To shake off the lingering impacts of 17 months of Covid-19 lockdown and restrictions, our intrepid staff explorers, Zainab Achmat and Cheryl Pinter, recently packed their car with cookies, clothes and other essentials and hit the open road for a road trip second to none.
Hightailing it out of Cape Town to escape the traffic, the clutter and the noise on a sunny Friday morning, they soon found their car nosing its way in the direction of Stellenbosch and the Hazendal Wine Estate. Tired of the pandemic blues, Cheryl and Zainab wanted to experience what traveling would be like during Lockdown Level 2. They were convinced that there was so much of South Africa just waiting to again be explored. And they were right.
“We noticed that there were many people out on holiday or just going somewhere nice for the weekend – not just international tourists but many, many local tourists too. Everyone was following Covid-19 protocols which really made us feel safe,” says Zainab.
Hazendal Wine Estate, Stellenbosch
The pair decided to start the morning at Hazendal for high tea with a difference and went for a stroll to work up an appetite. They found Hazendal to be a wine estate that has so much to offer, including its world-class 18-hole par-3 golf course with its panoramic views of the winelands. The Burrow driving range has 32 open-air and undercover InRange-enabled bays, facing onto a 270-metre range and offers a high-quality practice facility for discerning golfers.
Then they spotted the Marvol Art Gallery and the magical Wonderdal Edutainment Centre for Children, a one-of-a-kind, fully supervised edutainment centre that combines learning with play, and magic with innovation, and allows children aged 5-13 to journey through the world of science and nature while building life skills – all in the company of the Amuki characters that call Wonderdal their home.
Their next experience was out of this world – a much talked-about and very unique Russian tea ceremony.
“I have never before tried a teaspoon of jam before sipping some Russian brewed black tea. Absolutely exquisite,” exclaimed Cheryl, ready to go back for more. “The ceremony consists of enjoying some delicious Russian sweet and savoury delights, centred around a steaming samovar (a traditional Russian tea urn). While enjoying the black tea, we were educated about the Russian culture and the ways to best enjoy and savour the taste of the Hazendal sourced black tea.”
Phone General Enquiries +27(0)21 903 5034.
Rogge Cloof Nature Reserve, Sutherland
After a morning well spent at Hazendal Wine Estate, our road trippers set off for the icy mountains of Sutherland – their next stop, the Rogge Cloof Nature Reserve. The reserve and guest farm are located in the Roggeveld region (Afrikaans for “rye field”), a plateau located in the Northern Cape Karoo. The name comes from wild rye which was once plentiful in the area. The Roggeveld Mountains, lying west of the plateau in the Northern Cape, are named after it. The range forms the western escarpment of the eponymous Roggeveld plateau and separates it from the lower-lying Tankwa Karoo to the west. Its highest peak is Sneeukop (1739 m), situated northwest of Sutherland and to the southwest lies Salpeterkop (1727 m), a very distinctive conical mountain to the east of the town which is visible for many kilometres.
Our explorers spent the night in Rogge Cloof’s Orion Suites, luxurious open plan accommodation units ideal for couples with dinner and breakfast included. It’s the perfect accommodation for a honeymoon in the snow. Zainab and Cheryl had a fireplace in the suite which they found to be so warm and cosy they never wanted to leave again.
“We enjoyed an educational game drive and were fortunate to see a cheetah among others. We also got to see the very interesting fossil area,” said Zainab.
Rogge Cloof offers self-catering accommodation, a superb restaurant, function venues, volcano visits and of course, stargazing… that which has made Sutherland with its giant telescopes world famous.
The Dunes, Arniston
Leaving early in the morning, the two took a leisurely drive to the seaside village of Arniston, roughly three and half hours’ drive away. Their destination: The Dunes at Arniston. A leisure hotel and conference centre, it is the perfect base for beach-friendly romantic getaways, family holidays and business breakaways. Arniston is a historic seaside fishing and holiday village in the Overberg set in a fynbos-rich landscape and sandy dunes. The Dunes has everything you need from a gym to a pool, squash courts, sauna and so much more.
The Great White House, Gansbaai
The next day saw our road trippers heading to The Great White House in Gansbaai. Here they found a restaurant with a difference that offers high quality, locally sourced food, under a thatched roof, with ship wreck relics on display. And when you visit, don’t forget the breathtaking suspended whale skeleton exhibit, the largest in Southern Africa. They also have a little curio shop for gifting ideas that will keep you busy, well, almost forever.
Marine Dynamics Shark Cage Diving, Gansbaai
Marine Dynamics shark cage diving bookings can be done at the reception area of The Great White House where our two travellers stayed. The group was firstly prepped for the experience, and then walked down to the harbour to board the boat. A little tip: wear your bathing costume under your clothes as you change into a wetsuit on the boat. The girls were blown away by this awesome experience of being in the cage and seeing the sharks so close. They were fortunate enough to come face to face with approximately 8 copper bronze sharks.
Marine Dynamics are well known for their Dyer Island Marine Big 5 cruise. And don’t forget to mention the Gansbaai Penguin colony where the girls arrived just in time to see them getting fed. Both being beach people, Gansbaai was their favourite and driving to different beach locations was so easy and they also saw whales along the way.
The Marine, Hermanus
After the girls’ adventures in Gansbaai, they ventured off to The Marine, arguably the most famous hotel in Hermanus, for high tea. Here they had their own little secluded and private tea party. Later they were able to explore the restaurant and their accommodation. Both agreed: the Marine really offers their guests an experience beyond expectation, luxury accommodation options abound, culinary journeys are crafted, and memorable moments are guaranteed.
For more information: website https://www.themarinehotel.co.za/; tel +27 (0) 28 313 1000
Sharklady Adventures, Hermanus
The Marine is a short walk away from Sharklady Adventures. Our explorers fell in love with the tranquillity of Hermanus when they spent a night at the cottage of Sharklady Adventures on the beachfront. From the cottage it’s an easy walk into town where many eating options abound. After meeting up with Kim, the Sharklady, she showed them from where the boat leaves for the fishing experience that awaited them. They also do shark cage diving, whale watching and much more.
Whale Coast Mall
Girls being girls, before leaving on their return journey home, they popped into Whale Coast Mall to pick up a few things. Well, it turned out there are always great things happening at the mall!
Their car from Jetsetting with Janet and Barons Cape Town
The girls drove a car that was sponsored by Jetsetting with Janet and Barons Cape Town (V&A Waterfront). The tip-tronic VW T-Roc sporty SUV range was an absolutely luxurious drive. It handled the icy weather in Sutherland and the uneven gravel dirt roads that they travelled with ease. The spacious boot was a blessing as we all know how much luggage ladies can travel with, and our girls were no exception. The lane keeping system and the rear traffic alert was a real lifesaver. The petrol consumption was amazing considering the amount of mileage they covered. And the plush seats were so comfortable the girls say they honestly didn’t feel the hours of driving. Book your test drive today!
contact: 021 409 2800.