Majestic Mountains and where to find them

Majestic Mountains –
to be explored by foot, bike, horse or boat!

#visitstanford

Mountains have always captivated and inspired the human spirits. There seems to be a powerful attraction, which stirs a desire to either explore and conquer its peaks, or merely rest and relax in its valleys and rivers.

Whichever appeals to you, there is a landscape of diverse flora and fauna waiting to be explored by foot, horseback, bike or 4×4. Stanford is the perfect base from which to explore these majestic structures and if you give us enough notice , we will gather the local food artisans and put together the most delicious and nutritious picnics and snack packs for you to take with,  we may even suggest some of our local wines for you to enjoy in the shade of the Kleinrivier mountains.

Hiking Trails
Hikers are spoilt for choice in this region, not only with the spectacular views and abundance of varying biomes, but you have your choice of anything from a gentle walk and picnic to a multi-day hike. Phillipskop Mountain Reserve offers a unique opportunity to access part of the Klein River Mountains. Visitors are welcome to hike anywhere on the reserve but they have established a number of hiking trails to help you in your exploration. You may also wish to explore Walker Bay Nature Reserve 17 km of rocky and sandy coastline which include the incredible cliff paths at De Kelders. See more on walks and hiking trails in our region.

Mountain Biking
As home to the Stanford MTB Classic stage event  we have so much to offer the avid Mountain Biker and the whole family! Start in Stanford and explore the many tracks through the fynbos and nature reserves.

Horse Trails
Explore our wonderful region on horseback, as many of the early explorers must have. African Horse Company offers 1-3 hours or multi–day horse trails and outrides. You will ride along kilometers of unspoiled beach, climb rugged mountain terrain, and ride through indigenous forest, cross private farms and vineyards and swim with your horse in dams filled with the purest mountain water. What a wonderful way to discover our region.

River Adventures
For some the mere luxury of gazing up from the valleys and rivers to take in the numerous rock formations is enough food for the soul. In Stanford we take full advantage of our Kleinivier and you can hire a Kayak from River Rat Boat Cruise & Kayak Hire and do some self-exploration.
The river is famous for its big variety of birdlife, breeding and nesting in the reeds on the banks of the river. Other wild life include some buck in a small reserve, otters feeding on crabs, terrapins and the odd puff adder swimming across the river.
Or simply pack a picnic ( you can stock up from our many food and wine artisans) and enjoy a leisurely cruise with Lady Stanford, or African Queen Cruises.

Read all about our Stanford River Festival here. A lovely account from Roger Duffet.

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Stanford River Festival 2019

One-hundred-and-six boats, one-hundred-and-thirty-something paddlers,
eight sitters, two standers, one swimmer and a dog!

The annual Stanford River Festival took place in ideal conditions on
Saturday 2nd March on the beautiful Klein Rivier. The event is a mix of
serious racing and not-so-serious fun! It offers something exciting for
all levels of paddlers including those who just love plonking along in a
boat with friends and family!

Line up at King Street for the start! A colourful spectacle of boats,
jokes, laughing insults and a small measure of anxiety. The serious
racers are at the front, strategically looking for the best way off the
line. Just behind a jostle of anxious youngsters looking to be in on the
action and at the back the fancy dress party! The starter calls and the
race is off – churning the still water into a tumble of waves out to
topple the unwary.

From Stanford the river carries the paddlers out toward the lagoon. The
turn for the 15km route is just on the edge of the lagoon where the
sleepy water loses itself in the shallows and the flamingos, in unison,
ignore the passing race. It takes about 36 minutes for the first
paddlers to reach the turn. At this point just over half of the 5km race
has finished. Joshua Loubser [U14] came storming through in 23 minutes
and 1 second on a Ski chased home by Emma Privett [U12] in a Guppy.
Third across the line was Daniel Burls [U16] in a K1. First dog across
the line, stylish bandanna ad all, was Gemma [U6] in a fine hand made
wooden kayak! Joshua, Emma, Daniel and Gemma are all from Stanford Canoe
Club.

The Wooden Boat Regatta at the The Stanford River Festival was a new
thing this year. Graceful, shining wooden hulls mingled with the dowdier
K1s and K2s bringing a touch of class to the river. Let’s hope we see
more of them next year! Local builder Neil Eberhard took the prize for
best presented wooden boat on display at the festival.

Meanwhile, with the 15km racers now racing back for the finish line the
first 10km paddlers were coming home. Rodger Duffett [M] was first back
in 54 minutes and 57 seconds. Racing to the finish, up-and-coming
paddlers Khanyisa Ngaxa [U14] and Sibongeleni Mzimba were second and
third. The first five places in the 10km were all Stanford paddlers with
fourth and fifth going to Nonelela Mqalekane [U14] and Samkele Mgengo
[U14] respectively! Go Team!

One hour, seven minutes and thirty five seconds after starting out Lance
King [S] from Milnerton Canoe club crossed the line to take first place
and the points for the Western Cape Canoe Union Presidents Trophy.
Second place went to Luke Stowman [S] from Paarl and third to Ernest van
Riet [V] from University of Stellenbosch. The first lady home was
Christina Geromont from Milnerton Canoe Club [U23] in 1h23m46s closely
followed by Amy Duffett [U14] from Stanford. Third lady in the open
category was Lindi-May Harmsen [V] from Milnerton.

Of the one-hundred-and-thrity-something paddlers about 35 paddled in the
under 18 category! Our friendly rivals from the Paarl Developmont club
made the journey from their home river – the Berg River – to join us on
the Klein Rivier. In the Boys Junior class Matthew Privett [U16],
Stanford, took line honours in 1h12m53s. Bevan Duffett [U18], Stanford,
was second across the line and Eugon Williams [U16] from Paarl was
third. The Girls race was a Stanford clean sweep with Amy Duffett [U14]
first and Neriyah Dill [U14] second.

Let’s not forget to count the Guppies! A special sprint race over 2km
was held for the Guppies aged 8 to 12. Tia Hector from Paarl took this
one from Emma Privett [Stanford]. The girls led the way in this one with
Lucian from Paarl coming third! Well done to Jahkahyda [Paarl], Sibusiso
[Stanford], Whitney and AJ [Paarl] and Joshua, Boaz and Tristan from
Stanford!

And so, another river festival came and went! It was such a pleasure to
enjoy this very special place with all who came! A big thank-you to all
who worked to make it happen especially for the support of the Grootbos
Foundation and Stanford Tourism! Funds raised at the event go toward
supporting the Stanford Canoe Club Development Academy.

 

Author: Rodger Duffett

Images: Wilien van Zyl

 

 

 

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

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

Rev up your engines: discover the R326 and the Akkedisberg Pass.

For those of us addicted to roads, roadtripping and stupendous scenery, we’re privileged to be able to enjoy various mountain passes in the Western Cape. It’s total roadcandy.

Driving through a mountain pass carries with it a certain symbolism. More than just the exhilarating sense of freedom that being on the open road evokes, it’s the physical act of passing from one place into another. It’s almost as if the lie of the land echoes the state of your mind… heading towards something new and leaving something else behind…

Picture: Tracks4Africa

Picture: Tracks4Africa

Interestingly enough, there’s the southernmost mountain pass – Akkedisberg – right on our doorstep (R326). The pass is one of the oldest in South Africa, dating back to 1776. Detouring on the R326 to Napier/Bredasdorp/Arniston, the raw features and breath-taking views of the Akkedisberg are simply jaw-dropping!

This small, scenic pass is almost worth planning your entire holiday around, that’s how stunning it is. There is so much to see and do on the R326 and the Akkedisberg Pass. Here are some top tips (just too mention a few. Wording abridged from their websites)…

Picture: Boschrivier Wines

Picture: Boschrivier Wines

Boschrivier Wines
Boschrivier Wines is located on two farms that lie at the foot of the Klein River Mountain range on the R326 near Stanford. The first farm, Remhoogte, hosts the vineyards from which Boschrivier wines are produced and a manor house turned into a wine house/coffee shop that is open to the public for wine tasting.
The manor house on the second farm, Boschkloof, is available for guests to rent. Home to blue cranes, takbokke, fynbos and other wildlife, the Boschkloof manor house makes for a true farm getaway.

Picture: Raka Wines

Picture: Raka Wines

Raka Wines
The Raka brand was named after Piet Dreyer’s black fishing vessel. Piet’s first love has always been the sea. For some 36 years he braved the storms and challenges of the coast, ever in search of the best catch. It is with this same passion that the Dreyer family now pursue the art of winemaking. With the rich blessing of earth and elements, the help of a dedicated workforce, the enthusiasm of winemaker Josef Dreyer and the advantages of a modern gravity flow cellar, Piet Dreyer produces his award-winning Raka wines.

Picture: Stanford Valley Guest Farm

Picture: Stanford Valley Guest Farm

Stanford Valley Guest Farm
Stanford Valley Guest Farm nestles in the valley of the Klein Rivier, 10km outside Stanford village. They offer comfortable accommodation as well as conference facilities. Enjoy upmarket country cuisine, prepared by renowned chef Madre Malan and her team at the Manor House Restaurant whilst soaking in the glorious scenic landscapes.

Picture: Klein River Cheese

Picture: Klein River Cheese

Klein River Cheese
Klein River Farmstead offers an array of exceptional, high-quality and award-winning South African cheeses. The farm is open to the public and you can taste and purchase cheese as well as a variety of gourmet products in The Cheese Shop; enjoy a delicious picnic on the banks of the river; all while the children enjoy the extensive playground or pet and feed the many farm animals.

Picture: White Water Farm

Picture: White Water Farm

White Water Farm
Historic White Water Farm is a welcoming rural haven with magnificent mountain scenery in the Klein River valley. This historical venue is the ideal place to escape – whether it is for a much needed rest, an adventure, a business conference, a wedding or a private retreat. White Water has its own “chapel” as well as restaurant on the premises.

Picture: Blue Gum Country Estate

Picture: Blue Gum Country Estate

Blue Gum Country Estate
Named after the 140-year old Blue Gum tree that grows on our front lawn, the estate is both a working farm dating back to 1839 and a private, family-run guest house. Whether you stay in the old Manor House suites, the more private Mountain View Cottages or our Blue Gum Family Rooms, you’ll discover a tranquil retreat that offers something for everyone from honeymoon couples to solo travellers and large family groups. With this in mind there is also two restaurants on the estate.

Picture: Phillipskop Mountain Reserve

Picture: Phillipskop Mountain Reserve

Phillipskop Mountain Reserve
Unwind, explore and discover at this mountain reserve that occupies the southerly slopes of the Klein River Mountains just to the east of Stanford. They offer spacious chalet-style self-catering cottages, perched on the slopes of the Klein River Mountains with sweeping views across the Overberg, as well as opportunities for guests and day visitors to explore the reserve and discover more as they do… Various hiking trails on offer as well as guided botanical walks.

Picture: Boeredans Cottage

Picture: Boeredans Cottage

Boeredans Cottage
The “Boeredans Cottage” is 2.5 km from the village and is an easy drive for city vehicles. It is also only 30 meters from the Klein River and sleeps 5. The cottage is located on a working farm; sheep, Nguni cattle and Emu’s roam freely and which adds to the farm style atmosphere.

Picture: Walkerbay Estate

Picture: Walkerbay Estate

Walkerbay Estate includes Birkenhead Brewery
This is the first wine and brewing estate in the Southern Hemisphere. Visit their vineyard and winery where they produce Walker Bay Vineyards wines, and enjoy their delicious food and freshly home-brewed beer.

And then it’s so true: here in Stanford, we’re really quite proud of all the cool stuff our village and surrounds has to offer. You’ve heard us wax lyrical about our river, mountains, our wine, our wildlife, our heritage, our cape floral kingdom and just gush in general about Stanford’s natural beauty (not to mention its world-class accommodation, restaurants…)

Just remember the following tip when revving up your engines for a scenic trip:

“Here’s the secret to a good mountain view: leave your camera behind. You’ll never see all the beauty of the landscape through your lens, and when you upload your photos at home you’ll be disappointed in the pale colours which only hint at the gorgeous rock hues you’ve witnessed. Drink the view with your eyes and remember that when you need another look you’ll be better off taking another drive than paging through an album. The lofty mountain heights will be there to enjoy long after your photos fade.”
-Jen Hoyer, Getaway Magazine: October 17, 2012

Picture: Tracks4Africa

Picture: Tracks4Africa

Toodles

Stoep Talk August

Well, tadalafil 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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