Tag Archives: strawberry picking

99 Steps and a Forest Walk on Helderberg Farm in Raithby (2017-06-17) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 21 AUG 2018

Raithby is essentially a completely ignored/forgotten small farming community that lies more or less between Somerset West and Stellenbosch. While not a lot of public-facing places call this little piece of the Helderberg home, it is home to The Helderberg Farm, an old farm with a long history – some of the buildings still standing are marked as having been built in 1692!

These days the farm (literally on the secluded outskirts of Somerset West) primarily produces wine grapes, but is also responsible for a number of other small crops, including the ever popular strawberry. The grounds are open to the public, and they have an old, Cape Dutch style tea garden which is great for a cup of coffee and small treat.

Of course, that isn’t really a big enough reason to visit – instead, the Helderberg Farm hosts a number of other activities on its grounds, from mountain bike trails to 4×4 trail riding. There are running trails, hiking routes, picnic and braai facilities, a farmyard with goats, bunnies and geese for the kids, and a sprinkling of play areas for the little ones. For those seeking a bit more action, there is also clay pigeon shooting, paintball games, and gravel karts.

Oh, and strawberry picking during season as well.

The forest area can be hired out as a venue (the wide open spaces means that the Helderberg Farm is perfect for kids’ parties), and also makes for a great walking experience with the little ones (who might not feel comfortable doing one of the full hikes).

Not that you would think that mind you, listening to how my girls complain every time I try and get them to walk with me. Surprisingly enough though, the last visit saw them being game enough to attempt the steep 99 Steps path up the hill with me – and even more surprising is the fact that we all three actually made it to the top.

That said, I suspect that they were just as amazed that I actually got up there myself! :D

Side Note: Unfortunately, the biggest problem for the Helderberg Farm is the fact that it feels to be constantly in disrepair, which in turn discourages visitors, which in turn means less money making opportunities for the farm, which then ultimately contributes to the dilapidation that the farm seems to slowly be accruing as the years go by.

It’s a pity really because I love the lush green tranquility of the place, and really want for it to be doing a lot better.

Related Link: Helderberg Farm | Raithby

Strawberry Picking at Polkadraai Farm in Stellenbosch (2017-09-24) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 16 JUL 2018

Soon soon strawberry picking season will be rolling in again and when that happens you simply have to make a plan to bundle your kids in the car and make the drive through to Polkadraai Farm in Stellenbosch for what is currently one of the better strawberry picking options on offer.

The team at Polkadraai really have gone all out in terms of spending money on expanding the strawberry picking experience into a full on family  attraction. They’ve added more parking space (truthfully, it is almost never enough), they’ve created a fun playground area for the kids, there are pony  rides to be had, a tractor trailer tour to jump on, a putt putt mini golf course to tackle,  a quick and easy outdoor eating area for light lunches (if you can keep your kids from munching on all strawberries in your bucket), and of course a playfully decorated farm shop that should cater to pretty much everyone’s needs.

However, the strawberry picking itself remains the highlight of any visit, with the large fields with the row upon row of strawberries relatively easy to navigate and pick from – though you might want to consider wearing boots or at least hardy closed shoes given the always slightly soggy ground.

Honestly, the experience is a whole lot of fun if you have small kids to entertain, and I found myself thoroughly enjoying trudging through the channels, pointing out which strawberries the girls needed to pick, and generally just trying my hardest to stop the girls from randomly tucking into the strawberries that were just lying there right in front of them.

As you might be able to pick up from the photos below, last year’s visit saw my folks, Chantelle’s folks, and my heavily pregnant sister Claire with her boys join us for this particular strawberry picking run.

I won’t lie, the kids had fun! :)

And yes, as any self respecting strawberry farm which likes attracting kids should have, there are plenty of very colourful scarecrows scattered all around.

Related Link: Polkadraai Farm | Stellenbosch

Picking Strawberries at Polkadraai Farm in Stellenbosch (2016-10-20) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 21 APR 2017

When September rolls around this year, the super popular Polkadraai Farm will once again throw open its doors – and if you have kids then you pretty much automatically have a new excursion option added to the always burgeoning Cape Town weekend to-do list.

Chantelle and I took the girls to the famous Stellenbosch based Polkadraai strawberry farm last year October, though we abandoned our first attempt at a visit thanks to the flood of people picking strawberries on a Saturday afternoon, turning around and settling for snacking at nearby Asara’s fabulous deli instead. (We also then stopped in at the excellent Vergenoed market to watch the now famous duck parade! More on that later.)

Anyway, a couple of days later, we tried again, this time heading out to farmland Stellenbosch mid-week, a ploy that worked perfectly as there was almost no one else in the strawberry field when we arrived!

The process is simple. Enter the wonderfully colourful and inviting little shop at the start, purchase some buckets, listen to the handful of picking guidelines, and then head out into the field and pick some strawberries.

(Tip: This is one of those more unusual instances where you pay for the container and not by weight of fruit picked, meaning that your picking is dictated entirely by how many containers you choose to buy up front. Or rather, on how many containers your kids force you to take!)

The fields are dotted with loads of funky (or as I would put it, disheveled) scarecrows, and with the strawberries being grown on straight, elevated strips, strawberry picking is pretty easy going – though I must say that I was rather surprised at just how much and how quickly both Emily and Jessica seemed to get into it.

The strawberries themselves are of course delicious and, important to note, the filling of the buckets happens rather quickly if you don’t make a concerted effort to take more… leisurely strolls down the picking line.

Pleasingly, Polkadraai Farm seems to have recognised its role as such a popular family friendly excursion destination, and as such has made quite a nice effort to try and expand on the outing experience by building a putt putt (mini golf) course (love the tongue in cheek name – The Polkadraai Country Club!), a food court, installing a big playground area, and offering the always popular pony and tractor rides.

In other words, it really is a family outing that is hard to knock. No wonder it is such a popular attraction come season then!

So yes, the girls thoroughly enjoyed themselves – as did we – which I guess then means that this season we had better make another stop (or two) there.

And yes. As you may have suspected, I took plenty of pictures on the day!

In summary: If you can get there at a time during season when the place isn’t overrun, then your kids are probably going to have a ball.

Related Link: Polkadraai Strawberry Farm