Tag Archives: somerset west

Walking along the Lourens River in Radloff Park, Somerset West (2017-04-17) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 23 APR 2017

The Gordon’s Bay Lötters had a pretty relaxed Easter this year. Friday afternoon was spent with my half of the family, enjoying Mom’s homemade pickled fish and dad’s roast leg of lamb for lunch, while the evening was spent with Chantelle’s half of the family, enjoying Robert and Monty’s fine work behind the braai and treating the girls to a glow in the dark easter egg hunt.

Saturday was a rare pyjamas day of being at home and doing pretty much nothing, while Sunday we hosted my folks over for a braai back at our place.

Monday, or Family Day if you look at the calendar, kicked off with a morning out at Mondeor Garden Restaurant in Somerset West, where we partook in their super popular, annual easter egg hunt day. (The girls had loads of fun as you might imagine!)

However, with Chantelle then returning to work once all the fun was done and dusted, it was up to the girls and myself to entertain ourselves for the rest of the day, and we did just that by heading out for an early evening walk along the Lourens River at Radloff Park in Somerset West.

It’s only the second time that I’ve visited this super popular park in Somerset West, and as always it is difficult to come away not loving pretty much everything aspect of it!

The river is flowing well, the shady paths well looked after, the rolling fields of grass all trim and tidy, with the entire area perfectly framed by the beautiful mountainscapes that seem to be visible all around you!

The girls and I strolled along the entire length of the river section available to us, i.e. from the car park at the edge of Radloff Park all the way through past the houses and onto the start of the Morgenster Estate, though naturally by the time we reached the end, both girls were starting to moan about having to walk so far!

As expected, plenty of people were out and about on either their bikes or with their dogs, but pleasingly the experience seemed a lot less traumatic for my two ‘timid around animals’ girls.

Naturally, I did have my phone on hand to pick up a couple of snaps as per usual:

Unless you absolutely hate dogs, it is almost impossible not to like Radloff Park.

Related Link: Facebook

Enjoying the Market at Lourensford Wine Estate in Somerset West (2016-10-09) Markets | Photo Gallery 08 APR 2017

Based out here in the Cape, one certainly has their pick of excellent markets to visit and make merry at. I would however argue that one of the finest markets to be found is most definitely the Lourensford Market, situated out here in Somerset West on the picturesque and art rich Lourensford Wine Estate.

After starting out from a large tent stretched out on a lawn, the market slowly grew and eventually moved into a more permanent space. However, thanks to massive storm damage in 2015, a further rebuild was required, resulting in this beautiful space that Lourensford Market now calls home.

The market is home to a good mix of both food and craft stalls, with both Chantelle and I agreeing that the food choices at this particular market are top notch. The vibe, particularly around the main square (which is surround by all the stalls), is incredible, bolstered by the almost always excellent live music being performed up front.

If you don’t like the crowded hustle of the square, then there are plenty of tables and benches scattered under and among the trees outside the main area, as well as a big lawn out to the back where all the kids rides and entertainment is concentrated.

The Lourensford Wine Estate grounds are however the biggest drawcard here. The estate is beyond picturesque, with beautiful Cape Dutch inspired architecture everywhere you look, a tranquil restaurant and a brilliant wine tasting center, not to mention a coffee shop and various art studios scattered about.

The grounds are immaculately manicured, with flowers, trees, pathways and loads of eye catching sculptures in every direction that you look.

In other words, it really is impossible to come here on a Sunday and not leave feeling impressed by everything on show!

And because pictures are worth far more than just mere words, here are some photos that I snapped on my camera from our visit to the market last October:

So definitely one of those markets well worth a visit, both for the stalls and the location itself!

Related Links: Lourensford Market | Facebook | Lourensford Wine Estate

Cheese Platters at Healey’s Cheesery and Deli in Somerset West (2017-01-05) Travel Attractions 20 JAN 2017

If you are fond of fine cheese then I would imagine that you might be rather happy at the news of the opening of a dedicated cheese deli right here in Somerset West on the well known Waterkloof Wine Estate.

Healey’s has been producing award winning cheeses since its inception in 2005 (seriously, just take a gander at all their award certificates proudly up on display in the deli!) and now at long last have their own dedicated space thanks to a proud partnership with Waterkloof Wines.

Their world class, noble farmhouse cheddar, which is aged anywhere from eight to 12 months, is made from unpasteurized milk taken from pasture grazing cattle. The milk itself is from a certified herd and is also free of hormones and steroids, whilst the cheese produced is free of all preservatives, artificial colouring agents, flavour enhancers, and anti-mould additives.

In short, they make some rather tasty, upmarket cheese.

The newly opened cheesery and deli (it’s about a month or so old now) serves two purposes – the first is as a production hub for the cheese itself (very cool, you can watch some of the process and view all the cheese maturing on the shelves through big display windows inside the shop), and second as a storefront through which you can taste/experience their cheese and then hopefully walk out the door with a couple of bags tucked under each arm!

A spur of the moment decision lead to Chantelle, the girls and I popping in for a visit, and with everything looking and smelling so good, we decided to try some of their cheese and cured meat platter options.

Obviously, the girls didn’t really like anything on the board other than the sourdough bread and margarine of course, but Chantelle and I took delight in sampling the fantastic array of cheese and meat pairings.

So while not exactly a place of much interest to two little girls (though thankfully catered for by means of a nice patch of grass outside with a jungle gym plonked down in the corner of it), it certainly is a worthwhile stop if you appreciate good cheese, and perhaps some fine Waterkloof wine to go down with it!

A handy map for cheese lovers then:

Related Link: Healey’s Cheesery and Deli | Facebook | Waterkloof Wines

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