About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

27 December 2014


Reuben Reifel is one of South Africa's most well known chefs; especially with his more recent appearances as a judge on Masterchef and in TV adverts. Last year, our trip to Franschoek was not planned in advance; so getting a table at a well known restaurant was out of the question. So, this year these things were planned better ...

The food lived up to the reputation - simple style, great presentation and amazing taste.

The starter, which M & I shared, was probably the most different - trout with various pickled vegetables. 

M had the Kinglip with oyster and mussel sauce and I had a chicken and prawn curry. M doesn't like mussels much but there want much left on the plate afterwards! The curry was surprisingly sweet but very flavorful. I didn't think all the accompaniments worked though - the chilli oil for example didn't make sense with the style of curry and I didn't like the carrot sambal (bottom right of the picture) at all. 

The sparsely named "salted caramel tart" turned out to be an elaborate chocolate based dessert - really rich and decadent. I had the panna cotta, with various fruits - a combination that was far superior to the other versions I have had before with berry coulois as a topping for the panna cotta. Ultimately, I suppose that is one of the key differences between the fine dining and regular restaurants.

Swartberg Pass

I read an article some years back on the spectacular unpaved Swartberg Pass connecting Prince Albert and Oudtshoorn; and have wanted to drive over since. 

It is one of the best mountain roads I have traversed (admittedly some in Peru were at night). The narrow road winds itself up the Swartberg mountains with scenic views of the valley below on one side and the cliffs on the other. It was a cloudy day, and the temperature dropped  15 degrees to a chilly 12 degrees at the top! 

The drive down to Oudtshoorn was shorter; with the fertile ground below. It's well worth the detour!


The original plan yesterday was to try to go see the Cango Caves, but I was aware that getting tickets without booking was unlikely. I also wanted a detour; and the co-owner of the BnB at Graaff-Reinet highly recommended the first part of the detour - driving through Meiringspoort. It's a spectacular gorge, with a small river and the N12. Clearly the local authorities have worked out the touristic propositions and there are lots of rest places (with braai and toilet facilities) along the route. With a public holiday, it was very busy - and the caves didn't work out - but the detours were definitely worth it!

26 December 2014

Hester Rupert Art Museum

Housed in an old Dutch Reformed Church, which was saved from demolition by businessman Anton Rupert, the art gallery has a wide variety of South African artwork, mainly from the 1960s. There is no real theme, but there is probably something of interest for everyone. 

25 December 2014


I didn't do a lot of South African history at school, but for some reason the town of Graaff-Reinet stuck in my memory. Looking for a slightly alternate way to drive to Cape Town, I decided to stop here and then follow the Swartberg range. An old town, it has some spectacular architecture - especially around the magnificent old church in the centre. Almost everything is closed today - giving this old town an even more deserted feel. 

Valley of Desolation

Located in the Camdeboo National Park outside Graaff-Reinet, the valley is best known for its spectacular rock formations  against a backdrop of the Karoo. The late afternoon sunshine lit up sections spectacularly - but I didn't manage to get such good photos :(