Friday, May 25, 2012


Looking at the schedule for the PGA Sunshine Tour I was happy to see that our favourite course, De Zalze, will be hosting one of the events this year from 26th to 28th July 2012.

View from the T-box at the 18th
De Zalze Golf Estate is situated midway between the town of Somerset West and Stellenbosch along the R44 road. Mooring House Guest Lodge in Somerset West has hosted players in past PGA Sunshine Tour Tournaments and is delighted that the event is again being held so close to "Home" and would once again be delighted to be involved again with providing accommodation and even assist with transport for the players if required.  Although my wife and myself are absolute novices if compared to the tournament players - we thoroughly enjoy playing at De Zalze and couldn't think of a more suitable course for this event to be held. Personally, my most revered hole is the 3rd Hole - a Par 3 across a revine and also the 13th Par 4 across the water dam.

 Mooring House is only roughly an 8 minute drive from De Zalze Golf Estate and has 10 en-suite rooms available - most have kitchenettes for self catering convenience but breakfast and even dinners are available if required.

Looking back from the 10th. The water feature in the background is the 9th (Par 3)

The Vodacom Origins of Golf Tournament is part of the Sunshine Tour, the defending champion of this tournament is Chris Swanepoel and prize money for
2012 is R600 000.  The De Zalze Golf Course situated within the De Zalze Winelands Golf Estate was designed by Peter Matkovich who made the most of the stunning setting and created a course that places a premium on accuracy.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Mooring House takes guest Wine Tasting in and around Stellenbosch

24 November 2011

Mooring House Guest Lodge in Somerset West once again went to explore the winelands past Stellenbosch. Today we took our Irish Guest, Peter, to taste some of our local wines. we left Mooring House just after 10:30am and our first stop was Blaauwklippen - I have a soft spot for this wine estate, havig spent some of my youthfull days here with friends and for me it is like re-visiting the past everytime I come here, but always enjoy some of their red wine.

They offer 2 options for wine tasting - any 3 for R15 or any 5 for R25. As a rule, I don't like paying for wine tasting, especially if I am buying wine from the winery. I must admit that this was the first time I didn't buy any wine from Blaauwklippen, so paid my dues and off we went through Stellenbosch, over Helshoogte Pass, stopping at our next venue - Tokara Wine Estate.
Miriam and myself haven't been here in at least 4 years and was pleasnatly surprised to find that we did not have to pay for our wine tasting., and we were served olives and bread with our tasting - Thanks Tokara. There are terrific views from the wine tasting room and it also boasts a huge, oversized wall mounted mechanical clock - you can atually see the mechanics at work as the minutes tick by.

Tokara also has a Deli and restaurant, but this is seperate from theWine tasting Venue so after buying some wine ( also very nice wines), we climbed into the car and drove to the Deli

Views from Wine tasting room

The Deli has adequate parking and has a lovely selection of nick nac's. One particular jar caught my immediate attention - creme nougat which you warm up and serve over cake - I will try it with fruit - should go well with strawberries. So I bought a jar to try at home.
 Silly me, I did not look at the restaurant menu so I cannot comment on choices or price.

View from Deli at Tokara

Our next stop was Boschendal, our favourite place for a good old colonial style picnic - a real must for all visitors to the area - weather permitting naturally.  As I was the designated driver, I did not partake in any wine tasting at this venue (tried and tested on previous occassions). I think Peter paid R25 to taste any 5 wines - again, a practice I am not too favorable with, and I think that it should be an acceptable practice to not charge if patrons buy wine, and charge if they do not.


We then headed off to Anura (almost next to Backsberg) as our final stop for the day. With a 15% alcohol content, I always find more than 1 bottle suitable for drinking and they really do have a good selection of both white and red wines. We did not have to pay for our wine tasting (maybe because I frequent the estate so regularly), and landed up purchasing a few bottles for my stock at home. After deciding on what we would drink with our lunch, we strolled over to the restaurant - Lilypad - always a personal favourite. After a lovely meal, followed by dessert and coffee we climbed back into the car and made our way back to Mooring House in Somerset West arriving home just after 4:30pm .   It was a good day.

My wife, Miriam

Monday, September 26, 2011

Car Hire Somerset West


If you are looking for a hire car whislt in Somerset West, Mooring House may have the answer.

Today Mooring House  bought another little car as a rental vehicle for guest requiring a car to hire whilst on holiday in Somerset West, Western Cape, South Africa - a nice little 1.4 Hyundai Getz.

1.4 Hyundai Getz - Car Hire Somerset West

The Hire Car Mooring House offers is a manual vehicle with 5 gears, airbags, aircon, electric windows and power steering.

Guest requiring accommodation in Somerset West can now find everything at one Guest House, from airport collection to accommodation (self catering or B and B) and Car Hire, all at Mooring House Guest Lodge - Somerset West. For more info visit our webiste Mooring House car hire Somerset West

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Mooring House tours the Cape Peninsula with Norman and Sheila

(This blog is for the family and friends of Norman and Sheila - we have not kidnapped them - they are really having a good time).

This season, Robert and Joan would have revisited for their 3rd consecutive year and had booked for almost 3 months. However, due to health reasons, they could not make the trip as planned and instead we had the pleasure of meeting his brother, Norman and partner, Sheila. They originally intended only staying for roughly 4 weeks, but then went ahead and extended their stay for a further week and the night before departure, decided to extend for a further 2 weeks of sunshine and hospitality at Mooring House.

What follows is some of they highlights we visited during their stay with us at Mooring House. Our initial outings were unfortunately not captured on film but amongst others included a visit to Boschendal for coffee and scones, a visit to the Fairview cheese and wine estate, wine tasting at Blaauwklippen, a trip down memory lane at the Historical venue of Vergelegen, lunch at Sophia's at Morgenster wine estate and just plain winding down and relaxing in the sun in the garden at Mooring House Guest Lodge.

And then along came Christmas our short Christmas video can be viewed below

Sheila and my mother at Xmas lunch

Norman and Sheila
Norman and my father

  It was a very casual and relaxing day and we set the table down by the pool under the trees. Lunch was a buffet style starting at 12:30pm and we ended around 6pm - it could have been later

The next day or two was spent relaxing in anticipation of their trip up to Pretoria, then boarding the Blue train and onward for a game safari adventure followed by a visit to Zambia and the Victoria Fall.

I think an elephant is stalking Sheila

Sheila and Norman aboard the Blue train

Sheila on the Lake Kariba

They returned back to the guest house on the 5th of January after having narrowly escaping the torrential rains which fell in the Johannesburg area causing a flood in some of the areas. Nevertheless they returned to sunshine and pleasant smiles at Mooring House.

Us with Norman at a restaurant in Langebaan
We didn't give them much time to relax as the following morning we set off to Langebaan for a drive and to take my son to friend who was staying their for a portion of the school holidays. It was a long 2 hour drive and after dropping my son the 4 of us went to the Langebaan lagoon and beach for lunch. It was a trifle windy on the beach and the restaurant facing the lagoon (where we wanted to eat) was full so we ended up at one of the side-walk restaurants - the food was mediocre but company good.

Us with Sheila
Norman and Sheila at Langebaan

After lunch we hit the road and headed for home

vantage point on Signal Hill in Cape Town
There was no slowing the momentum and the very next day we set off to Cape Town. We had lots to do and see so we planned an early start much to Normans' disgust who likes rolling out of bed after 9am. Anway we served breakfast at 8:15am and set off at 9 as planned. Our first stop was intended for a ride up to the top of Table Mountain but having seen the queues of people when we arrived there we decided to postpone this event for another day. So instead we drove a short distance away to Signal Hill

(Signal Hill is a landmark flat-topped hill located in Cape Town, next to Lion's Head and Table Mountain.  Signal flags were used to communicate weather warnings as well as anchoring instructions to visiting ships in order to ensure that they prepared adequately for stormy weather while in the bay. Similarly, ships could use flags to signal for assistance if, for example, an anchor line parted during a storm.)

Norman and Sheila on Signal Hill with Table Mountain in the background

2010 Fifia World Cup Stadium as seen from Signal Hill
Norman and Sheila with Atlantic Ocean in background

 After soaking up the views from Signal Hill, we climbed back into the car and drove past Camps Bay and through Bakoven to reach our next destination - The 12 Apostles Hotel, where we stopped for coffee before heading off to Hout Bay for Lunch

Leopards Lounge patio at the Twelve Apostles Hotel

By the time we reached Hout Bay the slight breeze had stopped and all that

was left was a hot summers day - little did we know that the temperatures would rise by almost 8 degrees to almost 40 over the next few days. Nevertheless, we parked our car in the parking lot near the Hout Bay harbour and walked to our restaurant - Mariners Wharf where we enjoyed our lunch on the outside deck overlooking the beach.

After lunch we took a stroll along the jetty to digest a bit of lunch and enjoy the sights of the fishing boats in the harbour. Then we headed back to the car for the next part of our outing - a drive along Chapmans Peak.

We left Hout Bay and took the scenic drive over Chapmans Peak, stopping every now and then at vantage points so Norman and Sheila could absorb the breathtaking scenery and views.

We cut through the scenic mountain pass and made our way to Boulders Beach (just after Simon's Town) to see the penguins. Having been to the sanctuary on many occassions, Miriam and myself sat on the sloping lawns overlooking the beach whist we waited for Norman and Sheila to finish at the penguin sanctuary. When we met up again we had a coffee at the local restaurant and then headed home taing the Muizenberg road.


The coastal drive home was supposed to be a scenic one, but heavy fog had suddenly crept in and views were limited. We eventually arrived home after a long, but enjoyable day.

The next day we left Norman and Sheila to do their own thing and they took a drive to Franschoek arriving safely home just in time to enjoy a few remaining hours of late afternoon sunshine. That night I cooked up some prawns for supper and we all had a nice little nibble together.

10 January 2011 - Today my parents took the reigns and took Norman and Sheila for a drive up to Hermanus - notorious for whale watching. However, by January it is already a little late in the season for whales so none was seen (usually come into the bay to give birth during November and early December). Nevertheless, the drive is along the coast so there is much to see and appreciate. All in all it is roughly an hour from Mooring House Guest Lodge.


11 January 2011 found Norman and Sheila having a relaxing day in the garden with lots of sunshine. We had booked for dinner at Terroir at the de Zalze wine estate and minutes before jumping in the shower, Karl and Karen ( guests who had stayed with us during December and early Jan and then found an apartment for permanent rental) popped up for a drink. So the 6 of us gatehred in the garden (ONCE MORE) for sundowner drinks and then I dashed indoors to get ready.

Showing off my new shoes
Having got ready I returned to the garden to finish the last droplets of my drink and wore my new shoes for the first time - a Christmas gift sent over to me from the UK from Robert and Joan.
Us in the garden prior to leaving for Terroir

Norman, Karen and Karl in the garden at Mooring House

We said our goodbyes to Karl and Karen and headed off towards Stellenbosch for fine dining at Terroirs. We ended off the dinner evening with a shot of Zambucca and then cam home feeling rather full.

Dining at terroir

12 January saw a new adventure - up Table Mountain. Once again we had to get Norman out of bed early and set off to Cape Town just after 9am. It is always best to go up Table Mountain in the morning as the wind usually comes up in the aftrnoon making it a bit unpleasant at higher altitudes.

There wer no queues today when we reach the base of Table Mountain so I dropped Norman, Sheila and Miriam off at the Cable way entrance and then went to find parking which I eventually found about 1km away. I parked the car and did my exercise for the day as the walk was all up hill to where I had dropped them off.
 We spent about an hour up on the mountain, first having some coffee and then exploring the summit with all it's glorious views. We then made our way back, went to fetch the car, picked them all up and then drove on to the Botanical gardens in Kirstenbosch.

Crossing the stream in Kirstenbosch Gardens

We first stopped for lunch and then walked the gardens, exploring only a portion of what was there to see. We made one last stop at one of the restaurants on the grounds for a coffee and then headed back home.

There is just no rest - the follwoing day 13 January, Karen and Karl-Heinz invited us all for lunch at the Backsberg Wine Estate. We arrived at the Estate around 12:30pm and first headed off tot he cellars for a bit of wine tasting.

Wine tasting at Backsberg

Lunch was particularly enjoyable, sitting outside under the oak trees with good food and company. It was a leisurely afternoon returning home again with that awful feeling of being completely full.

The 14th was a day of rest and lounging by the pool. I actually did a little gardening, but not too much - it was far too hot. By sunset we found ourselves relaxing by the poolside snacking and drinking to complete a somewhat lazy day.

15th January we were goign to do an afternoon barbeque, but somehow my mother got her own way and we all landed up at the Erinvale Golf Estate for lunch. The venue is always relaxing - sitting out on the tree covered deck soaking up the cool ambiance.

 I have no idea why we call it lunch because by the time we got home it was almost time for sundowners, AGAIN.


Friends popped in to say hi and we landed up by the garden Gazebo having a few sundowner drinks.

By the looks of the table it was more than a few !!

Please - no recovering alcoholics welcome at this Guest House due to the obvious !
Erdinger rules (german brewed beer which Norman has got me accustomed to).

The 16th January we left Sheila and Norman to do their own thing and they went to visit one of our local wine estates - the Lourensford Etsate - just next to Erinvale and Vergelegen.

The 18th and 19th January
My parents took Norman and Sheila on an excursion up through the Wilderness, onto Knysna where they spent 1 evening, then returned home via Oudtshoorn, first stopping at an ostrich farm.

Views from Wilderness vantage point

Evening View of Kysna Quays
Graywood Lodge in Knysna where they slept for the night
An evening out in Knysna
Sheila plaing with an ostrich

They arrived home on the 19th, tired but exhilerated. We had a few drinks in hte garden listening to their adventures and then all had an early night. The next day we left them to themselves only to hear later that they had met up with my parents again at Erinvale for an extended lunch.

20 January - some of the guests at Mooring House (including my parents and us) decided to head off to Bloubergstrand for lunch at a lovely venue known as On The Rocks.
In the parking area outside the retaurant, Table Mountain in the background.
The restaurant is on the sea side of Blougberstrand and displays magnificient views of both Table Bay and Table Mountain. Robben Island is also in direct view from within the restaurant and looks almost like it is just a stone throw away.

 Lunch was lovely and afterwards we went out onto the bottom terrace for coffee and liquers

Once home again at Mooring House it was time for a quick nap and tan in the afternoon sun followed later by sundowners and snacks under the gazebo

Molly, Tommy, Norman and Sheila under the gazebo

In between all the sights and going out to eat we also had a little entertainment at Mooring House itself.
With thoughts of going solar, we had 2 gigantic pine trees on the rear of the property, estimated to be well over 70 years (so you can imagine the size). Well, apart from living with the fear that during our windy season the trees may uproot and come careering through our house, the actual green pine cones fell from such a height that they were constantly shattering our tiled roof. Needless to say that putting up solar panels was out of the question as the pine cones would break the solar panels.

SO we eventually decided that it was time for them to go and had them cut down. It took 4 days, and a bit of noise I will admit but the tree felling owner ( Fred's tree services in Somerset West) agreed to only start daily after 9am so that our guests were not disturbed at the crack of dawn.

While Norman was having his Siesta, Sheila decided to take some pictures of her room at Mooring House

The Green Room at Mooring House

Sperate Kitchen area of the Green Room
The Green room consist of own entrance with front garden patio, large and spacious bedroom, full ensuite bathroom , seperate kitchen area leading onto rear shaded patio.

On the evening of the 22 January, some of the guests at Mooring House and ourselves decided to go out for supper at Mamma Roma - close to the Kleine Zalze golf estate on the way to Stellenbosch. It is only about an 8 minute  drive from the Guest House and has always been a personal favourite of ours - good food at a reasonable price.

Norman and Sheila at Mamma Roma

Molly, Sheila and Norman

The naughty group - Tommy, Molly (Irish), Norman and Sheila (UK) and Miriam - my wife.

The next day (23rd January 2011) was aother relaxing and sunny (not to mention exceptioanlly hot), day and found guests leisurely sprawled out on the lawn and by hte pool side. 

Molly and Tommy relaxing on loungers in the garden

Later on in the early evening we held an informal cheese and wine get together down by the pool under the shade of the trees

and as the time progressed, Sheila thought it would be a good idea to get some pampering and asked my daughter (who is studying at Isa Carstens in Stellenbosch) to give her a pedicure.

So instead of leaving the company, my daughter brought the goodies to the poolside and Sheila had her treatment

Later as the sun set, we witnessed the marvel of nature as a hawk came swooning down with prey in claws and in the tree right by us and started eating its clutched prey. It was quiet a magnificient to watch.

The next 2 days we took a back seat and let the guests relax and do what they pleased, but on the 26 January we booked a picnic at Boschendal close to Franschoek - another beautiful setting and highlight to our guests holiday. The weather was perfect, food and wine good and company - as always - great.

Having left Mooring House close to 11am, en-route to Boschendal we first stopped at Hillcrest Farm for a quick coffee break and then headed off to the scenic beauty of the Boschendal estate.

Hillcrest Berry farm offers exquisite mountain backdrop scenery and it is always a worthwhile stop for breakfast, lunch or just plain coffee. They also have a lovely deli offering a range of preserves, vinegars and olive oils.

We arrived at Boschendal first and Molly and Tommy arrived shortly after to join the picnic.

Well, 2 days have passed since the Boschendal picnic and we have now jumped to the 29 January 2011 having allowed our guests at Mooring House to once again relax, and catch up on the sunshine. Without promoting our guest house too much, I have to admit that although there may be wind or strong breezes in the vicinity, Mooring House offers all the shelter needed to relax in the sun in the garden in a wind free area of Somerset West.

Anyway, now that promotion time is over, its back to LETS DO SOMETHING.

So off we went to try out the food at Zevenwacht.
What a lovely setting Zevenwacht turned out to be and the food was equally as good and service excellent - another recommendation by Mooring House and their guests.

 The next day Norman and Sheila ventured off on their own to another wine estate, namely Neethlingshof - roughly a 15 minute drive from the Mooring House and lies on the outskirts of Stellenbosch. Another recommendation for Lunch.

Apart from wine tasting, lovely lunches are served on the patio or under the oaks at Neethlingshof. Sundays they offer a suberb buffet and it is only roughly a 15 minute drive from Mooring House Guest House.

For guest house accommodation enquiries you can email Garry @ Mooring House. Mooring House offers both Bed and Breakfast and self catering accommodation.

Well it's not uncommon for ladies on holiday to have a bit of special care and Sheila is no exception especially when it comes to her nails. This is a picture taken from where Sheila had her nails done or as we know it - from Mimmies house. Gordon's Bay  and the Indian Ocean is in the background.

On 31 January we we were all sitting in the shade at Mooring House having yet another sundowner and thought it would be a good idea to go out for some light Tappa's. So we all put on something casual and headed off along the R44 towards Stellenbosch and landed up at the local student hangout  (just after Somerbosch) for a bite to eat. It was a pleasant enough evening and we sat outside having a good few laughs and sharing the portions of tappas ordered. And as all good things go, the evening came to an end and that was the end of another day in Somerset West.

The next day was a country adventure - a drive through the country side up to a town called Robertson.

We left Mooring House just after 9am, took the N2 highway over Sir Lowry's Pass and through on to Villiersdorp. Here we stopped for coffee and scones and then headed off to Robertson. As soon as we had left Villersdorp I realised that I had forgotten to fill up with petrol, so I made a turn around to Worcester whislt the rest of the gang continued to Robertson - our meet up point would be RooiBerg winery. We caught up with the group at the winery and then hit the gravel road and meandered down towards the Kolgans river at the Nerina Farm, encountering a few obstacles on the way.

Miriam chasing the cows so we could drive past and reach the river boat

We boarded the same boat and started cruising along the river. It wasn't long after setting off that lunch was served onboard. All in all the river cruise lasted 2 hrs, had nice farmstyle South African cooking, awful house wine, but luckily we brought our own and just paid corkage. It was a tranquil and pleasant outing.

The   we had nothing planned fot the guests so Norman and Sheila took a coastal drive around Gordon's Bay  

Returning home back to the Guest House to relax in the garden.
And so the holiday had nearly come to an end - except there was once more outing we at Mooring House organised for our guests. The following day we left the guest house just before 11am and headed off for the V&A Waterfront. We drove in convey, first ourselves, followed by Norman and Sheila and then Rob and Carol. Tommy and Molly had driven ahead because they new the meeting place but we still caught up with them and passed them on the National road N2.
We arrived at the waterfront for the final treat - an ocean breakfast cruise aboard the Tigger 2.

As we slowly pulled out of the Harbour we could see the lovely Queen Mary 11 docked in Cape Town Harbour

The '55 feet catamaran cruiser which we were on was truly that of floating decadence as it cruised along the shore line of the Cape Peninsula. It was seeing the Cape from a new angle, past Sea Point (where we could see the FiFi world cup Soccer Stadium close up), through Bantry Bay and dropping anchor in Clifton where champagne and snacks were served.

Molly and Sheila snacking in Clifton Bay

Sheila at sea with Table Mountain and the soccer stadium in the background

As the anchors were pulled and we slowly set the course back to the Waterfront, we all made our way to the front of the boat to sit and cushioned seats. There we sat, enjoying the sights and chatting, all the while wishing we all had a boat like this of our own. It was a wonderful morning trip and one both myself and our guests can thoroughly recommend. After we landed, Molly and Tommy went back to the guest house whilst we first went for coffee and then made our way home. Norman and Sheila remained as they first wanted to visit the aquarium.

The final night - 1 day before departure the crowd gathered in the garden in the afternoon having a few drinks and chatting and then on saying goodnight, somehow they all landed up on Molly and Tommy's front patio were the drinking and laughter continued till 2 in the morning. Luckily almost everyone staying at the guest house was partaking so noise was not a problem.

And that was the end of a holiday - hopefully one to remember. Norman and Sheila met my parents for a final coffe and to say goodbye and then cam eto the guest house to pack and have a last glass of wine with guests and ourselves and then they were off . Later I took Tommy and Molly to the airport and that was another goodbye - we miss them all - but had an early night.