Experience the Marine Life whilst staying at Witkrans

Did you know that when staying at Witkrans Self Catering Cottages, we give you the opportunity to experience our amazing marine life with the best operators in Gansbaai at a discounted price?

You can go shark cage diving with Marine Dynamics.  They provide you with aintern_boatslashfin combination of goosebump thrills, education and relaxation on a luxury boat in the company of experienced experts and researchers! They show you how to distinguish between a male and female shark and how to identify a specific shark by its unique dorsal fin and scars. The 20 – 25 minute boat trip to where the activity is to take place, is by itself an exhilarating adventure.

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Join Dyer Island Cruises on the whale watching boat.  Dyer Island Cruises live by the ‘Discover and Protect’ slogan, and strive to provide you with the utmost conservation oriented and respect ethos offered on the market.  Both are BEE Level 1 companies and certified by Fair Trade in Tourism.  They take you into the channel of water between Dyer Island and Geyser Rock known as the world famous ‘Shark Alley’.  You are then taken to the whale hot-spots in the bay.  In addition, you can also spot Bryde’s whales and dolphins and plenty of sea-birds.

Witkrans has been privileged to work with the amazing people from both of these companies through the developement of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust’s website over the last couple of years.  The entire team on board the boats as well as working on the land are some of the friendliest, most passionate and entertaining people you will meet.   Wilfred Chivell, owner of these two companies and founder of the Trust was recently rewarded for his conservation efforts when receiving the Overstrand Mayor’s Annual Environmental Conservation Award and is one of the most passionate and dynamic people you could meet.

Below is a video taken last week of Orca’s in the Gansbaai bay chasing common dolphins –  Never before has this predatory behaviour been documented in Gansbaai!

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When Bodhi Khaya gives you lemons, make…..

One of the most peaceful places with the loveliest of people is Bodhi Khaya, our next doorweb_lemons neighbor.  Witkrans supplies Matthew’s organic eggs to them and on delivery we often get to enjoy a delicious hot chocolate and chat with David.  On our recent visit David let the children pick lemons off their tree’s and we headed home to make some Lemon Meringue Pie, lemon curd and my favorite latest recipe……Lemon and Orange Cordial from my recently purchased book, ‘Fruits of the Earth’ by Gloria Nicol.  Delicious and you only had to use a small amount of cordial so it lasted for ages.

Lemon and Orange Cordial

8 – 10 lemons; 6 – 8 oranges; 650g sugar; 1 1/2 tsp citric acid

Pare the rind finely from 1 lemon and 1 orange.  Put the sugar, ring and 600ml water into a pan.  Heat gently to make a syrup, then boil for 5 minutes.  Strain through a sieve into a measuring jug; discard the rind.  Squeeze sufficient lemons and oranges to produce the same amount of juice as syrup, keeping the proportions half lemon, half orange.  Mix the syrup and fruit juices together in the pan and add the citric acid, stirring until the powder has dissolved.  Bottle.

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Erica Irregularis on the hills of Witkrans

The hills around Witkrans are currently filled with the beautiful Erica Irregularis.   Watch this video by Sean to learn more about this special Erica, that in nature only grows in this very small area…….

Sean talks on this video last year about how it has come back more abundant than ever and again this year it seems even more abundant and beautiful.  The children and I are pressing a couple of flowers to include in our Culture Exchange boxes.

Visit Witkrans Self Catering cottage and come enjoy the spectacular show of Erica’s all around us……you may even get a beautiful winter day where you can hop in the lovely full dams, like my crazy two children did yesterday.

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It’s a ‘retired’ chickens life

Here on Witkrans that idea has always been that as Matthew’s chicken got old they would get eaten.  However this has never worked that well and after a lesson in plucking etc both Matthew and father could not get near to eating the chicken no matter how I disguised the meat.

We are now left with some really old grannies in amongst the chickens and they are looking a bit worse for wear.  Especially with the wet weather and mud on the farm, some are struggling with their long toe nails and the mud getting stuck in between their feet.

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Witkrans enjoys a morning at the Grootbos Spaza

Witkrans enjoyed a morning with Simasa who runs the Grootbos Foundations Spaza. beading7 Zimasa has been assisted by funding, which was provided by EFG Engineers to assist Zimasa in setting up her own business and money collected by Christine Reichardt, who volunteered at the Foundation.At least once a week on our way back from school in Stanford, we stop at the Grootbos Spaza, where Matthew and Emma are allowed to use some of their pocket-money to buy a treat.  There are also other lovely products on offer from the Growing the Future project that Mom likes to buy like honey and bottled peppadews and various vegetables.

As per our previous blog, Witkrans is taking part in a Worlwide culture swop and on our last visit we noticed that Zimasa does the most amazing beadwork, so we decided that we would love to do a beaded south african flag for our boxes.

Zimasa very kindly offered to teach Matt and Ems how to bead a flag.  She was sooo patient with them and we spent a wonderful morning together beading and laughing and of course buying plenty of sweets and treats to keep us going.

Here are some pictures of our morning.  We then headed over to the Info Centre in Gansbaai to collect some brochures on our area to include in our boxes.

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A misty morning in Uilkraalvallei

Here is a view of our beautiful Uilkraalvallei.  Witkrans is still sitting under the mist at the bottom of this picture.

Nothing quite like these beautiful winter mornings.

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Alternative Energy and hiking

This weekend we enjoyed hosting Reinhard & Brownen Marx from 1Energy.  We enjoyed spending time together with these wonderful folk and learning more about alternative energy solutions for Witkrans – watch this space!

Today we enjoyed a beautiful hike on Flower Valley (our neighboring farm) through the area that recently burnt in the fire.  We spotted lots of beautiful flowers that one can only see in the first season after the burn.  I am not going to attempt to identify any of the latin names, but be sure to keep an eye on Sean’s blog at Fynbos Hub for some pictures of these beautiful plants.

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Witkrans takes part in Worldwide Culture Swop

My neighbor (and life and farm inspiration) told me about a cultural swop run by Little RedScreen Shot 2012-05-12 at 21.41.21 Farm.  The exchange aims to share information with a group of other families around the world  about the country in which we live. They get a feel for our country and culture, and we get a feel for theirs.  Their are 5 families in each group and we each make up a parcel of bits and pieces that we have chosen to give a good overview of what it is like to live where your family comes from.

The families in our group are from:

  • Arizona
  • Alaska
  • Bristol, UK
  • Malaysia

So in our June/July holidays we are going to collect various South African things to include in our parcels.   Matthew and Emma are already spending the days thinking of things to include in their packages and collecting various things on the farm.

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If only…

……there were enough hours in the day to include blogging, I could tell you things about picking grapes, stomping wine, having all our wine knocked over by the gardener who drove a car into our vat, getting more grapes, getting trapped up at Fynbos Retreat in a recent fire, organising a a really special music workshop at Bodhi Khaya, holidays in Knysna, tree swinging, spending time with my special U.K mom and two brothers, batering for more grapes and starting to stomp again, children ‘swimming’ in tank with grapes, bottling our wine, drinking our wine, two new baby chickens, Wilbur in the vegetable garden and breaking out most mornings with the Great Dane chasing him around the farm, water leaks…………but right now I need to go and prepare a dry place for the Stranveld hikers that will be arriving shortly for tea and hot cross buns after their Easter hike and then later today I get to turn into the Easter bunny and prepare for excited children tomorrow :-)

Wishing you all a blessed Easter!

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Wilbur the pig

We have a standing arrangement with our neighbors where we keep, Boldrick the boy pig img_7361and our neighbors have the girl pig – get it?  So Boldrick goes to visit every so often to do you know what and then we get one of his off-spring which goes directly to the butcher and comes back just like you would buy pork chops from the shops.  The idea is that we don’t get to know the pig/ talk to the pig or bond with the pig in any way.  We get food from Coffee on the Rocks – if you have been there, you will know just how well our pigs eat from the left-overs from this restaurant.  Once a week, wife gets to go and pick up a huge black bucket and get covered in slop – the pigs love it and we feel that at least we know our pigs have had a wonderful life, free ranging above the vineyards and eating really good food (how many of you can say that about the meat you eat?)

We recently got another one of Boldricks off-spring and it was put in the pig area with Boldrick not to be looked at and the children were told in no uncertain terms NOT to give this pig a name.  Matthew is now old enough to understand where meat comes from, but Emma will become a vegetarian if she knows at this stage, so as far as she is concerned, the pig is here on holiday for some time.

In Matthews class they are reading ‘Charlotte’s Web’ where the little cute runt, Wilbur becomes a family pet and saved from being eaten.  So Matthew puts his hand up during the reading session at school and promptly announces that ‘we have a pig we are going to eat in two months time’ – once the teacher had recovered from her shock she asked if we could bring the pig into the class as most of the children had never seen a pig, I was begged – and being a Privett I struggle to say No to anyone!

So I took ‘no name brand’ into school today for show and tell and all the children came up and stroked her and then the teacher very ‘kindly’ let them ask me questions ;-)

Of course the first question is by a Grade 3 girl who glares me in the eye and says ‘Why are you going to murder this cute piggie?’ So I explain, (or more like fumble) that we like bacon and pork chops blah blah and get asked many other interesting questions and as I leave with ‘no name brand’ they all shout‘Goodbye Wilbur!’ ………………………………………… So now pig is named and I have bonded with the cute fellow as I held him…………….what useless farmers we are!

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