We recently helped a little girl, Caley Malgas, reach for her dream, and it couldn’t have been more successful! Here’s a detailed account of her day in Montagu with the Reach for a Dream foundation.
Cayley loves seafood and an ocean/pirate-themed lunch was arranged for her at Ocean Basket on Kloof Street which has a lovely outside area. The table was decked out beautifully in a perfect shady corner of the courtyard. Cayley and her family – mom, dad, 12 year old sister Cleo and 1 year old sister Skylar – arrived at the restaurant with big smiles on their faces.
When she saw her special party area she jumped up and down, clearly thrilled that this had all been done especially for her. She immediately donned the pirate hat and held on to her Dream Teddy (nicknamed “Reach For A Dream”) while getting stuck in to the bread, mayonnaise and garlic. This little girl can eat!! She loves seafood, particularly mussels, and couldn’t sit still while the waitress took her family’s order for a seafood platter to share.
The Reach for a Dream team had recreated a childhood game whereby Cayley was given a magnet-tipped fishing rod which she used to fish for different sea animals (adorned with a magnetic paper clip). Each sea animal she fished out of the “pond” had a number on it that corresponded with one of her various dream goodies, and what a hit it was! After opening her first dream parcel that contained fairy wings, a tutu, wand and a host of Tinkerbell goodies, Cayley allowed us to paint one nail before she insisted that it was time to go fishing again.
Her next bout of fishing resulted in some sparkly Barbie goodies and thereafter a real Barbie! The look on Cayley’s face when she unwrapped her Barbie is a picture that will be etched into our minds and memories forever. Clearly a daddy’s girl, she raced around the table to show daddy her new dolly, completely overwhelmed with joy. She ran back to the fishing pond, at which stage (scared that all the gifts would run out before the lunch even arrived) we told her she could open one more before lunch and the rest after. Sensing that words weren’t a sufficiently binding contract, we pinkie-promised and the deal was sealed. She drew out a lobster that matched with a beautiful Hello Kitty doll’s house and at this point, was invited into the kitchen to get a behind the scenes tour of how a restaurant operates.
Cayley wants to own her own mussel shop one day but although initially curious, she was a bit frightened by the shucking of an oyster and hid her face until we crept around the corner to see some prawns being cooked; which she looked at with big eyes. Luckily by the time we returned to the table, the seafood platter had arrived and this little girl tucked into her food with absolute gusto! She is an absolute pro at de-shelling prawns and slurping up mussels and by the end of her meal (she refilled her plate 3 times) her face was covered in sauce and a massive grin.
After lunch, she raced back to the fishing pond for the 2 major dream goodies of the day! Instead of a sea animal, Cayley picked up a cut-out of a dream bear with a special message on the back. It instructed her to close her eyes and rub her real dream bear’s tummy, all the while thinking about her biggest dream ever. She obliged and upon opening her eyes and unwrapping her gift, gasped at the beautiful Barbie swimming costume and Hello Kitty towel in her lap. She then opened an envelope addressed to her containing pictures of her favourite place in the world – Montagu Springs! When she realised she was going to Montagu Springs with the family for the weekend, she jumped up and down, glee spread all over her little face.
Thinking that was the end, she was surprised to find out there was one more item to fish for. When she opened up the corresponding parcel and pulled out a pink helmet, I’m not sure if she was just excited about the helmet or knew that it meant a bicycle was around the corner. Either way, she was absolutely delighted!
One of the Ocean Basket waitresses wheeled in the pink and purple Cayley-sized bicycle which our gorgeous dreamer hopped straight on! She and her family had had such a terrific time at the lunch, it was wonderful to see them laugh and relax together. They bundled all of their new goodies into the car (luckily they have a bakkie!) and off they went to Montagu Springs for a beautiful weekend of fun in the sun, family braais and bicycle trips around the resort.
For the past seven years Robertson has been transformed for one weekend of the year for the Robertson Wine on the River festival. This coming weekend sees the 8th recurrence of the event and it is shaping up to be the biggest and best yet. With more than 300 wines on offer for tasting, the weekend of 18 – 20 October is one you simply can’t afford to miss if you love the Klein Karoo.
The host of the event, Goudmyn Farm is situated on the banks of the Breede River between Bonnievale and Robertson, and it provides a wonderful venue for this family friendly festival. Summer also seems to be rearing its head, much to the delight of those who spent the winter in the Western Cape, so a lovely warm weekend on the Breede River with good friends and delicious eats and drinks simply can’t be beat.
On offer will be wines from the Breede River valley, some wonderful picnic style delicacies to enjoy with some world-class wines as well as some fun for the kids. With an emphasis on being a family friendly festival, all of those attending, under the age of 18, will be allowed to join in the fun, for free. There are numerous activities planned for the day including jungle gyms, face painting and more.
As the event is this coming weekend, finding accommodation might be difficult in Robertson, but Montagu Springs is close enough to allow you a day trip while enjoying the gorgeous scenery of the region. There’s also a shuttle service running from Montagu, and you can find more information about them on the Wine on the River website. It’s sure to be an outstanding event and with the convenience of being able to stay in Montagu and travel through via shuttle, there’s no excuse to not escape to the country this weekend!
The beauty of the Klein Karoo is hard to put into words, which is why we’d rather recommend some outdoor activities while staying at Montagu Springs. That way you’ll get a firsthand perspective of this incredible part of South Africa. There are numerous hiking trails in the area, so we thought we’d suggest a few that you can have a look at and decide which one to enjoy once here.
Bloupunt Hiking Trail
The trail is the longest on our list and at 15.6km it is a fantastic day out for those accustomed to hiking. Depending on the speed with which you walk, the trail can be completed in anything from 5 to 9 hours. There are a number of interesting sights along the way, including the constantly changing panoramas as they vary between ravines with mountain streams to craggy cliffs with some amazing rock formations. At the summit, Bloupunt is 1266m high and once there, you will be presented with breathtaking views as far as the eye can see, in every direction. So much so that you can even see the nearby towns of Ashton, McGregor, Robertson, Bonnievale and of course, Montagu itself. As an added bonus, there are three small waterfalls just off the main route on your way down, and they offer the perfect way to cool down after a good hike.
Cogmanskloof Hiking Trail
At 12.1km, the trail is a little easier to complete than Bloupunt, but it should be noted that the first 2km from the overnight cabin are pretty steep, but after that the route becomes very easy. It will take between 4 – 6 hours to complete the hike to the Cogmans summit, and although it’s only half the height of Bloupunt at 690m, it offers a gorgeous view of Montagu, the ravines and the mountains. Stunning rock formations, wild flowers, Proteas, aloes, erics and “sewejaartjies” colour the backdrop of this wonderful trail.
Loverswalk and Badskloof Trail
This is also referred to as “Mayor’s Walk” by locals, and is a short, 500m walk through the banks of the Keisie River, below Kanonkop and through to Joubertpark. It serves as an extension to the Badskloof trail, which is about 2.2km in length, so if you crave something a little shorter than the first two, but longer than 500m, Badskloof could be just what you’re after. Note that Loverswalk is free, while Badskloof does charge and entry fee at either end of the trail.
So there you have it, three wonderful hikes to enjoy next time you stay at Montagu Springs.
As your gateway to the Klein Karoo, and the quaint town of Montagu, we thought we’d share some of the local attractions that you can’t miss when you visit the area. Make use of our accommodation whilst exploring all of the magic that our charming town has to offer, from a museum, and a padstal, to rock climbing, your journey into Montagu starts now.
The museum itself is made up of three parts, the Old Mission Church, the KWV Building Complex and Joubert House. The museum is a showcase of the history and heritage of Montagu and curious visitors will get a great glimpse into architectural history of the town. The museum was originally started in the Old Mission Church and the original exhibit from 1975, comprising of bibles, old wedding dresses as well as wall texts, is still on show for guests to see. The museum is known for its dynamic exhibition that changes regularly, that way, regardless of how often, or infrequently, you visit, there will be something new to enjoy.
Better known as the ‘Die Kloof Padstal’ this institution is set on the R62, right at the entrance of Montagu. It’s almost impossible to miss, and essential to stop at. The restaurant itself is an attraction in itself, with its affordable and delicious meals. If you can, pop in on a Sunday and enjoy some real South African cuisine, or indulge in an all-day breakfast instead, whatever you prefer, this is the one farm stall on the R62 that you can’t afford to miss.
If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, you may be aware of the wonderful rock climbing on offer around Montagu. The best part of rock climbing around Montagu is that it impacts very little, if any, of the local vegetation, while providing you with some of the best views and scenes of the surrounding area. The ranges around town have more cliff faces than can be conquered, but that also means there are varying degrees of difficulty available, so pro, or novice, if you are thinking about trying rock climbing, Montagu may be the perfect destination for your first outdoor climbing trip.
Those are some of our favourite things to do in and around our town, if you require any accommodation to enjoy these attractions don’t hesitate to get in touch with us as Montagu Springs and it’s family friendly environment provides the perfect place from where to enjoy the area.
The beauty of the Klein Karoo is the host of small towns scattered across it. These towns vary in size, and specialties as much as any city and its neighbourhoods. From Robertson to Montagu, fresh produce, delicious local products and incredible landscapes adorn this small nook of the country. One of the best ways to spend a Saturday afternoon in the Klein Karoo is however to attend the annual Food and Wine Festival in the small town of McGregor.
The festival takes place on Saturday, August 31 and has been described as “the most fun, the most affordable and the least pretentious of any food and wine fest.” And considering how close it is to Montagu and of course, Montagu Springs, why not come and stay for the weekend and drive through to McGregor on Saturday for some decadence? At the festival winemakers from around the area will be presenting their valley wines, while restaurateurs from the area, chef and caterers will be providing a wonderful array of dishes for you to choose from.
Ranging from rustic, and trendy, to humble traditional foods, there is sure to be something to satisfy everyone’s taste buds. One of the chief attractions of the festival is obviously the wine on offer from some of the country’s best wine farms. There will be a host of brand new vintages on offer, and cellars will also sell their wares at discounted rates throughout the day, perhaps a great way to get early Christmas shopping done?
From hearty meals to sublime finger foods, including wraps, pitas, bruschetta and even sushi, it’ll be easy to find the perfect complementary meal for your favourite bottle of wine. During the weekend the restaurants in McGregor will also be creating special menus just for the festival. Besides the main attractions of food and drink, there’s also a trail run, live entertainment and of course the numerous quaint restaurants in this, one of the Western Cape’s most endearing villages.
The venue is the Dutch Reformed Church hall from 10h00 till 16h00, and entrance will cost you R60 p/p, which includes a tasting glass and wine tastings. For more information on the McGregor Food and Wine Festival, contact Mira Weiner, Tourism Officer, on +27 23 6251 954, or visit the Tourism McGregor website.