A devastating fire

For the third time within one year we experienced a mountain fire. This is a fynbos area and there seems to be a fynbos specie which roots start to burn spontaneously .  Fynbos needs a fire every 10 years or so otherwise seeds won’t germinate. It’s a pure natural process but for human beings in a contemporary world very inconvenient. No electricity for 24 hours and no internet for 36 hrs; the latter due to the fact that Telkom forgot to turn a switch into adsl-mode… It’s Sunday you know and it’s Festive Season here in South Africa…. But the guys of the fire-brigade (virtually all volunteers) did a tremendous job and we admire them greatly!!!

The picture shows the fire on Friday night and was taken about 10 kilometers from the nearest point of the fire with a 300mm lens. In total 20-thousand hectares (50,000 acres) went in smoke including 8 holiday homes and 3 boats. No people injured but the baboon population in the area has declined. Fires like this spread rapidly especially during drought periods and a bit of wind. The fire started Thursday at the other side of the mountain and Friday afternoon local politicians said to a journalist of a local newspaper that the fire was under control and just after that hell broke loose…… There are still journalists, so it seems, who believe in politicians….

P.S.: A week after the fire we pictured these depressing ‘black and bleak’  landscapes.


Cricket on the Village Green

Every year, with Boxing Day, Stanfordians and visitors are enjoying a day long cricket on the Village Green. But it was hot this year (over 35 degrees C /95F) but despite this discomfort a great day with some South African sport celebrities like Schalk Burger and Bob Skinstead.






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We’re having a break until the early beginning of 2013.

All of us in Stanford, South Africa wish you a great celebration of new life and a prosperous 2013 and beyond.


The Stanford Moon

Last night’s moon.


Festive Season

The Festive Season has a great start in Stanford. Yesterday the opening of the new deli and tasting room at Stanford Hills and Prego and the Beer in the courtyard of the Stanford Hotel (thanks for great hospitality Penny & Co). Today there was a craft market and a horse show (photos) on the Village Green and later THE social event for the villagers: ‘Picnic on the Lawn’ along the river. And in between the fresh market and great coffees and foodies here and there.

You gotta love this village!!!
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Vineyards and their spin-off

It’s amazing to see the developments of the different wine producing farms in Stanford since our arrival here in July last year. Not only new vineyards are planted but we also noticed that wines from this village are merely exported to upmarket Europe and North America. While most wine-tasting tourists limit themselves to visit known wine cellars in the Stellenbosch/Franschhoek/Paarl and Breedekloof/Robertson areas we found out that the lesser known wine producers in the ‘Hemel en Aarde’ Valley near Hermanus and in Stanford are gaining momentum amongst connaisseurs. Here in and around our village are about 10 wine farms and we still have to visit most of these but we do it in rural slow pace. Raka Wines (where the pictures are taken) is one of the most prominent visible ones if you enter Stanford from the North. The Robert Stanford Estate you will see when coming from Hermanus and situated behind this major producer is Stanford Hills that just invested in a new tasting room and is also a major grower of Fynbos flowers (export). A bit hidden away along a ‘dead end road’ is Springfontein (on top of our list!!!) with its unique terroir bordered at one side by the ocean and the lagoon at the other side. This cellar (German owned we understood -?-) is heavily investing in amongst others a restaurant. It also attracted  Tariro Masayiti from Paarl as the new General Manager, Winemaker and Viticulturist and that on its own is a promise for the future. What else can we say? A lot! But we keep it to the mentioning of farmers/farmworkers relations. Recently there have been severe (damaging) protest actions by farmworkers in the Western Cape about their wages and living conditions. We don’t know what the average farmworker earns in Stanford (no strike here) but we do have the clear impression that the living conditions (housing, etc.) are far better than in the main wine producing areas. And we noticed so far that the ’employers’ don’t patronize their (‘non-white’) staff in public but treat their ‘human capital’ more as equal. And this must appeal to the more conscious visitors from abroad. It’s also a good base for becoming a great destination for true wine-lovers!

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Free Range Greetings

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A Walk in the Green

A walk in the village is always a Feast; especially when you love the green. Except for the main Victoria Street than runs through the village and where most businesses (shops, restaurants, etc.) are located virtually every street of path is surrounded by green and sometimes you even have to look through shrubs and trees to discover the houses; some are jewels of traditional (international) architecture.

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The Angel of Stanford


“Shebeen owner” Penny van den Berg loves her ‘girls’ and she can keep herself busy for hours with dressing and decorating them. Stanfordians and visitors alike can see Penny’s girls in the windows bordering the main Victoria Street than runs right through the village although the villagers themselves prefer to move in slow rural pace. This week Penny dressed the girls as Angels and she really takes the time for it; arguing with herself and and visitors which wig with which dress of which girl. What many people, Stanfordians included, are not aware of is that now and than there is also a candle burning. This happens when a known villager passes away. The candle will, accompanied with a picture of the deceased, burn until the funeral; a gesture very much appreciated by family members.

In this photo blog site  an abundance of pictures of the Angels. Herewith a few.


Refreshing Greetings from Stanford

More about this hidden paradise -so glad it’s private and not mentioned in any travel publication- in Stanford: click here (opens in new window). But there are places similar (but not as diverse) in Stanford that are more accessible for a wider public such as the hiking trails with waterfall at Salmonsvlei Dam along the Papiesvlei Road and Pigs Snout along the road to Hermanus. Just ask the local tourism bureau in Stanford. This ‘Garden of Eden’ however, we like to keep to ourselves. It just accentuates the choice for Stanford as ‘Best Village Destination in South Africa’._DSC1987web