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Trip Report..First Time in Southern Africa: SA/Vic Falls/Botswana

Trip Report..First Time in Southern Africa: SA/Vic Falls/Botswana

Nov 6th, 2007, 08:25 AM
  #1  
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Trip Report..First Time in Southern Africa: SA/Vic Falls/Botswana


Before my memory grows even dimmer, I will write this brief report on my trip in late September/early October, 2007. Although I had made several previous visits to North and West African countries, and one safari trip to Kenya about 15 years ago, this was my first trip to Southern Africa. I was accompanied by two friends, a married couple, who were making their first foray to Africa. One of my friends is a train buff so the Blue Train was at the top of the list, along with CapeTown, the Winelands, Sabi Sands, Victoria Falls, and Botswana. Our trip lasted 3 weeks and began in New York; we flew from JFK to Amsterdam and on to CapeTown on KLM. The trip was planned by Liesl Matthews, a principal of Southern Destinations in Cape Town, with lots of input from us. Liesl was a delight to deal with and we had frequent contact prior to the trip, by phone and by e-mail. Our budget was generous but we specified small hotels rather than the famous names, in Cape Town, in J�Burg and in Franschoek. We booked restaurants in Cape Town and in the Winelands in advance of our arrival..we gave Liesl our ideas and she made the bookings for us. We each give Southern Destinations our highest recommendation.

www.southerndestinations.com


As expected, the flights (I was in coach) on KLM were long. KLM does not allow booking seats until 90 days out and the seat-booking process, entailing many phone calls to Northwest and to KLM in Amsterdam, was horrendous. Although I called one minute after midnight 90 days out for each of the 4 legs of the trip, I was not able to secure a decent seat, even with �elite� status on Flying Blue. I was given a good seat, or so I thought, and when I called to check, was told that the seat was not available. And on and on.

Well, enough of those woes. We finally arrived in Cape Town and were met by Charlie Ratcliffe, who was to be our guide for the next week in CapeTown and in the Winelands.
Charlie was utterly wonderful and I recommend him highly. He can be contacted through Southern Destinations, or by e-mail: [email protected]


KENSINGTON PLACE was our hotel and base for 6 nights in CapeTown. We loved this hotel! It is a small property, a cross between a guesthouse and a boutique hotel, located in the Gardens district. Rooms( ask for rooms on the second floor, which have great views of the City Bowl), are very large and contemporary, with luxurious bathrooms and each room has its own computer with free internet. A lovely breakfast with many choices is included in the room price.

www.kensingtonplace.co.za

I am experimenting with writing this on Word, so please bear with me as I am a computer idiot...


ekscrunchy is offline  
Nov 6th, 2007, 10:55 AM
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Word is working fine
Glad you enjoyed Kensington Place, IMO one of the best hotels in the world, and far preferable to large hotels anywhere. Cant wait for the next installment.
napamatt is offline  
Nov 6th, 2007, 12:43 PM
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Thanks, Matt. I will continue to plug away in spare time..forgive me if it is a little slow....

I agree about Kensington Place and wonder why it is not more popular with posters here...

ekscrunchy is offline  
Nov 6th, 2007, 01:27 PM
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Our first full day in Cape Town was a Sunday. Our guide Charlie picked us up at our hotel and we headed to the Waterfront mall to use the ATM and to shop for certain items that were needed, since my friends luggage was left in Amsterdam and would not arrive until the night of the following day. Without going into too much detail, let me just say that prune juice is apparently unavailable in Cape Town and an opportunity exists for some enterprising entrepreneur.
We spent some time in the excellent Exclusive Books which is well-stocked with volumes on Africana and all other subjects. And of course we ducked into the upscale Woolworths on our prune juice hunt, and had a look at the food displays which is a favorite pastime of mine in foreign countries. (Have to stock up on rooibos tea and take a look at exotic items like boerwoers and smoked snook which were in good supply since National Braai Day was coming up.)

Lunch that first day was at Beluga not far from the Waterfront in a renovated metal foundry. Knysna oysters followed by grilled calamari and my new love, lime and soda.
Note that Beluga has excellent half-price oyster specials during the week.

www.beluga.co.za


Next stop was the Sunday African market in Greenpoint. This market bears the closest resemblance to an African handcraft Markey that I saw in Cape Town. Strings of stalls overflow with all types of handcrafts and manufactured items from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Zaire, and other countries. Lots of wooden items along with terrific scavenger art which turns vinyl records into handbags and metal bottle tops into radios that actually work. Not to mention paint and metal collages depicting township scenes.
If you are not venturing further into Africa, this market is a must. I wish I had stocked up on more gifts but came back to the hotel with only a wonderful batik tablecloth from Zimbabwe and a length of kuba cloth from Zaire. Bargaining is fast and furious and the vendors are friendly and fun to chat with..there is absolutely no hassle or pressure to buy.

Dinner that night was at the Afrika Café which was probably our least favorite restaurant of the trip. The menu is set and features samplings of foods from many African countries. Malawian fritters of chick pea and cheese (?) were probably our favorites but I felt that nothing was outstanding. The décor is imaginative, with a fantastic chandelier crafted of used bottles hanging over the stairway The music, which had been one of the draws for us, was non-existent as the café had recently discontinued entertainment during dinner. For the non-adventurous diner who wants a safe introduction to African cuisine this place would be fine. I felt that the 217 Rand per person, one of the highest prices we paid for dinner, could have been much better spent elsewhere.


http://www.africacafe.co.za/
ekscrunchy is offline  
Nov 7th, 2007, 02:37 AM
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Before my memory grows even dimmer, I will write this brief report on my trip in late September/early October, 2007. Although I had made several previous visits to North and West African countries, and one safari trip to Kenya about 15 years ago, this was my first trip to Southern Africa. I was accompanied by two friends, a married couple, who were making their first foray to Africa. One of my friends is a train buff so the Blue Train was at the top of the list, along with CapeTown, the Winelands, Sabi Sands, Victoria Falls, and Botswana. Our trip lasted 3 weeks and began in New York; we flew from JFK to Amsterdam and on to CapeTown on KLM. The trip was planned by Liesl Matthews, a principal of Southern Destinations in Cape Town, with lots of input from us. Liesl was a delight to deal with and we had frequent contact prior to the trip, by phone and by e-mail. Our budget was generous but we specified small hotels rather than the famous names, in Cape Town, in JBurg and in Franschoek. We booked restaurants in Cape Town and in the Winelands in advance of our arrival..we gave Liesl our ideas and she made the bookings for us. IWe each give Southern Destinations our highest recommendation.

www.southerndestinations.com


As expected, the flights (I was in coach) on KLM were long. KLM does not allow booking seats until 90 days out and the seat-booking process, entailing many phone calls to Northwest and to KLM in Amsterdam, was horrendous. Although I called one minute after midnight 90 days out for each of the 4 legs of the trip, I was not able to secure a decent seat, even with elite status on Flying Blue. I was given a good seat, or so I thought, and when I called to check, was told that the seat was not available. And on and on.

Well, enough of those woes. We arrived in Cape Town and were met by Charlie Ratcliffe, who was to be our guide for the next week in CapeTown and in the Winelands.
Charlie was utterly wonderful and I recommend him highly. He can be contacted through Southern Destinations, or by e-mail: [email protected]


KENSINGTON PLACE was our hotel and base for 6 nights in CapeTown. We loved this hotel! It is a small property, a cross between a guesthouse and a boutique hotel, located in the Gardens district. Rooms( ask for rooms on the second floor, which have great views of the City Bowl), are very large and contemporary, with luxurious bathrooms and each room has its own computer with free internet. A lovely breakfast with many choices is included in the room price.

www.kensingtonplace.co.za





Our first full day in Cape Town was a Sunday. Our guide Charlie picked us up at our hotel and we headed to the Waterfront mall to use the ATM and to shop for certain items that were needed, since my friends luggage was left in Amsterdam and would not arrive until the night of the following day. Without going into too much detail, let me just say that prune juice is apparently unavailable in Cape Town and an opportunity exists for some enterprising entrepreneur.
We spent some time in the excellent Exclusive Books which is well-stocked with volumes on Africana and all other subjects. And of course we ducked into the upscale Woolworths on our prune juice hunt, and had a look at the food displays which is a favorite pastime of mine in foreign countries. (Have to stock up on rooibos tea and take a look at exotic items like boerwoers and smoked snook which were in good supply since National Braai Day was coming up.)

Lunch that first day was at Beluga not far from the Waterfront in a renovated metal foundry. Knysna oysters followed by grilled calamari and my new love, lime and soda.
Note that Beluga has excellent half-price oyster specials during the week.

www.beluga.co.za


Next stop was the Sunday African market in Greenpoint. This market bears the closest resemblance to an African handcraft Markey that I saw in Cape Town. Strings of stalls overflow with all types of handcrafts and manufactured items from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Zaire, and other countries. Lots of wooden items along with terrific scavenger art which turns vinyl records into handbags and metal bottle tops into radios that actually work. Not to mention paint and metal collages depicting township scenes.
If you are not venturing further into Africa, this market is a must. I wish I had stocked up on more gifts but came back to the hotel with only a wonderful batik tablecloth from Zimbabwe and a length of kuba cloth from Zaire. Bargaining is fast and furious and the vendors are friendly and fun to chat with..there is absolutely no hassle or pressure to buy.

Dinner that night was at the Afrika Café which was probably our least favorite restaurant of the trip. The menu is set and features samplings of foods from many African countries. Malawian fritters of chick pea and cheese (?) were probably our favorites but I felt that nothing was outstanding. The décor is imaginative, with a fantastic chandelier crafted of used bottles hanging over the stairway The music, which had been one of the draws for us, was non-existent as the café had recently discontinued entertainment during dinner. For the non-adventurous diner who wants a safe introduction to African cuisine this place would be fine. I felt that the 217 Rand per person, one of the highest prices we paid for dinner, could have been much better spent elsewhere.


http://www.africacafe.co.za/




The following day was devoted to the Cape Peninsula. I should say here that I have traveled extensively and do not think that there is any city in the world (I have not been to Australia) that can compare with Cape Town for scenic grandeur, both in the setting of the city and its environs. The entire day was an oooh and aaaaah fest, with a different awesome view around every turn, beginning with Camps Bay. In my next life I will be ensconced in a villa here for several months of the year. Or perhaps the villa will be in Llandudno..I have not yet made up my mind.

We were scheduled to travel the Chapmans Peak Drive but it was closed that day for a reason which I do not remember. Our first stop was Hout Bay where we took a touristy cruise to see the Cape Fur seal colony. The boat trip was quite rough..I do not normally mind any kind of water travel but I have to admit I was a bit frightened at the rocking of the boat. The entire trip took about an hour and we saw many many seals, mostly hanging out on the rocks and swimming. The cruise cost 50 Rand per person. Try to board early to secure a good seat on the front deck.

Next stop were the famous penguins at Boulders Beach. The beach itself, the boulders, the color of the water..this is a photographers delight, not to mention the adorable, adorable penguins strutting along the fynbos-rimmed sand and under the wooden boardwalks. An absolute must! I had fun taking photos because each time I would focus on one I thought was particularly cute, he or she would waddle away and pass underneath the boardwalk and thus underneath my feet and out of sight. Terrific!

We had a nice lunch at the seaside Seaforth Restaurant adjacent to the parking lot: Fried calamari (fair) and a line-caught stumpnose, a local white-fleshed fish, with aioli (good). The clientele appeared to be a mix of tourists and locals. Lunch for one with non-alcoholic drink was R135.

http://www.seaforthrestaurant.co.za/

After lunch we continued on to Cape Point, passing along the way ostriches with their heads in the sands and eland grazing on the hillsides, for the requisite photos of the (almost) southernmost point of Africa and the views..the views..

Dinner that night was at Ginja, a well-reviewed place tucked behind an unprepossessing alleyway in a converted old building. The ppalce was packed on a Monday night at 7:30 when we arrived. The menu spans the globe, with many Spanish, Indian and SE Asian influences. Dishes were a little complicated but I thought the food was excellentI cannot find notes on what I ate. Dinner for one, with wine was R245.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Nov 7th, 2007, 02:46 AM
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Yet again I am having trouble with the malfunctioning editing system. I meant to write that Ginja was located in the Bo Kaap, and to post their website. I also could not correct a few typos above, so forgive me, please:



http://www.ginja.cjb.net/



ekscrunchy is offline  
Nov 7th, 2007, 03:17 AM
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Yet again, I could not edit. My dinner at Ginja was comprised of Tasting Spoons Around the World, an array of bites served on white china spoons, and their wonderful Char Shui Lamb, reminiscent of the Chinese dish. Very very good!

I see that I posted part of this report twice..please bear with me. The editing malfunction is driving me crazy!
FODOR'S EDITORS, PLEASE TAKE NOTE!!!!!!!

You can see their menu on the website, linked above.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Nov 7th, 2007, 03:36 AM
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Before I continue, I will say here that we did NOT visit what are probably the top two attractions in Cape Town. Having neglected to book tickets to Robben Island in advance of our arrival, we were unable to do so once in the city, as all places were booked for the next 3 weeks. So if you are planning to visit the city and want to tour Robben Island, as we did, make sure to confirm bookings well in advance.

Our trip to Table Mountain did not materialize because when we arrived at the site, about 10am Tuesday morning, the parking lot was filled with cars and tour buses. This was a school holiday and frankly, we did not want to wait on the long lines for the cable car. So we drove the short distance to Signal Hill and enjoyed the spectacular views (including that of Robben Island), the City Bowl, and Greenpoint. In contast to the scene at Table Mountain, there were very few other people around. Next time I would get a much earlier start to insure that I was at Table Mountain at 8:30 when I believe the cable cars begin running.


Missing these two mandatory sights did not bother us too much, as there was so much else to enjoy. After Signal Hill, we drove to the Mt, Nelson Hotel to take a peek inside this colonial gem, and on to Constantia, where we made a stop at Groot Constantia to marvel at the precious Cape Dutch manor house and outbuildings. If there is a more winning style of architecture in the world, I have not yet seen it. Next stop was Klein Constantia, where another handsome exterior concealed the tasting room. Muscat-based dessert wines are the forte here and I bought the requisite bottle of Vin de Constance. (ab out 42 USD)

Lunchtime found us at Constantia Uitsigs restaurant, a lovely room overlooking the gardens (try to snag a window table). The Italian- and French-accented menu included excellent fried calamari and cobb, a local white fish, tucked into a parchment pouch and served over julienned Asian vegatables in a lemongrass broth.

The total with no wine, was 170 Rand for one.


http://www.constantiauitsig.co.za/co...ig/uitsig.html


ekscrunchy is offline  
Nov 8th, 2007, 04:23 AM
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We devoted the remainder of the day to the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, spending a few hours wandering along the paths.

Dinnertime that night found us at Panama Jacks on the Cape Town docks where we devoured local kingklip and a platter of large Mozambique prawns and langoustine. Panana Jacks is a huge barn of a place with no décor to speak of, just suberb, unadorned seafood. They have a discount lunch menu and I would have returned (several times) if we had had the time:


http://www.panamajacks.net/site1/panama_jacks.htm#




The next day the winds had died down and we made the drive, along the glorious coastline to Hermanus for the requisite whale watching. We saw many, many whales from our perch along the Cliff Walk. If you have time, walk past the town of Hermanus and to the residential area whee the Cliff Walk is less crowded and the shoreline greenery is more abundant.

Lunch was at Burgundy, an adorable restaurant in the center of town:


http://www.burgundyrestaurant.co.za/index.php





Dinner that night was at Savoy Cabbage, a striking two-level contemporary restaurant located in a restored industrial building that retains the original brick interior walls and exposed beams. We enjoyed our dinner (I had a lamb dish) but what remains embedded in the memory were the desserts: The ethereal butterscotch panna cotta may well have been the best dessert of the trip.


http://www.savoycabbage.co.za/menu.html







ekscrunchy is offline  
Nov 8th, 2007, 06:51 AM
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bking for later
annhig is offline  
Nov 8th, 2007, 11:26 AM
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hi, ek,

I'm really enjoying this. such a shame you didn't make it up the mountain though. we were sooo lucky as there were no queues the day we went - our first in CPT. there have to be some advantages to travelling in July.

although I loved the Raddison where were stayed, it was a bit out of town. if we went again I'd like to be somewhere like the kensington palace - how much was it as their web-site is a bit coy about prices!

keep it coming,

regards, ann
annhig is offline  
Nov 8th, 2007, 01:22 PM
  #12  
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Ann, I am glad you are enjoying. Pardon all the changes in typeface and the repetetive posts..I will plug along with this as fast as I can. It IS a shame we did not get up the Mountain! But we had so many other great activities that I guess I just have to use that as an excuse to return (as if I need an excuse!).

By the way, I just finished a fantastic book on SA that I highly recommend: "Are We There Yet: Chasing a Childhood through South Africa," by David Smeidt.

More soon......ek
ekscrunchy is offline  
Nov 11th, 2007, 06:45 AM
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Six weeks before the start of our trip, one of my travel companions had had a pulmonary embolism which resulted in her having to take a daily dose of Warfarin (Coumadin). This medication requires a regular blood test, so the first stop Thursday morning was a clinic attached to a Cape Town private hospital. No less than 20 minutes later, very impressed with the efficiency and the kindness of the clinic staff, she was finished with the required test (she would receive the results a few hours later by phone) and we were on our way to some shopping in the CBD. We walked around Greenmarket Square, filled with vendors hawking tourist souvenirs including scavenger art pieces. (I bought a few bracelets made from safety pins and tiny beads. At 35 Rand these proved to be a superb purchase and I wish I had bought a dozen more for gifts)

Near Greenmarket Square, on Long Street and adjacent sidestreets, are a clutch of upscale shops selling all manner of Africana: Cameroonian salad sets, Congolese kuba cloth pillows, Kenyan necklaces, Zulu beaded aprons, Shangaan tapestries, Ivoirian painted wood figures, Malian masks, Ethiopian Coptic crosses..and on and on and on. (You can find shops similar to these in the Waterfront mall as wellthe goods sell for multiples of the price in their home countries but some of the wares are truly stunning)

Drawn in by the window displays, we paid a visit to ZULU AZANIA on Church Street, #56A, with a splendid collection of Zulu pots and beaded wares along with antique and new items from southern Africa. All of these shops can arrange shipping. (We ended up sending a cardboard carton apiece from PostNet; the price per carton was 250 Rand and the estimated arrival time in the US is within 3 months; air freight was available for a higher fee)


http://www.postnet.co.za/index.php


Our next destination was Camps Bay, where Liesl Matthews of Southern Destinations, who arranged our trip, treated us to a fantastic seafood lunch at The Codfather. You can choose here from sushi displayed on a rotating conveyor belt, or make your way to long glass cases piled with heaps of fish and shellfish. Choose from the raw selections, and watch as they are weighed. If you approve of the final price, the fish and/or shellfish is grilled and presented at the table accompanied by your choice of sauces. This is an excellent way to sample a variety of local line-fish and shellfish..you can choose as little as one prawn or a large platter piled with everything from tiger prawns to yellowtail to marlin to langoustine. My prawn/crayfish combination platter ranks up there with one of the best dishes of the trip. Thanks again, Liesl!



http://www.dining-out.co.za/member_d...?MemberID=1054
ekscrunchy is offline  
Nov 13th, 2007, 03:54 AM
  #14  
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That afternoon we walked around the newly revitalized De Waterkant area, filled with many little shops and eating places. We continued on our shopping rounds with a stop at the showroom of Cape Cobra in Greenpoint. This firm is known for beautiful accessories made of ostrich skin..belts, wallets, handbags, etc. The quality is exquisite and prices, while high, are far less than you would spend on the equivalent in the US or in Italy.

http://www.capecobra.co.za/index.htm


Dinner that night, at The Showroom, was wonderful. This terrific restaurant is white, shiny and glitzy with transparent Ghost chairs, an open kitchen and a glass wall looking into ..guess what?..a showroom..of automobiles!

Chef Bruce Robertson draws on Asian and Cape Malay influences for his elaborate dishes. I began with escargot frikadelle, wrapped in a mousse of chicken livers. My main course was the best non-seafood dish of the trip: Pork belly with Peking sauce. Dessert: A sublime molten chocolate and mint After 8 cake. My meal, with my share of a bottle of wine, cost 243 Rand. If you want to watch Chef Robertson and the other chefs work their magic, request a table close to the open kitchen. The restaurant is noisy when full so try to reserve early if this is a concern. If you have one upscale meal in the city, I would recommend The Showroom.



http://www.theshowroomrestaurant.co.za/

ekscrunchy is offline  
Nov 13th, 2007, 07:23 AM
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We spent the next morning walking around the Bo Kaap district and visiting the Gold of Africa Museum, which has a fabulous collection of gold jewelery and artifacts, mostly from West Africa:



http://www.goldofafrica.com/

The District Six Museum proved to be a moving finale to our 6 days in the city; be sure to allot at least two hours here because although the space is relatively small, there is a lot to read and to absorb:



http://www.districtsix.co.za/frames.htm




After leaving the museum we said goodbye to beautiful Cape Town and headed for the Winelands, where we were booked for three nights at Akademie Suites Guesthouse in Franschhoek.

Akademie Suites proved to be an excellent choice. The property is beautiful and the location is idealabout a ten minute walk along quiet streets to downtown Franschhoek. The owners, Arthur and Katherine, were delightful and we wished that we had had more time to hear their stories about life in SA. (A native of JBurg, Arthur had been mayor of Franschhoek). The 3 of us shared Oortuiging, one of four cottages set in glorious gardens that comprise the property. This 1860s Cape Dutch house has two en suite bedrooms..one single and one double, as well as a living room, full kitchen stocked with wine, fruit and snacks, and a private patio with table and chairs in the backyard. The furnishings are a lovely mix of antiques and new and beautiful paintings by Katherines father adorn the walls. Even these excellent photos of our cottage do not do the place justice:


http://www.aka.co.za/oortuiging.htm


Akademie Suites is listed in the Greenwood Guide and I would recommend looking through their listings of guesthouses, B&Bs and small hotels when planning a trip:

http://www.greenwoodguides.com/south-africa/

ekscrunchy is offline  
Nov 16th, 2007, 11:44 AM
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Our first meal in the Winelands was lunch at Guardian Peak. The handsome dining room overlooks the surrounding vineyards through vast expanses of glass. The food (I had the pork belly, again) was very good.


http://www.guardianpeak.com/restaurant.htm

Dinner that night was in Franschhoek, at Bouillabaise. Most of the seating here is at the counter in front of the cooking stations. If you want a table, make that known when you book. I began with an excellent duck salad and followed with steamed prawn spring roll, which was only fair. The menu features plates of varying sizes so you do not have to have a full, large meal; in my case this was a good thing because our 3 days in the Winelands were one long eat-and-drink-fest and we were just beginning.

http://www.seafooddeli.co.za/bouillabaisse-menu.htm

On Saturday we headed to Stellenbosch and strolled around the outdoor market for a couple of hours (I believe it is held every Saturday). Stellenbosch has lots of antique shops and we planned to return to the town after lunch, which we did, only to find the antique shops closed after 2pm. So if you want to shop here, make note of the abbreviated weekend hours..

Lunch that day was at the Tokara Wine Estate, another triumph of contemporary architecture in stone, steel and wood set amidst rolling vineyards. The structure is so handsome that I would recommend stopping by just to see it, even if you do not plan to taste, or to dine. I had the saddle of lamb and my lunch, with wine by the glass, cost 197 Rand.

http://www.tokararestaurant.co.za/

After lunch we returned to Stellenbosch and, since the antique shops were shut tight, we stopped into Oom Samie se Winkel, an old general store stocked with everything from racks of dried fish to gum ball candies to commemorative porcelain to mampoer. We then wandered through Stellenbosch for a couple of hours, admiring the handsome Cape Dutch and Georgian buildings in this historic town, which is one of the prettiest and most pleasant I have seen in my travels.

Finally, we returned to Akademie Suites to change for dinner, and walked into Franschhoek, to Reubens. (There are no taxis in the town, we were told, so consider this when choosing your accommodations if you have no transport; we had a guide and car during the days, but not at night)

Reubens is a local favorite but I was not overly impressed by my Chili Squid with Aioli appetizer. Service was exceedingly slow on this Saturday night when the place was full. I have forgotten the details of the rest of the meal, which cost 185R for one.


http://www.reubens.co.za/Eng%20Temp/menu_1.htm



I will return to this report soon with an account of our last day in the Winelands and our journey on the Blue Train.

ekscrunchy is offline  
Nov 18th, 2007, 01:22 PM
  #17  
 
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Hi ekscruncy,
Have read every word of your report and saved it for a similar trip we will take at the end of Feb. We too used Southern Destinations and it appears that they did a good job for you -- any advice before we go? Any restaurants in CT or in the winelands that you wish you had tried?
Jeri
lexia is offline  
Nov 18th, 2007, 01:42 PM
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Hi lexia,

the most memorable meal we had back in July was at the cape of good hope in the "two oceans restaurant".

it wasn't haute cuisine, but it was well cooked and tasty, in a stunning setting with very friendly service.

it's well worth worknig it nito your schedule.

regards, ann
annhig is offline  
Nov 19th, 2007, 03:16 AM
  #19  
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Lexia: I am glad you are using Southern Destinations. who is the agent you are working with?

Sorry I am taking so long with this report but I promise to have it finished long before you leave! I don't think there is anyplace I regret not trying. Oh, maybe Bread & Wine in the Winelands. I think I would have skipped lunch at Guardian Peak and tried that one. And I would have liked another meal at Panama Jack's or the Codfather!

http://www.moreson.co.za/default.asp?page=main.html


Stay tuned, because we will be on the Blue Train soon..and all does not go exactly as planned!
ekscrunchy is offline  
Nov 20th, 2007, 06:13 AM
  #20  
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Sunday September 30 was our last full day in the Winelands. My friends rented bikes, arranged through Arthur at Akademie Suites guesthouse. The bikes were delivered to the guesthouse and the pair of them took off for a mornings ride on the roads around Franschhoek. The weather was glorious.

I opted for conveyance of the 4-wheeled variety, so Charlie and I drove first to Boschendal to visit the manor house, a quintessential example of Cape Dutch architecture in a calendar-worthy setting. Note that you can order a picnic at their restaurant and have it brought to you at your selected site on their beautiful lawns. This appeared to be a very popular lunch spot and the grounds were quite crowded with families when we were there on a Sunday morning.

www.boschendal.co.za


Paarl was our next stop. This town, founded in the 17th Century, is less prettified and tourist-oriented than Franschhoek and it was a treat to drive along Main Street past the shops and houses in a panoply of architectural styles. We paid a quick visit to the Hout Street Gallery which shows the work of local artists and craftspeople and where I bought a print of Table Bay that I saw later that day, priced much higher, in a Franschoek gallery:

www.houtstreetgallery.co.za


The famous stone goats tower and its four-footed residents marks the entrance to Fairview winery, makers of Goats du Roam and a host of reds, whites and dessert wines. There is a Tasting Room for wine and one for the goat cheeses and olive oils produced on the winery. This place was crowded and it was a little too commercial for my own taste, so I did a quick wine tasting (standard tasting 15 Rand; select tasting 30 Rand) and we were off again, bound for La Petite Ferme where I would meet up with my two friends over lunch.

www.fairview.co.za


Set on a hill near Franschhoek, La Pettie Ferme proved to be a lovely lunch stop. I had the Eggplant and Feta gateau , followed by slow-cooked lamb. The view from the window table, and from the sloping lawns, which overlook the valley beyond, was probably more memorable than the food. The menu on their site has changed since I was there, to reflect the change in season:


http://www.lapetiteferme.co.za/restaurant_main.html

Lunch for one, with one Lime and Soda and an espresso, cost 103 Rand after tip.

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