It's Better to Travel than Arrive?

"To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive"

Robert Louis Stevenson, Virginibus Puerisque, 1881.

"Robert Louis Stevenson speaks utter tosh and has

obviously never flown long haul economy class"

Kristy, first ever blog post, 2011.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Penguins at Boulders Beach, Cape Town

We had a great time checking out the penguins at Boulders Beach when we were in Cape Town.  Boulders is near Simon's Town, less than an hours drive from Cape Town.  It's very well sign posted and the penguin colony is well set up with raised boardwalks taking you up close to the action.  It's great to lean on the fence and watch them waddle down to the water, becoming so graceful once they're in.  It's a bit stinky, as you'd imagine it would with thousands of animals that live on fish, but it's well worth a look.

Here's a bit of info on Boulders Beach:-

Boulders Beach is a sheltered beach made up of inlets between granite boulders, from which the name originated. It is located in the Cape Peninsula, near Simon's Town towards Cape Point, near Cape Town in the Western Cape province of South Africa. It is also commonly known as Boulders Bay.
It is a popular tourist stop because of a colony of African Penguins which settled there in 1982. Boulders Beach forms part of the Table Mountain National Park.
Although set in the midst of a residential area, it is one of the few sites where this vulnerable bird (Spheniscus demersus) can be observed at close range, wandering freely in a protected natural environment.
From just two breeding pairs in 1982, the penguin colony has grown to about 3,000 in recent years. This is partly due to the reduction in commercial pelagic trawling inFalse Bay, which has increased the supply of pilchards and anchovy, which form part of the penguins' diet.
Bordered mainly by indigenous bush above the high-water mark on the one side, and the clear water of False Bay on the other, the area comprises a number of small sheltered bays, partially enclosed by granite boulders that are 540 million years old.
The most popular recreational spot is Boulders Beach, but the penguins are best viewed from Foxy Beach, where newly-constructed boardwalks take visitors to within a few meters of the birds.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Franschhoek Wine Tram Tour, South Africa

The Franschhoek Wine Tram hop-on hop-off tour is one of the best ways to discover the true essence of the Franschhoek Valley - picturesque vineyards, breath-taking scenery, warm hospitality, world class cuisine, fine wines and and a 300 year old history - that's the official blurb to this affordable and fun day out.

You can pick up your tickets (R150/adult) from the ticket booth in the main street and jump on the mini-bus which takes you to the wineries up in the hills, where the tram can't go.  Your ticket price includes a bunch of tastings, and if you had them all, you could be quite wobbly before long.  I only had a few tastings because it wasn't yet lunch time and I wanted to enjoy the rest of the day.

The bus drops past each stop every 40 minutes, and we found that was a bit long in a few of the wineries, so we walked down the hill from Dieu Donne to Chamonix and managed to do both wineries in 40 minutes.

Once you're back down on the flats, you hop onto the open sided Wine Tram and move slowly along the tracks for some more winery stops.  When I say moving slowly, I'm serious.  You're going so slowly that staff jump on and off, waving flags to stop any crossing traffic.

Each winery has its own stop and sends down its own transport to pick you up and take you back to the winery.  We stopped at Rickety Bridge for tastings (included) and then stayed for lunch.  Rickety Bridge sent down a lovely old open sided truck with bench seats on the back for the tram passengers.  We saw that another winery sent down a tractor pulling a trailer filled with seats - it's all a bit of a laugh.

Lunch at Rickety Bridge was scrummy and the wines were great.  They've got a fab little gift shop area, selling all wine related things and we bought a gorgeous wooden cutting board and some home smoked salt, as well as some wine.

Friday, June 14, 2013


The chocolates we were given on the way from Cape Town to Johannesburg on BA.  They were the size of a postage stamp.  I think they're confused about the word "copious".  They're certainly confused about my take on the word "copious"!


  [koh-pee-uhs]  Show IPA
large in quantity or number; abundant; plentiful: copious amounts of food.
having or yielding an abundant supply: a copious larder; a copious harvest.
exhibiting abundance or fullness, as of thoughts or words.
1350–1400; Middle English  < Latin cōpiōsus  plentiful, rich, equivalent to cōpi a wealth ( co- co- + op sOps + -ia -ia) + -ōsus -ous

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Flat Hair Help?

Bad hair personified.

I've written before about my ridiculously straight and flat hair, and how much I love dry shampoo (still do, it's fabulous!), but I've now got a new problem.  Toni & Guy have stopped making their Volume mousse and I've used up my last can.

I've tried four different "volume" mousses on the market in Germany and they're all useless, leaving my hair softer, flatter and oilier than before (sigh).

Does anyone have any tips for a really good volume mousse that actually works?  Anything I can get in Australia, USA, UK, or even Germany?

This hair?  I wish!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Restaurant Review : La Petite Ferme, Franschhoek, South Africa

On our last day in Franschhoek, we headed to La Petite Ferme, nestled in the hills above the town.  We'd made a booking some weeks previously, and I would recommend that you do, it is a very busy and popular place.

La Petite Ferme is an internationally known restaurant, built up by three generations of caring staff, and their lunches are legendary - as are the fab views over the town.  This restaurant has been listed by Conde Nast Traveller as one of the top 15 "Best Value" establishments in the world - and it's not hard to see why.

I started with the Shredded Beetroot Salad with Balsamic Deep Fried Goats Cheese, Pumpkin Seeds and Mint, and then for my main had the Pork Belly Braised in Cider with Wasabi Cauliflower puree and Mango Chick Pea Salsa.  Both were seriously yummy.  I had such good plans to keep room for dessert, but I can hardly ever do it, so I stuck to the two courses before I rolled away from the table and we took some photos from the gorgeous garden surrounds.

As with a lot of great restaurants in South Africa, the food is world class, but the prices are half what you'd expect to pay anywhere else - La Petite Ferme is no exception.  Click HERE to see the current menu and prices.

La Petite Ferme
Pass Road
Phone:- +27 0 21 876 3016

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Restaurant Review : Codfather, Camps Bay, Cape Town

Codfather was just down the road from where we were staying in Camps Bay, and the main reason we went there was because of the name.  Codfather?  Brilliant!

Codfather is popular with locals and visitors.  It's chocka block with people and has a good vibe.  It's set back slightly from the seafront, but you get great views from the big windows.  There's a small parking lot over the road, and some parking on the street out front, but grab a cab if you're going to drink and then you don't have to worry about parking at all.

Here's the official blurb:-

Is situated in Camps Bay and opened as a Seafood restaurant and Sushi Bar in 1998 - one of the first sushi venues in Cape Town. We serve an excellent array of fresh seafood and sushi in a vibey, yet warm and relaxed environment. We do not have any menu's and the unique way in which the waiters help you put your meal together works beautifully in that it allows you to select everything according to your appetite and budget. In other words the options and possibilities are endless. 

We have the Sushi Bar at one end with a circular conveyor belt and informal seating, a bar and then our main restaurant seating area with great views. The large sliding window frontage allows us to open up to those beautiful warm summer nights the Cape experiences. In addition there is a large, open fireplace situated in a very unique spot in the centre of it all for the cold winter nights. We also have an outside terrace with beautiful mountain views for those who want to smoke.

We have had little need for advertising over the years. Sheer reputation and word of mouth has brought us customers from all over the world - many of them, local and foreign, becoming regular visitors. This bears testimony to our uniqueness and our success; at the heart of which lies the buzz or soul that is the ambience of our restaurant. Our growth and ongoing popularity tells us we have a winning formula in giving our patrons a fantastic meal experience every time.

As they mention above, there's no real menu, they serve what's fresh that day.  Your waitstaff will escort you up to the fish counter and then help you choose what you'd like to eat.  They then weigh it and give you a price, then ask you how you'd like it cooked.  Then it gets taken away and delivered piping hot to your table.

Our food was fresh and really tasty.  We started with their famous calamari, and with our main we ordered sides of rice and chips, which all went fabulously with the great sauces they supply - my favourite was the garlic butter - yum!  We had a selection of line fish and some great Mozambique langoustine, didn't try the sushi so can't comment on that.  They had a great wine list and prices for both dinner and wine were very reasonable.

If we'd had a spare night, we definitely would have gone back to Codfather for another great meal.

Codfather Seafood & Sushi
37 The Drive
Camps Bay
Cape Town
South Africa
Phone:- (021) 438 0782

Monday, June 3, 2013

Baboons - The Differences

Stay away from the Cape baboons!

When we were in Macatoo, we saw Botswanan baboons every day.  They were around the camp and made themselves at home, but would bolt as soon as you yelled at them or waved your arms about - they weren't bold.

When we got to Franschhoek we saw different baboons; tough baboons, baboons that weren't scared of people.  They would stalk down the middle of the roads, daring people into crazy overtaking manoeuvres.  These baboons weren't scared of people and looked mean - much bigger, darker and hairier than the Botswanan ones.

Here's some photos I found online of Cape baboons, being generally menacing.  If you're driving in the area, keep your windows up, your doors locked (they can open doors) and keep moving.  Don't stop to look at the cute little monkeys, they're NOT cute.

"Barry, smile for the camera!"

"Marge!  Marge, this one's left their door unlocked, bring the kids!"

"Sharon, there's no way you're a double D, try the red bra!"

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Anyone Remember Stoney's?

Do any of my Aussies remember Stoney's Ginger Beer?  I remember when I was growing up that sometimes my Dad would drink it.  I tried it as a child and absolutely loathed it as it was soooo gingery.  Well, as an adult I adore the taste of ginger, and couldn't believe my eyes when I saw a bottle of Stoney in the fridge at a petrol station in Cape Town.  

Grabbed a bottle and a newspaper, and was thrilled that the taste seems to be just the same.  Hated it then, love it now!  I think it could only be improved by adding a splish splash of Absolut and pouring it over ice.  Yum!