Things to do this spring

At long last spring is here and the sun is shining, so it’s time to dust off your nature gear and get out there on foot, on horseback or on a Scootour. Or follow MIRANDI NEL’s lead and design a new wardrobe staple for yourself or craft your  own gin. Stellenbosch is truly your oyster this spring.

CELEBRATE INTERNATIONAL PINOTAGE DAY

On the second Saturday in October, the world celebrates International Pinotage Day, a day to commemorate South Africa’s homegrown grape varietal. So if you need an excuse to have a glass of Pinotage on 13 October, this is your cue. Why not have fun celebrating Pinotage Day at Neethlings­hof’s ‘Choose your own theme’ 8km off-road run/walk? With wine tastings every 2km along the route, food and live music, it will be a day to remember. All ages are welcome – though no wine will be served to under 18s – and there are prizes for the best-dressed individual and group. Tickets are R180 per person, which includes tastings along the route and a celebratory glass at the finish line. Kids under 18 pay R80, under-12s can join for free.

For more information, visit neethlingshof.co.za.

LET’S TAKE THIS OUTSIDE

Many farms in the Cape Winelands offer delicious picnic options. Try these favourites:

  • Zorgvliet Wine Estate boasts the perfect picnic spot on the Helshoogte Road just outside Stellenbosch. The picnics are available from Wednesday to Sunday between September and April. Contact 021 885 1399 or
    functions@zorgvliet.com.
  • In Somerset West, the shaded and tranquil environment of Vergelegen Wine Estate provides a perfect setting for a picnic. Available every day from the end of October until April, the
    baskets can be collected between 12.15pm and 1.30pm. Contact 021 847 2131 or picnic@vergelegen.co.za.
  • At Warwick Wine Estate on the R44, you can relax on the rolling lawns or in a specially designed picnic pod. The baskets are available every day between September and April and can be collected from 12pm. Contact 021 884 4410 or visit@warwickwine.com

EXPLORE JONKERSHOEK ON A SCOOTOUR

So you’ve hiked and cycled through the picturesque Jonkershoek Valley, appreciating its beautiful scenery, but have you ever explored the valley on a Scootour? This adventurous Stellenbosch experience is an eco-friendly way to explore the beautiful fynbos and glori­ous mountains. It’s the perfect activity for a small group of friends, a family outing, a birthday get-together or even a corporate event. The Swiss-designed scooters are not motorised – you just need to hold on tight, keep your balance and let gravity do its work to propel you down the path. The scooters are easy to ride, and professional, qualified guides will accompany your excursion. You will be allocated the scooter best suited to you and equipped with safety helmets and gloves. You’ll be given a safety briefing about how to handle the scooter correctly; no need for a driving licence.

Visit www.scootours.co.za.

GO HORSE RIDING AT PINK GERANIUM

Enjoy the natural beauty of the Cape Winelands on horseback at Pink Geranium Nursery, conveniently located between Stellenbosch and Cape Town where the N1 meets the R304. A short ride will take you around the nursery farm. On longer rides, you’ll explore neighbouring wine farms and enjoy spectacular views of Table Mountain. You’re likely to see many bird species and the occasional duiker or steenbok.

Pink Geranium’s horses are well trained and groups of riders are kept small so that everyone gets the ride they want, whether a leisurely meander through the vineyards or an adrenaline-pumping canter along a farm track. The rides cost R350 per person for one hour, R600 per person for two hours or R800 per person for a two-hour ride with lunch; 10% goes directly into funding the nursery’s charity work.
For more information, go to
www.horseridingatpinkgeranium.com

DESIGN YOUR OWN INVITATIONS

If you think sending a text message to invite friends to your spring dinner party just won’t cut it, check out Ink & Bash Designs, which was launched by Stellenbosch-based company Fanakalo earlier this year. In a world of mass-produced things, the team wants to bring back the charm of illustrated designs made with love, and its beautifully crafted products are available either on paper or digitally. The online platform makes it easy for everyone to customise their own high-quality special event invitation, using templates.

All you need to do is go to www.inkandbash.com, click on ‘Create your own’ in the menu bar at the top of the home page and choose the category you want (birthday, children’s party, wedding, save-the-date or company bash). Browse the range of templates, pick your favourite, personalise it and buy it, then print, email or WhatsApp it or even use it as a group icon. And there you have it: beautiful custom invitations in just a few minutes. What are you waiting for? Give it a bash!

CUSTOMISE YOUR OWN DENIM JACKET

Denim will always be a wardrobe staple and denim jackets have been part of fashion history for more than two centuries. Finally, after months of hard work, wash tests and perfecting processes, the Jota-Kena team is excited to launch its luxurious Jota-Kena Bespoke Denim range. With this customised range you have an opportunity to express who you are by choosing between styles, washes (dark, medium or bleached), button options and whether you would like your denim distressed, over-dyed or embroidered. And if you go for embroidered, there are four categories to select from: pop art, typography, botanicals or regalia.

Jota-Kena’s Bespoke Denim range is created for the conscious consumer who prefers natural, ethical fabrics and sees clothing as an expression of not only their style, but their values, too. Make an appointment to visit the Jota-Kena studio in Cape Town, where you can be part of the whole process. Together with the team, you’ll design your one-of-a-kind denim jacket, which is then made in studio and delivered within four to six weeks.

For more information, visit www.jotakena.com.

ORGANISE A POTTERY PARTY

Working with clay and painting it is a great way to unwind and relax this spring while exploring your creativity. It takes a lot of concentration, dedication and passion to make something with your hands – and it’s a whole lot more fun if you do it with a bunch of friends. Johan Swart Ceramics offers a two-hour session during which you try your hand at shaping something on the potter’s wheel and also decorate your own bowl. Between eight and 12 people can be accommodated per session, and the cost is R130 per person. Remember to take your own bubbles and cake along. You are welcome to email Johan for more information about workshops, team building, pottery painting parties and short courses, which he offers from time to time. Johan Swart Ceramics is situated on the Delvera farm just outside Stellenbosch, on the R44 towards Klapmuts.

Email johanswartceramics@gmail.com or phone 082 818 0919.

IMMERSE YOURSELF IN NATURE

Taking a breath of fresh air in nature is the best way to revive yourself after the cold, wintry days.

  • Nestled between the Stellenbosch and Helderberg mountains you’ll find Kleinood Farm, where it is no secret that they love trees. In fact, they have dedicated a walk to all the trees on the farm. The ‘Seeing the wood for the trees’ walk is an opportunity to get up close and personal with the trees, to find, identify and appreciate every single one. You’re welcome to knock on the farm’s cellar door on a Friday to collect a map. And what better way to end the walk than by tasting Kleinood wines? Visit www.kleinood.co.za.
  • Bosjes is a farm in the Breede River Valley distinguished by its striking chapel and an elevated labyrinth with a magnificent view from the top and it’s just the place to soak up the magnificent scenery. If you’re feeling more active, though, there are two hiking trails on the estate, one 5km and the other 12km long. Nature lovers, keep your eyes peeled for guineafowl and other birds, especially the jewel-like sunbirds, as well as ostriches, bontebok and zebra along the trails. Visit www.bosjes.co.za.

MAKE YOUR OWN GIN O’CLOCK ROCK

The perfect way to welcome the warmer season ahead is to learn more about the fascinating world of gin. At New Harbour Distillery, under the watchful eye of the master distiller, you can attend a gin-blending demonstration that gives you a glimpse into the art of making this much-loved spirit. After choosing your ingredients to determine the flavour profiles you want, you will craft your very own gin. You’ll discover more about gin’s history and how different styles of this premium spirit evolved through the ages, from Old Tom to London Dry. While sipping a gin, you’ll take a brief look at the science and production methods which go into making it and discuss the influence of different botanicals. Space is limited for every session to ensure individual attention, so you need to book ahead. And once you’ve made your own gin, don’t forget to name the batch.

Find out more at www.newharbourdistillery.co.za. To share your events on our platforms, send an email to hello@mirandinel.com.