On a recent Friday I took the Great North Road to Polokwane, (growing capital of the North) and on to St Peter’s Church in Tzaneen, (the gateway to the Lowveld) returning on the Sunday. The road was very good, with plenty of suitable stops along the way, for petrol, food and refreshment. Beyond Polokwane the countryside is quite barren, dotted with an increasing number of small dwellings, and roadside businesses. Suddenly the road sweeps around and over a hill, and your view falls away over sloping hillsides, forested with shady-green trees and shrubs – down into deep folded, and misty-blue valleys. In the fading sunlight the curving surface of the Ebenezar Dam shone like polished lead. And, as I travelled on and down the kloof, the cherry trees in full blossom greeted me like a bride running to greet her husband, with dress and veil and train wafting gracefully about her. The beauty of early Spring was everywhere and, as I finally stepped from the car, the fluid call of the purple-crested loerie seemed like a benediction.
Whilst I was there I managed a visit to the Haenertsburg Spring Fair, which takes place both in Haenertsburg itself as well as at the nearby Magoebaskloof Hotel. The hotel, built on the edge of the Great Escarpment, has the most spectacular views as the mountain drops steeply away below it. From old books to very attractive pottery, woodwork, jewellery and foodstuffs, there was a lot to appeal to the credit card.
To find out what’s coming look at: www.magoebasklooftourism.co.za
So, how did that get me thinking about food – who cares? Food it is! (Although a reader did recently ask me for some recommendations.)
We all probably have our favourite restaurants – those good friends to which we go again and again, when we feel like relaxing by ourselves, or with others, and enjoying the whole calm and restoring experience. Here are two of mine.
Probably my favourite is La Rustica in Houghton.
Italian cuisine the Old Traditional Way
Set in fairly large grounds, with ample secure parking, the walkway leads you around a fountain and up to the ‘house.’ We have been both in summer and in winter, and enjoyed sitting on the cool verandahs with a lazy drink, or inside in front of blazing log fires with something warm and inspiring. The service has always been friendly and efficient and the food excellent. I am still recovering from a delicious lamb shank, which I just had to finish.
Have a look at their website at : www.larustica.co.za
Contact them at: +27 11 728 2092 (Reservations are essential)
Address: 103 Houghton Drive
Then there is a dependable delight in Franco’s Pizzeria & Trattoria in Parkview.
Experience a taste of Italy in Johannesburg
His specialities are pasta and pizza, but his menu will lead you on to lamb, veal and fish dishes, as well as something for the vegetarian, and some dangerous desserts.
His staff are great and add to the joy of the occasion – as does Franco himself as he passes by to discuss the specialities and to make sure that you are happy [by which I mean pleased with everything!]
Have a look at his website at: www.francoforleo.com (And see his short-stories and paintings too)
Contact them at: +27 11 646 5449 (Reservations essential)
Address: Upper Level 54, Tyrone Avenue, Parkview
Let me know some of your ‘good friends’ and we can share them with others.
Find wealth in the friends who share your meat, your laughter, thoughts and tears