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Stellenbosch Arts Association Annual Members’ Exhibition

Di White

Proud to be part of it – and at such a wonderful gallery: Oude Libertas in Stellenbosch.
My two paintings which will be on exhibition from 7th to 21st October.

"Sandy Banks' watercolour, 67cm x 83 cm. R5900.00 “Sandy Banks’ watercolour, 67cm x 83 cm. R5900.00

"Suurbraak" - acrylic on canvas, 45cm x 122cm.  R9500.00 “Suurbraak” – acrylic on canvas, 45cm x 122cm. R9500.00

The exhibition opening is 18h00 for 18h30 on 7th October.  The guest speaker is France Beyer.

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333 Year Blaauwklippen Art Competition

Di White

I’m very pleased to share with you that I have been chosen as one of the nine finalists the 333 Year Blaauwklippen Art Competition.  I have to wait until Wednesday 16 September for the winner to be announced at a rather special event in the Tasting Room of the Blaauwklippen Wine Estate on the R44 between Stellenbosch and Somerset West.  The exhibition runs until mid October.

"The Beauty that is Blaauwklippen" “The Beauty that is Blaauwklippen”


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The 5th Annual Tulbagh Arts Festival: 11-13 September, 2015

tulbagh arts festival logo

Tulbagh is situated at the northern end of the beautiful Tulbagh valley, which is almost completely surrounded by majestic mountain ranges: the Obiqua mountains to the west, the towering Winterhoek on the northern end and the Witzenberg on the eastern side. The town is South Africa’s third oldest after Cape Town and Stellenbosch.

Just an hour and half’s scenic drive up the R44 from us here at Penny Lane Lodge what better way to celebrate the history and sample the talents of the people of the Tulbagh Valley by visiting an arts festival which coincides with the wonder of the spring wildflowers, including several varieties of rare indigenous bulbs that bloom only in this fertile valley.

The Tulbagh Arts Festival offers a celebration of arts in all their varied forms – music, art exhibitions, book reviews and more. The festival also incorporates wine tastings at some of the top wine estates in the Cape Wine lands, an art and crafts market, food stalls, live entertainment at participating restaurants and entertainment for children.

Click here to see the full programme.

For further information:
telephone: 023 230 1375

Or visit the website:

Venues: Various venues around Tulbagh
Tickets: Available through Computicket

Viewing the Cape Spring Flowers


One of the best flower-viewing hotspots in the Cape Region is the West Coast National Park. This reserve is under 2 hours’ drive from us here at Penny Lane Lodge, and what a treat nature has in store at this time of year!

Head up to the West Coast National Park, enter through the Langebaan gate and drive toward the Seeberg area before moving toward the Postberg section. There are three picnic areas from which you can enjoy spectacular floral views: Kraalbaai, Preekstoel (which has braai facilities) and Uitkyk. And if you’ve forgot to bring your lunch, the West Coast National Park’s Geelbek restaurant sells ready-made picnic baskets for you to enjoy.

Spring flower season in the Cape Region runs from the beginning of August to the end of September; with the best viewing period being from the last two weeks of August until mid-September. Do keep in mind that the flowers only open on sunny days. Wait until the sun is high in the sky – between 10:30am and 3:30pm is best – and note that the flowers turn their faces to the north. And as if the flowers aren’t enough, the park is home to countless birds and bucks. Keep a sharp eye out for passing whales and dolphins, bat-eared foxes, honey badgers and mongooses.

southern right whales on the cape west coast

West Coast National Park conservation levy:
SA residents and citizens – Adults R60, Children R30
Foreign nationals – Adults R128, Children R64

Contact details:
Tel: +27 (0) 22 772 2144 or +27 (0) 22 772 2144.

Hermanus Times Kalfiefees 2015

Hermanus-Times-Kalfiefees-2015-132549Over this long holiday weekend why not take a day out to celebrate the arrival of the Southern Right Whales at the annual Hermanus Times Kalfiefee, on the Western Cape’s famous Whale Route. The Hermanus Kalfiefees (Afrikaans for calf festival) is the perfect prelude to the Two Oceans Hermanus Whale Festival.

The Kalfiefees has been running for 14 years and is considered the baby-sister of the Hermanus Whale Festival. Southern right whales visit the Hermanus coastline from June to December annually and this weekend’s festival is named after the calves which are typically born around August.

This Afrikaans-centred festival has a strong emphasis on theatre and drama, which includes many of the performers who headline at the annual Klein Karoo Kunstefees (KKNK), a popular annual South African arts festival held in the Karoo. The line up includes a Woman’s Day celebration, dramatic and comic theatre, entertainment for the little ones, as well as a book show, great food and music.

The show opens on the evening of the 7th of August and runs through until the afternoon of Sunday August 10th. Each event that makes up the festival is individually priced and can be booked at Computicket.

The Winelands Chocolate Festival

chocolate festival

What could be a better combination than wine and chocolate?

Lucky for us at Penny Lane Lodge, the Winelands Chocolate Festival is being held at local wine estate, Lourensford, this weekend!

This culinary celebration of the masters of the South African Chocolate Industry has some awesome offerings:

Gala Opening Night – Friday 24th July at 18h30pm Invited guests, exhibitors and media come together for the judging of the main competitions this evening. The creative entries will remain on display for the duration of the festival.

Afternoon Tea – Saturday afternoon at 15h00
An exclusive opportunity to meet South Africa’s best loved chocolatiers and pastry chefs over a welcome glass of bubbly and the finest chocolate afternoon created by a master chocolatier/chef. Pre-booking is essential.

A Wild Chocolate AffairDinner at The Millhouse Kitchen on Saturday night
A specially designed menu created to honour the Winelands Chocolate Festival by chef Bjorn Guido. Booking is essential: Tel 021 847 0030.

Winelands Chocolate Theatre
Featuring special demos of professional techniques and recipes to thrill your taste buds and delight your dinner guests. There is limited seating so pre booking is essential. Demo bookings can be accessed once you have booked your entry ticket.

Saturday 9am – 7:30pm and Sunday 9am – 6pm.

Cost: R100 – R120 per person Under 6 Free

For further information visit



Taste the Helderberg…a Cure for the Winter Blues!

taste the helderberg

What a pleasure to have this right on our doorstep here at Penny Lane Lodge! Now in its 7th year, ‘Taste the Helderberg’ is a fabulous evening during which you’re always in for a real treat!

Specially prepared dishes from gourmet winery restaurants in the Helderberg area will be available to taste alongside some top wines from some of our best local wine estates. The wine show is hosted by our local NH Lord Charles Hotel on the evening of Saturday 11 July.

The Helderberg area is a booming sub-route of the Stellenbosch Wine Route and stretches from Somerset West to Stellenbosch and Sir Lowry’s Pass Village. Some of the best of local producers will be represented at this exclusive tasting experience including Avontuur, Hidden Valley, Ken Forrester Wines, Longridge, Lyngrove, Peter Falke, Vergenoegd and Waterkloof Estate.

During and after the wine-tasting, guests can relax in comfortable couches in chill areas or make use of the Lord Charles’s restaurant for dinner. But beware, we are told that prior bookings at the restaurant must be made well in advance!

The doors will be open from 17:00 to 21:00, although guests are encouraged to come early to make the most of the evening.

The tickets are R80 per person including a branded wine glass. Tickets will be available online or at the door on the day. For more information call 021 886 4310 or visit

Tanzanite: Africa’s Rarest Gem

tanzanite stonesTanzanite is one of the rarest gemstones in the world. Formed more than 550 million years ago in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, it remained unknown until 1967, when a prospector named Manuel d’Souza and a Maasai tribesman called Ali Juuyawatu discovered it whilst searching for sapphires. The Tanzanian region still remains the world’s only source of this highly prized stone.

Tanzanite is trichroic, which means it shows three colours – brown, blue and violet. Once heated, cut and polished, tanzanite’s hue ranges from electric violet to vibrant blue to a deep indigo.

A thousand times scarcer than diamonds, the supply of the precious stone could be completely depleted in 10 to 15 years’ time. Tanzanite is available in jewellers’ store across South Africa, so ‘while stocks last’ what should you look for when buying tanzanite?

4 ‘C’s to look for when buying tanzanite
The Tanzanite International Grading System values tanzanite according to the four Cs: colour, clarity, cut and carat weight. The higher the combinations of these characteristics in the gem, the more valuable the stone.
•  Colour: intensity of colour from blue to violet
The depth of colour ranges from Exceptional to Pale, with a ‘B’ or ‘V’ indicating a predominance of blue or violet hues. The deeper the colour, the more valuable the tanzanite.
•  Clarity: determining the natural flaws and inclusions in the gem
Tanzanite ranges from Eye Clean to Heavily Included (‘included’ meaning crystals that have a dark appearance rather than a clear, transparent appearance). The more flawless the tanzanite, the more valuable it is.
•  Cut: proportion and brilliance
An ‘Excellent’ cut ensures that the stone’s facets reflect light to create maximum brilliance. The more precise the craftsman’s cutting, the more valuable the tanzanite.
•  Carat: the unit in which the stone is weighed.
One carat has 100 points and weighs 1/5th of a gram. Two seemingly identical pieces of tanzanite will have different carat weights if they vary in depth.

Be aware: The hardness of tanzanite must be considered. According to Mohs scale of mineral hardness, tanzanite is relatively soft and vulnerable to scratches. So, this pretty gem should only be used for pieces for occasional wear, particularly care needs to be taken with tanzanite stones in rings, which can be damaged quite easily.


5 fascinating facts about Tanzanite
1. It is the official birthstone for December.
2. Tanzanite has been attributed with qualities of good luck and prosperity and associated with celebrations of new life and new beginnings.
3. Amongst the Maasai people of Tanzania, the colour blue is seen as sacred and spiritual. Tanzanite is given to Maasai women after the birth of a child, and to all new born children, as an offering of health, positivity and prosperity to the child.
4. Tanzanite is said to have many mystical and healing powers. It supposedly uplifts and opens the heart.
5. The biggest tanzanite in the world is a single large crystal of 16,839 carats that weighs well over 3kg. It has been named “The Mawenzi” after Kilimanjaro’s second highest peak.


Tollman Bouchard Finlayson 2015 Art Award Exhibition

Looking forward to the opening on Friday…

Di White

I am delighted to be part of the Hermanus Fynarts Festival again this year!

Intercity Connections, Mixed Media - 570 mm diameter.  R7 500,00 “Intercity Connections” – mixed media, 570 mm diameter. R7 500,00

Digging for wealth, power, greed and misery “Digging for Wealth, Power, Greed and Misery” – acrylic, 570mm diameter. R7 500,00.

These two ‘tondo’ paintings have been selected for “Connections“, the Tollman Bouchard Finlayson 2015 Art Award exhibition.  The exhibition is being held at the Bouchard Finlayson boutique winery in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, Hermanus.

The opening is on Friday, 5th June and the exhibition runs for the duration of the festival until Friday, 26th June.

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