Tag Archives: south africa

Jessica Jamming Art for her Birthday in Somerset West (2019-11-16) Kid Activities | Photo Gallery 20 DEC 2019

Jessica turned 9 this year and we decided to celebrate this birthday by allowing her to invite some of her school friends over for a bit of a tropical themed birthday cake bash, followed by a paint session at the newly opened Artjamming Somerset West.

As always the incredible Helderberg Cake Company (i.e. Chantelle) went all out with the tropical themed biscuit and cake decadence, and after a flurry of excitement from a gaggle of girls in Lei garlands at Country Mews, we piled everyone into our cars and headed off to Bright Street in order to get all the girls jamming some art.

Chantelle had pre-selected the painting for the day (a tropical themed toucan naturally), and with a bubbly young instructor heading things up, Emily and I then left the group (to go do some LEGO shopping) so that the tweenagers could get their paint on (hopefully mostly on the canvas).

Great, colourful fun was had by everyone, with pretty much all particularly proud of their toucan productions. Definitely a great birthday outing idea!

Following that Saturday of fun, we next hosted a big birthday pizza day at Monty and Cheryl’s house for the family, complete with jumping castle and of course even more cake!

Lions and Leopards at Jukani in Plettenberg Bay (2019-01-05) Nature and Animal Attractions | Photo Gallery 15 DEC 2019

If you have kids then animal attractions always make for a big entertainment hit, and if you find yourself wandering about the Plettenberg Bay area, a glance at Google Maps will quickly confirm that you’re certainly spoiled for choice when it comes to animal sanctuaries!

Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary is all about big cats, so if you are keen to see a tawny lion, a white lion, a jaguar, a cheetah, a Siberian tiger, a Bengal tiger, a white tiger, a puma, a caracal, a leopard, and a serval cat all in one place, then Jukani has your back.

(For good measure, they also have a couple of zebra, springbok, a honey badger, and a tree full of American raccoons. Also a zorilla, otherwise known African polecat aka African skunk!)

After an initial stint in Mossel Bay, followed by a move to The Crags about 10 km out of Plettenberg Bay, Jukani has morphed into a proper wildlife sanctuary, providing a home and good care for these mostly rescued big cats that aren’t able to be released back into the wild ever again.

With a strict no touching, no breeding, and now no personifying names for the animals, Jukani focuses on conservation education and specifically on the plight of large predators in captivity.

The massive grounds allow for big forested enclosures which constant guided tours then snake through introducing you to each and every one of Jukani’s furry inhabitants. The girls enjoyed the experience (Jessica instantly bonded to our guide), we loved the fresh air and interesting sights, and of course, the thrill of hearing a lion vocalize around feeding time is something that one never really tires of hearing!

A Year of life in the Helderberg (2016-12-31) Photo Gallery 10 DEC 2019

I generate a lot of photos. Pretty much entirely because of this blog. As such, I have a massive trove of unposted photos which are all important reminders of my very happy life and as such are memories that I very much want to safeguard (and share). Posting it to my site is one way of doing this.

Unfortunately, not every outing and every little life event generates enough photos to make it worth posting as its own blog entry and so these little lost picture souls generally just languish for years and years in my unposted photo folder.

As you might imagine then, this folder has gotten a bit too large, and as such I’ve decided to sort through the images, split everything up into years, and do a big batch post for each one just to get the files up on the web.

So first up then, a set of random photos from my life in the Helderberg in 2016:

Smash Hit Radio at the Barnyard Theatre Tygervalley in Durbanville (2019-10-05) Events & Entertainment | Photo Gallery 01 DEC 2019

So the long running, thoroughly entertaining outfit that was the Barnyard Theatre at Willowbridge is now no longer in the Willowbridge shopping mall. Instead, they have shut up shop at the old venue, gathered up their musical props, and crossed over the road to set it all up again in the venerable Tyger Valley Shopping Centre.

Situated in the big space at the top of the roof parking that used to be home to the Cape Town Fish Market for all these years, the Barnyard Theatre team have done an excellent job of crafting a very warm, industrial themed space that feels like a bit of an update in quality over their old digs – something that I can now confidently say having been to one of the opening shows in October when they at last threw open their new doors.

As for the show we went to watch, it was the standard Barnyard Theatre musical affair, with a talented group of singers doing lots and lots of costume changes whilst belting out radio hit after hit – all themed around a fictional radio station called “Smash Hit Radio”.

Putt Putt Putting at Water World Strand (2019-08-10) Family Attractions | Photo Gallery 30 NOV 2019

One of the things that I am immensely enjoying about my girls getting older is the ability to entertain slightly more complex outings with them – like playing a round putt putt for example. Pretty handy then that we just so happen to have one of those not too far from us, eh?

Situated on Beach Road alongside the beach and right next to Son Surf School and the thoroughly enjoyable Waterworld Strand, I am not entirely sure who actually owns/runs Strand’s mini golf course – the signage is strongly branded with the Waterworld Strand logo, but I’m not convinced that they actually operate it as no mention is made on their website – I’m inclined to think it more of a branding/marketing exercise, similar to what say Coca Cola does with all their shop name signage that you see on all the small spaza shops around you.

Anyway, not that it matters in the slightest. There are two colour-coded putt putt courses to attack, and on this particular day, at the halfway point of one of my daily “healthy walks” that I magically managed to get Jessica and her friend Shaelyn to join in on, I decided that we should break for a round of mini golf.

The girls very excitedly agreed to this course of action.

As it turns out, some kids are way more competitive than others when it comes to silly little games like this, but regardless of that, fun was had by all on what it a pretty nice and reasonably neatly maintained mini golf outing.

Lunch and a Stroll at The Lake House Restaurant in Somerset West (2019-06-02 ) Food and Drink | Photo Gallery 25 NOV 2019

There is quite a number of housing estates rising up in and around the Helderberg area, with a lot them sitting quite squarely on the VERY nice side of things. One of our favourites is Somerset Lakes, built on a beautiful piece of elevated land that gives a great view of both the Hottentots Holland mountains and the Atlantic Ocean, with a birdlife-rich lake serving as the estate’s sparkling centrepiece.

As luck would have it, the estate happens to contain a wonderful restaurant known simply as the Lake House Restaurant which is housed in Somerset Lakes’ club house area. The restaurant feels light and airy, offers a fantastic view over the lake, and is home to some particularly delicious dishes – from divine thin based pizzas to freshly prepared steaks and even a lamb bunny chow.

Although no longer really encouraged, the estate does make for a great place to wander about, and if after a stroll around the lake you duck into the grove of pine trees just across the road from the restaurant, you will be delighted to find some rather unexpected child friendly entertainment.

The restaurant is certainly one of those hidden delights and well worth a visit if you ever find yourself looking for somewhere spacious to spend a relaxed afternoon with glass in the hand and without having to first drive out all the way to the winelands.

Lizards and Baboons in Rooi Els (2019-07-13) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 20 NOV 2019

Having just taken possession of my new car, I immediately took it out for a run along the achingly scenic Clarence Drive (as one should), in the process dragging Jessica along to join me for the drive and a bit of a stroll around Rooi Els and Pringle Bay – in return for something sweet of course!

As I mentioned, our first stop was the charmingly rustic Rooi Els with its single shop, pub and restaurant, where we enjoyed a gentle stroll along its dirt roads, taking in the sights, breathing in the fresh air, chasing butterflies, admiring the fynbos, and of course dodging the local troop of baboons.

Highly entertaining (though to be fair, a little terrifying for Jessica), if of course you aren’t actually carrying any food on you. If I was, I probably wouldn’t be so cavalier about getting this close to these furry more often than not pests.

(The babies riding on their mom were admittedly very cute though!)

Beer Tasting at Darling Brew in Darling (2019-05-11) Food and Drink | Photo Gallery 15 NOV 2019

For nearly 10 years now, Darling Brew has been one of the biggest names on the local craft brew scene, an award winning staple of the Cape Town craft beer scene and surprisingly, holder of the title of being Africa’s first ever carbon neutral brewery. (They’ve been quite fond of the environment right from the start).

In addition to their many animal-inspired brews, Darling Brew also operates two restaurants/tasterooms in the Western Cape, the newest being their taproom in Woodstock, touted as being an effort to bring the Darling Brew experience from their home on the West Coast to the Mother City.

Talking about that Darling Brew experience, the home tasteroom really has become a major tourist attraction in the small West Coast town of Darling, bringing in a wealth of new younger tourists to what is already quite the charming place.

So naturally, this beer-soaked attraction overlooking the slick brewing operation was too strong a siren call to ignore forever, which then is exactly why I made point of paying a visit when Chantelle and I spent a night in Darling in celebration of my 39th birthday.

Nachos and a double tasting flight of all manner and style of beer? Perfect!

Lunch at the Country Pumpkin in Barrydale (2019-07-01) Food and Drink | Photo Gallery 10 NOV 2019

This year’s June Holiday adventure took place at Warmwaterberg Spa, a spot just outside Barrydale in the Klein Karoo. We were spending the time away with Chantelle’s folks, and as such decided to meet up for an opening lunch at The Country Pumpkin on the way out to Warmwaterberg.

Mind you, selecting a spot for lunch in Barrydale is not the easiest of tasks, seeing as you are literally spoiled for choice given how many interesting little eateries have popped up alongside the R62 (otherwise known as Route 62) as it slides its way through the town. That said, the Country Pumpkin has been around for years now and this popular, brightly hued little restaurant is one of Cheryl and Monty’s Barrydale staples – meaning that I was quite keen to give it a shot.

Given that the weather was looking a little grey and cold outside, we opted to grab a table inside, and pleasingly the Country Pumpkin is quite a homely affair. The warm inviting atmosphere was pleasant, the food comforting, and as an added bonus, there is even a farm shop attached to the eatery, ready to further empty your pockets on all manner of delicious things as you leave the premises.

A good refuelling stop then (though it would have been nice not to walk out to a sky that had now given way to a couple of rainclouds!)