Tag Archives: durbanville

A Stroll around Door de Kraal Dam in Bellville (2021-01-30) Nature and Animal Attractions | Photo Gallery 09 MAR 2021

The family and I felt like a bit of a walk about Majik Forest in the Door de Kraal suburb of Bellville the other day, so we hopped into the car and headed out to the Northern Suburbs via the R300, making our way up the gates only to realize that under current Covid-19 lockdown levels, the fenced in Majik Forest park was still very much tightly locked up. Disappointed, we quickly moved on to a different option in the same area, the remarkably nearby Door de Kraal Dam.

Situated in the heart of the suburbs, tucked in between Door de Kraal, Kenridge, and Tyger Valley (and just across from the sprawling Willowbridge Mall village), the Door de Kraal Dam is a fair sized man made dam that offers a neat little green space that comes with picnic lawns, a circular walking path, fishing opportunities (this is the only local dam in the area that catch and release fishing is allowed at), and a great variety of birdlife, thanks in part to the many reeds growing around the banks of the dam.

It’s not a particularly long walk, between 1 and 2 km to go around via the path, but it is wide open green space with clear blue skies above and happy dogs being walked all around you.

Springbok Venison at Tangram at Durbanville Hills Wine Estate (2021-02-24) Food and Drink | Photo Gallery 27 FEB 2021

Generally when the core Touchwork team gets together for lunch it is always someplace in the Steenberg/Westlake region of Cape Town, which makes completes sense given that it is both the area where our office resides as well as where everyone but me is actually based. I’ve been working as a software developer for the company since 2007, and although we were a decent sized team for a fair while, it’s actually now been a number of years that I’ve been working completely alone, developing, maintaining, and managing our Kinetica SaaS platform.

This is perfectly fine of course, primarily because Kinetica is something that I created more than 10 years ago and thus have a personal vested interest in seeing it stay alive and thriving, but in the time of a deadly global pandemic it goes without saying that it is a lot smarter to have some backup just in case things do go… wrong. Pleasingly we found a young, enthusiastic, Durbanville-based developer to join our team and so, while we patiently wait out his notice period, headed out to lunch for our first ever face to face meeting.

This then is how we found ourselves travelling to the outskirts of Durbanville to Tangram on the Durbanville Hills wine estate, a lovely, award winning restaurant at the top of the winery, which itself is perched on the top of a hill with a view in pretty much all directions – including that iconic one of Table Mountain as it stands looming over Cape Town on the edge of Table Bay. Durbanville Hills is of course known for its very popular range of wines, much of which owes it character to its closeness to the sea air, balanced with the warm airflow around the hills, as well as the soil of the area, but interestingly enough, it doesn’t really have any history behind it, having only really been established in the 1990’s when seven or so grape farmers from the area decided to band together with the help of Distell to found the cellar as a joint venture and thus start producing wines on a commercial scale.

In terms of the restaurant experience, it is actually quite a lovely one. Passing through the wine tasting section and the Dylan Lewis leopard sculpture guarded cellar at the bottom, you ascend the stairs to reach the Tangram’s dining hall, all modernly outfitted with a warm touch and neat aesthetic, and of course featuring a lot of big glass panel to make the most of the view on offer. (There is also a bastille which you can walk out on to get a view over the vineyards, Table Bay, Cape Town, and Table Mountain in the distance, though my suggestion would be to wait a little until the cooler months when the dusty brown grass of summer gives way to something far more luscious green.)

Some excellent wine, good company, a delectable pork belly starter, and a sumptuous springbok venison main then all nicely came together to make for an exceptionally enjoyable experience, even if quite removed from our usual stomping grounds.

Ducks and Noodles at Sonstraal Dam in Durbanville (2019-07-17) Nature and Animal Attractions | Photo Gallery 10 MAR 2020

We obviously have a few of our own nice places to head out for a walk here in Gordon’s Bay (aka we live by the sea), but I have to say that I do miss having easy access to the very scenic Sonstraal Dam in Durbanville.

There’s actually two dams tucked away in the leafy desirable Sonstraal/Vygeboom/Eversdal residential area of Durbanville, the smaller Vygeboom Dam at the top and then the much larger Sonstraal dam at the bottom.

Although neglected for a number of years, the ban on fishing and subsequent clean up operations have resulted in a wonderful green space with a footpath that lazes around the body of water, offering a tranquil and scenic family friendly nature experience right in the heart of the suburbs.

With the now abundant bird life that call this dam home there is forever a goose to feed, a water fowl to cheer on, or a duckling to swoon over. It is fresh air, a chance to stretch the legs, and it is short, so the girls can’t really justify moaning at me if they didn’t really want to do it in the first place.

And then usually, like we did on this late mid week afternoon outing, we ended off our wanderings in Durbanville with Chinese takeout food at the Kenridge institution that is Ho-Ho Take-Aways. (Chantelle has been ordering from then since she was in school!)

It was, quite frankly, delicious.

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”.

Devouring Cake at Soet Society Cafe in Durbanville (2019-05-11) Food and Drink | Photo Gallery 13 OCT 2019

I turned 39 this year and decided to celebrate it by taking Chantelle away for the night to the fabulous Darling. Of course, I couldn’t quite leave the girls out of all the fun, and so on the way to dropping them off with our folks in Bellville, we decided to kick the celebrations off with an impromptu stop for coffee and cake at the delectable Soet Society Cafe in Durbanville.

Known for producing extremely delicious cakes, Soet Cakes eventually opened what has become an exceedingly popular cafe in the heart of Durbanville, with the ever so fashionable (and modern) Soet Society Cafe delighting locals with all manner of artisan breads, designer cakes, Bootlegger coffee and beautifully presented bistro food.

The eatery in fact became such a popular hub that it has since gone on to spawn the Soet Emporium, essentially welcoming small artisan businesses to join them in the building, resulting in an eclectic mix of local boutique, hair salon, decor, skincare, art gallery, and biltong shops all situated in one single space.

As for this particular visit, we picked up two trays with a whole array of small slices laid out on them, thus sampling just about all the cakes they had on offer in one single go! Absolutely delicious, and of course, absolutely too indulgent. Mind you, not that anyone minded taking these leftovers home!

Milkshakes, Nutella and Breakfast at Koffi Terapi in Durbanville (2018-09-01) Food and Drink | Photo Gallery 20 FEB 2019

Our plan was to visit the small Durbanville nature reserve by the race course and then eat breakfast at Evertsdal Opstal fell apart when on arrival both locations were closed for business. So instead we drove around Durbanville and spotted what looked to be a particular popular spot based on the amount of people milling about – and that’s the story of how the girls and I discovered Koffi Terapi.

Home to both lovely outdoor and indoor seated areas, the Koffi Terapi (great name!) coffee shop/eatery is immensely popular with the locals (as we discovered for ourselves based on a) how lucky we were to actually get a table and then b) how long it took for our order to actually come through). The menu is small but nicely rounded, the baked treats look delectable and the place makes good coffee.

As for the girls, well when they heard that there was both milkshake and nutella slathered flapjacks on the breakfast menu, well let’s just say there was no way that I was going to be allowed to leave the cafe any time soon!

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Kids Gumboot Birthday Parties at Gan Eden Farm in Durbanville (2017-12-09) Kid Activities | Photo Gallery 04 JUL 2018

I have got such a massive backlog of photo galleries to post, that there are items popping up now that should literally have gone up a year or two ago – case in point – the girls had such a lot of fun attending Lizzy’s birthday party in December last year.

Hosted by Gumboot Parties on Gan Eden Farm at the back of Durbanville, the children were treated to all the staples of a farmyard party: a pony ride, a tractor trailer drive, feeding the hogs, feeding the horses, collecting fresh eggs from the chicken coop – basically just loads of fun for all our suburban/city kids.

The large playground also meant lots of running around and play time in between all the snacking and cake munching. (Even if we had to wait an extraordinary long time for the latter because Mike couldn’t get the birthday girl’s candles all lit!)

If the weather is good then this is such a great venue for kids birthday parties – so worth keeping in mind if you live in the Northern Suburbs and don’t particularly feel like cleaning up all the mess following a birthday party held at home! ;)

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P.S. This was the very first time that Emily was brave enough to go into the chicken coop and collect her own egg. Jessica was super impressed by her little sister for a change!

Related Link: Gumboot Parties | Gan Eden Farm | Durbanville

Strolling around Sonstraal Dam in Durbanville (2017-08-05) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 02 MAY 2018

Going for an afternoon stroll around Sonstraal Dam whilst feeding the ducks is somewhat of an institution for any family with small kids in Durbanville, and seeing as this is something that we did back when we were kids, there is no reason not to continue the tradition with my own brood – even if I don’t exactly live in the area any more.

Although an inviting and scenic space, there is in fact no swimming or boating allowed in this small body of water, and in response to an outbreak of avian botulism in 2005, no fishing allowed either. (Although the bird flu has since been dealt with, the local council opted to maintain the fishing ban in order to protect the local birdlife, many of which use the dam for breeding purposes).

Another thing worth pointing out is that for a long time the dam area went into a real state of disrepair and neglect, thanks in large part to the inconsiderate nature of visitors who littered with abandon and in general just disrespected the facilities. Thankfully though this problem seems to have mostly been dealt with and the dam area certainly appears to be undergoing a productive period of rehabilitation.

Anyway, I’m kind of getting distracted now. Last year August I found myself in the area, and so invited my folks (who live reasonably nearby) to join us for a walk around the dam. It was, as always, a pretty pleasant affair.

Even if we didn’t actually feed any ducks for a change.

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Oh, and after our stroll we grabbed a coffee and some cake from the Deeghuys Taste Kitchen, a neat little eatery/test kitchen for Deeghuys that is tucked away off main road Durbanville. It was rather nice as well.

Related Link: Durbanville

Coffee at the Deeghuys Taste Kitchen in Durbanville (2017-08-05) Food and Drink | Photo Gallery 31 OCT 2017

Back in August the girls and myself found ourselves in the Northern Suburbs, and so decided to check in with my mom and dad and see if they wanted to join us for a stroll around Sonstral Dam. They said yes, we had a lovely walk, and then seeing as there was still plenty of time to be killed in Durbanville, I suggested that we head off and grab something to eat/drink.

So we did.

The Deeghuys group was started in 2012 and they focus on selling high quality, ready-made baked goods, both frozen and fresh – basically, quick to bake goods for those of us to lazy to make/mix from scratch!

From what I can tell, they’ve been quite successful, with stores popping up all over the place (in fact, we even have one out our way, near the Somerset Mall).

What  did however surprise me was to learn of the existence of the Deeghuys Taste Kitchen (in hindsight, makes sense, this is close to where their headquarters is based anyway), essentially a deli/restaurant that pretty much offers a taste of what Deeghuys sells in its stores (along with other more standard deli/restaurant fare of course).

Now my mom and dad have previously been here for a breakfast or two, hence the suggestion, and on the day it was a great choice given that it is relatively spacious, features loads of treats for those of us with an incurable sweet tooth, and is reasonably kid friendly. (They have a little kids play area corner which Jessica seemed to rather enjoy).

Unfortunately for us though, given that they close rather early on a Saturday (14:00), we kind of caught the tail end of service, meaning that we were pretty much restricted to a cup of coffee and whatever was already out on display seeing as the kitchen was now closed.

Luckily, these restrictions didn’t prove to be a complete bust because in the end we all enjoyed some rather nice treats.

Truthfully, service wasn’t fantastic because everyone was kind of bustling about trying to wind down operations for the day, and as a result, poor little Jessica’s order was somehow missed. Though once alerted to the problem, the friendly waitress quickly atoned for her mistake and gave Jessica a whole box of sausage rolls as opposed to just the one she originally wanted!

(Also, she was MIGHTILY pleased with her hot chocolate foam art).

It’s actually a surprisingly nice space tucked in at the back of Durbanville, and well worth a visit if you want to step away from the bustle of main road.

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Bonus: It is a little hidden away, so in this case, a map is rather handy for a change:

Related Link: Deeghuys | Deeghuys Taste Kitchen