Things to do this winter

It’s easy to label winter the dreariest season of them all, but in and around Stellenbosch there’s plenty of life and colour to brighten up the days. Catch some of the world’s finest classical musicians in action at the Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Fesitval, indulge at the Chocolate Festival and see lions, leopards and Bengal tigers up close at Vredenheim. Mirandi Nel explores things to do that will leave you with more than a warm heart.

BOSCHENDAL’S TREE HOUSE

The Tree House is a fun edu-play centre that offers children between the ages of four and 14 years a chance to enjoy an authentic farm experience under supervision while their parents relax. A weekly calendar of activi­ties is available to all guests of Boschendal’s
accommodation and patrons of The Werf Restaurant.

A special holiday programme has been organised for June and July. During this five-day event youngsters will learn all about the farm and be introduced to many life skills. Spaces are limited, so parents are advised to book early by emailing reservations1@boschendal.co.za.

For more information, go to www.boschendal.co.za.

THE BEST FIREPLACES AROUND TOWN

You know those days when you feel you really should get out of the house but want to stay warm and snug? Well, there’s nothing quite like enjoying a glass of hearty wine in front of a crackling fire…

Neil Ellis WinesSituated on Helshoogte Pass, Neil Ellis Wines offers an understated and classy tasting experience. You can keep an eye on nature through huge glass panels while sampling the charcuterie platter or trying the one-of-a-kind pesto pairing with elegant wines in front of the cosy fire.

Instagram @neilelliswines

Beyerskloof  If you are a keen red wine drinker and want to have a really South African experience, head out from Stellenbosch on the R310 towards Koelenhof and about 5km out of town on your left you will find Beyerskloof, the home of the king of Pinotage, Beyers Truter. Snuggle up with a Pinotage Burger and a glass or two of Beyerskloof Pinotage in front of the fire – can life get any better than this? In­stagram @beyerskloof.

Waterford Estate  A chocolate and wine pairing is the best, but even it can be improved if you add a fireplace to the experience! Try it out in Waterford Estate’s Tasting Room on Blaauw­klippen Road. Instagram @waterford_estate

PET-FRIENDLY WINTER IDEAS

Lovely spots make for a great day out for you and your four-legged friends.

Man’oushe  Your pup will enjoy this quaint space with most tables overflowing onto the pavement, European-style.  You’ll find Man’oushe in Andringa Street and it’s open seven days a week, from 8am till late. Bookings by telephone only at 021 886 7545.
Instagram @manoushe, facebook.com/manoushestellenbosch

Brampton Wine Studio  Urban edginess meets rustic relaxation to create a vibe that stirs creativity and conversation. The studio is located at 11 Church Street and is open seven days a week from 10am. Book at 021 883 9097.
Instagram @bramptonwines, facebook.com/BramptonWines

Six Dogs Distillery Just outside Worcester, the six dogs that live on the farm will take your pup running through fields of cows and round the botanical garden while you enjoy a G&T with the owners. Book at 071 873 1317. Instagram @sixdogsdistillery, facebook.com/pg/sixdogsdistillery.

MUSHROOM FORAGING AT DELHEIM

Sign up early for this year’s must-do forest and food excursion on 15 and 16 June. Make sure you’re first in line for Delheim’s exclusive Mushroom Forage Pop Up series. Learn how to forage and cook wild edible mushrooms exclusively available to new and existing members of Delheim’s Wine Club.

Becoming a member is easy: pick out 12 of your favourite Delheim wines, complete your order and you’re in! Membership gives you access to Delheim’s full range of events, competitions and special releases.

The format for Delheim’s Mushroom Forage Pop Up series this year limits foragers to two excursions.

They will receive a short presentation on which mushrooms to look out for and which to avoid before setting out in the company of an expert guide, followed by a mushroom cooking demonstration and a hearty, fungi-focused lunch with award-winning Delheim wine.

For more information, email info@delheim.com or visit www.delheim.com.

LET’S GO DRY JULY

South Africa is playing (and probably leading) the non-alcoholic drinks field. Join us as we explore options for Dry July.

The Duchess Non-Alcoholic Gin & Tonic Bubbly  The new Duchess range comes in an elegant 750ml bottle. It’s blended with re-distilled juniper berries and complemented by aromatic layers of locally produced botanicals. Instagram @drinktheduchess

Fibs  Cheeky and playful, it delivers satisfaction just like a real gin and tonic. There are no artificial additives and it comes in two delectable flavours: Classic Dry and Rose & Cucumber. Instagram @drinkfibs

Artemis  Based on the classic vodka and bitter lemon mix, this refreshing alcohol-free beverage features vodka flavouring, fresh lemon juice, lemon peel and grapefruit, with a pinch of green peppercorns. Insta­gram @artemisdrinks

To find out more about these non-alcoholic drinks, go to www.yuppiechef.com.

CHOCOLATE FESTIVAL

This two-day chocolate extravaganza takes place over the weekend of 31 August and 1 September (10am to 4pm daily) at The Woodmill in Stellenbosch.

Expect to find a chocolate line up of gastronomical proportion. The usual plus a handful of artisanal gems and more. Oodles of chocolate, macaroons, decadent chocolate brownies, indulgent doughnuts, deliciously creamy (and dreamy) ice-cream, liquorice, marshmallows, candyfloss and so much more. There’s no end in sight for the sweetness overload at this not-be-missed event.

Click here for more information.

STELLENBOSCH CHAMBER MUSIC FESTIVAL

From 5 to 14 July, the Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival (SICMF) is once again set to captivate music lovers. This 10-day long festival puts Stellenbosch University and South Africa on the international music calendar as an event of outstanding musicianship. Local musicians and artists from around the globe will come together in Stellenbosch to showcase and nurture young talent.

Every year, top national and international institutions are invited to send representa­tive student groups to attend. Just over 300 participants have been selected this year and they will receive coaching from some of the best in the business, as well as the opportunity to perform throughout the festival. Plenty of master classes and interviews will add interest.

If you’re not already hooked on classical music, this festival of outstanding artistry in performing music will change your mind.

Tickets are available from Computicket.
Go to sicmf.co.za for more information.

SUMMER BODIES TAKE SHAPE IN WINTER

There’s so much to do during winter to keep fit and trim.

Guided hiking and biking  Cape Trails offers exceptional guided hiking trips and mountain-biking tours around Stellenbosch or Cape Town. For mountain bikers, a variety of single-track tours with an experienced guide can be tailored to specific requirements. For those opting for a more mellow day, choose an easy tour and enjoy the scenery and good wine, and the new friends you’ll make along the way.

For more information, email info@capetrails.co.za or visit www.capetrails.co.za.

Mia’s Training  A women-only training studio that focuses on all aspects of fitness, including strength, toning, functional training, agility and speed. Group classes take place in a fun, upbeat environment. Find out more by emailing miakempen@gmail.com or go to www.miastraining.co.za.

THE NORVAL FOUNDATION

Situated in the Constantia Winelands at the foot of Steenberg Peak, the Norval Foundation is a contemporary art museum and sculpture garden. There you will find not only galleries, but also a research library and a restaurant, shop and bar. Outside there is a children’s playground as well as an amphitheatre for concerts.

What really makes the Norval Foundation different from other museums and galleries is the union of culture and nature; a union close to the heart of the Norval family who are as passionate about ecology as they are about art. The sculpture garden, one of the museum’s greatest drawcards, is located in a serene wetland inhabited by birds and frogs. It effectively demonstrates this union, drawing inspiration from the natural setting and showcasing magnificent works of art.

The Norval team is especially passionate about introducing the world of art to children, wherever they are from. Its education programme works hard to ensure every child in the area, whether home-schooled or attending private or public school, has the opportunity to visit the Norval Foundation at least once in their primary or high school careers.

Research has proven that art education plays an integral part in the holistic development of a child. It has been shown that children who have been exposed to art learn values such as sharing and perseverance, are able to improve motor skills and can create art pieces they are proud of, thus bolstering their self-esteem. They also develop critical thinking skills, which enhances their academic performance.

The Foundation offers regular Family Saturday kids’ workshops and a holiday
programme.

For more information or to book, email kids@norvalfoundation.org.

VREDENHEIM BIG CAT TOURS

Fully approved by CapeNature, Vredenheim’s Big Cats Park is home to lions, leopards and Bengal tigers. Visitors can enjoy the rare and moving experience of being able to view these beautiful creatures up close, but still from the safety of the viewing decks and behind the enclosure fences. These are, after all, wild animals and deserve to be respected.

The park is open daily from 9am to 4pm, with guided tours every hour on the hour, at no extra expense.

Experienced guides offer valuable insight into the backgrounds and habits of these majestic creatures. Tractor-drawn farm drives take visitors to view a number of game species, including sable, blue wildebeest, zebra, springbok and eland.

To learn more, send an email to coenraad@vredenheim.co.za or go to vredenheim.co.za/big-cats/.

FRANSCHHOEK MYSTERY WEEKENDS 

Imagine an all-inclusive Winelands getaway, where your weekend has been meticulously planned for you from check in to check out. You’d be forgiven for thinking it’s a dream, but this can be your reality. Franschhoek’s popular Mystery Weekends holds the promise of surprise, relaxation and pure indulgence.

Your all-encompassing weekend includes all that Franschhoek is known for – from luxurious accommodation, award-winning wines, gourmet cuisine and bespoke experiences. Since its inception in 2012, the Mystery Weekends have welcomed almost 2 000 visitors to the region, reaffirming Franschhoek as one of SA’s premier travel destinations.

ARNO CARSTENS LIVE @ TIGER’S MILK STELLENBOSCH

South African singer-songwriter Arno Carstens has kicked off 2019 by heading back into the studio with Fred den Hartog and Dane Taylor, the same production team that he worked with on his 2016 multi award winning debut Afrikaans album, ‘Die Aandblom 13’. This time they bring you his new single Lift My Spirit, an unexpected and exciting new sound and his first English release since 2014’s Lightning Prevails. The track is a punchy pop song and a giant leap out of his comfort zone, offering the listener a break from what they would traditionally expect from Arno. Introducing a catchy but random erratic-ness, kind of like three seasons in one day and something fans are definitely going to want to get a taste of.

Catch him on Friday the 21st of June 2019 at Tiger’s Milk in Stellenbosch

*Note: To share your events, send an email to hello@mirandinel.com.