Stanford Through the Lens

We’ve rounded up some of our favourite Instagram photos taken by our Stanford Tourism members to give you a glimpse into art, weddings, activities, accommodation and the gorgeous landscapes that make up Stanford and surrounds. Enjoy! And if you’re an avid tapper of the photo button, tag us on your next visit to Stanford with #visitstanford and be sure to follow us on Instagram @visitstanford.

 

Goodwill Mountain Farm (@goodwillmountain)

We love Goodwill Mountain’s celebration of spring! With rolling views of the Stanford Valley, the farm is nestled on the side of a mountain. Accommodation options range from lovingly restored labourers’ cottages, to a Villa sleeping 8-10 guests.

Find them on Stanford Tourism Website here.

 

Panthera Africa (@panthera_africa)


Someone else enjoying spring is Panthera Africa’s gorgeous white lion, Oliver. If you’d like to make the most of the warmer evenings, why not book a Sunset Visit and experience the magical cats of Panthera in a unique atmosphere. Pre-booking is essential, you can find out more here.

The Zesty Lemon Restaurant (@zesty_lemon_restaurant)

If picture-perfect country weddings are your thing, you’re spoilt for choice in Stanford. We just love the mood of this recent wedding captured at The Zesty Lemon – vintage and retro country looking gorgeous!

In addition to small weddings, they also hosts team buildings, year-end functions, birthdays and kids parties.

Find them on the Stanford Tourism website here.

 

Graze Slow Food Café (@graze_cafe)

Graze Slow Food Café recently hosted yet another successful Self-Sufficiency Workshop. Participants learnt about animal husbandry, gardening and growing their own organic veg, herbs and fruits. Beekeeping looked like loads of fun (and pretty sci-fi) and cooking, bottling and preserving skills sent the participants home feeling like true pioneers (and no doubt friends and family will receive something pickled or fermented under their Christmas trees). To find out more about their Costal Forage in December click here.

 

Su Wolf (@sutroywolf)

Whimsical, quirky, playful, and of course, colourful, Stanford Artist Su Wolf’s work will tease your lips right into a smile. Her Instagram feed is a welcome patchwork of colours, inspiration and her travels – as well as some snaps around the village too. Read more about Su here, and why not book an appointment to visit her studio?

 

Blue Gum Country Estate (@bluegumcountryestate)

If a foodie getaway is on your wish list, accommodation establishments like Blue Gum Country Estate mean you never have to wander too far from your comfy room to find delectable dishes. Cleverly, Blue Gum’s restaurant has two sections – one more informal ideal for family get-togethers and open for 3 meals a day (BARKE), while The Blue Gum Restaurant caters to Adults only for more romantic dinners. The same menu is served at both sections, so the atmosphere choice is up to you.

Find out more about Blue Gum Country Estate here.

 

African Horse Company (@africanhorsecompany)

Saddle up and see the sights of Stanford and surrounds on horse back with African Horse Company. Enjoy an outride (around 1-3 hours) or gather your gusto and go for an overnight option – from 2 to 10 days you’ll really see some magnificent Overberg sights. Find out more here.

 

Springfontein Wine (@springfonteinwine)

Delivering wines that are “a combination of nature and human craftsmanship,” Springfontein Wine forms part of the @stanfordwineroute and showcases some South African favourites like Chenin Blanc and Pinotage as well as the ‘regulars’ like Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Springfontein also have a small planting of Petit Verdot, Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc.  Pop into their Springfontein Bar(n) for tastings and food served daily from 11-9pm.

 

All photographs property of the respective members.

Pura Soda Race2Stanford gearing up for an even better Western Cape Triathlon

In November 2017, one of the oldest towns in South Africa hosted the inaugural Pura Soda Race2Stanford half iron distance triathlon with great success. The inaugural race attracted elite local triathletes including Matt Trautman, Stuart Marais, JP Burger, World Multisport champion Robyn Owen, Kelly van der Toorn and Vicky Van der Merwe.

 

On the 10th November 2018 Bravo, the Hermanus Whale crier, will sound off the second Pura Soda Race2Stanford. Athletes begin their challenging day out in paradise with a 1.9km swim in the new Harbour of Hermanus before making their way by bike, 90km through the magnificent Hemel en Aarde wine Valley, over Shaws Pass via Caledon to run 21.1km in the quaint & picturesque historic village of Stanford.

This 70.3 mile distance triathlon will begin with 2 laps of chilly but stunning setting sea swimming before embarking on a brutally beautiful 90km point to point bike ride and topped off with 3 crowd inspired, scenic relatively flat 7km laps along the river and through the charming cottages and farm trails of Stanford. The finish will be celebrated in Stanford’s Olde English style village square.

Families and supporters can explore the local art and antique stores and have the opportunity to run 1 lap of the run or enjoy a short historical tour walk in the morning before setting up picnics at the finish on the green or the banks of the peaceful forest lined banks of the majestic Klein River. There are also boat cruises serving the celebrated local wines along the river which boasts over 200 different bird species of which 30 are endemic to South Africa.

The traditional farm style market on the village green will be the setting for the vibey bike-run transition and race finish line. Supporters & spectators will be served artisanal farm foods, cheeses, wines and craft beers. Make sure to try a G&P (Gin & Pura) also made with locally distilled Gin on the green or at the after party.

 

The event supports community involvement with locally sourced marshals, music, infrastructure, food etc and we plan to ramp that up as we grow. The response from the community has been fantastic since we left the route cleaner than we found it and filled many bed nights & restaurants which too will grow as our field increases over time.

 

After 2 years of planning, Cape Town’s first ocean swim half iron distance triathlon was a dream come true. Once the road through the famed Hemel en Aarde had been tarred we realised we had a world class, custom fit course with equally beautiful, yet still very challenging & rewarding swim, bike and run legs. To have athletes of the calibre of Matt, Stu, Robyn, Gabriella and Kelly who have raced all around the world confirming that we’d unearthed a gem and that they loved it was enough for our event crew and partners to raise more than a few glasses of the Overberg’s finest.

 

Price of entries are the best value on offer at only R1950 for an individual entry and R2350 for a relay team of 3. Visit www.electricink.co.za/race-2-stanford for full race details and entry portal.

 

Follow the Race2Stanford on social media:
IG: @Race2Stanford
Twitter: @Race2Stanford
Facebook: Race2Stanford

 

For further information contact Electric Ink / Abre Roux on 021 438 5972 or race2stanford@electricink.co.za

 

 

Mead and the Medieval Feast

Stanford’s Home of Mead and the Harvest Kitchen celebrated the revelry of the Middle Ages

Noble knights and their lovely ladies descended upon Stanford Harvest on Friday, 27 July, for the launch of a ‘Meadieval’ Feast during the Blood Moon eclipse. The decor consisted of flags, shields and weapons, and long wooden tables decked with earthenware, goblets and candles. Outside, the fire pits, stocks and banners transformed the restaurant and surrounds into a magical, medieval setting filled with magic and excitement.

Going Medieval at Stanford Harvest

Young maidens welcomed the noble guests with song and dance on the lawns, whilst wandering minstrels serenaded the handsome crowd. All enjoyed the sunset whilst sipping Athol McOnie’s centuries-old, family recipe for Mead, described as the Drink of Gods.

The staff of Stanford Harvest together with Viv & Athol looked striking in their cloaks, masks, tights and hats. Raucous laughter could be heard as more people arrived, dressed in magnificent costumes, wearing crowns and jesters’ colourful, pointy hats. The mood for revelry was set!

And then the Vikings arrived! Outrageous and strapping men carrying long staffs with horns, and sexy warrior women, rolled in looking like they stepped off the set of Game of Thrones.

The Vikings arrived

Royal trumpet fanfare announced the arrival of King Peter & Queen Jami from Castle Herriot descent as they made their way to the top table, lording it over the wenches and lackeys.

Queen Jami and King Peter from Castle Herriott

Viv McOnie and her kitchen team spoilt everyone with a magnificent spread of four courses – most would gladly pay double for that meal. Athol kept the mead flowing, made from bee hives kept on the farm.

Belly dancer, Alyssa Bellingan, and troubadours, Jerry Fourie and John Gnodde, entertained throughout the evening. Guests took home prizes for best dressed, best morale, best cleavage, best limerick, scariest outfit and cutest couple.

Revelry and shenanigans

Stanford Harvest knows how to throw a bash that will live on in the memory books. Book now for birthdays, stag nights, bachelorette parties and end-of-year functions. The Stanford Harvest Team will work its magic to conjure up the most fun you can have in one place. Contact us on 083 409 8126

Words by Janet Marshall and Phil Murray

Recipes through the seasons: Koffie en melktert

While it sleets, snows and hails across the Western Cape, we are staying snug with coffee and milktart, Stanford style. Thank you to the Stanford Food Heroes at the Grootbos Foundation for this perfectly timed recipe.

 

INGREDIENTS
Pastry
2 cups flour
1 egg
½ cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
125g butter
pinch of salt

Filling
4 ½ cups milk
2 ½ tbsp cornflour
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
pinch of salt
2 ½ tbsp flour
1 tsp vanilla essence
a big spoon of butter

METHOD
Pastry
Cream butter and sugar well together and add the egg, before beating well.
Add all other ingredients – making a stiff dough.
Press into one or two round cake tins/pie dishes.
Bake blind for 15 minutes at 180°C (use wax paper to cover the pastry and place dry beans/rice over the paper to weight the pastry down). Then remove the paper and beans/rice and bake for an additional 5 minutes until light brown.

Filling
Bring milk to a gentle boil.
Beat eggs well and add sugar, flour, cornflour and salt.
Mix well.
Pour boiling milk into the mixture and stir well.
Return to stove and stir for 10-12 minutes on medium heat until the mixture thickens.
Add butter and vanilla essence and mix through, then pour into cooked shell.
Allow to cool in the fridge (you do not need to cook the tart any further)
To decorate, sprinkle with cinnamon.

We are pairing this South African favourite with a local Cuppa-Jo. Choose your favourite local brew and smuggle it home in travel mug where you can kick off your gumboots, slip into your stokies and curl up on the couch with a slice (or 2) of melktert!

For tip-top posh coffee in Stanford, try Ou Meul BakkeryCoffee CornerYum Eat CafeGraze or La Tratorria or just outside the village at Stanford Harvest.

Words: Phil Murray

Keeping up with the Stanfordians

Have you noticed how it never rains, and then it pours? The beautiful drenched Market Square in Stanford is testament to how much it has been raining in Stanford, and the puddles and deep cool tussocks of grass fill us with childish glee. The wild sprouting mushrooms push their way towards the sunlight 3 days after the rains so keep your eyes peeled for those illusive mushroom foragers who are trying not to make eye contact and give away their hunting ground secrets.

And another thing that fills us with glee is the up-and-coming weekend which is about to sweep us off our feet. Are you ready for it? This is how we plan to fit it all in and you are invited to catch us if you can…

WEDNESDAY

Aerobics Revival in Stanford. See you there in lycra as the village meets in the Community Hall from 18:00 – 19:00. R10 per person is practically still 80s rates!

THURSDAY

Stanford Full Moon Tree Walk

Join our monthly Wandelpad Stroll and learn how to join the heritage Committee’s Significant Tree Survey. Afterwards…sherry!

FRIDAY

Take a deep breath, light a fire and drink some local wine. We are going to need our energy for tomorrow…

SATURDAY

First thing’s first, don a hat for Haturday and post a selfie using the hashtags #Haturday #Visitstanford to stand a chance to win a prize.

Then it is time to browse through the treasures on display at the Stanford Junktique Market in the Tourism Courtyard, 09:00 – 12:00. Breeze a little further down Queen Victoria Street to fill your basket with weekend foodie treats at the Saturday Morning Market on the stoep of the Stanford Hotel, also 09:00 – 12:00.

 

There is also time to take a slow drive on the Papiesvlei Road to the Open Day at Eikenhof Orchid Nursery. It will take you just over 10 minutes to drive there, but it will be oh-so-worthwhile to see the orchids and cymbidiums in full bloom, and for sale at special prices.

And then, pack a jersey for Hops at the Hills, a celebration of local craft beers at Stanford Wine Estate. This afternoon event is full of live music, fun for the kids, good food and beer, and usually sees people dancing under a rainbow, alongside a roaring bonfire. Make no mistake, Hops at the Hills is full-on fun.

SUNDAY

This day is for winding down. Make it about good food at one of Stanford’s restaurants, or good clean air as you walk off the ultimate weekend on one of the walking trails inside, or outside the village. Do the self-guided heritage walk around the town with a map available from the Tourism Office, and drop in at the shops open along the main street.

Phew, what a great week!

*Make sure you read our weekly ‘What’s on’ every Thursday for all events in and around Stanford. Ask to join our mailing list by emailing ask@stanfordinfo.co.za

Words: Phil Murray

Recipes through the seasons – Sorrel Pesto in Winter

This great, seasonal recipe has been generously shared by Rishi, one half of the dynamic duo at Goodwill Mountain Farm.

Sorrel Pesto 

Sorrel pesto is a quintessential Stanford Food Heroes recipe as it’s local, seasonal and sustainable. These days, sorrel grows abundantly everywhere around Stanford, so get your scissors and baskets out and go hunting for these heart-shaped beauties. The great thing about foraged food is that it is, per definition, organic and super fresh, which is more than you can say about most of the food in the supermarkets! Sorrel is a nutrient powerhouse especially rich in Vitamin C which is great for a mid-winter immunity boost, and the nuts and seeds in the recipe are high in fats to keep you warm on these cooler days.

Ingredients

A big bunch of sorrel (approx. 120 g)

15-20 leaves of kale with stems removed (spinach would work too)

1 cup cashews, soaked for 30 mins in hot water and drained

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

4 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes

1 tsp salt

Dash of olive oil

Method 

Start by dry-roasting the sunflower and pumpkin seeds together on a frying pan. They’re done when they start cracking and splitting. Let them cool off before adding to the rest of the ingredients to avoid the pesto oxidizing too fast. Add all other ingredients to a food processor and pulse until it has a creamy texture with some chunks left – pesto texture, basically. If the pesto is too tart for your liking, more kale can be added, and if it’s not creamy enough, more cashews can be added. This pesto goes well on pasta and sandwiches and can be loosened with olive oil to make a salad dressing. Also excellent to eat on crackerbread standing by the kitchen counter late at night! Store in an airtight container in the fridge where it will keep for at least a week.

*Wood sorrel (genus Oxalis) has heart-shaped leaves and is often confused with clover. The leaves are a little bigger and taste sour, as do the yellow flowers. Kids in Stanford call them sour flowers. Go on, try them!

Words by Rishi from Goodwill Mountain, and Phil Murray

Herfsfees, 6-7 April 2018

Vibrating with autumn colours

This was the first year that a small vibrant group of like-minded people launched the Stanford Herfsfees, a new arts festival for Stanford with the goal of reaching deep into our community and uplifting all with art, music and creativity. The line-up was generous, starting with a week-long arts and crafts workshop run by local NPO, Creative Skills Factory, which climaxed at the parade to launch Herfsfees on the  Friday evening. The spirit and exuberance of the minstrels was intoxicating as people joined in the revelry of music and dance, and followed the Baruch performers through the village. Children wore the outfits and masks that they had had been making all week.

The Baruch Entertainers were invited to Herfsfees to help launch the Friday evening carnival to rounds of applause. Villagers and children joined in the parade as they danced, jived, drummed, trumpeted and entertained their way from the Community Centre to the NGKerk garden, homebase of the newest Arts Festival in Stanford. The Herfsfees has its heart deeply rooted in the Stanford community, and plans to grow the annual Herfsfees event with an ongoing community arts programme that is run year-round in tandem with Creative Skills Factory.

Not only will the ongoing arts programme focus on Stanford children, and keep them educated, exposed to the arts, entertained and off the streets, it also hopes to negotiate a mentorship of a minstrel band in Stanford with the Baruch Entertainers, Carnival Champions of the Cape Town Carnival 2018. Baruch is committed to improving the social situation in communities through music tutoring and workshops, and organizers of the Herfsfees are already discussing ongoing collaboration between Stanford and Baruch.

Herfsfees also included a food market at the NGKerk, and a band line-up to die for! Tribal Echo stole the hearts all the audience on the Friday Night with their funky local flavour and cool drums, trombone and energy, while Mr Cat and the Jakkal had everyone dancing. Ibuyambo, Hatchetman, the Nick Turner Band, Dax Butler and the Hearts of Darkness, Taleswapper, The Time Flies and Gert Vlok Nel, along with DJChina had the village dancing to their beat. Various venues hosted different bands, and buskers kept the day time visitors entertained. Nick Turner, Tribal Echo and Ibuyambo offered free workshops on the Saturday – such generosity of intention and sharing of the delights in the arts made Stanford a warm and welcoming festival venue.

Photograph: Taylum Meyer

Thank you to the organizers who poured their hearts into this event, to the venues who hosted musicians, to the businesses and individuals who invested in earlybird tickets, to the Cape Whale Coast office of the Overstrand Municipality who contributed towards the Creative Works craft workshops, those who donated supplies, to the musicians and artists, and to all those who bought tickets and supported this event. Well done Herfsfees 2018! We can’t wait to see what Herfsfees 2019 will bring.

Photograph: Lloyd Koppel

Words by Phil Murray

Watershed rocking the Hills

Watershed started their ‘short, and very sweet’ April Road Tour on the lawn of the Tasting Room at Stanford Hills Estate on Easter Sunday. Easter is traditionally a day spent with family; in my family, we don’t go beyond the garden perimeter which is scoured for chocolate in the early hours, and casually rescanned throughout the day for any escapee eggs. This year, Easter Sunday also fell on April Fools Day. These factors might have made a live performance, in the late afternoon, a fairly hard sell for a live concert. Was it all a joke? We know Sunday concerts work in Kirstenbosch, but life slows down when you come to Stanford, even more than it does when you pop out of the city bustle, and into the Mother City’s botanical gardens. And over the Easter long weekend, would anyone make it out of pyjamas by mid-afternoon in Stanford, let alone into a car and up to a wine farm with sugared-up kids?

Watershed frontman, Craig Hinds, admitted to being unsure whether a Sunday was going to work in Stanford. But luckily for us, it worked a charm and hoards of people turned up to listen to the dulcet tones of one of South Africa’s favourite acoustic bands that has been weaving magic since 2000. Bedouin tents provided shade as people lolled and lounged on picnic blankets and deckchairs, and kids cavorted on the jumping castle and paddled around the waterlily dam. It couldn’t have looked more idyllic – a ‘perfect day, with perfect people,’ Hinds called it. A neighbouring farmer pulled up in a tractor loaded with couches, kids perched on the top of the sturdy swing, and I hastened to spread out my blanky in one of the last remaining central spots. I quickly realised the reason why it was still available was because some early birds had marked out their spots with camping chairs, and were going to partially block my view. But my heart was filled with good vibes and an overriding sense of South African good will – nothing a gentleman’s Panama hat could obscure.

My goodwill faltered when I saw the length of the beer queue, but the peppy team of Stanford Hills barmaids made quick work of it, keeping my good mood intact. And the food trucks handled the crowds with ease, serving tornado-tatoes and other delicious festival-style food.

Watershed kicked off their performance with ‘Close my eyes’ – a solid favourite from the 2006 Mosaic album. Everyone was swept away with the melody, singing along and swaying to the familiar tune. The 1000 strong audience was made up of a delightful mixture of young and old, glamourous and casual,  and the band engaged warmly with the crowd, getting cheers from those from Hermanus, Cape Town, Stanford and even a contingent from the middle of the Free State.

The line-up included a sprinkling of original songs from all the Watershed albums, including Watch the Rain, My love is gone, Nothing about you is the same and Letters, glittering and perfect on a balmy afternoon. And as it was Easter Sunday, a pucker Watershed rendition of Leonard Cohen’s epic Hallelujah seemed fitting. A rhythmic cover of the Waterboys’ Fisherman’s Blues and Counting Crow’s Mr Jones nailed the brief as those audience members who came of age in the 90s sang along. A few couples were spotted busting out some langarm moves on the bank of the dam – always a good sign.

The variety of instruments from the bass and acoustic guitars, drum and violin to the ukelele, tambourine, and harmonica, along with resonant lyrics is what has earned Watershed wide respect and a loyal following across generations. Guest artist Renata Riedemann’s violin added a sound reminiscent of Irish moor mists as well as the jaunty sound of a fiddle. And they saved their first hit, Indigo Girl (2000) for last, delivering it loud and true to the fans. What a superb Sunday afternoon! Step aside Kirstenbosch Summer Concerts because Stanford Hills Estate delivers a top notch open air concert. And we have it on good authority that the team from the Hills is going to keep building their live music line-up, keeping it fresh, proudly South African and strictly full of good vibes.

Thank you to Stellenbrau, sponsors of this Watershed April Road Tour. The beer and the gees was lekker.

Words by Phil Murray

The Stanford River Festival 2018 – plenty of water in the Klein River

If you missed it last year, you’ll be happy to know that the Stanford River Festival is back, hosted in the beautiful village of Stanford by the Grootbos Foundation and the Stanford Canoe Club. The Klein River, while little, is full of water and ready to offer cool respite to our friends and family from the drier regions of the Western Cape. Come on down to the riverfront at the bottom of King Street from 16 – 18 March and join in the paddling fun.

The weekend will kick off with a cruise on the Friday at 17:00 to ‘blow out the cobwebs’ in preparation for the main action on the Saturday. Saturday offers events of 5km, 10km, 15km and guppy (juniors) races, open to all– SUPs, K1s, K2s, K3s, sea kayaks, Indian canoes, surf skis and guppies. Registration starts at 07:30 at the bottom of King Street.

2017 Stanford River Festival

The program includes a WCCU President’s Trophy event, in which a number of current and former Springbok canoeists take part and special categories for Surf Ski and SUP participants have been accommodated for.

2017 Stanford River Festival

The event will be supported by a selection of food stalls, a face painting stall to keep children entertained and a local craft beer and wine tent showcasing the local wines and beers of the region. A selection of covetable raffle prizes will be on offer. Be sure to enter for your chance to win. The support market offers plenty of fun, food and music for spectators so slap on some sun-cream, and come and lounge on the lush lawn of the Wandelpad while you cheer in the paddlers.

2017 Stanford River Festival

All proceeds of the event support the ‘Rock the Boat’ Stanford Canoe Development Academy which supports local children accessing the sport of canoeing. This programme has grown to include training three times a week and access to regional regattas.  Watch for the academy juniors participating in the races – you should recognize them by their turquoise T-shirts!

We look forward to seeing you all on the picturesque banks of the Klein River of the Stanford Village!

For further information, contact: Wilien Van Zyl, Stanford Canoeing Academy, Email: vanzylwilien@gmail.com

Or follow the event on Facebook here

Relaxed Mountain Biking at its Best in the Stanford MTB Classic

Three hundred mountain bikers experienced the rebirth of relaxed stage race riding on the 17th and 18th of February in the 2018 Stanford MTB Classic. The two day race was in reality more of a stage ride, with untimed routes and no prizes for the first riders across the line encouraging everyone to slow down and enjoy the magnificent scenery.

The Stanford MTB Classic featured a relaxed atmosphere where stopping to take photos and take in the scenery was the order of the day. Photo by Oakpics.com.

Hosted by the Stanford Valley Guest Farm, in the fertile vineyard lined valleys and on the pristine fynbos covered slopes of the Perdeberg Mountains, to the east of the country village of Stanford the event took in some of the Overberg’s best kept secrets. The 46 and 40 kilometre stage distances meant that time in the saddle, even at a leisurely pace, was limited meaning time relaxing off the bike in the beautiful race village could be maximised.

The swing bridge over the Waboomsrivier was one of the highlights of Stage 1. Photo by Oakpics.com

Stage one featured a mix of smooth gravel district roads, a little more rugged vineyard jeep tracks, a grassy 4×4 trail to the highest point of the day and the flowing Paardenberg Farm singletracks which wind their way along, and across a couple of times, the Waboomsrivier. The highlight of the day was either the swing-bridge crossing of the Waboomsrivier or the descent back to the Stanford Valley Guest Farm; depending on who one asked. The hot weather was tempered by a cooling wind, but that only served to ensure that the Spar water points, stocked with koeksisers, watermelon and the more conventional water point snacks were utilized to a greater extent.

The festive atmosphere extended off the bike where chats about the trails and scenery flowed along with the excellent local wine and beer. Photo by Oakpics.com.

Post stage, riders kicked back and relaxed under the shady oaks on the Stanford Valley Guest Farm lawns; with the riders enjoying a delicious lunch before whiling away their afternoon with a good book, an excellent beer, or deep in conversation over one of the region’s world class wines.

The pristine fynbos of the Perdeberg and Kleinrivier Mountains provided the backdrop for beautiful mountain biking. Photo by Oakpics.com.

Stage two featured more scenic 4×4 trails, this time along the foothills of the Kleinrivier Mountains as the route meandered towards Stanford itself, passing by the Panthera Africa Big Cat Sanctuary and through the safer but no less distraction filled Sir Robert Stanford Wine Estate, where an impromptu wine tasting awaited. Following on the heels of port tasting at Vaalvlei the shorter distance of just 40 kilometres was perhaps a wise option by race organisers Freebody-Sports.

The winding gravel roads of the Overberg provided easy riding for much of the route. Photo by Oakpics.com.

The conclusion of the final stage was followed by lunch under the oaks and a lucky draw prize-giving, where riders regardless of where in the field they finished stood an equal chance of winning one of the prizes donated by the Stanford MTB Classic sponsors. While each and every rider contributed to making the event a festive and social success a special word of praise must go to Lizelle Cloete and Charl Avenant who dressed up on both days and as such have won a weekend’s accommodation at the beautiful Stanford Hills Guest Farm for their exceptional spirit.

Lizelle Cloete & Charl Avenant embodied the spirit of the Stanford MTB Classic by dressing up for both days of the event and as such have won a weekend away at Stanford Hills. Photo by Oakpics.com.

For riders looking to experience a more intense mountain biking experience, entries are open for Freebody-Sports’ sister event, the Greyt Escape. The event is a three day mountain biking stage race which takes place from the mountain biking mecca of Greyton from the 15th to the 17th of June 2018. For more information on the Greyt Escape please visit www.thegreytescape.co.za.

The 2019 Stanford MTB Classic meanwhile is pencilled in for the 16th and 17th of February next year, and for more information please visit www.stanfordmtbclassic.co.za.

Words by Seamus Allardice