Oudtshoorn: Karoo Retreat, Surval Boutique Olive Estate and Buffelsdrift Game Lodge

Oudtshoorn

We stayed at a lovely self-catering guest house called ‘Karoo Retreat’ which offers 4 very comfortable guest rooms and an extra cottage on the side. It’s got a large swimming pool ( Always a plus!!), very spacious and cosy Karoo- style country kitchen and a braai which of course Andrew was very happy about 🙂
www.karooretreat.co.za

Lovely stay in Oudtshoorn and we got to experience Surval Olive Boutique as well as a sunset game drive at Buffelsdrift Game Lodge.
Surval was a surprise find, we hadn’t seen it before and just read the sign ‘ Olive tasting’… sounded great! They have a beautiful and very large restaurant where we sat down to do the Olive Tasting… of course you cannot taste Olives without a glass of wine, and with a glass of wine some other nibbles and snacks go very well…. 🙂 So our Olive Tasting turned into a lovely lazy afternoon with great food and wine, and we enjoyed the beautiful surroundings.
They do have accommodation as well which seemed quite comfortable as well.
www.surval.co.za

Oudtshoorn
We stayed at a lovely self-catering guest house called ‘Karoo Retreat’ which offers 4 very comfortable guest rooms and an extra cottage on the side. It’s got a large swimming pool ( Always a plus!!), very spacious and cosy Karoo- style country kitchen and a braai which of course Andrew was very happy about 🙂
www.karooretreat.co.za

Karoo Retreat - Room
Karoo Retreat - Kitchen
Karoo Retreat - House
As a highlight in Oudtshoorn, I organized a sunset game drive at Buffelsdrift Game Lodge. Before hopping onto the open game vehicle, we quickly signed the indemnity form and then off we went into the reserve. The Game Reserve is such is not very big however the variety of animal species, different birds and reptiles almost makes you forget it’s that small!
Surval 1
Surval 2
We were lucky to see giraffe, buffalos, meerkats, hippo and springboks amongst many other animals.
Our ranger drove us to one of the highest points of the reserve to enjoy the sunset and breath-taking view onto the reserve with the Swartberg mountains in the background while sipping a sundowner drink!
Buffelsdrift Game Lodge is located off the R328, just over 6 km from the town centre of Oudtshoorn, and the luxurious tent suites are built around a dam that is home to a couple of hippos. They offer an elephant experience including feeding, walks and rides on the elephants, as well as meerkat safaris. Their a la carte restaurant is open to guests and the public and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and is a great spot for sundowner drinks.
There are Luxury waterfront tented suites that are situated right at the dam and the other rooms are in second row behind them. The interior is basically the same in both room categories though and offers a private outdoor hot water shower, air- conditioning, telephone and free Wifi. The luxury waterfront rooms come with their own sundeck and a direct view onto the dam.

In my opinion, Buffelsdrift is a fantastic option for people that, firstly, want a change from the usual guest houses or hotels on their trip because the tented suites are something completely different albeit very comfortable. And secondly, if you don’t have enough time or budget to do a 3-4 day safari at Kruger National Park or in the Eastern Cape but still want to enjoy seeing some animals close- up on the Garden Route, this is a lovely option to do it.
However, if you want the ‘real’ safari thing, Buffelsdrift won’t be for you and it doesn’t compare to a safari in the Kruger Park or in the Eastern Cape. But for anything else, it’s great!
www.buffelsdrift.co.za


Buffelsdrift 2
Buffelsdrift 3

Fraai Uitzicht

Since my family from Germany came to visit us beginning of the year, we took the opportunity to travel with them along the scenic R62 to Oudtshoorn until Knysna and of course, stopped in beautiful Pringle Bay on our way back
Here’s what we’ve been up to during our trip!

Fraai Uitzicht 1798
We stayed here the first night on our trip and it’s a lovely stop between Cape Town and Oudtshoorn ( 2 hour drive from Cape Town), located in the beautiful and tranquil Robertson valley with stunning views onto the mountains and vineyards around. This is a place where you arrive and you immediately feel relaxed. We were welcomed and checked into our rooms, a luxury cottage and one of the Vintage cottages that sleeps up to 4 people. The Vintage cottages are comfortable and cozy and are located in the historic building of the wine cellar. Even though there is no air-con in those rooms, the stone structure kept it nice and cool inside.
The luxury cottages are a slightly more expensive and offer space for 2 people. They are much more modern and sophisticated and we loved especially the twin outside showers and luxurious bathroom!
Karl – Uwe, the winemaker and host at Fraai Uitzicht, did a wine tasting with us which was great. The highlight however was Dinner in the Fraai Uitzicht Restaurant, we enjoyed some fantastic food outside on the terrace paired with lovely wines, had great and inobtrusive service and all this in a very relaxed atmosphere. Couldn’t ask for more that night! The restaurant is managed by Karl Uwe’s wife Sandra and we loved the attention to detail with every single dish we ordered. The menu portraits country style cuisine offering seasonal fresh dishes made from fresh vegetables and just-picked herbs from their own garden.
Someone told me it’s the best dinner on the Garden Route…. Gotta say, I’d agree with that!
Website: www.fraaiuitzicht.com

fraai-uitzicht-jan-65_lbb

fraai-uitzicht-acc-40_lbb

fraai-uitzicht-jan-57_lbb

36th Winelands Marathon race review

RACE RATING:

Type: Road race

Distance: 42.2km

Difficulty: 3/5

ThHelderberg Harrierse 36th Winelands Marathon was graced with near perfect running conditions the day after the Western Cape was battered by a massive thunderstorm the night before. As a result my lift was left stranded in Hout Bay which saw me make my way to Stellenbosch on my own. Thoughts of “Nutter” crossed my mind thinking I may be the only die hard to brave this race. Closer to Stellenbosch I could see fellow runners driving towards the start venue. So I wasn’t the only crazy runner…. The parking was well organised and you could even park fairly close to the start by paying a few Rands to park on the nearby school field. Due to the weather conditions I chose not to take a camera so there are no running shots.

The start line was alive with the typical chatter and banter before the run. I was joined by a fellow club runner for the first 10 kilometers. Unsure of pushing or taking it easy he bolted. As you turn off the Polkadraai Road you are greeted with farmlands. We passed strawberry fields, vineyards and even a farm with Wildebeest. The water tables were well placed and had ample water and coke. The course is undulating and is not the easiest around but the scenery makes up for this. Around the 33km mark you turn onto an uneven gravel road for approximately 3kms. The rain started at this point but it was light and actually helped me. Thereafter the route back is flat and downhill at times. The finish is well organised and you are greeted with the announcer welcoming all the athletes in with the customary medal to mark your achievement and my PB. Benefits belonging to a club is the gazebo at the finish. A great time to hear fellow club runner’s stories. A nice hot cup of soup was the perfect finish to the day. Great race, well organised and will do this again!

Winelands Medal Winelands kit

Winelands Marathon and Half Marathon

THE RACE:

Helderberg HarriersWinelands Marathon and Half Marathon and 5km 16 November 2013:

The Winelands marathon is a challenging course with scenic views of vineyards and strawberry fields. The marathon and half marathon start and finishes at Eikestad Primary School. The first part is undulating but fairly easy. There is a four kilometre climb where you gain around 160m but once you are over be careful not to run too fast as you need to keep your legs for the hilly econd half. The marathon serves as a qualifying event for the Two Oceans and Comrades ultra-marathons. The cut-off time for the marathon is 5hr30 and 3hr30 for the half marathon. There will be medals for all finishers.

THE PLACE:

Stellenbosch lies approximately 50 kilometres from Cape Town. The town is internationally renowned for its wines, restaurants, historical buildings, schools and University. Stellenbosch acquired its name from Simon Van Der Stel who named it after himself which means Stel’s Bush. Afrikaans is the primary language spoken but English is easily understood. Stellenbosch has a Mediterranean climate which is perfect for their viticulture industry and is a town for all seasons.

YOUR BASE:

Places to stay

  • Majeka House
  • Middedorp Manor
  • Lanzerac Wine Estate

Winelands accomm

OTHER EVENTS:

  • Stellenbosch has so many events for every person’s taste. If you are interested in Stellenbosch why not drop us a mail and we could advise you what to do.

 

UPCOMING RACES:

  • 06 October 2013 – Amatola Maraton
  • 11 October 2013 – Merrell Hobbit 100 – Amatola Trail Run – 2 Days 100km
  • 12 October 2013 – The 10th Mutter – 2 Days (85 KM)
  • 13 October 2013 – OUTsurance 94.5KFM Gun Run 21.1km
  • 17 October 2013 – Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon – 7 days 245km
  • 20 October 2013 – Constantia Grape Run 21.1km
  • 26 October 2013 – Crazy Store 1 000 Hills Trail Challenge 10km, 20km, 41km
  • 26 October 2013 – BASF 32 km, Half Marathon & 10 km
  • 02 November 2013 – Bonkolo Marathon & Half Marathon
  • 02 November 2013 – City Lodge Marathon, Half Marathon & 10 km
  • 02 November 2013 – Ingeli Mountain Trail Run
  • 03 November 2013 – Landmarks Half Marathon & Move for Health 6 km Fun Run/Walk
  • 07 November 2013 – Fairview Dryland Traverse – 3 Day, 4 Stage Trail Run
  • 09 November 2013 – SuperSpar Bela-Bela Marathon, Half Marathon & 10 km Ladies
  • 10 November 2013 – Cape Point Half Marathon
  • 15 November 2013 – Salomon Skyrun & Sky Run Lite
  • 16 November 2013 – Winelands Marathon & Half Marathon
  • 16 November 2013 – Land of Legends Thohoyandou Marathon
  • 23 November 2013 – Lowveld Botanical Garden Marathon Series 4
  • 23 November 2013 – Die Vlakte Marathon, Half Marathon & 10 km
  • 27 November 2013 – Sanlam Niel Joubert Plaaswedloop 13 km
  • 30 November 2013 – Sani Stagger Marathon & Half Marathon

Interested in this run or any other sporting event in Southern Africa or just plain travel? Why not contact us via email on info@beyondthefinish.com and let us put together a free quote for your individual travel needs. We look forward to hearing from you.

 

Berlin Marathon Review

 Even a snail makes the finish….

The 40th Berlin Marathon on 29th September 2013 was the big highlight of Andrew’s and my Germany trip this September. WHAT an experience!

P1000133 Berlin RosenbomberOur marathon weekend started on Friday with the registration and expo at the historical Tempelhof Airport. We arrived there by underground railway and everything there was organized perfectly to get our start numbers. Both the atmosphere with all our fellow international runners as well as the great music got us into the marathon mood and even more excited! All the big companies for running supplies, apparel, sports nutrition etc. could be found in the huge halls of the expo, and outside- on the runway of the airport- they had the historic candy bombers standing. We could even watch some of the inline- skaters that were getting themselves warmed up on the runway for ‘their’ marathon on Saturday.

On Saturday, the day before the marathon, we did the Breakfast Run which started at the picturesque Charlottenburg Castle with a couple of thousand participants. This 6km fun run is perfect to get the legs moving a little before the big day and to just enjoy yourself with all the other runners. Since there are so many different nationalities of runners, lots of people ran with their respective home country flags or dressed up, either with wigs, as penguins, pirates, you name it… J By the way, even Haile Gebrselassie appeared at the start of this race.

Berlin Breakfast 2Berlin Breakfast 1Berlin Breakfast 3Berlin Breakfast 1

Of course, Andrew and I were running with our South Africa flags and we quickly met other South Africans, that even knew our friends from Hout Bay. And after the run, we even bumped into Andrew’s previous German teacher Bettina from Cape Town…. Which proves again that the world is a village!

After the Breakfast Run finished inside the Olympia Stadium, we could get some breakfast goodies at the stalls outside – after fighting our way to the front of the stalls through the crowds of people. This was a little disorganized but with some juice, apple and a chocolate croissant we were quite happy and generally, the Breakfast Run is a great thing to do when you’re doing the Marathon!

The big day was finally here on Sunday morning! In South African terms, the race starts very late at 08h45 ( we normally have finished a half marathon in South Africa by that time!), but we wanted to not get pressed for time, so we took the underground railway at 06h30 to Potsdamer Platz and walking towards the Brandenburg Gate and Straße des 17. Juni with thousands of fellow runners. After a couple of pictures of the Brandenburg Gate in the morning sun, we made our way to the start area. Security everywhere was quite tight and we had to show our blue Marathon ribbons a couple of times on various check points to get to the start area, but this still went very quickly for us. The tog bag facilities were well organized and we found Andrew’s spot quite quickly. The tog bag tents were organized by race numbers and the female tents quite far away from the male ones’… but we still made it in time to be at the start area at 08h30.

Berlin Brandenburg

Of course, with all the thousands of runners and the music, the start of the marathon was a big goose-bumps moment for me and after a short while, Andrew had disappeared in the crowds in front of me and I started to ease into the race. Especially in the beginning, there are lots of people around, but from 3 – 4 kms onwards, I could run my comfortable pace without zig-zagging other runners.

The weather was just perfect, about 11 degrees and quite cool, but sunny and without any clouds.

As I am not a very fast runner ( my fastest Half marathon time is a 2h16) and with so many people running this race, I knew that I would not be running my fastest time in any case and I just ran comfortably without thinking about my time. This proved to be just perfect for me and I took a photo- or water stop every 10 – 12 minutes and then continued running.

It’s amazing to see all the different areas of Berlin, there’s something to see everywhere and the first 21kms almost went past in a flash. But of course, I also have to mention that we runners had the most fantastic support from the spectators and the people from Berlin. In 5 years of running, I have never run a race before that had hundreds of people cheering and clapping for us runners on every corner and every single street of the race. This support really carried me a lot, especially after the 30kms when the going starts to get a little tougher… One lady in Kreuzberg just shouted: Julia! You can do it! You’re my hero!!! ☺

Berlin Run

After a couple of walking and drinks breaks, I eventually got to Kilometer 41. From here it’s not far anymore until you see the Brandenburg Gate ahead of you and even though it’s been a loooong day on the road up to that time, suddenly I didn’t feel tired anymore and was loving every second of the last few hundred meters. We ran past the prestigious Hotel Adlon at the Pariser Platz and then through the magnificent Brandenburg Gate which is SUCH an emotional moment considering all the historic events around the Berlin wall that happened at this spot. And knowing that I had finally made it to the finish, was just the best feeling ever! The last few meters to reach the finish line are just a breeze and not even the fact that they had run out of medals could wipe that huge smile off my face! The organizers have promised to mail our medals in the coming weeks and I really hope I still get my one. But even if not… I have taken such unforgettable memories from this race which are far better than any medal!

Berlin Start

Andrew and I finished the race day off with a big Erdinger Alkoholfrei beer which went down extremely well after the race ☺

Berlin Beer

Of course, a big highlight was also the new world record of Wilson Kipsang who ran an unbelievable 2:03:38. What an achievement!

Even though I did not finish anywhere near such a great marathon time, I have absolutely enjoyed it and it will definitely not be the last one for Andrew and me. And next time again, my motto will be: Even a snail makes the finish….

Voet van Africa Marathon

THE RACE:

Voet van Afrika LogoVoet van Afrika Marathon, Half Marathon and 10km 19 October 2013:

Voet van Africa Marathon and Half Marathon is still on.

The Voet van Africa Marathon is held in the town of Bredasdorp in the Western Cape. The motto for this race is “The toughest race with the warmest heart” holds true for this race as the hospitality of the town is warm and friendly and the route is challenging. The marathon is run partly on gravel roads and consists of a tough mountain climb but is rewarded with spectacular views as the route takes you through fynbos covered areas and surrounding farmlands. The tough climb takes you 280m up the Soutmuisberg which is then followed by a steep descent to the town of Napier. From there you head back to the town of Bredasdorp where your energy levels will have to be saved as this is where your race could be lost.

The half marathon takes you along the Soutmuisberg and over the town’s dam wall. The race is consistently voted by Runner’s World as a well organised and presented event and in 2010 was voted as the 3rd best marathon event and the half marathon as the 9th best.

Voet van Afrika Profile

THE PLACE:

Bredasdorp lies in the Southern Overberg region of the Western Cape and is roughly two hours by car from Cape Town. The town is about 35km from Cape Agulhas which is the southernmost tip of Africa. The farming activities are chiefly grain, cattle and sheep farming and fynbos cultivation.

Things of interest in Bredasdorp:

  • Dutch Reformed Church which was built in 1911 in the Cape Gothic style of architecture
  • The Shipwreck Museum with the collection of artefacts and furniture from ships wrecks along the South African coastline.
  • The massive milkwood tree on the farm Rhenosterfontein which is a national monument and considered to be one of the largest of its kind.
  • De Hoop Nature and Marine Reserve which has unspoilt Cape Fynbos and is a protected marine reserve. The reserve is home to the endangered Cape mountain Zebra and Cape Vultures. De Hoop also brags one of the best whale watching areas between June and December. The De Hoop Whale Trail is a must for hikers and nature lovers.
  • De Mond Nature Reserve which lies at the mouth of the Heuningnes River supports several species of small animals and has a rich and varied birdlife.

Towns close to Bredasdorp include Arniston, L’Agulhas (southernmost town in Africa), Napier, Caledon and Swellendam.

 

YOUR BASE:

Places to stay

  • Aghulas Ocean Art House
  • Die Opstal

Voet van Afrika Ocean Art House

UPCOMING RACES:

  • 08 September 2013 – Medihelp Dolphin Coast Ultra 50 km, Half Marathon & 10 km
  • 14 September 2013 – Two Countries at Musina Marathon
  • 21 September 2013 – Laingsburg Karoo Ultra Marathon
  • 02 September 2013 – Cape Town City Marathon & 10 km
  • 22 September 2013 – Ethekwini Township to Township Marathon
  • 29 September 2013 – Bonitas City2City Ultra Marathon, Half Marathon & 10 km
  • 06 October 2013 – Amatola Maraton
  • 11 October 2013 – Merrell Hobbit 100 – Amatola Trail Run – 2 Days 100km
  • 12 October 2013 – The 10th Mutter – 2 Days (85 KM)
  • 13 October 2013 – OUTsurance 94.5KFM Gun Run 21.1km
  • 17 October 2013 – Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon – 7 days 245km
  • 20 October 2013 – Constantia Grape Run 21.1km
  • 26 October 2013 – Crazy Store 1 000 Hills Trail Challenge 10km, 20km, 41km
  • 26 October 2013 – BASF 32 km, Half Marathon & 10 km

Interested in this run or any other sporting event in Southern Africa or just plain travel? Why not contact us via email on info@beyondthefinish.com and let us put together a free quote for your individual travel needs. We look forward to hearing from you.

Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon 2014 Entry Details

 

Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon

Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon entry system has changed for the 2014 event. There are 11 000 entries available for the Ultra Marathon and 16 000 entries for the half marathon. The half marathon is extremely popular and sells really fast. You need to diarise these dates and not delay as you will be left very disappointed!

Half Marathon:

The breakdown for the half marathon for the first 10 000 entries are as follows:

  • 05 November 2013 – Blue Number Club runners can enter (individuals who have run 10 or more Two Oceans but is limited to the first 1000 entries)
  • 11 November 2013 – Licensed club members can enter (limited to the first 5 500 entries)
  • 14 November 2013 – Runners who have previously completed the Two Oceans Ultra Marathon, Half Marathon or Trail Runs can enter (limited to first 2 000 entries)
  • 22 January 2014 – The remaining 6000 entries are reserved for novices (runners who have not previously run any of the Two Oceans Marathon runs) and previous runners who missed the first entry batch
  • 1 500 entries are for charities and International participants

Ultra Marathon

11 000 Entries are available for the Ultra Marathon and will be available from 15 October 2013.
If you need further information please contact us or visit their website.

PPC Cement Riebeeck Bergmarathon, Half marathon and 10km 03 August 2013


riebeeck-marathon
The PPC Cement Riebeeck Bergmarathon is a very picturesque marathon set in the scenic Riebeeck Valley. The 2013 race will be the 28th time this event has taken place and is also a Comrades qualifier. There is also a 21.1km half marathon and a 10km and 5km fun run/walk. The marathon is very popular with stunning views, coupled with a friendly atmosphere. Continue reading “PPC Cement Riebeeck Bergmarathon, Half marathon and 10km 03 August 2013”