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22 Waterfalls

We really like waterfalls. There’s something way more romantic and pleasing than just staring at water cascading down a mountain ravine. Intoxicating in its movement, waterfalls are refreshing – a continuous movement that makes us wonder about its source, and how some waterfalls never, ever, dry up.

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Such a waterfall exists about 2 hours north of Cape Town, well, let’s just say, 22 of them. Taking a break away from the city we took time to go more basic with a camp site, camp fire…and our trail running shoes to explore these 22 waterfalls…

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For the downloadable GPS track and waypoints, visit here.

This post tells our Tale of our run on this remote trail that starts at the foot of a thick forested gorge:

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In making our way up the gorge, so we wondered about this rivers’ source which always intrigues us – so much continuous water from deep within the mountainside makes its way over 22 cascades to the valley below.

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New life after a recent fire.

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Following the yellow trail blazes on the decent.

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Fire damage made this 8.5km route takes us around 6 hours to complete!

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Campfire after a great day out on the trail at 22 Waterfalls.

Makes us wonder how Life would be without water…from which source…

Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.” – John 4:13-15

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Trailblazer Trailer – Relationship

What is in a relationship? It is said that the coffee beans’ journey is likened to a race where a baton is passed from one process to another…

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Start with the end in mind? (Yzerfontein Cycle Experience, Yzerfontein, Western Cape, South Africa)

The trail that the coffee we brew took from its Creation into the hands of the persons we meet has passed through many relationships, relationships that involve not just processes, but people.

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It’s more than adventure – Charles Denison, Cultivar Coffee, small batch green coffee specialist.

Trailblazer Trailer is about a relationship and is privileged to brew this coffee at the completion of its journey that it passed through.

Keeping the relationship in tact – Alessandro Craparo of Science of Coffee.

From one person to another, each one is as important as each other, yet each is affected in some different way to another…

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The end in mind – coffee farmer story by small holder farmer, Long Miles Coffee Project, Burundi.

Our journey is more than coffee – among other things we like to brew the coffee which can and not only points to a Greatness out of this world, but who is intrinsically involved in everyone’s lives.

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Are you in a relationship? Which one is that?

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Fish Eagle Trail

Fish Eagles fly and swoop. With precision they have an uncanny ability to snatch a fish from water while in full flight, their body following a predetermined trajectory that their magnificent wings support and execute their hunting mission.

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Two such creatures exist in an area in the Robertson Wine Valley and so much so that a trail is named after them. Located on van Loveren wine estate, the Fish Eagle Hiking Trail is such a trail, making its way in and around the hills and valleys where these birds reside.

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For the downloadable GPS track and waypoints, visit here.

From flat dirt roads to technical, rocky single track trails, this moderately easy trail takes in breath-taking views over the valley that makes one feel like flying, flying and swooping like a Fish Eagle.

This post tells a Tale of my run on this trail.

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Both en-route and on return from the hills, one crosses the Breede River.

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Waypointed information signs make this trail not only adventurous, yet culturally and environmentally relevant.

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Technical underfoot!

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Breede River panoramas.

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Running along the crest of the hills, this trail undulates up and down.

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Heart for farmers…

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Appreciating water…

Fish Eagle photo credit: https://www.outdoorphoto.co.za/blog/amazing-fish-eagle-photography-by-odp-members/

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Living the Life

Sometimes dreams are realised, other times they always remain a dream. Then again, sometimes we don’t even know we living the dream. What am I talking about? Each of our journeys have unique reasons behind them…and usually they centre around something we want, think we need or desire that would hit a sweet spot. Once this sweet spot is realised we then feel purposeful and then we think we living, living the life.

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No blur – cooking and eating pots used for dinner time on the remote Croatian island of Mljet, July 2015

As much as this is true in many ways, it also brings about a certain misconception that this life we think we want, is not actually what brings about the purposeful living. Perhaps it’s the adventure, perhaps the excitement at the risk needed to achieve such a life, or perhaps it’s just the joy of what we do best and are gifted at that brings about purposeful living. Whatever it is, the search for the purposeful sweet spot always seems to be an elusive goal which we never seem to attain. Or is it not?

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Stories around the fire – Formosa Hut, Tsitsikamma, Eastern Cape, South Africa. April 2016.

As much as I am aware as writing this, I am aware that living the lifestyle is as in need of a backward look as much as it is achieving it. What I mean by this is by striving to achieve that lifestyle by doing and gaining more, we are in fact actually losing it. Having more, having a better ‘face’ for outward and public approval and seeking the affirmation in having ‘made it’, one is in effect putting oneself into more and more of a situation where striving for this lifestyle never stops and becomes more and more unattainable.

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Favourite beach for our favoured hot beverage – Hout Bay, Cape Town (usually Sunday afternoons)

It’s an oxymoron, but the more one tries to gain, the more one protects oneself, the more one secures oneself and the more one tries to feel and make oneself safer, the more and more insecure and dissatisfied one becomes.

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The best meal goes especially well with sunrise at camp – Plaasmol Campsite, Hopefield, South Africa. August 2016.

There is no apology for this type of living – it’s something everyone struggles with; yet, on the flip side of the coin, still strives for it! What is the lifestyle, how do we attain it and how should we dream?

“Dream big”, “aim high”, “never stop believing” are phases one hears a lot today. How about “dream differently”? How does this achieve that life? It requires a different look, a different approach. Simply, it is being and living differently. What does different look like? Well, that’s another Tale…

Jesus said: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” – John 14:6

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Trailblazer Trailer – Redemption

To make new. That’s this Tale. Simply put, Trailblazer Trailer exists to this end. It’s a journey in itself, and is still ongoing, yet this Tale is one of many to come about the journey this Trailer is Trailblazing.

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It’s never always about the first sip. Sip of what? Coffee? Well, maybe. In this case, a trailer had to be made new, a 47 year old home built trailer.

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It was a case of using what we had – also a 16 year old aluminium frame that was pushed along during the Two Oceans Half Marathon (in a time of 1 hour 55 minutes!) back in 2001 for various causes.

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Putting the two together resulted in somewhat of a new adventure – an adventure in making new…

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First cup – Bertha!

It’s coffee, yet so much more – it’s an adventure that is still writing itself…

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Tracks

Tracks. It’s where one goes and what one leaves behind. Also known as Trailblazing, tracks are those paths that lead to places where some may not be able or have yet to go. This Tale outlines our tracks that we have recorded in various locations around the world. Click on the country in brown to see the track in that particular part of the world.

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Tracks are those horizons yet to be seen, or have yet to be recorded. Sunrise, Mt Sinai, Egypt.

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This way? It’s in the detail – a trail blaze on the Artemis Trail, Cyprus.

Recorded Tracks are made with a GPS or Global Positioning System device.

Track Tale Dubrovnik capture

From short lung busters in Dubrovnik, Croatia, to Ultra distances, we upload all our recorded tracks onto Wikiloc – a free international online sharing platform of various types of trails.

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Out of reach? Running the Sentiero degli Dei, Amalfi Coast, Italy.

We have recorded over 55 different tracks in over 15 countries.

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Paths lead in and out of fascinating rock formations and ancient churches in the valleys of Cappadocia, central Turkey.

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Reflections – each track reflects a little bit more, about ourselves? Schlachtensee circuit, Berlin, Germany.

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Traversing islands are special. We not only contribute to the 2 million plus member Wikiloc community, we also utilise others’ tracks like this one on Vis Island, Croatia, and then Trailblaze our own.

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Lifted up! Our tracks sometimes take us to some special places such as Szklarska Poreba, Poland.

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Home away from home – technical trail around Trappieskop, Kalk Bay, Cape Town, South Africa.

A continuous journey in progress – our tracks exist for the world to see, download and discover for themselves.

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It’s where our tracks take us…Andorra la Vella panorama, Andorra.

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True Trailblazer. Known as Europe’s toughest long distance trail, Corsica’s 200km GR20 was recorded over 12 days.

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Tsitsikamma Ultra Trail Run – 23 April 2016

Antibodies. Sometimes the hardest part of the race is the preparation and mind shifting that comes as a result of knowing what lies ahead. This was no less true for the Tsitsikamma Ultra Trail Run, the running of this linear, 6 day, 60 kilometre hiking trail. No less true, not only because it was a first time anyone was to run of this trail in a day, but also because I had to take antibodies for up to 8 days to counteract a horrible strain of flu that ravaged my body two weeks leading up to the race.

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For the downloadable GPS track and waypoints, visit here.

Anticipation. When we hiked this trail exactly 2 years earlier, I knew I had to run this trail. 23 April 2016 was anticipated in great earnest, and it was time to change that hike into a run…

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Kitting up the compulsory kit, which was mandatory to start and survive this trail due to its extreme remoteness.

This post tells that Tale in what can be described as an adventurous, technically challenging, yet fun day out in the Tsitsikamma mountains.

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The trail started under the Big Tree, also known as an Outeniqua yellow wood tree near the Storms River Bridge in the Eastern Cape, and finishes at the coastal suburb of Natures Valley in the Western Cape.

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The terrain varied from lush forests to rolling hills of Fynbos and numerous river crossings as we made our way through the technical course.

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Rushes Pass

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Nearing the finish at Natures Valley.

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From antibodies to anticipation, whether hiking or running it, the Tsitsikamma Ultra Trail Run will always hold a special place in my heart…!

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Every competitor receives a hoodie; and each finisher a hand made wooden trophy and an Outeniqua yellow wood tree to take home!

For results go here.

Some pictures courtesy of glenn murray photography.

Sojourning cut

What determines a coffee culture?

This longer-than-usual Tale takes a deep look into why coffee is drunk the way it is in a particular culture. Grab a coffee and take 10 minutes to read this:

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Dubai Coffee Museum, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Arguably one of the hardest things to pin point with regards to any given culture is the underlying and hidden reasons for why things are what and how they are in a particular culture. This is an attempt in dissecting the topic of culture within the worldwide coffee industry and how drinking coffee is affected by particular cultures.

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The worldwide quest for the perfect cup of coffee can even be recommended across continents. Petra, Jordan.

As a South African, the Third Wave coffee movement is rife in my blood stream – it’s what keeps me going and excited all at the same time. ‘Third Wave?’ you may ask! Basically its more than just coffee on the go – think ‘gourmet’, think speciality, think personal attention to your cup of goodness.  Although take away or throw away cups may be the culture norm here (depending on where you get your coffee), it’s more than that – it’s an experience, but a great one! Culture norms are those things people do that come from an underlying value system. Let’s take a simple example: in parts of Africa, some people are seen as somewhat lower in status than others (value system) and so when greeting those in authority, these people will get down on one knee as a way to honour or simply greet that person in authority (cultural norm).

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Fixed price for one’s coffee. Cofix, Tel Aviv, Israel.

How we see the world is largely affected by our value system, be it a religious one or not. Although religion has a major role to play in value systems, for the purpose of this dissection, religious value systems are not discussed here. So, how does culture affect coffee drinking? It’s not as simple as reading one article, and so this article does not at all answer the question fully, but will hopefully give you, the avid coffee drinker-reader, a greater appreciation for drinking coffee in the given culture you find yourself in, and question and be aware of the values and norms of your particular culture so you can better understand yourself and the culture and country you live in.

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Third Wave – Gloria Jean’s Coffees, Nicosia, Cyprus.

Having recently arrived back in South Africa from an eight month, 27 000 plus kilometre trip through 26 countries in Northern Africa, the Middle East and Southern and Central Europe, getting a taste, a literal coffee taste in most of these countries was a privilege second to none. It’s these kind of privileges that helped me appreciate my own Third Wave culture, yet also challenged me in how we need to perhaps do coffee a little differently in South Africa. But why change what works? You see, that’s the exact assumption that was challenged as I witnessed each country and its cultural norms with regard to drinking coffee – assumptions, based on my world view! Culture is based largely on world views and one’s world view largely shapes the values and you get the point, the norms, or way people greet…and drink their coffee. Without going into what my beloved South Africa, or Jordan, or Greece should do, let’s stick to the point – coffee drinking cultures are determined by people’s world views as to how it should be consumed. World views are simply the filters through which we see the world and everything around us. Yes, media plays a role, but there’s more to it as we shall see later. But this is not the complete story. Underlying, value systems play a role. These value systems can be a direct influence from religion, but are so culturally deep and cemented, that it is hard to ascertain what determines them exactly. Perhaps its human nature, perhaps its community, or perhaps it’s the larger society that determines these values; whatever it is, coffee has an influence on the value system.

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This was the best cup of coffee I have ever tasted, Bari, Italy.

The underlying thread that flows through any of the areas I’ve travelled through is community and a sense of togetherness that the coffee bean brings to these societies. Coffee has a way of shaping the value system that further complicates separating the underlying value system from the norm of just drinking the coffee. The underlying value system and norms of drinking coffee – the two run hand in hand and form and shape each other all at the same time. Drinking coffee is a way to ‘escape a problem’ in Italy, by taking a literal coffee break for 10 minutes by standing at the Café bar and sipping on that Espresso, and a way to ‘entertain problems’ in Croatia, where drinking a single cup of Turkish coffee at a table for an hour or two while talking to an acquaintance about his or her issues.  Values shape the norms and the norms shape the values. Coffee is the value in some parts such as Italy and so the norm is what is explained above, and in some parts the value in Croatia is the person and the norm is the way coffee is consumed there – like the Turks – thick and strong that lasts long.

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A special place – szklarka BISTRO, Szklarska Poręba, Poland.

‘Turkish coffee’ is consumed in many countries such as Croatia, Bulgaria and even in Greece, and this brings in another twist: how different countries affect each other with respect to their drinking norms. Value systems may play a role here, but not always – it’s more a factor of globalisation than anything else, and then the norm in ease of brewing method for instance, follows. From here the value is created. What I mean here is that through travel and the spread of information, food and food processes, norms of drinking coffee is transferred such as drinking Turkish coffee in Croatia. This becomes a norm in Croatia and over time this becomes a backdrop to serving their underlying value system of being really interested in each other; so Croat’s blend this norm into their value system to form their own way of consuming the drink. This is how cultures form at root level and this is how cultures change and adapt over time – through globalisation. Think about some cities such as Milan, Berlin, Istanbul and Cape Town, each of which are changing and being formed the more and more people travel through and stay in them from other countries. The spread of people and their ideas play a major role in what determines a particular coffee culture. It’s not always just a case of “that’s the way things are done here.”

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This cafe has made a name for themselves and have won many coffee competitions – Caffènation, Antwerp, Belgium.

Hang in there – we are almost done! On that ‘globalisation’ word and how this affects the spread of ideas and influences coffee drinking norms and values –  this is a paramount fulcrum that we cannot ignore. At the Expo 2015 show in Milan, Illy Coffee showcased this brilliantly by bringing in all of the above into a theme of “coffee creates ideas”. This phrase alone can be broken up and dissected (which was pretty much done above), but as a whole, this is what coffee has enabled and done so well around the world – enabling ideas to be created! These ideas have shaped society and society has been shaped by the bean. Examples of this are as obvious as the coffee shop down your street, the micro roaster who adds his or her ‘twist’ to their tale in how they came about or why their roastery exists, or why their roastery has this or that name. Brands are affected, the interiors of cafés are affected by the bean, and even the culture itself…it’s a mix and it’s wonderful.

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Enjoying a Café con leche, a traditional Spanish local ‘coffee with milk’ drink before the start of the Marathon Trail Sierra Norte, Spain.

So, where does this leave you, the avid coffee drinker-reader of this article? More and more, questions are being asked, questions that may lead to more questions and questions that are up to the individual to answer themselves and not be swayed by popular opinion. Questions arise that see the ‘what’ be seemingly more important than the ‘why’, but I hope that this article has helped you to not only ask ‘what am I drinking’, but more importantly ask, ‘why am I drinking this coffee’ or even better still ‘why has this coffee and culture influenced me the way it has?’ What you normally do is influenced by what you hold to be valuable, and your value system is influenced by how you see the world. How you see the world shapes your culture and that’s why coffee is drunk the way it is where you live in this beautiful world.

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Pastéis de Belém has been making these pastries since 1837, often up to 20 000 a day, Lisbon, Portugal.

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Blaize Trail

When we left the West coast of Portugal after Sojourning 2015, little did we know that when we traveled to Mossel Bay at the bottom of Africa a little less than two months later, that the explorer Bartholomew Dias first landed at this bay, known then as the Bay of St Blaize, after leaving his Portuguese shores in search of India.

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Bartholomew Dias Voyage (1487-88). Map credit.

At the end of the World” tells our Tale about our run along the coastal cliffs that Bartholomew Dias would have seen last as he made his way South to Africa. There was no better way to connect the dots that Bartholomew Dias had first Trailblazed all those years back than to run a trail, known as the St Blaize Trail, on the coastal cliffs that he would’ve first seen as he arrived at the bottom of Africa exactly 528 years before to the day (on Joseph’s Birthday, to be precise!).

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For the downloadable GPS track and waypoints, visit here.

This Tale is about our trail run along the St Blaize Trail which we ran in Mossel Bay:

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Welcome the World

We were welcomed in Matan’s home in Jerusalem, Teoni’s home in Batumi, Lineke’s home in Istanbul, Martina’s home in Zagreb, Boris’s home in Ljubljana, Elena’s home in Rome, Federica’s home in Santa Teresa, Val’s home in Bastia, Vladimir’s home in Prague, Michael’s home in Marseille, as well as David’s home in Seville, amongst others.

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These people opened their homes and made us feel at home. They became our friends…and they welcomed the world!

This is an inspiring Tale, a Tale we cannot keep to ourselves, so we welcome the world. Our home (away from home) is in Cape Town and you are welcome:

              Local Vibes with breakfast and WiFi, go here.


Local Vibes with breakfast and WiFi

Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

We are Cape Town locals! Come and experience local vibes in our home where you can enjoy your own comfortable private room including breakfast and speciality coffee. We are avid travellers and know…

Vacation Rentals in Cape Town

Local Tent Vibes – breakfast & WiFi, go here.


Local Tent Vibes – breakfast & WiFi

Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

We’re Cape Town locals! Experience local Cape Town vibes in our home where you can enjoy your own private tent space in our garden with breakfast and speciality coffee. We’re avid travellers and kn…

Vacation Rentals in Cape Town

Local Bunk Vibes – breakfast & WiFi, go here.


Local Bunk Vibes – breakfast & WiFi

Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

We are Cape Town locals! Come and experience local vibes in our home where you can enjoy your own comfortable private room including breakfast and speciality coffee. We are avid travellers and know…

 

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16