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What to do in Franschhoek 2018: Stay at Franschhoek Country House, dine at Monneaux!

This past weekend we were in Franschhoek as you’ll see from the snaps below – it was so difficult to trim them down to these favourites!

If you’re heading that way, we definitely recommend stopping in at the Wijnland Auto Museum and Butterfly World, and explore the lovely lemony Franschhoek Country House (FCH) and Monneaux…

Wednesday, 16 May 2018: Sunset dins at Doodles on the beachfront

Sunset at Doodles
We had a sneaky mid-week dinner out at Doodles and were in awe at the sunset, as seen from various angles.

Friday, 18 May 2018: Meltwater #BizBreakfast at Park Inn Radisson

View from thePark Inn Radisson
I rarely get to attend events with colleagues, so it was a treat to spend part of last Friday morning with one of my favourite coworkers. Once we’d gone up 10 floors by lift at the Park Inn Radisson we stepped onto the balcony to admire the view, and what a view it was!
Meltwater BizBreakfast at Park Inn Radisson
More of the balcony views, also the delicious breakfast snacks and the excellent presentation itself on social storytelling – click here for my full overview if you missed it on Bizcommunity.
Park Inn Radisson
We had time for a quick post-event catch-up session with industry friends before heading back to the office.

Saturday, 19 May 2018: Stop at Wijnland Auto Museum, stay at Franschhoek Country House, dine at Monneaux

Dog thinks he's a cat
A sweet moment with Bertie boy before we started all our weekend activities. Love that dog!
Flapjacks at airport Wimpy
First stop – collect parents to drop off at the airport. Once they’d checked in for their flight to Joburg, we had time for a quick breakfast at the Wimpy with views of the runway. See various coffees and the flapjacks with cream and fruit salad.
Road trip snacks
Next, tim for our weekend away, and what’s a road trip without snacks? It was a cold, grey day so hot drinks were in order. This is a mochaccino and British ‘chocky bickies’ from when we dropped off the doglets at their GrannyGrampa for the night.
Car museum tank
We stopped in at the Wijnland Auto Museum (not the main Franschhoek Motor museum you’re thinking of). It’s filled with rusted relics and shiny new vehicles alike. Bonus: You don’t need to make an appointment ahead of time!
Grounded airplane
The grounded airplane was the main attraction for Husband – he’d seen it from the main road outside and we had to do a capital U-turn to go back and find the entrance. See how he climbed all the way through into the cockpit – you’re allowed to do so.
Autumn in Franschhoek
Autumnal scenes on the road into Franschhoek town.
Franschhoek win tram
You’re bound to see the wine tram when you’re in and around Franschhoek. We saw various versions of it in various locations on our way into town and even waved at the happy travelers from the pool later that evening. It’s still on our Franschhoek bucket list!
Franschhoek Literary Festival
It was the weekend of the Franschhoek Literary Festival (FLF) so there were book-lovers around every drizzly corner and queues at all the eateries and markets, we felt quite lucky to be staying slightly out of the main hustle and bustle of town. Will tackle the FLF another time!
Lemons at Franschhoek Country House
Franschhoek Country House holds all the lemons and French country charm you could ever want. It’s like a painting.
Lemons at Franschhoek Country House
It’s hard to miss Franschhoek Country House from the Huguenot Main Road, just look for lemon with touches of turquoise and you’re there! There are lemons everywhere you look, from the trees to bowls in every room – even the restaurant powder room – it’s really a delicious sight.
Franschhoek Country House
The space we stayed in was just gorgeous. Look at those old-school high ceilings, the plentiful fruit bowl, and even the candlesticks next to the not-to-be-used bath tub.
Monneaux at Franschhoek Country House
The doorbell chimed and we were presented with the most wonderful welcome plate of food fresh from Monneaux, along with flutes of bubbly to ease into ‘weekend away’ mode. It certainly did the trick!
Fountains at Franschhoek Country House.
Fountains fountains everywhere. Note Husband examining them far off in the distance.
Pool at FCH
Despite the chill in the air we braved the cold pool, as that makes the slightly heated pool seem a little warmer than it is. Also see the poolside table with the most delicious lemonade, garnished with mint leaves and cucumber slices. So yum!
Happy hour at FCH
We’d been told it was ‘happy hour’ on selected beverages until 5pm – add in pretzels and salty peanuts, also the Royal Wedding on TV and we were there like bears.
Sunset at FCH
Sunset over the mountain from various angles, made even more delicious with a cup of coffee and rusk from our room.
Monneaux restaurant
M is for Monneaux! The on-site restaurant is definitely worth a visit, whether you’re staying at Franschhoek Country House or further up the road. See here the baked camembert salad, the spicy mussels and the lamb on gnocchi. All the words coming to my full review on Bizcommunity!
Monneaux meals
Cheers to dinner at Monneaux! Our table was strewn with white rose petals – we’d seen them being plucked while enjoying our swim earlier that evening. Also see the smoked octopus in dashi stock from the Petit Assiette menu, and the linefish mains topped with a prawn.
Wines at Monneaux at Franschhoek Country House
Don’t mind if I do take a sip or two… just some of the lovely wines we sampled while dining at Monneaux, all from the Franschhoek valley.
Desert at Monneaux
Dessert! See the sorbets with meringue discs; chef’s creme caramel with flecks of vanilla; a delicious cappuccino; the apple tart tatin with blue cheese compote; and the end-of-meal dense chocolate truffles.
Franschhoek Country House door hanger and fireplace
The little nighttime luxuries at Franschhoek Country House are so sweet. These range from the ‘I need some me time’ message on the door hanger to a tiny chocolate left on the pillow with the next day’s weather forecast; and slippers left at the turned-down bed. Of course, we also lit the fire and spent a while in front of its warmth – though there’s also underfloor heating, so you may well find yourself sitting on the floor (out of choice)!
Gown photos
This is the selection of ‘gownie shots’ I have to work with. Not easy to come by as gowns are only available by special request from reception, and by the time we took the snaps Husband was done with posing nicely and smiling on demand. Lol!

Sunday, 20 May 2018: FCH breakfast buffet; visit the animals at Butterfly World

Coffee at FCH
Taking in that ‘just been rained on’ view with a quick coffee brewed in the room before heading down for breakfast.
Breakfast at Franschhoek Country House
What a breakfast spread! See various cold meats and cheeses, freshly cut fruits, yoghurts, and cereals – I couldn’t resist a scoop of the bright pink Strawberry Pops!
Hot breakfast at Franschhoek Country House
From the hot breakfast menu, we opted for filter coffee and the waffle with bananas, bacon and berries (me); and glasses of juice with the eggs benedict, topped with both spinach and folded ham (husband). Also, look at the tiny bite-size croissant!
Franschhoek Country House
Taking a slow stroll back to our room. Note Husband is in long pants and covered shoes during the day here, a rare sighting that tells you it was pretty darn chilly.
Road in Franschhoek
Once we’d checked out, we couldn’t resist this road that whispered, “Follow me…”
Butterfly World
We made what we thought would be a quick detour to see the Butterfly World tropical garden, but there’s so much more than that on the grounds that we stayed a good two hours. See Husband enjoying a plate of curry and rice while it drizzled.
Butterfly World
There’s lots of lush greenery and birdies flitting around along with the butterflies. Also, many interesting take-away trinkets to look at.
Butterflies drying
We braved the rain (there are clear umbrellas to collect before stepping outside) and you can just see the butterflies drying out.
Butterfly World Zoo
While the butterflies were lovely, they flitted around so fast we couldn’t take any pics. There are so many sweet rescued animals all around though that before you realise it, you’ve spent hours wandering around in awe at nature.
Guinea pigs and cockatiels at Butterfly World
Look at the little critters! Some were friendly, some were shy, all were precious. We have a video of the birdie scratching it’s way over Husband’s arm and then leaping scarily at my shiny phone.

That’s all, folks! Hope you have a relaxing weekend. Cheers!

*Disclaimer: Our meals and accommodation at Franschhoek Country House and Monneaux were part of our review package. All else came from our own pockets. All enjoyed equally.

November 2017 Staycation: Irish nachos and The Kitchen’s Love Sandwiches

I had a mini-staycation at the start of this week. Perhaps all the sunshine we’ve seen this week was the reason for the relaxed mood that lasted even after I returned to my desk, as you’ll see from the pics below…

Saturday, 25 November 2017: Irish nachos at Saints

French toast and halloumi toast at Foodlover's Market
We started our weekend with breakfast at our nearest Foodlover’s Market. See my crumpet-looking French toast and Husband’s halloumi toast stack.
Driving at sunset
Ha. Not sure why I find this snap so funny, but I do. Makes me laugh.
Saints at Eden on the Bay irish nachos and Insomniac shake and fat mary
We had decided on an afternoon treat at Saint’s on Eden on the Bay, and soon decided to add the Irish Nachos (potato skins) topped with pork belly to our drinks as the platter is made for sharing. Note my Insomniac shake (chocolate, coffee, Amarula, Kahlua) and Husband’s Fat Mary (bloody mary topped with candied bacon, hence his skeptical look). All delicious and a wonderful way to spend a late-afternoon over the weekend.

Sunday, 26 November 2017: Tall cappuccinos and airport collections

Cappuccino at W Cafe
We met Husband’s parents at the W Cafe in Woolworth’s at the Table Bay Mall on Sunday morning. Note Husband’s very tall cappuccino and my vanilla cinnamon latte top right.
Breakfast eggs benedict at W Cafe.
To eat, I went for the Nutella French toast, a favourite as the banana is rolled in peanut-butter brittle with hazelnuts adding crunch. The other three all went for the eggs benedict served on mushroom, with Husband adding a side of bacon to his.
Runway at airport
On Sunday afternoon we collected my parents from the airport – they had been in Umhlanga for a post-anniversary break. Various shots of the runway here – you can just see their green Kulula plane coming to a stop in some.
Steers burgers.
As mum had been in the air most of the day we decided on a Steers drive-thru deal en route to their house – this box of four burgers with chips along the side went down a treat! Yes, my purple nails did match the box.

Monday, 27 November 2017: Breakfast at All In The Kitchen

Breakfast at All in the Kitchen
I’d decided ahead of time that my days off were for relaxing and spending time doing what makes me happy. First up was breakfast with parents on Monday morning at All In The Kitchen as it’s not open on weekends so I rarely get to visit. See our happy faces and tasty coffees.
Blue plates at All in the Kitchen
The blue plates offset the bright, fresh food perfectly.
Breakfast at All in the Kitchen.
Coffees top left, Dad’s granola with fresh fruit top right, Mum’s avo on toast bottom right, my nutty apple-cinnamon muffin topped with raspberries bottom left.
Dogs
I spent the rest of the day with two more of my favourite beings on the planet. The doggies were at their cutest, with Bassie napping under blankets and coming running for treats while Bertie did a few laps around the garden.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017: Love Sandwiches at The Kitchen

Woodstock graffiti
This striking graffiti adorns the wall just around the corner from The Kitchen in Woodstock, our destination for that morning’s adventure.
The Kitchen interior
The Kitchen is a charming fresh deli-style food stop that rose to fame when Michelle Obama’s taxi driver accidentally dropped her off there instead of at the more well-known The Test Kitchen. She decided to stay, loved it, and the rest is history. Little wonder when you see the ‘Love Sandwiches’ they’re famous for…
Love Sandwiches at The Kitchen
See Mum and Dad’s entirely different Love Sandwiches, a cappuccino and my fruit-topped French toast – it had slivers of apple, pear, toasted pineapple and pomegranate seeds. One of the best!
Cape Town sky.
Various shots of the sky that day. Top right and bottom left were near Woodbridge Island and passing the MyCiti bus on the way to The Kitchen, top left and bottom right were at sunset.

Thursday, 30 November 2017: #DigitalMarketingLIVE at Red & Yellow

Biscuits at Red & Yellow.
We’re already halfway through these sessions at Red & Yellow. This week was especially interesting, all about using the language of design to solve problems, brands talking to their ‘tribes’ not customers, and a jaw-dropping water-saving idea that might just be the answer the drought-stricken Cape is waiting for. Also, tasty biscuits and red-and-yellow themed things.

That’s all, folks! The DIY project I worked on during this staycation will be revealed in my next blog post…

10th anniversary in Zanzibar

As promised, this is a bumper update as I have two weeks’ worth of pics from our recent 10th anniversary break in Zanzibar to share with you…

Monday, 11 September 2017: Fly SAA from Cape Town to JHB

Cape Town airport
First stop, the airport. Having packed our bags and checked we had everything we needed – I left Husband’s passport in the scanner for our last overseas trip, and will never do that again! Check-in was easy so we had breakfast at Primi overlooking the flight deck. And then we were off!
Pool at City Lodge Johannesburg airport.
By the time we reached our first hotel of the trip – the City Lodge at Johannesburg’s main airport it was a sunny, summery afternoon. We dropped off our bags in our room and decamped to the pool area for a while. Just blissful!
Lucios dins
The moment we found out we’d need to spend the night in Joburg we decided we would have a special dinner at Lucio’s in Blackheath – they make gnocchi piccante, which is a bolognaise sauce with cream, brandy, chillies and lime. Too delicious for words. We also invited Gords as it was close to his birthday and we’d not seen him in ages. It was a lovely evening.

Tuesday, 12 to Tuesday, 19 September: Week at Azanzi Beach Hotel, Zanzibar

Mugg & Bean at Johannesburg airport
We needed to be at the airport at 5am for the Zanzibar flight so checked out of our hotel around 4:30am then trundled across the walkway into the main airport building. Check-in was another breeze, so we were pleased to find the Mugg & Bean open and ready to serve coffee, cookies and proper breakfast things for Husband. Then we were off again – up, up and away!
Sightseeing in Zanzibar.
Having made sense of the chaos of the Zanzibar airport – meaning we found the correct forms, filled them in, made our way through passport control, located our bags, found our travel guide, paid 1$ USD to use the bathroom – we were ready to survive the roads to our resort in Matemwe on the island’s north-east coast, about 45 minutes from the airport. We saw many sights on the way, but mostly lush greenery as we passed the various spice farms and bright bunches of fruit and clothing for sale in the small towns we passed. Transport is very expensive in Zanzibar, so we didn’t leave the resort much.
Palm trees in Zanzibar
Zanzibar is palm tree central. There are leafy trees everywhere you look.
Azanzi Beach Hotel
Our resort was sunny, with thatched rooves nestled between palm trees – and you could walk right through, on to the beach.
Drinks in Zanzibar
The jambo juice cocktail, presented with a cold facecloth once you’ve checked into Azanzi, was about the most delicious thing I’ve ever tasted. It’s a mix of coconut milk, pineapple juice and strawberry juice. Husband enjoyed the local Safari beers, I downed bottles of Stoney tangawizi (ginger beer) and Husband enjoyed the local wines with dinner.
Villas at Azanzi Beach
The rooms are bright and airy, cleaned each morning and sprayed and ‘netted’ each evening to ensure a bug-free stay. Our suite was upstairs so we had a balcony with view of the bright bouganvilleas and palm trees to gaze at.
Mosquito nets at Azanzi
The mosquito-netted beds are very pretty and make you feel relaxed and peaceful and protected (though you still need to take your full course of malaria pills just in case. We are almost done with ours).
Bouganvillea in Zanzibar
Some of the pretty bouganvillea blooms. There were pinks, oranges and reds, which were quite spectacular from the balcony.
Pool at Azanzi
The pool is gorgeous, partially shaded as it flows beneath the upstairs dining area. We spent lots of time wading in these waters.

The rest of this travel diary is grouped by events and things to do rather than running chronologically, as you’ll see…

Wake early to catch the sunrise

Sunrise in Zanzibar
Matemwe beach is an excellent spot from which to catch the sunrise. We climbed up into the massage hut on the beach for these, so very different to the sunset shots below.

Sip chilled, fruity drinks at (and in) the pool

Zanzibar Azanzi Beach
It’s always a good time for a drink in Zanzibar. Local soft drinks, beers, wines and more are part of the all-inclusive package and the Fanta Orange tasted just delicious there.
Pina Colada in pool
Cocktails are not included in the package, but we couldn’t resist a pina colada IN the pool! πŸ™‚
Jambo juice.
I was thrilled to find that the jambo juice I’d loved so much on our arrival is also one of the cocktails on the bar menu.

Be active – play or watch sports – or rest in a hammock

Playing pool at Azanzi Beach
When it was just too hot and windy to sit outside, we stepped indoors to play a few games of pool. Oh how we laughed and laughed at my ‘excellent’ skills πŸ˜‰
Cola in Zanzibar
We happened to have our SA shirts with us, so tuned into the rugby match against NZ. Some say this was not a wise move. This is us sipping Colas in the resort lounge.
Hammock in Zanzibar
Azanzi Beach Hotel is the ultimate spot for relaxation, with hammocks and comfy seats everywhere you look. Take a few novels and magazines with you, or just let your eyes switch into screensaver mode for a while and feel your worries slip away.

Take a sunset cruise at Nungwi

Sunset cruise at Nungwi
This was one of the highlights of our holiday. We were transported in an air-conditioned vehicle to Nungwi on the island’s north coast, the best spot to catch the sunset. After Husband had a quick dip in the sea we set off towards the horizon, with more drinks and fresh fruit midway. We were at sea from 4pm to just after 6pm.
Nungwi
It’s clear to see why Nungwi is so popular with tourists – calm, clear blue water, lots of resorts to choose from and the best view of the sunset.
Sunset at sea
Aww. Love this boy, and the sunset, and the sea so much! ❀
Zanzibar sunset
Husband spent some time in the water, of course, saying ‘hi’ to starfish and the like, and the sunset was truly spectacular.
Boats at sunset on sea in Zanzibar
Boats. Sunset. Sea.

Snorkelling, beach walks and sunning ourselves

Matemwe beach
Or you could take a stroll along the beach in Matemwe – everyone will greet you, ask for your name and where you’re from. There’s lots to see as most of the fishing takes place right before of your eyes.
Zanzibar sea
We spent the bulk of our time in, on or gazing at the sea. It was an unbelievable shade and temperature, I can’t describe how warm and calm it is!
Beach photos
Make sure you’re both facing the right direction when you take your beach photos or you may end up with a sequence like this. Lol.
Snorkelling
Me in my shortie wetsuit with flippers (snorkel and mask not pictured), Husband at the map of Mnemba Island on the Scubafish boat, us before hopping in to swim with the dolphins and the clear, calm turquoise sea.
Muyuni beach lunch
Morning of snorkelling under the sun over with, it was time for a BBQ lunch at nearby Muyuni beach. We ate fresh chicken and tuna steaks with tiramisu for dessert, swam in the warm sea and napped in hammocks. That’s what being on holiday’s all about. That’s also the only meal we had away from our resort.

Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at Azanzi Beach Hotel

Breakfast at Azanzi
Breakfast! The best meal of the day, or the most important, say some. At Azanzi it was usually a buffet offering with eggs as you like them, crispy bacon and other assorted delights – chocolatey pastries, honeyed croissants, chicken or pork sausages, curry, noodles, French toast, pancakes, cheeses and cold meats, cereals with yoghurt and fresh fruit, juices and coffees… sure to get your day off to the right start!
Coffee in Zanzibar
We had many a good cup of coffee at Azanzi. See the breakfast pot, which usually provided three full cups, as well as coffee from our balcony and below, over the pool.
Lunch at Azanzi Beach
Lunch! The food at Azanzi Beach is really delicious and if you’ve taken the all-inclusive/full board offering, it’s all covered before you get there. We looked forward to our three meals a day and often had more than one course at each. This is lunch on the beach – a chicken curry for Husband and a bacon-banana toasted panini for me.
Food at Azanzi Beach Hotel
Just a handful of the food pics I took when we were at Azanzi Beach Hotel. We ate everything from pork loins to prawn skewers, butternut-orange soup and octopus pili pili to green bananas in coconut sauce. All lip-smackingly good.
Azanzi beach bbq
There’s a weekly special beach BBQ/braai dinner buffet – such a treat! Tables are set up on the beach, with many salad type starters, a chef ready to toss potatoes, chicken, tuna, calamari, prawns and crayfish on the grill and sides of delicious oxtail soup and sweet-and-sour brinjals. For dessert, a choice of white chocolate tart, creme caramel and fruit salad left everybody smiling and singing along to the live music.
Cats in Zanzibar
There was lots of wildlife to befriend, too. See the birdies that joined us at breakfast, Zanzikat or Chewie, who often visited our room, and another kitty that was sitting with a monkey on the beach at Nungwi. We also saw little goats and skinny cows.
Flying
Wash, rinse, repeat the above, and following a bumpy ride back to the airport, we were finally on our way home a full week after the journey began. Until next time!

That’s all, folks! We’re looking forward to spending quality time with the doglets this weekend. πŸ™‚