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Little Church: Van Reenen’s Pass

The Little Church is at the top of Van Reenen’s Pass, on the road from from KwaZulu-Natal to Gauteng. It is one of the smallest churches in the world and is also the only privately owned Roman Catholic Church.

The Little Church

The Little Church

The Church was built by Maynard Mathews, the father of a young man named Llandaff Mathews.  Llandaff died on the 19th March 1925, while trying to save the lives of miners at the Burnside Colliery. When his son died, Maynard Mathews, who was a Roman Catholic wanted to place a plaque in his Llandaff’s memory in the Roman Catholic Church in Ladysmith. His request was refused so he built the Little Church on his land, with the sole intention of placing a memorial plaque in honour of his brave son.

Interior

Interior

Mr Mathews built his Church to seat 8 which represents the number of lives his son saved. The Church has all the vestments of one of the wings of the Cardiff Cathedral in Wales.  The Church is fully consecrated and regular services are still held there.

Me, on our recent visit

Me, on our recent visit

In 1960 the Little Church was declared a National Monument.

The Little Church

The Little Church

There are stunning views from the Churchyard and I would have loved to stay longer but we were on a road trip and my husband was anxious to carry on with our journey.  I did, however, manage to spend some time wandering amongst the graves.  The tombstones and plaques make interesting reading and, in some cases, are quite poetic.

A plaque In the Churchyard

A plaque In the Churchyard

There is also a charming tearoom and tea garden, which is well worth a visit.  They have delicious homemade goodies as well as pre-loved treasures for sale.

Views over Van Reenen's Pass

Views over Van Reenen’s Pass

It’s the perfect traveller’s stop on a long journey.  We left feeling refreshed and happy to have experienced the history and beauty of the Little Church.

Durban

Durban is a beautiful city with an amazing climate. It has so much to offer…..

From fabulous sunrises ……

to a glorious coastline …..

You can go to the top of the Moses Mabdiha stadium….

and admire the stunning views …

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Or visit Wilson’s Wharf and check out the boats in the harbour.

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Groot Constantia And Jonkershuis

No trip to Cape Town is complete without a visit to Groot Constantia.  It is a dramatically beautiful wine farm seeped in history.

Groot Constantia was established in 1685 by Simon van der Stel.   Although it was a wine farm it also produced vegetables and fruit.  When Van der Stel died, the estate was broken up into Groot Constantia, Klein Constantia and Bergvliet.

There is no certainty on how Constantia got it’s name but I like the theory from Hymen Picard (writer).  He believed that the farm was named after a woman with whom Simon van der Stel had fallen in love on the voyage to the Cape.  She was the daughter of the commander of the fleet with which Van der Stel travelled.

Avenue Of Trees

The estate is lush and shady, punctuated by lovely buildings.   We enjoyed a wine tasting and, of course, could not leave without sending a case of wine to Pietermaritzburg.  Thank goodness we did,  the rich heritage of the farm comes out in the wine, helping me to relive my visit time and time again.

The Manor House

And, of course, the estate boasts a superb restaurant.  Jonkershuis makes the best Bobotie I have ever tasted – it is accompanied by almond flavoured yellow rice and delicate sambals.  Each time I have been lucky enough to visit Groot Constantia, I am lured into Jonkershuis by the promise of their Bobotie and I have never been disappointed.  It is consistently exquisite.

Jonkershuis

Yes, without a doubt, Groot Constantia is a national treasure.

The Boulders And The Penguins

There is a beautiful beach in Simonstown, Western Cape.  It is sheltered and has calm and turquoise waters. There are huge natural boulders which protect the swimming bay from the wind and large waves. The tranquility is stunning and so unexpected.

Photo RL Pieterse

Photo RL Pieterse

This is a protected area and is known as Boulders Coastal Park which falls under the Table Mountain National Park and guided tours of the area are available.

Photo RL Pieterse

Photo RL Pieterse

Penguins abound.  They used to be known as Jackass Penguins, because they bray like donkeys. Now they are known as African Penguins  – and they are everywhere.  On the rocks, amongst the foliage, on the paths and, of course, on the beach.  They scurry along, looking like the bird version of James Bond in their black and white suits.

Photo BWP Pieterse

Photo BWP Pieterse

The rule is, no matter how cute the penguins look, do not touch or feed them. Their beaks are very sharp and they could nip you.

There is an entry fee payable and do check the entry and exit times on the SANParks website.

You’ll need plenty of time when you visit the Park, you won’t want to rush as you wander around drinking in the beauty of this exquisite place.

Photo BWP Pieterse

Stellenbosch Winelands: Delheim

Stellenbosch is a pretty university town, deep in the Cape Winelands.

View From our Balcony

Church

On our visit there, we went to some of the surrounding wine farms.  One of the best is Delheim.  They produce great wines and their Spatzendreck has long been a favourite of mine. It is a Chenin-Blanc based late harvest.

We enjoyed a really good lunch of Cape Malay curry during which, a lovely man named Mike who works there, spilled my drink at the table.  He apologised profusely but there really was no harm done.

However, he more than compensated for his mistake when, as we were leaving, he followed us clutching a complimentary bottle of Delheim’s 2011 Chenin Blanc Natural Sweet wine.  Proof that good service, great wines and excellent food co-exist at Delheim – they certainly live up to their motto which is “worth the journey”.

Wine Tasting At Delheim

Cape Winelands

Beautiful Views Are Everywhere

Rain Clouds Gather

Breakers, Umhlanga

Umhlanga is a beautiful place on the North Coast of KwaZulu-Natal.  On our recent visit there we stayed at Breakers, a well maintained and attractive resort, overlooking the Indian Ocean.

Our accommodation was excellent.  We slept in a large comfortable bed made up with crisp white linen. There was a well appointed kitchenette, a lounging and dining area and, to top it all, an overwhelmingly magnificent view of the sea.

It’s easy to relax in beautiful surroundings.

Sunrise

The view from our window. Photo BWP Pieterse

Sunrise, Sunset

The most beautiful and dramatic time of the day is sunrise or sunset.  Coastal sunrises and sunsets have the most impact as the sea reflects the stunning colours of the sky.

There are spectacular sunrises on the East Coast of Kwazulu-Natal and amazing sunsets over the West Coast of Africa.

The cold Welsh countryside also has a special magic as day changes into night.

Beauty and magic, all encompassed in the colour palette of the sky.

A Durban Sunrise. Photo BWP Pieterse

Early Morning In Durban : Photo BWP Pieterse

Sunset Long Beach, Namibia. Photo BWP Pieterse

Namibia At Sunset, West Coast. Photo BWP Pieterse

Sunset , West Coast, Cape. Photo BWP Pieterse

A Dramatic West Coast Sunset. Photo BWP Pieterse

Sun Setting Over Pietermaritzburg. Photo BWP Pieterse