Another great food find in the Eastern Cape – in fact not ONE but TWO!

Our inFood flatbread

Spending time recently with friends in St. Francis Bay we were introduced to two great ‘foodie’ finds.   The first we didn’t have time to sample – but the reviews speak for themselves and we shall definitely plan another visit soon to sample some of their highly rated cuisine.  Charles Black’s Five Elements is a custom designed restaurant nestled amongst new vineyards, indigenous forest and olive orchards just on the outskirts of this small coastal resort.  Check out their website www.five-elements.co.za – how tempting is that?!

The second find was a small eaterie in Jeffreys Bay called inFood in Schelde Street just a few hundred yards from the beach.   Wonderful coffee, a fantastic range of artisan breads, patisseries more at home in Parisian cafes and an interesting breakfast, lunch and vegetarian menu filled with fresh and innovative ideas.   Packed to capacity on a Saturday mid-morning (evidence of its growing reputation) we enjoyed a 4 cheese flatbread embellished with avocado, chorizo and a delicious tomato chilli chutney, decorated with a handful of freshly picked rocket.  We followed this with one of their zany little individual lemon meringue pies.  Delicious – all served with a smile and at speed.

A sandwich with a difference @ inFood in Jeffreys Bay

Their website www.infood.co.za is well worth a visit.   You’ll need little else to tempt you to get travelling to this gem on the Eastern Cape coast.

 

Kingston Fine Dining just outside Bathurst

The ‘girls’ celebrating a birthday at Kingston Farm!

A recent blog post in The Global Table reminded me of a wonderful dining experience to be had at Kingston Farm, a beautifully restored Edwardian villa, just outside Bathurst.   Booking is required and their contact details are 046-625-0129 or 083-262-4813 or email – kingstonfarm@mac.com

This is fine dining in elegant surroundings – reminiscent of days gone by.   Celebrate a birthday, an anniversary or a special occasion by savouring Carla’s superb cuisine and presentation.   Log on to their website www.kingstonfarm.wordpress.com for details of the great Anglo Boer War Sausage War they are hosting on 27th October 2013 as part of the Bathurst Country Affair that weekend.  It should be fun – who will win – the English Banger of the South African Boerewors?   They have also developed a very special delicious sounding fixed price menu for the evenings of 26/27/28 October 2013.

Rhino slaughter at Eastern Cape Private Reserve

The news that 4 rhinos had been slaughtered two nights ago on the Lalibela Private Game Reserve near Grahamstown has saddened us all.  These majestic animals have become the bounty of unscrupulous, greedy individuals feeding the insatiable appetite for rhino horn in the East. We need to be supporting all the organisations that are trying to prevent these tragic events from occurring and bringing the cowardly perpetrators to book.   Check out the website www.savingrhinos.org for some very interesting facts about this escalating problem.

Heritage weekend at Hogsback – 21-24 September


Here’s the programme for the weekend:

❀.°.✿✿✿.°.❀ OVER THE HERITAGE LONG WEEKEND ✿ SOMETHING FOR THE FAMILY ✿ ENJOY AN OUTING TO NATURE’S SPRING GARDEN VISIT THE HOGSBACK SPRING SAUNTER ❀❀❀❀❀❀ ✿.°.❀HOGSBACK 2012❀.°.✿✿ .°.❀HOGSBACK 2012❀.°.✿ SPRING FESTIVAL PROGRAM

✿ FRIDAY 21ST SEPTEMBER✿ 9.30am for 10am GUIDED GARDEN VISITS (R60) with tea. Tickets/booking essential, at Information Centre 9am-5pm Pottery & Art Exhibition at “STARWAYS” 9.30am-5.30pm “ECO SHRINE &STUDIO” 9.30am-3pm “HIDDEN AWAY” Tea & Crafts Garden 10am-5pm Amatole Crafts at “KINGS LODGE” 10am-5pm Free Slideshow “Hogsback through the Year” at “MIRRORS ¸.•´ GALLERY & CRYSTAL CORNER” 5pm Movie at “FEATHERS CINE CAFE” “Lord of the Rings” Film 1 – The Fellowship of the Ring 8pm Poetry Reading Live at “THE ROSE, STARWAYS” ✿ ✿❀*•.¸.。 :*❤ *❀ *❤ *:。 ¸.•*❀✿ ✿

❀SATURDAY 22ND SEPTEMBER❀ ❀SPRING SAUNTER SELF GUIDED GARDEN VISITS❀ Tickets at the Vistors Information Centre 9 am-5 pm Demonstration of Hand Spinning at “MISTLEA” 10 am-12 Noon Hogsback Morning Market; Bouncy Castle & Face Painting at “BUTTERFLYS” 9 am -5 pm Pottery & Art Exhibition at “STARWAYS” 9.30 am-3 pm “HIDDEN AWAY” Tea & Crafts Garden 9.30 am-5.30 pm “ECO SHRINE & STUDIO” 9.30 am-5.00pm Biblical Theme Flower Arrangements at the Church – St Patrick’s on the Hill 10 am-5pm Flower Arrangements & Bonsai Display at “THE EDGE” 10 am-5 pm Free Port & Muscadel Tasting at “THE EDGE” 10 am-5pm Lynn Wynn Crafts at “KINGS LODGE” 11 am-5pm “Hogsback Through The Year” Free Slide Show at “MIRRORS GALLERY &CRYSTAL CORNER” 11am Pottery Demonstration-Throwing Teapots-by Anton van der Merwe at “STARWAYS POTTERY” 2.30 pm Jam Making Demonstration at “MISTYFELL” 3 pm Sacred Knotting Workshop, Create Your Own Talisman Necklace, at “MIRRORS GALLERY & CRYSTAL CORNER” 5 pm Movie at “FEATHERS CINE CAFE” “Lord of the Rings” Film 2 – The Two Towers 6 pm Build your own hamburger at “SWALLOWTAIL COUNTRY ESTATE” with live 80‘s music entertainment by JQN, dancing and Pub 8 pm “Simply Broadway” live at “THE ROSE, STARWAYS”

❀SUNDAY 23RD SEPTEMBER❀ ❀SPRING SAUNTER SELF GUIDED GARDEN VISITS❀ Tickets at the Vistors Information Centre 9 am-5 pm Demonstration of Hand Spinning at “MISTLEA” 9 am-1 pm Potjie-Kos competition at “SWALLOWTAIL COUNTRY ESTATE” 9 am-5 pm Pottery & Art Exhibition at “STARWAYS” 9 am-6 pm Bouncy Castle & Face Painting at “BUTTERFLYS” 9.30 am-3 pm “HIDDEN AWAY” Tea & Crafts Garden 9.30 am-5.30 pm “ECO SHRINE & STUDIO” 9.30 am-5.00pm Biblical Theme Flower Arrangements at the Church – St Patrick’s on the Hill 10 am Jam Making Demonstration at “MISTYFELL” 10 am Sacred Knotting Workshop, Create Your Own Talisman Necklace, at “MIRRORS GALLERY & CRYSTAL CORNER” 10 am-5pm “Hogsback Through The Year” Free Slide Show at “MIRRORS GALLERY &CRYSTAL CORNER 10 am-5pm Flower Arrangements & Bonsai Display at “THE EDGE” 10 am-5 pm Free Port & Muscadel Tasting at “THE EDGE” 10 am-5pm Lynn Wynn Crafts at “KINGS LODGE” 10.30 am-1 pm Raku Firing at “STARWAYS POTTERY” 5 pm Movie at “FEATHERS CINE CAFE” “Lord of the Rings” Film 3 – Return of the King 8 pm “Vinyl Evening” Dance up a storm at “THE ROSE, STARWAYS”

 

❀MONDAY 24TH SEPTEMBER❀ ❀SPRING SAUNTER SELF GUIDED GARDEN VISITS❀ Tickets at the Vistors Information Centre 9 am-5 pm Demonstration of Hand Spinning at “MISTLEA” 9 am-5 pm Pottery & Art Exhibition at “STARWAYS” 9.30 am-12.30 pm Heritage Day Market; Bouncy Castle & Face Painting at “BUTTERFLYS” 9.30 am-3 pm “HIDDEN AWAY” Tea & Crafts Garden 9.30 am-5pm “Hogsback Through The Year” Free Slide Show at “MIRRORS GALLERY &CRYSTAL CORNER” 9.30 am-5.30 pm “ECO SHRINE & STUDIO” 9.30 am-5.00pm Biblical Theme Flower Arrangements at the Church – St Patrick’s on the Hill 10 am Jam Making Demonstration at “MISTYFELL” 10 am-5pm Flower Arrangements & Bonsai Display at “THE EDGE” ❀❀❀❀❀❀

Two special events at The Fernery Lodge in the Tsitsikamma in the next couple of weeks.

If you are anywhere near the Tsitsikamma on the evenings 29 September 2012 or 6 October 2012, why not take advantage of two very special culinary evenings being put together by talented chef Louise Utermark.  Special prices apply:
29 September: The package includes a 5 course meal complimented by Remhoogte wines from Stellenbosch and of course wonderful accommodation either in The Fernery Chalets at R1070 pp or in The Fernery Lodge suites at R1300 pp with a full breakfast the next morning.
06 October : This will be a Music Hall evening with pianist Marie Skeen on the baby grand accompanied by a guitar and saxophone.  The meal that evening also under the guidance of Louise will be a 4 course menu d’hote preceded by canapes.  Accommodation that evening and breakfast the next morning is included in the package.  Staying at The Fernery Chalets the price will be R950 pp and at The Fernery Lodge R1180 pp.

Check out this venue on www.isikotours.co.za – it is one of the highly recommended destinations featured in their portfolio of experiences.

 

Bathurst Country Affair 26 -28 October 2012

Bathurst will be celebrating Spring in style at the end of October – with food, wine and life style attractions to compliment the talent of a myriad crafters. Crafting demonstrations, galleries galore, great dining opportunities, fun for the whole family.   If you’ve already got the Bedford Garden Festival pencilled in for that weekend and you live near Port Alfred give Bathurst a ‘look in’ on your way up or on your way back.

 

Winter in the Eastern Cape

A snowy greeting on entering the Eastern Cape

The splendour of the Eastern Highlands

Travelling home to the Eastern Cape from Natal last week we journeyed through a winter wonderland.  The Drakensberg skirting the R56 Matatiele/Mount Fletcher/Maclear route was covered in snow – a scene very different from what a tourist to South Africa would expect – even though it was mid-winter.   This route makes a change from the East London/Umtata one normally taken by folk travelling between the two Provinces.  The scenery is spectacular, the road is less travelled and the condition of the road is good.   Just a very short 2 km patch going through Lady Frere is concrete and a bit uneven – but otherwise it is a joy to drive.   Elliot, Ugie and Maclear offer good stopping off points for a coffee and a break.   These areas all offer wonderful fly fishing, great hiking, plenty of rock art sites, lots of accommodation options and hopefully when Tiffindell re-opens next year a variety of winter sports.

The Eastern Cape coastline has something to shout about….

Whether you’re into the great Billabong Surf Pro at Jeffreys, the world famous Sardine Run along the Transkei Coast, the numerous coastal hiking Trails in the Tsistikamma and in the Alexandria area or are interested in a simple old-fashioned bucket and spade family holiday, the Eastern Cape is the place to be in July.   Our beaches are some of the best in South Africa and the least crowded in the world, our winter climate is temperate and whilst we have experienced some of the Cape winter rains this year and some cold, particularly this weekend, generally the sun shines and the wind does not blow too hard.  With loads of accommodation options available  along this 2954km coastline (almost a third of the entire country’s coastline!) this in an area that should be on everyone’s’ bucket list.  A new Getaway Guide just published by Sunbird Publisher called Eastern Cape & Wild Coast by Michael Brett (ISBN 978-1-920289-21-8) would be a  valuable addition to your holiday research.

Bulungula Lodge – a Backpackers worth a visit

I was referred by a friend to Bulungula Lodge on the Wild Coast of the Eastern Cape as a destination that I should visit with a view to featuring it on my website. I was intrigued.  As a student of the 1960’s backpacking was the way that I started exploring the world –  Europe first and then eastwards to India – but that was a long time ago.  Now, in my 60’s I was being referred to a Backpackers Lodge on our wildest coastline, deep in the heart of rural South Africa!   My assumption was that this MUST be somewhere special and I just had to go and experience it for myself. Continue reading

New Eastern Cape Coastal Route

I have read to-day about a new Eastern Cape Coastal Route that will be launched at Indaba in May by ECPTA in conjunction with Open Africa.   It will apparently take the form of a glossy brochure and a DVD, presumably aimed at Tour Operators and Travel Agents.  This initiative is good news for the all those involved in the tourism industry in the Province, as the more exposure the region has, the more chance we have of receiving some extra visitors. Continue reading

A visit to Rhodes – up high in the Eastern Cape Highlands

Who or what is WESSA, I asked myself, having been told recently of a wonderful Mountain Excursion that took place a couple of weekends ago organised by the local Grahamstown branch.  The programme covered subjects such as the geology and palaentology of the area, the mountain flora and vegetation, the birds and mammals, rock art, early history and the cultural and architectural history of Rhodes village which was to be their base for the duration of the excursion.   Continue reading