Thursday, 3 December 2015

WILDERNESS IS A WOW !

Our visit to Wild on Wilderness (WOW) coincided with the Thousand Sensations Craft Beer & Food Festival. The organizer, Alewijn Dippenaar brought together 13 Craft Breweries, i.e.  Stellenbrau Redbridge , Wild Clover , Robertson , Boathouse , South Cape Breweries – Glenhof , Misty Meadows , Karusa , Sneeuberg , Mitchell’s , Cederbrew , Devil’s Peak  and Triggerfish . 



There were many eateries to decide on and a number of great entertainments, I particularly loved the drumming sessions. A birdie whispered that 2016 is going to be bigger and better. Add this to your calendar events.  

One must admire the art of crafted beer where everything is done mostly by hand, this includes crushing the malt, stirring the mash, etc. and for someone that does like beer, I am glad that this serves my taste buds.



WOW has many activities on its doorstep and this is a major contributor in my eyes. One of these groups is called Eden Adventures, located at Fairy Knowe Hotel. They focus on outdoor adventure tours, and one of the best ways to get to know the area is through canoeing. 


These canoes comes in single, double and triple for hire and equipped with paddles, buoyancy aids and waterproof containers where you can store bags, cameras etc. 





                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Our Warrior on Wheels, Damian Gower was nervous about doing the activity, yet daring enough to do it.  








The Kaaimans River becomes part of the National Park with the canoes and an entry fee must be paid. This is one area where I felt that the National Park should exempt these kind of activities from paying an extra fee, we all in it to promote the area.


For any bird lover, this is the perfect activity to do as you paddle through the indigenous forest. I suggest that you take your time enjoy the scenery and take it all in.  After about an hour we stopped, left the canoes onto the bank of the river and started to walk to the boardwalk.  


Rose was such a great tour guide as the explained the history, different types of birds and the ecology of the forest. There is so much to experience along the way to the waterfall. Make sure that you have enough water as you will need to hydrate yourself.
The best part came as we came to the waterfall, truly an Eden where angels dwell.
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This activity requires time and to appreciate it you will need a solid few hours.

There is a fascinating cave in Wilderness, towards Victoria Bay with a story of its own. Kaaiman's Grotto as it was called is situated on the dilapidated Outeniqua Choo-Choo railway line. 


Once there was a popular restaurant and tourist stop on this coastal route that was only accessible via train. When the lined was damaged, the business had to close but the story has a happy ending or so I think.


The new occupant is Clifford, who moved there four plus years ago. He believes that God intervened and set place aside for those that are homeless and in need of a place while getting their live together. 



When he found the place, most of the furniture from the restaurant was gone; there was some infrastructure though in place, but it was in a mess.  Now the place is transformed into a haven, museum, still need to get a suitable name for it. As you enter you are amazed at the handmade seashell chandeliers, d├ęcor of the place and how he has managed to divide it into rooms, each with its own theme. To describe it does not do justice to what he has done to the place.


He is more than willing to tell you his story and the troubles of eviction he has faced and now eight years on where he finds himself. All that I can say is that I have such inspiration for this man and his tenacity to survive against all odds. What is missing here is for a business man/woman to come alongside his vision and build a legacy.


There are many adventures and things that I have not done in this area, but just to say that it truly is a little place of heaven on earth. Apparently this is one of the best places to do paragliding. Watch the space. 


Once again thanks to Rose Bilbrough know as @gotravelbug and Jonel Ackermann, the GM at The Wilderness Hotel for making this media event possible. They are such angels in Eden. To all the other role-players who contributed to make Wild on Wilderness a success, salute.

Thanks for all the support my blog is getting. Please do follow me on:
Twitter: d7events
Instagram: _KeithEdwards_

Until next time !  

Thursday, 5 November 2015

WILD ON WILDERNESS #WOW - Angels in Eden

Wilderness is a seaside village situated a short distance from George, between the Kaaimans River and the Goukama Nature Reserve, surrounded by the Outeniqua Mountains, the nature lover’s paradise .With all this, what a better place to relax, explore and experience. The best part of all is that you don’t need to travel to do an activity, its right on your doorstep. 




Along the way we stopped to enjoy beauty and took these along a canola field, such beauty.













Before we got to the hotel we decided to stop and take view the beach. We saw the bridge where the Outeniqua Choo Choo, steam train used to travel on. As I gazed, I knew this, Eden welcomed me. 









The area is well known for outdoor activities such as kite surfing, surfing, paragliding, mountain biking, hiking, canoeing, horse riding, unspoilt beach walks  and as I discovered a host of other things. 






As we drove into the hotel parking we noticed an array of bird species. The climate was very welcoming as well. Our angel, @travelbugrose met us at the reception, hugs and kisses on the cheek and this set the tone for the entire visit.


Later that day we went for a walk on the beach, it was a journey back in time. @gotravelbug or Rose one of the angels introduced us to Mark Dixon,  from Garden Route Trail, is a  scientist and storyteller of note. He has an investigative passion for landscapes, geological beauty, dunes etc.                                               








He explains the influence of erosion on the rock pools, dunes and the importance of preservation.


While you listen to him you start to appreciate the gift of nature and our role to protect it.  I am definitely going to be doing one of his trails in the future. 





Our next stop was Oysters R Us, where we met with two passionate individuals, Natasha De Freitas and Natalie Oliver, who owns this smallholding where magic happens. 



                                        

Natasha gives some background around the company and then continues to talk about her love for oysters. 
Oysters R Us keeps fresh oysters live in tanks with the sole purpose of educating and selling to public and business’s in the area. The public has an option of doing a pairing or take –away.  



The knowledge gained here was invaluable, the added bonus on her sustainable programmes are amazing.




While we visited they were busy getting their take-away stand ready for the upcoming holiday period as this will alleviate traffic congestion, yes it gets very busy here. It’s advisable to book if you would like  to do the pairing.                                                                                                                                

Our angel whisked us just across the road of the N2 to Timberlake. Now when I drove past this place many times before, I just thought that it’s a factory of some sorts that sells timber/ wood. To my surprise this is a village that can afford a family some great downtime with so much to experience. From shopping for clothes, wine or going to Zucchini where we enjoyed a meal and don’t forget the Rustic Windmill for that cheesecake or if you love hugging trees, no not really but if you want to zipline, swing or test how you handle obstacles, then try Acrobranch WildWoods Tree Adventures.



If you are looking for a fun, vibrant “lekker” restaurant with good food and staff with an electric passion for service then you have to go to Cocomo. It’s colourful yet tasteful and during cold nights there are fires in drums to keep you warm in the courtyard. 



Frieda, owner/manager and an angel speaks to me around how the journey all started. She explains of her passion for development and the energy that they have invested into building community. This led to them giving a platform for musicians and now you can be entertained, each night when they are open, which is practically every day of the year. 



There’s a crockery store within the restaurant that belongs to her mother where patrons can purchase items on display. Where do you think Frieda gets most her crockery, you guess right, her mom.


This angel looks at how they can sustain and help a community to thrive financially and with their music programme and planting a 1000 trees project, it’s the start of building for generations.   




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Day one of our #WildonWilderness(WOW) ended on a high note. Watch out for day two and experience Eden with me. Thanks for reading and for all the support.  


Tuesday, 13 October 2015

TULBAGH , THE PLACE WHERE ART IS CREATED

Tulbagh is not far from Cape Town, it took us around 2 hours to get there. Upon entering Church Street, you know that you have entered a historic town. As we drove down the road we admired the largest number of Cape Dutch, Edwardian and Victorian provincial heritage sites in one street in South Africa, as I was told.

 


Our accommodation, Wittedrift Art Manor, is an old Victorian style house with it's art and antique furniture, a true beauty. The rooms were comfortable, white linen and rosemary on the pillows to add an extra touch. There were two single beds in our room with still enough space to move around. The kitchen is spacious and really takes you back in time, real old style. There is a stoep outside the kitchen right opposite the pool so you can relax in the evenings, with a bottle and just chill.


The 5th annual Tulbagh Arts Festival was celebrated and we got ready to attend the opening which started only minutes we arrived and it definitely was a rush for us, but we were glad we made it in time.



This exhibition was held at the Mission Church and featured a number of artist’s present. Wine and snacks created a great vibe to the opening. It was well attended by many locals and guests that travelled from outside the town. 



I just felt that each of the artists who exhibited should have been represented and introduced. I also think that part of the programme should have included a five minute video of ether what could be expected or what it was like last year. As the social media platform was being populated , many asked questions re the event.  Definitely something I would look into re marketing.

 

The Festival offered weekend activities that included music from different genres, art exhibitions, literary discussions, concerts, walkabouts, wine-tastings, crafts market, food stalls, live entertainment, etc. Looking at the programme it was clear that much effort went into it. This for me must be complemented with my reasoning above. 

 


After the opening I headed off to the De Oude Kerk Volksmuseum in Church Street where Rocco de Villiers, a pianist was going to perform tunes from his latest release. This was my first time that I was introduced to him but simply loved this entertainer. He is witty, funny and truly knows how to captivate his audience. The venue, a beautiful architectural building was the perfect setting for the hymns, pity that it was not packed. Fabulous show indeed.

 

 

It was late into the evening, but it was far from over. Time to meet the town’s very own popular group called, Witzenbergies , consisting of farmers and entrepreneurs. Chris Kreef is the leader of the pack and also owns Saronsberg Theatre / restaurant. Looks can be deceiving but they rocked the event and got people off their feet. I hope to see them at the International Cape Town Jazz festival in 2016.  Attendees are in for chocolate with nutty ice-cream, mouth-watering for those who indulge like myself. 




The next morning, it was an early breakfast and we had the privilege of meeting renowned violist Hezron Chetty. What a gentleman and musician. He played on the violin to give us a taste of what was on offer later that morning. 

 


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One of the members fell ill and we needed to get an Asthavent pump. To my surprise the chemist had no stock of most items; I wasn’t sure what was happening as the racks were empty. We had to drive to Ceres, which was 25 kilometers away, not cool. This is another important element that the organizers will need to address even though the doctor in the town was on duty.  

In the town there was a buzz of activity from the crafts to the bazaar. We meandered around and finally ended up at the Readers Restaurant for the craft beer tasting with the performance by Hezron Chetty. The combination of the two was an amazing idea and with the cheese stall right there we combined all the elements to make for an unforgettable hour. It was not well attended and I felt that this man needed a far bigger audience to have appreciated his efforts. My eye is on him for the footprints he is making in South Africa and the globe.

 




 




Next we went on a walkabout of the town and our steps led us to Kuierbossie restaurant. As you enter I felt that I was at an upmarket Spur, a place of diversity and families. The exhibition complimented the ambiance of the venue and the owner, a hands on lady that interacts with all her patrons with the help of her son and family. In the evenings entertainment is provided and the surprise element is that the owner forms part of a trio called Arida. I enjoyed the food and atmosphere and definitely recommend them. They are very proud of their community involvement and a patrons comment bore testament of this. 





This town had so many art exhibitions and one starts to appreciate creativity and the efforts of this festival. Wish there were more people to behold the beauty.  

 


 
  

     
 

The evening we attended the gala concert where we were in for a treat of a lifetime, with the ever popular Vivaldi’s Four Seasons performing (Violin was played by Petrus de Beer, Accordion by Stanislav Angelov, Double bass by Schalk Joubert joined by one of the local acclaimed blues guitarist Albert Frost).


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This show cannot be described in words; it was that moment heaven opened. The venue was Morgansvlei Country Estate and the setting completely complemented the performance. What a wonderful art exhibitions they displayed, really intriguing. 

 

The night was set and started on a high note.  

 I popped over to Saronsberg Theatre to see the Valiant Swart Band performing. This was well supported by the locals and I could see a definite hit with them. By this time I was exhausted and wanted to hit the sack.  

 

The next morning we had breakfast at Readers Restaurant, where the cat lady and her cats, welcomed us. Norman Collins a resident photographer and co-owner of the restaurant had his exhibition the previous evening outside the restaurant. He has such talent and captures more than what the normal eye sees.                             

We immediately had to leave for Waverley Hills who produces organic wine,   infused by distinctive fynbos. A special 5-course, creative food and wine pairing were created especially for the festival. One of my best ever pairings and I can’t describe how much each dish left an impression on my palate and memory. This all can be enjoyed while at the foothills of the breath-taking Witzenberg Mountain Range which forms the backdrop for the scene. 





  



 


Our afternoon ended off discussing possibilities for the future as well as having an ice-cream tasting at Readers Restaurant. OMG , this festival wanted to send me off in style and how! The flavours born in this restaurant can only be described by saying, visit them and indulge. Don’t talk about the curry flavour and the mint. Don’t get me going here; ice-cream is one of my favourite foods.  

 

Thanks to everyone that made this possible. Follow @TravelingMedia for regular updates or check me out @D7events. 

See you next time for more discoveries and possibilities.