Radical Raptors

Spotted Eagle Owl

Radical Raptors is a real treat for those who are interested in birds and even those who aren’t; because you will certainly be left intrigued! Radical Raptors is a must visit- located at the Heath on the N2 about 7km out of Plettenberg Bay towards Knysna .

Adult raptors have few predators and can live up to 20 to 30 years in the wild. Unfortunately because of their slow breeding rate and high mortality (only about ¼ survive their first year), population is reduced. Human impact,  poisoning, illegal trade and hunting, inexperienced hand raising, also contributes to further drops in survival.

At this Birds of Prey Rehabilitation and Awareness Centre – they rescue, rehabilitate and release these magnificent birds of prey. The centre trains the raptors to ensure they are able to hunt and take care of themselves, then releases them as soon as possible. If the birds are non-releasable they are trained and free flown in order for us spectators to experience their amazing abilities in their natural surroundings. You can watch their outstanding flying performances, some will even land on your gloved hand. These birds play a huge role in creating community awareness of the impact of humans on their environment. It definitely stopped me using poison to eradicate mice.

Our beautiful gardens at Cornerway House are often alive with local birds so we really appreciate the work of Radical Raptors towards the survival of indigenous birds in the Plettenberg Bay area.

Radical Raptors, which is run as a non profit organisation, was opened 4 and ½ years ago by Janet and Dennis. They are both passionate about their raptors and educating the public. Every visitor contributes to the excellent work that is done here.

So if you are looking for a special experience with these majestic raptors – a visit to Radical Raptors in Plettenberg Bay is a highly recommended.

Plett welcomes the Whales

Humback Whale Tail

Humback Whale TailEach year with great anticipation we welcome the first appearance of whales in our Plettenberg Bay. They are such welcomed visitors, crossing thousands of miles of ocean to visit our coastline and bask in our warmer Indian Ocean water.

Southern right whales were almost hunted to extinction, because they were the right whales to hunt – hence their name. They visit Plettenberg Bay between June and November to mate and calve; who wouldn’t want spend time in our beautiful bay?  A fully grown Southern right whale can weigh up to 80 tons – almost 12 african elephants and can live up to 50 years. A close encounter is something not to be missed , they are truly massive and magnificent. They are easily identified by their black colour and callosities on the head: “little bonnets”. It is difficult to distinguish their sex but if you happen to see them mating and are fortunate enough to be close, the 4 metre male organ makes identification relatively obvious! :)  The female’s gestation period is approx. 12 months and the calf’s birth occurs in the same waters of Plettenberg Bay a year later.

whaleHumpback whales pass our shores on their way to their breeding grounds of Madagascar and Mozambique. They are the most energetic of all the large whales and are well known for their spectacular breaching, lobtailing, flipper slapping and skyhopping. Bryde Whales, smaller and slender are seen all year round, their large upright dorsal fin makes them look like huge dolphins.

So jump at the opportunity to go out with one of our local Whale watching boats and get really close to these mammoth mammels. Boats with permits are allowed to approach whales within 50 metres. Plettenberg Bay has several species of whales, dolphins and marine birds. Along Robberg Nature Reserve Peninsula you can see our large colony of Cape Fur Seals, the peninsula is also a great place for viewing whales.

whales

Whether you prefer the close encounter, on a comfortable boat, an energetic kayak trip, a stroll on one of our beautiful beaches, or rather a bench perched at one of our look-out points with binoculars, take time out to watch the whales. Plettenberg Bay is known as the whale capital of the world!

A Vibrant Habitat

Plettenberg bay

Birds of Eden is just off the N2 north of Plettenberg Bay, about a 20 minute drive from Cornerway House.  The sanctuary which is a huge dome, covers about 2 hectares of indigenous forest. It is home to about 3000 birds, that have been rescued, no longer wanted or are in need of a secure environment. Here they can live in a natural protective environment. There are over 200 species. One can take a guided tour or stroll on your own. They have a very comprehensive booklet which makes the identification process easier. Birds of Eden’s mission is to care for the birds and educate the public.   Jandaya Conure
One unintentionally seems to overlook the majestic life of the bird. Once we walked through the doors and into the “Garden of Eden” this changed within a split second. I felt humbled by walking into this vibrant mixed habitat of these colourful, complex creatures that I don’t often acknowledge, grateful that these birds have been taken in to flourish all together, kind of like a Noah’s Ark.

Ibis

We couldn’t start the journey until we had fuelled up on an English Breakfast at the stunningly positioned little restaurant in the garden. This overlooks the bird pond that is home to hundreds of brightly coloured ducks, ibis, flamingo and proud nesting weavers. You can’t help but become enchanted instantly!

We walked through the garden at a leisurely pace (keep your camera battery fully charged!) most of the way accompanied by friendly ring-necks perched on our shoulders, stuff out of story-tales.

Ringneck

The garden consists of an incredible bamboo suspension bridge, (that makes your tummy slightly tingle) an overhead flowing waterfall, that you pass underneath and boardwalks laid out in a magical mezzanine-like layout, that takes you from top to bottom of the valley that is Birds of Eden. You are lead from the birds on and around the water where the colourful creatures that prefer the ground to graze,
all the way to the parrots and enormous South American bats claiming the higher reaches of the enormous enclosure.
If you have the time, and love it as much as we did, definitely take a walk around again, we did!

Since I was exposed to the beautiful creation that is the “Birds of Eden” I have a new found respect and appreciation for these magnificent creatures!

We highly recommend “Birds of Eden” and will definitely be back sooner than later for another enchanting visit!

Birds of Eden was created back in 2005, and is the largest single free flight aviary in the world. Check out http://www.birdsofeden.co.za

Here are some more of our photos from the visit to Birds of Eden:

PheasantSpoonbill

Red Lory

birds of eden

curious birdsblack swans

Flamingo

Mute swan

Land Art Plettenberg Bay

Land art KeurboomsIn 2011, Plettenberg bay hosted South Africa’s first international Land Art event presented by Site Specific. The artist–led project was conceived by Strijdom van der Merwe and Anni Snyman in an attempt to create more opportunities for Land Art in South Africa.

Cornerway House’s Dee, was a “Gorilla” Land Artist for this site-specific week in 2011 in Plettenberg Bay. Her concept was an installation in the Square outside a popular Coffee Shop, Liquor Store, not a very sophisticated Supermarket and an Arty Video Store. This evoked the need to display THE DICHOTOMY of BITOU.
Dee used the tree in a giant planter situated in the middle of the Square and draped it with opposing items. The one side represented the beauty and natural resources including items of learning. The other side contrasted enormously with 3 mobiles hanging off the branches made of syringes, a condom circle and a large pomander of beer cans, wine and brandy bottles. This representing the destructive elements of our society! Needless to say we had no neutral comments passed on this installation!.Dee Land Art

Dee Land Art 2011

 It is with great excitement and anticipation that we will be hosting the 2nd International Land Art Biennale event in Plettenberg Bay. Between 10 & 17 August2013 our landscapes and open spaces will be artistically transformed into a visual ecstasy. This land art event celebrates the beauty of our natural environment and our rich cultural history. It allows the community spirit, that is in all of us to be enhanced and transported to another level….
This promises to be an awesome event, as we will have such influential artists from South Africa and overseas, sharing with our very own local artists. This year we see the inclusion of the Site Specific side artists, which allows artists to take part at their own exspense.

One of these fringe artists is Adriaan Augustyn who, together with Pletts phenominal Malcom Solomens, will create a work that has been inspired from their observation of the way man has become, through ignorance, arrogance and greed, unconscious and conscious agents in the destruction of nature. “The chain of ‘trash’ is suspended within the forest
tunnels and along the paths symbolizing the vortex nature of water going
down the drain. The aim is to raise awareness in those that witness this
work at how each action has a reaction. The days of dumping waste far
away, are gone and each individual is now challenged to evaluate his part in
the creation of the vortex drain of our natural resources. At this point
lies the opportunity for change and creating a new and inspirational vortex
with the potential to uplift rather than destroy.”  They will be sourcing their materials from the Win Win Swop Shop, a recycling initiative started last year.site specific

site specific

site specificFor more information on the International Land Art Biennale 2013, events and artists visit   www.sitespecific.org.za

If you would like to visit Plettenberg Bay for this exciting event, please contact us on cornerwayhouse@mweb.co.za or visit our www.cornerwayhouse.co.za

No Fuss Hike

salt river 3

Whether it’s a quick walk you’d like, or a leisurely stroll, Salt River in Nature’s Valley is the one to do.
Abounding with beauty from every angle, Salt River will capture your heart! It’s one of our favourite Plettenberg Bay hikes. Set out along the beach, savour the majestic coastline, and stumble upon all sorts of special sea creatures. Climbing over the Blue Rocks be it the right time of the year, you are almost guaranteed a whale spotting. Over the rocks and a few steps up into the fynbos forest and on your way down take a look to the left and be prepared to be blown away. What lies before you is a special place!
Sit! Relax! Skim stones along the river! Take time out! Watch the whales! Enjoy life! Savour the moment…for those steps up are a killer! One step at a time and you’ll make it. Take a breather and enjoy the view, there’s nowhere else in the world you would rather be at this moment.

Salt-River-Walk

Back on top and enjoying the coolness of the trees, make your way to the Village Viewpoint. Blown away second time round! After experiencing this magnificent view, there’s a path taking you down the hillside and back towards the beach.
What goes up must come down! As many steps as there are going up there are taking you down!
This walk can be done either way, back to front and front to back. So put on your shoes, pack your lunch bag and set off!

Natures-Valley-Walk

Winter has its Way with Us

There is something about icy winter air that makes me want to hibernate like so many of us.

Living in the southern hemisphere we all tend to be  like little solar powered bodies and try very hard to ignore the wintery warning signs.

Instead we soak up what we can of the last few rays.  All the signs are there though, the crisp chill, the icy breeze, the days growing shorter. We hesitate to pack out our winter clothes. Then when winter is finaly upon us, I like many of you I am sure, turn into a hermit. I spend more time indoors and much less outdoors. I add layer and layer just to conceal the tell tale signs of hot chocolate and too many inactive hours curled up on the couch. Not to mention the warm malva puddings, that seems so easy to whip up.

delicious malva pudding

delicious malva pudding

 

So this winter, which we can say, with out a doubt,  winter has arrived with vengeance. I promise myself I will continue with my exercise routine. I will keep reminding myself of our natural beauty and get outdoors and explore our surroundings. I will make every effort to cycle, walk and work in the veggie garden. I will keep my grumblings about the cold and how ill prepared I am for it, to a minium.  

leeks

leeks

spinach

spinach

lemon tree

so ripe

chilly winter day

chilly winter day

I will embrace the cold and allow myself the indulgence of hot chocolate and lazy times on the couch. We have a lot to look forward to, this cold weather is bringing the Southern Right Whales to our doorstep.

So lets celebrate the  Secret Season here in Plettenberg Bay together.

.

An Afternoon of Treats

high tea table bay hotelHigh Tea was originally created in Britain as the bridge between morning and evening meals in an era when eating twice a day was practice. The name takes its inspiration from the height on which the light snacks were served. It wasn’t long before what was simply something to tide the hungry over until supper became a ritual, that centered on entertainment.

 

There is nothing better to do on a lazy Sunday afternoon ( or any afternoon for that matter) than a deliciously  decadent High Tea at The Table Bay Hotel.  Sat in the lounge at one of the top 5 star luxury hotels in Cape Town, sipping on a cup of creamy Vanilla Bourbon TWG and enjoying  the panoramic views of Table Mountain as the wind brought in a blanket of mist on this chilly afternoon.

 Table Mountain        table bay hotel cape town

A first course of salmon and cream cheese sandwiches with a vegetarian wrap, three different quiches and of course the good old cucumber sandwich at its best. Accompanied by any hot drink you choose, though I would recommend trying as many different TWG teas as you can.

 aimé high tea       sandwiches high tea

Once finished, everything is elegantly snapped up and replaced with a hot new brew, cranberry and raisin scones plus the ever famous buttermilk scones. Served with a generous side portion of gooseberry jam, strawberry jam, lemon curd and the finest clotted cream!! In my opinion, bite sized scones and clotted cream complete a High Tea and make it just what it is… delectable!!

 aimé high tea.2                    high tea

Once everything was cleared for a second time and we ordered our dessert tea, we took awhile to prep ourselves for pudding as we had already been delighted with an elegant sufficiency! But how could we possibly say “no” to a table filled from head to tail with delectable sweet treats and a butler waiting on our every whim . Choosing from  triple chocolate brownies, chocolate puffs with hazelnut cream, peach and white chocolate gateau, cappuccino caramel Swiss roll, vanilla and lavender pannacotta, sharing the stage with cakes such as, black forest,  honey and almond, ginger and orange, the mojito lime and mint cake, and the famous  rainbow cheese cake.  I’ll have one of each please… On a wintery day opt for either the rice pudding with berry compote or a traditional malva pudding and custard.

 rainbow cheese cake       rainbow cheesecake

With the classical piano soothing your soul (and extended belly), a 5 star hotel with impeccable service, scrumptious treats and finest teas… What more could you possibly  want for the perfect date, girly catch up, 21st birthday, anniversary celebration or just an excuse to get out and people watch?!  

 

 

Community Recycling in Plettenberg Bay

 

Recycling in Plettenberg Bay

Saving our land fill in Plettenberg bay

Last year in October 2012, the WIN WIN SWOP SHOP was launched, in the Industrial Area. A pilot project for the Qolweni, Bossiesgif and Pine Tree areas. Similar successful projects are in existance in other towns. Hopefully soon it will be able to expand into other improvished areas in the Greater Plettenberg Bay.

A convenient facility is provided every Thursday afternoon, for the collection of recycleable materials. The local community, including young and old, collect paper, cardboard, plastic, tin and glass. This is then brought to be weighed and exchanged for points. These points are then redeemed in the Swop Shop for much needed goods, like food, toiletries, school requisites and clothing etc. The kids love to find a good pair of togs or a soccer ball. I have seen my well worn red patent leather moccassins and an all time favourite dress go to the same lady. I couldn’t help but think what good taste she has. All goods are donated, so we rely hugely on our kind community.

shopping at the swop shop                                Swop Shop

This project places value on recyclable goods which in turn cleans up the environment. Prevents dumping on the already over extended land fill. Creates environmental awareness. Teaches responsibility and ownership. Finaly, empowers the individual, which has more positive benefits….

Over the last 6 months we have collected about 26 tons of recyclable materials.

The success of a project like this is all about giving. Giving of ones own recycling, time ,finances, energy, creativity and commitment.

Shopping at swop shop

shoe shopping at win win swop shop

 

Swop Shop in Plettenberg Bay

Satisfied customer!

 

 

Welcome to the New Year!

One thing that we can always be sure of: change. Nothing stays the same; here at Cornerway we have experienced change. Just as we had to say goodbye to the old year, we had to say goodbye to our beloved Caroline. Caroline had to relocate to the city of Johannesburg and, although she will be well missed, we wish her all the best and are grateful for the time that she spent with us here at Cornerway House.

Garden

We welcomed in 2013 along with our newest member of the Cornerway family, Kathy. Kathy comes to us from a catering and foodie background – so watch this space for some super recipes! She will be handling our bookings, office and enquiries and assisting with the day-to-day running of the B&B.

Through the passing of years some things manage to remain the same, like life at Cornerway House – here you can still experience the same friendly, efficient service that you have come to expect, the same warm and welcoming ambience and, of course, owners Robin & Dee Pelham-Reid.

Sage