Coffee Kicks

Follow my Instagram feed and you’ll know that I love coffee. It’s not just a passing love affair or fleeting crush; it’s been a long, committed relationship and and I don’t think either of us are interested in going our separate ways. Especially not when we have so many interesting coffee spots in the Bay!

I have such a choice – when I need alone time, I visit Seattle Coffee Co. in Walmer, but if I’m meeting a friend, I prefer Brioche, also in Walmer. Coffee spots speak to coffee drinkers differently, so I’ve highlighted my top 3:

Seattle Coffee Co
As I mentioned, I visit when I’m in need of time alone. I usually grab a blockbuster or magazine before I head this way, but it’s also quite entertaining people-watching. That might sound odd, but I know a few of you are nodding your heads in agreement. Their ginger biscuits taste exactly the same as the ones my Ouma used to make, so that’s a plus for me too. Alone time combined with nostalgia.

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Where: 9th Avenue Shopping Centre, on Walmer Main Road, PE.

Brioche
I stumbled upon Brioche by chance and I’m so happy I did. Not only do they have banting breakfast and lunch options, offering customers separate menus, but they also have more than one banting treat option. Most importantly, their cappuccinos are heavenly. So much so that I don’t need sugar (yes, I know coffee aficionados are cringing at me putting sugar in the coffee. Just breathe.).

The waiters have a vibe about them, perhaps a touch of passion for what they do each day – something which is amiss in today’s fast-paced world and it makes a huge impact on my coffee enjoyment. Their slogan t-shirts help too: “We love to make coffee for the city that loves to drink it.”

Thank you, Brioche team!

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Where: 181 Main Road, Walmer, PE.

Urban Espress
In my opinion, these guys have the most consistently best tasting coffee in town. I usually pop in when I’m out during lunch and need a quick fix. And with two stores in the Bay, it does make it easier to pop by! Started by Donovan McLagan along with his wife, Angeline, Urban Espress has become a coffee hot-spot since these two opened shop and brought the Specialty Coffee Association of South Africa Coffee Competitions to the Eastern Cape. Both have won best barista titles and help up skill future baristas. A dynamic duo with a love for the magical coffee bean!

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Where: 25 6th Avenue, Walmer, PE / 27 Constitution Hill, PE

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Recharging

At the end of March this year, I changed jobs and moved to a different creative agency in Port Elizabeth, but not before I took a well-deserved break. I don’t believe it to be good for the soul to leave one job today and step into a new role tomorrow, right? Well that’s what I told myself so off we went down to the Langkloof, with the goal being to arrive thoroughly adventured, in Ladismith.

Our travels usually take quite some time as we explore along the way. This time, we took Route 62 meandering through fruit farms on our side of the world, and along the longest wine route in the Western Cape, if you pass Ladismith en-route to Cape Town. I’d pick this route every time I travel this way – the N2 might be faster, but really, what’s the point of missing all the beauty?

Our first destination on the trip was Calitzdorp, the port capital of South Africa – halfway between PE and Cape Town. With seven wine cellars, I certainly thought I had landed in a pot of gold! But because we travel purposefully, we arrived quite late in the day and only had time to pop in at Axe Hill – makers of the BEST port in the country and more recently, a white ‘viognier’. If you can get your hands on a bottle of each, do it. You’ll thank me.

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This was a taste of Axe Hill Port, which I drank. There’s no wasting here!
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As I stepped out of the car, I landed on this purple carpet of fermenting port grapes.

Now, be warned – if you plan to visit this area in the heat of summer like we did, be prepared. Book accommodation with air-conditioning and a swimming pool. Don’t stroll through town in the middle of the day. It is HOT. Very HOT. We had a lovely,spacious room at the grand old Queen of Calitzdorp

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This stately Lady is over a century young and is a 4-star guesthouse. A fitting escape for the Karoo summer heat and within walking distance of Boplaas, De Krans and Calitzdorp Cellars.
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And I can’t go anywhere if they don’t serve a good cuppa. They Queen passed the test.

Ideally, it would be wise to spend 2 or 3 days in this gem of a town, there is much to explore not only from a tourist outlook, but if you’re interested in architecture, strolling through the streets will offer you much inspiration.

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Mymering would be our next stop. Once you get to know me a little better, you’ll realise my love for food and wine and with Penny’s passion for food, and Andy’s knack for winemaking, this is the perfect stop for me. Early morning walks in the vineyards as the sun rises, early evening cocktails watching the stars come out while Towerkop dwarfs the valley in shadow. It truly is a magnificent place to just recharge. Reception is quite good, but other than sharing images on Instagram, I would encourage you to put the little device down and just be.

Hosts Penny and Andy Hillock are on hand for dinner and breakfast each day, making sure all the guests have met and encouraging a social gathering while enjoying a meal. To me, this is one of the most interesting aspects – to watch people walk up for dinner only to realise we’re all seated at a long harvest table. It’s fun to find out where everyone has travelled from. On this visit, we had an old gentleman tell tales about his childhood and we eventually realised that he was one of the founding members of the Grahamstown National Arts Festival – currently the largest cultural festival in Africa.

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My early morning expedition had these creatures pose for me.
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The recently completed farm dam. And damn, look at that reflection.
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The view of Towerkop from the dining area at Mymering.

Travels always leave you wanting more. I know this is true for myself. You just never know who you’ll meet along the way, or what beauty you’ll find

One of PE’s gems

The Port Elizabeth coastline is beautiful. There’s no other word to describe the waves crashing on the beach sand or the rocks, or the winding road that leads from Summerstrand to Schoenmakerskop.

Schoenies, as it’s referred to by locals, has a memorial cannon which has always just been there. Recently, I actually looked at it and found out the reason for its existence – a memorial to sailors who lost their lives in a shipwreck.

In June 1647, the Portuguese Galleon Sacremento ran aground. The cannon, weighing in at 2500kg,  at a length of 469cm, covers the exact site of the wreck. This specific cannon was one of 40 salvaged by David Allen and Gerry Van Niekerk in 1977. All 40 were cast in bronze by Boccarro in the Portuguese territory of Macao, China in 1640.

The popular Sacramento Trail starts from a footpath near the cannon and leads visitors along an 8km hike through the Sardinia Bay Nature Reserve.

The Schoenies area has a crazy amount of rock pools for the kids to discover marine life in, and beautiful beaches perfect for a picnic. The public area in front of the houses along the main road, offer benches for you to enjoy a cuppa while overlooking the sea.

Farmland Travels

In my family, Sundays are usually our roadtrip days – days where I join my mom and dad and we hit the load less travelled. Admittedly, we usually take the same route, with a few adjustments here and there.

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Our goal is to reach Nanaga Farmstall for lunch at some point in the afternoon, and then take a trip down “Memory Lane”. This refers to the farm road route which travels past the farm where my mom grew up. This place has fond memories for me too, however this was her refuge and right now, the farmhouse is falling apart which is sad to see, but to listen to her tell stories when we pass different farms and kloofs… that makes my heart happy.

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*If you’d like to drive this route, the best is to follow the R72 in the direction of Port Alfred, and turn right onto a gravel road at the Springmount turnoff. The road will lead you through gorgeous farmlands and at the end, you’ll pass the Kinkelbos SAPS and connect to the main road*

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So along this route, I take photos – I try to take different photos at different spots as it’s also not that easy to find  landscapes once you’ve already snapped the shot previously. *Yesterday, I asked my dad to stop so many times that perhaps he may not invite me on the next trip.

Anyway, here’s a collection of farmland photos to date:

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Blooming Jacaranda trees in Kirkwood

Dairy cows

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Tsitsikamma Treasures

Exploring further afield than just my hometown of Port Elizabeth, a recent visit down the coast led me to a tour of the world’s largest commercial protea farm – right in the heart of the Tsitsikamma area.

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Regyne Protea Farm exports a wide range of proteas and fynbos across the world and also sells to the public, with deliveries possible to all airports throughout South Africa.

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The Tsitsikamma area is renowned for world bests, not only in the protea farm, but also with the world’s highest commercial bungy just down the road at the Bloukrans Bridge. Here, those brave enough, experience a 7-second freefall down 216m after jumping. It’s an adrenalin pumping activity of note!

My heart, however, lies in the farmland and so, on stopping at Oudebosch Farmstall for one of their famous homemade roosterkoek breakfasts, owner and local tourism guru, Dewald Niemann, offered myself and my travelling partner a tour of Regyne.

What a wonder – after driving along a gravel farm road, surrounded by dairy cows and green, green pastures, we stopped outside the packing shed.

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The beauty of the proteas – in all their varying forms and colours – is breathtaking. Great care is taken in cultivating these flowers from cuttings or seedlings which are harvested after the drying of flowers. Covering an area of 80 hectares, a visit to the farm is a definite if you love the national flower of our country. To find out more, visit their Facebook page

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Oudebosch Farmstall is one of the most welcoming farmstalls I’ve visited – not only are the staff friendly, the food is delicious AND there is free Wi-Fi. How can you beat that? Dewald also organises the visits to Regyne Protea Farm.

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Many tourism establishments could learn a thing or two from Dewald – visitors from the Eersterivier seaside holiday resort flock to the farmstall during peak seasons to check on emails, leaving refreshed after completing their business dealings, or sharing their photos on social media. The kids have an outdoor play area to enjoy or bunnies to feed, which means parents can relax and enjoy a cuppa. For more information, visit their website.

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Discovering beautiful places in and around my home town