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Capt Town- Table Mountain from the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront
Table Mountain – Victoria & Alfred Waterfront

Cape Town – Adventure Meets Culture

In the last couple of years, I’ve been lucky enough to experience a warm early January in both the Caribbean and the Canary Islands. This year, prompted by various UK storms (Pia, Gerrit, and Henk), we escaped to take up the challenge of a 10,000km British Airways overnight flight to Cape Town, which opened up new horizons in South Africa and the breathtaking beauty of the area’s natural attractions.

Cape Town is a port city on South Africa’s southwest coast and sits on a peninsula beneath the incredible sight of Table Mountain. It’s one of the big five Antarctic gateway cities along with Punta Arenas, Chile; Ushuaia, Argentina; Hobart, Australia; and Christchurch, New Zealand.

As well as being South Africa’s oldest and second largest city, it is the legislative capital and also hosts the Parliament of South Africa. Because it was the site of the first European settlement in South Africa, Cape Town is known as the country’s “mother city.”

A true worldwide tourist destination due to its sun, sea, outstanding culinary reputation and incredible scenery, probably the reason it’s been voted the best city in the world seven years in a row!

But like many other major cities Cape Town also has a chequered history, Robben Island sitting in Table Bay is Cape Town’s version of Alcatraz, a notorious prison for over 300 years which has also been a leper colony, a mental hospital and a military base. Thankfully, today it’s a Unesco World Heritage site preserved as a memorial to those who were incarcerated there. You can take a boat trip and visit to this living museum and gain an understanding of the strides the city, and in fact the whole nation, has made since Mandela was freed on 11 February 1990.

One of the most famous moments in world history, marking the beginning of the end of apartheid in South Africa came from the balcony of Cape Town City Hall where Nelson Mandela delivered his first public speech hours after his release from imprisonment. In a nod to his fellow black countrymen the start of the speech was delivered in Xhosa, one of the main languages spoken by black South Africans. He opened with:

‘“Amandla! Amandla! i-Afrika, mayibuye! (Power! Power! Africa it is ours!)

My friends, comrades and fellow South Africans, I greet you all in the name of peace, democracy and freedom for all. I stand here before you not as a prophet but as a humble servant of you, the people.

Your tireless and heroic sacrifices have made it possible for me to be here today. I there fore place the remaining years of my life in your hands.’”

It took four years following this event for the first democratic elections to be held on 27 April 1994.

Since then South Africa has become known as the rainbow nation and managed its return from being ostracised by much of the rest of the world.

Summer in Cape Town runs from November to March with its dry heat tempered by the ocean breeze. Apart from Table Mountain, city attractions include the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa on the V&A Waterfront and Bo-Kaap with its colourful houses and Cape Malay culture or a boat ride to Robben Island. It’s also only a short bus ride to many beaches or hire a car (better with a driver) and take fabulous day trips to the vineyards of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek or the Cape of Good Hope.

Accommodation – President Hotel, Bantry Bay, Cape Town.

President Hotel in Cape Town
Infinity pool view from reception

We stayed at the President Hotel which has a long and interesting history dating back to the establishment of the area we now know as Bantry Bay and Sea Point.

A pictorial history chart is displayed on the wall near the dining room and shows that a hotel has stood on the site for 150 years. Prior to that it housed the first substantial building in the area, the Society House, when the very same land stretched down to the sea and up the slopes of Lion’s Head to Kloof Road.

At check-in, we were made most welcome by a young receptionist, Michael Owen, who made us feel very welcome, not only to the hotel but also to Cape Town.

Due to the exceptional city attractions on offer most guests do day trips, then spend the rest of their sun-kissed time beside the infinity pool. Sit back, relax and let Zibele, Vuvu or Thumeka from the waiting staff serve you a cool drink or an oversized pizza! The poolside bar ‘The Deck’ serves great drinks and food and guests have the opportunity to take in the sunset views.

The hotel hosts wine tastings on a Friday evening (unfortunately, we didn’t make it), and on Saturdays, various promotions are held. Johnnie Walker Blonde scotch whisky, Cointreau liqueur, and Corona beer were available during our stay. Giving free Johnnie Walker whisky to a Scotsman in the sun brings on a huge smile!

While the main restaurant is recommended, the hotel location is perfect to venture out and savour delicious locally inspired cuisine in the Bantry Bay restaurants and bars. NV-80, The Greek Fisherman, Jarryds and Aerial are four really good quality restaurants within a 5 minute walk from the hotel. The even closer Piazza da Luz has two excellent and very well stocked supermarkets and a wine shop. The hotel is also an ideal location to reach the beaches, mountains, winelands, shopping and outdoor adventures on offer nearby. The hotel offers a courtesy bus with various stop offs and pick up points, all helpful in your local exploring.

Everything you could think of was on offer at breakfast with very attentive staff such as Nosihle serving you fresh coffee or a range of teas.

A great hotel for its location, facilities and staff.

Cape Town Tourist Attractions

Red Bus – City Sightseeing Tours

This service is on a mission to ensure its touristic sightseeing experiences are the number one thing to do whilst in Cape Town. They are doing a grand job at it, offering memorable and even educational fun. On just one of several open top bus tours you can easily tick off the best bits of Cape Town.

It’s easy to find one of the numerous bus stops, pay for a day ticket on the bus or easily book online. Then simply ‘hop on’ and discover the city sights, with the option to ‘hop off’ to explore particular sights further. The excellent service also offers day trips to Cape Point, the wine country and Table Mountain or join their harbour cruise but be warned the vessels are very small in comparison to some in the harbour area.

The day after our arrival we joined the Classic Tour which lasted close to 2 hours, helped us gain our bearings and allowed us to enjoy several sights on one trip.

Highly recommended.

Camps Bay

Cape town Camps Bay
Camps Bay

Camps Bay has been described as upmarket and draws crowds to its impressive promenade, shops, restaurants, fine white sandy beach and views of the Twelve Apostles mountains. The beach is vast and with huge granite boulders breaking up the sand it looks perfect although the Atlantic water can be very cold. It’s also very open and can be affected by strong winds. Behind the beach, there is a great range of restaurants, cafes and cocktail bars with terraces ideal for a sundowner. The nearby Mall has boutiques and a supermarket. There is also a Theatre on the Bay which advertises drama, musicals and comedy. Houses situated behind the promenade on the hill towards Table Mountain are very impressive and have outstanding views out to the ocean.

The Bay Hotel is at the centre of the area and on our list for a future visit. It really is a lovely area and highly recommend for a visit.

The Bay Hotel

Boulders Beach

African Penguins on Boulders Beach
African Penguins on Boulders Beach

Boulders Beach is a special place as it’s the only place in the world where you can get up close to African penguins, made easy by boardwalks that lead you across the beaches and allow you to view the penguins in their natural habitat. There is also an information centre.From our hotel Boulders Beach and the penguins were just 50 minutes south of Cape Town depending on the traffic and the day you visit. Sundays as we found out to our cost can be exceptionally busy as this is when many families head to the local beaches along the stunning False Bay coastline.

Beach Chalets at Kalk Bay

Beach chalets at Kalk Bay, Caoe Town

Beach Chalets at Kalk Bay on the Coastal Road to Boulders Beach

You can view the Boulders Beach penguins all year round, but locals state the best time is from March to May, the peak of the breeding season. Adults will smile and children will love the penguins and their antics. Boulders Beach which has a separate paid entry is also worth a stop for safe and enjoyable swimming.

The penguin viewing entrance fee is R190 for adults and R10 for children under the age of 12. It’s cheaper if you’re a South African citizen. Most of this charge contributes towards the conservation of this rare breed of African penguins. Tickets can be purchased easily at the entrance by card only as they have moved to a cashless system.

Boulders Beach is believed to be the only place in the world where you can swim effortlessly among penguins and possibly find them flopping onto your beach towel.

Time Out Market

Having been mightily impressed with the New York Time Out Market and in light of Cape Town’s trading port history, which has informed its culinary landscape to include influences from Europe, Asia and of course Africa, we thought we’d give it a go.

The Market is conveniently located in the popular Victoria & Alfred precinct alongside The Watershed which is an impressive design hub, and just a few steps from the Hop-on-Hop-off bus stop.

It’s also next to Nobel Square which features statues of South Africa’s four Nobel Peace Prize winners: Albert Luthuli, Desmond Tutu, F.W. de Klerk and of course Nelson Mandela.

Time Out Market, Cape Town offers about a dozen kitchens, all run by leading local chefs and restaurateurs, alongside four unique bars pouring fine Cape wines, local craft beers, and what seems like an endless list of cocktails.

Plenty of seating options are available with 750 seats, including outside quayside tables with jaw-dropping Table Mountain views.

The Market’s kitchens offer a tasty snapshot that shows just why Cape Town is Africa’s if not one of the world’s culinary hotspots.

Recommended venues include:

Mlilo – Fires of Africa

‘Fires of Africa’ brings a truly pan-African experience, the food on offer interprets the many ways that cultures across the continent have incorporated fire into their cooking. Zulu, Senegalese and Kenyan dishes are all on the menu but we stuck to vegetarian starters of chargrilled corn on the cob and broccoli with satay sauce. They were simply amazing! Highly recommended.

How Bao Now

This Asian street food was a lunchtime favourite and the spicy chicken and fish bao buns left our tastebuds tingling with delight. Also on offer are creative combinations like crayfish bao with Cape Malay flavours and a coconut and curry furikake, or wagyu sando-bao with a chilli crunch mayo, tonkatsu and pickled cucumber.

Culture Wine Bar

Having visited vineyards in Saint Emilion, Napa Valley and throughout Spain we were eager to get a tasting of the Cape wines. It was at this bar we met staff member Siya who expertly guided us through our sommelier tasting flight from a Le Lude Brut Reserve, 2022 Kaapzicht Skralhans Pinotage (which was a clear favourite), a 2020 Ananndale Cabernet Sauvignon from Stellenbosch to the heavier Syrah from Bakenkop Melish. Siya expertly talked us through the wines and after she identified our favourites she then poured us a 2021 Culture Crozes which was their own label and quite simply full of flavour and not too heavy. Siya, thank you, you provided a much needed Cape wine education!

We were later joined by sommelier, Sharrol who talked us through some local wines and vineyards of interest, particularly those lesser known, and of course we purchased another couple of excellent tastings on Sharrol’s recommendation.

As well as the tasting flights the bar has an extensive wine list, including a good range by the glass. Here you can easily sample a vinous trip through the Cape. Culture Wine Bar and its amazing staff captures the best of the Cape in the glass.

Matt Manning please look after your amazing staff!

Dry Dock Bar

Located on the ground floor and the heart of the Market we had a disappointing experience. We stood for at least 10 minutes waiting on the person in front being served, card payment only seems to cause some people problems so please be aware. Then the bar tender who was well aware that we had been waiting for some time immediately served two ladies who also knew we should have been next. No apology or even acknowledgment was forthcoming so we thankfully took our trade to the Culture Wine Bar. Not recommended at all!

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens

Hand on heart I’m not a garden enthusiast but I must give it to the Kirstenbosch Gardens, they are fantastic and so interesting  – even for the uneducated in horticulture like myself, after all my botanics are normally in gin! These impressive gardens are acclaimed throughout the world and very few gardens can match the sheer grandeur of the setting of Kirstenbosch against the spectacular eastern slopes of Cape Town’s Table Mountain.

You can quite easily spend a day exploring the impressive gardens, walking the tree canopy walkway or simply sitting on one of the many benches with a view. If you’re lucky enough to visit on Sunday afternoons between November and March live music concerts are held in the grassed theatre area There are also plenty of restaurants and cafes offering very good quality food and drinks, even picnics which can be taken out into the gardens and enjoyed underneath the shade of a tree. Highlights for me were the Silver trees which looked as if they had been spray painted and the wobbly but impressive Treetop Walkway. It’s only a short drive in a taxi from the city or visit via the Hop on Hop off bus service.

I completely concur with the quote from R. H. Compton, Director of Kirstenbosch 1919-1953 who in 1965 stated, “It would be a tragedy if Kirstenbosch were ever to become static: it should be as changeful and dynamic as the living plants which are its reason for existence”.

Bo-Kaap

Bo-KaapBo-Kaap with Table Mountain and the Lions Head in the background

Due to its impressive pastel coloured house and tight steep cobbled streets it’s one of the most Instagrammable places in Cape Town. On our very short visit it was packed with tourists in large groups. There was also a Pro-Palestine protest ongoing with many law enforcement vehicles and officers in high profile positions. However, there’s much more to Bo-Kaap than the stunning coloured houses, like the 1790s built Auwal Mosque and the local restaurants which serve curries, roti and other Cape Malay dishes.

It’s also one of the oldest and most historic residential areas in Cape Town. I asked why the houses were painted colourfully, the answer given was its attributed to the fact that while on lease, all of the houses had to be painted white. When this rule was eventually lifted and slaves were allowed to buy the properties, all of the houses were painted bright colours by their owners as an expression of their freedom.

The Noon Gun cannon is fired daily at midday from nearby Signal Hill.

Inverdoorn Signature Day Trip Safari

Safarii LiosStandard return transfers from Cape Town are included in your day trip safari experience. Scheduled pick up times are between 0600 and 0700 the morning of your safari tour dependent on how many are in your party. We were to be joined by another three persons so looked forward to a more private safari experience.

Upon arrival, we were greeted with a welcoming selection of freshly-baked banana bread, scones, chocolate brownies, pastries, fresh fruit, and a choice of tea or coffee. Then we embarked on a guided big five (really four) safari game drive, with our guide Shareen, who drove us through Inverdoorn’s incredible wildlife in a controlled but natural habitat. Please note that some of the tracks can be extremely bumpy and dry so expect sand in the wind.

Up close we saw lions, blue wilderbeasts, buffalo, ostrich, rhinos, giraffes, elephants, onyx, zebra and of course the speedy springboks. Only the leopard was missing from the big 5 but seems to have eluded any sightings in the local area for some time

giraffes.

On return to Inverdoorn we sat in the grounds and had lunch. Prior to our departure back to Cape Town at 1500, we visited the shop which sold wildlife souvenirs, snacks, safari gear, and local crafts.

I must say that the safari itself was excellent but the 3 hour 15 minute drive each way was tiresome. Thankfully our driver Craig’s singing kept us awake as did the scenery, some of it just breathtaking.

African Elephants

 Top Rated Travel & Transport

ransportion optionsWe were very lucky to be introduced to Chadd Pretorious by Craig our ‘singing driver’ from Inverdoorn Game Reserve. How we wish we had met on day 1 of our Cape Town trip. Taxis and Ubers are numerous and available 24/7 in Cape Town however Chadd’s company, MCG Charters ranks significantly higher. Their professionalism and service delivery goes above and beyond the norm, his team offering flexible packages ranging from straightforward airport transfers to VVIP close protection.

MCG Charters is based in Kuils River, Cape Town. As Chadd says, ‘I can take you anywhere you’d like to go, at any time’. He’s even driven a prestigious client to Egypt!

Having a chat with Chadd opens your eyes as to what trips are on offer in Cape Town and the surrounding area. Options include Hout Bay, Cape of Good Hope, Boulders Beach, Chapmans Peak, Mariners Warf, Kirstenbosch Gardens however Chadd will also develop a personalised travel plan if you give him an idea of where you want to go or what attraction you want to visit. We arranged a trip to the Cape Winelands and to be honest Chadd, his local knowledge and his impeccably clean Mercedes people carrier allowed us to experience a new level of travel and left us feeling like VIPs.

I can only highly recommend Chadd and MCG Charters.

For more information, advice or bookings, Chadd and his team can be contacted on MCGCharters@gmail.com or WhatsApp App/call him on +2782 959 0024.

Nearby Winelands

Boschendal Wine Estate

Boschendal Wine EstateRecords show that this is the second oldest wine farm in South Africa. It offers picturesque views of the Groot Drakenstein Mountains along with Herbert Baker architecture. On entering through a small door in a stone wall our eyes opened up into a very impressive venue. After a short stroll about we enjoyed an exceptional Methode Cap Classic tasting (MCC – Cape Sparkling Wine) seated in the shade under a tree. The absolute highlight was the Grand Cuvee Brut, a spectacular MCC. Other tasting venues are available on site such as the Cellar Door but by reservation only.

There are also two restaurants (reservations recommended) and fabulous picnic spots beside the band stand. At the farm store you can stock up on various delectable baked goods, ready-made sandwiches, a very impressive range of cured and fresh meats, cheese, fruit, and of course Boschendal wines to enjoy in the shade outside or later at home.

There is a stress free atmosphere which can be enjoyed by family and friends, often joined by very large chickens roaming about freely under tables etc. When we return we will spend much more time at Boschendal and will consider staying in the luxury accommodation.

Wine and vineyards of cape Town

Highly recommended, particularly for its laid back and stress free atmosphere.

My favourite of the day’s vineyard visits and still have the red wines to taste. Looking forward to tasting the Black Angus!

 

 

Delaire Graff Estate

Stunning mountain views at Delaire Graff Vineyard.

This prestigious estate is the jewel of the Cape Winelands and looks stunning from the very moment you enter the grounds. The gardens are beautiful and immaculately maintained, making the drive up to the entrance very pleasant. This beauty then opens up into a spectacular estate with mountain views.We were immediately seated at a table and given an outstanding choice of wine tasting experiences which were elevated by the breathtaking setting.

Boschendal Wine Estate
Stunning mountain views at Delaire Graff Vineyard

The panoramic views provided an unforgettable backdrop to an expertly curated selection of wines. Our sommelier, Sikelela was personable and provided us with in depth knowledge about the one rose wine and three red wines we chose to taste. Throw in the delicious vegetable and olive platter and it was a small feast for the senses.

Delaire Graff is very upmarket and with its stunning views can only be highly recommended.

Fairview Wine & Cheese

Our third vineyard was thrown in as a surprise by our driver Chadd. Fairview is a vineyard & goat farm which offers paired wine & cheese tastings, it has a remarkable farm shop and I’m told it also has a mediterranean-style restaurant. It’s a charming and tranquil place. We had the pleasure of savouring some exceptionally delicious wines and quite honestly the best goat cheeses I’ve ever tasted, making the visit even more delightful. The wine tasting experience with Zita was the least impressive of the day (only because the previous two were unbeatable and staff at Fairview were looking to close up not long after we got there) but still interesting and the match to the cheese and meats was impeccable.

The grounds are pleasant with lots of shaded seating areas and goats penned just nearby. I didn’t come across any kids in our time there but I could see how Fairview would be a perfect destination for families. My only disappointment was due to our flight home we were unable to take some of the abundance of different goat cheeses home. They tasted quite delicious and certainly enhanced the wine sampling experience!

Cape Town Cuisine

Pier

Cape Town Cuisine- The PierWhat an impressive evening! At this fine dining experience, the waiting staff were as integral as the highly skilled kitchen staff. We had the most amazing 11-course tasting menu. I heard another customer call it a ‘masterful tapestry of education and experience,’ so I’m going to steal that quote!

It was by far one of the best dining experiences we have had. The waiter (our star was Warwick) will explain each dish so you can best enjoy it. All allergens can be catered for, even at short notice – gluten free, dairy free etc and for those wishing to avoid tuna! So professional, the kitchen staff simply adjusted each course as necessary and still provided a fine dining experience. Keegan expertly poached our oysters right at the table commenting on all he was doing and outlining the ingredients. They were fantastic!

It’s very difficult to pick a stand out but my favourite course was the crayfish, pork, spiced coconut and kimchi. Very tasty with a chilli kick. Towards the end Gavin brought his cheese trolley to the table. Unable to choose I sampled all 9 cheeses plus accompaniments. Again a fabulous tasting experience.

Eleven courses sounds a challenge but they are small, divine plates, plenty of time is taken over the course of the evening and you don’t leave feeling overly full. It’s all finished with a secret salt course!!

A superb selection of top wines and cocktails are on offer as are wine pairings to match your food. We opted not to have the pairing but most of the tables around us did and it looked impressive as well providing an educational element on the local vineyards. Good to see such a classy restaurant supporting local winemakers!

We ordered a glass of Colmant Brut Reserve from Franschhoek as an aperitif followed by a wonderful bottle of Groot Constantia 2021 Pinotage, both local to Cape Town. It really was one of the best experiences we have had and the tasting menu plus coffees took around two and a half hours.

By South African standards it’s certainly not cheap but from a UK perspective certainly worth the money and I’m 100% sure the cost would be significantly higher if the equivalent was on offer at home.

Can only be highly recommended and not to be missed, so go and let Warwick, Keegan, Gavin and the rest of this top team perform their magic!

Two last points, book well in advance and don’t expect too much by way of views as it’s located on a working harbour but that’s easily forgotten due to the superb food and service!

Thanks to Martin McLaren for his recommendation.

NV-80 Grill & Bar

This gem of a restaurant was recommended to us by both Jacklin Purdon and a regular visitor to Cape Town, Gillian McCrindle. It hides away on the first floor of The Point Mall Shopping Centre in Sea Point.

Despite it being a short 5 minute walk from The President Hotel, we had to ask mall security staff where it was located. It’s generally always busy and bizarrely has only two set sittings, so I suggest booking in advance.

NV-80 focuses on executing the classics very well. It won’t be a gastronomic experience, people come here for great quality steak and meat paired with a sauce and side dish. We had the taster menu with Boschendal wine pairings and it was really impressive.

We started with fresh oysters one with a natural dressing and the other Vietnamese, paired with a small glass of Boschendal brut NV.

Two large but delicious sauteed prawns followed as our second starter. These were paired with a small glass of Boschendal chardonnay pinot noir.

Our main was a flame grilled ribeye steak with pepper sauce and roast vegetables, both on the side. This was expertly paired with a large glass of Boschendal Nicolas red wine.

Dessert followed with a chocolate fondant accompanied with armagnac ice-cream and a small glass of Boschendal Vin D’Or to finish off the fantastic meal.

Would rank this very well in the best meat restaurants in Cape Town.

The Test Kitchen Fledglings

TTK Fledglings Yedst Kitchen
Kitchen Staff hard at work in TTK Fledglings

The British born chef Luke Dale Roberts, who is now based in Cape Town, has won numerous awards for his work at La Colombe. That restaurant won the Acqua Panna Best Restaurant in Africa and Middle East in 2010 and was ranked 12th in the overall San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.

At The Test Kitchen Fledgelings Roberts has focused his energy on offering opportunity to a new generation of talent. Aspiring chefs, often with zero formal training, are brought under the wing of former Fledgelings and professional chefs, and taught the basics from the kitchen to the pass. It’s a remarkable project offering employment, training and hope to young people.

All this certainly doesn’t diminish the standard of food or service. While not fine dining, the focus is on elevated cuisine with an a la carte menu (two or three courses) that runs from starters such as exceptional korean fried chicken and beef tartare through to delicious mains including lobster and pan seared linefish.

On your arrival at the restaurant, every staff member simultaneously greets each new table with a ‘welcome’ chorus!

The open kitchen creates an incredible atmosphere which is intriguing and infectious, the service is exemplary. You can essentially watch the skilled chefs in action creating your dish and follow the process through to your plate being served. Our waiter, Stanton expertly talked us through each course and described our choice of Boschendal red wine impeccably.

There is also an extensive tasting menu with wine pairing.

Located in the Old Biscuit Mill, which also houses its sister restaurants, Fledglings is slightly further out from the harbour, however security are ever present outside in the communal concourse and parking lot and take good care of you ensuring transport is easily and safely accessible to each customer.

A very busy and vibrant restaurant which provides expert on the job training to what will undoubtedly be stars of the future. The restaurant promotes that it’s ‘a place where dreams come true’ but I’d also suggest their clients’ dreams come true as well! The food was fantastic and an experience not to be missed. Highly recommended and a clear favourite of our Cape Town trip!

Thanks again for another fantastic recommendation from Martin McLaren.

Winchester Boutique Hotel

Winchester Boutique Hotel

Walking along Beach Road was a challenge in the wind and heat but this impressive boutique hotel is impossible to miss, The Winchester Hotel stands out with bold appeal on the edge of the Sea Point Promenade. This grand 1920s Cape Dutch-style icon is rivalled only by the views of Table Mountain, Lions Head and the Atlantic Ocean that surround it. It’s also known throughout Cape Town for its Sunday Brunch with live music in its internal courtyard.

As it was our final evening in Cape Town we decided to revisit the Winchester Boutique Hotel for sundown drinks and relaxed bar food. We were greeted by Soso who looked after us all evening.

Initially we sat at the bar’s outside terrace sipping a Boschendal Brut

Rose while watching the sun slip away for the day. The last few minutes of the sun is a spectacular sight and certainly a camera shot, but you only have seconds to capture it!

sunset terrace

Then as the temperature cooled we moved inside and had fabulous oysters followed by a Greek lamb plate and a spicy chicken dish. The bar has small plates on offer as well as the same menu options as the more formal restaurant and the food was excellent.

Highly recommended for the views, service and food. Thanks to Soso for making our final evening in Cape Town a very special memory! 

Cape Hilarity

Cape Town is home to the Africa’s first downhill tobogganing track. Aptly titled ‘Cool Runnings’ after the famous film about Jamaica’s first bobsled team, the track is located just 25km outside of the city centre on Carl Cronje Drive. The late actor John Candy would be very proud.

Personal Safety

Having spent 14 days in and around Cape Town you become aware of the social issues such as homelessness and street begging. Admittedly South Africa does have a reputation for crime and violence, even the South African Minster for Policing, Bheki Cele accepts there’s a big issue and says violent crime rates are “not pleasing at all”.  To be perfectly honest we saw neither crime nor violence apart from little boys stealing fruit off the back of an articulated vehicle. Be sensible in your surroundings and avoid carrying large sums of cash, don’t carry your phones or cameras in clear sight and do not leave belongings unattended, even on beaches. Avoid walking in deserted and dark places at night and take honest advice on where locals go after dusk and I’m sure you will be safe. Private taxis and Ubers are aplenty and very reasonable prices so use genuine transport from appointed taxi ranks or book online.

Private security staff (some even carrying side arms) are everywhere. The sight of them is reassuring and they will generally go out their way to help you or to provide advice. As with anywhere in the world, if you are approached for money, be polite in your refusal and walk on. Every person we came across begging simply accepted a ‘no’ and moved on. The authorities openly urge tourists not to give money to beggars as they say this discourages them from using locally provided hostels or emergency accommodation. As food portion sizes can be larger than wanted in some restaurants we simply took up the option of taking the remainder of food away and handed it to very appreciative homeless persons on our way back to the hotel.

Close

I thoroughly recommend you go and explore Cape Town and the surrounding area where a real world of wonder awaits. From endless white beaches and glittering waves to preening penguins, fluking whales and prowling great whites, there’s so much to discover in the Cape where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet.

It was our first visit to Cape Town and despite a very busy schedule while there, we still have to visit Table Mountain, Robben Island, Hout Bay, Cape of Good Hope and many more attractions – not forgetting our desire to enjoy a stay at Boschendal Vineyard.

cheers with a snorkeling white wine from Cape Town

 

We will absolutely return to explore further the city that the locals say has four seasons in one day (obviously not been to Gourock in the summer!).

With grateful thanks to Gary & Jacklin Purdon who suggested Cape Town as an incredible place to visit, also to Mark Bell and David Shannon for insight into their experiences.

We are certainly open to your next challenge!

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