Great Ideas for (a Safe) Halloween in Cape Town!

Usually, Halloween in Cape Town is packed with all kinds of thrilling, spooky activities, from the annual Zombie Walk to the South African Horrorfest movie festival. This year, for reasons we’re all too familiar with (and thoroughly tired of), Halloween will have to be a more subdued affair…but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun! Here are some great ideas for keeping the spirits alive this Halloween.

Turn your home into a haunted house

You can go all out and transform your entire home or apartment into a house of horrors or perhaps just do a single room or room-and-hallway combo. The task is to take your perfectly happy environment and transform it into scene from Poltergeist or Saw! A severed limb here, a headless doll there, hairy spiders and cobwebs in every corner, and cocktails the colour of blood…the possibilities are endless! Use your imagination and get crafty. Then, invite your friends/family “bubble” over for an evening in a classic haunted house!

You could even work on a display for outside your home (think: carved pumpkins and unspeakable things made from papier-mâché) so that anyone who drives past will be struck with the spirit of Halloween.

Indulge in a horror movie binge

Indulge in a horror movie binge

Rather than lament the fact that you can’t do the usual late-night social gathering this Halloween, why not plan a binge night of horror films? You can even embellish the occasion with Halloween inspired snacks (check out 37 Halloween Snacks That Will Make You Forget Adults Don't Trick-or-Treat for inspiration).

Here are some great ideas for horror movies:

For people who love the classics…

  • Psycho (1960)
  • The Exorcist (1973)
  • Jaws (1975)
  • Alien (1979)
  • The Shining (1980)
  • Poltergeist (1982)

For zombie apocalypse aficionados…

  • Night of the Living Dead (1968)
  • Dawn of the Dead (1978)
  • The Evil Dead (1981)
  • I am Legend (2007)
  • Zombieland (2009)
  • World War Z (2013)

Off-the-wall horror films…

  • Beetlejuice (1988)
  • Shaun of the Dead (2004)
  • Rubber (2010)
  • Zombeavers (2014)
  • What we do in the Shadows (2014)

For families with younger kids…

  • The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
  • Monster House (2006)
  • Coraline (2009)
  • Hotel Transylvania (2012)
  • ParaNorman (2012)
  • The Addams Family (2019)

Seriously scary…in our opinion!

  • The Blair Witch Project (1999)
  • The Ring (2002)
  • Paranormal Activity (2007)
  • Insidious (2010)
  • It Comes at Night (2017)
  • Hereditary (2019)
  • Host (2020)

For even more horror film suggestions, check out the following articles:

Have a pumpkin carving competition

pumpkin carving

It’s not such a huge tradition in South Africa but it should be! Head on down to your local fruit and veg city to get your hands on several pumpkins—the large orange ones are the best—and get the whole family or friendship “bubble” to carve scary faces into them. Then, once they’re done, put a tea candle inside your pumpkin creations so that their faces glow at night. Make a competition out of it with a prize for the best winner!

South African HORRORFEST 2020

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The South African HORRORFEST is the longest running and only event of its kind in the country (if not the continent) featuring new, classic and rare movies, pre-release screenings, dark literature, live silent film soundtrack performance, Halloween dress-up, give-aways, and more. However, with COVID-19 still a threat, this year, the bulk of the 16th edition of the South African HORRORFEST will move online. To keep a finger on the pulse of the line-up, check out the official website for this much-loved annual Halloween festival!

Cape Town Zombie Walk

Cape Town Zombie Walk

We’re hesitant to mention the annual Cape Town Zombie Walk, which attracts to the streets of Cape Town literally hoards of people dressed up like zombies. But from the official Facebook page, it does appear as though this Halloween event is still going ahead (scheduled for Saturday 31st October 2020). If you are keen on attending, you should know that this is an event that draws large crowds of people close together. So WEAR A MASK (or incorporate it into your costume!) and bring hand sanitizer along with you so that you can frequently sanitize your hands. And avoid alcohol so that you can be responsible!

The Cape Town Zombie Walk is an exhilarating and unforgettable experience but with this year’s pandemic still a risk to public health, we urgently advise you to practice utmost caution.

Be safe and from the team here at dk villas, have a happy Halloween!

Escape to (even more) Destinations around the World with these Favourite Travel Movies

In May, dk villas published a blog with a list of some of our favourite travel movies, all of which are based and filmed in extraordinary destinations around the world. From Italy in Under the Tuscan Sun (2003) and Spain in Vicky, Christina, Barcelona (2008) to India in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2012) and Thailand in The Beach (2000), these movies, for us, really evoke the countries in which they are filmed. And since a visit to these stunning places is, for at least the foreseeable future, off the table, we’re continuing to live vicariously through the characters in these beautiful films….

Amélie (2001)

Starring: Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz, Rufus


Amélie is a fanciful and off-the-wall comedy about a young woman who discretely orchestrates the lives of the people around her, creating a world exclusively of her own making. Shot in over 80 Parisian locations, acclaimed director Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Delicatessen; The City of Lost Children) invokes his incomparable visionary style to capture the exquisite charm and mystery of modern-day Paris through the eyes of a beautiful ingenue.

Why we loved it: Beautifully filmed, completely captivating (and funny), and the most tender love story.

Eat, Pray, Love (2010)

Starring: Julia Roberts, Javier Bardem, Viola Davis, Billy Crudup, James Franco

Eat Pray Love

Based upon the exquisite real life story of author Elizabeth Gilbert, Liz Gilbert (Julia Roberts) thought she had everything she wanted in life: a home, a husband, and a successful career. Now, newly divorced and facing a turning point, she finds that she is confused about what is important to her. Daring to step out of her comfort zone, Liz embarks on a quest of self-discovery that takes her on a whirlwind journey through Italy, India, and Bali.

Why we loved it: Knowing that this is a real life story makes the movie even more captivating and the idea of uprooting your life to discover yourself and what’s really important, so inspiring.

Fly Away Home (1996)

Starring: Anna Paquin, Jeff Daniels, Dana Delany

Fly Away Home

After Amy (Anna Paquin) loses her mother in a car accident, she must uproot her life and move to Canada to live with her father, Thomas, (Jeff Daniels), an oddball inventor with whom she has no relationship. She initially struggles to find her place in her new home, but things change when she stumbles upon a collection of abandoned goose eggs. When the eggs hatch, Amy and her dad work together teaching the motherless birds to fly south for the winter, and their relationship blooms.

Why we loved it: Who doesn’t love a good animal movie with a happy ending? (Oops…spoiler alert).

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)

Starring: Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Adam Scott, Sean Penn


Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller), an employee at Life magazine, spends day after monotonous day developing photos for the publication. To escape the tedium, Walter inhabits a world of exciting daydreams in which he is the undeniable hero. Walter fancies a fellow employee named Cheryl (Kristen Wiig) and would love to date her, but he feels unworthy. However, he gets a chance to have a real adventure when Life's new owners send him on a mission to obtain the perfect photo for the final print issue.

Why we loved it: Quirky and funny without overstepping the boundary with slapstick, we loved this movie because of its truly entertaining performances and stunning portrayal of the “land of fire and ice”, Iceland!

Midnight in Paris (2011)

Starring: Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard, Michael Sheen, Kathy Bates

Midnight in Paris

Gil Pender (Owen Wilson) is a screenwriter and aspiring novelist. Vacationing in Paris with his fiancée (Rachel McAdams), he has taken to touring the city alone. On one such late-night excursion, Gil encounters a group of strange, yet familiar revellers, who sweep him along, apparently back in time, for a night with some of the Jazz Age's icons of art and literature. The more time Gil spends with these cultural heroes of the past, the more dissatisfied he becomes with the present.

Why we loved it: Given the chance, who wouldn’t travel back in time in Paris to meet such famous people as Gertrude Stein and Ernest Hemingway? We loved the way these characters were brought to life! And, of course, Paris is heartbreakingly beautiful.

Whale Rider (2002)

Starring: Keisha Castle-Hughes, Vicky Haughton, Grant Roa, Rawiri Paratene

Only males are allowed to ascend to chiefdom in a Maori tribe in New Zealand. This ancient custom is upset when the child selected to be the next chief dies at birth. However his twin sister, Pai (Keisha Castle-Hughes), survives. At age 12, she enlists the help of her grandmother (Vicky Haughton) and the training of her uncle (Grant Roa) to claim her birthright. But to break with convention, she'll have to do the impossible: win over her ultra-traditional grandfather (Rawiri Paratene).

Why we loved it: This heartfelt movie provides audiences with a rare glimpse into the culture and heritage of New Zealand’s Maori people. It’s an exquisite and beautifully filmed movie too.

In Bruges (2008)

Starring: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Ralph Fiennes, Clémence Poésy

In Bruges

After a particularly difficult job, hit men Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson) head to Belgium to hide out until things cool down. Ray hates the medieval city they land in, but Ken finds its beauty and peacefulness enchanting. Their experiences become increasingly surreal and possibly life-changing as they encounter tourists, locals, an American dwarf, and a potential romance for Ray.

Why we loved it: In Bruges has a wonderful, wicked, and dry sense of humour that we love; but also, together with the characters, it takes you on a tour of this beguiling historic city that we have now added to our bucket list.

Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade (1989)

Starring: Harrison Ford, Sean Connery, Alison Doody, River Phoenix, Julian Glover

The intrepid explorer Indiana Jones sets out to rescue his father, a medievalist who has vanished while searching for the Holy Grail. Following clues in the old man's notebook, Indy arrives in Venice, where he enlists the help of a beautiful academic, but they are not the only ones who are on the trail, and some sinister old enemies soon come out of the woodwork. The final part of the movie shoots at the famous Petra rock-cut temple in Jordan, a bucket list destination if there ever were one!

Why we loved it: They simply don’t make swashbuckling adventures like this anymore! And the fact that the movie is filmed in several beautiful international destinations, like Italy and Jordan, really satisfies the wanderlust.

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)

Starring: Hugo Weaving, Terence Stamp, Guy Pearce, Bill Hunter

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

When drag queen Anthony (Hugo Weaving) agrees to take his act on the road, he invites fellow queens Adam (Guy Pearce) and Bernadette (Terence Stamp) to come along. In their colourful bus, named Priscilla, the three performers travel across the Australian Outback performing for enthusiastic crowds and homophobic locals. But when the other two performers learn the truth about why Anthony took the job, it threatens their act and their friendship.

Why we loved it: We laughed at the outrageous characters, costumes, and performances in this movie; and it was a fascinating romp through miles and miles of hostile Australian Outback, and getting to meet the people of Alice Springs.

A Good Year (2006)

Starring: Russell Crowe, Marion Cotillard, Abbie Cornish, Freddie Highmore

A Good Year

Successful but arrogant London banker Max Skinner (Russell Crowe) inherits his uncle's (Albert Finney) vineyard in Provence, where he spent many childhood holidays. He travels to France to sell off the property but soon falls in love with the place, discovering a new laid-back lifestyle as he tries to renovate the estate to be sold. Upon his arrival, he also meets a woman from California who tells Max she is his long-lost cousin and that the property is hers.

Why we loved it: Travel, wine, and a feel-good love story…need we say more?

Six Gorgeous Golf Courses in the Western Cape

The Links Course at the Fancourt Resort, George
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Unparalleled views, impeccably manicured and conditioned greens, challenging courses, and golfing estates that are also home to award-winning wineries, restaurants, spas, and hotels, these are some of Cape Town’s—and the Western Cape’s—best and most beautiful golf courses!

The Links Course, Fancourt Resort, George

“Fancourt Links fully justifies its status as the finest routing in South Africa. Gary Player’s design is truly exceptional and tests every aspect of the golfing repertoire. A course of the highest calibre.” – Keith Alexander (reviewer on

Designed by Gary Player, one of the greatest South African golfers to ever play the game, the Links course at the spectacular Fancourt resort in George was built with the classic Scottish links courses in mind. Since its opening in November 2000, the course has been offering players a unique and challenging golfing experience, earning it the # 1 position on’s 100 top golf courses in the Western Cape.

Where: The Links, Montagu Street, Blanco, George

Arabella Country Club, Kleinmond

Arabella Country Club
“It is a sheer pleasure to play Arabella: fast greens, course in immaculate condition, great lay-out, and spectacular views. Highly recommended.”
– Smeets (reviewer on

The Arabella Country Estate, complete with luxurious hotel and spa, is home to an 18-hole championship course that is perched on the edge of the Bot River Lagoon near Hermanus, where thousands of water birds have made their home. Peter Matkovich is the lauded golf architect behind the design of this course, which offers players a healthy challenge set against the stunning scenery of the Kogelberg Nature Reserve and Palmiet Mountain Range.

Where: R44, Arabella Country Estate, on the way to Kleinmond

Pearl Valley at Val de Vie Estate, Paarl

Pearl Valley at Val de Vie Estate
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“The Pearl Valley Jack Nicklaus Signature course is something special. I love how the layout keeps you interested for 18 holes and requires some great shot-making into the greens. The views of the Simonsberg and Drakenstein Mountain ranges are some of the best out there.”
– Damian Wrigley (reviewer on

Pearl Valley carries a reputation for being one of South Africa’s most beautiful golf courses, which was no design accident. Pearl Valley is a work of art by preeminent golf course designer Jack Nicklaus and, since 2006, has consistently landed a spot among the top 10 courses in South Africa by Golf Digest magazine. It has also been named the Western Cape’s best-conditioned golf course every year for several years in a row.

Where: R301, Wemmershoek Road, Paarl

Pinnacle Point Golf Estate, Mossel Bay

Pinnacle Point Golf Estate
“It is easy to overlook Pinnacle Point with all the other great courses in the Western Cape but it is a must-visit! It is picturesque with sea views from almost every hole. The service is, of course, fantastic and if the wind blows, you are in for a tough day. The greens are wonderfully slopey.”
– Spencer Milton (reviewer on

Designed by golf architect Peter Matkovich and overlooking the Indian Ocean from its panoramic cliff-top position, the Pinnacle Point Golf Course is a unique and scenic masterpiece. The 18-hole golf course has a challenging layout that follows the contours of Mossel Bay’s dramatic landscape. Seven holes run parallel to the Indian Ocean and four are played quite exhilaratingly over ocean and cliff.

Where: 1 Pinnacle Point Road, Mossel Bay

Steenberg Golf Estate, Constantia

Steenberg Golf Estate
“Golf at Steenberg is a great experience and if you can add in a stay at the hotel too, you will not be disappointed! The golf club is situated in the Contantia Valley and has spectacular views all around with course conditioning very high.”
– Andy Newmarch (reviewer on

Set against the dramatic Constantiaberg Mountains and the 17th Century estate’s lush carpeting of vineyards, the Steenberg Golf Estate in the Constantia valley offers players an epically beautiful golfing experience. The course itself is technically challenging and varied, featuring a mix of wetlands, flats, parkland, and fynbos. And afterwards, there’s the promise of a glass (or bottle) of award-winning wine by Steenberg and breakfast, lunch, or dinner at the estate’s lauded restaurants, Tryn and Bistro Sixteen82.

Where: 1111 Tokai Road, Tokai, Cape Town

De Zalze Golf Club, Stellenbosch

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“I was very anxious to play at De Zalze because it hosted the World Amateur in 2006 and I can say I was not disappointed. Not only is it a great golf course and very well-maintained but also has great golf holes and views of the mountain and winelands together.”
– Javier Pintos (reviewer on

Yet another masterpiece by prolific golf architect Peter Matkovich, the De Zalze course sprawls out in the heart of the Stellenbosch winelands, on the 750-acre Spier Estate, in the shadow of the Helderberg Mountains. This pleasant parklands-style course (played to a par of 72) was originally opened in 2001 and, in 2006, co-hosted the prestigious biennial World Amateur Championships. Nearby, De Kleine Zalze winery offers a fantastic watering hole to refresh and refuel.

Where: R44, De Zalze Golf Estate, Stellenbosch

What dk villas is doing to keep our guests SAFE!

In an effort to encourage local travel and fuel the guttering tourism industry, dk villas has extended its “keep LOCAL alive” special, which is valid for travel until next year, 30th September 2021. This is in addition to the special discounts, cancellation policy amendment, and impeccable safety standards the luxury apartment company is offering guests, all in an effort to keep South Africa’s tourism industries burning brightly!

New temporary cancellation policy

We’re living in an era in which one can safely expect the unexpected, and because of that, trip cancellation is an unfortunate possibility. This pretty much sums up the conundrum South Africans face at the moment: we want to travel and we want to support local tourism and businesses…but how can we shoulder the risk of losing our deposits or even full payments on a “staycation” when we’re all feeling the pinch of the current economic downturn?

Dk villas solution to this conundrum is a cancellation policy amendment that offers a full refund for bookings at any of the company’s three luxury properties in the event that the government reinstates a level 3 or 4 lockdown and guests have to cancel their stays.

“Our goal is to protect our guests,” explains Petra de Kock, co-founder and owner of dk villas (and the genius behind every apartment’s sublime interior design). “We don’t think it’s fair that guests should lose out because of COVID-19. At the same time, we want to encourage local travel, and so we amended our cancellation policy to do that.”

Dk villas’ new temporary cancellation policy is designed to protect guests (and their 50% deposits) from the unexpected, which means that they can confidently book their holidays risk-free, knowing that even if the country returns to lockdown, they’ll get their money back.

Impeccable sanitation and WTTC Safe Travels accreditation

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Another way in which dk villas is keeping its guests safe is by adhering to all the COVID-19 guidelines laid out by the local and global health authorities. And thoroughly sanitizing every square inch of each apartment before guest arrival is just one (very important) aspect of the job!

“We’ve always maintained very high standards for hygiene,” says Johann de Kock, co-founder and owner of dk villas, loving husband to Petra, and self-confessed perfectionist. “When we travel, we expect to find everything 100% clean and in perfect working order and so we maintain these standards in our own properties. Now, however, we’ve taken sanitation to obsessive levels to keep our guests safe and healthy.”

To echo these sentiments, dk villas was recently accredited by the WTTC Safe Travels, which was launched by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) earlier this year in response to the pandemic. This, the world’s first ever-global safety and hygiene stamp, allows travellers to recognise governments and businesses not only in South Africa but also around the world that have adopted health and hygiene global standardised protocols…all in the name of safe travel.

Staycation discounts at dk villas

Staycation discounts at dk villas

And last, but by no means least, dk villas is offering a 20% discount off any stay that is a minimum of two nights AND a pay-for-four-nights-get-one-FREE package. These specials are available for all three of dk villas beautiful properties:

  • Dk villas at The Boardwalk: A two-bedroom, two-bathroom guest apartment on Hout Bay’s Victoria Road, right in the thick of the action.
  • Dk villas at Harbour View: A three-bedroom, two-bathroom guest apartment on Hout Bay’s Main Road with stunning ocean views.
  • Dk villas at Skilliepark: A two-bedroom, two-bathroom beach cottage in the quiet West Coast town of Dwarskersbos, a stone’s throw from the beach.

“We’re offering these specials for as long as we can—and they are valid for travel booked for anytime between now and next year, 30th September 2021,” says Petra. “So we encourage locals to make their booking while the offers stand!”

What are you waiting for?

What are you waiting for?

After one of the hardest, most traumatizing years humanity has faced in its entire history, who couldn’t use a little “staycation”…to get away from the sameness of our homes and steep ourselves in luxurious surroundings, gorgeous views, and delicious bubbly? Now, with an amended cancellation policy that protects your wallet and #safetravels certification by the WTTC that protects your health, dk villas is giving South Africans every reason to keep local alive!

To book your stay, contact dk villas at or go to

(Dk villas’ cancellation policy is valid for travel before 1st October 2021. Guests may be liable to pay agency cancellation fees if they booked through third parties like Airbnb, Lekkerslaap, and

dk villas’ Harbour View Hout Bay is a Travel & Hospitality Awards Winner for 2020!

We won’t mess about: 2020 has been one heck of a BAD year. Dk villas has faced our fair share of troubles, the least of which has been the travel ban into and within South Africa (and that was pretty darn bad!) But there has been some good news: and there’s nothing quite like winning a prestigious award to lift one’s spirits. This is why we’re super proud to announce that dk villas Harbour View property in Hout Bay is a Travel & Hospitality Awards winner in the 2020 Africa Awards category!

About the Travel & Hospitality Awards

The Travel & Hospitality Awards is a global recognition program for the travel industry, which acknowledges and awards the very best hotels, tour operators, experience providers, spa & wellness facilities, restaurants, and technology and innovation companies.

Recipients of Travel & Hospitality Awards are scrupulously selected based on the review of customer review feedback, submission material, and the facility comparison of each entrant. And the winners are those who have demonstrated their uniqueness, quality of services and facilities, and exceptional levels of customer care across a number of categories.

“This year, over 1,000 nominations were received, and the standard of entries was incredibly high,” said the team at Travel & Hospitality Awards in a press release. “We were overwhelmed by the quality of entries this year and the judging panel had great difficulty in narrowing the field down but the winners reflect the very best in travel and hospitality standards.”

And we’re so proud to announce our very own dk villas Harbour View property as a winner!

Dk villas’ award-winning property at Harbour View

A mere stone’s throw from Hout Bay beach, with direct views of The Sentinel Mountain and the bay’s charming harbour, you’ll find dk villas’ beautiful and spacious Harbour View apartment. This three-bedroom, two-bathroom selfcatering apartment is a masterpiece and a seamless blend of luxury furnishings, high-end electronics and appliances, gorgeous views, and home-style convenience.

A generous and fully kitted out modern kitchen and state-of-the-art appliances such as SMEG washing machine, tumble dryer, and dishwasher empower guests to prepare full meals and treat this space as a home-away-from-home.

The bedrooms are the epitome of oases with their soft colour palettes, natural textures, Egyptian cotton bedding, luxurious furnishings, and designer room fragrances; an aesthetic and feel that is echoed by the two bathrooms, one full and one en-suite (master bedroom) with a bath.

Finally, a stylish open-plan lounge and dining area with seating for eight guests, large TV (DSTV), and Wi-Fi round out the offering. For guests’ safety and peace of mind, DK Villas’ Harbour View property has 24-hour camera security, electric fencing, and a secure undercover parking bay.

Harbour View Lounge

Located just 20 minutes outside of Cape Town, Hout Bay is a quirky seaside village with a bustling, yet relaxed beach and cosmopolitan combo vibe. Hout Bay, with its many shops, casual and fine dining restaurants, coffee bars, and markets has just about everything you need for a colourful, unforgettable stay, as well as extraordinary natural beauty, history, and culture. It’s little wonder that Hout Bay is considered one of the Cape’s top tourist destinations and dk villas’ luxury apartment at Harbour View is the ideal base from which to explore it all!

Harbour View location

No stranger to travel awards

Dk villas is so exceptionally proud to be the recipient of a 2020 Travel & Hospitality Award but our Harbour View luxury property is no stranger to prestigious accolades! Earlier this year, our crown jewel also won a Traveller Review Award by, thanks to our consistent high ratings by guests.

The Traveller Review Awards is an annual appreciation programme that recognises partners for their exceptional hospitality, as evidenced in the review scores left by travellers after their stay or experience. The 2020 edition review score is based on the average score of all guest reviews published on the website and app between 30th October 2017 and 30th October 2019.

Not only did dk villas’ Harbour View property make the Traveller Review Awards list for 2020; we absolutely knocked it out of the park with a scoring of 9.9 out of 10! score

Yet again, we are SO pleased that all the thought, effort, and heart we pour into our luxury property, is appreciated by our guests! And a “huge thank you” to the Travel & Hospitality Awards committee for selecting us for your prestigious award!

The full list of Travel & Hospitality Awards winners will be included in the annual awards publication that will be available for digital download in November 2020.
To receive this publication, you are encouraged to join the mailing list at go to to be notified upon its release.

Five ways to keep local alive!
How you can keep SA industry pumping during these unprecedented times

There’s no doubt about it…South Africa and, indeed, the world have scarcely seen a more troubling year than 2020. Perhaps those doomsday prophecies were onto something when they predicted the end of the world in 2020; although, thankfully, there is as yet no sign of an earthbound asteroid. With every country in the world too busy battling its own healthcare crisis to extend a helping hand, it is clear to South Africa that if we are to survive the disaster that COVID-19 has rained down upon our houses, businesses, and economy, we need to support each other. We need to keep local alive. Why? Because local is lekker! And, wow, do we love our country.

Here are 5 ways you can keep local alive!

Travel is out…staycation is in!

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God alone knows when next we’ll be allowed to hop on an airplane to explore exotic shores but that doesn’t mean you can’t satisfy your wanderlust at home, right here in South Africa! After all, millions of tourists (previously) travelled to our country every year to experience what many locals quite tragically take for granted. So, reignite your passion for local travel and book a weekend at a guesthouse somewhere far away from home…or spend a week at a self-catering cottage on a farm…or even several weeks in a luxury apartment.

We could all use a change of scenery and nothing comes quite as close to anesthetizing the travel bug as a staycation!

P.S. DK Villas has three beautiful self-catering apartments available for both short and long-term rental! So don’t hesitate to Contact Us if you’re interested in booking your staycation with us.

Visit the winelands and/or order wine online (by the caseload)

Image source: Wander_Woman_Thea on IG

After several weeks of quarantine and prohibition, you probably don’t need any encouragement to head into the Cape winelands and restock your shelves with our country’s glorious wines. But here are three reasons to go beyond buying individual bottles and, instead, buy in bulk:

  1. You never know if or when the liquor ban might be reinstated and you’ll be grateful for those tucked away bottles of Cabernet when the next cold front hits.
  2. It’s usually financially smarter to purchase wine in bulk because the final price typically works out cheaper per bottle.

The third reason is the most important: South Africa’s wine industry has taken a monumental knock during the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks to the ban on alcohol and the on-going curfews. It therefore behoves us to support our beloved wine industry right now in their time of need and purchase as much of our favourite wines as we can afford. Just think about how many break-ups wine has gotten you through. Now it’s time to return the favour.

Support local artists and artisans with your festive shopping

Constantia gift fair
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Of all the years to be discerning about the provenance of your gifts, this is the one. Why? Because YOU can make a huge difference to local art, culture, and to our economy as a whole by buying your festive season, end-of-year gifts exclusively from local artists and artisans.

For example, KAMERS/Makers is running a fabulous pop-up space at the V&A Waterfront (next to Exclusive Books), featuring thousands of handcrafted goods made by over 200 proudly South African artisans and artists. You’ll find another conglomeration of local talent and handmade goods and fashion at the Constantia Gift Fair, which is set to take place from the 4th to 8th November 2020.

You can also shop online at both — and — if you’d prefer to stay home.

Wear local fashion brands and clothing

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Tired of living in your pyjamas? Never want to look at another pair of yoga pants again? Great! It’s time for some retail therapy…but before you make a bee-line for the usual international clothing brands, take this opportunity to keep local alive and shop for local clothing brands and fashion labels. Remember, the smaller the business, the more in need they are of your support (plus, the more unique the look you’ll be able to piece together!)

There are a ton of such local brands to be found and a rather surprising way to find them is through social media, like Instagram and Facebook! You will also discover a list of local designers crafting beautiful 100% South African fashion on SME South Africa.

Aren’t you tired of cooking? Eat out (or order in)

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After months of having to cook for the family, isn’t it just such a relief to be able to sit down at one of the Cape’s many stunning restaurants? Socially distanced, of course. Unfortunately, not all of them made it through quarantine and unless we start supporting the restaurant industry, many more may yet go over the edge of insolvency. If you’re concerned about eating out, remember that the new health and safety guidelines are in place to protect patrons (plus, it’s in the restaurants’ best interests to enforce them). If you’re still nervous about eating out, how about ordering take-out?

One way or another, leaning on your favourite local restaurants to feed the family will go a long way in helping them pull through this really rough time.

Final thoughts

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If there’s one silver lining the COVID-19 pandemic could have for the South African economy, it’s that we all learn to support local businesses and grow the economy through more patriotic purchasing decisions. Buying local leads us to products and services that are so much more unique and special; our money helps to fund great business ventures and entrepreneurs that are forced to compete with major international brands; and those local businesses, in turn, help to fuel the economy and create jobs.

It’s a win-win for everyone so in all of your purchasing decisions from now on—and as far as possible—keep local alive because local is lekker!

Springtime Events and Activities to Look Forward to in Cape Town

Somehow—seriously, somehow—Cape Town and its myriad industries have managed to make it through the toughest year we’ve seen in recent decades. But with the daily COVID-19 caseload steadily (and hopefully permanently) decreasing, life has begun to poke its head out of the ground in many more ways than one. Events and activities in the Mother City are slowly resuming and, with the month of September upon us, spring has officially sprung. And if there’s one decent metaphor for rejuvenation, it’s spring!

Here are some exciting events and activities to look forward to this coming season!

Ziplining with Acrobranch

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Acrobranch combines the thrill of ziplining with the fun of negotiating an obstacle course littered with all manner of challenging structures. There’s the Acro-twigs course for kids aged 3 to 6; the easy Monkey Moves course for beginners; the moderately difficult Swinging Tarzan course for the fitter amongst us; and the High Flying course for those looking for a real physical challenge. A day at Acrobranch is the perfect escape for a group of friends or for team building.

Address: 1 Hout Bay Main Road, Constantia Nek

Spend a day in the Cape winelands

Cape winelands

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South Africa’s wine industry was one of the hardest hit during the COVID-19 lockdown and subsequent bans on alcohol. It is therefore your patriotic duty to pack the bubble* in the car and spend a day drinking wine, browsing through picnics, sitting down to fine (socially distanced) dining and returning home at the end of a lengthy day with the trunk filled to the brim with cases of wine. Seriously though: buy wine. You never know when the next ban will hit, and our beloved wineries need our support now more than ever!

P.S. Just pop online to make sure the winery of your choice is open for tastings and meals.

*Family or small group of friends with whom you have been quarantining.

The Constantia Gift Fair

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With the festive season a short hop and a skip (read: stumble) away, it’s time to save those pennies for the annual Constantia Gift Fair, which is set to take place from the 4th to 8th November 2020. Whatever your friends and family have written down on their Christmas list, you are—I mean, Santa is sure to find here, from exotic food-gifts and fashion apparel to home and garden accessories and more.

If you’re not comfortable attending the festivities in person, you can peruse the Constantia Gift Fair’s full catalogue, which has moved online to

When: 4 - 8 November 2020
Address: SARDA Centre, Brommersvlei Road, Constantia

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

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Say “Hallelujah!” the Cape’s very own Garden of Eden is open to the public! The Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens is one of our city’s biggest attractions and treasures, for both tourists and locals alike. Now, after a wet winter (and with spring having just opened her eyes), the gardens are bursting into colourful life and you simply can’t miss it. Criss-crossed with walkways embraced by verdant, exuberant gardens and flush with spectacular mountain views, there is so much beauty to be found at Kirstenbosch, and so much to do during a day, from walking, birdwatching, and hiking to picnicking, dining, and getting in your daily exercise (it sure beats going for jogs around your neighbourhood).

Address: Rhodes Drive, Newlands

The Clay Café in Hout Bay

The Clay Café

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A day at the Clay Café in Hout Bay is all about spending quality time with friends and family, and flexing your creative muscles with the art of pottery and ceramics. Here, you’re given unfired bisque and colourful paints to create your own masterpieces, which is just so much fun on its own. Then, once you’re done with the painting, you can explore the garden and let the little ones enjoy the playground, while you relax with some refreshments and food from the café. Each final product takes approximately three and a half weeks to be fired and glazed and then you can pick it up and take it home with you to be used or put on display for all to admire!

Where: 4080 Main Road. Opposite Bokkemanskloof Estate, Hout Bay

KAMERS/Makers Space


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Speaking about creativity, one of the Cape’s (and South Africa’s) favourite annual artisan expos is right around the corner, too! It’s KAMERS/Maker! In response to the pandemic, this once small Stellenbosch-based enterprise and now huge national event has opened two pop-up spaces in Cape Town, where people can peruse the handcrafted goods made by over 200 local artisans and artists. The one is located at the V&A Waterfront, next to Exclusive Books and the other on Plein Street in Stellenbosch, although this one is set to close on 29 August 2020.

If you’d prefer to do your shopping virtually, head on over to KAMERS/Makers Online——where over 9,000 proudly South African products await!


The Galileo Open Air Cinema Drive-In

The Galileo Open Air Cinema Drive-In

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Yeah, you heard me…the drive-in is back, baby! And making it cooler than it ever was (even in the 1980’s) is the Galileo Open Air Cinema who, for many years now, has been screening the world’s greatest classics and blockbuster movies in stunning locations around the Cape, under nothing but a blanket of stars! The only difference is, now moviegoers will watch the movie from their car (nine months from now there will probably be a surge of new babies). Of course, the Galileo will be offering the same delicious food, sweet treats, hot beverages, wine, beer, candy, and popcorn but rather than buying at the venue, you’ll simply order online when you purchase your ticket and pick-up upon arrival.

Entry: R75 to R125 per person, depending on the number of people per car.

The Best Parks and Gardens in Cape Town (many of which are FREE)

With a walk in the park pretty much the only available activity on offer in the Cape these days, Capetonians are hitting the outdoors for the much-needed tranquility and restorative beauty of nature. Thankfully, we are blessed with an abundance of such places, from the Alphen Trail, Kirstenbosch Gardens, and Newlands Forest in the Southern Suburbs to the Company Gardens, Green Point Urban Park, and De Waal Park right in the city centre. Here are dk villas’ favourite Cape Town gardens and parks to visit….

De Waal Park, Oranjezicht

Where: Camp Street and Orange Street, Oranjezicht, Cape Town
Opening Times: 24 hours a day

One of De Waal Park’s lovely, tree-lined pathways (source: Wikimedia Commons)

De Waal Park is a community park and off-the-leash dog park located on the leafy periphery of the City Bowl in Oranjezicht. It’s a wide-open expanse of gently undulating grass dotted with large trees for shade (and birdlife). On any given day, you’ll find people walking their dogs here or sitting on picnic blankets under the shade of a tree, watching their kids chase each other. At the centre of the park, there is an old Victorian fountain, which also serves as an unofficial watering hole for the pooches. And then, around the periphery of the park, there’s a pathway that makes for a good jogging track. So, whether for fitness or a day of picnicking in the shade of a tree (or both), De Waal Park is a blissful, atmospheric oasis!

Alphen Trail, Constantia Green Belt

Where: 31 Alphen Drive, Constantia, Cape Town
Opening Times: 24 hours a day

Embarking from Alphen Drive, just off the M3 highway in the Cape’s historic and leafy suburb (and winelands) of Constantia, the Alphen Trail leads you on a meandering path alongside the Diep Rivier and the Constantia Green Belt that carpets its flanks. At only 20 to 25 minutes’ walk to its end point at Le Seuer Meadows (40 to 50 minutes’ return), it’s a super short and easy trail but its spectacularly rich and verdant surroundings (particularly in winter) explain its popularity. In fact, the Alphen Trail is widely regarded to be the most beautiful walking route in Constantia.

The Company Gardens, City Centre

Where: 19 Queen Victoria Street, Cape Town City Centre
Opening Times: Open daily from 07:30 to 20:30 in summer and 07:00 to 19:00 in winter.

The Company Gardens
View of Table Mountain from the front of the Company Gardens, right outside the Iziko Natural History Museum.

Originally, in the 1600’s, all manner of fruits and vegetables were grown in the Company Gardens to supply and restock the Dutch East India Company ships that were travelling to Asia, via the treacherous Cape of Storms. Today, its one of Cape Town’s most historic attractions, complete with bird aviaries, fountains, and friendly squirrels! These sprawling lawns, rose gardens, and tree-lined avenues offer visitors long, pleasant, and atmospheric walks, with the added benefit of being within a stone’s throw of downtown Cape Town, as well as the Iziko Natural History Museum, National Art Gallery, and Planetarium. The Company Gardens are a great place to bring the family for a picnic. Make sure you bring peanuts for the squirrels: they will eat right out of your hand!

Newlands Forests

Where: Off the M3 highway, Newlands, Table Mountain (Nature Reserve)
Opening Times: 24 hours a day

Newlands Forests
A tumble of pine trees on the eastern flanks of Table Mountain mark the canopy of the Newlands Forest (image source: Wikipedia Commons)

Not more than a 10-15 minute drive from the city centre (assuming there’s no traffic), right off the M3 highway, you’ll find the lush woodlands of Newlands Forests. Criss-crossed with long, leisurely, pine needle-carpeted walkways, this forest offers a shaded and peaceful destination for Capetonians desperate for a little tranquility and escape. Many of these paths, which climb the eastern flanks of the Table Mountain Nature Reserve, end in scenic viewpoints.

Newland forest (named after its home suburb) also offers an expansive picnic area with fire pits for braaiing and concrete tables and chairs, so plan for a long afternoon of relaxing after your walk! Do note that there is a small entrance fee per vehicle and per person; also, visitors are advised to walk in groups for safety.

Green Point Urban Park

Where: 4 Wiltshire Crescent, Green Point, Cape Town
Opening Times: Monday to Sunday, 07:00 to 19:00

Green Point Urban Park
The Green Point Urban Park spreads out to the west of Cape Town’s regal stadium, as seen from the air (source:

The Green Point Urban Park sprawls out quite lavishly to the west of the Cape Town Stadium, offering Capetonians a serene, wooded park with a tangle of trails for walking, jogging, and biking. Located right in the heart of one of Cape Town’s most highly urbanised suburbs and nightlife districts—Green Point—the park is a veritable lush oasis with the added benefits of the Tot-Lot Play Park for families with kids, a biodiversity garden, adventure and heritage gardens, a golf course, and even a fish-stocked lake!

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens

Where: Rhodes Drive, Newlands, Cape Town
Opening Times: 08:00 to 19:00 in summer (September to March) | 08:00 to 18:00 in winter (April to August)

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens
The Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens (Image source: Mattias Hill, Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikipedia Commons)

Located on the eastern flanks of Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch’s sweeping, emerald gardens are a spectacular and colourful celebration of life. Visitors here can get to truly appreciate the majesty and diversity of the Cape floral kingdom by navigating its complex network of pathways that lead through protected Fynbos, kalaeidescopic gardens, ancient forests, edible food gardens, and more. When you get hungry, you can stop in at the Kirstenbosch Tea Room ( for a lovely menu of family-friendly treats. Just be sure to check the website to make sure their regular services and facilities are available during COVID-19.

8 Things About Cape Town that are Better in Winter!

With the northward migration of the sub-tropical high pressure belt comes the periodic cold fronts that bring the Western Cape sweet rain and sweet respite from the gale-force south-easterly winds that pummel the peninsula every day during summer. So while we tend to associate winter with miserable weather, here in the Cape, it’s actually the perfect time of year to do a whole lot of outdoor (and cosy, indoor) activities! Here are 8 things about Cape Town that are better in winter….

1. Milder, cool weather perfect for hiking


Sure, the Cape gets cold fronts (and you definitely don’t want to be caught summiting a mountain during one of those) but after the 2017 water crisis, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a Capetonian who isn’t grateful for a downpour!

And, in any case, after a few days of rain, the sun typically comes out and then the weather is the picture of perfection for outdoor adventures like walking, hiking, and trail running. A light southerly breeze, cool daytime temperatures, and delicious (yet not too intense) sunshine are the ultimate trifecta for hitting the Cape’s many hiking trails.

The only things you need to be careful of are slippery paths and muddy tracks, so be sure to read up on your chosen hike beforehand, in case they warn against that.

2. Perfect beach weather


You’d think summer is the perfect time to head to the beach for a picnic, a stroll, or even a swim, if you can stand the nip of the cold Atlantic water. Yet, all too often, the Cape’s gale-force summertime south-easterly winds totally ruin a day on the beach by whipping up the sand into a stinging cloud and driving it into your legs and face. NO FUN.

During winter, however, the south-easterly winds pack their bags and leave the Cape alone for a few months of blissful calm!This means that on those sunny days between cold fronts (and the north-westerly winds they bring), you can head down to the beach and enjoy the gorgeous fresh sea breeze, sunshine that won’t scorch you within seconds, and sand that stays where it’s supposed to: beneath your beach towel!

3. Everything is green!


During summer, the city can appear brown and scorched with withered clumps of grass and bushes barely holding on for life. But with the arrival of life-giving rainfall in the Cape, everywhere, from fields to mountain flanks transforms into a kaleidoscope of colour! Grasses are emerald green with health, fynbos and Namaqua daisies bloom, and verdant flora carpets the Cape’s mountain ranges and peninsula with gorgeous, colourful, and audacious life. It’s truly beautiful to behold so put on your hiking boots and explore.

Many of the mountain trails also sprout waterfalls and gushing streams, which just adds to the magical experience.

4. Winter water wonderland for adventure sports

Winter water sports

Ask any water sports enthusiasts: the wind conditions (and therefore the waves)along the coast are better in winter! Although water sports like surfing and kite-surfing are super popular in summer too, winter has warmer sea temperatures to offer. For more advice on water sports and outdoor adventures in the Cape, check out DK Villas other blogs:

The Adrenalin Junkie’s Guide to Cape Town
Wet n’ Wild Water Sports on the Cape West Coast

5. Red, red wine

Red wine

Ah, there’s nothing quite like a glorious glass of Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon, Swartland Shiraz, Hemel-en-Aarde Valley Pinot Noir, or Franschhoek Bordeaux-style blend on a cold wintry evening. Throw a roaring fire and a loved one into the mix and you’ve got the greatest possible cliché for enjoying a winter’s evening (hey, if it works, why question it?)

The Cape’s numerous wine region and routes are the progenitors of a handsome suite of literally thousands of different red wines, catering to every palate and budget. So, when the darned liquor ban lifts, place your orders, stock your cellars, pour a glass of delicious local red wine, and make a toast to winter in the Cape!

Click here to read dk villas’ top red wine recommendations for winter.

6. The whales are here!


Every year, around June and July, great pods of southern right whales make their way northwards to the substantially warmer waters around South Africa, where they breed and give birth before travelling back south again to their feeding grounds around Antarctica. We also occasionally see humpback whales, Bryde’s whales, and several species of dolphins.

It’s during this special time of year that these enormous, yet gentle beasts can be seen from just about any vantage point along the Cape peninsula and southwestern Cape coastline!The most notable of these vantage points are found in False Bay, Cape Agulhas, and, of course, the famous whale-watching town of Hermanus, which the World Wildlife Fund has rated as one of the top 12 whale-watching locations in the world. But, really, you can see the whales from anywhere along the coast, including Camps Bay and Hout Bay.

7. Time for the annual blooming of the wildflowers


The Cape practically has an international reputation for the annual blooming of its wildflower. Every winter (towards the end of August and for only a few precious weeks)billions of bulbs and seeds that have lain dormant in the soil erupt into a blooming flowers, carpeting the Cape and much of its West Coast in swaths of orange, purple, red, and white. It’s an attraction that draws hundreds of locals and tourists each year, but with 2020’s travel bans, you can at least enjoy the spectacle in relative peace.

Some of the best places to view the wildflowers include Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens; Postberg Flower Reserve at the West Coast National Park; Citrusdal, the centre for South Africa’s fruit farming industry; Karoo Desert National Botanical Garden; Darling Renosterveld Local Nature Reserve; Ramskop Nature Reserve near Clanwilliam in the Cederberg; Cape Columbine Nature Reserve near Paternoster; Harold Porter Botanical Garden; Tienie Versfeld Wildflower Reserve near Darling; and the Namaqua National Park.

8. Witness the Cape of Storms in action!

The weather isn’t always perfect in winter. Every so often, an enormous storm rolls in—storms that remind us why our far-flung peninsula has earned a reputation as “the Cape of Storms!” While you can’t exactly venture out into the bad weather—with its driving rain, intense north-westerly gusts, and even occasional hail and lightning—you can drive (very carefully) to a high vantage point along the coast and enjoy the show!

Watch in awe as the wind drives massive swells into the peninsula’s cliff faces, crashing waves pound against the shore, and squalls of rain bands thrash the ocean surface into a fury. The Cape’s storms are an incredible expression of nature’s power, which can be enjoyed safely from your car (maybe even with a thermos of coffee or hot chocolate!) Just drive slowly and carefully, and choose a spot that is a decent altitude or distance away from the actual shoreline.

It’s not uncommon for angry winter waves to breach barriers, sending foam and water spilling into parking lots and coastal roads!

DK Villas turns 2 AND Johann and Petra De Kock celebrate 15 years together!

The month of August 2020 represents several blissful milestones for the husbandand-wife team behind dk villas, Johann and Petra de Kock. On the 13th August 2020, the visionary Cape Town duo reaches their 15-year wedding anniversary. And two days later, on the 15th, their luxury accommodation company, dk villas, turns two.

What a month!

When asked how dk villas intends to celebrate its two-year milestone, Petra answered: “We are busy looking at one-bedroom apartments to add to the family!”

Currently, the dk villas portfolio consists of two gorgeous properties in Hout Bay—one two-bedroom, two-bathroom on Victoria Road (located at The Boardwalk) and one three-bedroom, two-bathroom in the Harbour View complex on the Main Road—as well as a tranquil, two-bedroom, two-bathroom beach cottage in Dwarskersbos on the West Coast.

The Boardwalk
dk villas’ two-bedroom property at The Boardwalk, Victoria Road, Hout Bay
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Harbour View
dk villas’ three-bedroom property at Harbour View, Main Road, Hout Bay
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Skilliepark, Dwarskersbos
dk villas’ two-bedroom beach cottage in Skilliepark, Dwarskersbos, the West Coast
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All of the three properties have been lovingly decorated and lavishly appointed by Johann and Petra to reflect their taste for luxury, modern appliances, and gorgeous aesthetics (with a generous touch of hominess). They’re also offering 15% off on all bookings until 30th September 2021, so if you’re interested in experiencing the dk villas lifestyle, head on over to the website to book!

Another member of the dk villas family

With these three jewels in the crown of dk villas having enjoyed a steady stream of happy tourists and locals over the past two years, it only makes sense that dk villas celebrates this milestone with the addition of a fourth!

At the time of writing, Johann and Petra had begun the apartment hunt, favouring the Chapman’s Peak side of Hout Bay’s valley as the location of their next property.

“But we’re in no hurry,” says Petra. “We’ll only buy if the apartment ‘talks’ to us,” a sentiment that is very much in keeping with the dk villas brand, which takes the complete opposite of a cookie-cutter approach to curating its luxury rental properties. Each property has a distinct personality and feel that most high-end hotels and luxury accommodations fail to achieve, striking a perfect balance between modern and home comfort.

Crystal wedding anniversary

Crystal wedding anniversary

Another huge milestone for Johann and Petra this month is their 15-year wedding anniversary.

“We have booked a romantic couple photo shoot to celebrate, but only in November, COVID-19 permitting of course,” says Johann.

“And we’re going skydiving!” adds Petra, although she hasn’t yet revealed the surprise to Johann. “I have to admit I’m nervous of jumping out of an airplane (who wouldn’t be?) but we’re going ahead with it, unless Johann changes his mind.”

This daring decision to go skydiving to celebrate their crystal wedding anniversary comes on the heels of Petra being rushed to hospital on Sunday, 5th July 2020 having been utterly blind-sided by a heart attack.

Johann leaped to her aid, administering CPR (and saving her life) until Petra could be taken to hospital, where she had a stent placed in her heart.

“He literally saved my life,” she said, although she suffered a cracked sternum for his ardent efforts. “Once my heart is healed and I’m cleared by my doctor, this is an adventure we really want to go on. Surviving a heart attack makes all other ‘dangers’ seem so small and inconsequential.”

15 Years together and a lifetime yet to go….

August is indeed a special month for Johann and Petra de Kock who, together, have achieved and overcome so much. With a new lease on life (and hopefully a new jewel to add to their property portfolio soon), the next year can only bring further adventure and love of life, property, and each other!