A time of the year full of secret surprises. Winter is well worth considering for a quiet getaway to the country for low season deals.
Shorter days, cooler evenings and the golden light on the amber and russet leaves lure me to the gentle Overberg for one last warm visit before the wet winter settles in.
A short drive from the village of Stanford along a quiet dusty road, past groves of olive trees and protea bushes ends at the delightful Tasting Room at Stanford Hills winery. An open, spacious restaurant with forever views over a tranquil pond complete with ducks, a rowing boat and boisterous boys. A perfect place to enjoy a casual lunch, a chat and a glass of chilled wine while farm dogs and a lamb stop at your table in greeting.
Wednesdays are market days at Graze Cafe, so with obligatory basket in hand, a short stroll into town stocks up the kitchen with freshly harvested veggies from the local producers. Mushrooms foraged in a nearby secret wood are deliciously sautéed and drooled over toasted, home baked ciabatta. A perfect cappuccino fills the last small gap before heading back down the hill.
Weather-watching is the key to a successful visit to the Cape, so when a perfect day promises calm seas and gentle breezes, a plan to drive to the end of the continent is quickly hatched with the local foodie/fisherman/fundi, Jero, of Wild Wanderer Adventures. Stopping off at Raka Winery to stock up on their delicious reds for the coming winter evenings, we head through the stately town of Bredasdorp and on to the jumble of fishermen's cottages at Struisbaai.
Brightly coloured chokkie boats bob in the turquoise water at the harbour and a patient wait rewards us with the gliding elegance of a stingray silently sweeping past. Exploring rock pools for secretive fish and molluscs at the meeting place of two great oceans is a special privilege.With the taste of the ocean in our mouths, we treat ourselves to fresh, delicious fish and calamari at a simple cafe.
A visit to the southern tip of Africa has to include a visit to the most southern winery and the back roads take us past vast open fields, prepared for the winter crops. Elegant Blue Cranes stalk through the fields, Kites hover overhead and the mountains brood in the grey distance.
Strandveld winery welcomes us to a tasting of their crisp and clean whites typical of the Elim region. The First Sighting range pays homage to the first sighting of this tip of our continent by Bartolomeu Diaz so very long ago.
Next stop - the cellars of Black Oystercatcher. The restaurant and rim pool overlook the valley beyond and the wines live up to the promise of elegance and class.
Boot laden with exceptional wines, we make our slow way back to the Village along quiet roads, drinking in the views of the wide skies streaked with wispy clouds.
The monthly Sunset Market held on the Village Green rounds off a perfect week. A deep pink sunset sky, live music and happy laughter makes this town so very special, its people so very welcoming. We stroll around the corner to the tiny cheerful bistro for another superb dinner to close off a perfect week.