Notes

De Mond

De Mond

We were treated to a great day out last week by the guys from SwellenCab, the local Swellendam Town & Country provider of daytrips and general lifts. We highly recommend that when you book your trip to the Overberg, you consider a daytrip such as the one we went on. It is a very short drive to get to Bredasdorp and then on to Arniston which is adjacent to Kassiesbaai, a dropdead gorgeous fisherman's village. The next stop is De Mond which is truly an undiscovered gem. I believe that the guys also recommend having lunch here and quite honestly, a picnic lunch in this setting is unforgettable....

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What’s in a Name?

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We Capetonians are tarnished for our work-aversion malady known as the Cape Coma. But it the shared love for our beautiful mountain that most grounds us. But it has not always been so – the mountain that is, not our fondness for recreation. Table Mountain has gone by many names in times past. The oldest we know of is Hoerikwaggo (mountain of the sea) that was used by the Khoi who were living in its shadow when Europeans first arrived by sea in the late 1400s. You might be surprised to know that the ancient Greeks, who never saw the place, had proposed an earthly paradise in the southern...

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Flammkuchen but not quite

It is always a treat when someone stays with us, bringing with them a view on a product or cultural items which hitherto had been unknown to us. When Suzanne Diehm and Tobi Mast checked in, little would betray the fact that Tobi is a masterbaker in the making at home in Stuttgart where he, with his family, owns and run the Deie Backhaus. They produce Swabian Deie which is a relative of the better known Flammkuchen, the Alasatian speciality. A recipe for 'Schwäbische Deie' basically impossible to find, but here is a recipe for flammkuchen with yeast dough, which we have made on occasion...

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Burchell’s legacy

Happy birthday to William Burchell, English Explorer, naturalist, traveller, artist, and author was born in 1792, the son of a wealthy nurseryman.  Burchell travelled nearly 7 000 km throughout South Africa between 1810 and 1815, collecting specimens of animals and plants. He described his journey in a book Travels in the Interior of Southern Africa.  His collection contains the most extensive examples of African fauna and flora.  Burchell's travels however exhausted his fortune, and he became quite isolated and disillusioned. On 23 March 1863, he ended his own life in London. Burchell is remembered...

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Knot of Stone

One of the real treats of living in a guesthouse and meeting such a wide range of people is that you become good friends with many. It is natural then, that when they return for a second, third or fourth visit, you greet them as a guest but also as a friend. Two such friends have just been for their annual visit and it was, again, inspiring, interesting and just too quick. Nicolaas Vergunst is a published author who currently is riding the crest of his most amazing book, Knot of Stone. Born in Cape Town of post-war Dutch emigrants he worked as an artist, art teacher, designer, curator...

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A Minor Public Figure…

We are so priviigded to get some amazing guests. From movers and shakers in the jazz world to journalists, chefs and fashion designers. We were very honoured to have the wonderful Des Wilson and his gorgeous wife Jane with us this week, and to also cook dinner for them. We were surprised and touched when Des left a copy of his very recent book Memoirs of a Minor Public Figure in the suite after they checked out. But what a book! Choc full of information on the transformation of British politics and the people behind it. As Sir Harold Evans says in the forward: "Every country needs a Des Wilson." Des...

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Without a paddle

Long before the idea of a guesthouse in Swellendam was even a possibility and life was all about ad campaigns and clients, one of the highlights of the year was to take the road to Swellendam and rip a few all-nighters. It didn't matter whether you were a staunch oke, a trance tripper, a hip hipster or a hip hop head. It didn't even matter if you were a zombie robot. And it still doesn't. Tomorrow sees the start of Up the Creek 2013 and while things change in the real world, here on the banks of the Breede, mercifully, things haven't really changed much at all. At Up The Creek everyone comes...

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Penguin Run

The African Penguin population has undergone a staggering 80% decrease over the last 50 years. When the first official population census was conducted in 1956, there were about 141 000 pairs. More than fifty years later, the population is at only 20 000 pairs. These charismatic birds breed only at a few islands along the coast of South Africa and Namibia and their numbers are continuing to dwindle. Penguins are threatened by a myriad of sources from predation by seals (and possibly sharks) to the potential for a catastrophic oil spill to a lack of food. The impact of these threats will only be exacerbated...

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Bravo Tredici

It's not every day that you walk into a totally new build of this scale and purpose, in a small South African town and just marvel at the high level of craftmanship, decor, and quality. This place would be unique and special anywhere in the world, and we are so lucky to have it in Swellendam. Over the last two years, several places have opened and relaunched, each with the hint of what Swellendam is going to be when its all grown up. Tredici is a game-changer. Now, when you arrive at the town on the N2 you are greeted by this very stylish sight. And you naturally feel like the town is ripe for exploring. You...

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From Uganda to Cape Town ON A BIKE!

  Mark McNamara spent a few days at Augusta on his bicycle journey through the heart of Africa raising funds for orphaned & vulnerable children. He is cycling through 10 countries from Uganda to Cape Town, South Africa. He is assisting Keep the Dream 196, a community-based charity using mentoring programmes to advance employment generation, poverty reduction and social integration at a grassroots level. Australian koala, Katie Dee, has come along for the ride. She is cycling with Mark along the entire BIKE AFRICA route. Katie is an inspiration for all of us to ‘get out of our tree’...

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