30 May

Winter 2013 Restaurant Special offers in the deep South

Although many choose our Cape Town self-catering accommodation for reasons of economy and independence, most of our guests eat out during their stay at one of the many restaurants in our the Noordhoek valley and surrounding False bay.  Whilst locals know that many restaurants entice diners with special offers during the quiet winter months, we believe in sharing this information with our visitors. All of these restaurants are a short drive from our Noordhoek holiday cottages and Cabanas.  Many of these will have roaring log fires to ensure that your dining out experience is an enjoyable one, no matter the weather.

The Food Barn, Noordhoek, is famous for fine dining at affordable prices, in an informal country barn atmosphere. Diners come from far and wide to enjoy the amazing cuisine of Chef Frank Dangereux and his team; made even more affordable in winter. Firstly 50% is offered off the a la carte, Mondays to Fridays for lunches only- excluding public holidays. An equally great experience is the food and wine pairings on offer at nights, which showcase the cuisine as well as the fine wines of a partner estate. Treat your loved one to a memorable meal at only 3 courses for R185, 4 courses R205, 5 courses R225. Reservations : Tel (021) 789-1390

Thorfynns restaurant at Noordhoek’s Monkey valley right on the beach has the following on offer :

Tuesdays; Steak Special Night, 300g Sirloin and a choice of sauces for R85 and Sunday Roast with 3 meats and a glass of wine for R95, with live music from 3pm

Neighbouring Fish Hoek has more to offer. Choose from :

The Galley situated right on the sands of Fish Hoek Beach, where the current special winter offer is a grilled fillet of Yellowtail with 6 grilled prawns, savoury rice and fries, accompanied by a trio of sauces.

Indian Restaurant Bhandaris, situated on the Fish Hoek Main Road, as you enter the village,  has 2 special offers: On Mondays there  “You and Me Special” which allows one to choose any two chicken, fish or veg curries  for only R99.00. Great value is the Sunday lunch or dinner buffet which has a selection of chicken, beef and seafood curries, with at least one Dhal dish. The buffet includes a starter served at your table, Naan bread and an interesting selection of sambals. Enjoy delicious North Indian cuisine at only R99 per head

The yesteryear fishing village of Kalk Bay seems intent to coax visitors out on cold evenings this winter.Harbour House

The famous Harbour House restaurant and its associated dining outlets make for enjoyable fine dining. The Harbour House Restaurant occupies an enviable position; built high up on the harbour breakwater, with large picture windows offering stunning views of False Bay on one side, and the colourful fishing harbour on the other. During the winter and spring, whales may be seen close up while playful seals frolic in the kelp off the rocks all year round. In winter a roaring fire warms those who choose their special fine dining menus that offer delicious, designer food with starter and main course priced at R150 or inclusive of dessert at R170

Situated under the Harbour House is the Polana restaurant ; more oriented to the carnivores, and offers free range and pasture fed cuts of prime beef fillet, rump, sirloin and rib eye, beautifully and simply presented, although fresh line fish, delicious Mozambican style prawns and oysters are also available. Current winter special offer is grilled Mozambique styled chicken for only R75. The specials do change each month. Reservations :  021 788 7162. Please be aware that smoking is allowed in the Polana restaurant.

Lucky Fish is adjacent to the Polana on the harbour breakwater and offers affordably priced fish and seafood. The current winter special offer is fresh west coast hake served with prawns, tender baby peas & cauliflower & a citrus beurre bianco sauce for only R70.00

Newcomer Kalk Bay Café offers a Curry Feast on Thursday nights- eat as much as you like with 5 curries offer at R85, Reservations :  Tel (021) 788-7760.

The historic naval village of Simonstown will reward you for a short drive to admire the Victorian architecture and the winter special offers, including

Bertha’s in the waterfront in Simonstown offer : 1 kg Queen prawns at R 109, Kingklip R135; and a splendid seafood platter at R119. Reservations:  (021) 786-2138

Harbour View restaurant in the upper level of the Simonstown waterfront is offering one meal free for every one purchased; a discount of 50%.

Finally just over the mountain from our Noordhoek accommodation, in Tokai is the Cape Town Fish Market, which has a number of ongoing attractive special offers, including “ Buy one, get one free”  Hake on Mondays and  half price Sushi on Tuesdays. Most popular are the “all you can eat Breakfast Buffet” on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays for just R60 and the extensive Seafood buffet lunch on, Sundays and public holidays for R149.

No matter what the weather you are bound to enjoy eating out in the Winter- otherwise know as Cape Town’s Secret Season.

By : Horizon Holiday Cottages.


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1 Apr

Imhoff’s Farm- Great family attraction

Visitors to Cape Town will be aware that the first European settlers in South Africa came from the Dutch East India company who established a victualing station in Cape Town to provide their sailing ships with fresh produce and water. Known also as the Cape of storms, Table Bay was not a hospitable anchorage during the winter and many of the sailing ships were wrecked in the Bay. Simon’stown, nestling on the shores of sheltered False Bay offered a much more hospitable refuge but the task of getting supplies from Cape Town was arduous. It was therefore decided to establish farms at Noordhoek and Fish Hoek . The Commissioner of the Cape, impressed with the farming of the widow Christina Rossouw, gave her a gift of land in 1743 near the Slangkop Ridge, Kommetjie,  and which subsequently became known as Imhoff’s gift.

This historic farmstead is located on the road to Cape point and offers an interesting and enjoyable family destination, either as a stop during a tour of the Peninsula or as a day outing and is open 7 days a week. Located opposite the township of Ocean View, you will be unlikely to miss Imhoff’s farm as the name is painted in large white letters on the green tin roof of what was once a barn. The converted farm buildings now make an interesting browsing or shopping experience and one will find a first rate free range Farm Shop in the barn, as well as a bakery and tea garden. In addition the erstwhile stables, silo, smithy, slave quarters and milking sheds are now occupied by local artists and interesting craft, furniture, clothing and food shops including a cheese factory, chocolate factory, a well-stocked wine shop and local crafts, antiques and collectables. Views to Noordhoek

The farm stall offers their own including our own organically grown fruits and vegetables,  homemade pies, quiches,   specialist breads, olives, homemade jams & preserves, chutneys, salad dressing & pestos, and a range of cheeses produced on the farm . Goat’s milk cheeses are now made from their own herd of milking goats. The goats are milked in the parlour next to the dairy at 4pm daily, and visitors are welcome to view the milking; this will be a great experience for children. A range of cow’s milk cheeses is also produced, including the popular fynbos cheese, various other fresh cheeses infused with herbs and spices, Goudas, mature cheddar, and a blue and white mould cheese with milk coming from a neighbouring farm.

Exciting attractions for children are the Snake and Reptile park as well as the Higgeldy Piggeldy Farmyard which has some very friendly farm animals – including goats, pigs, sheep, ducks, geese, chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs and a pony. The more adventurous will want to try the Camel rides.  Camel riding is different and just getting off the ground is an experience; first you are tipped forward by the rear ascending and then the front legs finally rise when you will find yourself two meters up as you embark on a jerky saunter around the farm.

The farm has 2 great restaurants. The Blue Water Café is located in the original old Cape Dutch farmstead dating back to 1743, with several dining rooms which offer cosy fires during the winter months. In the better weather diners choose to sit outside on the stoep or the expensive lawns where tables shaded by umbrellas offer truly spectacular views across the wetlands to the Atlantic and the slopes of Chapmans peak at Noordhoek.   The Bluewater cafe offers breakfast lunch and dinner but is closed on Monday.  Although the menu caters for most tastes and includes fresh fish and steaks, their speciality is a range of home-made pastas and thin crust pizzas.  Look out for the daily specials on the blackboard as you enter the restaurant.  When dining there recently with friends they raved over the seafood Tagliatelle, Calamari with wasabi mayonnaise and French fries and seafood pizza while my own perennial favourite on the menu is the Blue Water Carbonara, a huge bowl of homemade pasta served with wild mushrooms and  creamy mascarpone and crispy fried pancetta, topped with rocket and herbs. Perhaps due to its on-going popularity we have never found the service at the Blue Water cafe either particularly friendly or efficient.

The Pickled Fish has become well known for its offering of fresh fish and seafood at affordable prices.  Their signature dish is the mild spiced Cape Malay Pickled Fish, served with farm seed bread). The ambiance is casually evocative of the farm, with terracotta floor tiles, rustic furniture, uneven walls and reed ceilings but the white and aquamarine interior is clean. Service is professional and attentive and dining here is altogether a pleasant experience.

Imhoff’s farm will delight the whole family   and is just a few minutes’ drive from our  self-catering Noordhoek cottages



21 Feb

Kalk Bay Fish Fare 2013

Saturday 2 March 2013 will see the annual Fish Fare being held in the charming fishing village of Kalk Bay, one of the most popular visitor attractions of Cape Town. The Kalk Bay Fish Fare, which starts at 10:30 and ends at 18:00 is held annually in the grounds of the Holy Trinity church, on the main road facing False Bay, with a small entrance fee charged at the entrance to raise funds for the church. The Holy Trinity Church itself is worth a visit as it is a lovely old stone building with a thatched roof that was built in 1874, and still features its original windows, regarded as some of the finest examples in the Cape.

Kalk bay is one of the little villages of False Bay that has been able to transform itself positively from a dowdy fishing town to one of the most popular tourist attractions of Cape Town. Its short Main Street is lined with picturesque Victorian shop fronts containing art galleries, antique and collectable shops and boutiques and is a veritable browsers paradise. On Sundays a collectables market is held near the entrance to the station. In the harbour one can enjoy the sight of colourful and very photogenic fishing boats bobbing at their moorings, local people fishing from the quays, and a number of restaurants ranging from the upmarket Harbour House restaurant to what is reputed to be one of the best fish and chips outlets at Kalky’s situated on the beachfront. In the town you will find a wide and eclectic variety of restaurants and dining spots that cater for the many visitors to the town throughout the year. Popular with tourists, Kalk Bay is an equally popular with Cape Town people throughout the year and it street filled to capacity most Saturdays and Sundays.   Fish Fare Kalk Bay

The Fish fare is not just about raising some money for the church;  it is a cheerful celebration of the wonderful bounty of the Cape seas; an opportunity for many of the locals together with their families enjoying the sunshine, the beautiful views and  great food on offer at affordable prices. Expect to see stalls selling something seafood to suit every taste including delicious Indian crayfish curry (soon sold out), wonderful yellowtail grilled on the fire, fish curry, fish kebabs, mussel chowder, fish cakes, fish & chips, fried calamari, seafood potjie, prawns and Cape Malay style pickled fish. Scattered throughout the garden will be a number of tented stalls selling handicrafts, home bakes and bric-a-brac. The organisers always attempt to provide as much sheltered seating as possible although there is seldom sufficient to cope with the numbers that come to enjoy the festival unless you arrive early. Many will relax on the lawns, sharing the space with the tombstones of people who have left their mark upon the church and upon Kalk Bay. There are usually also activities for kids including a jumping Castle, and local band to entrains the crowds.

Thirsts will be efficiently quenched by a number of stalls offering cold drinks and the ever popular beer tent situated at the top of the grounds opposite the church.

If you want to see a good cross-section of the people of Cape Town at play and enjoying their unique part of the world, join the Fish Fare on 2 March; but come early as it is very popular.

This is just one of the many nearby attractions when staying at our affordable Cape Town holiday accommodation.

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9 Feb

The environmentally friendly Green Bus to Cape Point

Care for the environment is at the forefront of most people’s minds these days. A group of local entrepreneurs known as the “Green Ladies” are providing an innovative and environmentally friendly transport service between Cape Town, Hout Bay, Noordhoek and Cape point with a stopover at Noordhoek farm village. The company’s fleet has been modified to run on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and a biodiesel blend utilising vegetable oil or animal fat and used cooking oil, which results in significantly reduced carbon dioxide emissions. LPG used in taxi, limousine or shuttle services can achieve carbon dioxide savings of up to 12%, compared to nomal petrol-driven vehicles. Vehicles running on biodiesel fuel can achieve carbon dioxide savings of between 15% and 90%, compared to standard diesel vehicles.            Cape good hope

The Green bus offers a shuttle service from the offices of Cape Town tourism in Burg Street, and travels along the beautiful Atlantic seaboard to Hout Bay, over spectacular Chapman’s peak drive; one of the world’s most breath-taking coastal scenic drives to Noordhoek farm village where there is a 30 min stopover and where those staying in Noordhoek holiday accommodation can board the bus to continue along the scenic Atlantic Ocean coast through quaint coastal villages such as Misty cliffs and Scarborough to the Cape of Good Hope & Cape Point.

The company offers two options :

The Green Drive at a cost of R 460 return which will take you the full route from Cape Town to Cape Point where there is a 90 min stopover for sightseeing photography and refreshments. The shuttle departs Cape Town at 09:30 and returns to drop off passengers in Cape Town at approximately 15:30.

The Green Pass is an option for those living out of the city to board the bus at the Hout Bay offices of Cape Town tourism in Andrews Road for pickup at 10:10 at a return cost of R430 or to board the bus at Noordhoek farm village at 11:00 at a return cost of R 390.

Pre-booking is essential and tickets are available online exclusively through  Web Tickets: http://www.webtickets.co.za/event.aspx?itemid=2920481

The Green bus offers a wonderful opportunity for visitors to relax and see the most beautiful parts of the coast of Cape Town while contributing to the support of an award-winning small business as well as contributing to a reduction in the carbon footprint.

By : Noordhoek self-catering accommodation

17 Jan

Annual Classic Car and Bike show at Timour Hall

The Classic Car and Bike Show has been hosted annually by the International Police Association for 10 successful years, as a means of fundraising for their various charitable programs and is held at beautiful 19th century Mansion, Timour Hall Villa.  Although the first show featured only a handful of clubs, the event has grown steadily in popularity with exhibitors and members of the public.  In 2006, it was decided to expand the event from a single day into a two day event to include modern and future Classics on the Saturday with Vintage and Classics remaining on the Sunday. This decision allowed the inclusion of more clubs and increased the field of interest to attract the younger generation.  Since the purpose of this Classic car show is to raise funds, the ability to help others grows with the show, with funds being donated annually to a deserving charity cause.Triumphs at Classic car show

The public pays a very affordable R20 admission with children under 12 free and tickets are available at the gate both days or from Computicket!  The show is open to the public from 10am – 4pm.  Note that none of the vehicles from the Saturday display will appear on the Sunday display, so do come both days.   Bring the Family!  The organisers strive to make this a day that can be enjoyed by the whole family and there here will be plenty of refreshments available, with a number of food stalls to tickle the taste buds, cool drinks to banish thirst and the popular, shaded beer garden.

Saturday 19 January will features Modern Classics

On day one of the Show, the exhibition will consist of vehicles which can be defined as ‘Modern Classics”. These include Hot Rods, Street Rods, souped up vehicles, racing cars and bikes, custom vehicles and motorcycles and this year a selection of cute and loveable old school Minis! This is a day that will appeal to many motoring enthusiasts.

Sunday 20 January features Vintage, Veteran and Classics.

On day two of the Show, the exhibition will consist of vehicles dating back to the late 1890’s, to classics that were loved in our youth. These are the classics that invoke an era of elegance, a more relaxed way of life and a time when craftsmanship was an important element of vehicle design and manufacture. This is always a popular display and will appeal to anyone with a love of restored and maintained classic vehicles.

The venue is at the bottom of Timour Hall Rd, off Gabriel Rd in Plumstead.  For maps, please see the venue website at www.timourhall.com . Check out info on the charity aims for 2013 on their website www.classiccarandbikeshow.co.za

PUBLIC PARKING is available only at Timour Hall Primary School on Gabriel Rd, Plumstead and visitors are encouraged to park their vehicles there and walk down Timour Hall Rd to the venue as public parking at the venue this year is limited to the DISABLED only, but there are no disabled facilities on-site.

By Horizon Cottages, Noordhoek

Tim 2 Timour hall villa

3 Jan

Kaapse Klopse – Cape Town’s Minstrel Carnival

The Kaapse Klopse is a music and costume carnival celebrated on 2nd January each year in the streets of Cape Town. This festival originates from the days of slavery under the Dutch when the slaves were given a day off at the start of the New Year. For centuries 2 January was a public holiday in Cape Town as a result of this celebration.  The Carnival has been held since the mid 1800’s and is believed to have been influenced by American minstrels from visiting ships, notably the US Southern Confederate raider the “Alabama” which underwent refit in Cape Town in 1863 and whose visit is still celebrated in one of the traditional folk songs. The festival evolved into one of groups of singers, dancers and bands dressed in colourful silk outfits competing with each other in song, dance and parades through the streets of Cape Town.

Preparations for the  Cape Minstrel Carnival, as it is now officially designated, starts months in advance with troupes rehearsing their songs, dance routines and parades for months. Costumes typically feature bold, multihued colourful satin fabric, bow ties, umbrellas and hats. Over the years, these minstrels, with their rich blend of music and spectacle, grouped into ‘klopse’, or clubs  to compete, which is how the Afrikaans name for the festival stuck.  The Minstrel Carnival of today features more than 65 troupes, tens of thousands of minstrels, strumming banjos, blowing trumpets, trombones and generally making merry. The majority of the minstrels come from the Islamic community; ancestors of the slaves brought by the Dutch from the East Indies, and other “coloured” or mixed race communities; who are mainly Afrikaans speaking.

The Carnival parade held on 2 January 2013 kicked off in District Six, previously home of the “coloured” community which was notoriously razed by the Apartheid regime in the 1960’s. The Grand Parade in front of the Cape Town city hall was the scene of musical entertainment and many food tents to keep the crowds entertained while waiting. Most people however, preferred to lay claim to a shaded spot on the route despite the relatively late starting time of noon and the finish time of 8 pm. Locals and visitors descended on the city in their tens of thousands, and by early afternoon the crowded streets were oppressive in the heat. Refreshments are plentifully available, although the portable toilets provided are only for the very brave, or very desperate.  Many families arrive as early as 7 am pitching a shade tent, setting out chairs and bringing a picnic for the day. Cape Metro police were on hand in great numbers to ensure that all went peacefully.

It required fortitude and determination to be able to see much of the 2013 Festival parade. After the official opening at 12, following the firing of the famous “noon gun”, a single troupe paraded along the route to the end point of the “Bo Kaap” or Cape Malay quarter, after which everything shut down for the Muslim mid-day prayer time. At around 2:30pm another troupe followed the routes when all was shut down again for afternoon prayers. By 5 pm only 6 of the reputed 65 troupes had strutted their stuff. Even some of the dedicated locals were taking down their shades and heading for home by then. We, too, had had enough after seeing so little to reward us for having to stand in the streets for more than 6 hours. Some of our guests at our Cape Town self-catering cottages stayed the course and reported that by 6pm the remaining crowds were rewarded by one troupe after another parading in quick succession and that the parade finished just before 8pm. I think that the city officials should communicate this information in their press releases and that the organisers should consider scheduling their parade to be more convenient for the spectators and supporters. Perhaps this is why the Kaapse Klopse does not feature highly on the list of things for visitors to Cape Town to see during their visit.





23 Dec

Fish Hoek Galley -restaurant on the beach

The Fish Hoek Galley occupies an enviable position right on one of the most popular family beaches of Cape Town, and has been around for decades. It is popular both with locals and visitors as it offers an excellent choice of fish and seafood at good value for money. Although we have eaten there many times over the years it had been some time before we visited them recently, attracted by an advertised  special offer which included grilled yellow tail, favourite of both my wife and myself.

The summers in Cape Town are made even more enjoyable by the fact that the sun only sets at around 8 pm. When we arrived at the restaurant at 7 pm there were many children playing happily with their parents in the gently sloping waters and on the clean white sand that characterises the sheltered beach of Fish Hoek; one of False Bay’s most popular beaches.  Tables in the restaurant are thoughtfully placed so that the majority of diners are able to enjoy, through the large glass windows of the restaurant, a magnificent view of the Bay, the Jaeger walk along the shore, the mountain at Kalk Bay and the bathers enjoying the beach.

We had made an early reservation in order to be able to enjoy the view as much as the meal. When we arrived however we stood waiting for quite some time for anyone to attend to us and lead us to a table. Waitrons buzzed by, ignoring us as we stood waiting, which did not start our evening well. As my irritation level raised, the lady who appeared to be in charge arrived to greet us but then the reservation book could not be found which resulted in further delay while it was sought to see our table number. We were then seated at a very nice table right in front of the windows and promptly served with a drink, while we browsed through the menu. Unfortunately the first waitron that we asked about the special was not aware of it and thought that the special included grilled sole. Having called the supervisor, who clarified the matter, we placed our orders, relaxed and enjoyed the drink. The platters of grilled yellow tail fish, 3 small grilled prawns and some strips of breaded cuttlefish steaks arrived -not calamari as advertised. The fish was served both with fries and savoury rice, garnished with a little salad. It was certainly attractively presented; accompanied by some five different sauces, and a thoughtfully provided finger bowl.

The fillet of Yellow tail was superb; a generous portion lightly topped with a spice mixture and nicely grilled so that it was just done; being a game fish it is easy to dry out this fish by overcooking. The “calamari” was also perfectly done and very enjoyable. The prawns, however, were mealy and it was a battle to persuade the shells to release the meat. Aside from this little complaint, the whole dish was very satisfying, and, we thought,  great value for money at R99.00.  On previous occasions I have enjoyed their Fisherman’s platter : “a choice of prawns, calamari, mussels, seafood kebab and line fish caringly prepared and served with rice, French fries and a selection of sauces” which is also great value at R129, as well as the line fish of the day, which has never failed to please.  Having had an ample meal, we declined the desserts to enjoy a walk on the beach.

The Fish Hoek Galley is unpretentious, serves really good fish and seafood at prices that don’t break the bank, even in peak season, but a little more supervision of the restaurant or training of the staff could improve the  dining experience.

The Bayside also includes a “Bistro” with table both inside and out , offering a wide selection of affordable dishes,  making this ideal for informal family beach meals. Bathers in baggies, or those in shorts and T shirts are welcome. Parents can enjoy a sundowner drink at an outside table while the kids play on the beach or in the playground and we usually recommend this option to guests with families staying at our affordable self-catering accommodation in Cape Town.



14 Dec

Cape Town safety tips for travellers

Cape Town is a safe place for travellers to visit. Every year approximately 1.8 million travellers will be able to tell you the same thing. At the end of the day these Cape Town safety tips are the same ones you should use when visiting any popular city in the world; if you practice general street smarts, you’ll never have cause to feel unsafe. Often international travellers consider South Africa to be an unsafe destination. A lot of this paranoia has stemmed from sensationalist media and crime statistics based mainly on the poorer township regions. Cape Town city is one of safest of world tourist destinations thanks to an excellent security plan that has been put in place to ensure visitor safety.

All you need is a bit of common sense and to follow our streetwise safety tips below. Here is a list of easy, no-nonsense Cape Town safety tips for travellers:

Car safety • Keep your car doors locked • Wind windows up when in stationary position • Leaving valuable items openly displayed in the car is an open invite to thieves; put them in the trunk or glove compartment •

Don’t leave GPS accessories in clear view when away from your car- store them in the trunk •

Ensure rented cars are fully serviced and topped up on fuel •

If you are lost, stop and ask for directions at the nearest police or fuel station •

Be wary of loiterers at traffic lights- keep doors locked and windows closed •

Park in secure parking lots or where car attendants are present (remember to tip them only once you have returned to your car. About R5 will suffice) •

Manually check your doors are locked before leaving your car.

Train safety •

When travelling by train hold onto your bag, don’t put it on the floor, the seat next to you, or on your back •

The safest time to travel is at peak hours of 07:00 – 09:00 and between 16:00 – 18:00 •

Don’t travel on trains after dark Areas to avoid •

Townships :

Only venture into the townships if accompanied by a tour guide •

Avoid the townships at night •

If walking alone steer clear of isolated areas or dense roadside bushes and ditche

Don’t flaunt your wealth, conceal cameras, mobiles, laptops, wallets and expensive accessories and don’t carry large amounts of cash •

Zip up your bags and lock if possible, keeping a firm hold on handbags •

If hiking and climbing, do so in groups and carry a mobile phone with you •

Be wary of opportunistic pick-pockets  when walking on busy streets or in crowds •

Take note of the specific opening and closing times of tourist spots to avoid being stranded •

If you are approached by a vagrant, give them food rather than money, however you are not obliged to give them anything.

Safety after dark • Avoid poorly lit and isolated areas • Don’t walk the streets alone • Park as close to your destination as possible • Stay on the main streets and avoid side roads and shortcuts • Ask locals or your host advice on where the best spots to go out are • If intoxicated get a taxi home, don’t walk.

Safety for woman and children • Avoid driving alone after dark through rural areas • Ensure your children carry mobile phones at all times • Know your children’s schedules • Teach your children basic safety rules such as not talking to strangers.

Emergency Numbers • Police (Tourist Assistance Unit) – 021 418 2852 • Ambulance – 10177 • Fire Brigade – 021 461 5555 • Mountain Rescue – 10111 • Sea Rescue – 021 405 3500

As a past traveller to Cape Town put it on World Traveller, “Go out on the streets, and have a great time. Keep your valuables protected, your wits about you, and don’t let the ridiculous reports in the press interfere with having a wonderful experience in this city!” By knowing these Cape Town safety tips for travellers there is really no need to feel unsafe. Cape Town is safer for tourists than most large international cities.

by Guest Blogger Dalene Ingham-Brown  of Discover Africa

26 Nov

Saul’s Mediterranean Taverna – Sea Point

My wife is a prawn addict- she loves them prepared in every way and seldom orders anything else when we eat out; which we do quite frequently. I had been attracted by a special offer to enjoy a 1kg Queen prawn platter for 2 at Saul’s Taverna in Sea Point, at only R99. Although this restaurant is out of our way, I decided to enjoy a Sunday in the City, as the day promised an end to the chill and rain of this past weekend and give her a treat.

Saul’s Taverna is at the top end of Sea Point at 103 Main road; easy enough to find and parking in nearby streets was not difficult to find. The restaurant faces the street and has both an outside covered patio and large sliding windows to let the summer sun and weather in. The place has a cheerful, Mediterranean ambiance, with vaulted ceilings and arches, and terrazzo tiled floors.  The prawn special was everything that one could have wished for. Grilled seafood can easily be overdone but these prawns,  grilled on the flame, were succulent and delicious, served with a Garlic butter sauce and a selection of bottled Peri- Peri sauces. The tiny fries that accompanied the prawns were lightly spiced and delicious.  When eating prawns, however, the finger bowls should be brought at the beginning of the meal not after.

Sauls Taverna is obviously popular, in spite of the competition from the many restaurants in the street; probably because it offers large portions at very good value. The Menu features some Mediterranean specialities and a few more innovative dishes, such as Kudu Espatadas, (R115).  This makes a great family eating out venue as Pizzas, Pasta  and burgers are very affordably priced as is the Fish ‘n Chips at only R39. The wine list offered   a reasonable selection, affordably priced but, disappointingly, only indifferent house wine was available by the glass.

The service was friendly but not very efficient even though the restaurant was not too busy. One gained the impression that the waitrons were inexperienced and possibly untrained.

In summary: Great prawns; and a good value for money eatery.


24 Nov

Noordhoek’s new Community Market

Noordhoek is a coastal village that offers visitors a rural country charm. There is an on-going tussle here between those who would suppress any attempts to make the village more popular and those who wish to promote and share what Noordhoek has to offer- peace, tranquillity, clean air and more sunlight hours than anywhere in Cape Town.  Residents bemoan the fact that the very popular Thursday Earth Fair market at Noordhoek Village had to be closed because of those who objected about zoning issues at Noordhoek Farm Village

One of Noordhoek’s more recent success stories is the establishment of a vineyard that is uniquely situated on the narrow strip of the Southern Peninsula between the cold Atlantic and warmer waters of False Bay; a strip of land that is continually buffeted by breezes from both of the oceans and which appears to create a microclimate ideal for the production of award winning Sauvignon Blanc wines. The Noordhoek vineyards stretch high up the mountain slopes from Silvermine Rd in the village, overlooking the magnificent stretch of Noordhoek beach as well as the wetlands; creating an enviable spot for picnics. Cape Point Vineyards has now stepped into the breach with a new community market aimed at bringing together local producers as well as the people of the village and which will be held each Thursday from 4:30 to 8:30 pm.

The inaugural market held on Thursday 22 November was an unqualified success, starting with a complimentary glass of their iconic “spattered toad” red or white wine for the first hundred guests, and a thank you note from the owners. The Noordhoek Community Market is held in their new tented Summer Tasting Room; a soaring Bedouin type marquee in a beautiful setting above the vineyard’s dam, with rolling lawns, magnificent views and ample secure parking. There are so many markets in Cape Town that one gets a sense of sameness if you are a regular visitor to these. The Noordhoek community market, by sourcing new suppliers, offers something that is a little different to any of those that we have visited. Although there was a wide range of interesting things to eat and drink on offer it is apparent that there is sufficient space for the market to expand as it becomes more popular.  Before sunset the need and support of Noordhoek residents for a place where children can play in safety and where one can enjoy informal dining, meeting and chatting in a beautiful setting was evident as the evening air was filled with the laughter of children running and playing barefoot on the lawns whilst the adults enjoyed a drink and a chat. Something else that distinguishes this market is the fact that, although it was crowded, there are ample tables and benches provided with the further option of hay bales or even the lovely lawns if it should ever become too full.

Whilst there were a number of stalls offering preserves, crafts, home bakes and the like, this first market focused clearly on offering a wide an interesting selection of food, either ready prepared or quickly prepared while you wait. The food included a selection of seafood wraps and rolls from Kommetjie, organic health food options, glorious matured steak rolls, chicken curry and bobotie spring rolls from the Vineyards own kitchen, laced coffees and crêpes and many more. It was however the Burritos of the colourful character, Pedro, from Cuba who seem to have attracted the most attention and popularity. His chicken or steak filled tortillas, topped with avocado, cheese and spicy sauce drew the crowds. There was even sushi being freshly prepared by the staff of the de Noordhoek hotel. Sushi , once a rare delicacy sometimes drawing shudders, appears to be set to take over from Samosas and pies as the most available snack to be found anywhere in South Africa.

Thirst quenching fresh juices were on offer together with Artisan produced beers, whilst the award-winning wines of Cape Point Vineyards were being served, either by the glass or by the bottle, at crowd pleasing prices.  As the sun set over Noordhoek beach, filling the sky with spectacular colours reflected also in the farm dam just below the market there was much talk about becoming regulars at the market and the hope that this, too, will not fall foul of the regulatory authorities.

Cape point Vineyards have reinstated their summer picnics with the picnic site, just  below the tasting room is now open between 10:00 and 20:00, offering spectacular views and a range of delectable picnic baskets available to order 24 hours in advance. Picnic blankets, cushions and umbrellas are provided, but pets, music systems and food or beverage items purchased elsewhere , are not permitted.  Because numbers are limited to prevent crowding it is essential to book your picnic beforehand which can be done by contacting events@cape-point.com . If you can’t make the Thursday Community market- try the picnic venue.

If you would like to spend a weekend unwinding in our beautiful valley, and enjoy these and other attractions try our affordable self catering cottages or chalets.

By : Horizon Cottages, Noordhoek



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