Johannesburg - Muldersdrift is often overlooked in favour of its better known neighbour, Magaliesburg, but this little country town has enough on offer to warrant it being a great choice for a day out of the city.
Ngwenya Glass Village is a fantastic way to spend a few hours. Visitors can browse a massive range of glassworks and crafts within an array of quaint shops. Over 500kg of recycled glass is crushed daily and melted overnight in a furnace at a temperature of 1 400°C. The glass showroom with its glassware and trophies is a must see, with the village specialising in handcrafted custom made trophies. It is absolutely fascinating to see that creations of all shapes and sizes can be made using a glass blowing technique.
The Ngwenya Glass Art Gallery showcases thought provoking art works and decor, and objets d’art. Africain has a striking selection of African curios and masks on display. Some of the newest stores to open at Ngwenya include A Word or Two, which offers interesting and unusual gifts; Moonstruck, which imports goods from Bali and Indonesia, and Earthly Mosaics, where you can purchase eco friendly tiles, plus try your hand at mosaic lessons.
Ngwenya also houses two restaurants – Vulindlela bistro with an adjacent jungle gym area for kids, and Gilroy’s brewery, which offers beer tasting, pub fare and entertainment. Don’t expect to be blown away by the food here, rather go for the beer.
Brewery tours take place every Saturday at 11am, where for R110 per person you can learn how beer is created and understand the Gilroy brewing process, which is characterised by no filtration, artificial carbonation or preservatives. The best part is sampling the beer, which you’ll have a chance to do at the end of the tour. Note that this is for adults only, but little ones are well catered for at Ngwenya Village.
Address: Shady Lane, off Diepsloot R114, Muldersdrift. Open Tuesday to Sunday 9am to 4.30pm, but individual restaurants and stores may have different operating hours. Call 011 796 3000 to confirm. Visit www.shadesofngwenya.co.za
If you’re in the mood for an exclusive dining experience, head to Bellgables Country Restaurant, which is over the top. Every inch of the Crystal Terrace Room is filled with artifacts from all over the world – vases, Buddhas, candles, ostrich eggs – it is a wildly elaborate collection of history and culture. Heavy golden curtains drape the windows, which open on to the large estate, originally the owner’s home. The renovation took two years and involved a lot of time spent in thrift shops and décor stores around the world. This kind of opulence would feel out of place in most other places, but somehow, at Bellgables, it works.
The restaurant does many private events, especially weddings, but is open to the public too. The presentation of the dishes has a wow factor similar to the décor of the restaurant; flowers and sprigs are intricately placed alongside the food. Signature dishes include roast duck with a cherry sauce, chicken and prawn curry with coconut milk and fresh curry leaves, and oven baked lamb shank served with herb and mint sweet sauce. A highlight for me was the fresh tomato and olive bread rolls, baked daily. Desserts are what’s expected, some of the selection: crème brulee, chocolate mousse and carrot cake. I found the food enjoyable, but it is more the experience that makes a visit worthwhile.
Address: Beyers Naude Drive Extension, Muldersdrift. Call 082 551 8855. Open Wednesday to Saturday for dinner, Thursday to Sunday for lunch. Visit www.bellgables.biz
l Nair was hosted by Bellgables
l For more ideas of things to do in and around Jozi, visit Hasmita’s blog: www.joziliciousblog.co.za
HASMITA NAIR, Sunday Independent