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Prince Albert – an historical time capsule.

Posted on Jun 2, 2014 | 0 comments

Driving into Prince Albert (from the Oudtshoorn side), you’re struck by the amount of activity near such a famously tiny town. My remembrance of Prince Albert as a child is the Hotel and the dry farmland. But I was told, while staying there recently, that a lot of foreign investment has revived this beautiful town to some of it’s former glory.

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Lord’s, McGregor – Scottish highlands in the South African winelands

Posted on Nov 13, 2012 | 0 comments

The Trossachs Manor House – location for the restaurant, reception and a few of the rooms.

I spent this past weekend attending a wedding at Lord’s Guest Lodge. They are situated on one of the roads between Robertson and McGregor, perched on a hilltop, overlooking the vineyards. Although not an authentic historical place for accommodation, which is what the Greendoor Collection is all about, Lord’s is worth a mention given it’s medieval theme.

Made up of numerous genuine stone buildings, each building is fitted with Oregon pine doors, window frames and other fittings – such as staircases. All crafted in a medieval style and ordered from Scotland (where craftmanship for castles is still available). The authenticity is then finished off with antique furniture and memorabilia.

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Bridges and Passes by Thomas Bain

Posted on Oct 20, 2012 | 0 comments

Andrew Bain came to South Africa from Scotland in 1816 and his lack of formal engineering qualification did not deter him from building numerous roads, passes and bridges – his biggest memorial must be the Bain’s Kloof Pass on the R301, connecting Wellington and the Breede River Valley- this pass included South Africa’s first tunnel. But the work of Andrew Bain is a topic for another day, as he worked mostly in the Western and Eastern cape, whereas his son Thomas is responsible for most of the old passes and bridges in the Garden Route and Klein Karoo.

Thomas Bain started his life as road builder on the Michell’s Pass on the R46 under apprenticeship of his father Andrew. He passed, with distinction, an exam set by Colonel Charles Mitchell, Cape Colonial engineer, and James Rose Innes, the then Superintendent-General of Education.

His legacy to the Garden Route and Klein Karoo :

  • the Seven Passes road between George and Knysna  took him almost 20 years to complete. Today this road is declared a National Heritage Road.
  • He also built the Grey’s Pass off the N7 and Prince Alfred’s Pass on the R339 in the Langkloof.
  • The Robinson’s Pass connecting Mossel Bay and Oudshoorn
  • Tulbach Kloof on the R46
  • Cogman’s Kloof on the R62
  • Burger’s Pass on the R318
  • Garcia’s Pass on the R323 between Ladismith and Riversdale
  • Meiringspoort on the N12
  • He also built the Tsitsikamma Road between Knysna and Port Elizabeth and while working on this:
  • the Molteno Pass on the R381 north of Beaufort West
  • and last but not least – the famous Swartberg Pass on the R328 between Oudshoorn and Prince Albert
  • as well as Schoemanspoort
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Traveling from Gauteng to the coast

Posted on Oct 6, 2012 | 0 comments

Johannesburg to Williston is miles apart, and I’m not talking about kilometers here, but does make the perfect stopover and for the peoplein the Garden Route it makes for a very interesting Karoo weekend breakaway.

A ‘perfect escape’ for a weekend would be spending a night (or more) with Karen and Oleg in the Old Jail.

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Of olives and olive oil (a trip to Riebeeck Kasteel)

Posted on Sep 5, 2012 | 0 comments

We took the winding N7 up the West Coast to a small Town called Riebeek Kasteel, famous for it’s olives and olive oil and only one hour’s drive from Cape Town. This little town, centered around a beautiful old church on a hill, allows your mind (and your taste buds) to run away with your imagination. Famous for hosting the annual Olive Festival, when thousands of Capetonians flood the dusty streets, there are still many well hidden  delights.

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