Constantia Nek has been a famous halfway stop and tea room, first operating in 1929. It is by far the oldest restaurant in Cape Town, and its recent transformation into La Parada and Harbour House has rejuvenated Constantia Nek, and has given the building a new lease on life, making it the social centre of Constantia.
I did a quick visit to Hermanus yesterday, and at a stop at Rivendell Restaurant, between Bot River and Hermanus, I was told that Chef Thomas Sinn was coming back from his overseas holiday especially to participate in a super-sounding feast, for which he is one of eight chefs cooking on Monday evening. The staff brought a copy of the programme, and I could not believe what the organisers have planned for the 11-day Festival, ‘A Celebration of South African Arts’ its 80-page Festival brochure proudly proclaims!
The programme consists of different themes: Continue reading →
I believe that I am a typical Western Cape resident, who thinks that toll roads are a Gauteng headache, and that City of Cape Town court cases against SANRAL (The South African National Roads Agency Ltd) have kept this scourge away from our province. A full-page SANRAL advertisement in the Cape Times yesterday made me sit up and take notice!
The advertisement is boring in that it is copy-based only, the SANRAL logo being the only visual element. The nonsensical headline makes it look like a ‘home made’ ad : ‘N1/N2 WINELANDS Frequently Asked‘! Looking at it broadly, the information is haphazardly documented, Continue reading →
Jardine at Jordan Manager and former Sinn employee Riaan Moll told me recently that Chef Thomas Sinn, once an Eat Out Top Restaurant Chef, has closed down all his restaurant interests in Cape Town, and has opened Rivendell Restaurant on the road to Hermanus, near the turn-off to Kleinmond and Arabella. On our way back from a trip to Hermanus my colleague and I found an oasis of food, in the middle of nowhere, offering a whale of a good value.
Rivendell is referred to in J.R.R. Tolkien’s books, ‘Lord of the Rings’ amongst others, and means ‘deeply cloven valley‘, referring to the Bot River valley lying between two mountains. The wine estate Rivendell is owned by Austrian couple Heimo and Maria Talhammer, and they invited Chef Thomas to open the restaurant on their farm three months ago. The restaurant building is set back on the estate, and is not visible from the road to Hermanus. It was previously the tasting and functions venue, but the Continue reading →
La Motte has changed the packaging of its Pierneef Collection range, bringing the J.H. Pierneef lino cut prints to the front label, having originally been launched with prints of the valuable artworks on the back label.
The late artist Pierneef, said by many to be our country’s best artist ever, has made an important impact on La Motte, his lino cut prints collection having been used by the wine estate for a number of years. In negotiating the right to use the prints, of which Hannelie Rupert-Koegelenberg had received a set of 128 prints as a gift from her father Dr Anton Rupert, she and her husband Hein Koegelenberg got to know Pierneef’s daughter Marita Bailey, who lives in the UK. Mrs Bailey approached the Koegelenbergs to buy the private family collection of Pierneefs, which they agreed to, and they built a special gallery and museum to house the works of art. It did not stop there. As La Motte was building a restaurant (and a new Tasting Room as well as Farm Shop) at that time, it was decided to name the restaurant Pierneef à La Motte, wishing to associate the success of the artist and his pursuit of excellence with that which they planned for the Continue reading →
Monika Elias of World Focus Media has done a great job over the past ten years in documenting the contribution of the wine routes, and the wine estates on them, to Wine Tourism South Africa, in helping to inform and educate locals as well as tourists about wine in general, and to boost wine sales. Her 2014 edition of ‘Wine Tourism South Africa’ handbook has just been published , bearing the slogan of ‘sip, stay and play‘!
In her ‘Publisher’s Letter‘, Monika defines Wine Tourism as ‘…in the glass, on the plate, in the bed, around the vines, and for the planet’. She writes about ‘winery atmospherics’, such as architecture, lighting, sound, temperature, and kinetics, playing an important role in creating a point of difference for wine estates in an increasingly competitive world. Wine is becoming an increasingly important part of the Tourism experience, and most visitors to Cape Town and the Western Cape will be very likely to visit a wine farm to taste their wines, to eat at a Winelands restaurant, or visit an event linked to wines.
The Handbook evaluates top restaurants on wine estates, using chefs hats (three maximum) to denote how good or not they are; and evaluates the winelists of the restaurants on the wine estates, by means of wine glasses (three maximum). A price range indication is also provided for the Winelands restaurants. The Handbook starts with tourist information and advice about car rental, taxis, trains, parking attendants, banking hours, VAT, the weather, tipping, and more. It lists the winners of the fifteen categories in the 2013 KLINK Wine Tourism Awards, which received votes from 15000 consumers last year. Continue reading →
Yesterday I spent a most entertaining afternoon at the Grande Roche hotel in Paarl, to observe the last phase of the Wines of South Africa (WOSA) Sommelier World Cup competition, the announcement and evaluation of the Top 3, and the awarding of the prize to the winning sommelier Will Predhomme.
The invited guests were the twelve finalists for the Sommelier World Cup, media representatives from the USA (I sat next to Rebecca Canan from the Terroirist Blog), Sweden, and Belgium, local writers, the local and international sommelier judges, and WOSA staff from its international offices as well as from its head office in Stellenbosch. After a welcome glass of wine, we sat down for lunch at Bosman’s, and it was clear to see why this Continue reading →
Brett Herron, the City of Cape Town Councillor and Mayoral Committee member for Transport, Roads, and Stormwater, is a busy man, fighting the Golden Arrow Bus Services on the one hand, and the South African National Road Agency Limited’s (SANRAL) proposed N1/N2 Winelands Toll Highway Project on the other.
Yesterday we heard in a news broadcast that Golden Arrow is taking its appeal of a recent court decision to allow the roll out of further MyCiTi Bus routes in Cape Town to the Supreme Court. This will mean a further delay of the eagerly awaited and heavily delayed launch of the Atlantic Seaboard route from Hout Bay through Camps Bay, Sea Point, Tamboerskloof, to the city centre and the V&A Waterfront. Last month the City’s bus service did not run for three weeks due to the SA National Transport and Allied Workers Union calling a strike over wages, and caused traffic chaos when the Justin Bieber and Bon Jovi concerts were held in the Cape Town Stadium!
Today the Councillor has issued a media statement, triumphantly announcing that the City’s urgent interdict to stop SANRAL from going ahead in developing its proposed Winelands N1 and N2 toll roads has been successful, due to then national Transport Minister Jeff Radebe not having been fully informed about the costs of the toll road development. The N1 toll road is planned from the R300 turnoff to Sandhills near Worcester, and the N2 toll road from the R300 turnoff to Bot River. We have written previously that wine farmers and estate owners, and agricultural producers, were up in arms when the toll road announcement was first made public 18 months ago, driving up food costs and being bad for tourism!
The City’s interdict application was assisted with some toy-toying outside the Western Cape High Court by his fellow Tourism, Events and Marketing Mayoral Committee member Grant Pascoe, and a rent-a-crowd. Pascoe is better at marketing the DA than he is at marketing Cape Town via his newish Tourism, Events and Marketing Directorate, having announced the interdict victory on his Facebook page, and linking the victory to the DA!
Councillor Herron’s media statement is as follows:
“STATEMENT BY THE CITY’S MAYORAL COMMITTEE MEMBER FOR TRANSPORT, ROADS AND STORMWATER, COUNCILLOR BRETT HERRON: City wins again in fight to halt proposed N1/N2 Winelands Toll Highway Project.
The City of Cape Town scored two victories in its attempt to halt the proposed N1/N2 Winelands Toll Highway Project in the Western Cape High Court this morning. The court has granted the City’s application for an interdict against the South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL), seeking to halt the Agency from taking any steps to implement the proposed project, pending the final determination of the City’s review application. The City was also successful in its application that SANRAL be compelled to provide a number of documents which formed part of SANRAL’s decision making process; and which SANRAL have been refusing to provide. The City’s people and its economy simply cannot be burdened by unnecessary toll roads. SANRAL’s decision is one that affects us all, but that will have a particularly profound effect on the poorest and most vulnerable groups that call Cape Town home”.
The toll road project would place a R10 billion financial burden to provide services to SANRAL, which the City of Cape Town’s ratepayers would have to bear. The bulk of the Western Cape wine estates and its visitors would be affected by the implementation of toll roads outside Cape Town.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage
The proposed toll roads on the N1 and N2 highways linking Cape Town to the rest of the Western Cape could seriously threaten tourism to the province’s country towns, and with it its wine industry, and could impact on food and wine prices too. The proposed project is being opposed at the highest level.
The proposed R10 billion toll road plan includes a second Huguenot Tunnel to be completed for the N1 highway, outside Paarl. A ‘tunnel’ is also to be built, connecting De Beers Avenue and Victoria Road between Somerset West and Strand, to take traffic off the current road through the industrial part of Somerset West, which causes huge traffic blockages at peak tourist traffic times, especially on Friday and Sunday afternoons, despite the recent completion of the widening of this section of the highway. Toll stations have been proposed on the N1 at the Old Oak interchange (near Kraaifontein) up to the Hex River valley, and on the N2 from Bot River going east for 70 km. This means that any visitors to the Winelands via the N1 (Franschhoek, Paarl, Wellington, Robertson) will be affected in particular, as will be those travelling to Hermanus, and to the already tourist-deficient Garden Route. Costs to the financially constrained hospitality industry will rise, as farmers and suppliers will have to add the toll costs to their produce.
Resistance to the proposed tunnels, especially to the second Huguenot Tunnel, has come from the national Deputy Transport Minister Jeremy Cronin, reports the Cape Argus. The Deputy Minister questioned the decisions made by the SA National Roads Agency Limited, stating that these should be made at far higher levels. He does not believe that it is a ‘big national, or provincial or Cape Town priority‘. Cronin suggested that the Cape’s bigger priority is to provide more public transport, and to move more road freight onto transportation by trains.
Last week it was reported that Patricia de Lille, Mayor of Cape Town, had filed an interim interdict against SANRAL’s proposed toll road plans. The City of Cape Town motivated its interdict application as follows: “millions of people and businesses will be adversely affected financially by the proposed tolling, and the City will have to foot the bill for maintaining and upgrading municipal roads to accommodate the traffic that will divert off the national roads if they are tolled”, reports Southern African Tourism Update. The approval of the N1/N2 Winelands Toll Highway Project by then Minister of Environmental Affairs Marthinus van Schalkwyk has been seen by the City to be flawed, in that the Environmental Impact Assessment did not evaluate the socio-economic effect of the proposed tolling. The City also believes that tolling is an ‘inefficient and often unfair way of funding road upgrades’. Other bodies that have expressed their opposition to the proposed project include the Cape Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the ANC in Cape Town, COSATU, and Cape Town Routes Unlimited.
The interdict application of the City of Cape Town is due to be heard on 6 December. Construction work is expected to start in the second quarter of next year, and will take three years, it is planned.
POSTSCRIPT 24/10: The Cape Times reports today that the national Minister of Transport, S’bu Ndebele, has put all planned toll road projects on hold, in order that ‘concerned parties’ be given a chance to express their views. The Minister said that while roads should be of a good standard and thereby assist in meeting economic growth targets, the proposed road developments should not place a heavy burden on ‘consumers’. The City of Cape Town has said that it is continuing its interdict application. The City says that the implementation of toll roads is ‘fundamentally flawed and illegal’, and that it is ‘unfair discrimination against poor and largely black communities who would be disproportionately affected’. From a tourism and hospitality industry perspective, the Minister’s action is welcomed.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage