There’s lots of foodie fun to be had in the Western Cape. Image supplied
There’s lots of foodie fun to be had in the Western Cape. Image supplied
Happily, an easing of lockdown restrictions means that we can make it a foodie vacay – enjoying family fun, spectacular sunsets and some of the Cape’s most mouth-watering cuisine.
And with a little planning and research, you don’t need to lower your foodie standards just because the kids are in tow. There are plenty of destinations offering kids menus, fresh local produce, regional delicacies and the opportunity to broaden your brood’s culinary horizons.
It’s hard to beat a wander up the West Coast. Take it slow and make sure to stop at one of the many farm stalls dotted between Cape Town and Lambert’s Bay. Let’s be honest, farmstall padkos is the best part of any road trip.
Stock up on local mayos, mustards, relishes and preserves – or indulge in tuisgebak rusks and artisanal bread.
Vygevallei Farm Stall on the R27 near Yzerfontein will keep the kids entertained with ducks, bunnies and pot-bellied pigs, while Moose Farm Stall in Hopefield is legendary for its fresh croissants (grab a breakfast croissant with scrambled egg, bacon, rocket and camembert), cakes and coffee.
Feeling brave? Introduce the fam to droë bokkoms. Sometimes referred to as “fish biltong”, this salty fish snack (essentially salted and dried mullet) is a local delicacy.
In addition to its spring carpet of wildflowers, the West Coast is also famous for its cheese, wine, roostekoek (served with lashings of butter and apricot jam) and an abundance of fresh seafood.
Rent a cottage in the fishing villages of Yzerfontein, Jacobsbaai or Paternoster and indulge in scrumptious seafood platters, mussel pots or good old fish and chips up and down the coastline.
TikTok star Dirk Swart got mouths watering recently with his video review of Muisbosskerm near Lambert’s Bay, which he describes as a “secret restaurant in South Africa“.
With thousands of views, the cat is now well and truly out of the bag, and we’re hoping plenty of people flock to support this West Coast gem. How can you resist? Sandy toes, fresh fish on the braai and views for miles.
Dirk reckons he’s been going there since he was little, which means its sure to be a hit with youngsters too. They’ll love the beachfront position – and the novelty of eating with a mussel shell.
Less than an hour from Cape Town, Stellenbosch makes for a great day trip. But you could always book a long weekend away and explore some of the 150+ wine farms making up the Stellenbosch wine routes, and enjoy tastings, picnics and some of the best restaurants in South Africa.
Jeanneret Momberg, CEO of Visit Stellenbosch, believes it is the perfect destination for a family foodie vacay.
“Firstly, there is just so much to do with the kids. From horse riding to bike trails and eco-scooters, you can keep them occupied for hours on end – and they’ll definitely work up an appetite. Secondly, many of the farms accommodate children by offering grape juice tastings (while the adults delight in chocolate and wine tastings), generous platters and picnics under the trees.”
We’re sold. Not only can you wander through a collection of cellars and vineyards before tucking into the region’s finest pâté, olives, cheese and crusty bread, but you can also introduce your kids to the ancient art of Sabrage, practised at Kleine Zalze, Villiera and The House of JC Le Roux among others. An exciting, memorable experience for the whole family.
Alternatively, jump on an open safari vehicle for a safari-with-a-difference on the 120-hectare Waterford Wine Estate. This three-hour adventure among the vines includes wine tastings, snacks and some of the best scenery in Stellenbosch.
Momberg says that there is no better time to visit Stellenbosch.
“A new initiative, ‘Support Stellenbosch’ aimed at stimulating the town’s tourism recovery post COVID-19 kicked off on Saturday, 5 September.”
“It’s a rewards campaign,” explains Momberg, “where locals and visitors will receive a voucher to the value of 50% of what they spend (for transactions of R200 or more), redeemable through SnapScan at any participating restaurant within the campaign period (capped at a maximum of R400). There are also special travel packages, accommodation, and experience discounts.”
For more information on the Support Stellenbosch campaign visit: www.visitstellenbosch.org.
The R62 is one of South Africa’s most celebrated road trips.
Indeed, a 2017 CNN travel poll, as voted by tourists and travel journalists, declared the scenic and fun-filled road between Cape Town and Oudtshoorn as the top road trip destination in the world.
We’d highly recommend a night at Dream Resorts and Hotels’ Avalon Springs in Montagu, where mum and dad can relax in the resort’s steamy hot spring pools while the kids head off to the water slides, putt-putt or play area.
Sharmila Ragunanan, Marketing Manager for Dream Hotels & Resorts, says that you’ll be well fed too.
“Although Avalon Springs has fantastic self-catering facilities, Cogman’s Restaurant is a great option for those in the mood for our signature gourmet burger, crispy Vietnamese spring rolls, slow-cooked lamb shank and more. It’s an extensive menu for those too lazy after a day’s wallowing in the springs to light up the braai.”
Once you leave Montagu it’s a hop, skip and a jump to Oudtshoorn – and onward to the Garden Route – just make sure to enjoy the R62’s smorgasbord of villages, galleries, arts and crafts shops and padstals along the way.
Peter Dros, Sales and Marketing Director of Fancourt in George, says the beauty of a foodie vacay on the Garden Route, is not only the plethora of unforgettable excursions and family adventures available, but the quality of the region’s produce.
“It is really is a garden,” says Dros, “brimming with fresh seasonal produce sourced from respected, ethical suppliers up and down the Garden Route.”
With four restaurants on the estate, Fancourt’s chefs spend a lot of time on neighbouring farms sourcing organic produce, including a delicious range of cheese, meats, vegetables, honey and olives.
Their French-inspired bistro, Monet’s, is a popular choice, while The Club Lounge will keep the entire family happy with their selection of toasties, gourmet burgers, chicken strips and shoestring fries.
“The Garden Route also has a wonderful wine route,” says Dros, “so families can enjoy wine and grape juice tastings, platters of cheese and cured meats – surrounded by staggering views.
“Alternatively, do something a little different with your kids and take them on an oyster cruise on the Knysna lagoon. Knysna is world-famous for its oysters and you can learn more about this local delicacy, taste the difference between wild and cultivated oysters and find out why they go so well with sparkling wine.”
If your kids love strawberries, Dros recommends making a beeline for Redberry Farm, located just down the road from Fancourt.
“They can load their punnets with big, juicy strawberries, ride the Redberry Express and rally into teams to tackle the largest hedge maze in the Southern Hemisphere, perfectly shaped like a strawberry.”
It sounds like the perfect end to a family foodie getaway on the Garden Route.