Our final visit during our short stay in Cape Town was to the Castle of Good Hope, parts of which were built in the late 17th century. The Military Museum and the William Fehr Collection were excellent and informative, though I have to admit that by the time I’d read about the Eighth Frontier War I started to wonder whether those folk ever stopped fighting each other.
At first, we couldn’t find the penguins. This was because we followed the signs saying ‘Penguins’ rather than entering the visitor centre, and we ended up paying to get into a small beach with only a couple of penguins on some nearby rocks. However, the entrance ticket also allowed us into the visitor centre, through which, on the nearby beach, there were many penguins.
We enjoyed some fabulous meals in Cape Town.
One evening we went to Addis in Cape for some Ethiopian food.
It was an unusual meal at a unique venue. Billed as ‘theatrical dining’, we didn’t really know what to expect. The website of Stardust in Cape Town mentions performing waiters and waitresses, and we thought that we might be serenaded at our table. In the event, it was a full-on show, with up to a dozen people who also served the food, on stage singing, telling jokes and doing magic.
The performers/waiters/waitresses are mostly drama students, and the venue gives them a good opportunity to showcase their skills. The place was packed, and we all enjoyed their enthusiasm and skills.
We booked a full day winelands tour for Rand 650 (about £35), which seemed like a good deal as lunch was also included. You can actually book private tours, which are more expensive, but the group ones tend to be much more fun.
We visited four vineyards: Villiera, Tokara, Solms and Fairview. They were all different, so it was really good to see a variety of setups. We ended up sampling over twenty wines, and there was some enthusiastic singing in the van back to Cape Town at the end of the day.
At Villiera, we toured the production line and then tried various sparkling wines (at 10:30 am) and then some other varieties. One that caught my tastebuds was the Inspiration Noble Late Harvest sweet wine. I haven’t drunk sweet wine for many years, but I’ve obviously been missing something good. The sweet wine was described as “…intensely fragrant with hints of honey, raisins, marmalade and nuts penetrating the aroma.” None of us could taste any of those things. In fact, the only time in the whole day when anyone could taste something in the description was later on when we were all agreed that there was a definite hint of green pepper in one of the wines.
Of the various wines sampled, I enjoyed the Tokara Reserve Collection Elgin Sauvignon Blanc 2014, and Tokara Director’s Reserve Red 2011 (which at R350 was the most expensive one we tried). The latter is described thus: “The aromas on the nose are classic for this style of wine. Heady notes of cassis, black berries and dark cherries. There is a slight herbal lift and freshness to the nose with hints of tomato puree and tomato leaf and the typical hint of mint which is indicative of its origin.” Everyone asked, “Can you taste mint? I can’t.” Everyone raved about the olives which were also available.
After a decent lunch, the third stop was Solms Delta Estate, just outside Franschhoek. A gorgeous location.
I quite liked their Chenin Blanc 2014. which was on sale at R55.
And then another six wines. I enjoyed La Beryl Blanc, a dessert wine.
We picked up some coffee from Zimbabwe at duty free in Johannesburg, and very nice it is too! The brand is Farfell Coffee, from Mont Selinda, south of Mutare, a very attractive part of the world.
For most of our stay in South Africa we had a room in a lovely boutique hotel very near the Bo-Kaap area of Cape Town.
Bo-Kaap has a lot of brightly coloured homes, many of which can be rented, and some narrow cobbled streets.
On our winelands tour we met up with four people who are working for Kiva. Three of them were based in Kenya, one had joined them from Turkey, and they had all travelled to Cape Town for a short break. I hadn’t previously heard of Kiva, so they explained that it was a non-profit organization that uses crowdsourcing to provide microfinance to small businesses in developing countries.
From their website: Kiva Microfunds (“Kiva”) is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization founded in 2005 with a mission of connecting people through lending to help alleviate global poverty. Kiva empowers individuals (“Lenders”) to lend to low-income borrowers around the world. Kiva partners with a global network of Microfinance and other institutions (“Field Partners) to help identify, select and support borrowers across the 65+ countries where Kiva works.
The people from Kiva explained how their website worked. They said that each person seeking finance featured in a story on their website, with a photo and an explanation of how they would put the loan to work. Potential lenders could choose which people they wanted to support from the information provided.
I asked them whether this meant that the cute looking ones received the most loans. They said that there might be an element of truth in this, but that they always encouraged those seeking finance to smile when they had their photo taken. This, they said, sometimes caused a bit of confusion, as the people responded, “Why should I smile before I get a loan?”
As a lender, you don’t get interest on your loan, and there is no guarantee that it will be repaid, but the historic repayment rate is 98.75%
Kiva works with various Field Partners, who are responsible for screening borrowers, posting loan requests to Kiva, disbursing loans and collecting repayments, and otherwise administering Kiva loans.
What sort of people/groups seek loans through Kiva? I noticed the following:
A portion of Truth Group’s $1,300 loan helps a member to buy more maize, corn and cassava dough to prepare banku to sell.
A loan of $1,150 helps Salamatu to increase her inventory of groundnuts.
A loan of $525 helps Ronald to buy tea and clear land for farming.