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2013 in CapeTown

Posted By Guru4Travel on Jan 02, 2014 at 10:22AM

Dear Friends,     

Samuel Johnson, English writer and critic most famous for his Dictionary of the English Language, once said " No man can taste the fruits of autumn while he is delighting his scent with the flowers of spring."

Mina and I are still very keen gardeners.  We have enjoyed the scents in our garden this Spring.  The whole garden was an absolute riot of colour with a massive show of Clivias in every shade imaginable, in flower for weeks.  The Petrea casts a swathe of purple up over Jambo's gables. The Port Wine Magnolia knocks you sideways with it's scent as you make your way to our jacuzzi. Our guests love our garden !
The carpenter bees returned once again to sip the nectar of the Wisteria growing around the front entrance gate. We have now discovered where they go to after the short period buzzing around the garden. They have "drilled" holes into a piece of timber which we had fixed on our wall to support a grape vine many years ago. Then they tunnel inside and make a nest where they lay their eggs and hibernate during winter. Interesting stuff!

Cape Town was host in October to the finish of the second leg of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race from Rio de Janiero in Brazil to Cape Town. This is an 11 month round the World race, divided into 11 legs that lets sailing novices compete against Olympians.
It was conceived in 1995 by Sir Robin Knox-Johnson, famous for being the first person to sail single-handedly around the globe in 1968.  
The local entry, Invest Africa, crewed in part by nine previously disdvantaged South africans, was in third position onthis leg of the race. After a few days to restock and repair the yachts and change crews they departed in early November for Albany, Australia.
January sees the start of the South Atlantic Yacht Race, originally known as the Cape To Rio,  the longest continent-to-continent race in the southern hemisphere, from one beautiful city to another !
Next year Cape Town will be hosting even more sailors in that Cape Town will be the first stop in the Volvo Ocean Race, sometimes known as the Mother of all Races. The start of the race will see the brand new Volvo Ocean 65 racing boats sail from Alicante in Spain to Cape Town, South Africa's Mother City, a distance of over 6,487 nm. This is the longest and toughtest race in professional sport.
On a more personal note very good friends of ours, Toby and Verena, just arrived back in Cape Town on board their yacht Sangoma. We were lucky enough to spend some time with them many years ago sailing in the Greek Isles from Paros to Naxos. They left the Royal Cape Yacht Club close to 11 years ago and have been sailing around the world ever since. We welcomed them home with Jambo's traditional bottle of champagne and "Sabrage".   
South African cycling, a sport I like to follow, received a big boost this year with Greg Minnaar winning a Gold Medal in this years mens downhill UCI World Championship Mountain Bike Cup.  He has won the World Championship three times - in 2003, 2012 and again this year, 2013.
Adding to SA cycling glory, Daryl Impey became the first South African ever to wear the race leaders yellow jersey in this years 100th edition of the Tour de France. South Africans also like to think of the eventual winner of this years tour, Chris Froome, as their own as he was educated and grew up here.
Amarula, South Africa's unique and famous cream based liqueur, celebrates 25 years of production next year. The fruit is harvested from marula trees that grow in the wild.  It falls to the ground when ripe and is collected by local women who are paid per kilo for what they deliver to Amarula's plant, providing a very important source of income for the harvesters.
In celebration, Amarula is planning to launch a new product next year. Called Amarula Gold, it is a non-cream product made from marula fruit that is fermented into a marula wine and then double distilled and aged in oak for 24 months. I am looking forward to trying it ! The new product will have a positive impact on the not-for-profit Amarula Trust, creating jobs and funding research into elephant behaviour.
Eight of South Africa's leading brandy labels won Gold Outstanding awards at the 2013 International Wine & Spirit Competition in London. Receiving a score of higher that 90 on a scale of 100 points were three pot still brandies from the Van Rhyn Brandy Cellar in Stellenbosch, just half an hours drive from us. Other awards went to Oude Meester, Mellowood and Nederburg. Well known distiller and wine and spirit judge Dave Hughes says SA brandies were described as being " masterpieces of satisfaction"and "incredibly rich "
Paarl based distiller KWV's 15year old brandy is officially the Worlds best brandy after earning the title at the International Spirits Challenge event held in London.
Stellenbosch Wine Route has also been announced by Wine Enthusiast Magazine as a nominee for the International Wine Awards. This publication honours excellence in the wine industry every year.
Closer to home our iconic Cape Town Stadium, just across the road from us here at Jambo, has a new temporary resident. Once a month about 120 kgs of perennial rye grass seed is spread on the soccer pitch to ensure a dense enough pitch for top sporting events. The local pigeon population can eat up to 70% of this new seed -  sort of like a "Pigeon McDonalds" which is a very expensive loss for the City of Cape Town.
As a deterrent the pitch will be defended by the fastest bird on earth, the peregrine falcon. Scarlet, owned by Eagle Encounters, will be deployed to chase off the pigeons. Regarded as a non-lethal solution the mere presence of the falcon will encourage the pigeons to seek safer feeding grounds.
Eagle Encounters is one of our favourite places to visit. Situated on Spier wine estate, just 30 minutes drive from Jambo they not only have hawks and falcons but also owls.  If you enter the owl aviary and put on a glove, the owls will perch on your arm where they enjoy being stroked! Stunning !
The decline of the ZA Rand against major world currencies means that once you get here to South Africa, things are relatively inexpensive. Added to that, it is becoming easier than ever to get to South Africa.  British Airways announced recently that it plans to increase the number of its flights from London to Cape Town. An extra three Boeing 777-200ERs a week will be added expanding their total capacity significantly.  BA also announced that it will be using it's new Airbus A380 aircraft on the London Johannesburg route next year. They plan three flights a week, each one carrying 469 passengers.   Other airlines have also made Cape Town an international destination.
We Capetonians have known it all along but now it has finally dawned on readers of one of Britains foremost newspapers, the Telegraph, that Cape Town is the best city in the World !
I quote  "... where else can you surf the Atlantic, climb mountains, eat in Michelin starred restaurants, stay in both historical and super hip accommodation, indulge in wine tours and still find time to relax on the beach (with or without penguins)  ?  That of course is Cape Town "
This is on top of being declared 2014 World Design Capital when Cape Town will show off it's creative best through artists, architects, artisans and  designers.
In the Lonely Planet's Best in Travel Top Cities List Cape town was listed as number three in the World.
In an effort to be more modern we finally made a brand new website. Take a look at  www.jambo.co.za and let us know what you think.  We love the "virtual tour"  !
We have also now replaced our old tv's with new ones and all of our rooms now boast flat screen tv's
Many of our guests have enjoyed walking tours of the historical Bo Kaap, which we organise for them.  This is the traditional Cape Malay area on the edge of the city centre. The Guide is a very special lady who was born there and was an ANC activist many years ago, and who is still a member of the community there. All our guests love her.  
Please remember that we also organise Township Tours, Cape Peninsula and Winelands Tours and car rental.  For those of you that like to drive yourselves, we give detailed instructions of the route, letting you into our secrets of all the treasures along the way so that you get the very best of our beautiful Cape.
Our guests also love the fact that they can leave their cars here and walk to the Green Point Park, the Mouille Point - Sea Point promenade and the V & A Waterfont which grows continually !
At the end of this year we will have been open as a guest house and enjoying welcoming people to Cape Town for 18 years !  Kathy and Mandy, our staff who are considered as family,  have been with us almost as long !
A sad day for us during December was the loss of Nelson Mandela. South Africa has lost a "staff' of integrity and tolerance and one that will be difficult to replace
In closing, we wish you all a wonderful festive season and a Happy New year
Hope to see you in 2014  !

Lots of love

Barry and Mina


Tourism Grading Council of SA - 4 Star Guest House
Graded AA Superior Accommodation
Winner AA & SAA Guest House of the Year - 2000,2001 & 2002
AA Travel Guides "Steady Star" 2005 for outstanding services to the tourism industry
AA Travel Guides Hall of Fame 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 & 2008

A year in CapeTown

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