Thursday, February 2, 2017

Lake Naverone in the Underberg

About a 3 hour drive from Durban you will find yourself in a landscape that is majestic. The rolling hills of the Underberg is indescribable. The husband and I want to use our time in KZN as best as we can so a trip to the Underberg was on the bucket list.

Smaller lake next to Lake Naverone
I booked us a weekend at Lake Naverone, one of the best life choices I made last year :) The Lake is surrounded by a 400 hectare estate that will supply you with space for great outdoor fun or just a beautiful place to relax at. It has its own hiking trails or within a short drive you can hike at surrounding areas. You can book horse riding trips, do some birding or try your luck at catching some trout in the lake.

I was in awe about the beauty of this place. The mountains, the greenery and the thundershowers were perfection. I can imagine during winter time how pretty this place will be with snow on the mountains. Apparently is snows at Lake Naverone itself!

Our weekend view
The estate has 22 cottages that caters for small to big families. Check out their website for their rates and which cottage will suit you the best. We stayed at the Flufftail cottage. It's a well stocked self catering cottage with a inside fire place, outside weber and great views of the lake. They service the cottage twice a day so you can actually just sit on the terrace with a glass of wine the entire weekend and appreciate the beautiful surroundings.

We spent a lot of time in the window bay reading during thunder showers. It really was heaven on earth.

Flufftail cottage


Braai area at Flufftail cottage


Finished my book here :)
Each cottage comes with a rowing boat. You can also rent other boats and fishing equipment. The husband tried his luck with the fishing but I guess it's  fair to say that a few hours in the water won't cut it. (googling fly fishing also did not help :) )

Sundowners on the lake

Hoping to catch dinner

He did not catch anything but still looked great trying :)

We chose to do a hiking trail outside of Lake Naverone called "Three Pools". You buy a permit at Lake Naverone because you enter the National Park. It's a moderate hike of about 5km.  Great place to swim at is Champagne pool. Its about 500 m away from Three Pools. If you carry on with the trail you will reach the Bushman cave. Pack a  picnic and enjoy brunch or lunch here!

Champagne pool

Our weekend at Lake Naverone was the perfect spot to be active but also relax enough so that the new working week was easy to tackle.

There is a store about a 3 min drive from Lake Naverone that is well stocked if you forgot anything but I would say come prepared with all your groceries from your home base or shop at the shopping centre in Underberg. There are about four restaurants surrounding Lake Naverone but we never visited any of them.

 The staff at Lake Naverone were very friendly and helped us with all our questions about the hiking trails and even organised us another boat when a large tour group stole  borrowed ours :)

If you ever venture to the Underberg, Lake Naverone is not a spot to miss!

For more information visit their website
Like them on Facebook
Contact them at

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Treat Café @ Talloula

I've spent two lovely Sundays at Treat Café and can say that there is no better way to end off your weekend. Situated on the 1000 Hill road in Botha's Hill, its a short drive from Durban. It is adjacent to the wedding venue Talloula.

Welcome to Treat Café

If there is one thing I miss about Cape Town, it is the wine farms. Now this is not a wine farm but the fact that I can sit outside underneath the trees sipping on some excellent wine from the Cape, I call this my wine farm away from home :)

It is a popular place over weekends so a reservation is essential. We always sit outside, order a bottle of wine and enjoy a long lazy Sunday lunch. It also doubles as a gift shop so I warn you that after the first glass of wine your wallet may be more lenient than before! They stock beautiful ceramics and woven baskets.

Lovely outside spot

Terrible quality photo but just a peek into the inside of the restaurant.

Louis and his staff are always friendly and efficient. If you ever want to host a birthday party, kitchen tea or baby shower this is definitely a venue to consider!

Now lets get to the good part, the food. You can join them for breakfast or lunch. They also host specialty evenings which they advertise of their Facebook page.
The menu changes but the good old favourites are always there. For starters we have enjoyed grilled mushrooms topped with pesto, tomato and mozzarella. Our favourite so far however was the mezze platter. Pitas are served with humus, grilled peppers, olives ,tomato salsa and guacamole. There is also a spanakopita and potato samosa to share. This paired perfectly with our Tokara Chenin Blanc.

Grilled mushroom and the mezze platter
Talking about wine, I really love their wine list. Well priced, diverse with regards to cultivar and there are some winners from the Cape such as Haute Cabriere and Tokara. This is one place where you don't have to BYOB.

Haute Cabriere Tranquille
Tokara Chenin Blanc
For mains the dish to try is their pie. The husband enjoyed it the first time we were there and I had to put up a fight at our next visit so that he didn't order it again. I wanted to try the rest of the menu but yes the pie is so delicious that you can eat it at every visit. First of all the portion is big. Tender meat in a thick sauce is covered entirely with a puff pastry lid. It is served with chips on the side. The husband was tempted to lick out the bowl, luckily he remembered his table manners! He also enjoyed the homemade burger which he gave top marks to.

The must try dish!

I've tried the salmon pasta which I enjoyed but I would have rather have served it with cooked salmon than smoked salmon. My quiche I recently had was jampacked with butternut which I enjoyed but the crust was too thick and hard. The salad served with it however was very fresh!

Salmon pasta
Butternut quiche with salad

We've tried dessert once which was a saucy chocolate malva pudding. It was delicious and sweet but the berries and ice cream served with it neutralised it well. A recommended lemon meringue is also on the menu.

Chocolate malva pudding

Treat Café is worth the drive out to a 1000 Hills. You can always count them on serving great food in a comfortable environment. If you end off you weekend here I promise you, you will be okay for the coming week!



Visit them at 61 Old Main road, Botha's Hill
Open Tuesday-Sunday 08:30 - 16:00
Contact them at 031 777 1586
Like them on Facebook 
For more information check out their website

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Bellevue Market

Bellevue Market is the place to be tomorrow evening. Every last Friday of the month you can wine and dine underneath the stars while listening to live music. My first visit to the market was last month and I am so sad that I am missing tomorrow night as I am on call :(

Bellevue Market
It starts at 16:00. Perfect to head over straight after work. Start off with a glass of wine, craft beer or even gin cocktails. My favourite was a pomegranate flavoured gin. While you are getting in the mood browse through various clothes and décor stalls.  There's ample seating but if you want to be more comfortable bring a blanket and make a picnic of it!

It is always gin'o clock!

Food wise they cater for all. For the adventurous tuck into delishous curries or pulled pork burgers. We enjoyed a delicious vegetarian pizza that we spiced up with some jalapenos and onion marmalade. As the cold showed face this week you can even tuck into some hearty soups and maybe take away some for the week?

Delicious pizza!

Before you leave be sure to grab some dessert on the go. I left with a few cupcakes and my weakness, a pecan nut tart.

Loved the fairy lights!

Bellevue Market, the perfect place to start your weekend! See you definitely next month!
Location: 5 Bellevue road, Kloof
Time: 16:00-20:00
Like them on Facebook

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Weekend to the Midlands

The Midlands is a short 90  minute drive from Durban. Perfect for a weekend away or even a daytrip.

My husband and I decided on a whim one Thursday evening to head to the Midlands for the weekend because I had an entire weekend off, which does not happen often.

Early the Saturday morning we jumped in the car, ready to explore. It was a cold and rainy weekend, perfect weather to head inland ! The Midlands is beautiful this time of the year with the orange/brown autumn leaves dominating the scenery. It was awesome to wear a winters coat for the first time in months because you rarely need it in Durban.

"We" (my husband) were on the hunt for craft beers so our first stop was at Bierfassl for "breakfast" aka beer tasting. Bierfassl is an Austrian/German  restaurant and pub established 15 years ago.  They offer over 35 craft beers from all over the world including local brews for Notthingham Road Brewery.

My husband enjoyed the tasting platter of Notthingham Road Brewery. It is six beers for R45.  He usually prefers the largers but the darker ales really impressed him. We were the only people in the restaurant but we were there rather early. It seems like a popular spot as the majority of the tables were reserved for lunch. We had breakfast here. It was fine but nothing exciting. I think to really enjoy their food you must go for the authentic German lunch which is only available from 12:00.

Enjoying the beer tasting


A breakfast burger and bacon pancakes topped with a cheese sauce

After enjoying the beers from the Nottingham Road Brewery we wanted to visit the source. About 2 km from Bierfassl  is the Nottingham Road Brewery company at Rawdons Estate. It is a small space with a shop where you can buy the beers, beer bread, beer cheese ect. It was a really cold day so we were not keen to stand on the deck and taste beer but if the weather behaves the deck outside the brewery can be a great place to sip on a few cold ones.

Outside Nottingham Road Brewery

Next to the brewery is the Boars Head pub which was very inviting with its roaring fireplaces. We stopped here for some wine and beer. The husband then also enjoyed some of the rugby that was on. (I was reminded often that it was a big weekend of sport : / )

The roaring fireplace was the best!

We were on the road again and passed by a variety of curios shops, deli's ect which is especially present on the Nottingham Road. I've visited the Midlands before and one of my highlights was the Blueberry Café so  naturally this was our next stop. It was after all tea time :)
It is a beautiful space surrounded by fields where the majestic nguni cattle roam. Adjacent to the restaurant is a small shop where you can browse and spend on stylish leather and wood items. The last time I visited we purchased beautiful nguni placemats.

Inside the cosy Blueberry Café

Just look at that uninterrupted view!

So in keeping with them name we wanted to indulge on blueberries so for "tea" we enjoyed blueberry cheesecake and scones served with a blueberry compote. The cheesecake was very sweet and if you know me,I can handle sweet stuff. The scones however were light and fluffy!

It was tea time and wine time somewhere in the world :)

Delectable treats!

Before you leave remember to visit the bathroom :). The scenery is definitely something special.
We headed towards our accommodation for the evening situated near Mooi rivier. I was very excited about where we were heading. Hartford House has been on my radar ever since they were featured on the Eat Out Top 10 list .

Hartford house was established 130 years ago. It situated on a prestige's horse farm. As soon as you enter the gate you will instantly feel relaxed. Pair that was great hospitality and beautiful comfortable rooms one night here will feel as if you spent a week. On arrival we enjoyed some MCC and the rest was history... let the weekend begin :)
Beautiful lounge area

Outside dining area

One of the pool suites

We booked in at one of the pool suites. It's a stand alone suite with a wood burning fire place, massive shower, bathroom and a lovely couch where I spent the entire afternoon lounging in the sun and finished my book. Check out their website for all the accommodation options and tariffs. Option range from rooms in the hotel to lakeside suites perfect for families or a group of friends.
Our lounge area

Beautiful bedroom

Where I spent most of my afternoon

If you can't stay at Hartford house visit them for a 2(R190) or 3(R270) course lunch or afternoon tea served at the Tijnhuis. It is a place you cant miss out on.
The Tijnhuis

Great to stroll trough the garden and see where they grow their produce they use for meals.

We saved ourselves for the 5 course dinner. When we checked in I saw the menu and this foodie could not contain herself with excitement.
We started off dinner with some MCC in the beautiful lounge. Then we were welcomed by Chef Constantijn Hahndiek who explained all the culinary treats that awaited us.

Nothing like a glass of MCC to start off the evevning

I was very intrigued by this menu because there were ingredients on it I have read about multiple times but have not had the opportunity to taste such as pak choi and black pudding. It really was a culinary experience where I learned so much.  Below is the 5 star menu

Artisanal bread served with butter and chicken liver pate
Butternut and Chicken soup
So as you can see this is not your typical butternut and chicken soup. This was actually a butternut consommé which was so clear and loaded with flavour served with juicy chicken roulade. This was one of my favourites because of the excellent consommé!
Scallop served with black pudding, parsnip, barley and sharon fruit
I love watching cooking shows and black pudding is a regular ingredient seen especially on the British cooking shows. For those who don't know what black pudding is, it is  essential blood sausage. I've never had this before so I was excited to taste it especially because it is also commonly paired with scallops. This dish also produced my entertainment of the evening when I explained to my husband what he was eating :) I really enjoyed the combination and would definitely eat it again!
Tuna fresh from the Northcoast served with lemon grass, rice crisp and pak choi
The majority of ingredients used at Hartford House are either grown at Hartford self or imported from local suppliers that are within a certain range of kilometres of the farm. We were spoilt with fresh tuna from the north coast which paired perfectly with a lovely lemon grass broth
Wildebees served with garlic pureé, quince, burnt carrot and cocoa nib
This was the only dish that did not receive a 5/5 because the meat was a bit tough although cooked perfectly medium rare. The cocoa nib was also too bitter for my liking.
TWG Rooibos
  This homemade rooibos ice cream was out of this world. Really one of the best ice-creams I have ever eaten. This paired perfectly with a smooth and airy chocolate mouse topped with sugary meringue


After this mind blowing meal we were in for one last treat. Chef Constantijn  used liquid nitrogen to make a  paprika flavoured type of honeycomb. The most entertaining part was watching all the other guest "fuming" at the mouth!

Chef in action

Happy diners :)

Thank goodness after this delicious meal our room was only a few meters away.

The next morning we went for a walk on the estate followed but another delicious meal. There was a breakfast buffet table with fruit, cheeses, meat and pastries. From the menu we indulged on homemade nutella crepes and a full English breakfast.

Some of the beautiful horses in the farm

The estate has a few walking paths you can enjoy

The jetty near the laskeside suites.

Delicious homemade nutella served in pancakes topped with crispy bacon

Although we only visited for one evening we felt as if we rested for a week which is enough evidence that a visit to Hartford House is one extraordinary experience. We can't wait to go back!

I am heading to the Midlands again in August and can't wait to tell you about the other must visit places!

For now thank goodness it is almost weekend :)