Delicious virgin cocktail recipes for a booze-free summer

Just when we thought we’d seen the last of prohibition, BAM. Like the tremor that comes after a devastating earthquake, Uncle Cyril drops another alcohol ban on the country. Effective immediately. So if you, like millions of South Africans, didn’t have the chance to stock up and are now facing down a booze-free summer, we have these words of advice for you: fake it until you make it with these delicious mocktail recipes!


1. Blueberry ginger cooler

Blueberry ginger cooler

What you need:

  • 1 Litre water
  • 1¼ Fresh (or frozen) blueberries
  • Fresh ginger, grated (one heaped tablespoon)
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons sugar (depending on the sweetness you like)
  • 2 to 3 tins of unsweetened lemon/lime sparkling water (or just sparkling water and then the juice of one lemon)
  • Crushed ice

How to make your blueberry ginger cooler:

  1. Add water, fresh blueberries, and grated ginger to a pan on medium-high heat and bring to boil.
  2. Stir in the sugar until it dissolves.
  3. Lower the heat and mash the blueberries until you have a jam-like mixture.
  4. Allow to simmer for a further 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat and allow to cool down to room temperature.
  6. Then, cover with cling wrap and leave for the flavours to develop for two to three hours.
  7. Strain the syrup into a clear bowl or pouring glass. If you don’t intend on using it right away, you can put it in the fridge.
  8. To craft your blueberry ginger cooler, fill ⅔ of your glass with your delicious syrup and add crushed ice.
  9. Then, add lemon-lime sparkling water and stir to combine the syrup and soda.
  10. Garnish with fresh lemon or mint and blueberries and enjoy!

2. Roasted peach and strawberry fizz

What you need:

  • 3 Peaches
  • 600 Grams of strawberries
  • 1½ Cup apple juice
  • 1½ Sparkling water
  • Lots of crushed ice

How to make your roasted peach and strawberry fizz:

  1. Preheat the oven to 175°C.
  2. Halve the peaches (removing the pits) and strawberries
  3. Put on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and roast for 25 minutes.
  4. Take out and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before peeling off the peach skins.
  5. Blend the peaches with the apple juice to make a smooth purée.
  6. Blend the strawberries separately.
  7. Divide the strawberry purée into six glasses and add ice.
  8. Pour the peach and apple juice mixture over the ice, add sparkling water, and enjoy!

Check out the original recipe on Use Your Noodle.


3. Grapefruit kombucha agua fresca

Grapefruit kombucha agua fresca

What you need (makes two cups):

  • 1 Cup 100% grapefruit juice
  • 1 Cup (unflavoured) kombucha tea. If you can’t find that, use rooibos.
  • 1 Teaspoon of maple syrup (or more if you like your mocktails sweet)
  • 2 Sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • Crushed or whole ice (depending on your preferences)
  • Optional: sparkling water

How to make your grapefruit kombucha agua fresca:

  1. Mix together your grapefruit juice, kombucha (or rooibos tea), and maple syrup in a pitcher or two-cup measure.
  2. Fill two glasses with ice and pour in your delicious mixture.
  3. Add a splash of sparkling water if you’d like an effervescent drink.
  4. Finish off with a sprig of rosemary (but rub between your hands before to release the oils).
  5. If you want it sweeter, just add a little more maple syrup, and enjoy!

Check out the original recipe on the Will Frolic for Food.


4. Virgin piña colada

What you need:

  • 1 Cup of pineapple juice
  • 1 Cup canned coconut milk
  • ¼ Cup of granulated sugar
  • ¼ Cup of heavy whipping cream
  • 1 Teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 8 Cups of cubed ice

How to make your virgin piña colada:

Easy peasy: throw all the ingredients into a blender and blend until they’re reduced to smooth, velvety, and delicious mocktail! Garnish with a slice of pineapple.


5. Mango lemon margarita mocktail

Mango lemon margarita mocktail

What you need:

  • Fresh mango (puréed)
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons of simple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 500 ml of sparkling water
  • 1 Wedge of fresh lemon
  • Coarse sugar (to coat the rim of your glass)
  • Ice cubes
  • Fresh sprigs of mint to garnish

How to make your mango lemon margarita mocktail:

  1. Peel and cut up your mango and purée it in a blender until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Pour four tablespoons of water and four tablespoons of sugar into a pan and heat (while stirring) until the sugar has fully dissolved.
  3. Allow to cool to room temperature before using. Congratulations, you have just made your own simple syrup!
  4. Combine the mango purée, homemade simple syrup, and lemon juice in a large pitcher and stir in the sparkling water. Be careful not to over-stir or else you’ll lose all that sparkle!
  5. Rub the fresh lemon wedge over the rim of your glassware and then dip into the coarse sugar.
  6. Place a few ice cubes in each glass, pour in your mocktail, garnish with mint, and enjoy!

Check out the original recipe on An Edible Mosaic.


6. Tropical mocktail

What you need:

  • Two oranges
  • 1 tin of pineapple-flavoured sparkling water
  • ¼ Cup of raspberries
  • 8 to 10 large strawberries, chopped
  • An ice-cube tray

How to make your tropical mocktail:

  1. Optional step: Cut a strawberry into small pieces and place one piece per ice cube compartment. Fill with water and freeze.
  2. Chill your glasses by filling them with ice and water or putting them in the freezer for an hour.
  3. Muddle the strawberries and raspberries into a paste.
  4. Juice the oranges and add the pineapple-flavoured sparkling water.
  5. Add the mashed strawberry and raspberry paste and gently stir in.
  6. Add your fruity ice to your chilled glasses and strain your tropical fruity mixture into them.
  7. Bottoms up!

Check out the original recipe on Jess Explains It All.


7. Orange mint mocktail

Orange mint mocktail

What you need:

  • 2 Cups orange juice
  • ¼ Cup lemon juice (squeezed)
  • ½ Cup club soda / carbonated water
  • ¼ Cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 to 3 slices of orange
  • Fresh mint
  • Ice cubes (as required)

How to make your orange mint mocktail:

  1. Mix orange juice, lemon juice, water, and sugar in a pitcher until the sugar has completely dissolved.
  2. Throw in a sprig of mint (but crush beforehand to liberate the oils) and allow to steep for 10 to 20 minutes.
  3. Garnish a glass with slices of orange, mint leaves, and ice cubes and pour in the desired volume of your juice.
  4. Top up with soda water and serve!

8. Raspberry lemonade virgin mojito

Raspberry lemonade virgin mojito

What you need (per serving):

  • 15 mint leaves
  • 30 ml simple syrup
  • 60 ml freshly squeezed lime juice
  • One cup (235 ml) raspberry flavoured sparkling water
  • Fresh raspberries, mint, and wedge of lime to garnish

How to make your Raspberry lemonade virgin mojito:

  1. Throw the mint leaves into a tall glass.
  2. Gently crush the leaves with a pestle or other blunt tool (this is called muddling in mixology)!
  3. Pour in the simple syrup and lime juice and add a handful of ice.
  4. Fill the remaining glass with raspberry flavoured sparkling water.
  5. Garnish with fresh raspberries, a sprig of mint, and a lime wedge.

Check out the original recipe on West of the Loop: a Cook in Cook County.

Get Excited About Travel Again:
2021’s Best Travel Destinations, PART 2

With the arrival of a COVID-19 vaccine and—FINALLY—a much-anticipated handle on this virus that has caused such global upset, countries around the world are reopening their borders and welcoming international travellers. And while some may be hesitant to venture forth so soon after such a catastrophic 2020, many are saying 2021 may be the best possible year for travel.

Why? Well, think of all those previously terribly congested tourist attractions and in-demand restaurants and hotels: wide open! With the world only just getting back on its feet, now is the time to plan those travels and make the most of those special deals and discounts and relative quiet.

Previously, in Part 1 of this three-part blog series on the best travel destinations in 2021, we took readers on an exploration of six different countries/cities: Costa Rica, Kenya, New Zealand, Mexico, Slovenia, and, our very own backyard, Cape Town, South Africa. Now, in Part 2, we’re going to travel to Qatar in the Middle East, Puglia (Italy), the Islands of Tahiti, Ireland, Rwanda, and Greece.

Let’s go!


Qatar, UAE

Qatar, UAE

Located on a peninsula jutting out into the Arabian Sea, Qatar sits like a veritable jewel of futuristic skyscrapers and ultramodern architecture on the shimmering shores of the Persian Gulf, where desert meets sea. Here, an abundance of wealth is ostentatiously splashed out on the design of buildings that seem to come straight out of a science fiction movie set one century in the future.

But, side-by-side with this modernity are vestiges of a truly ancient culture, which are evident in the citywide songs of the Imam (prayer leader), the fragrant souks (marketplaces), and the Islamic design of many of its heritage buildings. Qatar was also recently voted the number one safest country in the world, which may come as a relief to anyone unsure of travelling to a destination such as the Middle East, which perpetually finds itself in global news headlines (and usually for all the wrong reasons).

So, what is there to do in Qatar? Being the wealthiest country on Earth, there is no shortage of glamor to be found here: glitzy hotels, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and resorts. You can meander through Souk Wakif, Doha’s ancient marketplace, or walk along the Doha Corniche, waterfront promenade. Then there’s dune bashing, the Museum of Islamic art, a visit to Al Zubarah Fort and the abandoned village, and so much more!


Puglia, Italy

Puglia, Italy

If our words don’t do Puglia justice, the above photo certainly will! Although Italy was amongst the first countries hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a resurgence of tourism here, quite simply because it is so irresistibly beautiful! Puglia perches at the heel of the “boot” of Italy and is known for its twinkling whitewashed hill towns and hundreds of kilometres of stunning Mediterranean coastline.

Here, there is historical sightseeing to do, gorgeous seaside resorts to steep yourself in, olive groves to meander through, and a rather romantic tradition of wine-making to explore. The capital Bari is a colourful and energetic university town; Alberobello and the Itria Valley are home to gorgeous, distinctive stone huts with conical roofs; and Lecce, with its baroque architecture, is known as the “Florence of the South”.

Being southern Italy, food is a key attraction in Puglia too; so don’t expect to honour any kind of diet (unless it’s a “see-food” diet: you see it, you eat it).


The Islands of Tahiti

The Islands of Tahiti

If one were to call up a picture of your archetypical island paradise, complete with palm-fringed beaches, turquoise water, and tropical climate, the island of Tahiti would be it: the largest islands in French Polynesia, an archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean. Tahiti is divided into two islands: Tahiti Nui (the larger, western section) and Tahiti Iti (the eastern peninsula) and boasts all kinds of exciting attractions like black-sand beaches, lagoons, overwater accommodations, extinct volcanoes, sailing, and waterfalls embraced by thick jungle.

The nice thing about the islands of Tahiti and the greater French Polynesia (there are 118 South Pacific islands) is that they offer visitors so much remote coastline and so many secluded beaches that safe, social distancing is effortless. They’re also pretty good about pre-testing each traveller for COVID-19 and have implemented a “Common Cancellation Policy” so, if your trip is cancelled, you don’t have to worry about losing your money.


Ireland

Ireland

Home to Guinness, rolling green countryside, Irish whiskey, dramatic Atlantic Ocean cliffs, and charming Irish pubs, Ireland is, for visitors, the whole package: history, natural beauty, gastronomy, and great drink!

Ireland is a North Atlantic island separated from Great Britain by the North Channel, the Irish Sea, and St George's Channel. Given its size, one of the Emerald Isle’s greatest draw cards is that you can take in five, breath-takingly beautiful yet totally different regions in a single trip, giving you a really diverse yet authentic experience.

Explore the Wild Atlantic Way, which stretches from the West Cork coastline to the beaches in Donegal; the Hidden Heartlands; Ireland’s Ancient East; the beguiling capital city of Dublin; and Northern Ireland, with its wild landscapes and opportunities for stargazing.


Rwanda

Rwanda

Sustainable, safe travel has been at the forefront of Rwanda’s tourism efforts since 2005, when the program to help communities near Rwanda's national parks was established. So, with the world tentatively emerging from COVID-19, Rwanda has responded swiftly in an effort to resume tourism activities with an emphasis on safety, not only to protect locals and visitors, but also its indigenous and severely threatened populations of primates.

Located in the lush, volcanically active Great Rift Valley of East Africa, Rwanda is a destination for tourists whose fascination in Africa extends beyond the typical luxury safari experience. It’s most famous attraction are hikes deep into its rainforests to spot rare, shy birds, and families of gorillas, and it’s the strict limit on tourist numbers that makes these experiences both intimate and safe (from a COVID-19 perspective).


Greece

Greece

The prospect of travelling to Greece brings to mind the famous cliffs of Santorini, where whitewashed cottages cling to the hillsides, overlooking the glittering Aegean Sea below. But there’s a lot more to this country than these postcard images (although they, in themselves, are enough to convince one to go). For example: there’s Athens, the capital city, which is home to many of Greece’s iconic and historic monuments and landmarks, including the 5th Century B.C. Acropolis citadel with the Parthenon temple.

Greece actually consists of thousands of islands, which are scattered throughout the Aegean and Ionian seas like jewels. In ancient times, Greece was a place of enormous influence, giving rise to the disciplines of philosophy, mathematics, and democratic government. Its contributions to humankind are, in fact, what has credited Greece as being the cradle of Western civilization!


Stay tuned for Part 3 in February 2021

Next month, we take a look at a final six gorgeous bucket-list destinations to explore in 2021, so stay tuned for Part 3!

New Year’s Resolutions for a New Life, Post COVID-19

Lose weight. Get fit. Eat better. Quit smoking. Get a boyfriend. Master the electric guitar. Learn to speak Spanish…sound familiar?

New year’s resolutions are those things we love to hate. On the one hand, is there any better start to a fresh year than with the hope of a “new you”? On the other hand, when the clock strikes midnight, you’re still…well, you (a few glasses of bubbly down). There is no magic transformation.

To make matters more difficult, after the year we’ve all had, few people have the emotional fortitude to kick old, hard habits…especially when they involve cheesecake and “Netflix and chill”.

BUT, we’re not suggesting you develop washboard abs or quit sugar. We’re suggesting a new theme for 2021—new resolutions for a new life, post COVID-19—because we could all do with a bit of a break from the pressure of chronic over-achievement.

And, one thing is for certain: we could all do with a little more of the following…


New Year’s Resolution # 1: Practice compassion and patience…with YOURSELF

Practice compassion and patience…with YOURSELF

One of the things we lack MOST in this life, and yet has a remarkable influence on positive mental health, is a loving internal dialogue. All-too-often, we tend to speak to ourselves without any sensitivity, love, or compassion and we berate and shame ourselves when we fall short of other people. We’ve just emerged from one of the hardest years the world has seen in decades. We’re all struggling in different ways and what you need now more than ever is compassion and patience.

So, when you’re not feeling productive or you fall short of your goals (whether personal or professional), rather than shame and guilt yourself over it, practice that compassion and patience. Cut yourself a break. Forgive yourself. Give yourself permission to do absolutely nothing. Be compassionate. You can always pick up and start over tomorrow, or the next week, or the next month. However long it takes. You’ve got this.


New Year’s Resolution # 2: Be grateful for your body

Be grateful for your body

Another way in which we tend to be so hard and unloving with ourselves is through our body image. We throw ourselves into diets and exercise regimes and when we fall off the wagon, we feel literal guilt, shame, and even self-loathing. But if there’s anything 2020 has taught us, it is to be grateful for good health. So, rather than fixating on your imperfections, be grateful for your body.

Besides, less than 1% of the planet’s population is as ripped as Brad Pitt in Troy or Gal Gadot in Wonder Woman (and they would probably have killed for a cheeseburger during filming).

If you want to create an actionable goal around this resolution, take five minutes—literally just five minutes—a day to think about all the things you like about your body and are grateful for. Recite them to yourself silently or out loud: whatever works for you, and feel the gratitude flooding your body.

I have beautiful skin. I’m grateful for my skin.
I am in good health. I’m grateful for my health.
I have two, strong legs. I’m grateful for the ability to run.


New Year’s Resolution # 3: Get outside more

Get outside more

During the darkest months of the pandemic, after weeks inside and with very little open (like restaurants, cinemas, and gyms), we rediscovered the sublime joy of being in nature. We allowed green back into our lives: oxygen, birdsong, the smell of leaf litter, and the sound of tinkling water, and it fixed something we didn’t even know was broken before. So keep it up. Keep getting out into nature. Keep going on those walks, runs, hikes in the mountains, farmlands, parks, beaches, and more. Nature is so deeply restorative because it is our first and original home.


New Year’s Resolution # 4: Stop comparing your suffering to others

Stop comparing your suffering to others

All-too-often, people suppress their emotions because this or that person has it harder than them.

“What right do I have to cry when there are people with so much less or who are suffering so much more than me?”

To that, we say: you are missing the point entirely.

You have a right to feel pain, disappointment, frustration, and sadness. 2020 Has been so incredibly painful, even if your home and health situation was, by comparison, pretty good. It has still been a traumatic year and you have every right to have a good cry if you need to.

By the same token, don’t ever shame anyone else out of his or her emotions by comparing their suffering to Joe Soap’s. Allow the people around you to grieve as and when they need to. Feelings are there to be felt. Once they are felt, they can be safely and healthily filed away.


New Year’s Resolution # 5: Redefine your heroes

Redefine your heroes

Real life super heroes don’t wear colourful spandex or expensive Italian business suits. They wear Mr Price clothing, blue hospital scrubs, and delivery overalls.

This has been one of the key lessons 2020 taught us: society’s (and the world’s) greatest heroes were the front-line workers breaking their backs to keep us safe, heal us, and send the sick back home safely to their families. They were the nurses, the emergency responders, the deliverymen and women keeping grocery store shelves stocked, and the essential business staff who came to work every day, even when the rest of us sought shelter in our homes.

They were the scientists working around the clock to develop a vaccine; the people who volunteered to take the vaccine in its experimental stages; and the logistics people who are hard at work distributing and deploying that vaccine around the world.

2020 Showed us a whole house of new (real) heroes and exposed the house-of-cards heroes we foolishly worshipped before…the politicians and the rich who didn’t even put a cent on the line, never mind their own lives, to save people.


New Year’s Resolution # 6: Be grateful for the lessons COVID-19 taught us

Be grateful for the lessons COVID-19 taught us

COVID-19 and the million-plus lives it claimed will have been in vain if we did not recognise and learn from the lessons it taught us:

  • Humankind is frail alone, yet powerful when united in a common cause.
  • Black, white, Asian, Indian, Latino…we are not each other’s enemy. It took a more sinister enemy than the ones we thought we were fighting to show us that.
  • Human connection and time spent in nature is VITAL to good mental health.
  • Good mental health is VITAL to overall physical health.
  • Society is capable of change: of rapid evolution. We should use that to our advantage in combatting serious issues like systemic racism and the climate crisis.

These are just a few. We’re sure you can think of even more.

So, with these six new year’s resolutions for a new, post-COVID-19 world, it is our most ardent hope that you and your family are able to heal in all the ways you need to heal and that 2021 brings us all much better health and happiness.

From the team here at dk villas, happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

2020 In the rear view mirror: what we’ve learned

Right about now, social media platforms like Facebook will be showing you posts you made this time one year ago… in December 2019, when you had absolutely no idea of what 2020 would bring. You don’t know whether you want to laugh or cry seeing photos of yourself happily braai’ing with friends or going to live concerts with thousands of other people, or travelling to exotic destinations. Those were the days. If only you knew. In these pictures and posts you were probably a much happier human being, or at the very least a lot more carefree. But this year has been a global reckoning of sorts and a tragedy for millions of families all over the world. Maybe even your family, too.

Even those of us in the best possible situations—with the finances and support system needed to get through the crisis—are grappling with the depression of isolation and collective trauma of watching humankind stagger against a viral pandemic, as well as the terrible mistakes of our forefathers in building political and economic structures that were both systemically racist and misogynistic and environmentally damaging. It has been a devastating year in so many ways to so many people.

To make matters worse, life goes on, as they say. People continue to get sick with non-COVID diseases, accidents happen, and people suffer. We know. The team here at dk villas has had a few of its own personal crises this year, as have many, many other people. And with 2020 drawing to a close, it compels one to say…

What a SH*TTY year 2020 has been!!

A dangerous and highly contagious virus swept the entire planet, affecting even the most remote reaches of all five continents. A wildfire of equal intensity swept the world, drawing awareness to the deep roots of racism that persist in our society. There were deadly earthquakes near Greece, a freak explosion in Beirut, wildfires in California and Washington, a humanitarian crisis in Yemen, floods in Vietnam and Cambodia, a volcanic eruption in the Philippines, and many, many other disasters and tragedies.

In spite of all this, we would like to propose an alternative narrative to the current doom and gloom. We propose a more hopeful narrative:

2020 Has not brought us sickness. It has brought us awareness of the illnesses and vulnerabilities with which we have been living for decades, if not centuries. 2020 Brought us awareness of our frailty as a species and how we should be protecting ourselves; it showed us how terribly we’ve been polluting the planet when, after a few weeks in lockdown, the skies and rivers cleared; it taught us that our greatest heroes—teachers, healthcare workers, and all the people who keep our grocery store shelves stocked—live amongst us as perfectly ordinary yet essential, brave, (and all-too-often underpaid) people.

2020 Taught us, with every aching heartbeat, the importance of friends and family; it showed us how resilient we are as a society when lead by brave, knowledgeable, and intelligent leaders; and it proved that, if need be, we CAN change. We can change our habits, our lifestyles, and our ways of thinking, even overnight if called for…and it was called for and we rose to the challenge.

We here at dk villas emerge from 2020 feeling utterly broken yet proud of ourselves for having made it through. And instead of sinking into the sadness of it all, we choose to honour a different narrative: one of gratitude and greater awareness. Before 2020, we took for granted the gift of human connection: now we see and feel how very essential it is. Before 2020 people like nurses and teachers were under-appreciated. Now we see them as heroes

All around the world, we see evidence of change and hope. And not only change in the course of the virus humankind is collectively fighting but also within some of the longest established political and economic structures of the world’s most powerful nations. There is so much more hope now than there was in 2019, even though society today feels as thought it’s been dragged through broken glass backwards.

You’ve got to break the bone to reset it so that it can heal properly. And that’s what 2020 has done in so many ways; though for many it must feel impossible to see and appreciate it. With time, we hope, you will.

For us here at dk villas, we see 2020 as an opportunity to learn, to become aware, and to practice gratitude for all the things we had before but didn’t appreciate, like friendship, connection, and good health. Now, with the festive season upon us, we would like to send our love to every one of you reading this and wish you a more hopeful perspective for the coming year. May 2021 see healing in all the ways that you and humankind require healing.

Merry Christmas and a much happier and healthier 2021 to you!

Get Excited About Travel Again:
2021’s Best Travel Destinations, PART 1

After 2020’s global travel restrictions and border shutdowns, the idea of getting on a plane explore some far-flung corner of the world seems like a pipe dream. But with a COVID-19 vaccine on the way (and in current deployment in many places), travel in 2021 isn’t an “if” anymore but a distinct possibility. In fact, some may argue, 2021 may be the best possible year for travel! Not only are the airports and world’s top attractions relatively uncongested by tourist traffic but travel companies and tourism boards are offering all kinds of delicious deals to get the ball rolling again.

And so, with that said, we thought we’d compile this three-part blog series to honour some of the countries we thought would make excellent international destinations in the new year. Many of these are off-the-beaten track, which is what makes them so suitable in these times of social isolation: fewer tourists = safer travel! Let’s dive right in…


Costa Rica

Costa Rica

One look at the picture above and it’s perfectly clear why Costa Rica would make such a magical getaway. After an entire year of being housebound, dramatic vistas of thick jungle, volcanic peaks, and turquoise beaches would be the perfect salve for bored eyes. But more than just being a spectacularly beautiful country, Costa Rica’s government has been applauded for its management of the COVID-19 crisis and has managed to maintain one of the lowest fatality rates in Latin America! This makes it a top destination for travellers itching to get abroad.

This rugged, rainforested Central American country is also a global leader in sustainability and conservation, with a staggering 99.5% of its energy being completely clean and renewable. Some other attractions here include ziplining, through the jungle canopy, gloriously beautiful beaches and coastlines, whale watching, volcanoes, wildlife and birdlife viewing, and a collection of culture and historical attractions in its cities.


Kenya

Picture the opening film sequence to The Lion King. These landscapes (albeit animated) were inspired by Kenya, a country known internationally for its exceptional wildlife and birdlife, and spectacular, wide-open country where there is nothing obstructing the meeting of horizon and sky. And it’s for this reason that Kenya makes it onto our list of must-explore 2021 travel destinations.

Kenya makes social distancing easy simply because so much of the country consists of sweeping, wide open landscapes. By all accounts too, the government has been taking COVID-19 seriously by implementing rigorous testing and temperature taking practices in public places. And…given the fact that tourism has slowed to a trickle, you should be able to book yourself into normally impossible-to-book places like Segera, Sasaab, and Angama Mara, which is where you’ll see a diversity of animals, plants, and birds you thought only possible of the Garden of Eden.


New Zealand

Few other countries on the planet have dealt with COVID-19 as effectively and successfully as New Zealand. This island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean has managed to keep its total coronavirus cases—to date—to just over 2,000 cases, which is virtually unheard of for such a populous, well-travelled country. (At the time of writing.)

Of course, a reason for this success has been the fact that New Zealand has kept its borders closed since the outset of the pandemic. But with 2021 bringing the COVID-19 vaccine and hope for a restoration of order, it’s only a matter of time before the country once again welcomes visitors. And when it does, you can look forward to some truly stunning and dramatic landscapes, some of which you may recognise from the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy!

Sweeping coastlines, rugged snow-capped mountains, and emerald hills…New Zealand’s natural beauty is nothing short of surreal. There are also national parks, geothermal pools, island chains, beaches, world-famous winelands, and cosmopolitan cities to explore.


Mexico

Known and loved for its vibrant culture, cuisine, and history, Mexico is a country whose heart beats with a powerful and infectious rhythm. There are picture-perfect beaches framed by turquoise waters like Los Cabos; cobbled streets with kaleidoscopic characters and cultural celebrations to participate in; mouth-watering food to explore (and not the blasphemous American knock-offs we’re all so accustomed to); historical attractions, monuments, and ruins, and so, so much more.

Some places and towns to add to your itinerary include Mérida, the capital city of Mexico’s Yucatán province (which is, by the way, on the coastline adjacent to where the meteorite that wiped out the dinosaurs hit!) There’s also the food lover’s paradise, San Miguel de Allende, which Condé Nast Traveller recently voted the best small city in the world. And then Mexico City itself: the country capital and an unforgettable celebration of food and culture.


Slovenia

Slovenia

We bet you hadn’t thought of Slovenia as a destination for your travel bucket list! That’s because this gorgeous country has, until this year, been quite overlooked not only by South Africans but also globally really. Italy, its neighbour, tends to steal the limelight but Slovenia has just as much to offer, including a safer travel experience what with much lower COVID-19 cases than Italy.

For starters, Slovenia was named the world’s most sustainable country by National Geographic (Ljubljana, its capital, is known as Europe’s Green Capital). Then, there are the country’s beautiful mountains, ski resorts, lakes, and history and heritage, as told through its medieval castles and churches and baroque façade buildings. Wherever you look: a feast for the eyes…and the stomach, apparently! In 2020, Slovenia was named the “European Region of Gastronomy for 2021” and had six of its restaurants awarded a total of seven Michelin stars!

As if it couldn’t get better, Slovenia offers a wonderful climate. It’s quite simply, all around, one of the top travel destinations for 2021.


Staycation in Cape Town!

Last, but by no means least, is our very own backyard: glorious Cape Town. Each year, hundreds of thousands of tourists make their way through Cape Town International Airport for one, two, maybe three weeks of once-in-a-lifetime travel adventure. And we have the luxury of living here! So, if an international trip isn’t on the cards for you in 2021, make it the year of the staycation and become reacquainted with your city after so many months of lockdown.

Go downtown and explore (on foot) the centuries-long history of our city or go on a gastronomical or coffee tour of our many, award-winning restaurants, bars, and cafés. Head out into the winelands for scenery of vineyard-carpeted valleys framed by spectacular mountain chains, as well as some of the top wine-and-dine experiences the country—heck, even the continent—has to offer. Go for a drive along the Cape peninsula and marvel at our staggeringly beautiful, almost terrifyingly dramatic coastal vistas, from the world-famous Chapman’s Peak to the very tip of the Cape of Storms. Or what about an exhilarating abseil down Table Mountain, zip-line through Elgin forests, or skydive over the West Coast?

Cape Town is a destination in which you could do something different every day for a year and still have more to explore and experience. So, like we said, if international travel isn’t on your agenda for 2021, for whatever reason, make it the year of the ultimate staycation.


Stay tuned for Part 2 in January 2021

Next month, we take a look at another six gorgeous bucket-list destinations to explore in 2021, so stay tuned for Part 2!

For the Love of Art:
dk villas’ Latest Masterpieces!

Beautiful views, tranquil décor, and high-end luxury are all things you’re sure to find at dk villas’ three (and now four) guesthouse accommodations. But there is another: a love of local art, which is evident in the collections Johann and Petra have curated for their properties.

In this blog, we pay homage to the local artists whose gorgeous works dk villas has chosen for their new location in Hout Bay, as well as to the gallery (and gallery owner) that so passionately promotes them. Let’s travel to the Bay Gallery in Langebaan and meet local artists Erika Gricius, Antonia Velissariou Moshonas, Joan Schrauwen, and Kervin Cupido.


Daphne Devey and the Bay Gallery in Langebaan

Daphne Devey and the Bay Gallery in Langebaan

It all starts with Daphne Devey, the owner of the Bay Gallery in Langebaan, where dk villas goes to find artwork to adorn the walls of their four rental accommodations: three of which are located in Hout Bay and one in Dwarskersbos on the West Coast.

“We always use Daphne Devey of the Bay Gallery in Langebaan,” says Petra de Kock. “She passionately promotes local artists and we love supporting her.”

The Bay Gallery has been supporting local West Coast artists for many years and provides a home for their unique art, both in-store and online. There is no restriction on the artistic medium one can discover here, either. The gallery exhibits many forms of quality local art, including paintings (oil, acrylic, water colour, and mixed media); sculpture (hand-crafted wood carving, ceramic, and fluorite); ceramics (handmade bowls and dishes); and printed (local interest cards, Frans Groenewald cards, and birthday calendars).

(For more information on the Bay Gallery, go to www.bay-gallery.myshopify.com or contact Daphne Devey at +27 (0) 73 304 8744 or baygallery@xsinet.co.za. Gallery address: 15 Seeduiker Crescent.)

And with the fourth property in our portfolio nearing completion, the dk villas team took a trip to the Bay Gallery to handpick some artworks for the walls of our new apartment.


Meet the artists and their glorious artworks

"Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time."
— Thomas Merton

Erika Gricius

Erika Gricius

Artwork: ‘New shoes cure the blues’ by Erika Gricius

Erika Gricius is a West Coast artist who has been with the Bay Gallery for several years. She describes art as “her happy place” and is inspired by the beauty one can find in everyday life: in people, books, music, and quotes. Erika’s shoe paintings, of which she has done a fabulous series, began when she first painted her daughter’s wedding shoes. Her preferred medium is acrylic paint (in bold colours) and mixed media, often using collage as well. Erika also paints landscapes, still life, street scenes, and occasionally portraits, but it was her shoe artworks that dk villas fell in love with.

The artworks pictured above and below (plus another one not shown) are the three we’ve purchased for our new property.

Artwork: ‘Leopard print’ by Erika Gricius


Antonia Velissariou Moshonas

Antonia Velissariou Moshonas

Artwork: ‘Franschhoek’ by Antonia Velissariou Moshonas

She may originally have been born in Greece but with more than 50 years under her belt here, Antonia is proudly South African and loves this country and its incredible natural beauty. She has been with the Bay Gallery in Langebaan since its conception—so, for over 20 years now.

Antonia’s oil paintings are a reflection of the beauty she sees in Langebaan and the Namaqualand, particularly in spring, when the wild flowers bloom. Her use of oils, the thickness thereof, and the brightness of the colours are remarkable, and she uses both brushes and palette knives to create her impactful art.

Antonia's paintings have travelled both locally and internationally and while her artwork most often evokes scenes from the West Coast of South Africa, she honours her Greek heritage with scenes of Greece as well, with its whitewashed buildings and the turquoise Aegean Sea in the background.

Artwork: ‘Farm fence’ by Antonia Velissariou Moshonas


Joan Schrauwen

Ruff on salt pans by Joan Schrauwen

Artwork: ‘Ruff on salt pans’ by Joan Schrauwen

Joan Schrauwen has established a formidable name for herself in the South African art scene, although she comes from a long line of artists. Her Grandfather, Tinus de Jongh, who arrived from Holland in 1921, was well known for his landscape artworks, as was his son, Gabriel (Joan’s uncle). Now, with her successful career as an artist, as well as children and grandchildren who all love painting, it’s safe to say that paint flows through the family’s veins.

Joan has held many exhibitions over the years (at one she even managed to sell every single painting). Some of her favourite subjects are birds, flowers, and otters and, with her residence on the banks of the Berg River, she has an endless supply of inspiration. Joan paints in many different media, using collage and pen and ink besides watercolour, pastel, and oil to exquisitely capture her subjects.

Joan has also compiled a stunning coffee table book with photographer Peter Pickford titled "West Coast: A Circle of Seasons"; has written a couple of novels; and has owned her own art gallery in Velddrif (but sold the property in 2008). She is an artist of stratospheric talents and dk villas is proud to hang her art on our walls.


Kervin Cupido

Old homestead by Kervin Cupido

Artwork: ‘Old homestead’ by Kervin Cupido

Kervin Cupido is a talented and prolific multimedia artist and sculptor. He grew up in the hot winelands town of Paarl and is today actively involved in the community, as well as being a founding member of the Ebezweni Art Group.

After matriculating, Kervin attended the Sculpture Workshop at Daljosaphat Art Foundation in Paarl, where he received his training. He has since participated in numerous group exhibitions, as well as staging several solo exhibitions.

Kervin predominantly uses oil and acrylic paint to create masterpieces, most of which are focused on African landscapes and animals. His artworks can be found in many corporate and private collections all over the world, including the Western Cape Legislature and South African National Government offices.


Proud of our collection

The team here at dk villas takes enormous pride in curating exceptional spaces that exude wholly unique personalities. Now, having added these beautiful artworks to our luxury accommodations, we are more confident than ever that we can offer guests a truly unforgettable and beguiling experience!

Ideas to Keep the Kids Busy this School Holiday

The school holidays are upon us and with the long days of blissful freedom comes the inevitable whine of kids: “I’m booooored!” Thankfully, there is no shortage of fun, family-friendly activities in Cape Town—activities that are just as engaging for mom and dad as they are for the little ones! Here are a few of our recommendations for families visiting or living in Cape Town….


Defy gravity at Rush Indoor Trampoline Park, Claremont

www.rushsa.co.za

Rush Indoor Trampoline Park

Image source: www.rushsa.co.za

Test the bounds of gravity without fear in this 30,000 square foot facility that features wall-to-wall, interconnected trampolines, a battle beam, a huge foam pit, three basketball slam dunk lanes, and, for the older kids, two dodge ball courts. Rush Indoor Trampoline Park is extreme fun and an incredible workout for the entire family. To keep toddlers safe, the park dedicates the hours between 10:00 and 11:00 (Monday to Thursday) and 9:00 and 10:00 (Fridays to Sundays) to the little ones and their siblings.
Address: Stadium on Main, 104 Main Road, Claremont


Experience the art of “Paintertainment” with Art Jamming

www.artjamming.co.za

Paintertainment

Unleash your inner Picasso, Rembrandt, or even Andy Warhol with Art Jamming; a fun, engaging, and wholly unique activity that is guaranteed to put your artistic talent to the test. They supply the tools (canvases of varying sizes, a spectrum of paint colours, and brushes) and you just let loose your creativity. Art Jamming allows each and every participant to create his or her masterpiece in an interactive environment and have enormous fun in the process. There are two studios in Cape Town: (1) Shop G26 Willowbridge, Carl Cronje Ave, Tygervalley, Bellville and above Toy Kingdom at the V&A Waterfront.


Explore the living kaleidoscope at Butterfly World Animal Sanctuary

www.butterflyworld.co.za

World Animal Sanctuary

Butterfly World is a lush sanctuary for a polychromatic legion of butterflies from all over the world. Located in the beautiful Stellenbosch winelands, this attraction also features a bird sanctuary, a hair-raising arachnid exhibit (spiders and scorpions), the rather gruesome yet interesting Road Kill Skeleton Park, and daily animal shows. Afterwards, visitors can sit down at the delightful tea garden or stock up on padkos at their farm stall.
Address: Right off the N1’s Exit 47, R44, Klapmuts


Summit the icon of the Mother City, Table Mountain

www.tablemountain.net

Take the kids on an exhilarating pilgrimage to the top of Cape Town’s iconic mountain. Once at the top, you could spend hours admiring the incredible city, ocean, and peninsula views and wandering the network of pathways that wind around the mountain’s fynbos-carpeted summit. Look out for colourful agama lizards and sunbathing rock hyraxes (known locally as “dassies” – small, rabbitlike animals with sombre faces). You can take a picnic with you or, alternatively, stop at the Table Mountain Café for a family-friendly lunch.


Go ice-skating at Grand West Casino’s indoor ice rink

www.icerink.co.za

Go ice-skating at Grand West Casino’s indoor ice rink

It may be 30 degrees outside but inside the cool, grandiose interior of the Ice Station at Grand West Casino, it’s winter all year round! Here, people of all ages and levels of experience can rent skates and hit the ice. If you’re not up for it, being a spectator is just as entertaining given the number of first-timers on the ice on any given day. There’s also a mini-rink for very young kids, which keeps them safe and out of the way of those clumsy first-timers.
Address: Grand West Casino, 1 Jakes Gerwel Drive, Acacia Park


Get your hands dirty at The Clay Café in Hout Bay

www.claycafe.co.za

Clay Café in Hout Bay

Who doesn’t love using their hands to make things? The Clay Café in Hout Bay is all about crafting something unique, which is then fired and painted so that you can take your creation home with you to use and admire. Whether you want to make a vase, a mug, a plate, or even just something decorative, the Clay Café provides families with the guidance they need to create something meaningful. They even have a decent (and licensed) on-site restaurant and a huge garden for kids to play in.
Address: 4080 Main Road, Hout Bay


Go strawberry picking at Mooiberge farm stall in Stellenbosch

www.zetler.co.za/mooiberge.html

Go strawberry picking at Mooiberge farm stall in Stellenbosch

Located in the heart of the Stellenbosch Wine Route right next door to a cluster of wine farms, the Mooiberge Strawberry Farm is a lovely outdoor family destination. From October to December every year, the strawberries ripen and are available for picking by the public. After filling your box, you can head over to the restaurant and farm stall for lunch, or even swing by one of the neighbouring wine estates, where mum and dad can enjoy a well-deserved glass of wine.
Address: R44, Between Stellenbosch and Somerset West, Cape Winelands


Volunteer at an Animal Shelter

Volunteer at an Animal Shelter

Teaching kids to take pleasure in helping those less fortunate than ourselves is an incredibly important lesson and what better classroom could there be than an animal shelter? There are several—the SPCA, DARG, F.A.L.L.E.N Angels, and Uitsig Animal Rescue—all over Cape Town and they readily accept help from volunteers to walk the dogs, help kittens become accustomed to loving contact, groom horses, clean cages, and more. Volunteers get the pleasure of interacting with the animals and knowing that their time and energy is helping them live more comfortable, love-filled lives.


Spend the day at the Noordhoek Farm Village

www.thefarmvillage.co.za

Spend the day at the Noordhoek Farm Village

Located right off Noordhoek Main Raod in Goedehoop Estate, you’ll discover a large open space for children to run free, a great variety of restaurants, pubs, and art shops, and a thrilling kiddies’ playground. This is the leafy and atmospheric Noordhoek Farm Village and it’s the perfect weekend destination for families with kids of all ages. Here, you can easily while away most of a day perusing the interesting stores and eating a leisurely meal, while the kids get a little outdoor time.
Address: Village Lane & Noordhoek Main road, Goedehoop Estate


Hike up Lion’s Head

Hike up Lion’s Head

Right next door to Table Mountain is another of Cape Town’s iconic mountains: Lion’s Head. There is a short 1-2-long hike to the top, the summit of which reveals panoramic views of the city, peninsula mountains, and up the West Coast of the subcontinent. The hike is extremely popular for people of all ages and fitness levels and families with clutches of small children are a dime a dozen along the route. Just keep a sharp eye on your little ones because there are some steep dropoffs and, in parts, hair-raising climbing to be done.


Eat, drink, and stock up at a farmers’ market

Farmers’ market

Cape Town’s selection of crafts and farmer’s markets have proven to be the perfect venues for weekend entertainment and indulgence for the whole family. From food, beer, and wine to fresh fruits and vegetables, artisanal produce, arts, crafts, live music, and kiddies’ entertainment, Cape Town’s numerous weekend and evening markets have it all. Some of the markets we love include the Chilled Market @ The Range in Tokai, the Earth Fair Food (also in Tokai), Hout Bay Harbour Market, Noordhoek Community Market, The Old Biscuit Mill, The Oranjezicht City Farm Market, and Mojo Market in Seapoint.


Kenilworth Go-Karting

www.karting.co.za

Kenilworth Go-Karting

The need for speed is an affliction that hits hard during childhood and while it might fade with age, it only takes one lap in a go-kart at the Kenilworth racetrack to bring it screaming back to life. A ticket gets racers 10 laps around the 310-meter course and a lifetime of adoration from your kids (and husband). There are lightweight 140 cc vehicles and a junior track specifically for younger racers (shorter than 1.5 meters) so you can rest assured that they will be safe.
Address: 10 Myhoff Road, Claremont


Visit Cool Runnings, Africa’s first toboggan family park

www.coolrunnings.capetown

Cool Runnings, Africa’s first toboggan family park

Ever since bobsleighing was immortalised in the movie ‘Cool Runnings’, it’s been adopted by adventure sport and outdoor companies as an awesome and unforgettable family-friendly activity! In Tygervalley, there’s a whole park dedicated to tobogganing and it’s a great day of fun. It’s also perfectly safe. So get inside one of the bullet-shaped bobsleds and shoot down the 1.2-kilometer steel pipe track like you’re at the Olympic Games!
Address: Carl Cronje Drive, Tygervalley


Visit the Two Oceans Aquarium

www.aquarium.co.za

Dive beneath the waves of the Atlantic Ocean at the Two Oceans Aquarium at the V&A Waterfront (without a wetsuit and without getting wet). Explore the enchantment of the kalaeidescopic life that thrives beneath the surface of the ocean embracing South Africa: an educational experience that thrills people of all ages. From sea horses and starfish to enormous marine fish and sharks, there are live exhibits to explore and even interactive experiences for the little ones.
Address: Dock Road, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town


Sandboarding the Atlantis Dunes

www.sandboardingcapetown.com

Sandboarding the Atlantis Dunes

A 40-minute drive from the city, near Atlantis, lies an impressive dune complex composed of fine white sand and boundless potential for thrills. You can sign up for the adventure with a local company, such as Sandboarding Cape Town, that will provide the equipment, show you the ropes, and take you out to the dunes for several hours of sand boarding fun in the sun. This one is for slightly older kids.
Address: Off the R27 past Melkbosstrand, Atlantis Dunes, Cape Town


Iziko Museum and Planetarium

www.iziko.org.za/museums/south-african-museum

Iziko Museum and Planetarium

Located on Queen Victoria Street in the heart of Cape Town, you’ll discover a cultural haven at which a family could easily spend an entire day: the Iziko Natural History Museum and Planetarium. The museum maintains a fascinating record of South African history from well before the arrival of the settlers until well after. There are life-like and life-sized replicas of dinosaurs and whales, which kids will love, and an extensive collection of Africa’s (taxidermied) birds and beasts.

Attached to the museum is the Iziko Planetarium, which has just recently been revamped and updated. Here, visitors are invited to sit all the way back in their recliner seats and watch as a fascinating digital show about the stars, constellations, and universe unfurls on the darkened dome above.


Unlock your inner Sherlock Holmes at Hint Hunt

www.hinthunt.com/en/south-africa

Hint Hunt

Hint Hunt is an exciting yet challenging live escape game that has been perfectly designed for groups of three to five people. Players are locked in a themed room and must put together the hidden clues they find to overcome various puzzles they encounter in order to escape the room before their time is up!
Address: The Old Biscuit Mill, Woodstock, and the V&A Waterfront


Explore the Cape’s natural wonders at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens

www.sanbi.org/gardens/kirstenbosch/

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens

Located on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch’s sweeping, emerald gardens are a colourful and audacious celebration of life. Visitors here can get to truly appreciate the majesty and diversity of the Cape floral kingdom by meandering on the network of pathways that lead through protected Fynbos, ancient trees, forests, edible food gardens, and more. When the kids get hungry, you can stop in at the Kirstenbosch Tea Room (ktr.co.za) for a lovely menu of family-friendly treats – they also prepare picnics while you wait, which you can take into the gardens to enjoy.
Address: Rhodes Drive, Newlands, Cape Town


Go picnicking at a Cape wine farm

Cape wine farm

Image source: www.boschendal.com

With literally hundreds of wine farms scattered throughout the Western Cape and scores within a 30-minute drive of Cape Town (if not closer), every summer’s day is an opportunity to get outside and enjoy a picnic in some of the country’s most beautiful landscapes. From Stellenbosch and Paarl to Franschhoek and beyond, many wine farms like Boschendal, Delheim, Grande Provence, and Allée Bleue offer sprawling manicured lawns, towering trees for shade, and pre-packaged picnics, which you can order online and collect upon arrival.


Learn to rock at the School of Rock Cape Town

www.locations.schoolofrock.com/claremont

Learn to rock at the School of Rock Cape Town

If there were one skill virtually no one would turn down, it would be the ability to make music. Now, with the School of Rock opening its doors in Cape Town, the entire family can sign up for a totally rockin’ adventure that will put an instrument in their hands and a stage under their feet to experience a thrill that very few ever get to. There are a variety of performance-based courses, programmes, and camps to choose from (depending on age and experience) but the goal is the same: “to inspire the world to rock on stage and in life.”
Address: Suite 202, 2nd Floor Standard Bank Galleria, 120 Main Road, Claremont


Feed the Squirrels in the Company Gardens

Feed the Squirrels in the Company Gardens

In 1650, the first European settlers in the Cape established the Company Gardens, the original task of which was to grow fruits and vegetables to refresh and restock the merchant ships travelling to India via the Cape. Today, the Company Gardens are beautifully kept and a wondrous, historic place for families to explore by foot. We recommend a winding walk through the garden’s various attractions: the rose garden, bird aviary, minute forests, and past the historic buildings that line Governors Avenue. Here, you’ll find vendors selling snacks so why not purchase the kids a packet of peanuts, get comfortable on one of the gardens’ many lawns, and encourage them to entice the resident squirrels – of which there are scores – to eat the nuts out of their hands?


Cape Town Science Centre

www.ctsc.org.za

Cape Town Science Centre

Expose your children to the fascinating realm of science from an early age and open their minds to its fathomless fields of wonder. You might even learn something in the process too! The Cape Town Science Centre is a not-for-profit attraction that offers up a smorgasbord of exhibitions, awesome experiments, and interactive discoveries to keep the whole family delighted and engaged. They also run workshops and science camps over the school holidays so go to the website to check out their programmes.
Address: 370B Main Road, Observatory, Cape Town


Take the Kids to the World of Birds Sanctuary

www.worldofbirds.org.za

World of Birds Sanctuary

The World of Birds Wildlife Sanctuary and Monkey Park is an enchanting daylong activity that immerses visitors in nature. Wind your way through humid microbiomes populated by kalaeidescopic tropical birds, large raptors, and owls; take a step into the squirrel monkey enclosure and feel their little paws as they crawl all over you; and watch the keepers feed the penguins, flamingos, and pelicans. Bird enthusiast or not, the World of Birds is an institution and a delightful diversion for families visiting Hout Bay.
Address: Valley Road, Hout Bay


Go Diggin’ at the Scratch Patch, V&A Waterfront

www.scratchpatch.co.za

Scratch Patch, V&A Waterfront

The Scratch Patch is a total gem (pun intended) tucked away across the road from the V&A Waterfront’s revamped warehouse district, although the original is in Simon’s Town. With shimmering glass cases full of glittering crystals, colourful rock specimens, and jewellery and a veritable treasure of polished semi-precious stones on the floor of the Scratch Patch den, any self-respecting adventurer could keep busy for hours! The entry to Mineral World is free, but it costs between R25 and R130 to fill a small to large bag up with pebbles from the Scratch Patch.


Play a little Cave Golf

www.scratchpatch.co.za/cave-golf/

Cave Golf

Literally right next door to the Scratch Patch is the aptly named Cave Golf: an 18hole indoor putt-putt course located in a moodily-lit room that’s been elaborately done up as a cave, complete with running streams and low-hanging rock ceilings (in places). It’s deceptively tricky at times, making it a decent challenge for the whole family. A round of golf only costs R30 per player (R25 for groups of 10 or more) with a refundable deposit of R20.

POP! The Best Local Bubblies for the Festive Season!

What a YEAR! 2020 Has very much been a traumatising lesson in human fragility and dogged perseverance…so much so that although the festive season is practically upon us, it doesn’t feel like we should be celebrating. But celebrate you should because you made it. And WOW does that deserve a quality glass of bubbles! So, in honour of the end of one of the worst years it feels like we’ve ever faced down, here is a list of gorgeous local bubbly wines we recommend you stock your cellars with!

(Please note that price varies from retail outlet to retail outlet and serves only as an approximation.)


Black Elephant Vintners MCC

Black Elephant Vintners MCC

Tasting notes: A classic blend of Chardonnay (75%) contributing fruit and elegance, and Pinot Noir (25%) for complexity and length of flavour. Light yeasty aromas and tones of citrus, fresh picked red apples with a rich creamy complexity and cherries on the palate. The exceptionally fine mousse contributes freshness and finesse.
In terms of bottle design, the gang at Black Elephant Vintners decided to strip off all the bling that is so commonly associated with sparkling wines and the result is this sleek and seductive bottle that bears the wonderful nickname: the Michelle Obama.

Price: R265
Web: www.bevintners.co.za


Graham Beck Bliss Nectar Rosé

Graham Beck Bliss Nectar Rosé

Tasting Notes: This alluringly pink-hued Rosé style MCC delights with a seductive sweetness, honeyed smoothness, and effervescent flair. The appealing strawberry aromas are complemented by hints of spiced peach and creamy raspberry, underscored with a subtle floral nuance. The Bliss Nectar Rosé appeals to those who enjoy a sparkling wine that is less dry in style.

Price: Currently on special for R816 for a case of 6 (from website)
Web: www.grahambeck.com


Durbanville Hills Sparkling Rosé

Durbanville Hills Sparkling Rosé

Tasting Notes: This approachable and affordable sparkling rosé from Durbanville Hills wine estate offers up a gentle bouquet of citrus, ripe fruit, rose petals, strawberries, and Turkish delight, followed by flavours of grapefruit, ripe berries, and candyfloss. The Durbanville ward is considered one of the Cape’s coolest wine regions, thanks to the sea breezes that blow onshore from False Bay and Table Bay. These conditions are ideal for the slow ripening of the grapes, allowing them to develop a full-flavoured, intense character.

Price: R95
Web: www.durbanvillehills.co.za


Grande Provence Méthode Cap Classique Rosé NV

Tasting notes: From the hallowed vines at centuries-old Franschhoek wine estate, Grande Provence, comes this vibrant MCC rosé, which the farm brilliantly pairs with fresh oysters. Strawberry flavours burst forth with lively and delicate bubbles. The richly textured flavours of Pinot Noir combined with the elegant structure of Chardonnay lend complexity. This MCC Rosé is bursting with red berry flavours supported by a long finish.

Price: Currently on special for R148 (from website)
Web: www.grandeprovence.co.za


Krone “Kaaimansgat” Blanc de Blanc 2016

Tasting Notes: Handcrafted in small batches on Twee Jonge Gezellen estate in Tulbagh, the Krone Blanc de Blancs 2016 is highly expressive of vintage and terroir. Sculpted by the vintage, this wine expresses the distinctive character of the Kaaimansgat vineyard, located 700m above sea level, in the cool climate Elandskloof ward. The “Kaaimansgat” Blanc de Blanc is a 100% Chardonnay MCC that’s a pale gold in colour and delivers mandarin peel on the nose, classic white-fruited chardonnay elegance, a full, soft mousse, and flinty finish.

Price: R500
Web: www.kronemcc.com


La Motte MCC 2016

La Motte MCC 2016

Tasting notes: The 2016 La Motte Méthode Cap Classique is a gorgeous wine and an absolute treat for the festive season, complementing a wide range of South African foods. A fine mousse promises an exciting, fresh wine with dimension. Lots of secondary aromas are present—yeasty flavours of baked bread are prominent, followed by nuts and ripe pear fruit. The entry is soft and foamy and the freshness of the wine lingers with a long presence.

Best enjoyed whilst lounging in La Motte’s pristine gardens, under a towering oak tree!

Price: R370 (from website)
Web: www.la-motte.com


Leopard’s Leap Sparkling Chardonnay/Pinot Noir

Tasting notes: This vivacious sparkling Chardonnay / Pinot Noir bursts with bubbly flavours of strawberry, raspberry, and citrus. Elegant and well-rounded with the perfect balance between freshness and fruit, this sparkling wine from Leopard’s Leap estate is playful on the palate and boasts a memorable aftertaste. You can enjoy this wine as an aperitif or as a versatile food-pairing partner!

Price: R92 (from website)
Web: www.leopardsleap.co.za


Longridge Vintage Reserve MCC 2014

Tasting Notes: The Vintage Reserve Brut from Longridge Wine Estate in Stellenbosch is a Cap Classique produced only during exceptional years from grapes specific to that vintage. This Cuveé has been carefully matured for five years on a fine lees resulting in a wine of extreme elegance and fine mousse with zero dosage. On the nose are light yeasty aromas, crisp white peach and fresh lime followed by a rich, creamy complexity on the palate. The Longridge Reserve MCC is a certified Estate wine with 100% of the grapes grown at Longridge.

Price: R325 (from website)
Web: www.longridge.co.za


L'Ormarins Blanc de Blanc 2013

L'Ormarins Blanc de Blanc 2013

Tasting Notes: From the regal estate of Anthonij Rupert comes the fresh, citrus-laced, and perfumed L'Ormarins Blanc de Blanc 2013. This MCC delivers a lip-smackingly taut, zesty, and crisp palate that opens up into ripe, fleshy fruits of orange, apple, and stone fruit before a rich creaminess washes over. This 100% Chardonnay is a Double Gold winner at the Amorim Cap Classique Challenge 2019, was scored 92 Points by Tim Atkin, and 4.5 Stars on the Platter's Guide.

Price: R230
Web: www.rupertwines.com


Philip Jonker Brut Entheos NV

Philip Jonker Brut Entheos NV

Tasting Notes: This delicious 60% Chardonnay / 40% Pinot Noir Cap Classique hails from Weltevrede Estate, which flanks the Brede River Valley in Robertson. The Philip Jonker Brut “Entheos” NV, meaning “enthusiasm”, delivers a creamy, biscuity nose with notes of green pear and lemon, and is characterised by fine bubbles, a palate of winter melon, and slight smokiness. The grapes are picked riper to show richness and attractive fruit at an earlier stage. The wine is matured on lees for up to three years.

Price: R150
Web: www.weltevrede.com


Pieter Ferreira Blanc de Blancs 2013

Tasting notes: The 2013 vintage of the Pieter Ferreira Blanc de Blancs is a brilliant follow-on from the maiden 2012 release. A refined, light straw colour with a fine beady mousse, this wine boasts delicate yeasty tones, layered with green lime zest, citrus and brioche. This gorgeous MCC has a firm, well-integrated mousse and vibrant mouth-feel with toasty notes, citrus, honey, and tropical nuances and a bright, lingering finish. The Chardonnay was selected from various sites in the Darling and Robertson regions.

Price: R385 (from Port2Port)
Web: www.pieterferreiramcc.co.za


Steenberg 1682 Pinot Noir MCC NV

Steenberg 1682 Pinot Noir MCC NV

Tasting Notes: The pale pink 1682 Pinot Noir Méthode Cap Classique is fresh with fruity aromas of raspberry jelly, wild strawberry sorbet, red apple skin and toasted brioche. The wine has a very fine mousse that lifts the raspberry-like aromas and is balanced well with a creamy texture and bright acidity with a lingering dry finish. Steenberg’s 1682 Pinot Noir MCC NV was awarded the Trophy for Best Rosé MCC in class and the Double Gold medal at the Amorim Cap Classique 2019!

Price: R245
Web: www.steenbergfarm.com

Supporting local by Christmas shopping at these exciting South African brands

Christmas is coming and with small businesses having suffered the worst during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is our patriotic duty as South Africans to support local. What better way to do that this festive season than by buying your Christmas presents from these gorgeous local brands and entrepreneurs!


Author by Kathlyn Allan Handcrafted Jewellery

Author by Kathlyn Allan Handcrafted Jewellery

‘Author by Kathlyn Allan’ handcrafts bespoke jewellery, every piece of which tells a beguiling story. Independent designer and artist Kathlyn crafts her designs from her home studio in Swellendam, and they are so much more than just objects of ornamentation and materialism. Kathlyn’s philosophy with her jewellry is to create pieces that capture moments and convey authentic and heartfelt messages of love, gratitute, and remembrance of people, places, and occasions. Expect a marriage of nostalgic old-world charm, historic motifs, unexpected twists, and modern sass.

Contact: 028 514 1552 | mail@worldofauthor.com
Web: www.facebook.com/authoradorn/


Beachsand

Beachsand

Established in 2007, Beachsand is a lifestyle shop that sells furniture, décor items, lamps, and textiles, with a particular emphasis on nautical and beach themes. Think: furniture made from driftwood and reclaimed hard woods from India (there’s an emphasis on sustainability and recycling). If you’re looking for something unique to breathe new life into a room, Beachsand is absolutely worth a visit and you’ll see plenty of its inspiration throughout dk villas’ properties.

Contact: 044 690 3999 | beachsand@telkomsa.net
Web: www.beachsand.co.za


Block & Chisel Designer Furniture and Décor

www.blockandchisel.co.za

With several locations in Cape Town and Johannesburg attesting to their enormous success, Block & Chisel is a designer furniture and décor store where you can find lovingly curated and unique collections. Their style is very much informed and inspired by antique furniture, which has lead to the rough hewn, handcrafted pieces that they produce today, which we feel complements the kind of lifestyle dk villas wishes to create for its guests.

Contact: 087 015 0181 | websales@blockandchisel.co.za
Web: www.blockandchisel.co.za


Coppa Wellness

After dedicating time in India to Panchakarma—an Ayurvedic cleansing system designed to detoxify and rejuvenate the body, mind, and spirit—Coppa Wellness founder, Anastasia, brought the concept of copper water bottles to South Africa. The belief is that these copper vessels (or ‘tamra jal’) purify, ionise, and alkalise the water* they hold, which is much better for the body. The fact that they are gorgeous to look at AND an eco-friendly alternative to plastic water bottles makes them the perfect Christmas gift!

*Simply leave the water to stand in the bottle for 6 to 8 hours in order to enjoy the health benefits.

Contact: 072 222 2191 | hello@coppawellness.com
Web: www.coppawellness.com


Crystal & Twine décor shops

Crystal & Twine décor shops

Crystal & Twine is a gorgeous, French-inspired décor shop located in the popular yet quaint town of Riebeek Kasteel. Clustered into this shop is such a cornucopia of brick-a-brack, gifts, décor items, ornaments, furniture, and artwork that you could quite happily and easily lose yourself in there for hours. It’s a wonderful place to go gift shopping—there’s no shortage of unique items bursting with personality—and for the dk villas team, Crystal & Twine has proven to be a treasure trove of one-of-a-kind décor items for our luxury properties.

Contact: 022 448 1290 | info@crystalandtwine.co.za
Web: www.facebook.com/CrystalandTwine


Ground Culture

Ground Culture is thriving online grocery store and a rising social enterprise that lives up to its motto: “Let’s Connect Community, Support Local and Build the Future of Africa”. Every product you find in its virtual shelves—and there are over 75—is the result of the innovation and toil of local small businesses and entrepreneurs, such as Camissa Coffee, Ubusi Honey, Flora House, Culture Lab, and Queen of Chai. Their products are also naturally farmed, priced competitively, and cheaper than major retailers!

Contact: 082 683 9470 | bash@groundculture.co.za
Web: www.groundculture.co.za


Mungo Design

Mungo Design
“Together we are working to not only create a great product, but also opportunities in skills and job creation, social responsibility and an impact on our local economy, in an authentic and meaningful way.”

Mungo Design produces fabulous homeware products, sustainable, daily-use textiles, and heirloom-quality woven goods. But rather than a pursuit of the latest trends, this homegrown brand seeks to craft timeless, plant-based natural yarn products that won’t just end up in next year’s landfill. At their mill in Plettenberg Bay, they have a no-waste policy and all of their off-cuts are donated to a community project. Their mill is also open to the public to view and learn about and experience the art of weaving!

Contact: 044 533 1395 | media@mungo.co.za
Web: www.mungo.co.za


Paint by Numbers SA Home Art Kits

Paint by Numbers SA Home Art Kits

Paint by Numbers South Africa is the ultimate, all-in-one art kit that encourages one and all to experience the joy of painting, from the comfort (and safety) of your own home. Each Paint by Numbers kit consists of printed canvas, paint, and paintbrushes. And with the numbers on the paint pots corresponding to the numbers on the canvas, it’s super easy to produce a masterpiece that’s beautiful enough to display with pride…even if you’ve never painted before. The website contains a large selection of canvasses available in different sizes and levels of difficulty so you can tailor your gift to the interests and skill level of the recipient.

Contact: paintbynumbersza@gmail.com
Web: www.paintbynumbersza.co.za


Rae’lia Modern Boho handmade accessories and décor

Rae’lia Modern Boho handmade accessories and décor

Performing dance artist Raé took her love for making moments on stage and used it to inspire her gorgeous range of Macrame accessories and décor “for the modern Bohemian” under the brand Rae’lia. Each item is crafted from natural fibres and has been inspired by their creator’s obsession with the intricacies of art and the way they make people feel. On Rae’lia’s Facebook page, you can choose from an assortment of beautiful woven bags, bottle holders, straps, and other great gifts.

Contact: 079 249 8188 | raeliastore@gmail.com
Web: www.facebook.com/raelia.za/


Simply Bee Natural Beeswax Products

Simply Bee Natural Beeswax Products

Simply Bee crafts an impressive range of environmentally friendly, additive-free, and totally natural beeswax products from the raw materials obtained from the family-run business’ collection of bee hives. Their beeswax ranges tally up to an impressive 150 different products that include hand and body soaps and creams, facial skin care products, hair shampoo and conditioner, candles, ointments, balms, and much more. Also, in 2019, Luxury Travel Guide declared Simply Bee the Conservation Company of the Year for the Western Cape, South Africa!

Contact: 022-7230569 | info@simplybee.co.za
Web: www.simplybee.co.za


Wizards World Board Games

Wizards World Board Games

Coming out of quarantine, we are all more than a little acquainted with the merits of the humble board game! At Wizards, however, you can discover literally hundreds of different board, card, and tabletop games so that no matter how long this pandemic lasts, you’ll never struggle to find diversion at home with your bubble! Wizards World is an online store offering the largest range of in-stock board games, card games, and tarot cards on the African continent. Plus, deliveries are typically completed in 2 to 3 days!

Contact: 021 683 0360 | online@wizardsworld.co.za
Web: www.wizardsworld.co.za

10 Cape Wine Routes to Explore and Why! PART 2

Welcome to the second instalment of dk villas’ two-part blog series on the Cape’s stunning wine routes. Award-winning wine and beautiful food experiences are just two of the many, many attractions one can expect to experience on any foray into the Cape Winelands. Last week, we explored:

  1. Stellenbosch
  2. Franschhoek
  3. Paarl
  4. Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, and
  5. Elgin

Now, let’s dive into Constantia, Durbanville, the Robertson Valley, Breedekloof, and the Helderberg wine routes.


6. Constantia Wine Valley

www.constantiawineroute.com

Constantia Glen Wine Estate
Image: Constantia Glen Wine Estate, Constantia (www.pixabay.com)

The historic, near-legendary Constantia Valley offers visitors ten excellent reasons to visit is verdant, lushly carpeted valley and mountain slopes. 10 Beautiful wine estates, all of which deliver an intoxicating blend of wine, old world romance, history, delicious food, and heart-rending views. From the hallowed cellars at Groot Constantia (the Cape’s oldest wine farm) and Klein Constantia (the creator of the famous sweet wine, Vin de Constance) to Silvermist Vineyards, where you’ll find the award-winning La Colombe (voted one of the world’s best restaurants)…a trip to Constantia is a multi-sensory feast.

Top things to do (besides wine tasting and fine dining): Stunning forest and mountain hiking, zip-lining with SA Forest Adventures, nature viewing and birdwatching, luxury stays, picnics, bicycle vineyard tours, and more.


7. Durbanville Wine Route

www.durbanvillewine.co.za

Durbanville wine route
Image: Durbanville wine route (www.pixabay.com)

With unparalleled views of rolling hills, the Atlantic coastline, and Table Mountain, Durbanville is a lesser explored yet no less awesome wine route to check out! Here, you can expect to discover truly exceptional food, quality wine, and both boutique (Klein Roosboom) and major commercial wineries (Durbanville Hills) that offer guests hours of hedonistic leisure. Also, the area is a cool climate region—similar to Constantia and Elgin—owing to the onshore flow of cool maritime air from the Atlantic Ocean. This is why Durbanville carries a lofty reputation for growing Sauvignon Blanc!

Top things to do (besides wine tasting and fine dining): Parkrun at Meerendal Wine Estate, annual music and cultural festivals, olive products and beer tasting at Hillcrest Olive & Wine Estate, food pairing experiences, overnight stays, and more.


8. Robertson Wine Valley

www.robertsonwinevalley.com

Robertson Wine Valley
Image: Robertson Wine Valley (www.robertsonwinevalley.com)

The Robertson Wine Valley is a gorgeous, mountain-embraced valley carpeted in lush vineyard and dotted with quaint towns. It’s also a stellar winemaking region that embraces 53 different wineries in the towns of Ashton, Bonnievale, McGregor, and Robertson. Here, there is a definite culture of delivering wine experiences that allow visitors to take in and enjoy the area’s natural beauty, as well as its local culture, art, and food, from underground cellar tastings, and one-of-a-kind food pairings to blend-your-own-wine experiences, lawn games, and so much more.

Top things to do (besides wine tasting and fine dining): Historic cellar tours and tastings at Weltevrede Wine Estate and Esona Boutique Winery, annual festivals along the Brede River, antique shopping, river cruises and picnics at Viljoensdrift, wine blending at Excelsior, luxury stays, and more.


9. Breedekloof Wine Route

www.breedekloof.com

Image: Breedekloof Wine Valley (www.breedekloof.com)

Slightly further afield of Cape Town, the Breedekloof wine route consists of 22 wineries—from humble boutiques to sprawling estates—scattered in and around Rawsonville, Slanghoek, Goudini, and Breede River areas. Here, the vibe is distinctly more rustic and “country” with a plethora of luxury accommodations, wine and food experiences, and leisure activities and excursions. For example, at Slanghoek, guests can blend and bottle their own wines, while Jason’s Hill offers hiking trails in its gorgeous setting. Bergsig Estate is great for relaxed dining with spectacular vineyard and mountain views and Du Toitskloof Wines produces award-winning wines and craft beer.

Top things to do (besides wine tasting and fine dining): Biking and hiking, craft beer tasting, Ceres zip slide tours, farm stalls, fly fishing, garden tours, craft gin tasting, picnics, horse riding, luxury stays, and more.


Image: View from Da Capo Vineyards (www.idiom.co.za)

One of the more neglected of the Cape’s wine routes lies within the Cape Helderberg basin; though tragically so because, here, you’ll find some of the most beautiful and special wineries, such as Vergelegen (one of the country’s oldest estates), Idiom (produces some unusual and delicious Italian varietal wine), Lourensford (hosts weekend markets, an art studio, and a coffee roastery), and Waterkloof (boasts stunning views over Gordon’s Bay and Strand). There’s also Morgenster, which offers olive oils tastings and chocolate pairings, and all of these wineries are set against the dramatic backdrop of the Helderberg and Hottentots Holland mountain ranges.

Top things to do (besides wine tasting and fine dining): Picnics in camphor forests at Vergelegen, weekend markets, art and culture, annual wine and food festivals, olive oil tastings at Morgenster, luxury stays, and so much more.

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