VISITING SHAMWARI IN THE EASTERN CAPE

 

For as long as I can remember I have been in love with the African bush. Going on safari has a very special place in my heart. The silence, the fresh air and of course seeing the animals is one of my favourite things in the world. I am the girl who is glued to the TV watching Nat Geo and David Attenborough specials and dreams of watching the wild migration. I have known about Shamwari Game Reserve and the phenomenal work that they do in conservation for several years now, So naturally when the opportunity came up to visit - I jumped at it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXPLORING THE KURLAND IN PLETTENBERG BAY

 

Would you like to step back in time into a by gone era? A place where high tea is at 3 pm, polo horses surround you and the interior engulfs you in authentic warmth and charm. 
Meet The Kurland, a luxury boutique hotel offering gracious country living. A property just a stone throw from Plettenberg bay that will transport you back in time! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STAYING AT THE OLD RECTORY PLETTENBERG BAY
 

Picture walking into a historic building dating back to 1777 that has been fully refurbished with a timeless decor, original fireplace and stone walls. 

A stone’s throw away from world famous serene beaches that are home to the pretty pansy shell welcome to The Old Rectory, the latest addition to the exquisite Rare Earth collection. 

The property is situated in the picturesque town of Plettenberg Bay. A six-hour drive from Cape Town out on the N2 highway along the famous garden route. It's a gorgeous drive that show cases South African country side at its best. Passing towns that have some of the most breathtaking views and neat little restaurants and shops, it’s definitely a pilgrimage that you need to do at least once.

 

 



A DAY OF LUXURY AT THE ONE&ONLY

The Only&Only is one of the ultimate luxury hotels in Cape Town. 

Surrounded by water canals and the vista that is Table Mountain, the One&Only is a stone's throw from the city center of Cape Town and borders the famous Victoria & Alfred Waterfront. This establishment engulfs you in the lap of luxury. 

I was lucky enough to spend the day exploring the hotel and all it has to offer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

CELLARS HOHENORT & GREEN HOUSE RESTAURANT

 

Picture a five-star oasis tucked away in the forest at the foot of a mountain in one of the oldest suburbs in Cape Town, Constantia. 

That is Cellars Hohenort. Part of the Liz Mcgrath collection this establishment boast one of the top ten restaurants in South Africa - The Green House, a luxurious spa, the Conservatory restaurant and of course, the most exquisite garden towering with giant oaks and lush green vegetation that you have ever seen. Oh and did I mention the cute ducks waddling around? Jemima Puddleduck eat your heart out!

Cellars have created the ultimate getaway experience where you will never want to leave and the best part? It is only a 25-minute drive outside of the Cape Town CBD.

 

AFRIKABURN - PLAY - A PHOTO JOURNAL


I don't want to tell you how to survive Burn. You can read that on their site. It's called radical self-reliance (a practice that should be carried out in your everyday life). I want to instead, share with you ten points. I believe these points will help you thrive once all the prep is done and you have arrived in Tankwa Town, a magical place that will inspire you and leave you changed. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COAST TO CITY WITH THE CAPE COLLECTION

I have been dying to take a road trip and just get out of town recently. When the offer came up to do one I just had to jump at it!

Taking a trip from city to coast was the theme and my first stop, Hermanus. 
A small town about two hours outside of Cape Town famous for the magnificent Southern Right whales that visit every year. 
The town is quaint and is an absolute must-visit for tourists and locals alike. 

Adorned with sculptures by local artists and look out points at every turn; I couldn't help but keep a look out for a whale (even though I know they only arrive in winter around June/July)

If you find yourself in Hermanus and are looking for luxury accommodation, then One Marine Drive is for you. Part of the Cape Collection, this property boasts several rooms all with arty design elements.

A NIGHT IN SIMONS TOWN WITH ACCOMMODIRECT

February is for lovers and in keeping with the spirit I wanted to get away for the ultimate night. Weekdays are manic and weekends too short unless you make a thing of them, so I did. 

I booked my accommodation with Accommodirect. A great website that handles all the in's and out's for you. Much like a very useful travel agent. With properties all over the country it really is as simple as entering the date, picking the destination and clicking book! 

I decided to visit our beautiful peninsula and take a trip to Simons Town. The place has such a vibe. With blue oceans and quaint little antique shops, what's not to love?

 

 

CEDERBERG MOUNTAINS AND THE WOLFBERG CRACKS!
 

So my friend Julie has this boyfriend named Ian. He is a really great guy that loves adventure more than anyone or anything. I like Ian. I didn't like Ian when he chose to have his 30th birthday in the Cederberg which involved the dustiest dirt road that was horribly rough on my little car and entailed a giant hike that was 6 hours long. Kidding (not really).
My car had beeping lights the entire way and I was convinced it was going to fall apart.

A four-hour drive out of Cape Town and we arrived at our campsite in Krom Rivier. Julie and I, of course, decided that Ian deserved a giant Steri Stumpie cake. For those of you who aren't South African; it is a local strawberry flavoured milk drink. Needless to say, the cake barely made it intact to the campsite. 

 

 

 

TILNEY MANOR AT SANBONA WILDLIFE RESERVE
 

Picture the Klein Karoo 350 years ago. Its beauty awe inspiring with deep blue skies, glowing red rocks and succulents scattered across the land.  The big five (Lion, Leopard, Rhino, Elephant and Buffalo) roam free and are found thriving in a seemingly unforgiving landscape. Incredulously, this harsh environment that is classed as a semi arid desert has the ability to sustain South Africa’s greatest game.

Now, insert modern man. The farmer to be more accurate. In a nutshell? The beautiful animals disappeared and everything changed. It sounds like a rather sad story and in truth, man has a lot to answer for. I could discuss at length how we are destroying our planet but instead I am going to tell a tale of the glass half full. 
 

 

 

BARTHOLOMEW KLIP WITH
MILES FOR STYLE

 

Have you ever visited a destination where, from the minute you leave, you're already planning on how to get back there? 
I recently visited Bartholomeus Klip in partnership with Miles For Style
Miles For Style in an online platform that offers a shopping experience like no other. You can shop luxury products, five star wines and of course beautiful accommodation like Bartholomeus Klip. The added bonus? They are a loyalty programme in partnership with SAA voyager where you can convert an (unlimited) amount of voyager Miles into their very own Style Miles and use them to shop the amazing offerings they have online. From craft beer to electronics, homeware products, destinations and more. 
Basically - what this means for us regular folk is, instead of banging our proverbial head against the wall because we couldn't get a specific flight or upgrade there is an alternative option. 

SCHOONE OORDT, SWELLENDAM
 

So I have this App. It’s a simple app with the sole purpose of playing soothing sounds to aid in rest and relaxation. For example, a crackling fireplace, a babbling brook or frogs chirping. It’s actually not as random as it appears. 

I use it when I just can’t seem to quieten my mind or let go of the day. 

Seemingly endless moments spent lying in bed, simply exhausted, while my mind runs amok with thoughts... of that to-do list for tomorrow, my growing workload and of course the all important stuff, like "what would my dream kitchen look like" or "would I be able to use a rolling pin with my feet in a pickle?" Sound familiar? Of course it does. 

 

 

 

 

CAPE CANOPY TOURS, CAPE TOWN 
 

Have you ever dreamt that you are flying? I have. Several times. I run as fast as I can and some times I take off. 

Cape Canopy Tours in Elgin gave me that feeling. Zip lining through the Hottentots Nature reserve is up there on my top adventure experiences. I thought I would be a little scared! Truth be told, the 4 hours spent flying through the sky on zip lines was some of the most fun I have had. 

You have to make sure that you are dressed for adventure and ready for action. We stopped at Peregrines for a quick coffee and a snack on our way to the reserve, they ask you to arrive timelessly and make sure you have something warm in case it gets cold!

 

 

THANDA PRIVATE GAME RESERVE, KWA-ZULU NATAL
 

Recently I was lucky enough to take a trip up to Kwa-Zulu Natal on the East coast of South Africa. The weather is always welcoming (even in winter) and the rolling green hills are never ending. 

An added bonus was that I was able to take the Fuji XT1 along to photograph the experience, compliments of Orms.

Travelling up to northern natal (from the airport) by road for two and a half hours brings you to a beautiful game lodge called Thanda, a private reserve that hosts the big five. Big five? Lion, Leopard, Rhino, Elephant and Buffalo. Four out of the big five are endangered so the opportunity to see them in the wild is a privilege.

 

 

 

LEOPOLD7, EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED
 

There is a new kid on the block in terms of craft beer and I must say I am impressed! A beer that is made with the environment in mind is my kind of beer!

With the theme of “expect the unexpected” I was whisked away to a magical night in Elgin at the Old Mac Daddy Airstream Park. For those of you that don’t know that part of the country, it really is something special. The green rolling hills and quiet forest surroundings make you feel like you are 100 miles from nowhere. Perfect for a picnic and beer under an old oak tree!

 

 

 

 

 

A SUNSET DATE WITH KRONE
 

Krone recently sent me a beautiful picnic basket filled with mouth-watering hand made treats and two bottles of their still Chardonnay/Pinot Noir.

This blend is my absolute favourite wine so the arrival of said basket delivered great excitement for me.

I thoroughly appreciated the crisp, fresh bouquet and I foresee that this wine will accompany me to many occasions in the future.
“An unexpected twist” - I had to appreciate the playful double entendre that Krone had (I’m assuming, intentionally) provided; the theme of the basket and the innovative helix cork, which lets be honest, really gives this bottle of wine the spirit of spontaneity.

 

LOURENSFORD HARVEST MARKET, CAPE TOWN
 

This past weekend I opted for something a little different for Easter weekend. Instead of the usual feast at home and a full on food coma afterwards, I decided to load my family up and take a drive to the much talked about Lourensford Harvest Market.

The market is on every Sunday and this time round was an Easter theme.  They even had an Easter egg hunt for the little ones. With over 70 stalls filled with food, clothing and arts, there is something on the go for everyone! Of course my main focus was food and tasting as many morsels as possible. I always feel at markets committing to one single big meal isn’t the way to go. Either that or my food FOMO really shines! Get there early as the food starts to sell out later on and you will want to get the cream of the crop and of course grab a bottle of wine!

VISITING VERGENOEGD WINE ESTATE
 

Our wine country here in the Cape is filled with history. The sad thing is that not everyone appreciates it or even honours it. I recently got around to visiting Vergenoegd Wine Estate and I was blown away by the experience and their respect for its history and buildings. The farm is filled with stories and activities for the whole family. But before I get into that, let us talk ducks!

The farm has almost 800 Indian Runner ducks that are let out every morning to graze on the snails and bugs that threaten the vineyards. The ducks are an eco-friendly solution for the farm and to be honest, they are possibly one of the cutest creatures I have ever seen!

GETTING FESTIVE IN STELLENBOSCH,  CAPE TOWN
 

Sometimes I find it slightly scary meeting new people. I am one of those people who wear their heart on their sleeve.  This is a good thing in many ways but it can also result in unwanted vulnerability.

I read this quote the other day, “If you are scared, it is because you are about to do something really brave!”

I was invited by a group of really fantastic visual storytellers recently to a tour of Stellenbosch. Young bloggers and influencers that are making waves as they go. As you can imagine meeting everyone and not knowing them from a bar of soap was rather daunting. Daunting until they shared their various handles with me. Isn’t it strange that living in a world of social media sometimes results in people knowing me more as The Truffle Journal than Melissa Delport?

 

    JAN HARMSGAT, SWELLENDAM
 

The Truffle journal was founded out of nostalgia. I think there is something truly special about tradition and history. To honour it and embrace it in this day and age is remarkable.

A favourite pastime of mine is to seek out places that flip the switch. If you don’t know what I am referring to; let me explain. The proverbial ‘switch’ of life that has us scurrying about our daily lives without much thought. The incessant hum drum of city living, the buzzing of technology and the crescendo of mental noise in the fast lane.

I love to find places that simply turn it all off. That make you take a step back, relax and breathe in the fresh air.

STREET FOOD FESTIVAL, CAPE TOWN
 

One thing I love about Capetonians is that they love a market, any excuse to get outdoors and celebrate some sort of food or event.
This particular event was the Cape Town Street Food Festival. It is a mouthful in more ways than one. This year it was held in Woodstock at the side street studios and it was the first year the event took place.  With the sun shining it was a beautiful winters day and we could not have asked for better weather!

Street food and food trucks have become a global phenomenon and rightfully so. It’s quick, tasty and unique. It’s part of the fast food track and not as formal as sitting down to eat at a restaurant. The vendors use top quality produce and all of them have a unique twist to their food. You eat with your hands and share as you go. I must say I was very impressed with the turn out at the event and even more so, blown away by the quality of the food!

      COFFEE CLUB, CAPE TOWN 


An interesting notion has gained traction on the footsteps of Table Mountain that may not be familiar to most South Africans with their heritage of boerewors, biltong and ‘moer koffie’.

The notion? Coffee as a luxury artisan product, to be likened to the viticulture of a fine wine.

Ask any self-proclaimed aficionado who produces the best coffee and be prepared to listen to a passionate explanation as to why one should advocate a particular blend over another.

    BACK TO THE FUTURE, DUBAI 
 

They say there is a fine line between reality and fantasy. That fine line is Dubai. Situated on the Persian Gulf coast this city is made up of wonder, gold and delight. It's smoking hot, yes even in winter, as it is surrounded by desert and in summer can reach 50 degrees Celsius easily. 

I'm lucky enough to go visit as my brother flies for Emirates (proud little sister). When you land in this city the airport in itself is over whelming. Called the gateway to the world this airport handles over 60 million passengers a year, connecting flights to all over the world. Just the baggage claim area looks like you have stepped into a top notch Vegas hotel with its sky-high ceilings and perfect white floors. Exiting the building you are reminded of how grateful you are for the invention that is air conditioner.  

NEW YORK 

Yes you should spread the news and yes, if you can make it there, you'll make it anywhere...

Frank Sinatra had it right and I can really see, not that I didn't before, why this epic city is so iconic! It’s simply spectacular in every single way that you can imagine. 

For as long as I can remember I have wanted to skip over man holes and tilt my head up at the empire state building. Amazingly, thank you to certain special people in my life it became a reality October 2014. From the yellow cabs to the subways, time square and the upper west side New York City is magic. It’s a strange thing because when I went to New York I realized how small I am. There, you are no one. Which is so beautiful because it opens up the fact that you can be anyone, someone. Now who wouldn't want that!