It feels like we’ve been celebrating it for months already (well, we
have been), but last Friday was finally our 10th wedding anniversary. Though we both worked on the day, we had the opportunity to spend the weekend in sun-drenched Tulbagh – what a treat it was, as you’ll see below…
Saturday, 26 August 2017: Roadrip to Tulbagh and Oakhurst Olives
A roadtrip selfie is a must, especially if you’re passing bright canola fields just before the start of Spring, as we did…
The crops of canola appear out of nowhere and are so very pretty, it’s like someone spilled bright yellow below and blue above.
The first stop on our schedule was Oakhurst Olives, just a little bit out of town and well worth a visit. We did olive oil shots (yes really – quite the experience!) We also dipped the most delicious bits of freshly baked bread into it and smeared a tasty olive tapanade on the rest. You can buy all their products right there, so we did.
Once you’ve climbed the stairs you marvel at the view outside.
If you have the time, take a little wander around the property. There are lilies and ponies and not-so-wild horses roaming the grounds.
Like this guy! He came running over to say hi when he saw us. Such a friendly horsey. Loved having his nose and neck rubbed. The dark one in the bottom right wasn’t quite as keen.
Next stop, check in at the Tulbagh Heritage Boutique Hotel. There were beautiful Proteas everywhere we looked, and just look at those rooms! A ginormous royal bed, bright fluffy gowns that put the usual scratchy white ones hotels offer to shame, and the fireplace downstairs in the restaurant.
Some of the outside scenes. The stairway up to our room, a quaint water feature, big chilly pool, and the bar that was packed to sardine levels just before dins that evening with McGregor-Mayweather preamble.
First up at the hotel, lunch! We seated ourselves beneath the shade of the tree on the terrace where Husband enjoyed a BBQ chicken butterflied burger while I made a go at the ‘Schuster’ (there’s a pizza on my terrace) – crispy based with rocket, peppadews, feta, avo and slices of biltong, it was enormous – we took the rest up to our room to snack on later.
I had ample opportunity for coffee with a view here. See the Olive Terrace below our room, an inviting bench and the must-dunk rusks in our room.
Late-afternoon is just the right time to take a quick tour of the town, as the setting sun gives the light a magical quality.
A walking tour of Historic Church Street is highly recommended. There are guided tours, but we ventured out on our own and had a wonderful time reading up on the various beautiful old homesteads and appealing coffee shops.
The cemetery is peaceful and sunny if you’re not freaked out by things like that.
The botanical gardens grounds were open so we soaked up some sunshine, and also popped in to the Paddagang to see their interesting decor.
Tulbagh really is an undiscovered gem of a town. Everyone greets you in the streets and you see sights like this almost every which way you turn your head.
We were back in time to watch the sun set from our balcony.
The rooms are bright, airy and beautifully decorated. Plus, little bite-size nougat treats are left on your pillow! Such a nice touch.
We sampled some truly delicious dishes for dinner in the completely booked out Olive Terrace restaurant that evening. See my Frangelico Hazelnut Mochaccino, the Cape Malay Lamb curry Husband enjoyed with sambals and popadoms, while I went for the spicy Mexican bean soup with nachos and guacamole, and ended off with the coffee creme brulee and an unpictured whisky dom pedro for Husband. No wonder this has been voted the top restaurant in Tulbagh on TripAdvisor for three years running!
Tummies purring, we stepped outside again to see the blue-lit tree after dins and took our customary ‘gownie snap’ once we’d settled in for the night.
Sunday, 27 August 2017: Breakfast at the Olive Terrace, ziplining with Ceres Zipslide Adventures
Breakfast! Yes, this was to be our third meal at the Olive Terrace, and we were the only ones to brave sitting outdoors as there was a slight chill. The cappuccinos were strong and the food just what we were after – the homemade granola was sweet rolled oats baked in local vanilla and honey, topped with toasted seeds and fruit from the Tulbagh region, as well as thick, unsweetened Greek yoghurt with a side jar of honey to drizzle to your heart’s content. Being a benedict-man, Husband went for the eggs royale, served on sweetcorn-pumpkin fritters. Yum!
After a quick checkout it was time for a very short roadtrip. Fields of pink blossoms lined the way into Ceres.
Just 20 minutes later we were harnessed, helmeted and ready to zip our way through the Ceres valley with Ceres Zipslide Adventures! Quite the different experience to when I first went ziplining along the Acrobranch obstacle course earlier this year, click here for a reminder…
This is a screenshot of the Ceres valley ziplining area from one of the videos Husband filmed.
Wheeee! Off I go! You zip across 1.4km over 8 different sections. It’s a wonderfully exhilarating activity, definitely a reason to add Ceres to your Cape travel itinerary.
There are fields and hills and vales and peaks to explore as you slowly make your way home again – thanks for a wonderful time, Tulbagh!
*Disclaimer: Obviously our meals and accommodation at Oakhurst Olives, Ceres Zipslide Adventures and the Tulbagh Boutique Heritage Hotel were part of our review package. All else came from our own pockets. All enjoyed equally. Watch for my official review on Biz!
The simple answer? Stay at Abalone House and dine at Reuben’s, of course. That’s just what we did last weekend…
Saturday, 10 June 2017: A night at Paternoster’s Abalone House, with dinner at Reuben’s
We reassured the doggies that we’d be back in 24 hours and that they’d be in good hands with their uncle Spec, then off we went!
Rainy road trip! It’s comforting knowing there’s a luxurious destination at the end of the road. Also see my takeaway Wimpy coffee, a road trip essential.
Destination Paternoster! Less than two hours since setting off from home, including a few stops along the way for snacks and scenery snaps, we’d reached the sleepy town.
Some of the pretty things you’ll see in Paternoster – sea views from almost anywhere, whitewashed houses, the striking ‘see kat’ statue, and helpful sign boards to almost any destination.
Winding through the streets of Paternoster we soon found our lovely location for the night – five-star boutique hotel, Abalone House. See some of the sweet kitties that roam the premises, an abandoned boat and the inviting but absolutely off-limits cold pool in the wintery rain. We’re desperate to return on a warmer day and try it!
Abalone House is extremely warm and welcoming in winter, partly due to the old-fashioned charm, partly due to the blazing fireplaces dotted around the main property. We learned from the general manager that the outside sitting area you see bottom right will soon have glass sliding doors instead of these tarps, ensuring the weather stays out in winter and that you can let the sun shine in during the warmer months by just folding them away. We’ll have to return to report back on that, too!
Tretchikoff ladies everywhere! On the cushions in Reuben’s, on the wall in our lounge, in our bathroom, and on a stack of cushions in the library.
Pretty patio set, inviting bed, underfloor heating beneath soft carpets and loungers beside the Jacuzzi on the roof – we braved it for a good 40 minutes or so after dinner.
Our room at Abalone House was a real sight for sore eyes. Instant stress relief. Soon after check-in there was a knock at the door and we were presented with flutes of welcome bubbly and assorted warm canapes. The decor was bright, warm and just what we needed.
Here is Husband gazing at the gorgeous stormy seascape. Once settled in our room we had a warm, cosy nap and listened to the soothing sounds of the rain outside. The sound of birdies chirping alerted us to the fact that the rain had stopped and we could safely venture out to explore the beach.
What a wonderful beach. We saw a few couples heading that way once they realised the rain had eased off, and watched the stunning sunset.
Various things on the otherwise deserted Paternoster beach – me, swirls of foam, and Husband as the sun set.
Many know Paternoster’s Abalone House as it’s the setting for local foodie favourite Reuben Riffel’s Reuben’s – and boy, did we eat well!
Our dinner drinks at Reuben’s – a glass of Merlot and an ice-creamy strawberry shake (not on the menu, but just ask).
See my spicy tomato ragout meatballs with Melba toast-style health bread, amuse bouche of pulled pork from two angles and my lemon cheesecake with mint sorbet, berry coulis and Terbodore cappuccino.
More food – Husband’s ‘mushrooms on mash’ starter with mustard drizzle, his braised lamb shank, my pork belly ribs and the malva pudding dessert with granadilla sorbet. Watch for my review on Biz soon, for all the descriptive words!
Ahh. My ultimate sign of ‘quality place to stay’ is if there are fluffy white terrycloth gowns to prance around in once evening hits. That’s just what we did, as you can see from these numerous shots – we even had matching bedside slippers!
Sunday, 11 June 2017: Breakfast at Reuben’s, sightseeing at Saldanha Bay
Ordering a hot breakfast like the eggs benedict or full English means you can also have your fill of the continental buffet – one of the most varied and value-packed I’ve seen! As we were the first eager beavers to arrive, we got to take the prime table at the bay window with a view towards the sea. Just heavenly.
We’d seen the big anchor on our way into town the day before but didn’t stop as it was raining. We stopped on our way out so Husband could pose for a variety of photos, from polite tourist the ‘this is my wrecking ball’ swing. Teehee!
Having seen a field of wind turbines in the distance we took a slight detour off the tarred road home onto a dirt road to take a closer look. They’re really quite majestic and awe-inspiring up close as they whoosh methodically overhead.
We also visited the Saldanha harbour on our way home. The wind was picking up by then and rain started up again so we only took a few snaps – Husband was fascinated by the mix of sea-ready boats and shipwrecks.
That’s all, folks! One of the most beautiful places we’ve reviewed, we’re sure to return and hope you’ll venture out that way, too – you won’t be disappointed.
*Disclaimer: Obviously our meals at Reuben’s and accommodation at Abalone House were part of our review package. All else came from our own pockets. All enjoyed equally.