Yesterday was the third time that I ate at Stargarden Boutique Café, since it opened in Fish Hoek about six months ago. I had to drop my friend Ali Tanguy in the Deep South, and so it was a perfect opportunity to return to this delightful restaurant, my favourite on that side of Table Mountain. My only regret is that it is so far from where I live in Camps Bay. Continue reading →
It is an exciting achievement to have published the second book in my SwitchBitch trilogy, entitled ‘SwitchBitch: My journey of transformation in Walking the Camino, Sole to Soul’, following in the footsteps of SwitchBitch Book 1, which I launched a year ago. SwitchBitch Book 1 focused on my Physical transformation, in losing 45 kg, while Book 2 is focused on the Spiritual transformation after walking the Camino. Yesterday the Book was presented at a Preview launch at Stargarden Boutique Café in Fish Hoek. Continue reading →
Last Saturday I had to be in the ‘Deep South’ of Cape Town, attending a media breakfast at the new Tintswalo at Boulders in Simonstown, so decided to have lunch at Stargarden Boutique Café in Fish Hoek whilst I was in that part of our city. The ‘Boutique Café’ descriptor in the name gives it away, a creative Eatery serving creative dishes. Continue reading →
On a quick trip around Muizenberg over the weekend, my friend and Muizenberg resident Don Gloy introduced me to husband-and-wife and chef team Quinette and Valie Costea, who own Baby Vegetables, a farm to table baby vegetable delivery service. Continue reading →
After banning Tuk Tuk taxis in Cape Town four years ago as they were not licensed, the City of Cape Town is now encouraging the owners of the three-wheel Tuk Tuk taxis to apply for the 80 licenses they are making available as a public transport service in conjunction Continue reading →
* The price of petrol went up by 44 cents a liter at midnight, the increase being blamed on the weakening Rand, and increased demand for petrol in Europe and Asia, reports EWNews.
* The inaugural Ethiopian Airlines flight landed in Cape Town yesterday, the airline flying between Cape Town and Addis Ababa six Continue reading →
* The N1/N2 Winelands toll road project is unlikely to be implemented, despite the Supreme Court of Appeal giving the go-ahead for e-tolling, says Robin Carlisle, Western Cape Minister of Transport.
* Praise for Chef Chris Erasmus of Pierneef à La Motte‘s old-world-meets-science cooking comes from America.
* Will Kempinski Hotels’ announced expansion in Africa include South Africa, given that it has just opened two hotels in Kenya? Five more Kempinski hotels are planned for Africa. Hotel investments in Africa are likely to drive tourism to the continent.
* Africa is the India and China of ten years ago, and will see an increasing investment from international companies, including hotel groups such as Hilton, Starwood, and Marriott International Inc. growing their hotel presence on the continent, especially in Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, South Africa, Botswana, and Angola.
The False Bay coastal region is set to receive a massive injection of marketing energy and funding to restore some neglected tourism areas to their former glory, and to develop new areas, to make the False Bay coastline attractive to tourists. The development plans may create a tourism conflict with existing tourism areas in the Western Cape.
Announced by Western Province Minister of Finance, Economic Development, and Tourism Minister Alan Winde earlier this week, the proposed False Bay Coastal Route is a masterplan his department has proposed, requiring a partnership agreement between the Department, the City of Cape Town, and the national Department of Tourism.
The Route is to stretch from Cape Point to Gordon’s Bay, and the Masterplan includes upgrading Muizenberg, Kalk Bay, and Fish Hoek, all once tourism meccas, which have become neglected over the past few years. What is interesting, if not odd, is that the plan also includes the development of areas many would say are dangerous, including Mitchell’s Plain, Khayelitsha, Retreat, Strandfontein, Ocean View, Vrygrond, and Macassar, associated with unemployment and poverty, reports the Cape Argus, and therefore the residents of these areas would benefit from the development plans in creating employment. The beach resort Monwabisi is already being upgraded. A feasibility study is underway, to evaluate the potential of the following tourism products:
* South Peninsula wine route (Cape Point Vineyards is the only known wine producer in this region)
* Shark watching
* Whale watching
* Scuba diving
* Pleasure cruises between Gordon’s Bay and Simon’s Town
* Shops, restaurants, nightclubs and taverns
* Guided cultural tours
Concerns have been expressed about the environmental affect of the development plans. Environmental impact assessments are said to be considerate of the sensitive dune system in this region. The employment benefit of the developments should not be ‘oversold‘, said Philip Bam of the Steenberg Retreat Civic Association. From a guest house perspective we would caution guests from travelling east of Muizenberg on Baden Powell Drive, especially at night, and one questions how Minister Winde can see notorious suburbs such as Mitchell’s Plain and Khayelitsha having tourism potential, or perceive tourists to feel safe swimming at Monwabisi. The Route to Gordon’s Bay cannot run along the coastline all the way, connecting to the N2 between the Stellenbosch and Strand turn-offs, making the ‘Coastal Route‘ name a misnomer.
“I am particularly excited about this project as it will bring in communities that were previously not given the opportunity to have a say in what becomes of their surroundings. The False Bay, Gordon’s Bay and Cape Point coastlines are among many other locations that we have earmarked for development. Similar projects are under way in the West Coast, Cape Aghulas, Lamberts Bay Bird Island and False Bay Ecology Park,” said the Minister.
From a provincial perspective it appears that the Minister’s plans for False Bay may impact on the whale watching industry in Hermanus and the shark industry in Gansbaai, and one must question how viable this is in these very tough tourism times. One would hope that the Minister’s feasibility study will include an evaluation of the demand for tourists using the proposed developments east of Muizenberg – they may become another white elephant and a further burden for the Cape Town ratepayers, already lumbered with the unprofitable Cape Town Stadium.
While one understands the Minister’s concern for employment, the proposed False Bay Coastal Route falls within the Cape Town municipal boundaries, and therefore it is a surprise that the Minister is getting involved in what is a city issue, and not of benefit to his whole province. The overall tourism benefit seems questionable. Focusing attention on the stimulation of tourism in the province in general, especially during the dreadful winter months, would be far more beneficial in creating employment for all in the Western Cape!
POSTSCRIPT 24/7: It was a shock to read in the Sunday Argus that Lynne Brown, ANC leader in the Western Cape legislature, and former Minister of Tourism before she became Premier, when the ANC ran the province, has accused Minister Winde of ‘stealing’ her plan of four years ago! She also accuses the Minister of plagiarising ‘almost word-for-word’ from her ‘Tourism 5-year Strategy’ document. She said: ‘This is an ANC plan stolen from the ANC. Of course there is no acknowledgement at all and this is what makes it painful. I would personally like to see the DA carrying forward the ANC’s economic policy plan for the province because I believe that it was a good plan‘. Ms Brown criticised Minister Winde for ‘nothing original‘ having been done for tourism by him, and for closing down Cape Town Routes Unlimited.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage
On Saturday 24 September, on Heritage Day, a fun family event will focus on the whales in Cape Town’s South Peninsula, and their history, importance, and the threat to their existence through A Whale of a Heritage Route, reports the Weekend Argus.
Designed by Alan Lindner, a consulting strategist who started A Whale of a Heritage Trail in 2006, a ‘history hunt’ along ‘The Old Whaling Route’ has been organised. Families are invited to participate in the event, with clues provided and requiring participants to travel by train and walk between Muizenberg and Fish Hoek. The activities and clues will teach the participants about the threat to whales from plastic and ropes in the sea, how to calculate the mass of a whale, about Southern Right whales, and who hunted the whales and how. They will have to find a whale scalpula in a Kalk Bay shop; go to The Great Whalery in Fish Hoek, where whales were dragged up onto rocks; find a whale jawbone in the Fish Hoek Valley Museum; search for two whalers’ cottages (photograph); and may even be lucky to see whales in False Bay. Local tour guide Brian Smith, who specialises in whale history, will assist the participants.
“A live whale creates more revenue than a dead one. When people visit whale-spotting areas, there is an economic spin-off for all the businesses in the area”, said Mr Lindner.
The timing of A Whale of a Heritage Route is perfect, given that September is #MyCapeTown month, highlighting the attractions of Cape Town to Capetonians, and encouraging them to be tourists in their own city.
A Whale of a Heritage Route, 24 September. Meet at corner Church and Palmer Roads in Muizenberg at 9h00. R75 includes hop-on hop-off train tickets. Tel 079 391 2105. www.awhaleofaheritageroute.co.za
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage
Former James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan has boldly appealed to President Obama to help put an end to illegal whaling, reports CBS. Brosnan paid for and appears in an “Save the Whales Now” advertisement, in which he reminds the President of his promise, whilst a candidate for the White House, that he was going to stop illegal whaling.
The “Save the Whales Now” campaign is a joint effort by the following organisations: Humane Society of the United States, The International Fund for Animal Welfare, The Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Ocean Alliance. It encourages viewers to call the President personally, by providing a telephone number. The Brosnan ad can be viewed here.
Halle Berry, Oscar-winning actress, and Oliver Martinez are currently in Cape Town, to shoot “Dark Tide” in Simonstown. Berry plays the role of a diving instructor who comes face-to-face with sharks on a deserted island in the movie, reports the Sunday Times. Local marine professionals have been retained by the producers, to provide support, whilst a local team of stunt co-ordinators has also been hired. Filming has taken place in Simonstown harbour and at Seal Island. The production company has set up its base at Seaforth Beach in Simonstown.
Commenting on the making of the movie, shark conservationist Alison Kock of Save Our Seas Foundation told the Sunday Times that they decided to not get involved and assist the producers, after they had seen the script, and it appeared to be a “shark attack” movie, a thriller in which the actors fight off a shark attack. Her society’s mandate is to present the positive side of sharks, especially given shark attacks in False Bay generally, and specifically in Fish Hoek at the beginning of the year, when Lloyd Skinner died from being attacked by a Great White Shark.
A fascinating project is that of an Australian movie “Whale Like Me”,which film-maker Malcolm Wright is making. Wright does not support the catching of whales by the Japanese, and came up with the idea of a documentary, in which the Japanese and the conservationists opposed to whaling swop roles, a “walk a mile in my shoes” type of movie, reports The Australian. Wright will be living with a whaling family and join a whale hunt off the coast of Japan, while whalers will live with him in the Cook Islands and will swim with humpback whales in the area.
Wright says of his novel documentary: “The key to the film is reconciliation and the way we see reconciliation is walking a mile in each other’s shoes. My standpoint is we have to now shift from a moratorium on sustainability grounds to a moratorium on ethical grounds, and at least have an international exchange of ideas and come to a conclusion of some sort”. Hideki Fuji, a Japanese film-maker working on the project challenges the anti-whaling sentiment, asking how whaling and eating whales is different to “the harvesting of other animals for human consumption”. Wright worked with Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson, and hopes to get his movie released in cinemas. Filming is planned to start this month.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com