August 30, 2017
I have been sipping and smiling this summer, on occasion with a Jan Smuts cocktail in hand, reflecting in a slightly gushy sort of way on how pleasing it is that my clients have related such happy stories about their life-enriching safaris across sub-Saharan Africa.
The essential ingredient in my cocktail is Caperitif, a type of vermouth that was last made in the Western Cape, South Africa in the 1940s. It was a popular drink of the original voortrekkers and had been lost until recently re-concocted by a couple of enterprising people, using the earthy botanicals from the unique fynbos vegetation of Swartland.
Caperitif appears often in the Savoy Cocktail book of 1930 and I believe that you can now sample it at the American Bar at the Savoy, London.
It is made by the Badenhorst winery that just happens to be pretty close to one of my favourite places in Swartland – Bartholomeus Klip, a sort of soft safari place only ninety minutes from Cape Town Airport and perfect as a first stop on a meandering holiday through the delights of the Western Cape.
The Elandsberg nature reserve, an important tract of rare Swartland fynbos landscape, is home to some eight hundred plant species. The highly endangered geometric tortoise as well as the Cape mountain zebra and numerous other antelope may be seen on game drives which take place against the stunning backdrop of the Winterhoek mountains. There is also the intriguing story of the Quagga zebra to be discovered during a visit.
The lodge, approached by a long sweeping drive lined by an avenue of wild olives and agapanthus, has an immediate appeal. Chintz has been slung about the six rooms in an imaginative and warm way. Many of the staff have worked here for donkey’s years and the attention to detail is absolute. Magnificent spreads at breakfast and a gourmet feast at dinner, along with walking, cycling, archery, kayaking, all on site, complete the picture. Fully inclusive rates vary according to season from £200-£325 per person.
There is so much more to this area than the admittedly exciting city of Cape Town, and I can create a wonderful journey for you off the beaten track. There seems to be no really low season now in South Africa, with its weak currency offering such excellent value for money, but if you are thinking of a winter break early in 2018 there is no time to waste in booking.
I know one can look up all these things at the click of a button but just in case you didn’t know, Jan Smuts happened to be born in Swartland. A relatively liberal political leader and president, he lost out to a hard-line Afrikaner government in 1948. Johannesburg Airport was named after him until O R Tambo’s name replaced his, and if he hadn’t died of a stroke in 1993 he might have become the first president of the apartheid-free nation that finally came to power in 1994.
To buy the essential ingredient for some fun cocktails click this link: Swig it…Caperitif
The lady sipping the cocktail at Bartholomews Klip in the above picture is Kate Theobald, my business partner.
NB prices shown were current at the time of writing the newsletter and are not necessarily current now.
Please ask for an updated quote.
- A Sense of Place – Summer rains make the roads impassable
- A Sense of Place – ‘Those two ladies put light in my future.’
- A Sense of Place – The bird who lost its nest
- A Sense of Place – Talking with the Maasai
- Newsflash: first American guests to Tanzania since March 2020
- A Sense of Place – AFRICA NEEDS YOU
- Escape to Italy?
- Covid: the road still to be travelled.
- A trio of treats. Series of 3 (Part 3): Tiger reserves.
- A trio of treats. Series of 3 (Part 2): Khajuraho.
- A trio of treats. Series of 3 (Part 1): Lucknow.
- A Sense of Place – Engaged people may save the planet
- A word on lions and a trio of treats
- A Sense of Place – India’s most holy city
- A wealth of wilderness walks in Namibia
- Travel snippets from Miles
- A trio of treats on the green island of Pemba in the Zanzibar archipelago
- A Sense of Place – THE INSIDE TRACK on Cape Town guiding
- A Sense of Place – Migrations of people and beasts: East Africa
- A Sense of Place – An era of revolution and global alliances
- A Sense of Place – A walk on the wild side
- A Sense of Place – The ghost ingredient is back
- A Sense of Place – Liuwa Plains and Kafue National Parks – Zambia
- A Sense of Place – Literati in the Pink City, the Capital of Rajasthan
- A Sense of Place – A Tamil town still connected to Europe, Art Deco architecture, and temple antiquity in Southern India.
- A Sense of Place – Dreamy aquamarine sea and stunning safari with the Makuleke people
- A Sense of Place – A trio of lovely ladies in Hyderabad
- A Sense of Place – Entamanu, the wishing tree and walking with the Hadza tribe.
- We get you to places that others don’t… St Helena, Gt Zimbabwe ruins and Papua new Guinea
- A Sense of Place – Walking in the hippie hills of the Himalayas
- A Sense of Place – The Okavango: the river that never finds the sea
- A Sense of Place – The Great Rift Valley, Laikipia, Samburu warriors and Maasai Olympics.
- A Sense of Place – Escape the world in the Namib Desert
- Africa is a massive continent: a collection of 55 countries
- A Sense of Place – Zambezi Watery Wilderness
- A Sense of Place – Burma: the road beyond Mandalay
- Lake Malawi – Would you rather pay for the advertising or the experience?
- From shoe-shine boy to tourist guide in Ethiopia
- A Sense of Place – Ladakh, the Himalayas
- Dhow sailing, Lions are back in Malawi, Self-drive in Namibia
- Sacred rivers and forts, India
- Piranhas, sting rays, caimans – and still people go into the River Negro!
- Kerala, Southern India – God’s own country
- South Africa: Crucible of the rainbow nation
- Madagascar: croissants and lemurs
- Argentina vs Africa on wildlife drama
- Uganda – Gorillas and Gardens
- Mozambique & Kenya: immigration official on holiday
- Mozambique: Gorongosa and reconciliation in the bush
- Zimbabwe is ready for Tourists again
- Serengeti ecosystem and unbeatable savannah
- Lamu: crab complaining
- Kenya: circumcision
- Zambia: Ellie rescue
- Africans: always smiling
- French sketch
- Kenya: the best hosts
- First visit to Africa 1986
- Namibia, Namib Rand, Skeleton Coast and the ultimate flying safari
- A few gems off the beaten track: Fanjove Island, Tanzania; The Singular Hotel, Patagonia and Isla Palenque, Panama.
- Elephant relocation, quad bike expedition and new Sossusvlei reserve
- Templed out in Tamil Nadu and elephant refuge in Jaipur
- Kenyan sanctuary and family run camp in Zambia
- Australia: Arkaba, Tasmania and Lord Howe Island
- Australia: in the outback and off the beaten track
- India: heavenly Himalayan hideaways, Botswana: fun safari for children and Argentina: hidden homestay in a mountain desert
- Limpopo retreat, Serengeti spectacle and adventure on the Zambezi
- Value for money in Kenya and the trail less travelled in Peru
- Lions in danger, free nights and a new coastal gem
- G and T on demand, hidden beach, micro-light and sleeping on a dam
- Off the beaten track