Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Saul Food Part 2

We awoke that first morning with birdsong all around us! Last night we were unable to see the view from our bungalow and I was unsure if it was called Gorge View because you look down a gorge or Gorge View as in Gorgeous View. That morning I new instantly that it could mean eiter!
We had a lovely breakfast of bacon and eggs. We hopped into the car and headed for the Heads. The Heads are two great sandstone cliffs guarding the mouth of the lagoon which connects the estuary with the sea. A lookout has been erected on the Eastern Head, commanding spectacular views of the lagoon, Leisure Isle and Knysna. The Western Head is a privately owned nature Reserve - Featherbed Bay.

The water surrounding the Heads are very trecherous and through the years it has gained a reputation of the most trecherous harbour mouth in South Africa. Incidentally, the Knysna Heads are only one of two places in the world where vessels won't by insured by Lloyds shipping agents.
The views, though are spectacular and we could not get enough of it. We hopped from viewing platform to viewing platform clicking away at our cameras. Thank goodness for digital!

The easten head viewing platform truely is a gem. The walkways are beautifully tended and covered in shade. Every view is better than the one before and you almost find yourself jogging from one to the other in your rush to see what's next. :)

More views of the Heads...

Everywhere along the route we saw the most delicate spring flowers. Bees and butterflies were doing there thing pollinating like crazy. I could not help myself and just had to stop every few steps to take a couple of close up flower pictures. :)

Monday, 26 September 2011

Random Pictures...

Saul Food

Stiaan and I both had a terrible last quarter! We needed a break, so when I heard that I had to go do some work in Knysna we wasted no time in organizing a mini break! I had to work in Johannesburg on Monday to Wednesday. I would then fly from JHB to George on Wednesday afternoon and Stiaan would drive from Cape Town to George to meet me at the airport. On Sunday he would then fly back to CPT and I would stay the week, finish my work in Knysna and then drive back down to CPT on Friday! SORTED!

Knysna is a Koi-word meaning fern and is smack in the centre of the Garden Route. It is surrounded by lush forests, clear lakes and beautiful beaches. A hiking paradise! Knysna has been voted South Africa 's favorite holiday town.
I was in charge of accommodation and had the perfect spot already picked out. Teniqua Treetops just outside Sedgefield.

In the 3 days leading up to our 'holiday' I could hardly contain my excitement! When Tuesday rolled by and there was only one sleep left I was counting the hours, like a child waiting for Christmas. At long last the plane touched down in George. (only one hour late)! S was there waiting for me. We made a quick stop at the Pick and Pay only to find that we had a flat tyre! Another quick stop at the garage to inflate the wheel and off we went. We had no problem finding Teniqua, had a quick and friendly check in and got shown to our treehouse. Home for the next 4 nights! Teniqua Treetops is a unique, tented tree house resort, offering eco accommodation, occupying a position high on the foothills of the ancient Outeniqua mountain range.

Our treehouse was named Gorge View.

We quickly fired up the Weber and settled in with a glass of red! It was to dark to see exactly where we were, the view would have to wait for moring.

Settling in on the bench with fresh forest smells and night-time noises bombarding my senses, I could finally relax. This truely is heaven.

Our dinner was cooked to perfection. (Thank you S you are the best!). With our tummies full we scrubbed ourselves free of the city-grime and got into bed...Zzzzz

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Stepping back in Time...

Vergelegen is an Iconic Estate situated about 30min from Cape Town in the beautiful town of Somerset-West. Not only is it an area rich in history and culture but the estate also produce some excellent wines. Both red and white!
Vergelegen was most likely an outpost until early 1700 when the freehold land was granted to Willem Adriaan van der Stel, the new governor of the Cape. Willem was a true visionary who transformed an utter wilderness into a flourishing Estate to rival Europe's finest. Alas, in 1706, he was ordered to return to the Netherlands, resulting in the Estate's succession of ownership over the next century.

The estate is situated on a large plot of land and surrounded by the most beautiful garden. You can spend all day wondering the grounds... and that is exactly what we did. :)
The Octagonal garden at the back of the house is the center piece of the design and you can just imagine the lady of the house settling in under one of those huge acorn trees with a good book in 1705.

The house is built in the typical Cape Dutch Architecture for which the area is renowned.
Houses in this style have a distinctive and recognisable design, with a prominent feature being the grand, ornately rounded gables, reminiscent of features in townhouses of Amsterdam built in the Dutch Style. The houses are also usually H-shaped, with the front section of the house usually being flanked by two wings running perpendicular to it. Furthermore, walls are whitewashed, and the roofs are thatched.

At the front of the house stands a row of Campher Trees, planted During the van der Stel era (1700 - 1706). The five remaining giants were proclaimed National Monuments in 1942 and are expected to live for another 150 - 200 years. The other camphor trees at the Vergelegen Estate are all seedlings from these five magnificent species.

All around the homestead there are small paths winding through the trees. The huge lawn in front of the homestead are ideal for a Sunday afternoon picnic.

There are also a lot of acorn trees on the estate. Amongst others the oldest living acorn tree in South Africa.

And the one below that has its own special history...
The yellow-wood walk starts with a suspension bridge over a lovely little river.
Afrocarpus falcatus  – Outeniqua yellowwood tree:  Previously named Podocarpus falcatus, its name was recently changed to Afrocarpus falcatus because it is considered a true African Yellowwood tree. It is native to South Africa.

The Afrocarpus falcatus usually reaches heights of 10 - 25 m, but can sometimes attain heights of up to 60 m and live for hundreds of years. Its wood is used extensively for furniture, roof beams, floorboards, door and window frames as well as boat building. Some of South Africa's famous antiques are made of this yellowwood tree.
The one side of the house is home to the tasting room, a small shop and a library museum. You can sit outside in the garden by the pool/dam/bath and try some of the estates best wines.
 I could not get enough of the house. This beautiful building is part of my heritage and the museum on the inside is informative and beautifully restored. Unfortunately we were not allowed to take pictures of the inside of the house, but I made sure I took plenty of the outside.

There are so many trees here, that I felt the need to experiment and took some artsy photo's. :)

If you are lucky and you know where to look you might even come across some smaller surprises.

If you would like to end the day at a high I would suggest enjoying lunch at her star quality vergelegen restaurant. The food, the service and the wine is absolutely excellent.