The First Lady of SA wine – Norma Ratcliffe

The First Lady of SA wine – Norma Ratcliffe

Norma Ratcliffe never intended to spend her days in a South African wine cellar, crafting some of the Cape’s most celebrated red wines. Instead, the Canadian-born matriarch of Warwick wine estate outside Stellenbosch had a career in textiles in mind, until a chance holiday encounter in the Greek isles with a South African farmer brought her to South Africa in 1971.

Her late-husband Stan purchased Warwick estate in 1964, but Ratcliffe didn’t start making wine until 1974. “Stan and I had a big bond on the farm and we didn’t have any money to invest in a cellar; instead we invested…
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It’s gin o’clock

It’s gin o’clock

From Australia to the UK, craft gins have become the hottest bottle behind the bar and local distillers have been quick to catch onto the trend: in the wake of the craft beer revolution, burnished copper potstills across SA are bubbling away as distillers dabble in small-batch gins.

Like wine, craft gins are increasingly showing their “terroir”, as African botanicals are blended into the traditional mix of juniper, citrus and herbs.

Perhaps the most interesting examples come from the Western Cape, where fynbos flavours loom large, with distillers using everything from buchu to kapokbos and honey…
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Bosjes brings style to the Breedekloof

Bosjes brings style to the Breedekloof

On a family-owned farm dating back to 1790 is one of the most exciting openings of the year in the Cape winelands. Bosjes – Dutch for ‘small bushes’ – opened its doors in March 2017 in the scenic Breedekloof, a valley little more than an hour’s drive from Cape Town.

This corner of the Cape winelands is experiencing something of a renaissance, and Bosjes is a striking new addition to the region. At the heart of the estate is Die Skuur, a stylish five-bedroom guesthouse framing a private pool and entertainment area. Although rooms can be booked individually, Die Skuur is…
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The Long Road to Odzala, Congo

The Long Road to Odzala, Congo

Roasted peanuts and an ice-cold crocodile. Those are the abiding memories of my first night in Brazzaville, the colourful capital of the Republic of Congo. We bought half a dozen roasted peanut-filled cones in twists of newspaper and spread them out on a plastic pavement table. The tavern- owner delivered a crate of chilled Ngok’ beers and we were all set for sundowners, Brazzaville-style.

I was heading north to the rainforests, but it made sense to spend at least one night in “Brazza”, the tiny cousin of mega-city Kinshasa across the Congo River. It’s a…
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New menu for refreshed Reuben’s

OOCT Reubens New Menu - Seared Scallops, cauliflower puree, miso roasted sweet corn, sauteed mushrooms, pancetta (HR) 1

After a decor refresh over winter, chef Reuben Riffel has reopened his eponymous restaurant at Cape Town’s glamorous One&Only hotel with a focused new menu that sees the quality of cooking dialled up a notch. While retaining the bistro homeliness, the complexity of the dishes shows that Reuben and his team of chefs are out to impress.

His trademark plate of chilli-salted squid with Vietnamese nuam choc dressing on a crispy leaf salad never…
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Vineyard Hotel: Cape Town’s Urban oasis

Vineyard Hotel exterior

Vineyard Hotel, a Cape Town gem.

Since the late-1700s Cape Town’s present-day Vineyard Hotel has been famous as a bucolic city escape for the lucky few. Originally the country house of Lady Anne Barnard, a society figure and one of the early diarists of the Cape colony, for over a century this idyllic hotel in the leafy suburb of Newlands has been a popular escape from the bustling city streets. Today the 207-roomed property looks out over a remarkable seven-acre garden with breathtaking views of…
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