing on all the equipment, and even Teddy got roped into the fun!

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We ended off the session with a leisurely stroll around the dam, watching the ducks and Egyptian geese, and of course taking selfies – because just like any other little girl, Jessica really seems to enjoy having her picture taken!

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Visiting the Dam Park here in Strand never really disappoints, and is always great if you are looking for something local to do that doesn’t require you to open your wallet. (Plus, it was really nice to see the dam back to its fuller level – the last time I was here it was halfway empty!)

We had some time to kill in the general area because we were meeting up with Chantelle, Retha and Miguel a little later at the mall in order to say goodbye and wish them well for their upcoming Camino de Santiago (St. James Path) pilgrimage adventure in Spain.

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Teddy wanted a milkshake, burger and chips, so we popped into McDonalds Waterstone for that, and after spending some time there, we headed up into the hills of Somerset West in search for more public park spaces.

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As luck would have it, we stumbled across this one brilliant wooden jungle gym at the bottom of a sloped grass patch with perhaps the most magnificent view any play park is capable of having.

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Talk about a swing with a view! :)

Here are the rest of the photos that I happily snapped on what turned out to be a very pleasant, sunny Winter’s day out with my girls:

Coffee at Mondeor and a Stroll around Cape Garden Centre (2016-06-16) Photo Gallery 18 JUN 2016

Of all the things to catch, I was stuck at home in quarantine with German Measles for a week. My period of quarantine ended the day before Thursday’s Youth Day public holiday, so I promptly escaped my cabin by taking the kids out for supper at the Sunset Bay Spur here in Gordon’s Bay. (Which naturally they rather enjoyed.)

The next day was of course the public holiday, and so after making pancakes for the girls and myself for breakfast, doing a bit of gardening and DIY, and chilling for a teeny tiny bit, I took the girls out with me for a walk around Paardevlei in Somerset West. (Which they kind of enjoyed, but less so than the previous evening’s trip to the Spur!)

Anyway, by the end of our stroll Chantelle’s shift at work had finished, so we rung her up and organised a coffee date at Mondeor Garden Restaurant – always a hit with the girls thanks to their great outdoor play area.

Despite the chilly weather, the girls ran around and entertained themselves, leaving Chantelle and myself to enjoy some nice coffee and every now and then, steal a sip from the girls’ milkshakes.

Oh, and because we were in no rush to get back home, we then strolled around for a bit in the adjacent Cape Garden Center, marveling at all the pretty flowers and wishing that they would somehow just transplant themselves straight into our garden without any intervention from us at all!

Oh, and an embedded map, because I think that this might become a sort of regular thing for the blog…

Related Link: Mondeor Garden Restaurant | Cape Garden Centre

Doing the Paardevlei Nature Walk around the Vlei (2016-06-16) Photo Gallery 17 JUN 2016

With the breakfast pancakes made, a little bit of gardening done and dusted, a small bit of DIY under the belt, and the shopping mission now complete, I decided to continue our Youth Day 2016 public holiday by taking Jessica and Emily out for a walk about Paardevlei in Somerset West/Strand – something I myself was quite eager to do seeing as I haven’t yet strolled around the vlei either!

The historic Paardevlei site is in an interesting transition phase at the moment, slowly transforming itself from its industrial roots (a long time AECI dynamite factory complex) into a modern mix of small business and residential units (and an ultra modern hospital for good measure!), using its beautiful Herbert Baker and Francis Massey buildings (which date back to the late 1890s) and consequential design guides, as well as the natural beauty that comes from the relatively recently rehabilitated vlei (Paardevlei, from where the precinct takes it name), to potentially become a much sought after destination in the area.

With beautiful walkways lined with all manner of sculpture art, Paardevlei has a little Nature Walk section, the entrance to which can be found right next to the Cheetah Outreach Center. There are a lot of future plans for this nature walk of course, but for now, you have a small trail that runs around the vlei, dotted with seating areas and great views of the diverse bird life that populates the area.

A nice surprise is the large flock of flamingos that call the vlei home, and the girls and I rather enjoyed spending some time just sitting and watching these big birds go about their business in the water. Naturally, Jessica and Emily were very firm in the fact that there was no way we were going to walk the whole way around the vlei, so I had to make do with just part of the trail done!

Oh, and the art sculptures are for the most part pretty interesting too!

Related Link: Paardevlei | Paardevlei History