Being in the Luxury Travel Industry is inclusive of a few core components:

  1. We get to do ridiculously nice things for the sake of “investigation”
  2. There is just the right mix of classy shop talk, bad behaviour and embarrassing mishaps at every social occassion
  3. You have colleagues who become friends, and they sometimes -effortlessly – just make your day

To wit: Through a combination of circumstances, my birthday this year coincided with a jolly organized in the Elgin Valley by the trifecta of Deborah Smook, Carla Ferreira and Hendrik Human. More commonly known as the networker, the dogooder and the guy who listens to me complain in winter.

A charity auction was attended, some drinks were had, and when the dust had settled 10 friends from industry hit the Elgin Valley for a two night stay at respectively Lothian Vineyards and the Old MacDaddy. This was punctuated by a privately catered dinner by the Shortmarket Club, an adventure race day arranged by Daddy Adventures, the discovery of previously uncharted wine tasting waters. There was also a big plastic ball in a lake, some random shooting of arrows and doing the macarena in a shed.

I am going to mention some key takeaways, and where to find them going forward:

  1. Go buy a bottle of Black Dog at Wallovale. The owners are my kind of people, the hospitality is amazing – and they have named their flagship red after their beloved black lab. Yes I am biased.
  2. Hit the beach at the Old MacDaddy. This airstream themed hotel stays an unconventional superstar of the region, and its worth it just to ride a fatbike or feel ridiculous on the lake in that big plastic ball.
  3. Have the Oysters at Shortmarket Club. Yes, they are one of Cape Town’s trendy restaurants, but they did bring the oysters all the way to Elgin, and it remains a firm favourite. It’s that zesty lemony Tigers Milk they put on it, you see…


  1. We only had a taste of the experience at Terra Madre. Great Farm to Table, wonderful hostess, the place was begging for more time spent there… but we did have an amazing race going on. Will be back with the crew soon.
  2. Go have a picnic at the secret little spot at Oneiric wine estate. There are really very few hidden gems left in the world… I honestly think we found one.
  3. Accept the challenge, and drunkenly climb into the kids nest on the second floor of the Lothian Vineyard villa.


  1. Not knowing who “Dan” was. Our amazing race started at Peregrine farm stall. Amazing spot, but now forever tainted by the fact that we are all idiots. For the record – our mate Daniel is Dan. Duh.
  2. Rushing through the vertical Syrah tasting at Almenkerk wine estate. Yes, we were caught in the amazing race moment – but these guys do quality tipple, and deserved better.
  3. Did not buy enough bottles of the Lothian Vineyards Chardonnay. We bought two. They are gone. Exceptional stuff.

A big thanks to Jamie from Lothian, Carla from Saltycrax, Hendrik from Earthstompers and especially Deborah from Elgin Travel for making this happen. Good times, good friends… now let’s do it all again!!!


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