August 26 2016: Our first visitors to Africa! Yahooo! We couldn’t have been more excited about Tim and Lex’s decision to take a month long African adventure. Everyone deserves a big trip to celebrate the end of residency – we were just so happy they chose Africa! Their epic trip started with climbing Kilimanjaro, followed by safari-ing in the Serengeti, safari-ing in Botswana’s Okavango Delta and salt pans, then visiting Victoria Falls, then visiting South Africa where we met them in Cape Town.
We got to Cape Town 2 days before the Waxes arrived so we headed up to Stellenbosch. The one area of the cape that we hadn’t fully explored was wine country – so this was our chance! We stayed in the center of Stellenbosch and had one of the most unique and enjoyable air bnb experiences!
Our hosts were Walter & Coleen, two retired professors with a historic cape dutch-style home filled with beautiful antique furniture, eclectic art and two cats 🙂 Each morning we had a “family” breakfast. Coleen made a HUGE spread of food and even had some of her local friends join for breakfast. The crazy part was that the house only had one bathroom that was being shared by 9 people when we were there – but somehow it worked ok!
We visited Dellaire Graff, Tokara, Muratie, Mulderbosch, Brenaissance, Jordan and Vergenoegd wineries. We loved Tokara for the laid back feel, free wine/olive oil tasting and good music. We liked the historic ambience of Murate – oldest winery in Stellenbosch complete with a cobweb filled tasting room in the old wine cellar basement. We loved Mulderbosch for the pizza and wine pairing. Breniassance for the biltong and chocolate pairings. Jordan had a great bakery and beautiful views. But the winner of our hearts was Vergenoegd and the ducks!!! The winery employs over 1000 Indian runner ducks. These curious ducks stand tall like penguins and run rather than waddle. They originated in Indonesia and when people noticed they were extraordinarily efficient at clearing rice paddies of snails and insects – people started to use them as natural pest control for farms. Vergenoegd has been working with the runner ducks since the early 80s. The ducks go on patrol of the vineyard twice a day – and watching them parade out over the ground was just wonderful! Definitely ranks as one of our most memorable animal encounters in Africa!
Then we finally go to the MAIN EVENT – reuniting with the Waxes in Cape Town! We started off by cruising around the V&A waterfront and celebrating our triumphant reunion with a beer at The Scottish Ale House. We moved on to Camps Bay for sundowners on the beach. Then had dinner at our favorite restaurant – The Cod Father – so Tim & Lex could have a proper cape town seafood feast!
Big time bummer that our plans for cage diving with the great whites the next day got cancelled again. This time not due to bad weather at least! We were told that there had literally been no great whites spotted in False Bay for weeks so they were nice enough to cancel the trips instead of wasting people’s time and money.
We moved to plan B – Table Mountain and a road trip around the Cape Penninsula to St James Beach, Kalk Bay, Fish Hoek, Boulders Beach, Cape Point, Chapman’s Drive then Hout Bay. We finished off the day with an epic evening drive up to La Colombe Restaurant in Constantia – where a vertical driveway lead to complete burn out of our clutch and one of the most embarrassingly hilarious restaurant entrances of all time! We did a 3+ hour tasting menu with wine pairings. The dishes were innovative and the atmosphere was elegant – an overall awesome dinner experience!
The next day it was finally time for Team Tarrett and the Waxes to hit wine country! First stop was Babyonsoren in Paarl (Garrett and my favorite winery) which has an incredible garden and picturesque mountain views.
Then we hit Moreson which had a nice patio and a solid tasting menu. Then came Glenwood Estate which was everyone’s favorite – it was totally isolated and nestled back in the mountains with stunning views, great wine and great snacks! Stonybrook was next – also excellent wines and we learned about the estate’s famed ghost tree.
We then had bubbles at Haut Cabriere which also had a marvelous view. At this point we realized a major mistake….we should have eaten lunch… but it was 3:30 and everywhere was closed for food until dinner! We made a salvage effort at the Franschoek Cellar by ordering a wine/cheese/chocolate pairing. Our high hopes were dashed by the minuscule pieces of food and mediocre wine. We headed back to Tim & Lex’s hotel – the Auberge Clermont for sunset. They were the only guests at this fabulous boutique winery/ B&B – so we basically had the whole place to ourselves which of course we took advantage of. We grabbed some champagne and played around the grounds while we watched the sun set over the Franschoek Mountains.
We finished the day with the most epic wine and food pairing dinner at The Tasting Room. Although Garrett and I had eaten there before we didn’t do the wine pairing – which adds a major twist to the meal – turning it into a serious 5 hour marathon of flavors and high alcohol content! Some of us fared better than others….
The most memorable part was when Garrett made a scene when he found out we were not going to get the same pineapple dessert we had at our first visit to the restaurant. Garrett just could not accept this and the chef had to come out and talk to him multiple times to explain that it just was not possible. Garrett kept fussing to the point where the chef somehow pulled together the ingredients and was able to present us with our very own pineapple! It was a serious victory and made for an unforgettable dinner!
The whole trip was just fabulous! Our absolute favorite thing to do is travel with friends and share the wonders of the world with people that we love – so this visit from the Waxes just couldn’t have made us any happier!