A Tranquil escape in Hout Bay

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Tinstwalo Antlantic, the boutique lodge in Hout Bay, which was destroyed by a devastating Cape fire in 2015, has been restored to its former glory. I was invited to enjoy their Winter Warmer package. The package includes an overnight stay and gourmet cuisine, for two people sharing – this is worth it for a five-star lodge.

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Resting on a pebbled beach at the foot of the Table Mountain National Park, directly overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the view from the wooden decked terrace is breathtaking. This is where we had a refreshing spritzer on arrival while listening to the sounds of ocean waves lapping gently against the shore.

Here, seated on cushioned chairs, you will have a front row seat to the sunset or you can watch the sun go down from your room terrace, we opted for the latter.

The property boasts panoramic views of the picturesque Hout Bay Harbour, dramatic Sentinel mountain’s peak, and the ocean.

We spent the night in the elegant Sicily Island room, each suite is named after an island.

The luxurious, fully-catered villa, decorated in off white and nautical shades of dusty blues has a wooden ceiling and parquet flooring, comfortable seating area, fireplace to keep you warm during the winter nights and its own private balcony with views of the bay.

The bathroom is my favourite room. The stand-alone bathtub faces a large window with incredible views of the sea and mountain a majestic sight.

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Tintswalo Atlantic serves breakfast daily in the dining room or deck and the fine dining restaurant offers a variety of tastes and cuisines. Lunch and dinner are available upon request. I enjoyed hake and a salad for lunch on the deck.

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Taking a walk around the establishment, we visited theterrace which has two heated outdoor swimming pools. Although they are heated it was too cold for a swim.

There is also a spa on the premises and a 24-hour front desk which is on hand to assist in arranging activities such as horse riding and fishing, as well as an airport shuttle upon request.

Dinner consisted of five-courses with a bottle of house wine. It was prepared by the recently appointed head chef Guy Clark, who has made a name for himself in the foodies circles of Cape Town.

Tintswalo Atlantic Black salt cream. Japanese chilli cured salmon. fresh fig. gooseberries. 1MB.jpg

 

 

Dinner consisted of five-courses with a bottle of house wine. It was prepared by the recently appointed head chef Guy Clark, who has made a name for himself in the foodies circles of Cape Town.

Clark recently returned to his home town, the Mother City, having honed his skills in India and Florida (US) for the past four years.

He takes a simplified approach to cooking, focusing on flavour.

“I believe in celebrating ingredients in their purest form, using methods and techniques that enhance flavour, presentation and texture.

“Sourcing and utilising local, sustainable and organic is key to delivering an ethical and superior menu” he says.

His new eight-course Ocean & Ash tasting menu for Tintswalo Atlantic is based on different themes, whereby he cites local ingredients and foraging as important components of the process.

Unusual plating and presentation styles also play an important part in the dining experience.

The first course includes three variations of one of his new favourites, seaweed – which, he says, makes perfect sense, seeing that it is available in abundance right on the restaurant doorstep.

Our five-course meal included a berry sorbet palate cleanser, a crispy pork belly and Japanese chilli cured salmon, a delicious lentil warm salad and fresh fig and gooseberries sprinkled with black salt cream.

We had our mains and desserts in our room.

I liked that we had this option, as we had a long day and the villa offered enough comfort for you to dine in private.

Sleeping right next to the sea means listening to the rhythmic and calming sound of the waves crashing on the shore.

It does get chilly during the night so keep the fire going.

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Breakfast time is flexible, this means you can sleep in and watch the sun rise from your comfortable bed – that’s what the floor to ceiling windows are there for.

Also, enjoy the fresh sea air, it will make you feel like you are on a real island and it will make you forget that you are not far from the city.

When we eventually managed to peel ourselves from the bed we headed to the dining area for breakfast.

Now, usually in the mornings a breakfast smoothie is all I can stomach.

Therefore, breakfast was potentially overwhelming for a light eater like me.

Breakfast starts with a delicious creamy yoghurt, fruits and muesli, followed by pastries, a cheese platter and eggs of your choice.

The breakfast is a foodie heaven and satisfies Instagram goals – after all they offer free and fast wi-fi.

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Tintswalo Atlantic is the ideal destination for a romantic weekend getaway, to celebrate a special occasion or to pop in for lunch and sundowners on the terrace.

* The Winter Warmer Package at Tintswalo Atlantic will be on until August 31, an overnight offer includes luxury accommodation, as well as breakfast and a five-course dinner with a bottle of house wine, at R7000 for two people sharing.

During weekends, a minimum two-night stay applies.

Connect with Tintswalo Atlantic on Instagram and Twitter @Tintswalolodges https://twitter.com/Tintswalolodges

This feature was first published in the Cape Times’ Top of The Times on June 15 2017.

Connect with me on Instagram @Nontando58 https://www.instagram.com/nontando58/?hl=en  Find more of my work here: http://www.iol.co.za/lifestyle/style 

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Get some Mojo in your life

 

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If you are living in Cape Town, like me, you will know that we are spoilt for choice when it comes to places to eat, sleep and party. From fine dining eateries, outdoor activities and the winelands…we are lucky to have so much on offer within our reach. I enjoy travelling overseas just as much as I enjoy exploring and discovering hidden gems in South Africa in general as well as Cape Town. Over the years, I have learnt that one does not need bags of money or months of hectic planning to get that much needed break. A weekend away or an overnight stay somewhere close will do you so much good.

I was recently invited to spend a night at the Mojo Hotel in Sea Point. I have driven past the establishment on the main road a couple of times without giving it a second glance. From the outside, it’s just a massive building painted white with blue and white lettering announcing the name of the hotel. I didn’t expect much but I was dying to sleep somewhere with ocean and mountain views.

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The beautiful view was impressive and so was the entire experience. As soon as I stepped into the hotel lobby, I was taken back by the quirky colourful art and decor…this cheered up immediately. I love colour, art and beautiful spaces and Mojo Hotel quickly ticked off the right boxes.

I spent the night at the three stories executive crash pad. Yes, you read right, three stories complete with a chic winding staircase. The view from the third floor is breathtaking, there is the Lion’s Head mountain in one side and the season the other.

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The location is ideal as well. You have a choice of relaxing in their rooftop area while enjoying the views, chilling indoors watching TV, there is a flat screen TV on every floor. They also have bicycles on offer (first hour free, rental thereafter)for  exploring the area, or like me you can take a walk to a nearby restaurant for a meal. There is quite a variety along the strip offering affordable and good food.

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The Double crash pad (Sleeps 2)

The room was clean and super comfortable…the bed is beautifully put together that I didn’t want to ruin it. I had a good night after having three cups of the complimentary tea. Also a bonus is their high-speed wifi…now you know how important that is;-) deluxe-studio-sea-view

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The hotel was recently featured in Plascon Spaces – https://www.plasconspaces.co.za/colour/a-look-inside-sea-points-funky-mojo-hotel/

Quick info: Mojo Hotel is a new hotel situated between Beach Road and Regent Road in Sea Point. They offer a mix of spacious hotel accommodation and compact pod hotel rooms at affordable prices, in a central location with a sea and mountain views.

In addition to 25 hotel rooms and studios, their 22 crash pads introduce Cape Town to the global concept of pod or capsule hotels where small compact designer rooms are offered at low prices.

 

On Offer:

·         10 Single crash pads (Sleeps 1)

·         12 Double crash pads (Sleeps 2)

·         3 Double Terrace (Sleeps 2)

·         9 Deluxe Studios (Full and Partial Sea View) (Sleeps 4 or 6)

·         5 Studios (Sleeps 3)

·         6 Family Rooms (Sleeps 4 or 6)

·         2 Standard Studio (Sleeps 3) wheelchair friendly

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Visit their website and book your stayMojo Hotel

+27 (0)87 940 7474
E marketing@themojohotel.com
W www.themojohotel.com
A 30 Regent Road, Sea Point
Cape Town, South Africa

The pictures were supplied by the Mojo Hotel.

Connect with me: Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat: @Nontando58 

South African concept art and fashion photographer Jordan-Lee Garbutt

Copywrite of Jordan-Lee Garbutt

Copywrite of Jordan-Lee Garbutt

Fashion photography is one of the most sought-after professions but it is also one of the hardest to break into. For every photographer who makes it through the door of the glamorous industry, many others are in line, still knocking on the door. Only a few gain recognition in the various media, which ranges from street photography and portraiture to documentary and glamour photography. South African concept art and fashion photographer Jordan-Lee Garbutt has captured the industry with his latest exhibition, titled The Power of Sound, being showcased at Cape Town’s Mullers Gallery this month.
I chat to him about t his trade and his current work.

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How did you get from being an aspiring photographer to doing it for a living? After my studies, I dived head first into assisting. Assisting is the best way to gain experience, learn your craft from top professionals, and see what works in real life. Discovering how to work with people and photo shoot dynamics can only be learnt in the field.

 

“Putting in the hours of learning your craft, researching your subject matter and approaches, all adds up in the end. I assisted for three years before starting to build my portfolio. I created photo shoots that displayed my ideas, my vision and what I believed in.”

How do you get the person, place or thing that is in front of the camera just the way you want? Conceptualising and planning, 99 percent of the time, every detail of my shoots are planned. I work with stylists, make-up artists and other talented people to help create my “visions”.

It takes a team to create the end result. Collaborating is the only way to move forward, you can only do so much on your own, and other viewpoints, perspectives and talents will transform your idea into something more powerful.

Copywrite of Jordan-Lee Garbutt

Copywrite of Jordan-Lee Garbutt

Which photographers influenced you on your career path? American fashion and portrait photographer Richard Avedon’s career initiated a change in the way I created images and how I looked at choosing to make a living from photography. He managed to balance his commercial work with his personal work and blended campaigns and exhibitions perfectly. That is something I aspire to replicate.

“Gregory Crewdson’s Beneath the Roses changed the way I wanted to create. It revealed the high-end planning and concepts with lighting that resonated with the way I create and how I wanted to create”

What motivates you to continue taking pictures? It really comes from inside. I knew from the first week of exploring photography that this is what wanted to do with the rest of my life.I love what I do, I feel my best when I’m creating. My biggest drive now is trying to initiate a change in people, change their perspectives and open their minds to a new way of thinking. Breaking down social, economic and personal barriers.

Tell us about your photography process? My creative process and inspiration varies but I have a general guide that I like to follow. Everything I create, I think in layers. Starting off with the base concept, everything else is added to that. I see the world in a certain light. I prefer dark tones and playing in the shadows. White, bright and “fresh” images have never resonated with me. I like the mystical, the surreal, and our innermost thoughts.

 

I’m at the stage where I cannot take images just for the beauty. I have to add an underlying meaning. It has to be thought-provoking.

Copywrite of Jordan-Lee Garbutt

Copywrite of Jordan-Lee Garbutt

Which images would you say have been the most significant in your career? My latest exhibition, entitled “The Power of Sound, has had the most impact. From all the press to being on Top Billing. It has grown my brand, but what I have loved about the project is the way it affects people when they see the images and poems.

Collaborating with poet Mo Libretto transformed the project into something more. The words and visuals complement each other perfectly, proving how important a collaboration is.I

After that, I have two projects lined up. The first celebrates the diversity of South Africa through the 11 official languages and our diverse flora. It’s going to take me all over the country, showcasing our beautiful country and people in a way that has never been done before.

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How would you say social media is changing the photography industry? There are two sides to this. It’s made photography and creating a lot more accessible to everybody. People who wouldn’t normally have any interest in photography or visual artistic expression now give it a go. It can just be a creative outlet, or it can help people gain knowledge.

The other side is that it has made everything a popularity contest and it has given people the platform to either spread love or hate.
The amount of “trolling” and bad mouthing has grown exponentially. But everyone is at their own stage of development and skill set, and everyone has their own taste of what is good.

“We should all be helping each other and not put others down to elevate yourself”

Connect with Jordan-Lee at http://www.jordanleegarbutt.com. 

This piece was first published in the Cape Argus on September 7 2016. Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat: @Nontando58 

Celebrating Tourism Month

Archery in Parys

Trying my hand in Archiery at the Real adventures place in Parys, Free State province. Picture:Paballo Thekiso

My first road trip was with three of myvfriends. We planned the trip from Durban to Cape
Town in three months. We were young and carefree. We divided the trip into two parts with an overnight stay in Knysna.

For dinner we ate sushi for the first time, in a restaurant by the harbour. This was followed by a late night of drinking at the bar at the backpackers’ where we were staying before stumbling to our four-bunk bedroom in the early hours.

The next morning on the road was rough, we were tired, hungover and excited at the same time about reaching Cape Town. We arrived just before sunset at the Green Elephant backpackers in Observatory, our home for four nights.

The staff welcomed us with open arms and we formed friendships that are still alive today. We spent the days sightseeing in the CBD, shopping at the V&A Waterfront, sipping cocktails in Camps Bay and driving up Signal Hill.

2. Quad Biking in ParysPicture:Paballo Thekiso

The nights were spent playing pool in Lower Main Road Observatory and club-hopping in Long Street. Without realising it until the last night, we had spent most of our petrol money. Our parents came to our rescue, but not before scolding us for our irresponsible
behaviour. Memories from that trip remain fresh in my mind.

What made the trip extra special was we managed to save the little money we had at the time for an adventure that would see the four of us bonding… we learnt a lot about each other during the long drive in a small Corsa.

“I would like to think this trip ignited a lust for travel in each of us”

Since then, the four of us have travelled extensively in South Africa, as well as in Europe and the US. Contrary to what some might believe, one does not require a fat bank balanceto be able to travel, be it local or international. However, some saving and smart planning is key.

Common sense goes a long way. For example, buying a plane ticket a few months before you travel will be cheaper than booking the flight the day before you are due to travel.

In the past, I have taken the Greyhound bus to Durban to visit my family and overland trucks to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and Namibia for holidays. The experiences are priceless.

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Queening with the BaSotho women dressed in their traditional wear called Thebetha

“Venturing out of your comfort zone and learning about other people and cultures will teach you things about yourself and the world you won’t find in a textbook”

 

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Enjoying a sunset cruise on the Vaal River. Picture by Paballo Thekiso.

One of my favourite Sho’t Left (domestic travels) trip include a visit to Joburg where I caught up with friends and family. On a recent trip there I spent a weekend in Soweto, which is home to some of South Africa’s world famous names, such as Nelson Mandela, and is known for history changing moments such as the 1976 Soweto student uprising.

During my stay there I visited the Mandela house in Vilakazi Street, a buzzing street lined with restaurants and cafés… a not so common sight for a township. There is an electrifying energy that hangs in the air that when I left, I felt empty .

Recently I paid a visit to my home town, but opted to stay at a hotel in the city centre instead of home as they were busy renovating. I saw Durban through the eyes of a tourist for the first time and I became one.

I visited art galleries, museums, took long leisurely walks on the beachfront promenade and discovered cafés where I spent hours watching people. I returned with a new-found appreciation for the city where people have no whims about striking up conversations with strangers. I realised how much I missed this simple act of ubuntu (human kindness) that is still alive there.

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Last week I spent a week in the Free State visiting several towns. It was my first time there and I experienced a number of firsts. I learnt about towns I never knew existed, such as Vredefort near Parys.

I quad biked, I tried my hand at archery and went river rafting on the Vaal River. All these sporting activities were never on my to-do-list of fun things while on a holiday before this trip.

1. L-R Liam Joyce and Nontando Mposo river rafting in the Vaal RiverLiam and I slaying. Picture:Paballo Thekiso

September is tourism month, an annual celebration focusing on the importance of tourism for the economy. The theme for this year is Tourism For All: Promoting Universal Accessibility.

It aims to encourage everyone to explore and rediscover our country. So, round up a group of friends or family for a Sho’t Left somewhere.

Visit:www@shotleft.co.za for more travel inspiration. 

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Connect with me and follow my adventures on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat @Nontando58. 

This feature was first published in the Cape Argus on September 2016.