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Monthly Archives: April 2013

Top 10 Free things to do in Joburg (II)

James Hall Museum of Transport

The James Hall Museum of Transport is the largest and the most comprehensive museum of land transport in South Africa. You can view transport collections which include animal-drawn vehicles (1870-1910), bicycles and motorcycles (1786 – 1960), buses and coaches, motor cars (1900 – 1980) and trams and trolley buses (1896 – 1986). There are also interesting memorabilia, artifact and an extremely rare steam vehicle collections. Definitely the place for car or transport enthusiasts!

Details: Opening times: Tuesday to Friday – 09:00 to 17:00; closed every third weekend of the month | Pioneer’s Park, Rosettenville Road, La Rochelle | Tel: (011) 435 9718 or (011) 435 9485/6/7

The Peacemakers Museum

The Peacemakers Museum in Nelson Mandela Square gives you an opportunity to know more about the Nobel laureates who devoted their lives to making the world a better place for everyone. This exhibition celebrates Nobel Peace Prize winners, but mainly focuses on the South African laureates such as Albert Luthuli, FW de Klerk, Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela.

Details: Opening times: Monday to Friday – 11:00 to 19:00; Saturday and Sunday – 11:00 to 18:00 | Nelson Mandela Square, 8 Maude Street, Sandton, Johannesburg | Cell: 079 545 2703

James Hall Museum of Transport

Browse around the Rosebank Rooftop Fleamarket

Browse through more than 600 stalls which offer numerous items such as handcrafts, antiquities, collectibles, clothing and stock for hobby enthusiasts. It’s free to browse, but if you wish, you can do a little bit of shopping. And if you get a bit peckish in between shopping, there is a selection of foods available at the International Food court and Deli.

Details: Opening times: Sundays – 09:00 to 17:00 | Corner of Cradock Avenue and Baker Street, Rosebank, Johannesburg | Tel: (011) 442 3387

Absa Money Museum

Take a trip down to the only money and banking museum to see the most complete collection of South African numismatic items in the world. The museum’s history stretches as far back as to the beginnings of trading in Johannesburg and shows many displays of ‘early money’, from Cowrie Shells to Venetian glass beads. Remember to bring along your ID for entry into the building!

Details: Opening times: Monday to Friday – 08:30 to 16:00 | 15 Troye Street, Johannesburg | Tel: (011) 350 4167

Take a walk through a Park

With large, open gardens and the popular dam, enjoy a day at the park with family, friends, and your four-legged companions at the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens at Emmarentia Dam. Pack yourself a picnic basket filled with delicious delights, a blanket and enjoy the fresh air while ‘people-watching’. This is the perfect spot to have a relaxing day out in the sun, give your four-legged friend some exercise and fun, and spend some quality time with family.

Details: Olifants Road, Emmarentia, Johannesburg | Tel: (011) 782 7064

Read : Top 10 Free things to do in Joburg (I)

Enjoy an unrivalled wilderness stay

Royal Madikwe, a 5-star luxury lodge, offers an absolutely unique and exclusive stay in the heart of South Africa’s game-rich Madikwe Game Reserve and an unrivalled wilderness experience.

Set on Africa’s rolling savannah overlooking a waterhole that teems with a wide variety of wildlife, Royal Madikwe allows guest to interact with nature in a lavish milieu where accommodation, service and cuisine come with a high standard.

royal madikwe south africa

The exclusivity of this private retreat means also that guests not only enjoy a private luxury bush home but far beyond a piece of Africa all to themselves.

Each suite is intended spacious, with fully air-conditioned and has a terrace where you can observe the wildlife and indulge yourself surrounded by the savanna.

Guests can also enjoy the pool for example to rest between their (hectic) safaris.

The menu of Royal Madikwe: a kitchen between sophistication and neat inspired by various African cultures and cosmopolitan influences lightness.

Protect the Dolphin in Mozambique

It is believed that there are several hundred bottle-nosed dolphins living along the coastline of southern Mozambique and who need to be protected. “DolphinCare-Africa”, a non-profit organization based in Ponta Do Ouro, actively work on their conservation.

They made it their responsibility to encourage sustainable tourism in this area, which is well known for its biodiversity due to a combination of sea coast and extensive wetlands.

Dolphins in Mozambique

This organization is also supported by “Dolphin EnCountour”, a responsible eco-tour organization, based in southern Mozambique since 1995, which facilitates under water dolphin observation and interaction programs.

Together they ensure the safety of this delicate marine environment and the animals it supports, which are under constant threat.

Dolphin Care Africa has recently noticed that there is a growing will from the human being to interact with marine mammals in their natural environment. However, these encounters can badly affect marine mammals. Therefore, Dolphin Care Africa advocates a code of conduct to lessen the impact of human encounters.

Finally, Dolphin CareAfrica is dedicated to the long term data collection of marine mammals within the Ponta Partial Marine Reserve and works in hand in hand with both local and foreign NGO’s.

More information on their website : http://dolphincare.org/home.html

A place where you feel at home

Have you ever wandered around the streets of Waterkant ?

Between V & A Waterfront and Signal Hill, there are many small atypical bars, colored houses and stunning views. Ideal for strolling time one afternoon and evening, you can’t be disappointed. The streets are relatively narrow and steep.. An air of Greenwich Village in the air but the best is about to come …

Its a house interior

Recently the area has enormously grown up and these are the artist first who understood the potential of this district.

There are so many things I’d like to tell you about It’s House .

The main room is divided into several parts around a central wooden bar. And just next to it, the DJ booth. On the sides you can find working areas with computers, offices and open space, there is also a clothing store for young designers, a bar specially dedicated to breakfast, a shoe store, a “green room” (smoking area) and a huge space with sofas, armchairs and a cabin studio.

The decor is simple and “organic”, you can hear fleeting air of the shifted house music which makes you want to be slouching in the sofa and enjoy the creative energy present in the room.

If you feel like redecorating the board, you have a chalk at your disposal. Furthermore, I would encourage you to talk to the managers who are young, dynamics and passionate artists.

Most of the materials used are wood, some plants. On the walls you can see written: “You are responsible for the energy you bring into this place” or “Have you talked to a stranger today?’

Designed so everyone can recreate its own ” bespoke lifestyle ”, It’s a House is a concept offering its visitors a creative environment where you can come to work, explore and express your inner voice or creative passions.

Its a house thing kitchen

A space that fosters interaction, collaboration and offers comfort and originality in a warm atmosphere where creativity and imagination can spread easily.

This is the new hipsters’ spot in Cape Town. The place has just opened in February. We wish them a success which has seemingly well started!

 Julie Bonnemoy

The finest food & wine at Constantia

The annual Constantia Food & Wine Festival features some of the finest food and wine from farms throughout the valley, and is a delicious way of promoting one of the Cape’s – and world’s – premier food and wine destinations.

With over 40 of the Constantia valley’s wines and culinary creations on offer all in the same location, along with live entertainment, the weekend of 19-21 April 2013 promises a tasty and enjoyable time for all. Chef Brad is particularly excited about this year’s Constantia Food and Wine Festival, as he will be shaking things up by serving brand new, never-seen-before dishes to the hungry crowds.

wine and food festival at constantia

Alongside the vino and culinary delights, visitors to the event will be treated to live
musical entertainment and retail therapy in the form of stalls manned by some of Constantia’s popular shop owners (ATMs will be on site and vendors will offer card services).

Line-up for the 2013 Constantia Food and Wine Festival
• FRIDAY, 19 APRIL
Afternoon: Fiona Hare
Evening: Shen Wynberg
• SATURDAY, 20 APRIL
Afternoon: IKE Moriz
Evening: Blackbyrd
• SUNDAY, 21 APRIL
Afternoon: Docetones

More information on the website : http://constantiafoodandwine.co.za/

A way of living…

If in our last newsletter devoted to Safari, we discussed the senses and sensations that the bush can provide, there is one that we reserve for Cape Town and its wine region …  the Taste!

Edito 044

And if the tongue has over 8,000 taste buds, South Africa are more than 800 wineries located between Constantia, Franchhoek, Wellington or Walker Bay to train your papillae…

Bathed in the cool Atlantic Ocean breeze,  the Cape winelands are marked by mountain ranges defining different terroir, each having its own soil, with moderate to strong sunlight and moisture, resulting in a real typicity and very distinctive character.

Sauvignon, then Chardonnay, Viognier, Pinot, Cabernet, Merlot, Shiraz and Pinotage, the one and only endemic varietal, blossom in the valleys of Stellenbosch, Paarl or Robertson. We do not have a wine route, but more than a dozen itineraries that will take you from vineyard to vineyard, from cellar to table, from historic farms to the most modern and refined wineries.

But wine alone would not find as much nobility if not paired with some of the best restaurants of the region. A rich and varied gastronomy combining flavors from different continents, uniting them in the plate with finesse and creativity.

This newsletter number 44 honors two noble Arts. Traveling and the Art of Living in South Africa … And as Epicurus said: “one should hurry into temptation before it goes away“.

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Winelands with family

On a lovely sunday, we decided to spend our day in the beautiful Cape winelands.

We first went to Boschendal Wine Estate. Situated on the edges of Franschhoek, that was the perfect occasion to show our children the beauty of this area and to enjoy a wine tasting in one of the oldest and most known wine estates of the Cape winelands.

We first visited the Wine Tasting Center in the Cellar Door which is the oldest building of the domain. We then had a cellar and vineyards tour with a very knowledgeable guide. We enjoyed the guide’s explanations and our wine tasting especially the Shiraz 2009.

Boschendal is definitely well suited for families. The domain offers vast areas where children can run, have fun and even rest in the shades of the pine trees.

picnic south africa winelands

For lunch, we decided to head towards Paarl for a picnic at the Seidelberg Wine Estate. You can imagine how excited our children were. We ordered a delicious picnic basket with a bottle of Chenin Blanc 2010. Tables and chairs were set in the shade of a fragrant oak tree. We enjoyed one of the  best views of the Paarl area. What a great and relaxing summer afternoon.

Before going back to Cape Town, we made a quick detour via Stellenbosch and we tasted the subtle blend of chocolate and wine pairing at the Waterford Wine Estate. Another great experience  both for the children who love chocolate and for us who really enjoyed this  wine tasting.

Between the wine, the chocolate and the landscapes, that was a lovely tasting day for everybody!

Make your own wine

Have you ever dreamed of making your own wine? Well, I have and for me that dream came true.

Teach how to make your own wine is a truly fulfilling experience. In the end, you really feel proud of having created your own and unique product.

It’s all possible in Stellenbosch, South Africa’s oldest city, packed with historic buildings dating back to the early 1700’s.

make your own wine in south africa

You have to be a group of at least 8 people willing to spend an amazing day together. You will hand pick your grapes yourself, learn the whole process of wine making, stomp the grapes and finally put it in barrel. The day will end with a traditional South African braai (BBQ).

And one year later…

After a barrel ageing you will have the great pleasure of receiving 12 bottles of your own wine a handmade label.

It’s not for persons under the age of 18. Drink responsibly…

The Art & Design Wine road

As wine lovers and modern art enthusiasts we spent a day in the magnificent Cape Winelands where our two passions came together.

We started our day 70 km east of Cape Town, in the lush garden valley of Elgin. For our first wine tasting we stopped at what we can call, a design masterpiece, the Almenkerk Wine Estate.

Almenkerk-wine-estate

The modern tasting room has big windows that give you a panoramic view on the vineyards. You have the choice between a relaxed wine tasting or let’s say a ”technical” one. I made up my mind for the relaxed wine tasting in order to be in harmony with the natural setting while listening to the owners sharing their passions for both art and wine..

Then, we enjoyed a glass of Shiraz around the hand-carved wooden table on the terrace surrounded by modern sculptures. I will never forget the view over the Elgin Valley.

Back on the road, we backtracked a bit to reach the R44 and headed towards Stellenbosch.

A friend of ours recommended us to stop at Hidden Valley, a secluded farm with a stunning design nestled in the Stellenbosch Mountains We did taste one of the best Shiraz in the country. Last but the not the least, the estate restaurant, Ouverture, figures among the top 10 every year.

Ouverture Restaurant

The perfect spot for the lunch. We felt so good and relaxed that it was really difficult to leave. But, there was one place that we didn’t want to miss out.

Then our wine & art tour led us to the Delaire Graff estate. And, WAOW! The estate is simply magnificent: a fusion of striking Cape Dutch architecture with African design.

Delaire Graff

Their collection of modern art pieces (sculptures, paintings …) displays some of South Africa’s finest contemporary artists among which, Dylan Lewis and its cheetahs sculpture erected in the estate’s landscape.

Delaire art gallery

We finished our day on the terrace and we admired the mountain views with a glass of Delaire Chardonnay 2010.

Our organic wine route

Right in the heart of Cape region, my organic wine journey started in the small town of Paarl at the Avondale Wine Estate.

As soon as I arrived at the estate, I savored a delicious wine while I was  enjoying to see the soothing landscapes all around me. No one makes wine like they do at Avondale: it’s a real return to nature. Their baseline at Avondale : because wine is a natural product, its production has to be eco-friendly. The wine I tasted in this property charmed me by its authenticity and was a true delight.

Avondale

I continued my itinerary towards Backsberg estate and their impressive 110 ha  vineyard. Mid way between Paarl and Stellenbosch, this property is located along the slopes of the beautiful Simonsberg Mountains. While contemplating the beauty of nature, I savored a glass of organic certified Chardonnay. What a pleasure! A sense of freedom and serenity… This domain gained the Carbon Neutral status; a great recognition to the efforts provided to be in harmony with nature.

Backsberg estate in south africa

The next step led me to Stellenbosch and Laibach Vineyards. The family of Laibach warmly welcomed me in their wonderful estate. In the heart of a verdant and relaxing setting, I tasted excellent wines, including the famous Ladybird Organic 2004, which has been selected among the best South African organic wines.

Laibach Wine estate

The day ended at Rossendale estate, on the other side of the charming town of Stellenbosch. I was amazed by the natural setting and its majestic mountains surrounding the area. It’s a firm which has chosen to produce wine in a natural way.

This organic wine route was a breath of fresh air and a real back to nature experience. A rediscovery of what makes a great wine, a refined combination between the sun, earth and water.