Berets and Baguettes

No I’m not talking about France (although I wish I was), I’m actually talking about the festivities that take place every 14th of July in the quaint little town of Franschhoek in the Western Cape of South Africa.  Franschhoek, which is Afrikaans for “French Corner”, is one of the oldest towns in South Africa and was first established in 1688 when the French Huguenot refugees began to populate the valley.  The town celebrates its French heritage in every way as can be seen by the Huguenot Monument which stands at the end of the town.  It also embraces French traditions, one of which is celebrating the national day of France aka Bastille Day!

It’s one of the best times to visit Franschhoek as the whole town gets decorated with French flags and banners creating the most enchanting atmosphere.  Looking around all you see is red, white and blue as well as the stereotypical French Beret being worn by all the locals and visitors alike.  As you drive down the main road you have a sense of being transported to a different continent and leaving South Africa behind.

The festival takes place over the whole weekend and you can purchase yourself a Saturday pass, a Sunday pass, or if you’re feeling really enthusiastic you can even purchase both!  I would recommend buying a Saturday pass and then spending Sunday exploring the town and enjoying the many amazing wine farms in the area.

We drove up on Saturday, dropped our bags off at our AirBnB and walked to the festival (luckily it was close enough!).  The setup is incredible, the floor gets covered with wood chips and all the wine and food stalls as well as the main stage and dance floor are underneath a huge white marquee.  A live band plays on the stage as everyone walks from stall to stall tasting the various wines on offer.  There is also lots of mouth-watering French themed food you can purchase to keep you fueled up for the day!  A day pass gets you a free wine glass which you get as you enter, as well as five free wine-tastings and R20 off a bottle of wine.  The best thing about the experience is that the festivities continue late into the night at various restaurants and bars.  We wondered off and headed to Station, a restaurant/pub that had transformed itself for the occasion, with a stage and dance floor setup we knew it was the place to be.  We danced into the night and collapsed into our beds exhausted but content.

The next day, after popping a few pain killers to nurse our aching heads, we decided to stroll into town and enjoy breakfast at one of the many beautifully quaint cafes dotted along the main street.  With food in our bellies and feeling far better for it we ambled along the main road exploring the numerous art galleries and boutique stores that one can only find in Franschhoek.  We decided to make the most of our time in the area and stopped and the spectacular Vrede en Lust wine estate on our way back to Cape Town.  I am a complete wine enthusiast and as I had never been before I was really looking forward to experiencing something new!  Walking through the estate I was absolutely blown away by the beauty of the place.  The tasting room looks out onto one of the estates glorious vineyards with the snow-capped mountains creating a picture perfect back drop.  With the fire roaring, we settled down and enjoyed the tasting which was really incredible.  Having never tasted their wines before I was blown away by the depth of their flavour and I loved every one!  We also decided to order a cheese and charcuterie platter from their restaurant which was not only easy on the eyes but was probably one of the best I’ve had in my wine tasting adventures.

What a perfect weekend!

A xx


Boesmanskloof Hike

Firstly let me start by saying that I do not like camping.  I would honestly rather do absolutely ANYTHING else besides camping.  Unless its glamping of course!

A few friends had been chatting about doing a weekend away to Hermanus with the intention of hiking up to a “hut” in the mountains on the Saturday, spending the night there, and then hiking back the next day.  NOT my idea of fun.  I was all for spending a weekend in Hermanus but I was far more keen on spending the weekend exploring the incredible wine route along the Hemel en Aarde Valley which consists of 12 stunning wine farms dotted along the picturesque route.

Now that’s my idea of a great weekend away!  However, wine tasting was promised on Sunday and so I ended up committing to going along for the hike too.  What was portrayed as a rather leisurely stroll turned into the most grueling four and a half hours of my life!  Now I am proud to say that due to favourable genetics I am a naturally fit person, and after 3 hours of trekking through the glorious wilderness I had had enough and was determined to get to that bloody hut as fast as my little legs would carry me.

When I get on a mission there is no stopping me!  And so to the surprise of my fellow hikers (specifically the guys in the group) I powered on by myself and ended up at the hut 30 minutes before everyone else!  I have to say it was worth it to see the awe on their faces!  The hike turned out to be a truly incredible experience, with beauty I had honestly never seen before.  One of my favourite parts was coming across a stunning natural dam that a few of my more adventurous friends decided to take a dip in.  I for one did not want to risk dying of hypothermia!

The “hut” turned out to be a gorgeous little cabin with proper beds, a kitchen and dining room, a hot shower and a flushing toilet.  Thank the Lord!! And so it was a well deserved respite after making my legs endure what felt like climbing Mt Everest.  Once everyone else arrived the evening consisted of drinking wine, playing card games and sharing a meal together.  And also making the decision that there was not a chance we were going to attempt the hike back the following day!  Luckily we sorted out a lift back and so the weekend ended with exploring some wine farms and having dinner at Lizette’s in Hermanus which I can highly recommend!

All in all it was an absolutely fantastic weekend and many special memories were made.  I would actually highly recommend the hike but make sure that if you want to make it a more relaxed experience to give yourself the full day to get to the hut.  It is a 16 km hike after all!

A xx

P.S. If you’re interested in going on this adventure click on the following link: Boesmanskloof Mcgregor Hike


Jordan Wine Estate

On Saturday I had the amazing experience of visiting Jordan Wine Estate for the very first time!  I have tasted their wine before at restaurants and have even bought bottles from the shops to enjoy at home but I had never actually been to the estate.  With it only being an hours drive from Cape Town, I thought I would go and have the full experience at their tasting room!

The wine estate is located in Stellenbosch at the end of a long winding road, lined with trees and stunning natural beauty.  It was a chilly, rainy day and the drizzle and mist made everything have a mystical, almost enchanted aura.  I knew I was in for a treat.

I was treated to two different tastings, the first was a tasting of 6 wines all from their Chameleon range.  All the proceeds of the range go towards the Jordan Chameleon Research Bursary which is an initiative started by the Jordans, whereby the tuition and research costs of a PhD student is funded by the proceeds.  What an incredible way to give back to the community, and on top of that the wines form the Chameleon range are just gorgeous!

The second tasting consisted of 3 of their best wines, each being served in its own uniquely shaped glass to enhance the flavour of the wine.  My favourite was the Jordan Nine Yards Chardonnay 2016 .  The tastes of lime, citrus and fragrant oak spice come through with a full, rich, slightly buttery taste left in the mouth.  Absolute heaven!!!

We decided to get a cheese and charcuterie board to accompany the last tasting which was absolutely delicious and hit the spot perfectly.  Yet another reason to visit this incredible estate!  Make sure to pay Jordan Wine Estate a visit the next time you’re in the area, you won’t be disappointed.

A xx

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Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

One of my favourite things to do on a lazy weekend afternoon is to go have a picnic in the exquisite Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.  Its acclaimed as one of the great Botanic Gardens of the world and it’s literally 1 km from where I live in Cape Town.  How lucky am I!

The gardens are absolutely huge, you can explore and walk around for an entire day without seeing everything that’s there.  What captures me the most is the raw, unedited beauty of the place.  There’s a different tree or flower everywhere you look, some of which I could stand and take photos of for hours and still not be able to capture their beauty.  The best thing to do is to get lost on one of the thousands of different paths that meandre and criss-cross around the gardens.  You’re bound to end up in a secret spot that you’ve never been to before, seeing so much beauty along the way.

My personal favourite thing to do is to pack a selection of delicious cheeses, crackers, fruit and a bottle of champagne (of course); a picnic blanket and a good book and to then spend the afternoon relaxing on one of the many rolling lawns.  You can nature and people watch for hours on end, read your book or even play a few games!

If you ever visit Cape Town it’s definitely something that you HAVE to do before you leave!

A xx

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Hermanus Weekend Away

I’m so excited to write my first travel post for you!

It’s been a rather uneventful year so far on the travel front but this past weekend was a long weekend too so a group of us decided to spend it in Hermanus.

Hermanus is a quaint beach side town located about 1hr30mins outside of Cape Town.  It has developed massively over the past few years and has now got so many cute restaurants, bistros, art galleries and boutiques to try out!  A lot of them are located along the beach front so there is the most spectacular view of the sea while you’re meandering about.  The best time to visit would be during whale season.  Hermanus has been rated by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) as one of the twelve best whale watching locations in the world, and it is often regarded as the heart of the whale route.  There are different types of whales that pop in for a visit and they come during different times of the year.  The best time to visit is during October when  The Hermanus Whale Festival is underway.  The festival includes a variety of things to do, click on the link for more info!

My favourite thing to do when I’m in the area is to make the most of the gorgeous wine farms that are dotted all around the town.  You could go for a full weekend and not be able to visit them all.  We went to Sumaridge Wine Estate and Benguela Cove.

Sumaridge Wine Estate is located on the most incredible property with a beautiful dam and an opulent lawn to relax on while sipping some of their delicious vino.  You can’t do wine tasting on the lawn so we ventured into the main building which is a gorgeous 3 story Victorian looking mansion with wines growing up the walls and which has a stunning view of the dam and surrounding vineyards.

The next day we tried out Benguela Cove which has recently been upgraded into an absolutely stunning venue.  Think art gallery meets modern minimalist chic.  If you appreciate art and design then this place is perfect for you.  It’s also located on a big dam and surrounded by lustrous lawns so you feel at peace straight away.  Their dessert wines are to die for!

I can’t wait to go back and find out more of what this beautiful region has to offer.

A xx