What an amazing time our team had at Oysters R Us in Wilderness while experiencing their ‘Show and Tell experience’. Set in the countryside just off the highway between Wilderness and Sedgefield, this rustic experience is entirely without pretense, and just so enjoyable.
There are four oyster tanks inside the farm stall area – where live oysters brought in from the West Coast live. These tanks are kept impeccably clean with a UV steriliser and ensure that the oysters are served 100% fresh. The interesting tank setup includes a clever oxygen system, a water-cooling process and activated charcoal. Anyone with an interest in fish tanks would enjoy the information provided about the setup and upkeep of the tanks. The oysters are then literally taken out of the tanks, shucked out of the shell in front of you and served.
At our table we had breathtaking views of the mountains and natural habitat. While we sat and chatted, we could hear many birds chirping nearby. It was incredibly relaxing to soak in the views and sounds.
The oysters were served with a variety of toppings to allow you to enjoy them 6 different ways. The traditional South African style is with lemon, black pepper and tabasco. Add horseradish to this combo and you will be enjoying your oysters the Jozi way. Replace the horseradish with tartar sauce for some Free State. Scrap those ingredients and drizzle your oyster with soy sauce and chilli to add some Vietnamese to your palette. The 5th way to enjoy them is the Japanese way, with teriyaki sauce and pickled ginger. Lastly, a bit of red onion and red wine vinegar round off the oyster the French way. Of course, no oyster experience can be complete without a glass of champagne.
Two of our interns had never eaten oysters before and decided to give it a try. This is the beauty of tourism – being exposed to simple experiences which are different to your own culture or home environment. They bravely chewed and swallowed their oysters while we all looked on in anticipation. They both decided it must be an acquired taste, like sushi – but were glad that they gave it a go.
Oysters R Us also serve a selection of cold meats, crackers, cheese and other tapas style foods to build a gourmet picnic of your own, which you can enjoy at your table while soaking in the view. The Show and Tell educational experience is for groups of 10 to 25 people, from 11h00 to 12h30 on Wednesdays to Sundays (not available 15 December to 15 January).
This experience is highly recommended for foodies who enjoy authentic experiences, as well as anyone who loves oysters, of course!
Heritage Bakery, a stone’s throw from Timberlake Village
After Oysters R Us, we popped in at Heritage Bakery. It was quite a drive into the property, which is also set on a farm, so we took it slow – which is how I think the area is really supposed to be enjoyed. Even though we were only 30 minutes away from our office in George, it felt as though we had been magically transported away into another world.
The first sight to greet you at Heritage Bakery is the most adorable goats you have ever seen. And not far off were some very fluffy chickens, one of which was surrounded by a brood of five chicks. Before going inside, you are drawn to the other end of the farmstead property, where two really endearing llamas peer at you through the fence. There was also a gaggle of geese and I immediately thought of my childhood days reading about Jemima Puddle-Duck. The outdoor area offers a few lawn games, with some outdoor seating. Heritage Bakery is ideal for anyone with small kids, who will love the outdoors filled with cute creatures.
Much of the gifting inside the bakery, coffee shop-come-farm stall is made right on the premises – leather-crafted and woodwork items, as well as pottery. The beautifully crafted leather items were also very well-priced. There was a selection of the most gorgeous soaps and wooden sculptures which captured my attention.
The coffee shop had sweet treats, cakes and freshly baked breads to tempt us. They also do functions, offering a brisket with smoker, wood-fired pizzas and even creative classes upon request. These could include pottery, woodwork, leather craft and even trendy weaving demonstrations with loom.
Timberlake Village, outdoor lifestyle haven
We briefly scooted over the road to Timberlake Village and were reminded again that we do not come here nearly enough. We popped our heads in at the Figtree Bakehouse, where dough was being rolled out and put into baking dishes, which we loved. We were then drawn in by Ingrid Nuss’s gallery surfboard doors. It is awesome having the artist there, where you can engage and catcha glimpse of her workshop behind the retail space. The Wildflower shop is super trendy and quite earthy. We were also drawn towards the playground, which lead us to the back of the Naughty Monkey Café because of the beautifully muralled Neevrah container.
Timberlake has a selection of shops, eateries and activities. Don’t miss Acrobranch – an amazing obstacle course through the treetops.