Liz at Lancaster’s Pick of the Week: Enjoy the last of the jacarandas with a walk through Westcliff

Westcliff Nov 2013



Speak to many Jozi-ites and you will hear a common refrain of how beautiful the leafy suburbs are at the moment.  Wonderful warm weather, luscious sparkling green gardens and parks, the white cotton- wool clouds scudding across high crystal blue skies that are so particular to the Highveld,  all make for a lighter spirit.    And perhaps because we haven’t had incessant rain storms and no severe wind or hail, the jacarandas are particularly splendid this year.  On Sunday morning I walked with 2 friends, braving 3 sets of the stone steps in Westcliff.  While mere mortals like us puff and pant our way up at a slow steady pace, others scamper up and down in training for climbing Mount Killie.  Yesterday we chatted to a young woman who had returned from climbing up to Machu Pichu.  To keep her fitness level up, she had just done a cool 8 sets up and down with a further 2 sets to go !


Westcliff steps





Despite our rather more sedate ascent our reward was the view from the top of the steps.

Nov 2103 Munro Drive 2





And if you want to get a really glorious view of the purple splashes over the Joburg’s northern Parks suburbs , take a drive up to the top of Munro Drive.

There is probably a couple of weeks left before the jacaranda blossoms finally fade. So my pick of the week is to get out there and climb to a vantage point where you can see their glorious display. It is so worth it !


Posted in Joburg and surrounds: things to do and see, Outdoors and wild-life, Pick of the week | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Responses

Local is lekker: a gift hamper to celebrate a guest’s birthday

Local is lekker - favourite South African goodies

Local is lekker – favourite South African goodies

Guests from the U.S stayed at Liz at Lancaster a few week-ends back and to celebrate Duane’s birthday, his daughter asked me to make him a gift hamper. Lots of local  goodies went into the pack …. and they loved our South African red wine

Welcome to Liz at Lancaster

Duane, this early birthday and welcome package comes from your daughter, Rebecca.  She asked me to make you a special birthday treat. I hope you enjoy some of the goodies South Africa is known for:  Great Cabernet Sauvignon red wine; biltong (like American jerky); snoek paté (snoek is a local fish and is much loved in Cape Malay cooking); Cape dried peaches (we have a big export market in dried fruit); Boerenkaas (farmer’s cheese); Provita biscuits (Provita is one of many things that ex-pat South Africans crave when away from home, along with Marmite – a vegetable spread which Americans think is quite horrible!); Sally Williams nougat (Sally Williams is a local success story. She started making nougat in her kitchen at home and now the company exports internationally); salted mixed nuts (can’t claim anything particularly South African but macadamias and  pecan nuts are grown in Mpumalanga and Limpopo and we are the 3rd largest macadamia nut producer in the world – after Australia and Hawaii); sweet potato chips (bit of a cheat on this one:  the sweet potato is a substitute here for the local amadumbe which is very like a sweet potato); pastéis da nata (custard tarts made by local Portuguese; also a bit if a cheat as you should be sampling melktert – an Afrikaans custard tart); a little  Amarula liqueur – a local South African product.  I know you are going on safari so will not be able to take the chips, pate, cheese & tarts so perhaps you can have these as a light meal this evening to save you going out after your long journey here.  You can save the other goodies which will keep as nibbles on your safari!   And a very happy birthday for Thursday

Welcome to South Africa and to Liz at Lancaster Guesthouse

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Liz at Lancaster’s Pick of the Week – the Joburg Hiking Club

photoWith a 180⁰  sweep  across the open veld we could see wildebeest, zebra,  impala and red hartebeest and as if that wasn’t enough,  a black-backed jackal trotted across our path. Where was this – Kruger? Waterberg? Madikwe? .. no … out in the Cradle of Humankind a mere 40 minutes from Joburg .  I played truant last week and snuck out (mid-week!) for a morning hike with the Johannesburg Hiking Club.  I left Liz at Lancaster at 7.20 and, after passing a troop of vervet monkeys as I got into the Cradle area, under an hour later I drew into the gladed parking area to join the some 50 other hikers.  Setting off from the property we walked out across the hills and open savannah terrain (where we saw most of the game including waterbuck), before looping back to cross crystal clear streams (this area used to be a trout farm) and amble alongside dams bedecked with water-lilies and along cool wooded paths on the edge of the Nirox sculpture park. So many of the hikers had said what a magnificent hike this was, but nothing could have prepared me for just how beautiful it was. What a privilege and treat to be able to do this.  And all at R30 for members and R50 for non-members. The Joburg Hiking Club has hikes close to Joburg every Wednesday morning (around 3 hours) . There are 3 levels – slow, medium and brisk and most mid-week hikers are retired. The Sunday hikes are longer and often further away. There are also monthly away week-end hikes.  See for more details.   

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