Category: Franschhoek

  • Solar makes cents, and Boschendal becomes a significant producer

    About two years ago, the V&A Waterfront commissioned 4,207 solar panels (7,000m²) installed on the roofs of the main Waterfront buildings, with a total electrical output of 1,093.8 kWp at a cost of R20 million.  It conserves about 1,721,956 kWh annually, significantly reducing the Waterfront’s environmental footprint.  At the same time, Boschendal commissioned its first, small […]

  • Bucking the trend in the drought

    The Western Cape has faced its worst drought in a century, and this is the third consecutive year of that drought.  Cape Town’s mayor has been at pains to point out that — with climate change — “This is the new normal.” With dwindling water supply to farmers, crop productions have been slashed and, across…

  • A new, ‘must-stop’ on the R45 between the N1 & Franschhoek

    For many years, there’ve been two sad old buildings full of potential on the R45 between the N1 and Franschhoek.  One of them used to house the old Groot Drakenstein post office. Landscape architect Danie Steenkamp bought the property recently and has given it a new lease on life, selling the one building to Vicki…

  • Snoozy snake survives to slither in the mountain reserves

    I wasn’t too thrilled to find a snake in the outbuilding that houses my solar batteries and inverter yesterday afernoon.  And since I know nothing about snakes, I posted a photo of it to find out what it is.  Well… everybody on Facebook seems to know far more about snakes than I do and I…

  • Spectacular Sunday morning first light

    If there’s one thing this south-western corner of the African continent really has going for it, it is the quality of light.  Add to the that the confluence of two oceans and spectacular mountains, and one has light displays that are hard to beat. These were my views from home yesterday morning before the sun…

  • What’s in a name? Everything!

    Only politicians, bureaucrats and the foolish think that when they choose a name to brand a destination, they have the makings of a successful brand. They usually choose what they regard as a “safe” name, catering for all interests, ignoring everything that is already well-established. And without the budgets of Unilever or SA Breweries, or …

  • The best ‘good news’ story from the Winelands?

    The two best ‘good news’ stories from the Western Cape are probably the V&A Waterfront and Boschendal Wine Estate.  Both were sold about a decade back — the Waterfront to foreign owners who expatriated the profits but stopped all new development and Boschendal to a local BEE consortium who made their money from property development…

  • How Franschhoek became such a successful tourist town

    Thirty years ago, Franschhoek was sleepy hollow personified, and very little had changed in the preceding 70 years.  It was a farming dorp which attracted a few city folk on a Sunday drive to escape the city and the only attractions were the Huguenot Museum (which was — unusually for a small country town —…

  • Beezus, a Caracal, a Horse & other friends, at his favourite place

    Otter’s Bend Lodge in Franschhoek is probably Beezus’ true happy space. Apart from Mark, Mary & Ollie Heistein who he adores, it is an exciting, friendly and unpretentious place. He even gets on with Alex the Doberman, but less so with Sheba the Ridgeback. Maybe he’s just too much, too feisty and too confident for…

  • Boschendal Reborn — and even the cows have happy lines!

    There’s good reason to celebrate when an iconic estate like Boschendal turns around its fortunes to regain its position as one of South Africa’s premier wine estates for all to enjoy.  Anglo American Corporation sold it many years ago to a local investment company which was primarily interested in the development potential of the real…