I am a self proclaimed musical nut. I love all things theatre, but musicals are my favourite. My dvd and music collection will affirm this should you have any doubt. When I heard that Jersey Boys was coming to Cape Town I was ready and gathered the troops and off we went. To be honest I hadn’t a clue what the show would be about – so let me give you a little bit of background. Jersey Boys tells the story of Frankie Vallie and the Four Seasons. Who you ask? Well you’ll know who I mean once you’re at the show because the music is one hit after another. Continued
In this section we publish articles and reviews of towns, attractions and special places to visit within South Africa. Reviews are written from a visitors perpective and highlight the things which may interest tourists and locals, including where to go, what to do, where to eat … the whole story!
Pepper Cottages is a quiet little retreat, right in the heart of Plumstead. You would hardly know it was there if it were not for the discreet sign at the gate.
The self-catering Red Pepper Cottage was to be my home for the night, and I was so glad it was. Tastefully furnished, the ample cottage would be ideal for corporate visitors or a couple needing a great base from which to explore the Mother City for a few days. Continued
The first thing to grab my attention, other than the obvious prettiness of our accommodation, is the name of the place we choose to stay just outside of Napier – a little town in the Overberg close enough to Caledon not to feel like a trek-and-a-half for a weekend break.
It’s called Taim-go-loer.
I love words, and can’t resist playing with this obviously lovingly selected phrase to describe our self-catering venue. Time to go and look, time for a walkabout? It sounds a little like pidgin English. That it has something to do with time standing still is obvious, as no sooner are our bags on the floor of the bedroom than time slows. Continued
A recent midweek break found us on the road to the lovely Elgin Valley, touted as an ideal destination for nature lovers and wine enthusiasts, and generally for anyone wanting a break from city life out in the country. The first surprise is its close distance to Cape Town. Under an hours drive from the city makes this a great destination when pressed for time or for those who don’t feel like driving for hours to their destination. And once you get there? The views and ambiance will have you believing you drove for hours to get to this little piece of paradise. Continued
It isn’t only bokkoms that make the town of Velddrif so famous. Enter the West Coast village across the white Carinus bridge that only recently, well historically anyway, replaced the pont across the Berg River and you will also pass hillocks of white, shiny salt.
This is where we get most of our table salt. Any attempt to take photos of the Cerebos pyramid-shaped salt mountains, however, will bring you into contact with the rather surly security guard, who might, if he doesn’t mind the look of you, deign to allow you to turn your car around before you beat a hasty retreat. Cerebos, the other claim to fame in Velddrif, is not for visitors. And you can forget taking any photographs – there is a sign on the gate that forbids it. Continued
Eating out these days is expensive and finding a restaurant that offers genuine value for money is no easy task. However, a Sunday evening visit to Coconut Grove at the Liberty Midlands Mall in Pietermaritzburg proved that dining out can still be affordable and enjoyable at the same time.
Upon arrival, a friendly manager greeted me and I was ushered to my seat where my friends were already waiting. A waitress had already taken their drinks orders and not wanting to delay proceedings any further; I promptly requested my usual red grapetiser and began to look through the menu … Continued
Grabouw for the day: Our boot is full of apples and plums. We’re talking big, red, juicy apples. The type that, the minute you get home, having travelled a two-hour round trip to get them in the first place, you wish you’d been smart enough to stock up on three times the quantity.
The Peregrin farmstall is bursting with people, fruit and goodies. It is the second of at least four stalls on the side of the N2 after you leave the pinnacle of Sir Lowry’s Pass in a broad sweeping descent behind you. And I can assure you, worth a drive out here simply to sample the wares, see the views and enjoy the Elgin Valley … Continued
As you have no doubt derived from the rather obvious name of the restaurant, Addis is a bit of Ethiopia bang smack in the middle of Cape Town.
I don’t usually do ‘theme’ restaurants, particularly those aimed at tourists. To be honest, I don’t get to eat out at night much at all – funny how that stops when the ‘bundle of joy’ arrives, and stays stopped until he’s left home, although I’m hoping I get out and about before then… another twenty odd years without culture will do my head in. But with mom-in-law down, a night on the town was obligatory, and Long Street was the obvious choice (Long Street is where the night life is, if Camps Bay isn’t your thing, which it isn’t). Even if Addis is technically just around the corner from Long Street, on Church Street, it has incredible views of Long Street, and blends right on in with the other trendy eateries … Continued
Grahamstown is renowned as Festival City, as it is host to the largest arts festival in Africa – the National Arts Festival. Most people visit the town during the festival period, and experience the crazy bustle of thousands of tourists jostling their way down High Street, dodging between the hawkers touting their African wares, and on to the next fantastic show. In-between festival time, Grahamstown is a sleepy town. Grahamstown is also known for its many schools, and Rhodes University, and the town’s population seems to swell during term time when the students return to this quiet town that many students refer to as “the bubble.” Continued
The first thing that strikes me about the gorgeous little seaside fishing village of Paternoster, is the harmony – there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ side of the tracks here. Instead society is lumped into the same handbasket. The average holiday maker encased in huge utility vehicle, here for the weekend, tends to drive with head turned away from the fishermen’s cottages that lie cheek by jowl with holiday homes in the village – an attempt to ignore the ‘other’ side of Paternoster, or craning to see the sea? I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt … Continued
There is something about travelling that brings with it an element of the mundane. I’m talking about that glazed eyes feeling one begins to emit after an hour or two in the car so that even when faced with the incredible beauty of a pass like the Piekenierskloof, which marks the entrance to the Cederberg and Olifants River Valley (isn’t it slightly freaky the way the river flows the wrong way?), and which wends its way down to the town of Citrusdal, you remain slightly impervious.
To call the Piekenierskloof Pass, which links Piketberg with Citrusdal on the N7, stunning is to do it a disservice. In reality it is a series of rather daunting twists and turns that overlook a patchwork quilt of multi-coloured farm fields, beautiful blue mountain ranges in the distance. In days gone by there weren’t any wheat fields down below one, and most of what you see would have been Renosterveld … Continued
We wander quietly into Clanwilliam on a particularly hot day, our air conditioning turned up full (not great for my green street cred, but what’s one to do when it’s this hot?). The main street is busy. But then it always seems to be, what with the new and huge Spar to the right of us, and the myriad historical buildings opposite it that make up one of the major charms of the pretty town.
I’m busy rattling off from a brochure about the many attractions in Clanwilliam – great place to be during flower season, the Clanwilliam dam offers a space for water sports, there is hiking (Clanwilliam lies at the feet of the Cederberg range of mountains and their presence adds an extra something to the town), rooibos is farmed here, as is citrus, and there are farms to visit, it is famous for its ‘veldskoene’ (there is a factory you can visit), outdoor activities such as mountain biking, 4X4 routes, quad biking and horse riding abound, and it’s only two hours’ drive from Cape Town. Bonus. Continued
Whether you’re looking for an adventurous holiday or just a peaceful break from everyday life, Mbotyi River Lodge can do both. In the Eastern Cape on the Wild Coast, the lodge is 26 km from Lusikisiki, on the Mbotyi river mouth. Snuggled between the undulating hills of Pondoland, surrounded by flourishing indigenous forestry, this picturesque valley is the ideal location for anyone looking to experience South Africa’s true beauty.
This popular family resort, in the midst of Pondoland, is renowned for its friendly Pondo people, whose intriguing culture has captured the hearts of many and ensures their return time and time again. Be sure to experience the true culture of the Pondo people and take a walk in the village with a local guide. If you’re feeling adventurous visit a sangoma or have a drink at a shebeen … Continued
McGregor is a wee village, tucked away in a valley at the foot of the Riviersonderend Mountains. It also happens to rest on a series of ley lines (spiritual earth energy connects here in a big way) that lend the village something the folk who live here term ‘magic’ (they usually shrug their shoulders and look all starry eyed as they say it, as if it’s all a little beyond them). A stay here, it seems, is incomplete without falling in love with the place, or certainly experiencing something other than the ordinary.
Rustenburg does not live up to its name. Meaning “place of rest” this once sleepy little town started out as a small farming community producing citrus and Virginia tobacco, but now it is known as the Platinum City due to its extensive mining. A hub of activity and only a ninety minute drive from both Johannesburg and Pretoria it is perfect for day trips or a weekend getaway.
Rustenburg has a fine balance between history, arts, culture and nature making it a place that everyone can enjoy. Its history is closely linked to the Voortrekkers who founded the town in 1851. They started to settle in the area and named it Rustenburg after they defeated Mzilikazi and his tribe … Continued