Set at the foot of the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens in the Constantia Valley, The Cellars-Hohenort Hotel & Spa boasts nine acres of beautifully maintained gardens that may be explored during a guided tour every Wednesday morning, followed by tea and scones served on the terrace or in the lounge of The Conservatory restaurant.
Testament to a rich history, the trees in the surrounding forest at The Cellars-Hohenort Hotel & Spa date back 300 years to when it was known as Klaasenbosch Farm. The garden boasts magnificent views of the Table Mountain range and contains a myriad of delights, from the Picnic Garden and Hohenort Lawns, which are favourite wedding venues, to a structured garden with a beautiful water feature, and several ponds. Eco-zones within the gardens include 950 vines, as well as Herb, Vegetable and Citrus gardens, which grow fresh produce for the hotel kitchens.
The various sections of the gardens display some of Constantia’s most beautiful indigenous flora, immaculately maintained by Head Gardener Leigh-Ann van Wyk and her team. Van Wyk, who holds a National Diploma in Landscape Technology, has been caretaker of these meticulous grounds since 2016.
The gardens slope up towards Table Mountain and are spectacular throughout the year, with different blooms revealing themselves across the seasons. Garden tours are led by Leigh-Ann van Wyk herself, who takes pleasure in sharing her favourite highlights of the particular time of the year. Some visitors may be lucky to sight varied fauna within the gardens too, such as the resident duck family, Cape Dwarf Chameleon colonies and squirrels, as well as bird species that include the Cinnamon Dove, Cape White-eye, Lemon Dove, African Paradise-Flycatcher, Forest Canary, and many others.
Once the garden exploration has worked up an appetite, guests are invited to sit down to freshly-baked scones and tea, including the signature Cellars Hohenort Blend of Nigiro tea, blended by Master Tea Blender, Mingwei Tsai, that incorporates the spicy fragrance and bronze/apricot colour of the Liz McGrath Rose. The Liz McGrath Rose was hybridised in 2003 to commemorate the 80th birthday of the late Mrs McGrath, the founder of The Liz McGrath Collection of three sister-hotels.
The Cellars Hohenort Hotel & Spa Garden Tours are open to the public by reservation, and are presented every Wednesday at 10:00, at a cost of R190pp (includes the guided garden tour, tea and scones). Bookings are essential. Private groups may also be accommodated by prior reservation on dates and times of their choice, subject to availability.
Mhondoro Safari Lodge & Villa has invested in a major solar power installation that consists of 620 solar panels and batteries to supply all the power required by the 24-sleeper luxury lodge in the Welgevonden Game Reserve in the Waterberg (Limpopo).
It is one of the largest solar operations at a safari lodge in South Africa and it has successfully taken Mhondoro off the grid to be self-sufficient in terms of all its electricity requirements.
CEO Fritz Breytenbach says that the travel industry is heavily impacted by Eskom’s energy crisis. ‘The only way for us to continue attracting well-heeled local and international travellers, is to make sure that we literally keep the lights on. In the luxury travel and safari industry especially, guests expect a certain level of service, and it goes without saying that all lodge facilities and amenities should be available to guests and in working order – whether there is loadshedding, or not.’
‘But besides offering a luxury, 5-star product to our guests, we are proud of the fact that everything we do here at Mhondoro is based on environmentally safe principles. Internationally there is a lot of talk about so-called greenwashing, but this capital investment in our solar plant is another tangible example of the vision of the Dutch owners, Frank and Myriam Vogel, to further reduce the carbon footprint of the lodge.’
Various other eco-friendly initiatives have also been put in place at Mhondoro, including the installation of a grey water filtration system for irrigation around the lodge. Mhondoro also operates its own water purification plant that produces drinking water fresh from the surrounding Waterberg mountains, and uses glass decanters and personalised steel water bottles for guests to minimize the use of single-use plastic water bottles. All glass, paper and plastics are recycled, and Mhondoro has an agreement with Nespresso to recycle used coffee pods and grinds. Furthermore, guest check-in is being done digitally to reduce the use of paper and re-usable leather wallets are used for staff gratuities that save 2000 paper envelopes per year.
Mhondoro also produces as much of its own fresh produce as possible. The owners purchased two derelict farms adjoining Welgevonden Game Reserve of which a section is utilized to grow fruit, as well as vegetables and herbs in two greenhouses. A chicken coop was successfully established to supply farm fresh eggs for use at the lodge. The balance of the 2400 hectares of farmland is being rehabilitated and over time will become protected wilderness areas.
Liam Tomlin’s Chefs Warehouse is back on Bree Street due to popular demand, operating in new premises across from where Tomlin’s tapas concept was first introduced to Cape Town in 2014.
Chefs Warehouse at The Bailey is now based on the ground floor space previously occupied by The Bailey Bistro. Upstairs at The Bailey, The Brasserie continues offering its favoured, classic French inspired cuisine, along with The Old Bailey Lounge Bar on the top level.
Fans of the original Chefs Warehouse concept may expect some old favourites such as Salt & pepper squid with chilli, pineapple and caramelised ginger; Vietnamese rice paper rolls; and a signature Risotto dish. It will also feature some exciting new dishes conceptualised by Tomlin and Executive Chef of The Bailey, Asher Abramowitz.
Open all day from 12:00 to 21:00, the á la carte menu invites diners to order individual plates from the tapas menu of vegetarian, vegan and meat dishes, as well as fish dishes prepared at the open seafood bar.