Tag Archives: george

Fruit and Food at the Outeniqua Family Market in George (2020-01-04) Markets | Photo Gallery 20 MAY 2020

Out and about on the Garden Route, and not to be outdone by Sedgefield’s hugely popular Wild Oats, Mosaic, and Scarab Saturday morning markets, George too is home to a pretty impressive and rather enjoyable family market experience in the form of the excellently kitted out Outeniqua Family Market.

Rated as one of the top 5 things to do in George on Tripadvisor, the Outeniqua Family Market is open every Saturday from 08:00 to 14:00. Featuring more than 150 food and craft stalls, the market actually takes a fair time to wander through and peruse all the admittedly quite interesting stalls. From food to fresh produce to plants (there is in fact a full nursery hiding in there) to arts and crafts, there is literally something here for everyone.

The big trees provide plenty of shaded seating areas, there is always some live music to entertain (on this particular visit we watched a local Country music act perform), and pleasingly parking is abundant and not a headache at all. For the kids there is a massive play park, a Boere train ride, pedal cars, ponycycle rides, face painting, sand are and bunnies, or just let them walk your own dog seeing as the whole market is actually pet friendly!

This particular outing (part of our last December holiday in Mossel Bay) was the first time that any of us had visited the Outeniqua Family Market before, and I have to say that we left quite impressed (plus with juicy watermelon in hand). So much so in fact that Chantelle has gone on record as saying that the next time we are holidaying along the Garden Route she may just forgo the “usual must go to Wild Oats” trip through to Sedgefield in favour of this slightly shorter hop to George! :)

Blacksmith Coffee and Sliders at Getafix Garden Cafe in George (2019-01-06) Food and Drink | Photo Gallery 15 AUG 2019

George is the second largest city in the Western Cape, in order words, there can be a fair bit of hustle and bustle at times, meaning that the perfect place to grab a coffee and a bite to eat is somewhere that takes you away from all that busyness. Exactly why I like the Getafix Garden Cafe so much then.

Situated in a house on the grounds of the charming Garden Route Botanical Garden, this Asterix and Obelix themed eatery offers simple outdoor eating with a nice big kid (and dog) friendly lawn and a view of the magical Outeniqua Mountains in front of you.

If you don’t mind waiting (the kitchen is SUPER small), then the African Blacksmith coffee is particularly good, the menu fun, the vibe chilled, and of course whenever you feel like it, you can get up and stroll through the natural beauty of the botanical garden itself.

Oh, and they host an evening market every now and then too.

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Strawberries and Ice Cream from Redberry Farm in George (2018-01-11) Family Attractions | Photo Gallery 20 JAN 2019

There is a reason why George’s Redberry Farm is as popular as it is. Perfectly setup for family outings, Redberry Farm is guaranteed to be packed out each and every weekend if the weather plays along – and don’t even get me started about how swamped with people it gets during the school holiday periods!

Last year we had the rare opportunity to pop in on a week day where we were delighted to find a much more chilled space. I have written about Redberry Farm before, but now the experience has been expanded even more, with the addition of a wine seller, artisan ice cream producer, pizza spot and even a cold meat deli.

That said, Chantelle and I were in the area for one thing and one thing only – ice cream with some of Redberry’s delicious red strawberries!

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Refreshing (and admittedly, rather nice to visit without the kids for  change!).

Related Link: Redberry Farm | George

Driving over the Outeniqua Pass outside George (2018-06-28) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 26 SEP 2018

Whilst in Mossel Bay with the girls and my folks for a bit of the June school holidays this year, we were rather hoping to catch a ride on the Outeniqua Power Van – a 2.5 hour return trip aboard an old Transnet railcar up into the Outeniqua mountains via the historic Montagu Pass. Of course, my severe aversion to planning, let alone making reservations of any sort, resulted in us not getting a spot – though it did facilitate a madcap race through to George just in case some seats were left open on the morning!

There were none. So instead, we camped outside the George Botanical Gardens in order  to take a photo of the Power Van as it powered on by, following which we immediately hopped back into dad’s car for an impromptu drive over the famous Outeniqua Pass, the mounain pass that was built to replace the Montagu Pass as the primary route connecting George and the Garden Route coastal plain with Oudtshoorn and the Little Karoo.

Built over a period between 1943 and 1951 (and undergoing more than a few upgrades along the way), the stunning Outeniqua Pass contains over 40 bend, corners and curves, and along the way you are able to spot four other passes in the area, not to mention gain an aerial view of George and the sea down in the distance.

As it turned out on the day, the weather was perfect for the drive (due to the elevation, the pass is often subject to mist and rainfall – and the occasional truck breakdown), and we were even lucky enough to hear and watch the Power Van chug along the Montagu Pass on the opposite side of the valley from one of the lookout points that we were stopped at!

After driving over the pass, turning around and then driving back over it (the best views – and lookout points – are in the Oudtshoorn to George direction), we next headed down into rural George, for a coffee, cake and ice cream with strawberries stop for the kids at Redberry Farm – a firm favourite family hangout for both tourists and locals alike.

And yes, of course the girls went for a spin on the mini train while we were there.

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From there dad randomly selected a dirt road to follow, and eventually we ended up back home. Exactly how a day out and about driving should be enjoyed.

Related Link: Outeniqua Pass | Outeniqua Power Van

Vintage Steam Trains at the Outeniqua Transport Museum in George (2017-03-20) Historic Attractions | Photo Gallery 05 SEP 2018

If you are looking for the largest transport museum in South Africa, look no further than the Outeniqua Transport Museum in George, Transnet’s homage to the history of transport in South Africa, and indeed, the history of Transnet itself. It is also just so happens to be precisely where I dragged my eager (camera-toting) dad, hapless mom and poor old Jessica to back in March last year.

Housed in what is essentially a huge hangar, the museum is home to a wide variety of South African transport history, with exhibits acknowledging the work of South African Airways and the Transnet National Ports Authority, but most important of all, the rich railway history of the country.

There are about 20 vintage locomotives standing around the grounds, with highlights including the diminutive Emil Kessler, Johannesburg’s first steam locomotive, the Braamfontein to Boksburg Rand tram, coach number 50 of the White Train (used by the British Royal family during their visit to SA in 1947), and Paul Kruger’s distinctive bright green coach and private saloons.

In addition to the trains, there is a collection of transport related paintings and photos on display, as well quite a few exhibits showing off the silverware, cutlery and crockery from various periods of the transport industry. Then there are the vintage fire engines, old ambulances, reconstructed train stations and ticket offices, and a nicely varied collection of privately owned vintage and classic cars, also all housed under the singular massive roof of the museum.

Plus, in the event that you get a little bored/peckish while visiting, there is also a little coffee shop/restaurant on site, its gimmick of course being that you chow down whilst seated in a train carriage. (We sadly didn’t take advantage of this on the day.)

Another particularly nice find: Housed in the almost twenty year old Ken Wheeler Model Room is the Outeniqua Railway Society’s massive Outeniqua model train layout, reportedly the largest such model train layout in the Southern Hemisphere.

Loads of local landmarks are lovingly recreated and these little trains motoring about were by far the most interesting thing of the day as far a “ever so slightly bored by now” Jessica was concerned!

In truth, the museum can probably do with a bit of an update and upgrade, but that said, I found it and its contents thoroughly fascinating, with the museum making for an excellent outing if you are looking to escape the weather or outside bustle for what could be a good couple of hours (if you enjoy the subject matter).

I liked it.

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Side Note: The awesome Outeniqua Power Van excursion departs from the museum – another highly recommended George tourist outing if you find yourself in the area!

Related Link: Outeniqua Transport Museum | Wikipedia | George

Gourmet Burgers at Pure Craft and Foods in George (2018-01-03) Food and Drink | Photo Gallery 29 APR 2018

George isn’t really known for being a foodie hotspot, which means then that both Chantelle and I were way more than pleasantly surprised when we stumbled upon the fantastic Pure Craft & Foods during our short stay in the “Capital of the Southern Cape” at the start of this year.

Standing where the long running institution that was the King Fisher Restaurant used to be, Pure is like one of those hip, young eateries that you would expect to find in some trendy Cape Town neighbourhood like Woodstock or Observatory. Except that it is in George. Which is kind of at the other end of the trendy spectrum.

Owned by a young guy, heavy on the wood and brass look, the double storey high Pure features loads of table space (both inside and out), and oozes a contemporary feel with just about everything that it does.

Their menu and food presentation is just as up to snuff, and pleasingly, the waiters all seem to be young, energetic and eager to interact. In addition to their great dishes, Pure, as what any other contemporary eatery simply needs to have, has a great range of craft beers and sushi (of course!) available, and as you might have guessed by now, this rather popular new spot definitely has quite the good vibe going for it.

Although not exactly overly kid friendly in that they don’t have a space available for kids to play (the girls did love their colour-in kiddy menus though), Chantelle and I absolutely loved it and its offering, so much so that we actually visited there twice over the handful of days that we were in George!

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Impossible not to recommend really.

Related Link: Pure Craft & Foods | George

Kids Indoor Play Area at Happy Valley Kids Play Centre in George (2018-01-03) Kid Activities | Photo Gallery 29 MAR 2018

So now having had to tack on a trip to George thanks to our car trouble, we left Gouritz nice and early, made the stressful drive down to George (every uphill had me nervously chewing my nails), and arrived with some time to kill before we could check in at the guest house which was to be home for the next couple of evenings.

Given that bit of time to kill, I sought out some entertainment for the girls, and thanks to my Google-Fu, found the perfect spot – Happy Valley Kids Play Centre.

Situated right opposite the excellent Robertson Brewing Company, Happy Valley is home to a fantastic kids play area, centered around a massively fun jungle gym area and supplemented by all kinds of extras like a trampoline, climbing wall, as well as a dedicated play area for the smaller toddlers.

Chaos central in other words. That said, the whole setting is bright and breezy, and pleasingly, Happy Valley also has a lovely little kitchen that is perfect for coffee and a light meal while you sit and watch your kid go wild – I mean play to their adorable little hearts’ content.

Also, they host birthday parties, useful to know in case you aren’t particularly keen on having 20 or so kids running around your home the next time your child’s birth anniversary roles around! ;)

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All in all I think Jessica and Emily were rather happy with my ‘on the fly’ discovery.

(I’ll be honest with you though, had I known about Robertson Brewing Company across the road first, that’s most definitely where we would have killed the time! :D)

Related Link: Happy Valley Kids Play Centre | George

Roosterkoek and Smoor at Veepos Padstal in George (2018-01-04) Farm Stalls | Photo Gallery 12 MAR 2018

I mentioned earlier that we were forced to tack on a short stay in George over the December holiday period, during which we hired a Volkswagen Tiguan to do a bit of driving about in (our car was in the shop for repairs).

Now December holidays is not great for our usual tactic of just randomly rocking up at places because of the sheer number of people out and about (visits to Victoria Bay, Herolds Bay, and Redberry Farm confirmed this hypothesis), but pleasingly we did stumble upon one place that seemed rather deserted – the newly established Veepos Padstal.

(And by newly established I mean that we had literally stumbled upon them on their very first day of business!)

On a hill, off the highway, and right outside George Airport, the Veepos Padstal (or Cattle Outpost Farm Stall for us English readers) has been setup by the team who also own/run the small Bargain Nursery next door.

Consisting of three neatly arranged, converted shipping containers, the farm stall has a collection of small pretty things for purchase, as well as a few drinks and some local produce on sale. The main attraction is however their roosterkoek menu, as well as their particularly delightful milkshakes – in fact, Chantelle couldn’t stop gushing over just how much she enjoyed her peanut butter brittle shake!

Once you’ve finished your snack and taken in the tranquility and views of the surrounding area, you can leisurely saunter over to the nursery if you so want, though if you have small children they’ll undoubted clamor to use the toilet, and in the process fall down the stairs and graze their knees, thereby starting a whole chain reaction of unhappiness among everyone.

(Or at least that was our experience in this neat little nursery).

So, all in all, a surprisingly peaceful (and pleasant) little stop.

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“Hartskos”. I rather like that little tagline of theirs.

Related Link: Veepos Padstal | Bargain Nursery | George

Staying at the French Lodge International in George (2018-01-03) Accommodation | Photo Gallery 06 MAR 2018

Last year’s December holiday was pretty nice, kicking off first with some beach time at Pinnacle Point in Mossel Bay, followed by some more R&R in Gouritz for New Year’s. Sadly for us though, our ten year old Hyundai Accent developed a problem (lost power thanks to a blown coil), which then meant an unscheduled extension to our holiday with a trip through to George – the nearest town with a proper Hyundai Service Center available in it.

That of course then meant that we needed to source accommodation in the middle of the December holidays – not exactly the easiest thing in the world to do!

As things turned out though, we managed in the end to find space at the French Lodge International, a charming African-themed guest house situated right along George’s York main street (which coincidentally is also a delight thanks to the fact that it has a decent run of Christmas street lights strung up down the length of it!).

Owned for ten or so years by a charmingly helpful Frenchman with a penchant for motorbike safaris, these days the French Lodge International (complete with small replica Eiffel Tower out front) consists of the main building (which houses a number of the larger rooms) and a whole lot of smaller, more private thatch roof rondavels – all of which are centered around a large pool that quite truthfully, saw a LOT splash time from myself and the girls over the course of our short stay!

In short – our family sized room, the breakfast, the free WiFi, the convenient location, and the French Lodge International’s super friendly staff were all great, making for a good, comfortable stay.

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As for George itself, we hired a nice Volkswagen Tiguan from a local care hire company AutoHireSA, did a lot of driving around, visited a lot of nice places (as is our norm), and did our best to put our minds off the fact that the rather expensive R6,000+ repairs were going to take much longer than what we could afford to stay.

Luckily for us though, my Dad was on hand to help us out by driving all the way from Bellville to come and ferry us and our luggage home! Talk about Uber service! ;)

Related Link: French Lodge International | George