Last weekend was a different one for us, as we were invited to the launch of the Spier Light Art Festival on Sunday night, so we took a day’s leave on Monday so as to extend that weekend feeling…
Saturday, 8 December 2018: Cup & Cake’s pancakes
It felt like a ‘Cup & Cake’ kind of day, so that’s where we had breakfast on Saturday. See my 3 cinnamon-sugar pancakes for R20, caramel cappuccino and Husband’s mushroom benedict-style breakfast.
After a few hours at Husband’s work, we treated ourselves to ‘Ralph breaks the internet’ at GrandWest Casino. See the pretty Christmas tree just in front of the skate rink.
Sunday, 9 December 2018: Spier Light Art Festival
We breakfasted at the Pink Olive in West Coast Village on Sunday. See Husband’s ‘meaty toast’ topped with egg, my fresh scone duo and our cappuccinos.
On our way through Stellenbosch, Husband’s phone told us to detour through Vredenheim Wildlife. What a hidden gem, with lots to see, including antlered-reindeer – just the thing to get us into the festive spirit!
Some of the lovely sights in and around the Spier entry. Yes, that is Husband taking one of the bicycles for a spin.
The exploration continued inside on check-in. See the Christmas trees at reception, welcome drinks and more.
Our suite was just right, with a view over two different pools, enormous bed, and in-room coffee-making kit. Yes, please.
There are many, many pools at Spier, tucked between the walkways, but the main pool is where the icy, fruited waters were, so that’s where we swam. It was wonderful.
There was lots of shade to sit in, once you’d had your fill of sun. Loved the bright, mosaic tables.
Some of our post-swim explore included swinging around, spotting ducks in the river and crossing bridges. Wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon!
Exploring out of the way, it was time for our pre-Festival packed picnic. A full basket awaited us, but you could also create your own from the items in the deli.
This was our picnic: Crusty bread, melba toast, butter and hummus, cold meat charcuterie, gherkins and olives, camembert, spicy coronation chicken salad, smoked corn-green pepper salad, a bottle of Spier Signature Wine, gruyere-mushroom individual frittata-style quiches, and rich brownie bricks with a tart summer berry compote. This even got a thumbs up of approval from Husband, and he’s not much for picnics.
Sipping wine through linked arms. It can be done!
Picnic packed away, it was time for the Light Art Festival to begin. First up, large puppets that roamed the grounds, capturing everyone’s attention until the sun set.
This is what we came for. It’s free entrance, every night until the end of January. If you’re in the area, I definitely recommend popping in! Click through to my official review for more info.
There was so much to see and hear and do, as the festival took place all over the grounds of Spier. A really lovely way to spend a Summer evening.
Teehee. We also made friends with the friendly kitty that was strolling the grounds of Spier.
This the the Spier version of our standard ‘gownie night-away shot’. Tick.
Monday, 10 December 2018: Eagle Encounters, Pakalolo’s and Rocomama’s
The breakfast buffet at Spier was extensive and delicious. See a few of our courses here. Husband also had a filled omelette while I stuck with the crispy, streaky bacon and fresh baked goods after my mixed bowl of cereal (including muesli and Coco Pops), and topped with pitted dates and candy-coated sunflower seeds.
We took a golf cart down to the Eagle Encounters area at the far side of Spier once we’d breakfasted, but they weren’t yet open. Luckily we still got to see lots of eagle owls, like this one peering back at us.
Husband having his ‘weekend’ dip once we got back on our home ground that afternoon.
Ahh. There’s nothing like a cocktail at Pakalolo on the beachfront to put you firmly in ‘holiday mode’, even if just for a day. See Husband’s Bloody Mary and my ‘Pakalolo Sunrise’.
We finally had an early dins at the newly opened Rocomama’s in Parklands that evening. No better smash burgers and shakes in Cape Town, if you ask me! That’s the espresso shake and creme brulee shake, as well as a portion of chili-cheese fries and our enormous burgers you see here.
Wednesday, 12 December 2018: Wacky Wednesday and Steers’ chips
We were both exhausted when we got home from work on Wednesday, so opted for Wacky Wednesday from Steers for dins. Plus this large portion of chips, drenched in all the sauces. YUM.
That’s all, folks! Read my
review on Biz for more on the Spier Light Art Festival. We were back at work on Tuesday already, but towards the end-of-year holidays we will go…
*Disclaimer: Our meals and accommodation at Spier were part of our review package. All else came from our own pockets. All enjoyed equally.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Strong, rich coffee, a crisp breeze, bird song and blues and greens everywhere you look. That’s 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.
I won’t tell you how many takes we took at getting it to look like I was wrapped up in the flamingo birdy. 🙂
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 is like something an artist imagined and brought to life with a magic paintbrush.
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…
To the classy country setting with lights and log fires everywhere you look…
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!
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 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?
Some of the things we saw while travelling those semi-rural roads of Stellenbosch.
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.
Later that evening we made use of the fitness centre and the steam room, sauna, indoor pool and jacuzzi. This is bliss!
This was the best option from our standard gown photo shoot. I promise. Not seen: Just how fluffy and soft and warm they were.
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
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.
This little piggy guarded the breakfast buffet.
The seating arrangements at Makaron restaurant in Majeka House are quite something. Look at these fancy chairs!
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.
Suspicious Bassie, once we were safely home again that afternoon.
Bertie having a snuggle with his dad.
Monday, 6 August 2018: Sunrise in Woodstock
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.
T’was the Freedom Day long weekend in SA last weekend, so we had time to fit in lots of fun moments.
We were also lucky enough to be reviewing a mini version of the winter lifestyle package at Clos Malverne in Stellenbosch, so this week’s post is jampacked with mouth-watering food and breathtaking views. See for yourself…
Friday, 27 April 2018: Go-karting at Century Karting
We had a later-than-usual breakfast brunch on Friday as didn’t have to get up with an alarm. See my chai latte and enormous croissant with bacon, brie and blueberries, as well as side salad. Husband had the mince on toast topped with an egg. All this at the Foodlover’s Market on Sandown.
Husband had spotted the Century Karting track when we made a miss-turn in the parking lot of Canal Walk, and as keen to give it ago with his dad, brother and father-in-law. They went zooming around the track so fast that the bottom right blurred pic is about the clearest ‘action shot’ I managed to snap.
Team photo of the proud racers. The sons had more aches and pains the following day than the dads.
We also spent some quality time with the puppers that eve. They’re such sweeties.
We dined at Petisco’s with brother-in-law Spec that evening. Their creamy chicken xai-xai fillet is amazing!
Pink sunset from the balcony at Petisco’s that evening.
Saturday, 28 April 2018: Massage, four-course lunch and ice-cream wine pairing at Clos Malverne
We had a quick earlybird breakfast with Spec at News Cafe first thing on Saturday, then it was time to set off for our grand adventure…
Such pretty scenery on the road to Clos Malverne in Devon Valley, Stellenbosch.
Blue skies, check. Green valleys, check. Chirpy birdsong, check. Before we knew it, we were at Clos Malverne in Stellenbosch’s Devon Valley.
Our first stop – the spa! We were treated to back, neck and shoulder massages, as well as time in the steam room to unwind. There were Ferrero Rochers awaiting us on the massage table pillows. Such a lovely start.
Feeling relaxed after our massages, we were ready for the four-course lunch that lay ahead. But first, where to sit? So many appealing options at the Clos Malverne restaurant…
The bright, happy painting in the restaurant was so fitting for the Freedom Day long weekend in South Africa.
We sat in a corner of the sun-dappled balcony with panoramic views of the vines and valley ahead.
This is why it’s called a ‘meal with a view’ at Clos Malverne. See my starter butternut-goat’s cheese arancini and Husband’s half-shell mussells in Thai curry broth.
Mmm. See Husband’s fillet steak topped with asparagus spears and springbok samosas on top, with my bacon-wrapped chicken fillet and pork belly below. Such beautiful plating, with tastes to match!
Loved the mini apple rolled in poppyseeds that accompanied my pork belly (it tasted of pear). Also see our desserts – the ‘savoury sweet’ on top is a butternut-chilli-caramel cheesecake, with the ‘white dark chocolate’ mousse below.
If you thought we would be full by then, you obviously haven’t heard of Clos Malverne’s ice cream-wine pairing. This is not part of the lifestyle package but definitely worth booking as part of your stay. Flavours range from the ‘lemongrass, chilli and litchi’ as paired with a flute of MCC to the orange, ‘gluhwein and star-anise’, paired with a sweet dessert wine. Full descriptions to follow on Bizcommunity!
Next stop, nap time. The rooms are named after wine varietals, with views of the valley and amazing pool. Husband was clearly amused at the wonderful simplicity of the TV remote!
Look. At. That. Pool! But it was too pretty to just lounge around and look at, despite the icy water…
Proof of our pool time. We lounged beside it and also had a quick dip – t’was super chilly!
A slight variation of our usual ‘gowns in luxurious spaces’ photo. These were super soft and fluffy.
‘Clos’ means ‘walled vineyard’ and the vines sure are well protected on the farm. We went for a walk as desk set in and marvelled at the beauty of the setting sun over the mountains. See the rising moon in the last picture.
Sunday, 29 April 2018: Elevenses at Helena’s, Root 44 Market and the Stellenbosch Flying Club
This looks like a very good Sunday morning to me. See the sunrise, coffee on the balcony, fruit parfaits left in the fridge for our in-room breakfast, and fluffy brown cows grazing in the adjacent field. Then it was time to leave.
We took the long road home, with quite a few stops along the way as the typical Cape country scenery is all the more beautiful in the heart of Stellenbosch.
That included an explore of the sides of Stellenbosch we’d not yet seen, like this giant wheel.
Helena’s Restaurant in the Coopmanhuijs Boutique Hotel was so charming that we had to stop in for ‘elevenses’ or second breakfast – just a cappuccino for me, while Husband had the salmon eggs benedict. Delicious.
If you’re in Stellenbosch on a Sunday morning, chances are you’ll end up at the Root 44 Market, drooling over various crafts and foods. These looked amazing! Colourful confections at the market.
A corn dog for everyone, no matter your tastes.
The Stellenbosch Flying Club was our very last stop on our way out of town for a look around at the planes.
That’s all, folks!
Click here for my full, wordy review on Bizcommunity…
This is what we came for – it’s wonderful!
*Disclaimer: Our meals and accommodation at Clos Malverne were part of our review package. All else came from our own pockets. All enjoyed equally.
Greetings, loyal blog reader! 🙂
Husband worked last weekend so we weren’t out and about quite as much as normal but we still had a few delicious moments, as you’ll see below…
Wednesday, 10 May 2017: Good Food & Wine Show 2017 media launch
Loved this selection of pics the Good Food & Wine Show posted on Twitter (those are my pics of the non-Black Insomnia coffee at the start of the first row and the cake slices end of second row, eee). Really a lovely media experience, and you can read my event feedback here for more of what to expect from the show.
A handful of the prettiest moments I snapped at the Table Bay Hotel event, all linked to that amazing rainbow cake and world’s strongest Black Insomnia coffee.
Saturday, 13 May 2017: Reload latte and Saint’s burgers
On Saturday Husband left for work then I joined dad for a coffee at the nearest Reload as we were treating mum to a pre-Mother’s Day mani and pedi just down the road. Just look at his lovely mustard-y hot dog and the clever Table Mountain design in my choc-mint latte.
We set off for Saint’s in Eden on the Bay once Husband got home that eve. That’s my Pink Dragon cocktail and Husband’s TNT boozy shake (whisky and salted caramel, so good); as well as his ‘Free Bird’ chicken burger with onion rings and ‘green salad’; my ‘Smoke on the Water’ chorizo-and-pork burger with sweet potato fries and the beginning of the sunset. I still had a bit of work to do that evening so this was a welcome break.
That doesn’t mean we set off straight for home, though. Bellies full and smiles on faces as it was a gorgeous sunny afternoon.
Sunday, 14 May 2017: Mother’s Day breakfast at News Cafe, doggy TLC and beach walks
We had Mother’s Day breakfast bright and early on Sunday to beat the crowds at News Cafe (though Husband had already left for work, so it was just the three of us). Then later in the day we took pizzas along for lupper as moms shouldn’t cook on Mother’s Day.
Food and coffee down gullets we went for a quick ride along the beachfront before heading home. Love how peaceful it was!
Bertie was displaying his couch back-sitting skills on Sunday but also spent some quality time with his current bear, Tiger.
Bassie preferred to spend quality time with me as it was Mother’s Day. Aww, bless.
We went for a quick walk along the beach in Kleinbaai once Husband was done with work for the day.
Monday, 15 May 2017: Office cake and post-work half-price curry
Mmm. We had cake in the office this week as two birthdays were celebrated. This creamy choc cake with strawberry on top sure chased away the Monday blues!
While it doesn’t feel like it’s officially Winter yet in the Cape, winter specials have started popping up on all the menus again. This here is a forkful of the Monday half-price chicken curry special at Eden on the Bay’s Inside – I went for the butter chicken. We’ve been enjoying this special for years ( click here for a reminder).
Wednesday 17 and Thursday 18 May 2017: Samra conference at Protea Hotel, Stellenbosch
I was lucky enough to attend the annual two-day Samra (South African Marketing Research Association) conference in Stellenbosch earlier this week. Such a pretty town.
View directly out the window of the Protea Hotel’s conference room – little wonder they drew the curtains during sessions!
Conference food is always a treat. Note some of the fresh morning pastries top left, Thursday creme brulee dessert top right, Wednesday brownies dessert bottom left and pretty table settings bottom right.
My Thursday morning pre-conference cuppa was delightful, especially as I got to gaze at this view.
That’s all, folks. We attended the funeral of Husband’s aunt Sybil earlier today and have his brother Spec staying with us this weekend, so expect a few family-themed pics in the next update. Cheerio!
We’ve had a wonderfully sunny week, with lots of time spent outdoors…
Saturday, 10 December 2016: Summer lunch review at Glenelly Estate
We started last weekend with a quick, shared breakfast at the closest Cafe Lacomia as we had a busy, food-filled day ahead. I love that I get two mini biscuits with the cappuccino there, and the Bulls Eye breakfast is just the right size for sharing. Plus, you’re encouraged to eat cupcakes (not that I did)…
Glenelly Estate, our lunch spot for the day on the outskirts of Stellenbosch, has some of the prettiest vineyards and views.
Nestled at the foot of the Simonsberg mountains, this is a truly lovely spot.
The vine-covered pathway.
The food at Glenelly’s the Vine Bistro! Heavens, it was good. You can see Husband’s cold red soup starter featuring octopus tentacles and chorizo, as well as his lemon-chive hake mains on the left, then my pork trotter starter and blueberry duck mains in the middle, and a bottle of the Glenelly Estate Chardonnay on the right. Click through to my official review for more words on these!
Dessert is served… Top left is my ‘warm melting biscuit’ with poached pears and yoghurt chantilly, bottom left is Husband’s creme caramel, and on the right, my cappuccino.
Tummies purring contentedly, we walked around the rest of the grounds. This is the view of the vineyards from the upstairs tasting room.
More of the upstairs tasting room’s view. Such a picture-perfect spot.
On the way home we passed a sign for Mountain View Piggery in Paarl and obviously had to turn in to have a look. The piggies were rather large and clean – not a surprise when we saw just how much the guy on the bottom was enjoying his shower.
That evening involved lots of relaxing things. Here we are with the doggies in the lounge.
Sunday, 11 December 2016: Lagoon Beach breakfast, Woodbridge Island walk
On Sunday morning we headed to The Brasserie in the Lagoon Beach Hotel for breakfast. The buffet option was quite pricy so we were happy to order from the a la carte menu. Here is my cappuccino and Husband’s breakfast Cola.
But what did we eat, I hear you ask? Husband opted for the salmony benedict you see on the left, while I went for the grilled banana-filled pancakes topped with strawberries and cream. Delicious!
Next on the agenda was a beach walk to Woodbridge Island and back. We love these palm trees outside Woodbridge.
We stopped a few times along the way to admire the view. Can just see the Woodbridge lighthouse in this shot.
We stopped to examine the ‘wreck’ at Lagoon Beach – Husband says it’s actually from a movie set.
Sunday afternoons are for milkshakes. Husband went for a Frankies’ Cinnamon Cola while I tried Bread & Butter’s ‘salted caramel’ shake. That’s a chewing-gum ball on top.
Tuesday, 13 December 2016: Pink sunsets and doggy TLC
Pink-streaked clouds like these are my favourite.
The doggies got lots of TLC when their grandparents visited for dins that eve! Bassie’s expression on the right, while getting ear rubs from her grandpa, is very funny.
Wednesday, 14 December 2016: Rogue One screening at iMax
On Wednesday, we headed off the the Cape Gate iMax after a long day of work to watch the new Star Wars movie, Rogue One. We were surrounded by Star Wars heavies but fit right in as we’d worn Star Wars gear all day and even read the pre-movie book Catalyst so knew most of the characters on screen.
That’s all, folks! There’s lots of excitement in the air as we’ll finally be on holiday at the end of this week, and Father Christmas is coming (along with brother-in-law, Spec) 🙂
*Disclaimer: Obviously our meals at Glenelly Estate were part of our review package. All else came from our own pockets. All enjoyed equally.
What a wonderful weekend the last one was, mainly because we went to places we’d not been before. See a few of our favourite moments below…
Saturday, 21 May 2016: News Cafe Blouberg breakfast and Terroir Stellenbosch lunch
The pretty view that greets you once you turn off the R44 into Kleine Zalze, where Terroir is located.
Cheers to Husband! We started off with complimentary water and a flute of MCC each, as you can see…
Before we’d even take a sip we were presented with that day’s bread board and amuse bouche selection! We advise that you take your time over your meal or you’ll be too full to sample it all.And that would be a disaster as you definitely do want to sample as much as you can.
Husband went for the most popular item on the menu – the prawn risotto with sauce Americaine – for his starter (that’s the yellow sunny section of his plate).
There were so many delicious-sounding things to choose from but I’m glad I went for the smoked tomato tart. It tasted even better than it looked.
Husband opted for the linefish version of the Winter Plate special. It was dorado on the day.
More of the food. That’s the bread board top left, the amuse bouche middle left and my seed-crusted fillet Winter Plate in the bottom right, with our shared dark chocolate bar dessert on the right. All even more delicious than they looked.
We had to go for a walk after we’d eaten as it was a gorgeous day and the grounds at Kleine Zalze are quite something. I even blended in with all the natural purpleness!
Just look at the gorgeous golf course. Membership comes at a pricy R25,000 per year for non-residents. Gulp.
We were in sightseeing mode after lunch, so headed on past Strand to Gordon’s Bay and walked along the pier. This pic is funny as we were standing on rocks and I was initially facing the wrong way. Lol.
Taking in the view a little later on the beach in Pringle Bay.
Sun slowly sinking over the sea in Pringle Bay.
Beautiful views along the road that hugs the coast back to Gordon’s Bay.
We stopped in at the Thirsty Oyster in Gordon’s Bay harbour for a sunset cappuccino. Lovely way to end the day.
Coffee downed, we took a brief walk along the pier. Here is Husband gazing at the setting sun.
I am the queen of cheesy pics. Look at me just grasping the sun!
Of course we also took a selfie from the Gordon’s Bay pier.
Such a peaceful pier, with fishermen dotted along the outskirts.
Sunday, 22 May 2016: News Cafe breakfast and doggy beach walks
Having not eaten since lunch at Terroir the day before, we decided to start our Sunday with the News Cafe early bird English breakfast. Love pouring the espresso into the frothed milk myself for a latte.
Be careful what you wish for – you may just end up with an elephant in your coffee! This is the work of the skilled News Cafe baristas.
The doggies demanded a beach walk later that day, and it is was the perfect weather for it as the wind disappeared for a while. Bassie was even brave enough for a quick paddle in the icy sea.
Ha! The doggies pull you every which way when they go for walkies as there’s just so much to see/smell/hear! This is at Kreeftebaai, about halfway between Blouberg and Melkbosstrand.
Bertie really loves his beach walkies.
Later that afternoon Bassie insisted on sitting on her Granny’s lap after lupper.
Thursday, 26 May 2016: Content training at work and doggy father/daughter love
Our team had a training session on Thursday afternoon – that’s my ‘paying attention’ ponytail as I take notes.
What a wonderful Husband I have! The doggies love him dearly and spend at least 10 minutes fighting for his attention when he gets home from work. Even after the toughest day he takes the time to listen to my troubles and soon has a smile back on my face. ❤
That’s all, folks! If you’d like a more detailed description of all we ate at Terroir, click through to my
official review on Bizcommunity.
May your weekend be relaxing and filled with everything you love. 🙂
*Disclaimer: Obviously our meals at Terroir were part of our review package. All else came from our own pockets. All enjoyed equally.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
This was the view from our rooftop balcony. Lots of soothing colours for the eye, as well as pleasing mountain shapes to rest on.
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.
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…
The same scene just five minutes later – all yellowy and happy-making.
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
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!
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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…
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!
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.
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!
The sweet dessert called for something a little sweeter gliding down the throat, like a tot of KWV 5-year-old.
The breakfast choices
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.*