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The Hermanus Whale festival celebrates its 23rd year where these amazing gigantic creatures of the deep are showcased together with a variety of festivities, a carnival, a wide selection of food and drink and top performers and musicians from 3 October to 6 October. Hermanus has become known as the best land-based whale watching destination in the world and boasts the world’s only “Whale Crier”, a man employed expressly to wander the town’s cliff-tops announcing the presence and whereabouts of the Whales during the whale watching season from July to November. Each year southern right whales migrate from their icy feeding grounds off Antarctica to our warmer climates, usually reaching South Africa in June/July. During the season, the coastal waters of the Western Cape abound with the Leviathans, mating, calving and basking in the sun, often giving whale-watchers spectacular displays of elegant water acrobatics.
The Whales are always the star attraction at the annual festival and amazing sightings may be had either from the rocks at the site of the old harbour, or on the cliff top roads above the town. Last year there was a record sighting of 196 whales off Hermanus’ Walker bay. Celebrating the presence of whales, visitors are invited to join in the 3 days of festivities including great food, quality crafters, local beer brewers, great cycling and athletic events, and kids entertainment. Two Oceans Wine Music stage will feature more than 20 artists performing over the festival and the Marine Endangered Species Expo Marquee will enable you to learn about our marine mammals. There will be a carnival parade on the Saturday featuring the bands of the SANDF and the Cape Town Highlanders.
The highlight of Saturday 4 th October will, undoubtedly, be the annual Whales and Wheels classic car show which will be held from 09h00 to 17h00 at the Hermanus Primary School. Owners of these prized old cars motor in early in the morning from all over Cape Town and the Overberg. The school grounds will host the display of Vintage, Veteran and classic cars, some almost priceless and seen very rarely. The organisers aim to surpass last year’s show that was acclaimed by many visitors as one of the best country shows they have attended. There will be a parade of the classic cars through the streets of Hermanus at 10h00. The school hall, as always, will host an exhibition and sale of scale model cars where boys of all ages can indulge their passion, and there will be many food and refreshment stalls. A modest entrance fee to the public is charged to the car show and raises money for the school.
The full programme of events is available on the web-site and from the Festival office. http://www.whalefestival.co.za/
By : Horizon Cottages; Affordable Cape Town accommodation
Heritage Day is celebrated annually in South Africa on 24 September. This public holiday aims to celebrate our rainbow nation’s diversity and encourages South Africans to unite despite their differences. As part of the celebrations for Heritage Day 2014 on Wednesday 24 September, there will be a national ‘Drive It’ campaign and Cape Town is joining in the spirit of the occasion with an old car run and display, eligible for pre-1979 cars to participate. The organisers are expecting a wonderful variety of motoring Nostalgia, ranging from prized Veteran and vintage automobiles, through classic cars of the 30’s to ‘60’s. The members of the Crankhandle Club, Cape Town’s largest vintage motoring club will be out in full support as will many other motoring clubs. The event is open to all who have a qualifying car. Cars will convene on Rondebosch Common at 09h30 to drive off at 10h00 en- route to the Castle- Cape Town’s oldest building, where they will go on display. Veteran and vintage cars and motorcycles will lead the convoy, followed by classic cars and motorcycles. The route will move from Rondebosch Common down the Main Road to Cape Town, ending at the Castle. The media will publicise the event to encourage the public to view and support the procession of vehicles. Everyone participating in the display is encouraged to dress up for the occasion.
Entry into the Castle will be free on the day, and together with the display of cars there will be an indoor antique market, film shows, food stalls, live music, art, a kiddies play area and more.
Anyone who is interested in entering a vehicle or having a stall, please contact Hazel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find pictures of entrants already received on Facebook at www.facebook.com/events/712297132140261/?fref=ts. Expect to see some cars like these below:
The quaint, picturesque fishing village of Kalk Bay has turned itself into one of the most popular of Cape Town’s attractions. It is always bustling on weekends throughout the year as it is beloved for its many restaurants and attractions by both locals and visitors. Eagerly anticipated on the first Saturday of March each year is the Annual Fish Fare, held in the grounds of the beautiful and historic Holy Trinity church. This year’s Fish Fare will be held on Saturday 2 March 2013 starting at 10:30 and ends at 18:00. There will be more than a dozen stalls selling fish prepared in many different ways, including line fish on the barbeque (or braai) as we say in South Africa, seafood and fish curries and so much more. For more details see our post last year at : http://blog.horizoncottages.co.za/?p=517
Most in the know get there early in order to be able to choose from the best and freshest seafood dishes on offer, but the stalls and the fish braais will keep going throughout the day to keep the thousands of customers happy. Expect it to be very busy, very noisy but loads of fun.
Cape Town has a long established and peaceful Islamic community who have imprinted their influence on the culture of our City. The so called Cape Malay community gets its name from the people that were originally enslaved by the Dutch East India company and brought from Java (now Indonesia) and Mallaca (now in Malaysia) to the Cape as early as 1654. The influence of these Malay slaves has found its way, not only to our culture, but to the Cuisine of our country. Muslim visitors to Cape Town will have no difficulty finding restaurants that cater to their beliefs, tastes and culture. In all of these, the consumption or serving of alcohol is forbidden.
Biesmiellah is probably the longest established of these and is situated in the picturesque Bo-Kaap. Expect to enjoy traditional Cape Malay cuisine such as Deningvleis and Bobotie, as well as Indian curries. Location : c/o Wale Street and Pentz street; Tel 021-423-0850
Eastern Food Bazaar in the centre of the City Serves a large variety of food from all over the East, and you may expect generous helpings at prices that are extremely reasonable. You will find breyanis, curries, Indian specialities, Chinese food, and even Middle Eastern Falafels and shawarmas together with specialty ice-cream and desserts. The setup is in cafeteria-style so don’t expect anything too elegant but the food is excellent. See our detailed review at http://blog.horizoncottages.co.za/?p=563.
Location : 96 Longmarket Street/ Darling Street opposite Central Post Office building. Tel 021-461-2458
Jewel of India has relocated from the Waterfront to the Bo Kaap and is now strictly Halaal. The menu is much more varied than most and will include Pulao, naan, kebabs and other dishes prepared in a tandoori oven, together with delicious Naan breads. The Jewel of India claims to revive and maintain the glorious culinary traditions of old in an ambiance best suited for today’s world. Having eaten there a couple of times, we can attest to the quality of the food, although the ambiance is a little like a factory dining room rather than a restaurant.
Location : 102 Wale st c/o Rose, Bokaap
Bibi’s Kitchen is a bright, clean and modern restaurant and take away on Broad Road, Wynberg. One orders from the counter filled with a variety of tempting samoosas and moons. The menu includes Indian and Cape Malay dishes, curries, Salomies (Roti wraps) all at reasonable prices. No need to book – there is always plenty of space and turnover is quick.
Location Broadmed Centre, Wynberg: Tel 021-761-8365
Cosy Corner might look like an American diner, but dishes range from Cape Malay specialties, curries, breyanis and grills as well as the iconic Cape Town special Gatsbys. Established in 1973, Cosy Corner was one of Cape Town’s first Halaal eateries; locals will tell you about the part Cosy Corner played in the apartheid struggle, but it also features in many more personal and romantic stories – of engagements, family reunions and birthdays.
Location : 119 Ottery Rd, Wynberg Tel 021 797 2498
The Noon Gun
The Noon Gun Tea-Room and Restaurant is a home-based family concern situated on the slopes of Signal hill, just below the actual noon gun, with breath taking views overlooking the city of Cape Town. Home-cooked Cape Malay dishes such as chicken biryani, bobotie, samoosas, dennings vleis, bredie and curries are all lovingly prepared and delicious, offering true Cape comfort food. The noon gun is fired, by tradition, at 12 every day, so you might want to take a walk to the Lion battery on Signal Hill and enjoy this experience before heading to the restaurant for lunch.
Location : 273 Longmarket Street, Bo-Kaap, Cape Town. Tel : 021 424 0529
Bhandaris : is the nearest Halaal restaurant to our Noordhoek accommodation – a North Indian restaurant in neighbouring Fish Hoek, with master chefs from Northern India who specialise in tandoor and Indian cuisine. They offer a splendid, but affordable , Buffet on Sundays, for both lunch and dinner, which will usually include a lamb, chicken, fish and vegetarian curry with a variety of raita, salads, popadoms, sambals and a dessert. The restaurant has an relaxing, opulent ambiance with its authentic wooden doors, hues of gold and red, wrought iron lanterns, plush seating and comfortable intimate spaces. Although the kitchen and food is strictly in conformance with Halaal practices, this restaurant caters to the local population and does serve alcohol.
Fish on the Rocks : Situated at the end of the Breakwater in neighbouring Hout Bay is a longstanding favourite in Cape Town. You might round off a scenic drive along Chapman’s Peak to enjoy their fish and chips and other seafood options and even shop at the Bay Harbour Market next door. Fish on the Rocks is not so much a restaurant, as a café, where you will have to queue for your food but the service is polite and efficient, and the wait will be worth it. It is very popular in summer and over weekends.
Location : 1 Harbour Road, Hout Bay. Tel 021-790-0001.
by : Horizon Cottages, self catering Noordhoek cottages
Beautiful Cape Town, chosen for 2014 as the World’s Design Capital, has been rated as the World’s third best City in Lonely Planet’s “Best in Travel 2014” Top Cities list. Lonely Planet is internationally known to produce the world’s top destination guides and their “Best in Travel” is produced annually as a guide to the top destinations, trends and experiences for the upcoming year with Cape Town being beaten only by Paris and Trinidad amongst the many attractive cities of the World.
The City’s place on Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2014 Top 10 Cities list is largely due to its status as World Design Capital 2014. The international travel guide writes that visitors should “Expect sculpture-lined green spaces, sustainable projects that are more than just a pretty face, and further regeneration of former industrial districts.” Lonely Planet says that the reasons for selecting certain destinations vary, but they do say that 2014 ‘marks the twentieth anniversary of South African democracy – honour it by exploring the city’s history’.
Cape Town has seen a number of prized accolades this October, including :
- Our city took first place in the category Top 10 Cities in Africa and the Middle East and was ranked eleventh in the Top 25 Cities in the World by Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards, with some 80 000 readers casting 1,3 million votes in this year’s survey.
- The World Travel Awards which took place in Kenya earlier this month, are seen as the “Oscars of the travel industry” and placed Cape Town top as Africa’s Leading Destination and also as Africa’s Leading Meetings and Conference Destination.
- The World Travel Awards placed Cape Town top as Africa’s Leading Tourist Destination and also as Africa’s Leading Meetings and Conference Destination.
- In the Condé Nast Traveller Readers’ Choice Awards, Cape Town was first in the category Top 10 Cities in Africa and the Middle East and was ranked 11th in the Top 25 Cities in the World.
“These awards pay homage to the city’s natural beauty and the huge welcome it extends to international and local tourists. The city and its residents are reaping the benefits of the tourism industry. More visitors to our beautiful city means an increase in revenue and the creation of more job opportunities.,” said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Tourism, Events and Marketing, Councillor Grant Pascoe in a Press release by the City of Cape Town, available on their website.
Coming on top of a recent official announcement of an annualised increase in tourist numbers to Cape Town of 8.5%, this bodes well for the coming holiday season. Fortunately there is still affordable Cape Town accommodation available this season at Horizon Cottages.
Many of us who live in Cape Town may either not have heard of or visited the Wijnland Auto Museum in Joostenbergvlakte, although some, while heading up the N1 in the direction of Paarl may have seen on the left-hand side of the Highwaywhat looks like an old car graveyard , which in many ways is what it is. We visited the Museum recently in the company of 20 other classic motoring enthusiasts We were met by Marge Boshoff, the owner’s wife, who gave us a short rundown on the history of this amazing motoring collection and she informed us that they earn their livelihood from fees paid by photographers for shoots at the Museum as well as providing vehicles for film and photo shoots. It is a very popular destination for fashion photographers who appear to delight in contrasting beautiful models with the many rusting and derelict cars standing out in the open.
Les Boshoff, the proprietor, took over and led our group on a tour of the extensive collection. With more than 600 vehicles in the collection it is claimed to be the largest auto Museum in South Africa which it may be, except that most vintage and classic car collections usually have good restored vehicles on display. Les explained that generally they only restore cars as and when they receive a commission for a film or photographic shoot. In many cases the cars are only superficially restored to a budget in order to appear realistic enough to the camera, owing to the prohibitive cost of a full restoration. There have been many famous film stars at the Museum and his cars have been used in many famous films that have been shot in South Africa. He regaled us with stories of teaching Salma Hayek to drive a 1920’s Ford Model A pickup which was used in one of her movies. This particular car has the steering on the left-hand side in order to appear authentic in the film although the pedals and other controls are on the right-hand side and had to be operated by someone out of sight below the dashboard. Other interesting vehicles used in films include a replica F1 racer, a jet propelled land speed record car and a “Starsky and Hutch” look alike Ford.
Undercover in the Museum building are about 30 vehicles in good to fair condition and all of which appear to be running. These range from a Rolls-Royce and Bentley used for weddings and other functions, quite a number of very desirable huge finned American convertibles from the 1950s and 60’s, a Studebaker Silver Hawk and a few American cars of 1920’s and 30’s vintage. There is also a small collection of Hot Rods and associated memorabilia. The workshop, adjacent to the Museum is in itself worth the visit as it is full of interesting memorabilia is and collectables.
There are myriad unrestored, although restorable, vehicles languishing outside under covered shelters whilst the vast majority of the cars are lined up in the open yard on the extensive property. These are generally rusted, rotting and incomplete but not without attraction for photographers if not for motoring enthusiasts. When one takes a walk through the Museum grounds it is apparent that there is almost no make of car or even truck that cannot be found somewhere in the collection; irrespective of its condition. Our visit coincided with springtime in the Cape and the yard was lent a certain charm by the green grass and wildflowers although one can imagine that in the winter it must be much less attractive.
Some of our group remarked that they found the museum depressing because of the general poor condition of so many collectable cars. Most of these are undoubtedly destined to be reduced to oxides in the ground as a team of 100 people working full time could probably not save them. Les is a bit of a controversial character amongst the old car fraternity, known for amassing any old bits that he can lay hands on, but one who declines to help anyone restoring a vehicle with any parts and who asks an outrageous price if anyone wishes to buy one of his old wrecks. Nevertheless we found him a congenial host and interesting raconteur. This is not the collection of an avid motoring enthusiast but it is worth a visit if you have an interest in old and classic cars and the entrance fee of R50 does not break the bank.
By : Horizon Cottages
Directions to Wijnland Auto Museum :
Drive along the N1 toward Paarl, take exit 34, Lucullus St, turn first right at the Nursery into Tarrentaal Rd, then drive to the end of the road where you will see the signs at the gate. There is no website but for more information or reservations contact +27-21-9884203
We had decided to go in pursuit of authentic seafood served in a restaurant set in the working docks of Cape Town’s Table Bay Harbour. What a pity that we chose the wettest day of the Cape Town winter, but that did not dampen our enthusiasm to enjoy a memorable lunch. Panama Jack’s restaurant is renowned for authentic seafood and is situated a little beyond the Royal Cape Yacht club amongst warehouses and container storage depots. If nothing else, it is a foodie destination far removed from the touristy thrum of the V&A Waterfront.
Panama Jacks is set in a timber, cabin like building on the edge of the docks with plenty of parking. On entering the dimly lit restaurant , the many nautical collectibles together with a low ceiling draped with flags of the world instils the confidence that you have chosen the right place to eat. As you are shown to your table you may notice the concrete tank with crayfish swimming; patiently waiting for your order. A nautical map of some exotic part of the world becomes your tablecloth on the rustic wooden table. There is a good wine list featuring some of the Cape’s best and a reasonable selection of wines available by the glass.
We chose the seafood platter for two which arrived in less than 15 minutes, served by a friendly and attentive guy wearing a pirate bandana. The large frying pan that has become ubiquitous for seafood eateries was brought to our table set in a wrought iron table stand. The platter was a feast for the eyes -pride of place on the platter was a pair of grilled crayfish halves; 4 scallops with roe served in the shells, a brace of Portuguese mussels, a dozen perfectly grilled succulent prawns, a large chunk of fresh Kingklip on the bone, nestled above a mountain of tender breaded strips of calamari (cuttlefish) and savoury rice. Conveniently nestled in the platter was a bowl of Sauce Tartare but also served separately was a trio of little jugs containing lemon butter, garlic butter and truly spectacular peri-peri sauce to ring the changes. Every part was cooked to perfection although the rice was a little on the oily side. There was so much food that we could not finish it all and took home the calamari to enjoy for lunch the next day. This has to be the definitive seafood platter that sets the standard. The menu is small but interesting; with some Caribbean specialties and a few surprises like half a crispy duck.
We liked the relaxed but busy atmosphere; the dockside setting and nautical ambience. We had a memorable lunch of seafood and resolved to return to enjoy the duck, but somehow I think that it will be seafood special again for me.
Panama Jacks is reached from the City by travelling down Christiaan Barnard St toward the harbour; ducking left under the N1 highway into the harbour precinct. Be sure to stop at security where the entrance is controlled by daunting retractable spikes. From there turn right and proceed past the yacht club where you will see the sign for the restaurant. For bookings Tel : 021 447 3992
Because our visit took place on a dim and miserable day we have chosen to use and give credit for some of the pictures taken from the restaurants website : http://www.panamajacks.net/
By : affordable Cape Town holiday accommodation
You owe yourself a reward, and what better way to reward yourself than an evening with someone special at Madame Zingara’s Theatre of Dreams at the V&A Waterfront; with the season now extended until January 2014. It seems that Cape Town will not let them go as the show has been here all year, playing to full houses. Housed in one of the last remaining mirror tents in the world, seating some 400 patrons each evening, Victoria is a magnificent twenty five metre velvet big top that has toured the globe for the last eighty years. Her ornate mirrored columns, rich velvet drapes and beveled booths transport one back to a by-gone era where cirque and magic ruled the world. Their website promises “a unique dinner cirque spectacular which enchants, captivates and inspires all who pass through her stained glass doors and enter her magical world.”
We had heard rave reviews of the show from friends and were keen to experience it for ourselves. On arrival at the tent, we were welcomed and shown to the bar for a pre-show drink and an opportunity to browse the collectibles on sale or have one’s face painted in keeping with the themes of the evening. There is plush seating in the foyer for those who arrive early with the entrance to the theatre guarded by 2 beautiful but immobile figures, setting the atmosphere of drama and suspense. There was an audible gasp of amazement when the doors opened and patrons were shown to their tables. Seating has been cleverly arranged so that everyone has a clear view of the stage, which runs down the middle of the tent- much like a fashion ramp- with the end being raised or revolving to suit the show and for effect. Since we had booked for only 2 of us, we expected to be seated at a larger, shared table but were surprised that tables are allocated according to the size of the group, and we were seated at a table for 2 right alongside the ramp with a close up of every part of the show. Larger parties are accommodated in booths at the side or at even larger tables behind the stage.
Madame Zingara promises to titillate the senses and that “The ingredients of our Magic will flavour your passion”. And they certainly made good on that promise. Once we were seated and offered a glass of wine from the very affordable wine list, an antipasti of hot and cold tasters kept us going as the theatre filled. It was a delicious assortment of Greek Meze dips; Humus, Taramasalata and Tzatziki, with a duo of soups and bread sticks, olives, brie cheese and nuts. This set the scene for a veritable feast of fine food for the eveing, amazingly served at speed, but beautifully prepared and served warm except, naturally, for the dessert. The show is slick, the service by beautiful young waitrons of both sexes speedy, but appearing to enjoy what they are doing, almost running to keep the patrons satisfied. A delicious prima course of mushroom filled ravioli drizzled with Truffle oil followed as the show commenced.
The mains offered choices including Lamb Shank and a vegetarian option but my wife chose the signature dish of beef fillet on a bed of rocket and field mushrooms with a sauce of dark Belgian chocolate, rosemary and a hint of chilli, while I thoroughly enjoyed black sesame crusted Norwegian salmon, served on wasabi mashed potato & wilted baby spinach, topped with lemon aioli, soy & squid ink reduction & ginger infused salsa fresca. The salmon was superb and as certainly as good as one would find in any top restaurant, while my wife was entranced by the chocolate chili fillet. The dessert is aptly titled “death by chocolate” and included a chocolate Tiramisu, chocolate nut brownies with Phyllo cigar and Gorgonzola ice cream.
While we enjoyed the food, we were enthralled, if not spellbound by the dazzling show by both local and imported entertainers. Awesome high wire acts alternated with side splitting comedy and sing along melodies. The Hot Mr C wheeling around on roller skate heels is the comedic MC and lead the show through it sequences with quirky anecdotes and hilarious asides.
Ziggy, the Mongolian princess contorts in amazing and unimaginable ways. The Gauchos Bollas act is a high energy classic South American ceremonial act which includes flamenco style dance while creating rhythm with bollas that are swung to beat the floor, accompanied by a double headed drum. Sam and Christine share the stage with their beautiful aerial chandelier act which is both captivating and ethereal. The Specifics comprising four super talented South African vocalists with an energetic stage presence, who bring back the most memorable of the old favourite hits, getting feet tapping and the party going. Christine’s unique wet aerial act left the audience gasping and ducking the splashes. The third act started with a splash, Sam showing a leg and then an arm in the bath, and got out of the bath, splashing her wet hair on the patrons seated around her and doing some acrobatic acts too. While she and the bath disappeared into the stage, the bath reappeared almost instantly, this time with Mr C, also having fun in the bath!
By the end of the show we had forgotten all thoughts of the world outside and were sorry that it was time to go home. This is a must see and enjoy.
Credits : since one is not allowed to photograph the acts during the show, we have used pics gleaned from the Madame Zingara website and Facebook page.