Bonnies Bed & Breakfast

Bonnies Bed and Breakfast in Bonnievale, November 2014

Auke. Lynnette, Snorre and I set out for Bonnievale on Thursday 30th October where Star People was due to set up at the annual Bonnievale Bonanza. The general idea was to provide an opportunity for the general public to view the Sun during the day and the Moon and, hopefully, some stars in the evening.  According to the weather forecast we would also not be almost washed away as in 2013.

Pools of water on the banners after one of many downpours in 2013
Pools of water on the banners after one of many downpours in 2013

This was a special occasion because the Bonanza was in its 20th year and Huipie Schreuder, the dynamic organizer of the Bonanza for eight years running, had vowed to lay down the reins and retire.  We were booked into Bonnies Bed & Breakfast where we had also stayed in 2013. Bonnies is situated in Van Zyl Street, and is run by Div and Wilna de Villiers. The establishment has five comfortable en suite rooms and Lynnette, Snorre and I were housed in the same room we occupied in 2013. Our room had a private entrance to a secluded patio and the beautiful garden. There is a swimming pool in another section of the garden for the hotter weather too.

The garden is well planned, well tended and creates an air of tranquility
The garden is well planned, well tended and creates an air of tranquility
A second view of the garden toward the secluded swimming pool
A second view of the garden toward the secluded swimming pool

All rooms offer tea and coffee making facilities and are equipped with ceiling fans and heaters. TV, M-Net, DSTV. Telephone, Cell phone, Internet & email and Fax Facilities are also centrally available.

Wilna speaks fluent German and so they regularly host German tourists. This particular skill was not called into service for our visit. Div, a native of Namaqualand, is very clued up on local tourist activities and has a well-stocked depository of brochures and pamphlets on all the local tourist attractions as well as many much further away. Div, as on our previous visit, very kindly evacuated his one garage so that we could store our trailer there. Trailers are currently prime targets for theft in the Brackenfell area and we did not want to tempt fate in Bonnievale by leaving it nicely accessible in the driveway.

On the Thursday evening we had a braai in our section of the garden. For this Div not only supplied the wood but also packed and lit the fire. The garden is a bird lover’s delight with feeding stations and water points all over the place and plants chosen to attract various bird species. There was even a pair of Barn Owls nesting in the tree next to our patio.

Lynnette and Auke relaxing at the braai.  The tree with the Barn Owls is just visible behind them and to the right
Lynnette and Auke relaxing at the braai. The tree with the Barn Owls is just visible behind them and to the right
A variety of birds visit the feeding station in the morning
A variety of birds visit the feeding station in the morning
The weavers also like the sugar water provided for the sugar birds and humming birds but their beaks are not the right shape to quite get to the liquid
The weavers also like the sugar water provided for the sugar birds and humming birds but their beaks are not the right shape to quite get to the liquid
This weaver was loudly voicing its discontent at not being able to really have a go at the sugar solution
This weaver was loudly voicing its discontent at not being able to really have a go at the sugar solution

The full country breakfasts were more than adequate with Wilna preparing the food and Div serving and talking. The dining room also offers a view of the garden and two of the bird feeding stations. All in all, Bonnies is a comfortable and affordable place to stay with attentive and pleasant hosts. Their proximity to the main street (one block away), shops, library, post office, museum, antique stores and Tourist Information Centre are other reasons to consider Bonnie’s next time you need to stay over in Bonnievale.

Cat lovers the world over will enjoy this notice
Cat lovers the world over will enjoy this notice
This is in Afrikaans and clearly aimed at the male guests that insist on practicing their long distance accuracy
This is in Afrikaans and clearly aimed at the male guests that insist on practicing their long distance accuracy

Physical Address; 15 Van Zyl Street in Bonnievale
Telephone: 023 616 2251
E-mail: div@bonniesb-b.co.za

Wine tasting tour with a Norwegian windsurfer

Our guest from Oslo, the capital of Norway, landed at Cape Town International airport on the 29th December, 2012 for her first visit to South Africa.  The prime objective of her 13 day stay was kite surfing and she was fortunate to have favourable conditions for most of her stay.  She contacted ELF Astronomy to arrange a wine tasting tour for the penultimate day of her visit and, after discussing the options with her, she opted for a fairly leisurely day with only three estates on the itinerary  At the last moment she asked us to cancel the first tasting of the day, the chocolate and wine tasting at Seidelberg, as she wanted more time to pack her kites and boards that morning, so we were left with only Fairview and Backsberg.

Lynnette and I picked her up in the Vito on Wednesday the 09th at 10:00 and headed north for our first appointment in the Beryl Back Master Tasting Room at Fairview, where Desiré was on hand to welcome us.

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The Khoi pool in the well kept garden outside the tasting venue at Fairview
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All one needs to know about the various tastings at Fairview.

We spent a very relaxed 90 minutes or so working our way through the eight wines and eight cheeses under Desire’s expert and very well informed tutelage.   The wines we tasted were:

 

 

 

Fairview Darling Sauvignon Blanc 2012
Fairview Chardonnay 2010
Fairview Oom Pagel Semillon 2009
Fairview Barbera 2010
Fairview Cyril Back 2007
Fairview Eenzaamheid Shiraz 2009
Fairview The Beacon Shiraz 2008
Extraño

As a bonus, because we were such well behaved tasters, Desire allowed us to taste the Fairview Durif/Petit Shirah as well.  I can unreservedly recommend the very relaxed atmosphere and highly professional tasting Fairview presents in the Beryl Back Master Tasting Room.

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The original Billy Goat Gruff is obviously king of his castle.

At lunch, in the Goatshed Resaurant, our guest had a glass of Fairview Pinotage and I had a glass of Fairview Pinotage Viognier, both very enjoyable wines.  Lynnette, being the driver, settled for Adam’s Ale with ice and commented that it was quite a good vintage. After lunch we headed east to Backsberg.

At Backsberg, Danwin James, the Tasting Room Manager, set up a tasting of eight wines for us. When I saw how many glasses he could handle in one go, I initially suspected he had been issued with more than the regulation number of fingers. Closer inspection showed this not to be the case and Danwin assured me it was just a matter of practice, lots of it. The wines we tasted were:

Sauvignon Blanc 2012
Chardonnay 2011
John Martin 2012
Backsberg Family Reserve Red 2005 (Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blend)
Barbera 2011
Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Merlot 2011
Beyond Borders Pinot Noir 2010

For the grand finale,  Danwin allowed us to taste a very interesting Backsberg Port. He only gave us, In the words of Poo Bear “a smidgen”, but a very memorable one.

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Backsberg’s lovely cool garden.

We were both impressed with Danwin’s relaxed, quite personal, but very professional presentation.  His personal charm, knowledge of the wines and obvious enthusiasm about   Backsberg, are all impressive.  Our guest was especially pleased to find that Backsberg could deliver to the doorstep of any address in Sweden, at rates that were extraordinarily competitive.

 

 

We then headed home for one of Lynnette’s excellent suppers before taking her back to her guest house, so that she could complete her packing, before departing Cape Town for Oslo the next day.