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Going Green with Greenpop Family Fest Weekend

HeaderI have always wanted to attend the Greenpop Family Festival at Platbos Forest Reserve, and finally this year I got around to it. It was wonderful! This festival is all about bringing kids and adults closer to nature and to foster a better relationship with the natural world around us. There is also a Greenpop Friends Festival that takes place at Platbos a couple of weeks later, and this weekend draws more adults, even though children are allowed.  Greenpop is an organisation that plants trees and educates people about best practice tree care in many different areas in South Africa and Zambia, and in March they were reforesting at Platbos Forest Reserve.  This ancient, wizened forest still exists for the enjoyment of all because of the green fingers and passion of special people.  You can visit Platbos all year round, or even better; book your extra special GreenPop experience for next year!

Volunteers who attend the festivals spend a day planting trees, and during the weekend there are a lot of interesting talks, workshops and other fun activities to participate in.  Unfortunately I could only attend on the Sunday, but we had so much fun that I would definitely recommend spending the whole weekend! This year, 437 happy campers descended on Platbos to take part in planting and festivities.

Images courtesy of Jay Badenhorst (47 Sundays)

Images courtesy of Jay Badenhorst (47 Sundays)

Festival goers usually bring their own tents and camp in demarcated areas, but it is also possible to rent a tent at the festival.  Those who prefer not to camp may choose from a variety of self-catering options at Platbos and a variety of establishments nearby.

Friday evening is all about setting up camp and settling in.  There is a food court with a selection of food trucks and vegan vendors that provide fresh, delicious meals.  The Family Weekend provides the option of a catered Meal Plan ticket that provides 6 vegetarian meals throughout the weekend (Friday dinner through to Sunday lunch), but this option has to be purchased in addition to the festival ticket. Meals are prepared in the common kitchen for those on the Meal Plan and the meals looked utterly delectable!  No self-made fires are allowed in the camp, so there are no cooking facilities, and campers can choose between the food plan and purchasing food from the vendors.  Boiling water is provided free of charge.Food stalls combined

Friday evening is very relaxed – think crackling campfires and gentle tunes, reconnecting with old friends and making new ones.  People with musical instruments are highly encouraged around the campfires, and other fun stuff such as hula-hoops, drums, mad hats, crazy outfits and face paint help to create a really fun atmosphere.  Mornings start with a yoga session open to all.Images courtesy of Jay Badenhorst (47 Sundays)Images courtesy of Jay Badenhorst (47 Sundays)

Saturday is action packed and thousands of trees are planted by teams in different areas around the forest to help restore the very rare and delicate ecosystem. This year they planted a total of 2,420! At around 16:00 the planting is done, and teams head back to camp for a shower, tasty food and a forest party to celebrate! Great musical acts are lined to perform on the intimate main stage and a talent show provides many awesome moments.  Everybody loves this celebration and there is plenty of entertainment for old and young. We arrived early on Sunday morning when the camp just started to wake up and started the day with delicious freshly pressed fruit juice and a vegan burger from the food trucks.  At the common area a delicious looking breakfast was being served to those who booked the meal option activities combinedand we were more than a little jealous!

During the morning we were entertained by a variety of interesting talks – I attended one on bees which I found particularly fascinating.  There is a range of workshops for old and young – my 11 year old did the Improvisation workshop and loved it.  There were also guided forest walks and yoga classes, and the meditation session under the 1000-year old Milkwood tree was the best!  Kids are also kept busy with a variety of activities ranging from woodcarving to beading.  Wonderful stalls provided a variety of colourful items for sale.stalls

The program for the weekend comes to an end at 14:00 on Sunday after lunch has been served, although some people choose to pack up and start the journey home during the course of the morning to avoid the Sunday afternoon traffic.  We had a lot of fun and decided that next year we will certainly camp and use the meal plan.  Can’t wait!

Points to note:

  • Take warm clothing and extra blankets – it gets chilly at night!
  • There are no shops or ATM’s nearby, so bring all the food and cash you need.
  • No self-catering facilities – the Meal Plan option works very well, especially if you bring children
  • There is no drinking water, so bring around 2litre per person per day – rather bring tap water from home than buy bottled water.
  • Cellphone signal is not very reliable and there are no charging facilities, so bring a car charger if you need to charge your phone.
Enjoying the views

My Big Fat(Bike) Summer Sunday

Seeing as my new year’s resolution was to participate in as many activities in and around Stanford as possible I recently read about the new fat bikes at Mosaic and was keen to spend a Sunday with my 11 year old son to give this a try.  It was fabulous!  Not being much of a bike person I viewed this as a daunting adventure and sincerely hoped I could have a decent run without having to involve the paramedics.  I was pleasantly surprised!

Meeting our fatbikes

Meeting our fatbikes

The Fat Bikes can be likened to the Rolls Royce of mountain bikes – its fat wheels cushion shock and are made to deal with particularly sandy conditions, and as a result the ride was a lot less bumpy than riding on a normal mountain bike.

Big Fat Daddy

Big Fat Daddy

Even though they look quite intimidating they are easy to steer and ride, and my 11 year old had no problem propelling himself around at high speeds and tut-tutting at me pushing the bike up the steeper parts of the road (they aren’t steep – I’m just incredibly unfit).

Enjoying the views

Enjoying the views

Upon arrival we were met by Mosaic’s manager, Marcelino, who patiently fitted our helmets and explained the best routes to ride and where everything on the bike was – including a puncture kit.  (In the end I just took his phone number and said that I’d call him for help if needed as I am incapable of fixing anything more complicated than a sandwich).  And then we were on our way.  We rode out towards the beach, about 5km away.  First on a dirt road and then into the Walker Bay Marine reserve where a comfortable sandy path led us towards the beach.  The road was easy to follow and the natural beauty was magnificent – and I had plenty of time to admire the flowers and the mountains because I had to stop to rest quite often (to the great disgust of my son).

Fire bursting from the scorched earth

Fire bursting from the scorched earth

We passed an area where it recently burnt and from the scorched earth burst most beautiful blood red flowers.  Once we reached the beach we climbed up and over the huge dune and had a swim in the sea and took a short walk on the vast Walker Bay beach that stretches from Hermanus to Gansbaai.  Other guests from Mosaic were already there on a game drive and offered us cold refreshments from the Mosaic cooler box.  It was heaven!

The lovely Walker Bay Beach

The lovely Walker Bay Beach

After a decent rest and a small picnic, it was time to get back.  By now it was sweltering hot but somehow the road back was easier than the road in – except for my backside getting a bit sore.  Once we got back to Mosaic Lagoon Lodge we stopped for a snack and a cold drink in the shade of the thick milkwood trees and it was blissful.

Cool shade of the Milkwoods

Cool shade of the Milkwoods

We returned home exhausted and agreed that we had the most fantastic adventure and a lovely bonding session.  There is nothing like doing something outdoorsy and physical with your child!  I highly recommend this adventure and am certainly keen to do it again as soon as possible.

Points to note:

  • Remember to put sun lotion on your hands, arms, neck and shoulders. The back of my hands and my neck got terribly burnt because I forgot about these areas!
  • Ask them to help you adjust the bike to your height before you pull off – I was too impatient to get out there and didn’t have my seat adjusted. As a result it was too high and I got neck-ache from looking up all the time.  Rather take the time and have a more comfortable ride.
  • Wear a swimming costume or take one along for a dip in the sea
white water fish

A Country Fare Christmas

The upcoming Festive Season allows many of Stanford’s restaurants the opportunity to put their best foot forward with innovative Christmas Menus and merry delights. This also highlights what is, for many Stanford food creators and lovers alike, the philosophy of food itself – from farm to table. Perhaps it’s the setting of the village that lends itself to this attitude – rolling farmlands and vineyards side by side, a quaint historic village boasting weekly fresh produce markets (both Graze Slow Food Café’s Wednesday morning market, and the Saturday morning market on the stoep of the Stanford Hotel are great for weekly greens and delights), and a monthly Stanford Sunset Market that also tickles taste buds.

Many local wine farms are also represented at the market so guests looking to explore the flavours before heading out to the farms can do so on the village green each month. A group of foodies have formed a collective called the Stanford Food Heroes, who work to promote and “increase community access to fresh, sustainably-grown foods.” Members can be spotted at the Saturday Morning Market or contacted via their website.

There is no shortage of restaurants in Stanford – here you have lots of options ranging from a quaint coffee shop to award-winning country restaurants in the middle of ‘suburbia’, or a lazy lunch at one of the nearby vineyards or farm-style restaurants. On the road leading out of Stanford towards the beach you can find a Michelin-star chef’s restaurant, and beyond that, a daytime café on the banks of the Hermanus Lagoon. No matter the location, farm fresh produce, with a small footprint, is top of mind for many of the village’s dining establishments.

Food should be fresh, plentiful and shared at a table with lots of laughter, friends, family and wine. – Jami of The Tasting Room, Stanford Hills

Join the merriment this Christmas with the villagers of Stanford and dine on local cuisine while soaking up the sights and sounds of one of the Overberg’s best-loved villages. Read about Christmas specials HERE.

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Stanford Wine Route is open

This September the wineries in the Stanford region had the privilege of launching their very own, now publically recognized, Stanford Wine Route. The 8 farms that form the Stanford Wine Route are Boschrivier, Misty Mountains Estate, Raka Wines, Sir Robert Stanford Estate, Springfontein, Stanford Hills, Walker Bay Vineyards and Vaalvlei. They pulled out all the stops to showcase what they had to offer in a 3-day long media launch. With the financial assistance provided by the Overstrand Municipality, for which the Wine Route members are deeply grateful, the launch was a roaring success.

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10 Things to do in Stanford with the kids

Stanford is a wonderful family destination which is only two hours drive from the Mother City, and those lucky enough to have shrugged off city life for country simplicity are happy to share the secret good life with visitors.

by Philippa Murray

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Mathilda and her grandchildren in her garden in Longmarket Street.
(photo published in Portrait of a Village by Annalize Mouton)
Stoep Talk August

Stoep Talk August

Well, it looks as though – dare I say it – spring is slowly showing up after a long winter.  Already blossoms are bursting forth and the tell-tale scent of jasmine is signalling that the season is turning. In step with Spring, we are also waking up and shaking off the winter cobwebs. We’re getting ready with some exciting events to help you come alive, revive and put a little spring in your step. It’s time to come out of hibernation mode and visit our lovely village of Stanford!

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