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Monthly Archives: April 2013

Winelands, a taste of luxury

Everybody knows that I really hate birthdays! But this year, I changed my mind! My boyfriend decided to surprise me with a very special weekend in the Winelands.

Our first stop for the day was the Waterford Wine Estate. We took part at the famous Wine Safari through the property situated on the slopes of the beautiful Helderberg Mountain in the Stellenbosch area. The safari also includes the tasting of Cabernet, Chardonnay, the Kevin Arnold Shiraz and the flagship (and my favorite) The Jem.

water ford estate exterior

After this unique experience, we enjoyed a walk in Stellenbosch. The village is steeped in culture and history with some excellent examples of typical Dutch architecture dating back to the 17th century. For lunch, we stopped at Tokara, a wine estate producing award-winning wines. The property has spectacular views over Stellenbosch and False Bay.

Tokara Wine estate

We were told that was the perfect spot to enjoy a leisurely sundowner. However, we were impatient to reach our next destination, one of the area’s best kept secrets: Boekenhoutskloof wine estate, home of the “Chocolate Block” and many other great wines, and awarded winery of the year 2012 by the Platter’s Guide.

The Chocolate Block

We had the opportunity to do a private wine tasting with Marc Kent, the chief winemaker. A maverick spirit, Marc is unafraid to experiment beyond the unconventional. He’s consistently committed to reach quality on every level and in every detail (chocolate block and syrah are my favorite).

It was a great surprise to find out that my boyfriend booked one night in one of the most luxurious and romantic accommodation in the area: La Residence in Franschhoek. We had The Maharani Suite, where Elton John stays at least one night per year!

La Residence in Franschhoek South Africa

For dinner, we dressed ourselves nicely and got ready for an amazing food experience at the Restaurant Le Quartier Francais, recognized as one of the Top 10 eating establishments in South Africa.

The Tasting Room

The following morning, after a sumptuous breakfast, we headed back  to Cape Town.

It was a truly special weekend and I look forward to the next celebration!!!

Let’s get back in time

To discover the Cape Winelands from a different angle, what about travelling back in time? And why not starting with a ride in one of these vintage cars?

Our first stop will be at the Stellenbosch Village Museum with its four beautiful houses of historical interest and their gardens. Each of these traditional homes represents a different period in the architectural development of Stellenbosch.

Then we head towards the Grande Provence Heritage Wine Estate. Founded about 300 years ago, it’s one of the oldest Wine Estate in the area. We enjoy a Wine Tasting and a delicious lunch at the famous “The Restaurant”. Then, as digestive, let’s have a little nap under the old oak trees.

Grande Provence Heritage Wine Estate

For the vintage car lovers, don’t miss the Vintage Car museum at L’Ormarin. You will the opportunity to look back at more than 100 years of motoring history with a unique and original collection of automobiles, motorcycles, bicycles and memorabilia.

Franschhoek Motor Museum

For the history lovers, you should go to the Huguenot Memorial Museum in Franschhoek. You will discover the history of the French Huguenots before and after their arrival at the Cape of Good Hope.

On your way back to Cape Town, why not to stopover at the Groot Drakenstein Cultural Centre located between Franschhoek and Paarl ? You will see the abandoned correctional facility where Nelson Mandela spent the last years of its incarceration as well as the statue built in his honor.

Dutch_Reformed_Church,_Franschhoek,_South_Africa-blog

With the first pressing of the honorable grape in 1659, the Cape Winelands history gives you an overview of the rich heritage of the Western Cape area. By driving along the wine route, you will travel through 350 years of South African history.

7 top Jazz venues Cape Town

On the occasion of the famous Cape Town Jazz Festival that will take place next weekend (5th and 6th of April), we are pleased to share our past experiences. We’ve had the chance to clean our ears in unusual places, each having their own way of giving us the jazz fiber.

During the festival you will obviously be able to discover this music thanks to many concerts organized if you are not yet familiar with jazz. Moreover, if two days are definitely not enough, here are seven places that we recommend you to entertain your senses all year round in Cape Town.

Sunday Jazz Brunch at the Winchester Mansions
For a Sunday brunch with a difference, head out to the seaside hotel, Winchester Mansions. Enjoy the live jazz band while you browse the complimentary Sunday newspaper and sip on a glass of bubbly. Choose from a selection of dishes from the buffet at will. Cost is R225 per person, and the music starts at 11am and ends at 2pm. 221 Beach Road | Sea Point | Cape Town

cap jazz festival in south africa

Hanover Street Jazz Club
With its double-storey, Hanover Street Jazz Club is a classy jazz venue housed in Cape Town’s Grand West Casino. It makes you think of New Orleans circa 1920—the golden days of jazz. The well-stocked bar will keep you happy while tapping your feet to the beats from the Voodoo-capital. Doors open at 9pm.
Grand West Casino | Goodwood |

Thuthuka Jazz Café
The owner Laura Ndukwana offers visitors a night overflowing with local flavour at this popular Gugulethu-based café. You will enjoy world-class jazz mixed with traditional musical elements. Popular amongst Capetonians and tourists, we can expect a truly South African experience. A potjie of culture combining  musical expression and culinary splendours.
Gugulethu |

Studio 7
If you’re looking for private concerts, you will love this new Sea Point establishment. Face brick walls, wooden floors and soft sofas provide the ultimate relaxing environment for some serious musical reflection. The acoustic stage has showcased some talented local musicians, including Zolani Mahola, Vusi Mahlasela, Arno Carstens and Albert Frost. You can see some of these talented musicians  the first and last Sunday of the month.
213 High Level Rd | Sea Point | Cape Town |

West End Jazz Club
Regarded as a prime venue for live performances, you can expect to rub shoulders with serious jazz fundis. Dark velvet drapery and opulent contemporary furnishings set the scene for top local and international artists to do what they do the best. Open every Friday and Saturday from 5pm till late. No under 21s allowed.
Cine 400 Building | College Road | Rylands |

Kaleidoscope Café
Every Friday you can bob your head and tap your feet to the spellbinding jazz beats at this Claremont café. For a mere R100 per person, you can attend to the show as well as enjoy a delicious meal of lamb curry or chicken soup. If you just prefer to watch  the show, you only have to pay R60.Show starts at 7:30 pm sharp.
85 Main Road | Claremont | Cape Town |

fred-wesley-xo-blog

Tuesday Jazz at Alexander Upstairs
Alexander Bar features live jazz every tuesday night at 8pm. Hosting both emerging artists and long-time maestros, the 40-seater theatre space is ideal for those looking for high quality, up-close-and-personal improvisation early in the week (there’s no other city centre jazz venues that feature live music on Tuesdays). The sessions are curated by Benguela bassist Brydon Bolton.
76 Strand Street | City Centre | Cape Town |