Cape Town a must for the bucket list

Whether you’re visiting Cape Town for the very first time, or be it your regular playground, the minute you set foot on the tarmac there is elation compared to none other.  It is always the case with me.  Just the sight of Table Mountain, the smell of sea salt in the air and the breeze through your hair (and you feel it even if you don’t have any hair), is enough to have you smitten!

Located in the southwest of South Africa, Cape Town is a melting pot of different cultures and offers a myriad of sights, sounds and activities, catering to every need and desire from the cultured tourist to the cash-strapped backpacker.  Table Mountain reigns over the city watching silently over its pristine white beaches stretching on the west of the Atlantic Seaboard all the way to the east coast where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet at Cape Point. Thousands of local and international tourists gather here each year to watch the two oceans come together in somewhat spectacular harmony.

Attractions

The V&A Waterfront also offers some of the best high quality shopping ranging from Jimmy Choo to Louis Vuitton but also an entire “shed” dedicated to locally produced goods from colourful trinkets to traditional garments.  Just outside this shed, you can take pictures alongside icons such as Nelson Mandela and Bishop Desmond Tutu.  Across the Quay, cruises can be booked ranging from a short “waterfront cruise”, to a Pirate cruise (wonderfully entertaining for the kids and you might just be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of some dolphins), to the popular Cruise to Robben Island – famous for housing Nelson Mandela during his 27 years of captivity.  The Waterfront is a bustling hybrid of entertainment with loads of nightclubs and bars to suit every mood and occasion.

There is so much that this incredible city has to offer that I feel compelled to do another feature on it in the near future, as one article, one tribute, simply will not do it justice.  In the meantime, get out your Ipad, notebook or laptop, and start planning your trip for when the borders open once again.  Cape Town will be ready to welcome you with virtually sanitized and safe arms!

This picturesque city offers something for everyone.  For the avid sporty and adventurous types, there are running paths on the beachfront alongside the crashing waves and plenty of hiking trails along Table Mountain, including a cable car ride from the foot of the mountain.  Be sure to get there early if you prefer the day time views as the queues can have you waiting for hours during the peak season of summer (mid December – early January).  A great time to go is around 15h00 in the afternoon on a week day when the queues are not as long.  Watching the sun set into the ocean from the top of that mountain is a memory that will forever be etched in your mind.

Apart from the many wondrous natural attractions, the city is also steeped in history. The Castle of Good Hope, a bastion fort built in the 17th century by the Dutch East India Company served as a refreshment station for ships en route from Europe to Asia on the Spice Route and as a prison during the Second Boer War (1899-1902).  Part of the prison cells still remain today and the Castle is believed to be the world’s best preserved example of 17th century architecture. 

A short distance outside of the city is where you will discover some of the most exquisite vineyards.  For those with a discerning palate and even for those of us who know very little about the Five S’s of wine tasting (See, Swirl, Sniff, Sip and Savour), there is something to suit every budget.  Choose between the world renowned Babylonstoren’s Farm Hotel nestled between the tranquil beauty of Franschhoek and Stellenbosch to the Spier Wine Estates where you can enjoy some of the world’s best locally produced red and white wines, cheese tastings and rest assured that you needn’t drive anywhere but rather lay your head to rest on the soft comfortable goose downs that these top accredited hotels extend and dine on the delectable cuisines their highly acclaimed restaurants conjure up in their kitchens.

Shopping

The V&A Waterfront also offers some of the best high quality shopping ranging from Jimmy Choo to Louis Vuitton but also an entire “shed” dedicated to locally produced goods from colourful trinkets to traditional garments.  Just outside this shed, you can take pictures alongside icons such as Nelson Mandela and Bishop Desmond Tutu.  Across the Quay, cruises can be booked ranging from a short “waterfront cruise”, to a Pirate cruise (wonderfully entertaining for the kids and you might just be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of some dolphins), to the popular Cruise to Robben Island – famous for housing Nelson Mandela during his 27 years of captivity.  The Waterfront is a bustling hybrid of entertainment with loads of nightclubs and bars to suit every mood and occasion.

There is so much that this incredible city has to offer that I feel compelled to do another feature on it in the near future, as one article, one tribute, simply will not do it justice.  In the meantime, get out your Ipad, notebook or laptop, and start planning your trip for when the borders open once again.  Cape Town will be ready to welcome you with virtually sanitized and safe arms!

Cape Town In Pictures

Reflective pond Stellenbosch Cape Town

Castle of Good Hope Cape Town Castle

Robben Island Prison Cape Town

Table Mountain Cape Town

The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town

Lichtenstein Castle - Hout Bay Cape Town

Accommodation & Food

Back within the city limits, enjoy the various options of accommodation from top five star hotels such as the Twelve Apostles Hotel with a luxurious spa, perfect for that much needed pampering.  The hotel’s Azure Restaurant overlooks the ocean and offers an array of options from seafood, to exquisite meat and vegetarian dishes.  Be sure to make a reservation as they do fill up quite quickly.  The V&A Waterfront also offers a spectrum of hotels from the five star Victoria and Alfred Hotel (named for Queen Victoria and her son, Prince Alfred), to the three star City Lodge, coupled with enough restaurant and food choices to satisfy any craving. 

Among some of the best is The Cape Town Fish Market, a haven for seafood lovers with fish so fresh, they seemed to have jumped straight out the ocean and into your plate!  For those who love a bit of spice in their lives, be sure to try Bukhara, serving some of the most succulent and aromatic Indian cuisine with spices shipped in from the Spice Route itself.  Cape Town is famous for its fish and chips, so do try one of the many local fish and chips shops that you will find all over the city.  They never disappoint!  A big favourite as well, is the famous Gatsby, a footlong bread roll filled with spicy steak, viennas (a spiced sausage), chips (South African version of French fries with lots of vinegar) and more.  A perfect family sharing meal that is cheap but oh so delicious!  These can be found at local Malay eateries especially in the Bo-Kaap, the famous, colourful and historical Cape Malay community that is bursting with vibrancy and warmth of the welcoming people. 

There is so much that this incredible city has to offer that I feel compelled to do another feature on it in the near future, as one article, one tribute, simply will not do it justice.  In the meantime, get out your Ipad, notebook or laptop, and start planning your trip for when the borders open once again.  Cape Town will be ready to welcome you with virtually sanitized and safe arms!

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