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Babylonstoren is one of the best preserved ‘werfs’ (farm yards) in the Cape Dutch tradition. The days are intentionally unscripted at Babylonstoren, leaving guests free to do as theyfounding of the farm in 1690. The Koornhuis (for storing wheat and hay) and the old cellar are exceptionally fine. An ornate fowl house, pigeon loft, leaning bell tower and historic gates embellish a traditional courtyard surrounded by a low, whitewashed wall.
or vines being pruned – depending on the season. Enjoy a walk in the remarkable fruit and vegetable garden (guided if you feel like learning, or unguided for relaxation). Pick your own salad or enjoy a meal in the superb restaurant. Perhaps a massage in the spa after lunch? Or a stroll along a clivia lined stream? Then a swim in the farm dam or a
bout in the gym, before sundowners at a picnic spot? Or rather sample some of the excellent wines grown on the slopes all around the Simonsberg, possibly the finest terroir for wine in Africa? You please. Stroll out onto the farm of 200 hectares and see fruit being picked in the orchards
Babylonstoren lies in the Drakenstein Valley between Franschhoek and Paarl. Surrounded by the Simonsberg, Du Toitskloof and Franschhoek Mountains, Babylonstoren is in the heart of the Cape Winelands. It is some 60km from the city of Cape Town and an easy 45 min drive from Cape Town International Airport. can choose. Or simply lounge and read, in summer in a hammock strung among tree trunks, in winter curled up before a fire.
‘Remember gentlemen, it’s not just France we are fighting for,
it’s Champagne!’ ~ Winston Churchill, WWI .
Imagine what Winston Chruchill would have said if he only new that positioned in the charming Devon Valley lies the House of JC Le Roux, where bubbly and sweet delicacies are offered simultaneously.
The passion of bubbles has excited much thirst, and JC Le Roux as the first South African cellar dedicated solely to making sparkling wine has excited many a grape just plain fizzy.
The specialised ‘Bubbly and Sweet Delights’ tastings, pairs five different JC Le Roux sparkling wines with five home-made sweets crafted by Rodé Handmade Confectionery with natural ingredients. Delight, indulge, sip, savour; repeat. Nougat dipped in dark chocolate meets the nutty biscuit qualities of the elegant Methodé Cape Classic (MCC) Pinot Noir bubbles. The acidity of the bubbly elevates the honey and almond flavours while the berry notes complement the cocoa. The red berries and floral characteristics of the Pinot Noir Rosé bubbly is enhanced by the subtleties of the rosewater Turkish Delight. A bubbly palate of pear and litchi flavours with creamy notes and tones is tasted in the Le Valleé (MCC) which is accompanied by praline and pecan nougat arousing honey and nut notes.
Caramel coated cashew nuts enhances the tropical fruity tones of the La Fleurette rosé sparkling wine. Vanilla Fudge paired with Le Domaine bubbles cuts a mouthful of sweetness with tropical and floral influences. Bottled magic and tastes to sparkle over. Bubbles meet bliss; pop a cork, toast a flute and nibble on sweetness.
You are invited to join the summer audiences who relish in the delights of a unique season of top local and international performers under the stars in the Stellenbosch original theatre of the Winelands.
Music, theatre and dance once again find the perfect setting under the southern sky of Stellenbosch. Set among tall rustling trees, the famous open-air Oude Libertas Amphitheatre this summer hosts a top line-up of entertainment in a variety of presentations. Book your seat at the theatre (021 809 7380/ 021 809 7473) or at Computicket and share in the pleasure of this summer tradition.
Let the wind blow through your hair as you cruise through the Cape Winelands on a classic 750cc Sidecar Motorbike.
Stop at the town of Paarl (Dutch for pearl), where you will visit an estate to enjoy some wine and cheese tasting. The town boasts many magnificent examples of Dutch architecture, scenic drives, hiking trails and of course, the Paarl Wine Route.
Continue to Franschhoek, founded in 1688 by French Huguenot immigrants. Known as the gourmet capital of South Africa, what better place to stop for lunch before visiting a local vineyard for another wine tasting.
Your last stop today is South Africa’s most famous wine region – Stellenbosch. Here in the heart of wine country, you can enjoy a final wine tasting before cruising back to Cape Town.
- Summerwood Guest House pick-up
- Riding gear
- Wine tasting
If it’s July to November, don’t miss the chance to go whale watching in Hermanus. If it’s out of season, you’ll enjoy a visit to this lovely seaside town on the shore of Walker Bay, near the southernmost tip of Africa.
Nestled between magnificent mountains and the sea, Hermanus offers some of the best shore-based whale-watching opportunities in the world (July to November). Visitors travel from around the world to witness the giant southern right and humpback whales from Hermanus’ shoreline and cliffs.
Hermanus has its own whale crier – in fact, he’s the only whale crier in the world! So if you encounter a man with a feather in his hat, patrolling the streets and blowing a weird-looking kelp horn, don’t panic – it’s the whale crier! He is merely letting people know the whereabouts of whales with different horn codes. Read his sandwich board for the key to these codes.
On your return to Cape Town in the late afternoon you’ll travel via Elgin and Sir Lowry’s Pass.
No visit to South Africa is complete without taking a safari to a game reserve! Head to the Aquila Game Reserve on this easy day trip from Cape Town to spot giraffes, lions, leopards, zebras – you name it! The Aquila Game Reserve is the closest private game reserve to Cape Town, only a 90-minute drive away.
After an early morning departure you’ll reach the beautiful Aquila Game Reserve to be taken on a game drive by an experienced ranger. Optimal game viewing is ensured in open 4WD vehicles.
Giraffes, lions, leopards, springboks, zebras, black and blue wildebeest are just some of the wildlife inhabiting the reserve. There are also good opportunities to see crocodiles and, if you are very lucky, you might even spot the illusive mountain leopard.
Aquila Game Reserve has a large natural wetland and bird-watching opportunities are plentiful. It is home to over 170 species of birds, including the endangered black eagle which the reserve is named after.
- Game Drive
- Entrance fees
- Hotel pickup and drop off
- Professional guide
Playing Golf at a Top Resort – Mind the Giraffes
South Africa is home to some of the most beautiful golf courses on the planet and they’re affordable too. Gary Player and Ernie Els earned their first birdies on South African golf courses. And where else could you find crocs in the water hazards, and have to stop for ostriches crossing the green? Here’s a list of top ten golf resorts you must visit if you have even just a little interest in golf. If your spouse is not a golfer, these resorts have excellent spas that will more than make up for your round or two.
Ride an Ostrich
Riding an ostrich takes a lot of skill but amateurs are welcome to try their luck in Oudtshoorn, in the Karoo. Ostrich farms abound in this semi-desert area of South Africa, there are hundreds of them. Oudtshoorn is the place to master riding this ungainly but strangely attractive, non-flying bird. If you’re feeling very confident, there are regular races to be enjoyed as well but you should probably leave those to the professional ostrich jockeys. Once you’re done attempting to ride the bird, you can taste its relatives by eating some delicious Ostrich Biltong or Paté.
Stay in a Tree-House
Tree-house lodging is a fantastic eco-friendly idea and there are several options to choose from. Teniqua Treetops is a tented tree-house resort that offers self-catering canopy lodging in the foothills of the Outeniqua mountain range in the Western Cape, not far from the beach.
Surfing in SA
The South African coastline is defined by a series of points and bays, technically logarithmic spiral beaches, because of their mathematically determined shapes. And, as any surfer worth his or her bar of Mr Zogg’s Sex Wax knows, points and bays are the salt and water of surfing. What you may also know is that the quality of the surf depends on the size of the swell and the direction of the wind. For that latter reason, the Cape Peninsula (with Cape Town at its northern end) is pretty much a 360 degrees, 365 days a year ride. But there are some other radical breaks too, so wax up, click on the heading above, and hit the water as we explore South Africa’s 10 best surfing spots.
Swim with Penguins
Swimming with penguins at Boulders Beach on the Cape Peninsula, near Cape Town, is a real thrill. A small public beach is set apart from the main penguin colony that resides here (on Foxy Beach), but that doesn’t stop the penguins from sitting on your beach towel or darting around your legs while you take a refreshing dip in the Ocean. Penguins like to walk about and generally ignore fences.
Dive With Great White Sharks
If you’d like to see the Great White Shark without losing a leg then let me introduce you to the wonderful world of cage diving. Cage diving with the Great White Shark is a relatively new adventure sport in South Africa. There are several operators who offer cage diving packages and most of them concentrate around an area known as “shark alley” in Gansbaai, just 2 hours drive from Cape Town.
Canoe or Raft down the Orange River
The Orange River originates in the Drakensberg Mountains and cuts through some incredible mountain and desert scenery as it winds its way down to the Atlantic Ocean. Well organized canoe and white-water rafting trips down the Orange River are plentiful and most operate in the Richtersveld National Park along the border with Namibia.
A Leisurely Drive around the Greater Simonsberg
This area encompasses exactly its name—the greater Simonsberg that lies to the north of the town. Start on the R44 northbound and, if you’re feeling lucky, try an experimental wine at the government-funded research facility Nietvoorbij. You might just discover a gem. L’Avenir recently rebuilt their cellar, where you can also taste offerings from Michiel Laroce’s French and Chilean estates.
To the right lies a little cluster of wine farms, including Knorhoek, Muratie, Delheim and Quoin Rock. Relax with a cheese platter on Delheim’s stoep while the kids do some bird watching, and try their honey, olives and olive oil. And then onwards for a spot of bubbly tasting at Simonsig, or something to eat at Cuvèe Restaurant, or if something stronger is more your cup of … um, brandy, head for Uitkyk for Estelle Lourens’s estate brandy, great on a rainy day. And on the way down, try some Kanonkop Paul Sauer.
Now there is a choice between circling Klapmutskop from the left or the right. The former will take you past Elsenburg and Westbridge,De Meye with its lavender oil, onward to Ernst & Co, Hoopenburg and Eaglevlei, where you can stop for a bite to eat—the kids will go wild for the jungle gym, which will give you some time to savour a glass of Pinotage Rosé.
If you continue on the R44, however, Delvera will probably take up the rest of your day, as you eat lunch or visit the various shops on the property selling everything from wine and cheese to olives, wool and ceramics. If you can tear yourself away, however, you can visit the wine farms all the way to Klapmuts—Laibach, Lievland, Warwick and maybe even try a Pinotage bath at Mont Destin. A leisurely drive around Simonsberg will bring you back to Stellenbosch from the Pniel side, taking you past farms like Zorgvliet with its great picnics, Rainbow’s End, Tokara and Delaire, the latter under serious construction and promising to be one of the winelands’ most stunning spectacles once done.
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Healey’s of Troutbrook farm have brought their cheese making skills and passion to the beautiful amphitheatre of the Helderberg and Hottentots Holland mountains, “Lourensford Wine Estate”.
This genuine naturally matured, traditional farmhouse cheddar is further enhanced by the natural cave-like environment for its maturation. These natural maturation conditions are one of natures wonders in creating a really noble cheese. There are no flavour enhances, artificial colouring or preservatives.
onal 10kg heads and 2.5kg truckles (little wheels) which are wrapped in muslin cloth, greased and placed on racks for maturation. Our cheddar is matured for a minimum of 8 months, our cheesemaker selects certain cheese which is matured for anything up to 2 years resulting in an exceptional cheddar.
From day one of maturation, cheeses are turned regularly and mould growth is encouraged which is an important part of flavour development. Throughout maturation the cheesemaker is looking for a clean, full nutty flavour.
To truly enjoy your farmhouse cheddar, it should be eaten at room temperature. Ideally it should be kept in a cool cupboard or if in a refrigerator, in a ceramic cheese dish. Don’t let you cheddar sweat and don’t freeze.
This will ensure you enjoy and appreciate this fine cheddar.
Starts: Fri 20 Apr 2012 at 6:00 PM Ends: Fri 20 Apr 2012 at 10:30 PM
On 20 April, historic Drostdy Street will be closed for a stylish street banquet to celebrate 333 years of Stellenbosch, along with the launch of the new brand identity of the town by the mayor.
Residents, and fans from outside town, are encouraged to reserve their seats for a night which will feature some of the best local performers such as Laurinda Hofmeyr, Schalk Joubert, Sima Mashazi, Niel Rademan, Valiant Swart and Ollie Viljoen.
Everyone is asked to wear white to maximise the dramatic effect of this setting at night, and to bring along all food, drinks, cutlery and crockery. Tables with table cloths and seating will be provided. Stunning prizes are up for grabs: For the best outfit in white, For the best hat, For the best table layout and decoration.