It is just after 7 am on a Saturday morning.
I am sitting eating freshly flipped pancakes dripping with cinnamon and lemon juice, sipping the best coffee I have ever tasted. The sun is just starting to warm my bones and I feel my body relaxing after the 3 hour drive from Cape Town.
Brightly coloured tents displaying artworks, colourful clothes and crafts draw my eyes, and then the sound system comes alive and my feet start tapping to Golden Earrings “Radar Love”
I’m feeling it. It’s the weekend; it’s festival time in Gansbaai.
Gansbaai is a small coastal town in the Overberg, 163km from Cape Town. It is a good community with a strong emphasis on creativity, earth friendly living and a healthy paced rural lifestyle. Gansbaai and a few of the businesses recently won the top awards for sustainable and responsible tourism. Read more about Gansbaai, its delights, attractions and awards here
I am on a farm called De Uijlenes . Continue just past Gansbaai and take the left turn onto the Baardscheerdersbos / Elim road and 15km after Gansbaai you will find yourself on this pretty farm in the flower valley.
The event is the 2nd Funky Fynbos Festival and it’s a celebration of the wild flowers, farm life, the wine, food and activities of this very pretty area.
This year the 3 venues for the festival are the farm and wedding function venue De Uijlenes, the wine estate down the road called Lomond, Strandfontein Caravan Park and the farm and nursery Groeneweide.
The festival is also host to great outdoor competitions. A challenging MTB race on Saturday morning and a tough Trail Run on Sunday morning saw individuals and families pushing themselves to the limits through farm tracks, over rivers, up hills and down into the valleys.
A new 4 x 4 trail was put to the test by enthusiasts at Strandfontein, and keen fishermen tested their skills and luck on Lake Lomond at the wine estate of the same name.
For the kids Fun Go Karts were a big hit, especially after they found a short downhill path and then the races were on. Face painting, Milo the clown come fire eater and the jumping castle donated by Grootbos kept the kids busy and happy all day.
The refreshing ice cream from Moo’s Frozen Treats was irresistible. I had at least one of each flavour and happily slurped and messed all over my hands, face and clothes, and then went back for more. At R5 a sachet, it was not my fault that I totally pigged out.
I spent two very happy days in the fresh air, walking around farms and forests, listening to great music and eating way too much. The reggae sounds of the Rivertones blew me away, going to find them again and drag all my friends along.
Of course we all adjourned to the pub on Saturday evening to watch South Africa take on Japan in their first Rugby World Cup game During half time we were entertained by the fire eating Milo, and after the game, magic happened.
As the devastated fans walked out of the pub, 2 of the musicians who had finished their paid stint got together and started jamming. The fire pit was soon sporting a blazing bonfire and we sang along, danced or chilled around the fire as Chris Else and Guy Feldman belted out tunes like they had been playing together for years.
The highlight of the festival for me was the people I met. Let me introduce you to some of them.
Kloeks and Henk. This multi-talented husband and wife team have invited me back and I will be going as soon as possible. Kloeks is apparently the best cook in the world and has a restaurant in her home. Henk grew up with a dad who roasted his own coffee beans way before coffee was an urban hipster thing. Henk is now the owner of the Naked Coffee works and says the secret to his coffee is the passion and unhurried pace of the process. I believe him. When not lovingly roasting beans, Henk can be found guiding tours of the ancient caves and shipwrecks in the area. A local history buff, Henk can tell you stories for as many hours as you have to listen to his tales.
Wayne Gabb, owner of the fantastic Lomond wine estate. Wayne certainly knows how to add fun into the serious business of wine making and life in general.
The Lomond wines are all named after different fynbos species found in the area. This wine producer works with nature rather than trying to dominate it. For wine that is very different but delectable, get yourself a bottle. I am not even I wine drinker but I enjoyed the Cat’s Tail Syrah immensely.
There is something special going on in the grapes down there. Perhaps it’s a combination of the salty air, the scent of the fynbos and the imagination of the wine makers?
At Lomond I met up with pop up chef, Craig Cormack from Roasters. He was preparing a sushi feast using trout caught in the Lomond Lake. We had a great chat about the importance of using fresh seasonal ingredients and how time taken to prepare and cook slowly is the secret to healthy, tasty food. Craig loves what he does and should be checked out by all foodies.
Henk van der Walt from Overberg Aviation made me brave enough to have my first ever helicopter flip, in the smallest helicopter I have ever seen. It was incredible and I want more. We flew from De Uijlenes to Pearly Beach in the Robinson 44 helicopter and the ocean and mountain views were amazing. I was not brave enough to fly with the door off, but even so, seeing the mother and baby whales and a few sharks through the window was a memorable experience.
I finally got to meet Cat Nyquist from Panthera Africa, a sanctuary for big cats that are unable to live in the wild.
Her enthusiasm for the animals and her determination to educate the whole world on why we must not interact with wild animals is inspiring. More about this sanctuary after I have visited and had the full educational experience. Prosperity for Predators, the Panthera motto gives me hope for the future of our wild life
Sean Privett, from Fynbos Trails and Witkrans cottages. Sean is a botanist of note and a very innovative, nature loving person. He is also extremely active and has recently opened new MTB routes on his farm, and broke his leg while riding the ultimate South African MTB race, The Freedom Challenge. In between all these outdoor activities Sean does incredible work with fynbos, a nursery, finding new fynbos species and writing a book about them.
I believe this festival is going to grow slowly into something huge and not to be missed. I will be back next year.