Tag Archive for: eating fresh food on holiday


It’s my habit, when in foreign restaurants, to close my eyes and point at anything on the menu. It takes care of my illiteracy, and doesn’t take the mystery out of the meal. Of course, it works better for omnivores with tough stomachs, and I no longer qualify in that department. Eating out isn’t easy for plant-based junkies. Salads are swathed in cheese, and veg thai curry is infused, unannounced, with fish sauce. I usually go for fries as a compromise and hope that my arteries will forgive the needs of my gut and conscience. How wonderful, then, to eat at a local restaurant in Cape Town where I can do the same and know that everything is safe.

This animal-friendly eatery in the centre of town is as clean-looking as it is clean-living, replete with its own vertical garden. Earth-loving patrons will also love its green contribution, as the establishment uses no meat or animal products at all.  It’s got a feather-light carbon footprint compared to the other eco sink-holes in the city.

Maybe I should have used the finger trick to choose : with so many options, FOMO kicked in. The menu is packed with an array of dishes for all dining moods. ‘You can just come back again’ I reminded myself.





After a starter round of red latte with almond milk (me) and miso soup for my date, I almost went for what I suspect is the house favourite (and is certainly my dinner mate’s favourite) but it didn’t make sense for us to have the same meal. Mine was a mild mushroom and spinach lasagne with a creamy butternut white sauce that appeared too big to finish, but fitted well in my tummy and even left a little room for dessert. My date raised his eyebrows when his mains arrived and said, ‘Dayyim. Now THIS is meat.’ Mushroom burgers maketh man, it seems; the man opposite me, the men in the street passing by and giving his burger the hungry eye while he made rather suggestive sounds (and I don’t mean chewing with his mouth open).

Tam, the manager, had kindly kept sweet treats aside for us. A chocolate brownie and a raw cake that melts in the mouth with hints of berries proved that there’s no need to feel left out when you don’t eat butter or dairy.

If you prefer good (healthy, delicious, vegan) food, and you love the earth, take a trip to Plant Cafe in the Mother City. Even better if you arrive on a bicycle!

If you think Plant Cafe should be featured on Eco Atlas for their eco ethics then recommend them here!





holiday guide

Here is a useful guide to making your holiday in Plett all the more mindful with practical tips on finding places to eat, shop and play that are good for both people and the planet…


Eating out….

If you are looking for restaurants that will serve you up truly delicious free range eggs for your breakfast or meal have a look here

If you’ll only eat chicken when you know it’s free range, these are the restaurants to visit

And if organic greens are your thing this is where you should go, or if you’re more specifically looking for organic vegan places to eat out, click here

For a general perusal of restaurants in Plett that have factored in people & planet friendly practices have a look here


Getting Active…

Why not go for an eco friendly kayak on the ocean, take a short or long guided hike through nature, explore the birding routes, go on an untouched adventure or an unforgettable kloofing experience?

And if you’re looking for Fair Trade certified activities then this is the place to look


Shopping local…

If you’re passionate about buying local, fresh, organic and free range, then this is the market to visit. Or if you’re up for a Saturday adventure then take a short drive to this fabulous farmer’s market.

And if you miss the market days then this is the farm stall to visit or you could get fresh greens directly from this organic farm

You could even have fresh farm produce from the area delivered to your doorstep!

Some of the greatest exports from Plett are these locally made biodegradable cleaning products,  or these exquisite skincare products, all natural and not tested on animals, of course! Stock up while you’re here. Or support a fantastic community project making shwe-shwe hotboxes that will cook your food while you’re on the beach, find where to get them here



Recycling is actively happening in Plett, you’ll see the new drop off points on Marine Drive and on the Piesang River, but they’ll even pick up your recycling from your holiday home! Simply put all your clean recyclables (paper, plastic, tin and glass) in a clear bag outside, the day after your usual rubbish collection day. And voila, you can give all those holiday champagne bottles a new life!

Oh and speaking of champagne you’ll need the local variety, or visit this new tasting room to try out the full spectrum of locally produced wines (and craft beers from the Cape).


 Footprints in the sand…

Breathe deep on the fresh sea air, stretch your sun kissed body, up the feel good factor of your holiday and leave only your footprints in the sand, taking with you memories of magical moments….


(If you have a fantastic experience at any of the above eco ethical hotspots why not share the love and rate & review them? Or grow the planet friendly list and recommend a place that you think should be in the limelight)


eggsWe all know the benefits of choosing free range eggs, for ourselves, for the planet and of course for the chickens sparing us their eggs for breakfast! And if you want to throw in climate change as well, I was interested to learn at the Africa Climate Reality with Al Gore earlier this year, that factory farming is one of the greatest contributors to the global warming phenomenon. Eeek, solutions please!

So, who wants to miss out on a yummy breakfast (that you don’t have to cook for yourself!) because you’re not sure of the origin of the eggs! You don’t have to, here is a list of ten South African eateries who are committed to serving free range eggs. Do you know of one that’s not on the list? Share the love and recommend them on Eco Atlas, click here. Or, even better! Take a selfie at the restaurants and share them with the #iLoveECO competition and you could win a luxury weekend for 2 at an eco star lodge in the Drakensberg (where, of course, your breakfast eggs will be truly free range!)


bramonBramon is the only Wine Estate Restaurant slap bang in the middle of The Garden Route! Enjoy an afternoon of local wines, cheeses, oysters, meats, pates and more all served with freshly baked homemade breads and polished off with a decadent dessert. Set in the vineyards and overlooking the Tsitsikamma mountains, this family run estate offers organoleptic fare for the entire family. Besides serving free range eggs they have made many other ethical commitments. Find out more.



dear meDear Me is a brasserie, pantry and event space in Cape Town CBD. They are committed to using local, ethical and sustainable produce as far as possible. They also accommodate many specific dietary requirements, such as vegans, food intolerances and allergies. Their menu changes on a regular basis and showcases artisanal methods & produce. Dear Me is committed to serving free-range meat & eggs, and only use sustainable seafood as well as Fair Trade coffee and chocolate. Could it get any better? Find out more.



fynbos estateNatural beauty and outstanding cuisine combine to make Fynbos Estate near Malmesbury an ideal venue for all kinds of gatherings and celebrations, as well as workshops and retreats. Fynbos Estate caters for up to 20 people in the farmhouse and up to 90 in the Pavilion. They use all their own vegetables, seasonal fruits, fresh fish and free range birds, as well as farm sourced meats. The small winery runs on organic principles, the olive, honey and lemon products are also all organic. Find out more.



grand cafeGrand Café in Plett, for alfresco dining in a grand style! They are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a unique style and magnificent views of the bay . They strive to follow as many green initiatives as possible to minimise their carbon footprint and to help create awareness to preserve the planet for future generations to come. Find out more.




la cafeteriaLa Cafeteria is a cool & casual eatery situated on Plett’s main beach. They offer a simple menu of breakfast and lunch with focus on quality and freshness. You have to try their thin based pizza smothered in rocket! They also serve Fair Trade coffee. Find out more.




le fournil2Le Fournil de Plett, Bakery and Café offers a wide variety of slow-risen artisan breads baked daily using organic stone ground flour, as well as pastries, desserts and croissants. They use fresh, simple and local ingredients wherever they can and their almond croissants are to die for. Find out more.





the kitchen2The Kitchen is a bustling eatery in Woodstock, Cape Town. Open during the week, they serve their legendary Love Sandwiches (possibly the best sandwich you will ever have), a host of exciting salads and all manner of delicious things for coffee or lunch. They are particularly proud of their salads. They are fresh and unusual and excite their loyal customers with new, fresh flavours daily. They are committed to sourcing local products wherever possible and many of their ingredients are organically grown. Find out more.



the tableThe Table Restaurant is all about simple food with serious taste. Everything they make from their thin-based, crispy pizzas, handmade pastas and signature dishes, to their lunchtime  Harvest Table, is lovingly prepared using only the freshest ingredients for a whole lot of yum. Simple, warm and modern – a place for families, friends & foodies alike. They use salad ingredients from their own veggie garden when in season and otherwise support local growers. Gluten free pastas and pizzas are also available. Find out more.



thyme and againThyme & Again on the Garden Route offers its customers a variety of scrumptious savoury and sweet home-made delights from its very own bakery as well as carefully selected, local delicacies and an excellent collection of fine wines mainly from the Western Cape. You can browse around the farm stall or relax in the garden cafe whilst enjoying a freshly brewed cup of coffee, accompanied by their treats or home-cooked meals. Kids can explore the magical castle and furry friends are most welcome too! Find out more.



holaHola Café in Plettenberg Bay is a friendly family-run business and a great local hub with a Spanish flair. They are famous for their gourmet coffee and they cater for those in a rush with mobile coffees to take away. Delicious health and freshly squeezed juices are available and kids and dogs are welcome. Find out more.




Know of any more great green restaurants serving ethical produce? Suggest them here.


Children love to harvest in the veggie garden

Children love to harvest in the veggie garden

I always dreamt of having a veggie garden where the vegetables would tower over my children as they walked down the paths, enticing them with a smorgasbord of flavours and smells. And there really is a lot of power in the mantra of choosing the life you would like to lead. Although my children are growing rapidly and the new veggie garden is not as yet towering over them I still garner such satisfaction from watching my fussy ‘I-don’t-eat-vegetables’ 4-year-old picking fresh mange tout by the handfuls and happily crunching all their sweet nutritious goodness right there in the garden. My reasons for wanting to leave the city with my first-born and lead a simple country life with an emphasis on fresh air, open spaces and healthy living are coming to fruition and I’m realising that we’re living the life I’ve chosen and dreamt of.

Eating our own home grown veggies is such a vital element of living the good life because it covers so many bases, it’s the ultimate manifestation of thinking global and acting local! By growing your own veggies you cut out the whole string of events that finally allows a pesticide sprayed and well-travelled veggie from landing up on a supermarket shelf. I was so amazed to find out from a local organic farmer that, although it was great that a huge national supermarket chain was buying her produce to sell at the local store, the poor veggies had to travel 300km to the nearest city and its distribution depot and then back again before landing up in the local store’s display fridge. Instead of travelling 15km from farm to shop they were travelling 600km just because they had to be part of the formalised distribution process! Crazy, but true. Especially when those lovingly grown organic veggies would have lost most of their nutrition on the journey. Veggies only have a set amount of nutrients and begin losing them the minute they are harvested as they consume their own nutrients to stay alive. So, the shorter the distance between farm and fork, the better. Which multiplies my joy when I see my children eating straight out the garden because the distance the nutrients are travelling is literally from hand to mouth! And I would far rather wander down the paths of a veggie garden with all its interesting diversions than down the aisles of a supermarket and ITS diversions with two small children. Any young mother will know what I’m talking about! Never mind the actual effort of getting them in the car, out the car and into the shop. I’d choose to walk down the garden path any day…

But, I hear you say, you don’t live in the country, so how can you grow vegetables? Well you can grow them on a stoep in a high rise flat, all you need is a few containers and a sunny spot. And, if you remember your school biology, all the plants will need to grow is good soil (preferably enriched with your own home made fertiliser from your earthworm farm), sunlight and water, and what they didn’t mention in biology was that plants thrive on a whole lot of love. So whether you live in a flat or a sprawling suburban home, growing your own veggies in the city is all about your choice to do so. And the benefits to your family in terms of nutrition and less exposure to pesticides will be phenomenal. Not to mention the fact that you’ll be doing your bit for the planet by not supporting the pesticide infused agricultural system which takes its toll on local ecosystems. So what are you waiting for, go dig out those old gardening gloves and try out your green fingers.

The reality is, though, that we don’t always eat at home, what about when we are on holiday or eating out, how can we ensure that we’re getting the freshest and most nutritious food. Luckily, there are establishments around the country that have committed to growing organic food not only for themselves, but for their guests too. Let’s take a quick tour from Gansbaai to Hoedspruit for a virtual visit with some veggie growing guest houses.

Farm 215 is a private nature reserve in an undisturbed valley between Stanford and Cape Agulhas in the Overberg. In the reserve is a small-scale sustainable and strictly laid-back guesthouse offering tranquility and an overpowering sense of space. And besides their many ethical practices which include planting trees for tourism and empowering the local community, guests will also be treated to fresh organic produce grown right there on Farm 215. Sounds to me like a truly healthy break from the city.

Further up the coast in the heart of the Garden Route is Fynbos Ridge Private Nature Reserve with a guest house and self-catering cottages set in the fragrant fynbos and spectacular views of the Tsitsikamma mountains. Delicious dining and alfresco breakfasts are available or they invite you to pick your very own salad from their organic vegetable garden. A holiday treat that is indeed good for the body and soul, to be enjoyed with a clear conscience.

And from there we skip straight to the bushveld where you will find Garonga Safari Camp, an eco friendly oasis for the discerning visitor. Situated in the greater Makalali Conservancy west of the Kruger National Park, this unassuming sanctuary promises an intimate wildlife encounter in an unhurried environment where you can unwind, sleep deeply and be yourself. And yes, you better believe it, they too grow their own organic vegetables in that dark red soil and serve the bounty to all their guests.

With Spring finally in the air may you feel inspired to grow your own food, eat your own food and support the places that do the same.