Vibrant Van Hunks on Kloof Street

Van Hunks Table Mountain table cloth legendLocated on the vibrant Kloof Street in the City Bowl, “Van Hunks” is named after the Cape Town legend who, as the story goes, once challenged the Devil to a smoking competition and lost miserably to his opponent, creating the famous Table Mountain “table cloth”!

Table cloth on Table Mountain, Cape Town South Africa

The restaurant looks more like a pub from the outside with it’s sheltered deck and vibrant atmosphere, but it also has a nice restaurant serving all types of South African specialities and international food varying from Cape Malay bobotie and springbok shank, to delicious thin crusted pizzas, burgers and more! Additionally they also do a variety of vegetarian options!

Quick insider tip: I’ve heard their ribs are the best in town!

Van Hunks offers breakfast, lunch and dinner, but most importantly they offer specials for several days of the week! Delicious food at a bargain, how can you resist?

Well we sure as hell did not! We indulged in their Monday Pizza special where the pizzas are all priced at R40! What a bargain!

Now, we didn’t just love them because they were affordable, they were delicious! A thin base with very flavorful ingredients of your choice and my favorite part: a scrumptious and generous layer of very tasty cheese. Comfort Food Heaven.

Van Hunks Monday Pizza Special. Delicious food. Comfort food heaven. Cool ambience, nice serviceIn case you were curious, we went for a “Mexican” (mince, green pepper, fresh chili and onion), replacing green peppers with feta cheese; and a “Bacon” (bacon, mushrooms, onions and feta) and to get the best of both worlds, we shared half with each other as always.

After a long day we definitely felt like a cold beer as well. I decided to be a little adventurous that evening and tried the Van Hunks Pumpkin ale, sprinkled with cinnamon. I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite although I don’t regret giving it a try, it definitely wasn’t bad, just a little too bitter or sour for my taste… Maybe I must mature my palate. It sure looked really fancy though!Van Hunks Monday Pizza Special. Delicious food. Comfort food heaven. Cool ambience, nice service

CHEERS!

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Constantia’s 5 star Buitenverwachting

Buitenverwachting is Beyond Expectations

An absolutely magical food journey at Buitenverwachting restaurant in Constantia wine valley. Gourmet 5 star food experience to recommend.~Buitenverwachting Wine Estate, Constantia, Cape Town~

Lunch at Buitenverwachting is definitely a 5 star experience I would recommend if you find yourself to be wandering around the Constantia wine valley. The restaurant is part of Buitenverwachting wine estate which brings you back to the old colonial times with its very well preserved classic entrance and numerous horses on the property. The wonderful open field at the entrance of the restaurant itself is the perfect setting  for couples and families to have a picnic and enjoy the luscious green grass and African sunshine.
We were seated right by a window which looked out on spectacular views of the Constantia winelands, the surrounding mountains and of course a dramatic blue sky.

 

An absolutely magical food journey at Buitenverwachting restaurant in Constantia wine valley. Gourmet 5 star food experience to recommend.

 

The interior of the restaurant is elegant and sophisticated but doesn’t have that pretentious feeling you would often get in very high class places like this, which makes it feel comfortable and allows you to enjoy the beauty, literally all around you. The service was on point, all the waiters were extremely efficient and friendly, making for such an enjoyable experience.

 

An absolutely magical food journey at Buitenverwachting restaurant in Constantia wine valley. Gourmet 5 star food experience to recommend.

 

 

Our drinks’ order was taken quickly, but in now way making us feel pressured, and before we knew it, we were presented with a display of amazing fresh artisanal bread baked right there and then. Additionally, we were also brought an accompaniment of three different dips to tease our taste buds in the anticipation of our mains.

The menu, which changes daily, is a Cape celebration, a blend of local and seasonal cuisine. Additionally, Buitenverwachtings’ internationally acclaimed wines are handcrafted, boasting of great complexity and unique aromatic profiles.

– As I had been cycling and wine tasting during the morning, I opted for the gourmet burger to satisfy my demanding stomach.

 

An absolutely magical food journey at Buitenverwachting restaurant in Constantia wine valley. Gourmet 5 star food experience to recommend.

 

The burger was definitely a fantastic choice: quality over quantity, it was packed with flavour and the meat was cooked to perfection. The patty was home-made and filled with an assortment of herbs and thinly sliced sweet peppers, creating what I like to call a “Foodgasm”. The bun was wonderfully soft and fresh, just how I like it. On the side was a serving of scrumptious home made french fries, a must to have with any burger…

After lunch I ordered a flat white coffee and to my surprise and delight it was accompanied by a duo of beautifully presented chocolates- apparently just the norm when serving coffees.

On another occasion I remember having beautiful dessert samples… Something my mind, stomach and sense of taste will not forget any time soon… An absolutely magical food journey at Buitenverwachting restaurant in Constantia wine valley. Gourmet 5 star food experience to recommend.What a special place this was. It felt like the staff had really gone out of their way to give us a magical experience.

And to add on to all this, even the pricing was not too over the top where you almost feel like it should have been.

 

 

Scouting and Wine Tasting in Constantia

 Constantia Wine Valley, Cape Town South Africa. Wine tastings at Klein Constantia and Groot Constantia. Lunch at Buitenverwachting wine estate. Bicycle tourism in South Africa.

Constantia Wine Valley, Western Cape, South Africa    

 

Early morning once again, my colleague Skeezo and I decided to go for a little bicycle scouting trip and some wine tasting in the very acclaimed Constantia wine valley after having to push aside the idea for quite some time. Emi unfortunately had to do some office work that day and couldn’t join us- she wasn’t very happy.

So after hours of consoling Em and drying her tears away, we took off on our bikes and left her in the tiny office behind her desk.

  • Just kidding.

Constantia Wine Valley, Cape Town South Africa. Wine tastings at Klein Constantia and Groot Constantia. Lunch at Buitenverwachting wine estate. Bicycle tourism in South Africa.

~ Groot Constantia ~

Constantia Wine Valley, Cape Town South Africa. Wine tastings at Klein Constantia and Groot Constantia. Lunch at Buitenverwachting wine estate. Bicycle tourism in South Africa.

 

We started the day off with breakfast: a wine tasting with, my favorite part, a chocolate pairing at Groot Constantia wine estate. For those of you who have never tried a chocolate and wine pairing where each chocolate is specifically manufactured to compliment the wine, you’re missing out on a little piece of tangible paradise. The experience is something different, unique and heavenly for those 90% of you who love wine and chocolate like we do.

From there we set off towards Groot Constantia’s little sister: Klein Constantia wine estate, for yet another tasting.

Please allow me to interject and say that this day was work-related and we were simply obliged to experience the whole product before selling it, including all the wine tastings… (perks of being a tour guide)

 

 

Constantia Wine Valley, Cape Town South Africa. Wine tastings at Klein Constantia and Groot Constantia. Lunch at Buitenverwachting wine estate. Bicycle tourism in South Africa.

 

Klein Constantia is situated in on a small hill, surrounded by mountains. The long winding road into the estate made for quite the breathtaking  entrance on our bicycles. After a glass of cold water it was time again to indulge in some more wine. My favourite was no doubt their 2009 vintage dessert wine: Vin de Constance. Originally produced at the Groot Constantia wine farm during the 18th and 19th centuries, it was first called Constantia Wyn. It is made from a blend of mostly Muscat de Frontignan and has been a very big favorite to European kings and emperors, such as Frederick the Great, Napoleon Bonaparte and King Louis Philippe de France. During the late 19th century however, South African wine production ceased as exportation to Europe first dried out and the vineyards were soon after ravaged by epidemics. Finally in 1986, production of the sweet Constantia wine resumed at Groot Constantia and is now called “Grand Constance”, at Klein Constantia it is named “Vin de Constance” and “1769” at Buitenverwachting. I really wanted to buy a bottle of the Vin de Constance, but it was obviously and unfortunately pretty pricey…

 

Constantia Wine Valley, Cape Town South Africa. Wine tastings at Klein Constantia and Groot Constantia. Lunch at Buitenverwachting wine estate. Bicycle tourism in South Africa.

 

After this we had a nice downhill ride into the valley and eventually reached our lunch stop at Buitenverwachting wine estate. The estate is very appropriately named, and translated to English from Afrikaans, means “beyond expectations”. Lunch was definitely a wonderful experience from the menu to the service to the food. It was all around 5 stars.

 

Constantia Wine Valley, Cape Town South Africa. Wine tastings at Klein Constantia and Groot Constantia. Lunch at Buitenverwachting wine estate. Bicycle tourism in South Africa.

 

Satisfied and ready to call it a day, we loaded our bikes and drove back to Emilie and the City Bowl.

Overall it was a good day and I would recommend visiting Constantia to anyone by bicycle as there’s no better way to visit a place than on the freedom of your two wheels. Be sure to have lunch at Buitenverwachting, it was awesome and won’t disappoint!

 

Constantia Wine Valley, Cape Town South Africa. Wine tastings at Klein Constantia and Groot Constantia. Lunch at Buitenverwachting wine estate. Bicycle tourism in South Africa.

Franschhoek lunch special at Cafe Bon Bon

Nestled in La Petite Dauphine Guest Farm, an absolute delight to the eye, the setting for this restaurant is beautiful with its stunning decor. Surrounded by bountiful nature, Cafe Bon Bon exhibits a hard to describe farm or rustic style with their pet Hendrich the Rooster and a vintage wooden piano and paintings, yet it is still modern and clean with its beautiful terraces and outdoor venue.

la petite dauphine guest farm, cafe bon bon restaurant in Franschhoek, Cape Town, South Africa. Wine tasting, gourmet dining and mountain biking.

Hendrich (above) and the inside of one of the Bon Bon dining rooms (below)

a petite dauphine guest farm, cafe bon bon restaurant in Franschhoek, Cape Town, South Africa. Wine tasting, gourmet dining and mountain biking.

The result is a very comfortable, intimate and gorgeous place. Although, typically Cafe Bon Bon is not our go-to favorite restaurant as we find the service to be quite slow, the food to be expensive for South African standards, and also not the tastiest we’ve ever had (don’t get me wrong though, I know of countless people who have fallen in love with it). This day however was a very pleasant surprise to us and our taste buds.

Today they were offering a budget-friendly special: a delicious home-made chicken and mushroom pie served in a soup bowl, with perfectly cooked kale and fresh vegetables on the side, as well as a salad from their garden with a sublime citrus dressing.

la petite dauphine guest farm, cafe bon bon restaurant in Franschhoek, Cape Town, South Africa. Wine tasting, gourmet dining and mountain biking.

For dessert we had average coffees (because nothing beats Yours Truly and Molten Toffee) and a fantastic piece of carrot cake to share (because their slices are massive). The carrot cake was moist and filled with raisins and nuts, but in now way was it overpowering. And of course it was covered in a lovely creamy icing.la petite dauphine guest farm, cafe bon bon restaurant in Franschhoek, Cape Town, South Africa. Wine tasting, gourmet dining and mountain biking.

 

 

 

Stellenbosch and Franschhoek: wine, dine and ride!

 

Here’s an idea for those who want a very full and action packed day in the Cape winelands. For your wine-lovers and your mountain biking fanatics, this will truly satisfy your every desire.

Full day biking in Franschhoek and Stellenbosch. Mountain biking in the winelands and wine tasting.

Stellenbosch and Franschhoek are both extremely popular for their fantastic, internationally-renowned wines, their abundance of 5 star gourmet restaurants, and their postal-card-perfect landscapes.

Full day biking in Franschhoek and Stellenbosch. Mountain biking in the winelands and wine tasting.

The Huguenot Monument (above)

We started off the day in Franschhoek at Grande Provence wine estate, and took back roads through the vineyards from there. We cycled up to Mont Rochelle, then down past LaBri, and straight on to Holden Manz on quiet roads.

At Holden Manz we indulged in a 4-wines tasting. We sampled the Holden Manz Rosé, their Chardonnay, their flagship “Big G”, and their sublime dessert wine with a delicate hint of Brandy…

We then cycled some more and later on went for lunch at Cafe Bon Bon, part of La Petite Dauphine guest farm.

After lunch, satisfied and full, we drove to Stellenbosch and felt the urge to break a sweat! We went all the way to Jonkershoek Nature Reserve, such a stunning place!

Full day biking in Franschhoek and Stellenbosch. Mountain biking in the winelands and wine tasting.

Full day biking in Franschhoek and Stellenbosch. Mountain biking in the winelands and wine tasting.
It’s a mountain biking haven, surrounded by impressive mountains with single tracks cut all along their sides. The reserve is suitable for anyone: beginners who prefer cycling on wider gravel or sand roads, and dirt hounds and adrenaline junkies who are looking for technical down-hill tracks.
Full day biking in Franschhoek and Stellenbosch. Mountain biking in the winelands and wine tasting.

You can cycle for hours and there are more trail options than you can imagine. We can’t wait to explore some more!

Full day biking in Franschhoek and Stellenbosch. Mountain biking in the winelands and wine tasting.

 

Cape Point Adventure

Hiking the Cape of Good hope and Dias Beach. three Eland spotted, biggest African antilope. Cycling around Cape Point Nature Reserve.

It’s 9:00am and we’re ready to go: we’ve got our mountain bikes all set up and we’ve just paid our entrance fee to the Cape Point Nature Reserve.

Hiking the Cape of Good hope and Dias Beach. three Eland spotted, biggest African antilope. Cycling around Cape Point Nature Reserve.

We began the day by cycling from the entrance of the reserve past the most stunning viewpoints, looking down from impressive cliffs onto turquoise water extending for miles into the distance. We cycled to Buffelsfontein museum and visitor’s center, stopped for a minute to look around, then continued our way on the tar road through the beautiful fynbos landscape. We rode all the way down to the Cape of Good Hope all the while amazed by stunning views of the bright blue Atlantic Ocean.

Hiking the Cape of Good hope and Dias Beach. three Eland spotted, biggest African antilope. Cycling around Cape Point Nature Reserve. We were accompanied by a friend of ours who took our bikes all the way up to the Cape Point Lighthouse: the second light house ever built in South Africa by the Dutch settlers, the first one being the red and white striped one you can see in Greenpoint. From the Cape of Good Hope we hiked up and passed Dias Beach. We were walking on the edge of rocky and jagged cliffs, with beautiful white sand and amazingly blue waters on one side, and stretches of fynbos on the other- a delicacy to the eyes. We were lucky enough to spot three Eland, the biggest African antilopes, on our path, about 5m away from us, before they trotted off slowly.

Hiking the Cape of Good hope and Dias Beach. three Eland spotted, biggest African antilope. Cycling around Cape Point Nature Reserve.

The Cape of Good Hope (above)

Hiking the Cape of Good hope and Dias Beach. three Eland spotted, biggest African antilope. Cycling around Cape Point Nature Reserve.

The Breathtaking Dias Beach, Cape Point Nature Reserve.

Hiking the Cape of Good hope and Dias Beach. three Eland spotted, biggest African antilope. Cycling around Cape Point Nature Reserve.

After approximately 45 minutes of one of the most gorgeous hikes I have ever done, we reached the lighthouse situated at the most southwesterly tip of the Cape Peninsula. Seeing both the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet is truly a special sight. It’s a spectacular place to be… but be sure to have steady feet as it gets intensely windy down there!

We then cycled a little more and once done, drove through viby Simon’s Town and later on indulged in Mike’s favorite Fish & Chips at the Fischhoek Fisheries. Finally we went for the most rewarding swim at Fischhoek beach, ending the morning with a big BANG!

Fischhoek beach. Great white sharks. fish and chips. surfing in South Africa. shark watchers

Cape Town Safari Cycle

It was a crisp summers morning, the perfect day for a full day Safari cycle experience up the West Coast just about 1.5 hours drive from The Mother City.

I was feeling excited about the day as it was my first time visiting the Buffelsfontein, which I had heard so much about.

Cycle Safari Cape Town Buffelsfontein !Khwa ttu Nature Reserve South Africa ExperienceUpon our arrival to the Buffelsfontein Nature Reserve we were greeted by the local park ranger who lead us to a table displaying  different fresh juices and a choice of teas and coffee to get the day started. The reserve really had an “African Bush” feel to it and was very still and quiet.

We set off on on a sandy road with the safari jeep right behind us, keeping us safe from dangerous animals.

As we where cycling up a slight up-hill I noticed  2 massive shapes about 100 metres away in the distance. We continued cycling, oblivious to the fact they were a very unsettled pair of Rhinos. Clearly threatened and upset by our presence, they started to charge towards us. Seriously had my heart pumping. Finally, they looped back. *Exhale*

Cycle Safari Cape Town Buffelsfontein !Khwa ttu Nature Reserve South Africa Experience

During a short water break we spotted some springbok, South Africa’s national animal, and then the day continued with more riding, taking sharp corners and getting some really fun down-hill action.

Cycle Safari Cape Town Buffelsfontein !Khwa ttu Nature Reserve South Africa Experience

We then headed to the Cheetah enclosure and met our trusted game ranger, who lead us inside with no vehicle, no nothing. A Cheetah was chilling on a tree branch right beside the trail about 2m above our heads. It was truly a special experience to get so close to these big cats.

We then visited some Linx, and saving the best for last, the kings of the animal kingdom: The Lions.

This wrapped up our Buffelfontein Cycling experience and we set off down the road to !Khwa ttu Nature Reserve which preserves the San traditions and cultures and also has a sick mountain biking single track.
Speeding downhill we came across Zebra and before we knew it we where cycling amongst all types of wildlife.

Cycle Safari Cape Town Buffelsfontein !Khwa ttu Nature Reserve South Africa Experience

We all tried their speciality Eland burgers for lunch and washed it down with a glass of sparkling wine.

What a Day!

 

Cycle Safari Cape Town Buffelsfontein !Khwa ttu Nature Reserve South Africa Experience

Chapman’s Peak hike

Chapman's peak hike cape town south africa noordhoek kommetjie

 

Since we have been staying in Noordheok lately and have been driving over the scenic Chapman’s Peak drive, we couldn’t resist but to climb this incredible mountain overlookingChapman's peak hike cape town south africa noordhoek kommetjie Hout Bay, Noordhoek beach, the Atlantic Ocean and even parts of the Indian Ocean. We drove up the side of the mountain until we found an accessible starting point and parking spot near Monkey Valley. The hike up to the peak was quite tough, especially because on that day Michael felt like it would be oh-so-very-fun to run up parts of it, not being able to control his enthusiasm for the crisp clean air and stunning views that were to come. We stopped two or three times along the way and sat on the edges of semi-hanging rocks to admire the never-ending sea overstretched below us. Reaching the top I have never felt more rewarded. We did this hike on one of my first days back in Cape Town- the sights of this magnificent country made my heart melt with joy and left us both in awe. It’s astonishing how little everything looks and feels from the top of mountains. We stayed at the summit for a little while, staring into the distance, not wanting to move from that calm and tranquil place. By the time we finally made our descent, we were filled with new energy,
enthusiasm and satisfaction.

 

Chapman's peak hike cape town south africa noordhoek kommetjie

Silvermine Hike

silvermine nature reserve after fires with beautiful flowers. hiking in cape town, South Africa

 

It hasn’t been too long since the fires overtook the beautiful Silvermine Nature Reserve, leaving the mountain submerged in smoke and ashes. A couple months later however, it felt as if we were experiencing unprecedented beauty while hiking through a charred branchy landscape. We walked through blackened and ashen trees and bushes, contrasted with a whole spectrum of different colored flowers, from bright red to deep and luscious purple. Adding onto this magnificence were the breathtaking views of the valley and surrounding mountains. The trail is quite narrow and very natural which enhances the completely “immersed in nature” experience. We decided to make this hike a shorter one and cut back on our tracks once we reached what we considered to be the summit of the mountain. The way back was very leisurely but in no way less stunning. The perfect end to another perfect day in South Africa…

 

silvermine nature reserve after fires with beautiful flowers. hiking in cape town, South Africa

Table Mountain: mountain bike adventure

biking table mountain Cape town South Africa holiday guided tours

The sky was clear today with a nice refreshing breeze- it was the perfect day for a bike ride along the side of Table Mountain. My friend Estelle that I know from high school in Luxembourg happened to be in Cape Town for a couple days so she joined the ride with us. biking table mountain Cape town South Africa holiday guided tours All along the way I heard her say how beautiful the reserve and views of the city were, and also how fun the trail we picked was. We started our ride at the Rhodes memorial and cycled all the way to an exit in Vredehoek. The trail we took was a dirt track, quite technical due to loose rocks and gravel. The wind luckily was playing in our favor that day when we hit slight uphills and gave us a very welcomed boost all along the way. What I personally found stunning were the astonishing amounts of silver trees we were cycling past.
After the ride we cycled down to the Company Gardens for a delicious second breakfast- because why not, and the food there is great and oh-so-fresh. We continued cycling after our meal to the Bo-Kaap Cape Malay quarters to give Estelle a glimpse of the gorgeous coloured houses of that neighbourhood. It was a 10 out of 10 morning, diverse, fun and active, not to mention beautiful as Cape Town always is.

biking table mountain Cape town South Africa holiday guided tours