This weekend saw the Nirox Sculpture Park transformed into a contemporary winter wonderland, with a new outdoor exhibit of extraordinary and enormous outdoor art combined with some of the best food and wine from Franschhoek.
Nirox is in the Cradle of Humankind, just forty minutes out of Johannesburg. The park is only open for special events – jazz concerts, food and wine fairs and art exhibits – and is possibly one of the most magnificent places just outside the city. It was the perfect outdoor venue for Mother’s Day 2015 and there were tons of families, kids, artists, musicians, hipsters, teens, grannies and grandpas. It really was a fantastic and fabulous mix, and one could just laze on a picnic blanket for hours and watch the people go by.
This winter exhibit featured gigantic artworks by Willem Boshoff, Guy du Toit and Collen Maswanganyi, although there were at least 30 featured artists, each talented and creative in his/her own right. The beauty of Nirox is that you can walk slowly, around the dams, across the rivers and through the gardens, and each time you will see something new. I especially loved ‘Frances Goodman’s ‘Violaceous’, made of purple false nails, resin, foam and glue, which was cutting edge, evocative and totally mind-boggling!
There is a ton of food and wine for sale, all from top Franschhoek restaurants and vineyards, although I must say the queues are crazy and there should be a better system. You’re not allowed to take your own picnic and standing in line for food for more than half an hour can drive me mad. But the home made charcuterie from the Bread and Wine Restaurant was well worth the wait, and the cheese platters from Fromage de Fran were fantastic if rather ridiculously overpriced.
There were plenty of wine stalls and I spent a fair amount of time at Haute Cabrier and Plaisir de Merle, tasting and discovering new wines. Whisky featured quite strongly too and I’m very proud of the bottle of 12 year old Highland Park that I came home with, although I’m not sharing it with anyone!
The park is magnificent. We spent the whole day, wandering around, lying under the trees, eating, drinking, relaxing and chatting. Kids had a ball playing in the streams and running up and over the hills. The sun shone, the autumn colours were magnificent, and it is well worth becoming ‘a friend of Nirox’ so that you can look out for their events and book in advance. Booking is always essential.