I thought December would be a nice quiet and relaxing month for me. I decided to not do very much social media wise and take a break from the blog, stay away from my phone and camera as much as possible and rather enjoy every moment of my yearly family and friend- vacay in South Africa. I would rest this time around and be relaxed and ready for 2018 . . . I thought . . .
I can honestly say I am more exhausted now that I am back than before I went. In three weeks I have touched down in 8 South African cities. I have drunk copious amounts of gorgeous South African wines and ate the most delicious foods. I have stayed up past 1 am most nights and some nights later than that. I have seen more sunrises in the last 3 weeks than in the whole of 2017. I caught up with old friends, made new friends and got to see most of my family again. Been blown by the Cape winds, scorched by the Dolphin Coast sun & greeted by the Freestate flat landscape and open roads. I sang songs in Afrikaans and tried to catch chickens. I am exhausted, so exhausted that I somehow managed to sleep on Swiss Economy on my way back to Zurich. Every time I leave South Africa I always come back with the most amazing memories. For this I am incredibly grateful.
When in the Cape Province…
Take a light pullover & your bestie and prepare your pallet for the best wines & most gorgeous sunsets on God’s earth! There is so much to do in the Cape. You would need a month to do everything on your list and still come back not having done it all. My bucket list add-on is to see more of the beautiful Cape Province and its just endless beauty. God really showed off when He created this part of the world.
-THE WARWICK ESTATE – StellenBosch –
Situated between Stellenbosch and Klapmuts, Warwick Estate is owned and run by the Ratcliffe family. The beautiful views from the farm is not the only reason to visit. The estate offers catered picnics with yummy food choices that would suit anyone. We were a party of vegetarians & gluten intolerant “dronkies” and the picnic choices presented to us were mouth watering. We complimented the food with the Warwick Dry Rose & the Warwick Sauvignon Blanc. The Warwick Sauvignon Blanc is my absolute favourite white wine. This wine bring such pleasure to me and reminds me of good times, family & friends times & South African summers. I can highly recommend this if you are a Sauvignon blanc lover. Also the Dry Rose is an excellent summer choice. Visiting the Warwick estate would always be a highlight for me. One of the many great things about South Africa are these great ways to escape & enjoy weekends and holidays. Who would not enjoy a picnic on a wine estate where kids can run around and play in big open spaces and adults can sample wines while indulging in creative, mouthwatering foods and share good times with friends and family.Book your picnic here.
THE WINE TRAM -FRANSCHOEK
The Franchoek wine tram is a great & creative way to visit the exquisite wine farms. It’s not only very quaint and fun but it cuts out drinking and driving. It’s a relaxing and fun way to also see the the beautiful landscapes and never ending wine-lands framed by the beautiful picturesque mountains around. There are 6 different lines to follow so you can choose which line you would like most. You travel from wine farm to wine farm with the tram or to some you need to use the equally charming bus. You decide at which farms you want to hop off for wine tasting. Some farms offer lunches and catered picnics. The wine tram has a well organised team and offers a service to keep the wine you might purchase at the farms with them till the end of the tour so you don’t have to cart the wine with you from farm to farm. I highly recommend the wine tram for couples, newly weds and for a best friend getaway. I recommend the green line because the landscape views are gorgeous. Book your tram experience here
-FRANSCHOEK WINE TRAM – WE ATE AT : MONT ROCHELLE-
Wine tasting makes a girl hungry. We jumped off at Mont Rochelle estate for our lunch and the typically South African food was so fresh and full of flavour and taste. This estate has a very interesting and long history of wine making and now belongs to Sir Richard Branson. The country kitchen restaurant serves foods with a little Mediterranean flair. Pre-booked picnics are also available. I will most certainly love to visit here again and make more of the experience.
-FRANSCHOEK : WE SLEPT AT :THE OLIVE COTTAGE-
This cottage was a treat. So secluded and away from everything with only a few other cottages around. This quaint little house is nestled in the Frranschoek mountains and brings promise of rest and truly getting away from it all! During our stay the legendary Cape south eastern wind blew so mightily around the house I thought that the roof might lift at one point. I was actually genuinely worried the little rental car might not be there in the morning. In the morning we had coffee on the stoep and with my favourite South African treat to dunk in our coffee . . . rusks are the one South African thing I miss eating. The views we had around the house were spectacular. What a privilege to wake up here. Book the olive cottage here
-The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront-
Of course every day starts with what it ended with the day before to prevent a hangover, in our case it was Champagne ! This is really good South African advice! Champagne at the waterfront while watching passers-by & having table mountain as a back drop – wow ! Absolutely stunning!
-Sun set & shots at Camps bay-
Going away with your besties means little sleep, loads of talking and physical activity like shopping. Even though we only quench our thirst with Vino , we also needed some energy. We had some Jagerbomb Shots to get our energy levels up. In Camps Bay there are many hip restaurants and bars to choose from and on the main road you have the mountains as a back drop and a panoramic view of the ocean. What a feeling, having a sundowner while watching the sun go down over the Atlantic Ocean with a cool Cape breeze in your hair. Friendly faces chatting loudly around you excited about life and what the next year will bring. For a moment you can just blend in and pretend you also live here and all is good and the world is a good perfect place. The perfect scenery of a modern world nestled in the most beautiful surroundings imaginable made by only the hands of a great God, makes a girl realise that South Africa still has so much to offer. This beautiful country and beautiful people is still home somehow. Sitting there at that moment all the problems that the country faces seemed to fade away.
-NEXT STOP :HOUT BAY-
Just a short drive from Camps Bay is Hout Bay. Photos cannot possibly show the true beauty of these places. Only the eye can testify the magnificence of it. When you are here you feel you can just be. It’s simply indescribable how these mountains that surround the sea pull on a heart.
Because the wine is too good in South Africa to put on hold at any given time, we had to be creative with our next destination. I had heard a lot about Kalk Bay, but had never been there. This little seaside town is charming and reminds me of a simpler time in South Africa. It reminds me of how Knysna use to be before it got so popular & touristy. Kalk Bay is quiet with a lot of independent shops still owned by locals. Creativity is still big and no big brand stores in sight. The charming old houses in the quiet cobblestoned streets made me nostalgic, missing holidays with grandparents and simpler times.
Such a privilege to have had this experience and I will definitely visit all these places again. The Cape is simply so beautiful & the people are funny and friendly and with the little they have so happy with life. Everyone just trying to make it.
-CHRISTMAS IN JOBURG-
I spent Christmas in Joburg with my husband and my in-laws. We had lovely dinners and lunches, never quiet always loud and full of laughter & craziness. This is my cray cray nephew at our Christmas Day Lunch!
The only professional photo of me this whole holiday was taken by my sister-in-law. My hubby did me the favour of keeping me upright in this picture. I am already running on fumes here and my only sustainable source of energy at this point was Sauvignon Blanc.
-NEW YEARS IN UVONGO -SOUTH COAST NATAL-
Uvongo is a little town on the South Coast of Kwazulu Natal also known as Zululand). Hot sunny days and golden beaches are the main attraction here. Apartments with beautiful views and so near to the beach you can see the dolphins play right in front of you. Beaches are packed with holiday makers, umbrellas and sandcastles everywhere. It was the first time in years that I spent New Years with my mom and brother again. We just stayed at our apartment and spent the evening with friends, listened to music & had a braai to see the new year in. Unfortunately I have no great pictures of Uvongo. But here is one of my big brother and me seeing the New Year in!
-Next stop :Ballito –
I am incredibly blessed to have so many friends and family who want to spend time with me. Even though this touching down in one place and then moving on the another is taxing on an old gal’s body the promise of wine is always a great encourager. Ballito is on the North Coast of Natal, also known as the dolphin coast. It’s a bit more windy but also very hot and again golden beaches with really big waves. It has become a lot more developed than before. Nonetheless still a lovely destination. Very festive and very friendly. I spent a few days with my childhood bestie. We went to the beach in the morning early and sat there till the end of the day. When I am at the beach I make a point of digging my hands and feet into the soft sand so that I would have a memory to hold onto when I feel a bit sad and down during the grey European winter. When we returned to Marli’s Penthouse apartment after dinner at one of the local restaurants we sat on her terrace and had a last glass of wine because sleeping means less time together. It was full moon and we had an amazing view from their apartment terrace. Photos do not do this view justice.
-The Freestate and my Home Town-
I come from a small town in the Freestate. This is where I have made some awesome childhood memories & built great friendships. I still have some friends who live here and so I love visiting and seeing how things have changed. It’s not a picturesque town and the landscape is very flat. If your dog runs away from home you can still see it for 3 days straight. Yet there is still something about this small mining town ironically called Welkom (welcome in Afrikaans). I landed at the Joburg airport and my heart was full because my school friend picked me up at the airport and we started our road trip back to our hometown. Catching up with what is going on in our lives but both inwardly feeling some kind of anticipation as we near the town. Our old homes have new owners, new life and drastic changes. The places where we laughed and cried and made memories that can never be erased may change but those memories always linger.
In the Freestate it can get extremely hot. At one point it was up to 39 Degrees and you don’t know what to do with yourself. When you live here a pool is a priority. Another late night here with another bunch of cray- cray friends. The amazing thing about my friendships are that these friendships stay true over time and distance. We make new memories and even though we only see each other once a year nothing changes. Nothing is uncomfortable or weird. It’s friends that know my heart and down to earth fun times that makes an an ugly little town attractive. At this point of my so called holiday the earliest my head touched a pillow was probably 00:00. Honestly every night was a late one and my body was starting to feel it. One of the pictures is the morning after and it is a consequence of not only the night before but the two weeks of nights before and believe me it was not a pretty picture under those sunglasses. At this point I actually felt as flat as the landscape surrounding me…
-Last stop -PRETORIA-
A few of my cousins live in Pretoria. Fun fact :Even though Cape Town is the mother city of South Africa, Pretoria is the capital of South Africa. My cousin Esme is one of my special inner circle people. I feel a sense of belonging here that I can explain in as many words as: blood we share and the love of Sauvignon Blanc, good champagne & always finding a reason to celebrate.
I was treated with more old school friend get togethers and I also got to see all the other cousins that I haven’t seen in years. This was a holiday packed with pleasure and surprises!
Live is the longest thing you will ever do, but it is still short. We have to make the best of it! I came away from this holiday absolutely exhausted. I am still trying to recover. But it was worth every waking moment! I loved every single moment. I enjoyed every hour with my family and friends. And that is the way South Africans roll.
Incredibly grateful to all my friends and family who made time for me and who took me everywhere and truly spoiled me. Grateful to my mommy for sharing me with everyone and for the good and special time we had together. Grateful to my husband for affording me these trips to spend these special times with my family and friends.
All photos were taken by iPhone and every time by extreme amateurs including me. They are terrible and I look terrible but they testify of putting my “work” and technology aside in order to be really present in every moment!
Wishing you all the best for 2018!