Striated Skies No. 52 – Nothing to be scared of

52. Nothing to be scared of

The Banghoek (meaning “scary corner”) valley is located over the Hellshoogte pass and an area in which I will own an estate one day. The picture for this striated sky was taken on the Oldenburg wine estate (in the Banghoek Valley) looking up at the Drakenstein Mountain Range. Banghoek Valley, got its name due to the dense forest, leopards, steep ravines and other dangers encountered by settlers.

Hellshoogte is the oldest pass in South Africa. The original Pass was built in 1692, in order to make ones way to Franschoek (where the Huguenots settled after arriving in 1688).  It was the main road to Franschhoek and for many years was regarded as a dangerous route, especially in the dark. The origins of the name is likely from the steep gullies (“hells”) on the ridge. In 1854 the road was greatly improved and used until being replaced by the new/current road in 1972.

A left turn off the R310 onto Zevenrivieren road will put the Mountains in front of you, the road winds and becomes gravel. The road is well sign posted and finding Oldenburg estate is a cinch. On arrival you are greeted by the spectacular new Cellar Door. The building was designed by architect Simon Beerstecher, and the interior design is by Kelly Hoppen.

Oldenburg is owned and run by Adrian and Vanessa Vanderspuy. Adrian was born on the neighbouring farm but his family left South Africa in the 1960’s. He would return to visit Oldenburg yearly for Christmas. Dorothy Vanrenen, Adrians grandmother, lived at Oldenburg with Helmet Holmann. In fact it is Helmet who named the farm Oldenburg in memory of his German roots in the city of Oldenburg. Visit the Oldenburg Vineyards Website for more history.

It was in 2002 that Adrian decided to pursue the possibility of bringing Oldenburg Vineyards back to life given that the farm had fallen into a parlous state. The vineyards were replanted from 2004-2006 and the maiden vintages of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc were produced in 2007. In 2010 the first whites were produced, the reds were launched (all were included in the SA Top 100 wines)  and in 2011 the cellar door opened.   In 2014 Philip Costandius joined as General Manager and Winemaker, later that year The Homestead was opened.

Visit the Oldenburg Vineyards Website to find out more about this amazing place and the people who make it happen or go one step better and visit them in person, you will not regret it. The views are amazing, the wine terrific and the atmosphere spectacular.  As I said at the beginning, one day I will own a property in this valley.

oldenburg logoI have to end off this blog by saying Thanks to all the peole who have followed me and my 52 Striated Skies Project. My next big step is going to be figuring out how I can exhibit this in 2016. Here is to an awesome 2016!!!

Striated Skies No. 46 – Seaside Legacy

46. Seaside Legacy

Muizenberg is a sea-side suburb of Cape Town in False Bay. The “Town” was either named after the Moetjesons (a Khoi group living in the area in the late 18th century) or Willem Muijs, who was in charge of the  Dutch East India Company winter anchorage and cattle post in 1782 when the name first appeared on the map.

Over time Muizenberg gained popularity as a sea side resort, the Southern Train Line increased the number of visitors to the resort and a number of palatial homes were built. Due to the increased traffic the South African Railways decided to build a new Station in 1911 that would embody the importance of Muizenberg.  Architect J.C. Tully designed the Edwardian structure which took near on two years to build. It was opened on 7 June 1913 by the Minister of Railways and Harbours, the Honourable Henry Burton. The station was declared a National Monument under old NMC legislation in 1982.

John Collingwood Tully was born in 1855 in Newcastle-on-Tyne, England.  He articled as a Premium pupil to Robert J Johnson of Austin Johnson & Hicks, a well-known practitioner of the Gothic Revival style in Newcastle-on-Tyne for five years. Tully moved to South Africa in 1889 and worked as a clerk of works in Johannesburg and Bloemfontein before moving to Cape Town to work on Groote Schuur by Herbert Baker on the first reconstruction for CJ Rhodes (1894-1897). He was married in 1896 and entered into partnership with Spencer Waters in Cape Town in 1897. In 1910 he moved to Pietermaritzburg where is lived until he passed away in 1929, although his death certificate is not available.

Muizenberg was also the destination of the first South African airmail – sent from Kenilworth on 27 December 1911. for more history on Muizenberg and the station visit:

http://gosouthonline.co.za/muizenberg-the-golden-years/

http://www.sahistory.org.za/places/railway-station-muizenberg#sthash.PtA8G8ep.dpuf

http://www.atlanticrail.co.za/stations_history.php

http://www.artefacts.co.za/main/Buildings/bldgframes.php?bldgid=8218

I recommend a trip to Muizenberg, We will be going back next weekend to walk from Muizenberg to Kalk bay. During the summer this area is a buzz with tourists and the main road is always jammed with traffic.

 

 

Striated Skies No. 44 – Butter Heart

44.Butter Heart

Bot River is a small hamlet approximately 100km outside of Cape Town, on the N2, between Grabouw and Caledon. It is home to approximately 4000 people and 14 wineries on the Bot River Wine Route.

Khoi herders called the area home, with the “Couga River” providing pastures that were lush.  Settlers came to the area to Barter for “Botter” (Butter) from the Khoi in the area and this is where the name Bot River comes from.  The hamlet formed in the 18th century as an outpost for the Dutch East India Company and after the battle of Blouberg Daniel de Kock was given ownership of Compagnes Drift the farm which he had rented. In 1912 the first train ran through the hamlet although the hamlet did not grow from its small size.

The picture for this striated sky is taken on the pass towards Villiersdorp. The dirt road winds from the main road of Bot River past farmlands including vineyards, canola and wheat. We had taken a drive out to do some wine tasting and saw this beautiful scene about 1km down the road. After some photography, we stopped at Luddite (5 stars – definitely recommend a trip) and then continued to Goedvertrouw Wine Estate.

Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 11.53.50 AMThe story of Luddite is one of a couple that love wine and making it in a way that has little intervention. The winery situated a rocky outcrop, on which Niels and Penny planted vines in 2001, is home to ±6Ha of vines.

The story of Goedvertrouw Wine Estate is a story that is both heart warming and sad. The winemaker Elrieda Pillmann continues to live out the dream she shared with her husband to create wine even though she does not drink it.

Bot River is part of the Cape country meander and falls within the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve. The town itself does not have much going for it but it is definitely worth a visit to have some wine and take in the beauty of the surrounding area.

Striated Skies No. 43 – Love Camps Bay

43. Love Camps Bay

Camps Bay is an approximately 165Ha suburb of Cape Town, on the Atlantic Seaboard. Since its establishment as a settlement in 1713 Camps Bay has always been a recreational area. Lord Charles Somerset used the area for hunting, while staying at the Roundhouse.

Camps Bay can be reached from Cape Town via Victoria Road which runs along the coast from Sea Point. Victoria Road was designed by Thomas Bain and completed in 1887, the road continues through Camps bay all the way to Hout Bay. The drive is beautiful and a ‘must drive’ when in Cape Town. (NOTE: be relaxed and ready for traffic if you travel this road during the December/January Holiday rush). Victoria road was not the first road to Camps Bay, Kloof Road was, it was built in 1848 and winds down from Table Mountain, past the Roundhouse towards Clifton. While Kloof Road is a twisting and turning road, Camps Bay Drive is a more direct road and the third road from the city.

I struggled to find history of Camps Bay online. I did find a book by Gwynne Schrire Robins and Hillel Turok titled Camps Bay: an illustrated history. It would be interesting to have a look at this book, the first few page can be read here. For this blog it would take too long to get here if I had to buy it and the last time I went into a library was years ago… :-).

Gwynne Schrire Robins has written ten books, published more than three dozen academic articles and chapters in books, and has edited magazines, theses and books. She is currently the deputy director of the Cape SA Jewish Board of Deputies. Hillel Turok (1921-2002) was a Camps Bay resident, Architect and part of the founding committee for the Camps Bay Shul.

The photo that provides the canvas for this striated sky was taken whilst walking back from sundowners at one of the restaurants on Victoria road overlooking the beach and the Atlantic Ocean. This is what Camps Bay is about – fun, partying and holidays. Many of the homes and apartments in Camps Bay are holiday accommodation and as a result Camps Bay is extremely busy during the Summer months. Camps Bay is flanked by Lions head and the Twelve Apostles of Table Mountain which provide residents with amazing mountain views

The photo below was taken by myself whilst climbing Table Mountain a few months ago via India Venster. It shows Camps Bay from the Back of Table Mountain

IMG_3663

Come to Cape Town in February, soak up some sun on Camps Bay beach and have a few drinks. This is the best time in Cape Town and most visitors come during December/January therefore it is not crazy and busy.

 

 

Striated Skies No. 38 – Third times a charm

Striated Skies

Porterville is a small town that lies approximately 155km North East of Cape Town. The town was established in 1863 on the farm Pomona. The NG Kerk depicted was the third to be erected in the town and was inaugurated on 18 November 1925. The church was designed by Wynand Louw. Louw designed a number of church buildings throughout South Africa. For more history of the town visit the Jan Danckaert Museum in the town.

22 Waterfalls is what drew us to visit Porterville, the holiday farm has a hiking trail that includes 22 waterfalls. You need an entire day to visit all the waterfalls and we only got to see 5.

Waterfalls

A night in Porterville will allow you to spend a day hiking around the 22 waterfalls, this is something that I still want to do.