Robberg Nature Reserve

If you happen to make your way to Plettenburg Bay along the Garden Route in South Africa then I highly suggest you make a stop and walk around the Robberg Nature Reserve. It’s a nature reserve on a small peninsula extending from the oceanside town. The hike will take you about 2 hours if you go the shorter route and closer to 4 if you go all the way out. We opted for the shorter route after having done a 9km hike in the rain the previous day.

You’re in for some geological wonders, seals, sand dunes 100m above sea level and generally awesome views. Why are you still sitting there? Go do this hike!

We Saw Cheetahs Today!

I know my posts have been all over the place and things haven’t been in order. The first step is admitting I have a problem and it’s something I’m working on. But seriously, we saw some cheetahs today! Sure, they were in big cages, but pretty cool stuff nevertheless.

Viva La Residence! (Franschhoek)

I have to preface this post by saying that I hope you all get the chance to visit this place at some point in your life. Pretty amazing.

Last Friday night we (Reidruffs) headed to Franschhoek for some wine tasting and a night at the La Residence. A colleague of mine, Andrea, had mentioned that this place is amazing. She had firsthand experience given the fact that her boyfriend, Nick, works there. I was not skeptical and was really just looking forward to it.

Our arrival was greeted with 5+ smiling faces, waving hello to us as we drove through the gate. What? Upon alighting, a glass of bubbly wine was placed in our hands and the girls were given mini bouquets of flowers. I could get used to this. We were amazed at the decore and the scenery in front of us. Here’s what we saw:

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I believe I was asked to be pinched multiple times to wake up from the dream I was in. But wait, there’s more. Andrea had mentioned that we wouldn’t want to leave our rooms once we arrived and I believe she was right. Each room is uniquely decorated for the 40 max guests a night. Shan and I had the Armani room. The thing that is so unique about the place is not only the extravagance of the rooms, but the size of the bathroom as well. Again, I’ll let the pictures do the talking:
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We spent the rest of the day enjoying the pool, the scenery and a great dinner with our host, Evan. Please be sure and keep an eye out for Evan as he is full of wine knowledge. He made our dinner a memorable one. Thank you to Nick for arranging.
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Lunch in Heaven

I’m a big backlogged at the moment with my posts so I’ll try to fill you all in soon. So let’s start with Heaven.

A couple of weeks ago Shan and I made the decision to get out of town for the weekend and headed to Hermanus. It’s a great beach town and I’ll post some pics soon. On Saturday we headed out of the area and decided to check out the Newton Johnson winery per a recommendation of local.

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We stopped in for a wine tasting and lunch at their restaurant, Heaven. The scenery was great and the food was pretty good. I’m thinking the risotto is not their specialty so I suggest trying something else if you make the trip. All-in-all it’s a great place to stop and enjoy some wine for the day.

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Prepaid Electricity

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A trend in South Africa is to offer prepaid electricity. You top up by going wherever electricity is sold. We go around the corner to the gas station, pay as much as we like and get a token. The token is then entered in the machine and you get more kilowatt hours to work with.

I think the purpose is for people to start monitoring their usage more regularly and be more aware of their energy usage. Pretty cool if you ask me. We already find ways to turn things off so we don’t spend as much.

One of our startups, Homebug, is targeting this exact community of people in SA. There are roughly 4 million users of prepaid electricity. Homebug is a device that is installed next to the prepaid meter that is able to track your energy usage. The hardware then wirelessly uploads your information to their servers where you are then able to access usage charts. It has been shown that by actively monitoring your energy usage that on average you will save yourself up to 20% on energy costs. Cool stuff.

Stellenbosch

Saturday kicked off the weekend in wine country. Destination: Stellenbosch. Mission: Drink and Be Merry.

Our friends, Tom and Gabby, came around our place at 11am and we headed off east. 45 minutes away and we were there. Yep, it’s that close. Can we please move here already? We checked into our Life & Leisure guesthouse and set off for food and wine. We stopped in Wijnhuis for lunch. Easily top 5 bread I’ve ever had in my life. I live for those moments where something is so good you can list it in your top 5. Probably why I like to travel so much.

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Post lunch was a stop by the Brampton Wine Studio for a tasting as we waited for our driver to arrive at 2pm. We were served our 3 wines slowly as the driver arrived. He honked. We acknowledged him. Tom got up and told him we were waiting on the bill and we’d be there in a minute. Literally a minute went by and the driver honked again. Mind you, we had arranged a private driver to take us to 4 wineries with no expectation of timing. What’s the rush? Turns out there were two others in the car and they were waiting on us. We got the bill, downed our final glass and we were off.

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First stop, Glenelly. A chic, modern building with an almost sterile feel to it. The wines were very good. The scenery was amazing.

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Next stop, Knorhoek. A nice secluded winery amongst some trees. Again, amazing place to spend an afternoon. They even have a guesthouse to stay in. Mental note. More wine was enjoyed despite a somewhat grumpy server. Tom and Gabby declared the cheap wine so tasty they bought a whole case for 250 Rand (roughly $30). More sober tastebuds may prove otherwise; however, I still declare it a steal.

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Next desired stop, Quoin Rock winery. I say desired because it was closed.

Next real stop, Meratie. No tasting, but they were happy to sell us a couple of bottles. Nice picnic tables with rolling hills of vineyards; ok!

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Next stop, Peter Faulk. I’m glad the other place was closed. Sure we were told they weren’t serving anymore, but cooler heads prevailed. Note to all you travelers, if they say it closes at 7pm, it actually closes at 6pm. I’m still failing to see the logic here, but nevertheless we were able to secure ourselves at least a full glass of wine. The joy of this place was the lawn full of giant bean bag cheds. Yep, it’s my new word: ched (chair + bed). Moving along. We enjoyed the sunset and view for about an hour and contemplated life and why we live in places that don’t look like this.

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I declared this day a success.

Rand: It’s How You Pay for Stuff

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I don’t really know anything about it other than that it’s called Rand. It’s the South African currency and it’s currently trading at about 1 US Dollar to 8.8 South African Rand. They recently unveiled a new set of notes picturing Nelson Mandela which, appropriately, the people are proud of.

Now I just need to figure out how to get my hands on more of it.