Tag Archives: Majeka House

What to do in Stellenbosch 2018: Chocolate pairing at Waterford Estate

Last weekend saw us in Stellenbosch, where we had the most wonderful time. I’ll let the pictures do the talking so you can see for yourself…

Saturday, 4 August 2018: Lunch at Majeka House’s M Bar, chocolate pairing at Waterford Estate

W Cafe french toast and eggs benedict
We had some weekend admin to sort out first thing, so Saturday’s breakfast was enjoyed at W Cafe in Woolworths, Table Bay Mall. See Husband’s eggs benedict and flat white, with my poached pear-topped French toast and vanilla-cinnamon cappuccino. Yum.
Road trip to Stellenbosch
What’s a road trip without caffeine? We ended up with a cafe mocha for me and a Coke Zero for Husband, and enjoyed watching the scenery become all woodsy the closer we got to Stellenbosch.
Majeka House herbal infusion
What a welcome! When you see that tree in the middle of the road, you know you’re in whisper distance of Majeka House. Also see one of the quirky pig ornaments (they’re everywhere at Majeka House), and the herbal infusion from Majeka’s own herb garden, served in the prettiest floral cups.
Majeka House M Bar and cacti
The M Bar at Majeka House is beautiful, with gold touches and pops of royal blue everywhere. There was a toasty fire blazing inside, but we opted to eat out in the elements, amongst the unusual cacti.
Majeka Menu lunch
Our lunch choices from the Majeka Menu. We opted for just a main each – the line fish for Husband and the pasta for me, with the vanilla creme brulee for dessert.
Lunch at Majeka House M Bar
There were no burgers in stock and the menu was quite seafood-heavy, so I the coriander-chilli-broccoli-bocconcini pasta was my best bet, especially when paired with a gingery rose martini. Also see husband’s asparagus and the linefish – Cape breem on the day, cooked to perfection, as well as the vanilla creme brulee topped with a cookie and paired with a cappuccino.
Coffee at Majeka House
Strong, rich coffee, a crisp breeze, bird song and blues and greens everywhere you look. That’s Majeka House!
Bird room at Majeka House
Bellies full, it was time to explore our room! We were in one of two with access to a private (very cold) pool. Also see the pretty pink and grey birdy theme, even on the glass doors on the bathroom.
Flamingo room at Majeka House
I won’t tell you how many takes we took at getting it to look like I was wrapped up in the flamingo birdy. 🙂
Pool at Majeka House
See the beautiful but chilly pool. The base is striped and would be good for a few laps! I didn’t brave it much more than this, alas. The coffee was much needed, and even that didn’t do the trick so we decided it was time for a quick explore of the local wine farms. What a good idea!
Waterford Estate
Waterford Estate is like something an artist imagined and brought to life with a magic paintbrush.
Waterford Estate
You just can’t go wrong with visiting a wine farm in the Western Cape, but Waterford Estate has a special touch. From the game viewing vehicle to the pretty trees…
Waterford Estate
To the classy country setting with lights and log fires everywhere you look…
Chocolate wine pairing at Waterford Estate
To the chocolate-wine pairing, which is complementary if you’re staying at Majeka House. Waterford Estate was actually the first local wine farm to offer a chocolate-wine pairing, and we can see why it’s been such a success. The chocolates are specially crafted and can only be bought at the Estate. We highly recommend this activity if you’re visiting Stellenbosch!
Waterford Estate fruit
But the best part, for us? The tiny fruit dotted on trees in rows and rows across the estate. They were sweet and seedless, and left our fingers orange-scented.
Dornier in Stellenbosch
Dornier is on the same road as Waterford Estate, so we stopped in for a quick visit – see why I say you can’t go wrong with visiting a wine farm in the Western Cape?
Stellenbosch
Some of the things we saw while travelling those semi-rural roads of Stellenbosch.
Snacks at Majeka House
Juice and dessert! We’d just returned to our room when there was a knock on our door in the early evening, and we were presented with fresh, spicy juice and a yummy berry-chocolate panna cotta.
Majeka House jacuzzi
Later that evening we made use of the fitness centre and the steam room, sauna, indoor pool and jacuzzi. This is bliss!
Gowns at Majeka House
This was the best option from our standard gown photo shoot. I promise. Not seen: Just how fluffy and soft and warm they were.
Majeka House archways
Night time! See the sky at sunset and how the Majeka House archways light up once the moon rises.

Sunday, 5 August 2018: Breakfast buffet at Makaron

Makaron tea.
The moment Husband’s eyes were open on Sunday morning, it was time for breakfast in Makaron. See the hot breakfast menu, some of the treats to choose from the continental buffet, and tea equipment.
Majeka House breakfast pig.
This little piggy guarded the breakfast buffet.
Chairs at Makaron in Majeka House.
The seating arrangements at Makaron restaurant in Majeka House are quite something. Look at these fancy chairs!
Breakfast at Makaron
We had bowl after bowl of beautiful assortment of food. See our strong coffees served with hot milk, clusters of honeyed muesli with nuts and yoghurt, the American pancakes with hot, jammy blueberries and Husband’s full breakfast including tomato, mushrooms and sausages.
Dacshchund
Suspicious Bassie, once we were safely home again that afternoon.
Dog hug.
Bertie having a snuggle with his dad.

Monday, 6 August 2018: Sunrise in Woodstock

Sunrise
The most beautiful citrus-streaky sunrise when I got off the MyCiti bus at Woodstock Station on Monday morning.

That’s all, folks! We hope you have a relaxing weekend ahead. 🙂

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

Rambling Litchi’s best of 2016

Just when you thought I was done for the year, I decided a ‘best of’ compilation post was necessary.

See the list below for some of our favourite things from 2016, all in and around Cape Town obviously, and expect an annual update*. Some categories will remain, others will change. Note that most of these came to mind instantly, but some were dismissed as we experienced them last year, not this year, and others I had to manually search my blog(s) for mentions and reminders – links included if you want to walk down my memory lane again. If there are any categories you feel I’ve left out, let me know! 🙂

Milkshake: There’s no denying milkshake is my favourite treat. This year, I’ve learned that if an establishment goes so far as to title something a ‘Freek shake’ best you believe it. Gibson’s Peppermint Caramel Freek Shake was enormous and I probably should have shared it. Ditto with the Festive Underground Eatery or FUE‘s cocopine shake much earlier this year.

Gibson's peppermint caramel Freek shake.
Gibson’s peppermint caramel Freek shake.

Burger: What goes with milkshake? Burgers, of course. You just can’t go wrong at Jerry’s. The patty is tasty, cooked to perfection on a brioche bun and the side of fries doused in Sriracha is a treat in itself. The bacon, cheese and onion ring-topped buccaneer beef burger at Catch22 also gets a thumbs-up from me.

The cheese, rocket and caramelised onion topped 'Jerry' burger at Jerry's, with fries doused in Sriracha sauce.
The cheese, rocket and caramelised onion topped ‘Jerry’ burger at Jerry’s, with fries doused in Sriracha sauce.

Hike: We’ve done quite a few hikes this year to work off all those burgers and shakes – most recently the Skeleton Gorge version up Table Mountain – but our faves all involved caves. That’s because you want a good view, sense of accomplishment and a body that’s not on the point of collapse once you reach your destination. Wally’s Cave in Lion’s Head was this year’s hidden hideaway gem.

Wally's Cave in Lion's Head
Wally’s Cave, conquered! If you know where to go it’s quite an easy climb up Lion’s Head.

Conference venue: It’s not all about weekend activities though. Conferences are the lifeblood of my worklife. The Artscape Theatre and trusty CTICC are always a good bet for Wi-Fi, tasty snacks and temperature control, but my best was the Vineyard Hotel.

Vineyard Hotel
The distracting view from my seat in the Vineyard Hotel ballroom, where I attended a few conferences this year.

Night away: Living in Cape Town is a little like living in paradise, but everyone needs a break away from their daily routine once in a while. For us, the best version of this was at Majeka House in Stellenbosch. Just over an hour from our front door, the suites are enormous, the spa treatments are heavenly and the food is simply superb.

Majeka House pool
Chandelier-style lights lit up the spa and pool area at Majeka House. I spent a lot of time in the jacuzzi at the far end.

Romantic dinner: You also need to celebrate special occasions as they arise. Maybe just because we went there to celebrate our ninth wedding anniversary, maybe because they’re just up the road, but Homespun is at the tippy top of our ‘lovey-dovey locations’. The food, drinks, setting and service are all commendable.

The lamb shank at Homespun.
The lamb shank at Homespun.

Once-in-a-lifetime meal: This category is for those breathtaking meals that cost quite the pretty penny and offer course after course of plates you simply can’t help but take photos – and videos – of. The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français in Franschhoek was our winner here. Go soon if this is something on your foodie bucket list, as chef Margot Janse is leaving these kitchens early next year.

Posing with the wire win glass to prepare for the eight-course pairing dinner at Le Quartier Français' Tasting Room.
Posing with the wire win glass to prepare for the eight-course pairing dinner at Le Quartier Français’ Tasting Room.

Road trip: Whether you’re staying the night or just out for a few hours on the road, there’s nothing like a few empty hours to fulfill your wanderlust. We did so a few times this year, enjoying a few afternoons in the unspoilt beauty of Gordon’s Bay and Langebaan, both around two hours from home.

Beautiful views along the road that hugs the coast from Pringle Bay to Gordon’s Bay.
Beautiful views along the road that hugs the coast from Pringle Bay to Gordon’s Bay.

Winter special: One of Cape Town’s best-kept secrets is that many of its fine dining establishments offer warming meals at pocket-friendly prices in the cold winter months. Some of this year’s best include the half-price chicken curry specials at Inside in Eden on the Bay.

Chicken bunny chow and korma at Inside Lounge, Eden on the Bay
Two of our half-price winter chicken curries of 2016, at Inside Lounge in Eden on the Bay. That’s a bunny chow and a mild korma.

Alcohol tasting: You’re really spoilt for choice if wine is your thing, but those who prefer a more refined tipple are also in for a treat in the Cape. Val du Charron in Wellington does so with beautiful legends behind each wine blend, and many wine farms offer an MCC tasting of their bubbliest bubbly, but it’s the KWV brandy tasting that got Husband’s seal of approval this year.

KWV's ‘brandy and Huguenot chocolate' pairing.
KWV’s ‘brandy and Huguenot chocolate’ pairing.

Weekend lunch: This list proves it’s not all about the bustling CBD. In fact, on weekends there’s lots of appeal in driving a little off the beaten track to find a new venue where you can spend a few hours eating, drinking and laughing with loved ones. Glenelly Estate in Stellenbosch is a beautiful spot for this, with panoramic views of the estate’s 123-hectare vineyards, an adventurous menu and their own wine varietals on The Vine Bistro‘s menu.

View of the vineyards from Glenelly Estate
View of the vineyards from Glenelly Estate.

Seafood meal: Unless you’re allergic to it, a meal out in Cape Town should include seafood. I passed the baton the Husband on this one, and a few of his favourites were the fettuccinne marina and platter for two at Panama Jacks in the Cape Town harbour.

The seafood platter special at Panama Jacks.
The seafood platter special at Panama Jacks.

Wild meal: Eating out in South Africa often means eating unusual dishes. The tasting menu at Catharina‘s on Steenberg Estate is an excellent way to do so. Though seasonal, you’re likely to find delicacies like wild boar, crocodile and zebra on offer.

Grilled zebra with aubergine maize meal and spicy chakalaka, part of the eight-course wild tasting menu at Catharina's.
Grilled zebra with aubergine maize meal and spicy chakalaka, part of the eight-course wild tasting menu at Catharina’s.

Eggs benedict: Husband’s weekend breakfast staple, we’ve sampled quite a few this year. The ones we kept going back to were the salmon version from Company’s Garden and the pork-belly bacon benedict at Steenberg’s 1682. Tart Hollandaise, yolk that pours at just the right pace and not-your-average toasted base. Yum!

Eggs benedict with Steenberg's 1682 pork-belly bacon.
Eggs benedict with Steenberg’s 1682 pork-belly bacon. Yes.

Dessert: Sometimes you don’t want a full meal. Sometimes it’s just your sweet tooth looking for satisfaction. I seem to have a mouth full of sweet teeth as I’ve had a jaw-dropping amount of desserts this year. My best have been the caramel bar at Majeka House’s Makaron, and the winter chocolate fondant and the summer raspberry ice cream sandwich at Grande Provence’s The Restaurant. Beautifully plated, these are the type of sweet treat you swirl around in your mouth with your eyes closed, and follow with a sip of strong coffee to enhance those flavours.

The Restaurant at Grande Provence's 'berry ice cream sandwich'.
The Restaurant at Grande Provence’s ‘berry ice cream sandwich’.

Speaking of…

Coffee: My bloodstream is coffee. I’m not fully functional before at least a cuppa or two, so the weekend hasn’t officially started before I’ve had a caffeine-filled cappuccino or latte. My favourites this year include the cappuccino at Village Place Cafe, with a shot of toffee syrup, and the regular cap at The Hart Breadhouse and Eatery in Melkbos.

Cappuccino at The Hart Breadhouse and Eatery in Melkbos
I’d expect nothing less than a heart swirled into the foam of my strong cappuccino when breakfasting at The Hart Breadhouse and Eatery in Melkbos.

Over and out, folks! Here’s to sampling the very best of 2017, watch this space…

*All photos my own. Disclaimer: Some of these were experienced free-of-charge as I reviewed them for work, but most came from our own pockets. No payment was considered for this ‘best of’ list as it’s all based on personal preference.

What to do in Stellenbosch

In my last update I was a little vague about just how we’d be unravelling our city-stress knots and niggles, now all can be revealed: I’d been invited to review* the oh-so-magical Majeka House in Stellenbosch for a few days. See just some of the best things we did below and click here for my official review, as the professional pics do a much better job than ours from our phones below…

The roadtrip

Road to Stellenbosch
There’s nothing better than that feeling of excitement when you’re about to set off on a road trip – even if it’s just a hop, skip and jump away. Always start your journey with pics of the road ahead and any pretty scenery to rub in the fact that you’re getting away from it all. Take this pic, for example. Road ahead, check. Pretty scenery, check. Excited to see more, check.
Polkadraai puppets
Sometimes the sights you see are so strange you’d think you were dreaming if you hadn’t snapped a photo. These scarecrow puppet people are at the Polkadraai farm stall and strawberry picking point about half-an-hour from home.
Polkadraai farm stall
Those puppets are just to the left of where this shot was taken. Another road trip tip is to definitely stop when you see one of these yellow Nat Geo frames and take a photo no matter what the view.
Hudson's Stellenbosch
Feel free to stop and try the local fare before you reach your final destination. This is Husband trying a Black Label draught at Hudson’s on Dorp Straat in Stellenbosch. Just as good as a draught at any other pub, and the cheese burger and chips we shared were just as good as any of the other Hudson’s meals we’ve had. It was so very windy that things were blowing off the tables and everyone else was choosing to sit indoors, but we couldn’t resist the pretty tree-lined street for a spot of people-watching.

In and around your room

Majeka House honesty bar
Of course each form of accommodation differs, even each room at each venue will have its individual quirks. At Majeka House this included an honesty bar system in the kitchen corner, with a fully stocked fridge (don’t touch the R700 mini bottle of champers, whatever you do)! All these lovely treats were individually priced, apart from the complimentary coffee pods with complementary fresh chewy peanut butter cookies. Don’t worry, there were no crumbs in/on the bed for our room fairy to take care of as we ate them standing.
Gowns and painting at Majeka Spa
Look around your room very very carefully, as there may well be hidden features. Following our spa sessions we showered then trotted around in the bunny-soft robes in the room – and on sitting on the bed noted the landscape painting mounted above our heads.
TV in Majeka House
You may notice other interesting room/suite features on your third or fourth lap. For instance, look at the suspended TV in the pic on the left, and the similarly inbuilt painting in the pic on the right. It’s the front and back of a swivel, so if you’d rather watch TV in the lounge you just give it a slight nudge and hey presto, the painting faces the bedroom and you’re ready to channel hop!
Majeka House patio
This was the view from our rooftop balcony. Lots of soothing colours for the eye, as well as pleasing mountain shapes to rest on.
Reading at Majeka House
If you’ve brought reading material with you, be sure to try out each possible reading point. For me this included various chairs on the two patios, our all-too-comfy bed and a number of couches and cushions in the lounge before I settled on this corner, complete with soft blanket to buffer against the wintery wind outdoors.
Sunset at Majeka House
Snap the sunset from as many view points as possible. Or just over the course of a few minutes from the same spot. This is the setting sun from our bedroom balcony…
Sunset from balcony
The same scene just five minutes later – all yellowy and happy-making.
Majeka House
Of course you can’t stay cooped up in your room the whole time and need to explore the grounds. What delightful grounds these are in Stellenbosch, with all sorts of hidden lighting cleverly highlighting features you’d otherwise miss in the daylight.

The spas and watery things

Jacuzzi at Majeka House
Following a back-relaxing hour-long couple’s massage all you want to do is close your eyes and think happy thoughts. Here is Husband, having a soak/pummel in the viciously strong Jacuzzi – so much so that the bubbles almost overflowed into the adjoining pool. No bubble bath required!
Majeka House jacuzzi
As we’re both Aquarians we could easily spend all our free time in water and be happy chappies. So of course I did the exact same thing as Husband. Note lovely landscape on the wall behind me, as well as doors off to the sauna and steam room – yes, they’re different things.
Steam room at Majeka House
Here is Husband, stoking the steam in the steam room by topping up with hissing water over the aromatic logs every few minutes. As it was set to 70’C we didn’t stay in there for long.
Majeka House and Spa at night
At night, the chandelier-style lights lit up the spa and pool area in the most magical way. We’d been encouraged to have a swim or soak after dinner – all you do is swipe your room card to access the main hotel section, even after staff have locked up for the night. As appealing as the thought was, we didn’t follow through. Here’s why…

The fancy (filling) dinners

Cocktails at M Lounge
If it’s not quite dinner time, it’s surely time for a pre- (or post-) meal drink. We sampled two of the fancy cocktails at the blue-lit M Lounge – I went for the espresso martini, Husband had the Long Island Ice Tea. Both expertly made and just the right thing to sip at the fireside.
Fake bookshelves
This is the fireplace beside which those cocktails were sipped. Note those walls of books are not real – that’s a special wallpaper that almost everyone who entered the bar when we were there went up very close to examine.
Bread board at Makaron
If you’ve booked the three-course dinner at Makaron, Majeka’s in-house award-winning restaurant, don’t by any means fall for the idea that you’re only getting three plates of food. For example, soon after being seated you’ll likely be offered complimentary still or sparkling water and a breadboard filled with the freshest, fanciest bites with touches of onion and cinnamon where you’d least expect.
Wine at Makaron
Once your wine is served, be sure to swirl it around a little in your glass to release the flavour, as Husband did with his. He made it last throughout the bread, amuse bouche, starter and main course, only opting for something different with his dessert. But more on that later…
Makaron food
See a sample of the things you’ll eat at Makaron. Top left is our saffron-infused amuse bouche. Top right is Husband’s prawn linguini starter, bottom left is my ‘rainbow beets with goat’s cheese chantilly’ starter, and bottom right is my steak with herb gnocchi mains. All part of just one meal. Plan ahead and go on an empty stomach!
Vanilla creme brulee at Makaron
When ordering dessert, be wary of ones with bits you’re not sure of. While my vanilla creme brulee was large, light and lip-smackingly good, with perfectly brittle sesame tulle on top, the exotic-sounding ‘yuzu’ was just that – exotic and a little too sharp on the tongue. Don’t be afraid to ask for your waiter’s recommendation.
Caramel bar at Makaron
Because our waiter recommended the caramel bar for Husband’s dessert, which was hands down the best thing we ate in Stellenbosch – and we ate a great deal of delightful meals! This may look small but was as caramelly, chocolately and ice-creamy as possible, with warm brown melty flavours and a dainty little coffee macaron on top – alas Husband popped the whole thing in his mouth before I could have a taste. Sad face. I’d go back just to try that mysterious macaron!
Brandy at Makaron
The sweet dessert called for something a little sweeter gliding down the throat, like a tot of KWV 5-year-old.

The breakfast choices

Breakfast at Makaron
The breakfast buffet is eye-poppingly comprehensive, but don’t fill up before your hot meal arrives or you may not have enough space for it. Rather copy me and order a cappuccino, then pour a berry smoothie and mix all manner of muesli, nuts, yoghurt and berry coulis in a bowl to slowly munch through before your eggs benedict or bacon-filled French toast arrives.
Croissant at Makaron.
Or copy Husband and fill a side plate with flaky croissant, selection of meats and cheeses and pepper to your liking. I repeat, do not overeat, especially on a Sunday. You’ll see why soon.
Makaron breakfast
This is what said French toast and eggs royale looked like. Amazing and so filling. Especially if you have an adventurious day ahead…

The outdoor hikes

Paradyskloof nature reserve
Just 5 minutes up the road from Majeka House is the entrance to Paradyskloof nature reserve. Do yourself a favour and go for a brisk trot or even a cycle if you’ve packed along your bike. There are no steep uphills and lots of shady bits to pause and catch your breath or admire the view – or both.
Nature selfie
Of course you’ll take a selfie while you’re on your walk, as we did. This was the best option of the six we attempted, promise. 😉

The Sunday morning markets

Blauuwklippen Sunday market
Goodness me but you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to Sunday morning markets in the Stellenbosch area. Our first stop was at the Blauwklippen market, where you simply won’t know where to look as there are so many tasty delights on offer. Best you not have already filled up on breakfast. We did not know this so just looked and looked while our full-to-bursting bellies made regretful noises.
Blaauwklippen
The main Blaauwklippen restaurant is exactly what you’d imagine a ‘Cape Dutch eatery’ to look like, with warm inviting interiors (we just peeped through the windows).
Blaauwklippen Market
Of course you’ll wander a little off the beaten track while browsing the Blauuwklippen Market, as it’s set on such pretty grounds, with ducks floating on ponds and squirrels chasing each other all around the greenery.
Route 44 Market at Audacia
And then we stopped at the Route 44 Market at Audacia. Even more food, crafts and soul-rejuvenating scenery to look at. This is the view from just one of many seating areas.
Oysters at Mussel Monger at Route 44 Market
By then we’d walked up quite an appetite, and Husband simply plopped himself down on the beach bar stool (with real sand for your shoes to rest in) at the Mussel Monger and ordered himself a couple of oysters. They smelled like the cold sea and I’ll bet tasted like it, too.

And that, my friends, is just the tip of the iceberg. We’ll need to go back to Stellenbosch many, many more times to fully experience all it has to offer. If you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend Majeka House and Spa, what a treat!

*Disclaimer: Obviously our accommodation at Majeka House and meals at Makaron were part of the review package. All else came from our own pockets. All enjoyed equally. Prices included in my official review.*