Nieu Bethesda roadtrip

We had been thinking about doing this little Eastern Cape roadtrip for a while. Originally the plan was a slightly more elaborate, but because of a few  other factors we decided to head straight to Nieu Bethesda and explore the town.

The reason for the visit to Nieu Bethesda is because a friend and colleague of mine, Lida, grew up there, her family still lives on the farm. Lida was going home for Christmas and the holidays, and we thought that this was a perfect excuse to get in the car, have a little roadtrip and visit her in Nieu Bethesda just after Christmas.

IMG_6187Another friend and colleague, Stacey, picked Ben and I up at 5.45am and we were off. The road was loooooong but beautiful. I had actually never driven through the Karoo before.

After a good eight hour drive, a couple of Steers and bathroom stops, we FINALLY arrived in Nieu Bethesda. I say finally because, thanks to Google Maps, we ended up taking the 30km dirt road to the farm instead of going through the actual town and it took us a good hour longer than it should’ve. But, because of this minor detour we did see quite a few tortoises (we even rescued one and helped it under the fence out of the road).

Another friend, Elodie and her boyfriend Timon had been doing their own little road trip through the Eastern Cape and they met us at Lida’s farm for a couple of nights.

We spent a beautiful three days in the little town of Nieu Bethesda; chilling by the pool, exploring the town, adventuring around the farm and having loads of fun.

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Things to do in Nieu Bethesda

1. The Owl House

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Ok, this place is a little strange – and the story behind it is too. Read about it here.

2. The Brewery

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They make some amazing beer and their cheese board is EVERYTHING.

5. View Point

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There is a beautiful view point that looks all over the town and its surroundings. We visited the view point on our last night there (before we went to this little restaurant that does the MOST amazing pizzas – ask any of the locals about it!).

We had an amazing couple of nights in Nieu Bethesda at the end of last year, I already want to go back.

Amour.

#exploretulbagh

A few weekends ago Ben and I went to Tulbagh for a weekend away. I’ve been there quite a few times but I’ve never managed to explore the surrounding area this much. I honestly didn’t realise that there was so much to do around there, I was pretty surprised!

Paddagang

We drove up on Saturday morning, first stop was wine tasting at Paddagang to taste some of Tulbagh Winery’s finest. I will admit that the first wine we tasting was more like cooking wine than anything else, but all of the others that we tasted were delicious. My favourite was the Flippenice Rose. I even bought a bottle (I mean at R50, it was ridiculous not to).

Dad and Ben wine tasting
Dad and Ben wine tasting
Tasting the Tulbagh Sauvignon Blanc
Tasting the Tulbagh Sauvignon Blanc

Moniki’s Chocolates

Naturally, the next thing to do was pop next door and taste some delicious handmade chocolate at from Moniki’s. For your convenience, it’s in the same building as the Paddagang wine tasting, so you don’t have to walk far.

 

So apparently a good chocolate distinguishes itself by its cacao percentage. Moniki uses mostly Belgian couverture chocolate that contains 70 % cacao which makes it DELICIOUS. We tasted three delicious chocolates each before heading home.

Dinner was a nice braai at the house, gin & tonics were flowing and we watched the sun set and the moon rise.

Tulbagh sunset
Tulbagh sunset

Bartholomeus Klip

I had never heard of this place before, and to be honest when they said game drive I was expected some lame little drive and maybe seeing a bok or two. I’m almost glad that I didn’t check out the website before we went. We were completely blown away by Bartholomeus Klip.

It was about 45 minutes drive from Tulbagh and we were under strict instructions that we had to be there at 9am. We arrived and were greeted by incredibly friendly staff who led us to the beautiful dining room where we had our champagne breakfast. The Farmhouse is just stunning, I want my house to look like that one day. WOW. The service and the food was perfect, we had to down the last of our champagne so we could go on our game drive.

Champagne breakfast!
Champagne breakfast!

Our game drive started with a visit to their disease-free buffalo breeding project. The game ranger gave us the full low-down of when and why this project was started and it’s super interesting. You can read all about it here.

Disease-free Buffalo breeding project
Disease-free Buffalo breeding project

We saw quite a lot of animals on our game drive, and the game ranger was FULL of information. At the end I felt like I had learnt almost everything there was to know about the area. The best was hearing about the mountain leopard that roams the game farm, mountains and the surrounding areas. She even had some photos to show us!

Bontebok!
Bontebok!

Lemberg

After the game drive we were on our way to taste some more wine! We made our way to Lemberg (where I had never been before – but my parents have raved about!) I had a sneak peak into their cellar…

Do you think that's enough wine?
Do you think that’s enough wine?

I ended up buying a couple of boxes of wine from here. It was just too delicious to pass up. If you’re heading in the direction of Tulbagh, YOU NEED TO STOP HERE and taste some of their wine.

So, that’s what you need to do if you’re in Tulbagh. There are a few things I didn’t mention like:

  • breakfast/lunch/cocktails at Things I Love
  • spa day at Vindoux Hotel (highly recommended)
  • walk down Kerk Straat and looking for the peacocks
  • and way more wine farms for even more wine tasting

If you’ve been to Tulbagh, let me know what your favourite thing to do is! You can tweet them to me @_jessgamble or instagram them and tag #exploretulbagh

Love and adventures!

Jess

TAKE ME TO BALI

It just so happens to be that time of year again when all I went is to get away. Work is hectically crazy, and I just want to run away into the sunset. PLEASE SOMEONE TAKE ME TO BALI. I mean, look at these photos. Doesn’t this look amazing?

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I have just the right bikini for this beach, and I’ve got a couple of books I need to get through. Pass the gin & tonic and let’s go!b2

I NEED TO BE ON THIS BEACH ALREADY. B1

I’d just like to stay here, walk on these little wooden walkways and forget about normal life.b4THIS LOOKS AMAZING.

Ok, I’m done with my little rant about Bali now, but seriously, who wants to come with me? Think lots of cocktails, tanning, snorkeling, gin & tonics and THE BEST HOLIDAY EVER!

Devil’s Pool in Zambia


I’m off to Zambia tomorrow for work and I’m super excited. Can’t wait to explore! The one place that I won’t be able to get to in Zambia, but I am dying to visit is Devil’s Pool. If you google this incredible place the photos you find look absolutely amazing but also a bit scary. It’s been labeled the most dangerous pool in the world, but it just looks so beautiful.

devils pool1The naturally formed Devil’s Pool is on the edge of Victoria Falls on the Zambian side. Between September and December, when the Zambezi River is normally at the right level, there is a rock barrier that forms and it means that the more adventurous swimmers can take a dip and truly live life on the edge of Victoria Falls! (The scary part is that there have been a couple of deaths here over the years when people have slipped over the barrier… eeek!)

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For a small fee you are taken on a hike through the forest until you get to Devil’s Pool. You can then hop in and defy death on the edge of Victoria Falls. Is it just me or does that sound incredible? (Click here for some photos of other crazy people defying death…I’m so tempted now!)

devils pool3devils pool If you are curious like me and really want to check out the Devil’s Pool, you have to stay at The Falls Resort, firstly because it looks incredible (totally luxury accommodation!) , and secondly because you can only access Devil’s Pool through the Tongabezi company that is located in the Royal Livingstone Hotel.

After seeing some of these photos, Devil’s Pool and Victoria Falls are number 1 on my travel list.

 

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Daytripping!

5 4 3 2 16On Monday, Phil and I took a bit of a day trip to Paternoster. He’s visiting from London for the next few weeks and even though he’s from Cape Town, he’s been acting like a real tourist. First we had to stop in Table View on the way so he could get his cheesy Table Mountain photo. (Then of course I had to have one too).

We got to Paternoster and it was beautiful! A bit windy, but apart from that it was perfect. We had a long walk along the beach, admiring the cute little white houses that make you feel like you’ve escaped to some small town in Greece and that you’re definitely not still in the Western Cape. I tried to make Phil swim, but he said that water was far too cold. Not a real tourist then!

Then it was lunch time. Lunch plans in Paternoster caused me some stress. For weeks I’d been asking around on where the best place to eat was, and I kept on being told that there was an amazing restaurant with a red roof, but NOONE could tell me the name. I resorted to doing my own research and then eventually doing some Google Image searches to try and see which restaurant had a red roof, such a mission!

The winning red roof restaurant was Voorstrand, and it’s totally right on the beach. We sat outside and totally started drooling at the sight of the menu. We just couldn’t decide. Eventually we both went with the seafood platter, which was the best decision I’ve ever made in my life. 6 mussels, 4 prawns, hake, calamari and 4 snoek samoosas. It was incredible.

After the huge lunch we were definitely thinking about having a nap in the car, but instead we drove home through Langebaan and even thought we might have a quick swim there but we were blown away – SO WINDY. We did make a little pit stop at a farm stall because Phil had been whining about having koeksusters.

It was such a lovely day, and reminded me that you don’t have to travel very far to feel like you’re on holiday. Coming back to work the next day was rather tough!

I was totally inspired to go to Paternoster by Talya and Lucas, who are always raving about the place. Thanks guys – it was lovely!