To Be or not to … actually, just BE IN STANFORDA road trip to and around Stanford ticked ALL my boxes. From the beautiful scenery of the rolling hills and valleys to the total onslaught of award-winning wines, craft beers, cheeses and multiple gastronomic foodie heavens to the magnificent locals sharing their passions, genius, talents and hearts. You will leave feeling more than refreshed.
#Stanford Infatuation Warning!
Stanford TourismThe inimitable (Duracell bunny busy) Tracey Anderson of Stanford Tourism put together a Stanford Experience culinary and accommodation road trip plan for Nosy Rosy. The visit felt like a beautiful piece of music by Mozart on steroids. We went from crescendo to crescendo with beautiful calming notes in between. A masterpiece.
A Deep Dear Thank You to every person involved!
MADRE'S KITCHEN STANFORD
Like walking into a classy, warm-hearted farm kitchen
The ambience at Madre’s Kitchen makes one breathe with ease. The warmhearted welcoming spirit whiffs through the space, garden, rustling leaves and menu like fairy dust.
And an inspiring, seasonal and creative menu it is!
Beautiful and talented Madre says: “Madre’s Kitchen is my little farm in Stanford. It is my Happy Place”
This permeates everything. You can feel the love and passion in the ambience, you can hear it in the music, you can see it in the presentation and you can taste it in the food.
Stanford Valley Guest Farm & Spa
Apart from love at first sight on entering this beautifully curated farm, Stanford Valley Guest Farm unleashed their secret weapon on us; the irresistible bomb of loveliness in the form of manageress Sarah. No vitamins or supplements can make you feel so at ease and get you so enthused, energised and high on life! (And she was just calmly being her endearing self – and probably cringing if she should read this. Merciless adoration.)
We were deeply entertained by lighthearted British banter, interesting titbits about the history of the farm and generally entranced by Sarah while strolling around the property. Beautiful well-kept old buildings, conference facilities, manicured lawns, an inspiring veggie garden, majestic mountain backdrops, a Himalayan Salt bricked sauna wall, a well-appointed spa/massage space and a steam room. Obviously, all this really stimulated our appetite and wine o’clock thirst.
The Manor House Restaurant
The friendly and excellent service, the great art, the amicable ambience, the setting of the sun over the magnificent hills, the delicious food, the enticing plating, the great local wines, all gave birth to a beautiful and memorable evening.
A picture really does speak a thousand words!
Manor House Restaurant Stanford Valley Guest Farm authentic Overberg dining
Beetroot carpaccio | orange & cashew cream | sago crisps 80
Pea, fennel & asparagus brûlée | Langekloof trout cream | farm bread & sumac butter 94
Springbok croquettes | braaied-apple mousse | pine needle salt 70
Stonehouse Camembert| pecan crumble | pear relish 88
Lamb ribbetjies| aubergine & farm-olive chutney | lemon & herb gremolata 100
Five-spiced cauliflower & chickpea| coconut flour pancakes | chargrilled courgette ribbons 146
Wild mushroom | black garlic risotto | hazelnut truffle cream 205
Local catch | smashed potatoes | saffron & lemongrass cream | asparagus 185
Sage & lemon roasted pork neck with crackling | sweet potato | charred leeks 180
Lamb loin on minted couscous | toasted almonds | sugar snaps 192
Fillet with beetroot tart | parsnip purée | manor sauce 208
200g Beef burger with Boerenkaas | caramelised onions | hand-cut chips 125
hand-cut chips | garden salad | buttered farm vegetables | sweet potato chips 38
Lemon crema | pineapple salsa | coconut crumble 78
Hand-picked hibiscus pear | cinnamon pavlova | whipped cream 60
Pistachio & condensed milk phyllo | melktert ice cream 75
Chocolate fondant | blood orange & Cointreau ice cream 80
White Water Lodge
On leaving the main road and entering through the gate, one involuntarily starts to breath deeper and slower. The beautiful views and grazing horses set the scene for indulgent relaxation.
We were welcomed by the lovely, efficient and warm-hearted Ravi. If her goal was to impress and spoil us, she won game, set and match! We even got two separate units which was hugely appreciated! No fear of bothering my early bird photographer with my late-night keyboard finger-frenzies.
The honesty ‘pantry’ and fridge stocked with milk, wine, water and sodas were just one of many little touches that made us feel pampered and at home.
BREAKFAST, SHOP & RESTAURANT
Even though we botched our breakfast order, it was seamlessly rectified and delivered in the most interesting and genius way.
The entire Covid-respecting process was an absolute pleasure!
After a truly hearty breakfast, we had a little time to explore some more of the beauty White Water Lodge offers.
As if all the spoils were not enough, we got to meet some beautiful horses, a delightful puppy and were presented with a fabulous farm-to-table gift box!
White Water Lodge is an absolute treasure!
Ethos Of Kindness
Meeting the enthused and committed team, it is immediately clear that all their objectives are in sync, at work and making a huge difference.
The Grootbos Foundation is a non-profit organisation, established in 2003 with the vision of conserving the Cape Floral Kingdom and uplifting the communities therein.
Conserving, rehabilitating and protecting the natural environment of the Western Cape region, particularly the flora and fauna on Grootbos Private Nature Reserve and the Walker Bay region.
The provision of education relating to indigenous horticulture, agriculture, conservation, ecotourism, greening and life skills education.
Training and skills development for disadvantaged persons with the purpose of enabling them to obtain employment or become self-employed.
Using sports and sports facilities as a tool for social integration, promoting healthy lifestyles for youth, and increasing environmental awareness and life skills amongst communities.
Research, including ecological, educational, social and scientific research on topics related to our core programmes.
Developing sustainable and innovative solutions to tackle the issue of food insecurity.
We highly recommend a visit to the Grootbos Foundation; for the beauty of the place, people, inspiring initiatives and obviously, to buy your indigenous plants.
Research, Conservation, Campus & Public Nursery
Above, Phil enlightening us about the Grootbos Foundation and the Green Futures Nursery. The nursery was established in 2003 and is open to the public. More detail in the video.
Below Mike Fabricius, Wildlife Ecologist, Thilivhay Murivhami, Conservation Officer, Kurt van Wyk, Entomology Intern and Celina, former student and nursery manager.
KIWINET ~ MOSQUITO NETS & BED COVERS
From Small Idea To Global Success
What a total delight to finally meet Robyn Lavender, owner of Kiwinet.
Necessity was once again the mother of invention. What started as filling a gap in the personal need for quality mosquito nets, Kiwinet has grown to a wonderful job-creating “Made in South Africa” success story.
Their coveted, elegant, quality nets, duvet sets and decor items are distributed across the world.
Kiwinet installations grace many places in all parts of South Africa; in private homes, luxury lodges throughout Africa, the Indian Ocean Islands, the Caribbean and across Europe.
We were introduced to the jolly highly skilled factory team. It is impressive but easy to tell why there is a low staff turnover at Kiwinet. There is an atmosphere of happiness and product pride. For a very good reason.
Every bit of everything gets used in an array of interesting items.
The Pop Bags are very popular and a great way to save on the use of plastics.
I am awaiting one of those cute little fairy skirts in my size!
GLAMPING MADE EVEN MORE ELEGANT BY KIWINET
Birkenhead Brewery & Walkerbay Estate
There was a time when one did not feel so welcome at Birkenhead. Surely it had nothing to do with the fact that one swam in the fish pond, next to the very inviting ‘Swimming Prohibited’ sign.
But now, hands-on, entertaining management by hardworking, witty and wise Paul Loake, friendly staff, a deliciously chatty winemaker, and the beautifully refurbished spacious interior magnet one in! It makes one want to stay and spend time, eat the food, taste the wine, savour the Cider and breathe the magnificent views.
Everything has changed for the very much better at Birkenhead. Also, the company, wine and food were so good that I totally forgot about my civil disobedience swimming obsession.
Clean & classy yet laid-back & relaxing all in one swoop. We were impressed and had a truly great lunch.
The menu seems unassuming, but do not be fooled, the food is exceptionally good. Enticingly plated portions of mouth-watering, moreish food.
Contact nr: Tel.+27 28 341 0013
Tel: 028 341 0183
Wine Enquiries Call David – 028 341 0183
Beer Enquiries Call Paul – 082 456 8631
SPRINGFONTEIN WINE ESTATE & RIVER LODGE
It is truly hard to decide whether it was more refreshing to meet Hildegard and fall head over heels in love with her and Springfontein, or to fall in love with the splendid, subtle alchemy of their wines. Either way, I am in love.
Springfontein is an unforgettable linger longer experience.
Horiculteralist Hildegard’s softspoken gentility together with her knowledge and passion for nature and quality produce has an immediate calming and serenely intoxicating effect.
The deeply respectful, almost meditative approach to nature, water, winemaking and everything, lure one into a classy and tranquil version of a Bacchus alter ego Tempel. It is a beautiful space to find oneself in.
The tour of the beautiful farm and vineyards was made even more spectacular by the knowledge and calm passion Hildegard exudes. A good teacher makes one aware of some facts and wanting to know more. A great teacher makes one think; “I knew that!” when one didn’t and will never forget it.
The revered spring (Springfontein, meaning Spring and Fountain) makes a difference to the vines, wines and all of life at Springfontein. They also have very special terroir, especially Limestone and the cool Atlantic breeze that comes up the Klein River Lagoon, caressing the vines all along its way.
All this, combined with the love and insight of owner Dr. Johst Weber, the plant care and guidance of Hildegard and the brilliance of Alchemist winemaker Tariro Masayiti, sets a unique stage for one masterpiece after the other. The wine and experience at Springfontein is an inspiring baptism into humble superiority.
River Lodge Accommodation
The River Lodge is only a few minutes from Springfontein. A beautiful old building set on the river bank. One could either book the side unit or the entire house. Tafadzwa and Juanita welcomed us and really made us feel at home, safe and secure. Our unit was spacious and most comfortable with all the essential luxuries. The bathroom warrants special mention too, a lovely spacious, light-filled and well-designed space.
There are canoes provided to row yourself down the river where you will be engulfed in the harmony of the tranquil sounds of nature and the symphony of an array of birds praising the joys of life.
After a good night’s sleep in refreshing forestlike silence, we just had to take a plunge in the sparkly pool overlooking the river.
This is a place one can stay for weeks!
Springfontein Wine Estate
Contact nr: 028 341 0651
Springfontein River Lodge
From excellent local wines, home made food, art and crafts to imported trinckets, these markets offer something for everyone. What we enjoyed most was the eclectic gathering of interesting and colourful locals and visitors.
Good Vibes All Around
Stanford Last Friday Sunset Markets
Contact nr: 082 667 0619
Stanford Markets Saturday Morning Markets
Saturday Morning Stoep Market at the Stanford Hotel
Contact nr: 082 781 1704
The Junktique outside the Tourism Office) both along Queen Victoria Street.
Contact nr: 028 341 0340
Oliilo Coco Restaurant
This delightful gem of a place has more charm and charisma than a debonaire French ‘Artiste’! Very hard work from the inimitable Odine and Johan, many lovely locals and probably quite a bit of wine, fun and laughter went into creating a unique work of art of every corner and item in Oliilo Coco.
The avant-garde decor disarms one from the moment you set eyes on Oliilo Coco. From the wordplay name to the friendly, super-efficient staff to the innovative menu, this place oozes with the passion it is run with. Odine Moolman and Johan Erwee opened Oliilo Coco at the end of November 2020 and we were so lucky to be some of the first guests.
The menu puts the vegetables as the main dish with a selection of equally important meat dishes to pair it with. Brilliant!
Daily blackboard specials are prepared with garden to table, seasonal and locally sourced ingredients, vegan and vegetarian fare, mezze platters.
Oliilo Coco also do original and obviously funky Saturday braais and a Sunday buffet with five courses.
Because you will want to linger longer, they handcrafts quality chocolate, granola bars, truffles and Turkish delight.
The community minded Gift Shop sells items made by Curro residents and offers beautiful and interesting items.
The superb food, languid style and quirky, calm ambience lure one into a timeless zone where hedonism is quite holy. Beautiful plating, wind rustling the leaves, attentive yet discreet service, scrumptious flavour combinations, … you might get so chilled out that you will forget why you thought you needed Prozac.
028 007 0386
Oliilo Coco seats 16 guests inside and 38 outside and is family-friendly.
Monday:09h00 – Late
(Kitchen closes at 20h00)
Wednesday: 09h00 – Late
(Kitchen Closes At 20h00)
Friday: 09h00 – Late
(Kitchen Closes at 20h00)
Saturday: 09h00 – Late
(Saturday afternoon Braai, kitchen closed for A ’la Carte)
Sunday: 09h00 – 15h00
(Breakfast and Buffet, A ‘la Carte closed from Lunch, only buffet
Public Holidays: Open on
some. They will put out notices about which ones as it comes up. Definitely closed on Xmas
Panthera Africa ~ Big Cat Sanctuary
Panthera Africa is a non-profit big cat sanctuary founded by Lizaene Cornwall and Cathrine S. Nyquist. The two founders, after having personally experienced the heart-breaking truth about the captive lion industry, started Panthera Africa for two main reasons: to rescue big cats from all types of exploitation and create a safe haven for them, and to raise awareness about the reality of the captive big cat industry.
BIG HEARTS FOR BIG CATS
One of Panthera Africa’s main purposes is to be an educational platform where they create awareness about conditions big cats face in captivity, and how animal welfare and enrichment play a vital role in giving them the best captive life possible. They do this through every avenue possible; from educational to school visits; tourism presentations, corporate functions and across all media platforms. They are a true sanctuary where no hands-on interaction, breeding or trading takes place. They are a blueprint of how a non-profit sanctuary, focusing on education, animal welfare and upliftment, can become self-sufficient. We take pride in speaking on the animals’ behalf and showing how business and animal welfare can go hand in hand. We are one of the leading true big cat sanctuaries in South Africa; only six true big cat sanctuaries exist in the country.
Panthera Africa continuously aspires to be one of the leaders in its field. They are driven by our core values; they care, they inspire and motivate, and they are creative. Their integrity, excellence and moral strength is evident in their track record and their brand is associated with pioneering, trust and authenticity. In their industry, corruption is rife, but they have managed to gain the trust of various well-known national and international organisations such as Born Free Foundation, Humane Society International, Blood Lions and Four Paws.
Panthera Africa has been welcoming visitors since April 2015 and in this short time, they have managed to accumulate some impressive accolades. For 5 years in a row (2016 – 2020) we have been awarded TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Award (previously their Certificate of Excellence) and we are currently ranked as the top attraction in Stanford on TripAdvisor. In 2017, we received what is to date our biggest achievement award from Skål International Sustainable Tourism Awards. In 2019, we received the WTM Responsible Tourism Awards Africa: Best Responsible Attraction One to Watch.
Please click here to see the Panthera Africa Brochure Slideshow.
Contact nr: +27 (0)71 182 8368 (Bookings and Enquiries)
Cathrine +27 (0)76 974 3088 (Business/Marketing/Sponserships)
Lizaene +27 (0)84 866 2665 (Operational/Food donations)
Stanford is a wonderful experience! Every Time! The diversity in everything is rich and multi-layered and makes one fall in love with all of it and all of the people who serve it up with such warmhearted passion. It is the perfect place for a weekend break, although I would prefer to stay for a month or three to truly experience everything and all of it!