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.

Spotted on Instagram.

Did you #VisitStanford recently and bragged a little on Instagram? Well we may just have spotted you!

To discover more of Stanford’s Secrets, pop into the Tourism Office in Queen Victoria Street, or follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

For weekly updates, make sure you sign up for the free What’s on compiled by Stanford Tourism every Thursday right here. That’s all for now, folks. And remember, if anyone asks where you got your news, tell them you heard it through the Grapevine!

Valentine’s plans

What’s cooking, good looking? Are you dazzling your date with a homecooked meal, making a homemade card, and decorating your lounge with tea lights and rose petals? For those of you who are all thumbs when it comes to crafts, more boerie-on-the-braai than fillet steak, and are about as romantic as a beige pair of secret socks, we have some suggestions to help you surprise your Valentine.

To book for a comedy evening with Mary Steward at the Tasting Room at Stanford Hills Estate, and enjoy this midweek Valentine’s Day with Date Night for the whole family, click here. A blackboard menu and local wines will put hearts in your eyes.

Feel like a romantic meal for just two people, in the restaurant or courtyard at Coffee Corner? Enjoy the welcome bubbly and 3 intimate courses click here.

An al fresco picnic basket packed with lovely treats and a waiter on hand as your recline on the bank of the lily pond will fill your heart with pleasure at Zesty Lemon at Sir Robert Stanford Estate. For more information or to book, click here

For something a little more on the wild side, why not book a special Valentine Sunset Visit at Panthera Africa and feel the deep rumbling roaring of the big cats at sunset? For more information or to book, click here.

Klein River Cheese has decided to stretch Valentine’s Day right from 14-17 February, so if a basket brimming with cheesey treats and a blanket thrown open on a lush lawn sounds like heaven to you, make sure you extend your Valentine time to include this.

You can pack your own picnic basket with charcuterie from Erwin or Martin’s Deli, mature cheeses from Klein River Cheese and buttery bakes from Ou Meul. The Fynbos Distillery sells delicious grappa-based liqueurs, and Stanford Harvest has a wine shop with beautifully labelled wines that will knock your socks off. The Stanford Wine Route has some specials so pop in to one of the 9 boutique farms and choose your favourite. Welgesind has a special offer on their Romanse Blanc de Noir and Boschrivier is offering a cheese platter and bottle of wine at a show-stopping price!

If fresh flowers are the best way to your Valentine’s heart, why not keep them local and ditch the long-stem roses? Fresh bunches of fynbos are available in the village from OK MiniMark and the Village Emporium. Ou Meul has some beautiful wild olive saplings for the gift that will bear fruit year after year. And for an exquisite orchid grown right here in Stanford at Eikenhoff Nursery, call Debra to make an appointment and surprise your love with one of these beauties!

Antjie’s Handmade Naturals are available from the shop on the stoep of the Stanford Hotel – sprinkle some of the Rose Geranium bath salts into a semi-shallow waterwise bath, balance a glass of Cap Classique from one of the local Stanford Wine Route farms on the edge of the bath, and let the evening follow its own path.

And if you are single, footloose and fancy-free this Valentine’s Day, we strongly recommend the bath with bubbly anyway!

Words by Phil Murray, Stanford Tourism 028 341 0340

Stanford Food Heroes in partnership with FoodforUs

The Stanford Food Heroes is a collective of Stanford growers and producers who live and work in the area surrounding Stanford. You can inhale the scent of their herbs and aroma of their buttery bakes, roll their tomatoes and lemons around in your hands and breath in the spices of their charcuterie at the weekly Wednesday Morning Farmers’ Market at Graze, and the Saturday Morning Market on the Stanford Hotel stoep. Besides these markets, some heroes supply or run their own restaurants and delis. Their identity is that they hold home-grown, local produce dear and believe in keeping the supply chain local and lekker. They believe that the best things in life take time.

In 2017, a small group of ideas people identified the Stanford Food Heroes and the increasingly foodie identity of Stanford, and approached them to ask if they were interested in being a part of a new phone application trial aimed at marketing fresh surplus to the closest market, and reducing food loss. What a great idea for a communications app to team up with a group of growers and producers – the Stanford Food Heroes could really sink their teeth into this partnership.

The new FoodforUs app is a United Nations-funded application that links local growers and buyers. It was designed to ensure that edible and nutritious food is not wasted at farm level but instead fulfils its primary purpose of feeding people. It will do this by linking local groups of growers (farmers at all scales) and buyers (feeding schemes, early childhood development centres, restaurants, guesthouses and individuals) through a convenient mobile app. The app will provide an overview and images of what is available from each grower and enables growers and buyers to communicate on payment and delivery methods.

Food is wasted at farm levels for a variety of reasons. Retailers sometimes cancel orders at the last-minute leaving farmers unable to find appropriate markets for their produce in time, or farmers can produce a surplus that they have not planned for in terms of marketing and sale. The FoodforUs app provides farmers with immediate access to a group of local buyers.

The app is available on the Google and iTunes play stores. Once registered, participants will be sent a password that they use to log into the app to view the produce available. This research trial is being conducted in Stanford, Worcester and two pilot sites in the Eastern Cape. Once the initial phase is complete, users’ feedback will be incorporated into a revision of the app’s features and the platform will be released to a wider audience.

Follow the project on Facebook @foodforusza or contact the team directly on info@foodforus.co.za.

FoodforUs looks forward to working with Stanford’s innovative food networks to trial the app that helps to reduce food waste by linking local growers and buyers. More information can be found on the project at www.foodforus.co.za.

*For more on the Stanford Food Heroes, click here

Words by Phil Murray and Stephanie Swanepoel

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

10 Things to do in Stanford with the kids

Stanford is a wonderful family destination which is only two hours drive from the Mother City, and those lucky enough to have shrugged off city life for country simplicity are happy to share the secret good life with visitors.

by Philippa Murray

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