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Lady Grey – secret of the Eastern Cape, and best kept that way
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Lady Grey – secret of the Eastern Cape, and best kept that way

Lady Grey, the cutest little hamlet just inside the border of the Eastern Cape when coming at it from the Free State side, is one of those insider secrets about which I'm going to tell you, but about which you will say nothing. Let me assure you that when you finally travel there, you will appreciate why. Lady Grey is not a village that deserves the 'crowd-pull' appeal of places like Clarens! Lady Grey is described as a rural village, which is a pretty apt account, although don't expect to see cows and sheep chewing the cud in breeze swept meadows. You might see the odd alpaca if you happen...
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Rouxville – a nothing-doing town or an ideal breakaway?
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Rouxville – a nothing-doing town or an ideal breakaway?

The southern-most town in the south-eastern Free State, Rouxville virtually falls off the map it so seldom makes it onto anyone's travel agenda, but as a destination to get away from it all (completely and utterly) the town definitely qualifies as one of the best bets. At first glance the town appears to lack the attraction of nearby towns like Smithfield - where restaurants, art galleries, their very own Boere mark and general joie de vivre (if you discount the local supermarket that charged three times what it should have for an iceberg lettuce!) - and Lady Grey - where a gorgeous setting...
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Random Perfection – A different False Bay
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Random Perfection – A different False Bay

It’s not every day that ‘perfection’ happens, we don’t expect it to happen and most often we miss out on it because we are too busy looking and seeking something that will make a day worth wile… but then every so often one of those perfect days creeps up on you without any warning. You experience a moment, a moment that you feel like holding onto forever. You almost want to take a little piece of it and put it somewhere for use on a cloudy day ... Early on a Saturday morning we set out to explore Cape Town not expecting more than a train ride and good food. At Brackenfell station we buy our...
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The little town of Victoria West – haven of the Karoo
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The little town of Victoria West – haven of the Karoo

I hadn't heard about the little dorp of Victoria West until a friend of mine mentioned the annual film festival that takes place at the town's Apollo Theatre, and her subsequent foray into one of only two restaurants in town (there's now a new pizza joint in town, which looks set to give them a bit of competition) where they became rather flummoxed at her request for vegetarian food. Upon closer inspection it became obvious that a visit was not entirely out of the question as Victoria West is but a 60 kilometre detour off the N1 between Cape Town and Johannesburg, where we were heading. The...
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A dam fine weekend – exploring the shores of Gariep Dam (Lake Gariep)
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A dam fine weekend – exploring the shores of Gariep Dam (Lake Gariep)

If your perception of the Free State is that of a land-locked dry province far from the oceans then you’d be right. But also wrong. Slap bang in the middle of South Africa is an expanse of water so vast that you can easily imagine that you’re spending your days at the coast. Only here you can enjoy the views, the fishing and the watersports without having to contend with sand, salt, wind and crowds of people. Just my kind of a ‘seaside’ holiday. Gariep Dam, recently rebranded as Lake Gariep, the largest dam in South Africa covers an area of 352 square kilometres when full – more than twice ...
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The Franschhoek Oesfees review of a great festival
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The Franschhoek Oesfees review of a great festival

On Saturday I attended the 3rd annual Franschhoek Oesfees and oh my goodness what a great day it was.  I was lucky enough to be offered two complimentary tickets, including meal and drink vouchers.  My husband is away on business so my brother was the recipient of the 2nd ticket and we headed off to Solms Delta wine farm in the Franschhoek Valley, arriving at midday. One of the main purposes of this festival is to celebrate and acknowledge the hard work of the Valleys farm workers – I mean let’s face it, those grapes don’t pick themselves from the vine!  It was wonderful to see the owner of...
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Grease the Musical at Artscape in Cape Town – a review
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Grease the Musical at Artscape in Cape Town – a review

Grease the Musical is currently playing at The Artscape Theatre Centre in Cape Town before moving on to The Teatro at Montecasino in Johannesburg.  The West End production was brought to our shores by Pieter Toerien, Paul Nicholas and David Ian and this production, with its entirely local cast will be the first full stage production of the musical to be staged in South Africa for a decade. I went to the show a few nights ago and judging by the amount of fun the cast of Grease was having, Rydell High in 1955 was the school to be at!  I enjoyed it tremendously - we had excellent seats and not...
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It’s a ‘darling’ of a town, is Darling
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It’s a ‘darling’ of a town, is Darling

There is much to attract one to Darling. It's a small town for one, it's close to Cape Town (not even an hour's drive), has its own wine route, and is the closest of the West Coast wine districts to Cape Town; during the flower season it hosts the Darling Wildflower Show whilst the Tienie Versfeld Reserve on its perimeters is a carpet of blooms, and Evita Bezuidenhout (Tannie Evita to you, darling) has ensconced herself here at the station. It helped that we chose to visit Darling when the rest of Cape Town had its eyes glued to the Argus, long before the flower season. There was barely any...
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Paarl – overlooked pearl of the Western Cape
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Paarl – overlooked pearl of the Western Cape

The town of Paarl is literally on my doorstep. I've driven past it on the N1 numerous times and yet not visited. But this weekend was an exception. I needed to right a wrong and take a look at a town that more than met my expectations and, in fact, left me spellbound by its gorgeous architecture, history, perpetual vistas of vineyards, and quaintness. Paarl is but 45 minutes' drive from Cape Town, yet it might as well be miles away (aside from the fact that you can see Table Mountain on a clear day). It's the largest town in the Cape winelands, the third oldest European settlement in So...
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A rose by any other name – how Rosendal steals the show in the Free State
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A rose by any other name – how Rosendal steals the show in the Free State

Rosendal has managed to get onto the map. I'm not sure how, because in searching for it you begin to wonder how the average person gets there at all, nevermind how the former farming community managed to find its way into the social whirl of a 'happening' little town. Nonetheless, there it is. In the middle of the Free State (see, I told you it was in the middle of nowhere). Getting there from Clarens takes almost two hours because, instead of being able to get there directly as a crow would fly, roads take you in a rather circuitous route via Ficksburg; you can't get there easily from Beth...
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Kuruma Farm Cottages, a welcome respite in Worcester
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Kuruma Farm Cottages, a welcome respite in Worcester

We arrived in the late afternoon on Kuruma Farm, just outside Worcester via the Hex River Valley and Du Toitskloof tunnel. The wind, Celeste our hostess explained whilst our hair whipped around our heads and I had to mentally beg my skirt to remain around my legs, was a typical Worcester wind, although to be honest, the South Easter is like this everywhere in the Cape at this time of year, when at its hottest. Not, in fairness, the best time of year to head out here; to give the area a chance to display itself in all its glory. But sometimes that is exactly the right time to form an ...
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Worcester – the town that fell off the map
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Worcester – the town that fell off the map

I can understand why the recent edition of Time Out Cape Town Weekend Breaks chose to shun Worcester. The town, which is easily three to five times the size of other little towns in the valley, like Robertson and McGregor, fails horribly to excite the visitor - whether this is the town's practically non-existent tourism, or a distinct inertia that has settled like a palour over the town, isn't immediately obvious. As one approaches the major intersection on the N1 just past the huge Shell City that indicates that one has reached the town of Worcester, there are no sign boards indicating...
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Riebeek Kasteel – a perfect little Swartland town
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Riebeek Kasteel – a perfect little Swartland town

One thing you need to know about Riebeek Kasteel is that it's no longer a secret. Which isn't to say that you won't enjoy yourself immensely in this gorgeous little town nestled up against the Kasteelberg Mountain roughly an hour's drive from Cape Town, but if the cost of homes is anything to go by (and there are at least four estate agencies jostling for attention on the square as you enter town) then people are lining up for their spot in the sun in this rural, Tuscan-style village. Riebeek Kasteel literally is a sight for sore eyes. The scenery is intoxicating, and vineyards, olive grove...
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Wild Olive Guest Farm near Stilbaai
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Wild Olive Guest Farm near Stilbaai

We're no strangers to Wild Olive Guest Farm. We're one of many who return to this peaceful refuge where a couple of chalets and a cottage lie on the banks of the Goukou River estuary and a wild organic vegetable garden, set in amidst a series of olive groves, is the mainstay of a bustling breakfast and lunch time venue that attracts a constant stream of visitors from Stilbaai The main reason people head out here, other than the food, which alone is reason to visit, is Hazel. Hazel is a personality of note. She beams, bustles and constantly expounds about her passion for permaculture. It's r...
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Beautiful Bonamanzi!
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Beautiful Bonamanzi!

We had family out from the USA over Christmas so arranged to spend two nights at Bonamanzi Game Park ... on safari!  I will be the first to admit that I’m not a big fan of the bush; I appreciate the beauty of it but let’s face it, the bush in mid summer when its 30 degrees at 5 in the morning is just not pleasant.  It’s especially not pleasant when the camp you are staying at does not have a swimming pool or air conditioning! Bonamanzi however, is a breath of fresh air... Located in Hluhluwe in the heart of Zululand, Bonamanzi is recognised as one of the best birding destinations in Southern...
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