Originally called Fish Hoek, Gordon’s Bay is the smallest of three towns in the Helderberg region in the Western Cape. Known for the harbour and beautiful beach not many people take the time to really have a look around.
Of all the hats she’s worn – academic, activist, Gender Equality Commissioner and climate-change consultant – Yvette Abrahams is happiest with her current role as soap maker. “Once I used to study the economics and ethnography of indigenous plants, now I get to grow them.” Abundant fennel, aloes, cannabis, pelargonium, wild garlic, African sage, and almond, waxberry and olive trees all flourish in her garden.
Of Khoekhoe descent and an evangelical proponent of planet protection, she uses only solar power, an old Queen Anne stove, and lots of hand stirring to prepare the soap mix – a combination of shea butter, soapwort, coconut and olive oils, with oxides, turmeric, nettles and charcoal for colour – as well as the plants she’s grown. Yvette’s soaps and healing products sell at various Cape Town markets, but a bonus is to combine a buy with a visit, by appointment, to her garage factory and garden.
062 408 8328, Facebook page @Khoelife
TEG STUDIO GALLERY
Unusual credentials for an art gallery, it’s small and narrow, big on care rather than commercialism, and started a year ago by industrialist and director of The Enceladus Group, Francois Denner. “We wanted to contribute to the economic development of Gordon’s Bay by giving local artists a platform to show and sell their work.”
Representing about 26 artists, Francois and his small team have learned curatorship and the art of running a gallery on the job, installing a sophisticated hanging system, affordably pricing something-to-suit-all-tastes, and establishing a Helderberg art route with galleries in neighbouring Strand and Somerset West open on the last Thursday of every month. “It’s all about promoting the artists,” says Francois who, like a proud father, can share the back story on any of his flock and their artworks.
082 451 3202
Facebook page @EnceladusStudio
MARY-ANN’S EMPORIUM & EATERY
Just looking at a spread this colourful makes a person feel good, and it’s no surprise that the lunchtime buffet here is a honeypot for people committed to healthy vegan, preservative- and gluten-free eating. A wholefood pioneer for her own health reasons, Mary-Ann Shearer and her husband Mark opened the first emporium in Johannesburg in 1991.
Since moving to the Cape ten years later, the family business has grown production of their range of goodies into a mini-industry; recovered and rebuilt following the 2017 veld fire that devastated their home and business; opened a second outlet in Cape Town; and established The Daniel Academy school for sustainable living, where the learners’ diet is designed to nourish bodies and brains, and where an on-site restaurant is planned. “Nutrition is my passion,” says Mary-Ann.
021 856 2500
CAPE ADVENTURE ZONE & 47 GYPSIES
With a history as a seaside home, a decor store then coffee shop, 47 Beach Road has finally settled into a fun, nautically themed backpackers. Making guests feel right at home are shelves of books, games and LPs, walls full of wacky collectables, a cosy communal kitchen and a fully furnished front garden where you can chill, chat, eat and watch the ocean.
“We build as we go,” says owner Elouise Trichardt (above right), who admits most of her decor is from the local dump.
Sharing office space at 47 Gypsies and supplying value add for travellers, is Anneke Smit (above left) of Cape Adventure Zone. Working with other local companies, she can sort out activities for all adrenalin levels, including SUP, horseriding, the Crystal Pool hike and the gentle two-hour Danie Miller hiking trail with spectacular views of the bay.
021 856 2246, 47gypsies.co.za
021 856 2246, capeadventurezone.com
ON THE GO & VOETSTOOT
Although they’re separate businesses (both owned by Winnie Burger), On the Go and Voetstoots go together like, well, coffee and collectables.
Manager Yolande Naude describes how her coffee shop on the buzzing Gordon’s Bay ‘strip’ started as a takeaway kiosk in a run-down building. With its barrel furniture, coffee-sack upholstery, exposed brick walls and covered sea-facing patio, it’s now a magnet for the trendy coffee set.
Stroll through to Voetstoots where manager Barbara Fourie’s curated displays of antique clothes, furniture and knick-knacks take you back through the eras. There’s also a bridge table ready for play, a community jigsaw and a winetasting cellar. Take your time here – good coffee and an irresistible assortment of ‘stuff’ need gentle digestion. If you’re peckish, check out the eatery Potter’s Pantry, part of this creative cluster.
RED SKY BREW
Tucked away in Gordon’s Bay industria, Red Sky Brew is a micro-brewery with sky-high ambition. A bar, brewery and events venue all in one, it’s a bit of an adventure to find, but says founder Mark Goldsworthy, “Life is all about taking risks and pushing boundaries”. Which is maybe why they’ve collaborated with Beyerskloof winery to create a red ale-red wine blend called Pinotale.
Outside in the yard, braai barrels are lit up for bring and braais over the weekends, there’s a warehouse interior with a pool table plus motorbike and aircraft accessories for gatherings and, most importantly, there’s beer tasting – brews include a gluten-free Pale Ale and a rich, healthy Porter. A passionate home brewer himself, production manager Ryan Behnken (above) takes pride in everything here being done by hand.
063 942 4431, www.redskybrew.co.za
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