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twoOregonians Tour the Cape

Destinations, Feature Trips, Landscape Architecture, South Africa, twoOregonians Tour the Cape

In Pictures: A Landscape Architect’s Visit to Rustenberg Wines

October 18, 2012

The iconic crisp, white, delicately detailed Cape Dutch architecture of South Africa stands so beautifully against nature’s backdrop. Once I began seeing these beauties pop out from all corners of the Cape – suburban city lots and rolling wine country hills alike – I geeked out for a mini-moment and started pinning pictures of my new architectural crush.

Toward the very end of our time in the country, as a delegate attending the International Federation of Landscape Architects’ World Congress, I gladly accepted the opportunity to visit Rustenberg Wines in Stellenbosch as part of the Cultural Landscapes in Transition tour circuit, and, I’ll be honest, I was more than a little bit excited to take one or two original snapshots of Cape Dutch style to pin on my board…

For over three hundred years, various families have tended the land and taken care of the buildings and legacy of Rustenberg Estate and its incredible setting at the base of the Simonsberg Mountains. If you’re curious to know more, have a quick read of the site’s history: The Epic Stories and Wines of Rustenberg.

Anyway, that’s the gist. I won’t jabber much since this is really just a quick photo post…

And, yes, I promise, I’ll be out of South Africa soon.

Enjoy the peek at Rustenberg’s grounds and labyrinth and garden blooms – and remember these images are from the tail end of their winter! Continue Reading…

Destinations, Feature Trips, South Africa, twoOregonians Tour the Cape

Cappuccinos and a Couples Massage on the Cape Town Waterfront

October 17, 2012

Near the end of our South African road trip, Ted and I pulled back into Cape Town in our little rental car, glad for a secure parking spot and a place sit still for a few days. We’d been invited to take in the scenes on the Cape Town Waterfront during a stay at Lawhill Luxury Apartments, and with a setting like this, how could we not enjoy a little luxurious R&R, a massage at Urban Beauty, and a cozy cup of coffee at Vovo Telo? Yes, please, and thank you!

Continue Reading…

Destinations, Feature Trips, South Africa, twoOregonians Tour the Cape

Eco-Tourism at Oyster Bay Reserve and Pinnacle Point Caves

October 13, 2012

Let word spread: Mossel Bay, South Africa is coming into its own in a fresh way, embracing models of sustainable eco-tourism, supporting local community development initiatives, celebrating natural history and, most recently, presenting newly-revealed pre-historic dwelling sites at the Pinnacle Point Caves to visitors interested in ancient human habitation on the tip of the African continent.

Mossel Bay, South Africa: Home to the Oystercatcher Trail and Saint Blaize Trail

Mossel Bay is a farming, fishing, and port community wrestling with its identity, stretching and writhing to align its desired future with overlapping histories of indigenous cultures and European exploration and settlement, off-shore gas and oil harvesting, questionable shark-related wildlife tourism, and the tamer tourist trappings of wine tasting and whale watching, beach bumming, shopping, and adventuring along scenic hiking trails.

After exploring the downtown stretch to visit the Bartolomeu Dias Museum Complex and eat tasty, greasy street food, Ted and I spent a beautiful day outdoors learning about an inspiring new (OLD!) chapter in the Mossel Bay Story: the Oyster Bay Reserve, Saint Blaize Trail, and Pinnacle Point Caves. Continue Reading…

Destinations, Feature Trips, South Africa, twoOregonians Tour the Cape

Civil Rights and Chip Twisters in Mossel Bay

October 12, 2012

Mossel Bay: Europeans landed on this spot of southern African soil on February 3rd (my birthday!) in 1488, making their first contact with the indigenous inhabitants of the land.

The modern-day coastline community celebrates this piece of its history at the Bartolomeu Dias Museum Complex, and travelers and locals alike are drawn to visit the 500 year old Post Office Tree on the museum grounds and the life-size replica of the Dias Caravel ship, sailed from Europe to the museum on a repeat of the original 15th century journey from Portugal to Mossel Bay and beyond.

We followed suit and paid a visit, curious to learn more and interested to see which angle they’d choose to highlight the region’s legacy.

Continue Reading…

Destinations, Feature Trips, Social Work, South Africa, twoOregonians Tour the Cape

Social Service Excellence: Kidstop At-Risk Youth Program

October 10, 2012

I think we found our favorite nightclub in South Africa.

After witnessing effective education and empowerment initiatives in action among men and women facing challenges of poverty and HIV/AIDS in George, South Africa, we followed our friend Laurie, an American rooted in the community for 22 years, into the nearby townships.

Continue Reading…

Destinations, Feature Trips, Social Work, South Africa, twoOregonians Tour the Cape

Social Service Excellence: OPTIONS Care Center

October 4, 2012

It’s easy to post photos of South Africa’s gorgeous scenery; it’s natural to tell stories of delightful dinners and fine wines and sweet new friends. It’s harder to know which words and images to share when touching on troubling tensions in the land.

Communities carrying burdens. Families seeking answers.

Limited resources and widespread problems.

Recently, I was struck by a fellow landscape architect’s comment on issues of conservation, sustainability, and management: “We know the problems. We need to spend our time talking about the solutions.

In that same vein, I’m not going to spend much time talking about the problems. The world knows much of the South African story already:

Fallout from Apartheid.



Instead, I want to shine light on the good men and women sinking their life’s work into making solutions a reality in their own community. Continue Reading…

Destinations, Feature Trips, Food, South Africa, twoOregonians Tour the Cape

Sedgefield and Knysna: Another Edition of Oregon Twinsies

October 2, 2012

Proteas and fynbos for sale at Wild Oats Farmer’s Market, Sedgefield, South Africa

Can’t help it: I’m always stacking the world up against Oregon. My home-state is in my blood, and I’m proud of it.

Local food? Gorgeous scenery? Check, check. Good friends? Double check.

Thanks to relationships built over our month-long stint volunteering at Carmel by the Sea, Ted and I were treated to a little taste of home way on the opposite side of the world.

Our new (and hopefully life-long) friends Gary and Susan surprised us on our last weekend at Carmel with tickets for a cruise on the Knysna Lagoon, gifted to us by the organization in thanks for our time volunteering. (No thanks needed, though! We’re still thanking them for three meals a day for a month and a beautiful retreat on the Indian Ocean…)

The Saturday itinerary: straight out of the playbook for a perfect day at home. Imagine a community farmers market (with a little taste of Eugene’s Oregon Country Fair thrown in the mix), and then a trip up to Oregon and Washington’s Columbia River Gorge for scenic views across majestic cliffs and waterways… Got the mental image in your head? (If not – here are a few cheat sheets from other visitors.)

Now just jump to South Africa, change the names, a few of the faces, and tell me if you see the similarities: Continue Reading…

Destinations, Feature Trips, South America, twoOregonians Tour the Cape

Ted’s First Whale and Other Tales from Hermanus

September 29, 2012

When Ted was a kid, he thought whales were the big white things rolling up onto the beach.

You know, waves.

He learned better after a childhood obsession with Free Willy (filmed on the Oregon coast, by the way), but fast forward three decades later and he’d still never seen a whale in the wild.

Our two and a half month visit to South Africa changed that. (The seeing a whale in the wild bit. Not necessarily the Free Willy obsession.)

Continuing this week’s theme of wildlife tourism in South Africa, whale-watching (and watching-Ted-whale-watching) made for fantastic memories during our time in the southern hemisphere. Too, I’m happy to report that no animals were harmed in the making of this feature…

The Hermanus Whale Crier plays his kelp horn to signal a Southern Right Whale sighting Continue Reading…

Destinations, Feature Trips, South Africa, twoOregonians Tour the Cape

Are Game Drives A Suitable Substitute?

September 27, 2012

“You’re not going to Kruger National Park? Shame.”

I know, it was a shame. The near-mythical stories of wild African animals roaming the bush and crossing the rivers, attacking prey and staring tourist in the eye send a surge of excitement through most any traveler’s heart…but we knew we’d chosen to focus our trip on the Cape, and veering off course by 1,700 kilometers to go north to Kruger wasn’t in the cards.

Thankfully, there are alternative ways and places to spot South African wildlife. Continue Reading…