Archive for the ‘Experience’ Category

Wildlife of the Winelands Research Experience

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

We’re working on an exciting new experience for our guests: tracking the Cape leopard! The graceful animal once populated the mountains in the winelands in great numbers, though now diminished, the leopard still continues to prowl at night, through fynbos, over rocky outcrops in search of prey.

our tracking ground

Join the Cape Leopard Trust’s Boland-based researchers, and spend a ‘day at the office’ with them as they search for signs of the elusive Cape mountain leopard and other animals that share their world.
The day starts with morning coffee at Leopard’s Leap Family Vineyards and a short presentation by the researchers explaining their work in the Boland area. Learn how to recognise a leopard ‘spoor’ as well as the tracks and signs of other fascinating animals.
This is an opportunity to get a real insight into the challenges facing animals living on the fringe of urbanisation, to discover the diversity of mammals in the Boland, to understand the ecology of the Cape mountain leopards and to see why tracking a leopard requires patience, perseverance and perfect practice.

The official blurb: ‘Join the Cape Leopard Trust’s Boland-based researchers, and spend a ‘day at the office’ with them as they search for signs of the elusive Cape mountain leopard and other animals that share their world.

The day starts with morning coffee at Leopard’s Leap Family Vineyards and a short presentation by the researchers explaining their work in the Boland area. Learn how to recognise a leopard ‘spoor’ as well as the tracks and signs of other fascinating animals.

This is an opportunity to get a real insight into the challenges facing animals living on the fringe of urbanisation, to discover the diversity of mammals in the Boland, to understand the ecology of the Cape mountain leopards and to see why tracking a leopard requires patience, perseverance and perfect practice.’

leopard

Linda Coltart, our GM, recently went on an excursion that saw her ‘leopard crawling’, inspecting the big cat’s kill sites and camera traps as well as simply enjoying the wild beauty of the Boland mountains.

We caught up with Linda, to find out what the experience entailed:

Tracking a leopard and remotely downloading data
A number of leopards in the Boland mountains have been fitted with GPS radio collars. Through various radio signal we picked up a leopards presence almost immediately. Tracking the animal entails driving and hiking through its known territory until the radio signal is detected. If the signal is strong enough, another handheld antenna and a downloading unit can be used to remotely communicate with the collar to download stored data.

The idea of this project is to obtain research information and the likelihood of actually spotting a leopard is almost zero.

Finding leopard feeding sites
With the help of the GPS data we located 5 feeding sites.  We joined the researchers on a hike (mostly off-trail through dense natural vegetation – bundu-bashing and leopard-crawling was the name of the game!) to the pinpointed location on the map. Arriving at the site we helped the researchers to systematically search the area to locate any evidence of prey remains (eg. hair or bones) or leopard scat which we then be collected.  At the 5 feeding spots we found 1 porcupine, 1 baboon and 3 grysbok

Checking and servicing camera traps
There are a number of remote-sensing cameras deployed in the Boland mountains. Participants will have the opportunity to switch memory cards and put in fresh batteries and then go through the photos obtained by the camera trap – and hopefully a spotted cat will pop up on the screen—and with my experience it did! On two of the cameras we saw very recent sightings.

A very big thank you to Anita and Jeannie for allowing us to share in very special and beautiful day, I felt very privileged.

For more photos from the day, head over to our Facebook page.

Franschhoek Festivals 2013

Thursday, March 14th, 2013
his year is packed with events and festivals; there’s something for everyone, from the bookworms, to the foodies and wine-lovers too.
Franschhoek Literary Festival (17 to 19 May 2013)
Indulge your inner bookworm with exciting talks by acclaimed local and international authors.
Cook Franschhoek (14 to 16 June 2013)
An interactive festival highlighting Franschhoek’s chefs and winemakers as they cook in demonstration kitchens.
Franschhoek Bastille Festival (12 to 14 July 2013)
This is one not to be missed! Locals and visitors paint the town red, blue and white, and will be celebrating the Valley’s centuries-old French Huguenot heritage.

This year is packed with events and festivals; there’s something for everyone, from the bookworms, to the foodies and wine-lovers too. Here are some ones we’re looking forward too!

Franschhoek Literary Festival (17 to 19 May 2013)
Indulge your inner bookworm with exciting talks by acclaimed local and international authors.

Cook Franschhoek (14 to 16 June 2013)
An interactive festival highlighting Franschhoek’s chefs and winemakers as they cook in demonstration kitchens.

Franschhoek Bastille Festival (12 to 14 July 2013)
This is one not to be missed! Locals and visitors paint the town red, blue and white, and will be celebrating the Valley’s centuries-old French Huguenot heritage.

FWVTA_Bastille_logo

Grapes and Art

Monday, March 4th, 2013

The winelands are as pretty as a painting; from verdant vineyards to statuesque mountains and valley vistas. Our wine valleys are living works of art, and so are the wines that come from them. Wine and art go together like crackers and cheese, and we’re not only spoilt with a wealth of natural beauty but indeed many wine estates have superlative art collections.

art hess museum

On the Grapes and Art excursion our Art Curator, Ilse Schermers, will personally accompany you on tours of the chosen estates. You’ll begin at Glen Carlou Wine Estate, home to the largest, privately owned contemporary art collection in the world. Then you’ll enjoy their award-winning wine while looking out over their indigenous fynbos garden. After that discover the elegant Rupert Art Museum where over 350 contemporary South African paintings, sculptures and tapestries dating from the 1940 to 1970 periods are showcased. Finish up at Tokara, and enjoy the various art exhibitions on display in and around the wine cellar and tasting room: make sure to have a peek at the ‘wine made art’ unique to the estate.

OR

Immerse yourself in the oh-so fabulous world of Delaire Graff Estate; from the breath-taking gardens to the jaw-dropping collection of South African paintings and sculptures.

*Optional lunch at either Delaire Graff or Tokara. To Book Click Here.

Flying high

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

Five days jetting – well helicoptering – across the Western Cape with stopovers at beautiful restaurants, wine estates and hotels—one of which is us!

The official blurb is: “‘the ultra-V.I.P.’ Southern Cape Helicopter Trip from Civair is designed around the needs and wants of our most discerning, adventurous clients. This trip incorporates 5 days of ultimate luxury, excitement, romance, relaxation and adventure all in one trip.”

heli

You’ll arrive at us on day five to be wined and dined. To start the trip the helicopter will carve right around the Cape Peninsula then head over to the Constantia Valley, dip into Elgin, Hermanus and Gaansbaai; and at each stop luxury awaits in the form of gourmet cuisine, spa treatments and plenty of Cape wine. For more information call: +27 (0)21 034 4488 or email: info@civair.co.za

For Me?

Friday, January 14th, 2011

In 2011 cocktails will still be huge. Yes we can all breath a collective sigh of relief!

CC attribution giniger on Flickr.

The best bars in 2011 will apparently allow you, as the guest, to pick your liquor preference and then they’ll blend you a custom cocktail based on your selection.

Being an individual has never been as sweet.

Bread & Wine Vineyard Restaurant is open on New Years Day!

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

Enjoy a New Year’s lunch at Bread & Wine Vineyard Restaurant where Neil Jewell will be offering delectable dishes from his seasonally inspired menu. Yum! Yum! Yum!

To book call Tina on (021) 876 3692.

Farm Grocer Gets a Facelift

Monday, December 20th, 2010

The Farm Grocer, at Bread & Wine Vineyard Restaurant (on Môreson) has just undergone a refurbishment. What’s more is it now opens at 09h00 every day of the week.

In addition to the décor Neil has added a new mini charcuterie menu, available exclusively through The Farm Grocer, to his offering.

Cha Cha Cha Charcuterie Menu

For those that are big Farm Grocer fans you’ll be happy to know that you can still purchase all of Neil Jewell’s delectable charcuterie, breads, preserves and – of course – Tina’s fabulous fudge directly from the grocer throughout the day.

Time for Môreson Méthode Cap Classique

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

With the festive season upon us it’s time to stock up on Môreson Méthode Cap Classique.  Whether you’re celebrating or trying to dull the pain of the prolonged family visits, Môreson is a delicious way to get the job done!

We suggest packing that boot (or trunk) full of the award-winning Môreson Solitaire Blanc de Blancs. It’s just won one of only three golds at Veritas, and it’s pretty as a picture making it the perfect choice for the upcoming festivities!

A case, of six, will cost you R534 (including VAT) directly from the farm. For more information call Hanri on (021) 876 3055 or email sales@moreson.co.za.

The Franschhoek Bubbly Festival 2010!

Monday, November 29th, 2010

This year’s festival – which runs from Friday the 3rd of December to Sunday the 5th of December – will showcase a selection of the most impressive French Champagnes and South African Cap Classiques including:

Colmant, Dieu Donné, Graham Beck Wines, Krone, Morena, Môreson, Pierre Jourdan, Simonsig, Steenberg, Topiary Wines, Villiera, Billecart Salmon, Gosset, Laurent Perrier and Tribaut.

For the Magic of Bubbles weekend only we’re offering guests our excellent R895 per person per night* rate. Included in this is a bottle of Miss Molly Bubbly – in your room to help you get into the Magic of Bubbles frame of mind – and our extra-ordinary Le Quartier Français breakfast.

You can either book your room online by clicking here or you can call us on (021) 876 2151.

P.S. The theme for this year’s festival is black and white and prizes will be awarded to the best-dressed couple each day.

The Franschhoek ‘Magic of Bubbles’ Cap Classique and Champagne Festival is the highlight of the Franschhoek festival calendar. Sponsored by Investec Private Bank this Franschhoek festival is the largest of its kind in South Africa. At the Magic of Bubbles visitors and locals are afforded the opportunity to sample a range of both local Méthode Cap Classiques and French Champagnes and the finest local cuisine.

Tickets cost R180 per person and this includes entrance to the festival, a tasting glass and a complementary booklet of tasting coupons. To purchase your tickets click here.

What’s happening in the next month and a bit?

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

We hope you’re as excited as we are for season, summer and the general influx of visitors to the Western Cape? We’re really looking forward to seeing lots of our old friends and making a whole lot of new ones.

A lot has changed at Le Quartier Français this year – we’ve added an art gallery, an unusual and indigenous herb and sculpture garden, a new restaurant, new room refurbishments and more to our offering – and if you haven’t visited in a while you should because it’s looking, tasting and feeling spectacular!

But enough about us lets look at what we’re going to be focusing on here, on our blog, in the next month and a bit. In the inevitable lead up to 2011 – which we can no longer ignore with December a little over a week away – we’re going to be looking at some of our favourite wining, dining and gently reclining trends that have been forecast for 2011.

We hope you enjoy what we’ve found, from around the world, as much as we enjoyed finding it.