It’s great to be back and I do hope that you enjoyed my last feature on Cape Town, South Africa. We decided that there was so much to tell, that we just could not leave it at that and more importantly, leave you, our avid readers, hanging in suspense, because we do understand that for now, you will not be able to travel with the borders being closed. So let us take you on this journey, as if you are actually travelling in time. Make sure that your safety belts are securely fastened and enjoy the flight.
Cape Town: The Journey Continues…
We left off last with a mention of the Bo-Kaap, and I feel like I have not done it enough justice in describing this colourful and historic part of Cape Town that is the very essence of its people. So let’s take a step back to the 18th century when slaves were brought from Indonesia, Malaysia and other parts of Africa. The houses in the Bo-Kaap were essentially built as rental houses (or “huurhuisjes”) for slaves and were meant to only be painted white as were the traditional Dutch and Georgian style houses. When the slaves were eventually allowed to buy these homes, they painted it in bright and happy colours which became an expression of their freedom. Today, the oldest building in the area houses the Bo-Kaap Museum in Wale Street. Its entrance fees extremely reasonable at under $2 per adult and will give you a wonderful insight into the lives of the Cape Malay people.
Located 35km’ from the centre, Simon’s Town has been home to South Africa’s Naval base for more than two centuries. This quaint seaside village I always imagine to be the inspiration for movies and romantic novels. There is a certain vibe that emanates from being here, whether it is the history or the beautiful beaches, the restaurants or the euphony of sounds. They all amalgamate to create an atmosphere that will leave you energized with endorphins for days to come.
A stone’s throw from Simon’s Town is False Bay, and this is where Boulders Beach lies, secluded by giant boulders and….Penguins! Yes, you read correctly, and more precisely, African Penguins. In fact, Boulders Beach is the only place in the world where you can get this close to African Penguins. Sadly, they are on the endangered species list having felt the effects of unaccountable tourism and over fishing among others. Thankfully now, the area forms part of the protected marine area of the Table Mountain National Park. For a mere $4, you could enjoy the company of these dapper looking waddlers in the somewhat warmer waters of the Indian Ocean.
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens
Situated on a 528-hectare estate, the Kirstenbosch Botanical garden, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is considered to be among the finest botanical gardens of the world. Nestled on the slopes of the majestic Table Mountain, the Garden boasts an array of both floral and herbal species. Among them a fragrance garden, walking and hiking trails, a cycad amphitheatre and so much more! Each season an expression of its own beauty, the Gardens are a favourite among wedding parties, where the closest friends and family join the newly-wed couples in capturing their special day with a photo shoot. The most popular times for these are in the summer months (Oct-Jan) especially on a Sunday afternoon. There are also a number of delectable restaurants and tea rooms, or simply pack a basket of your favourites and spend the afternoon on a picnic sipping on a glass of bubbly whilst people watching.
Clifton Beaches 1-4
No doubt Cape Town has some of the most beautiful beaches that a city could offer. The most vibrant and cosmopolitan of them all being the Clifton Beaches, unimaginatively named, Beaches 1-4, where the rich and famous bask in the glorious sun and dine at some of the trendiest bars, clubs and restaurants. Word of caution though – the waters of the Atlantic Ocean holds no mercy when it comes to its icy temperature. A few minutes in its frigid waters leaves you feeling a wave of sympathy for those victims of the Titanic all those many years ago. Clifton’s 3rd Beach is a popular hangout for the LGBT community but is open to all. 4th Beach has a perfect holiday atmosphere and was awarded the Blue Flag status, which means that they are clean, environmentally friendly and offer the best amenities.
If it’s warmer waters you seek, head on out to Muizenberg Beach, a family-friendly welcoming beach with lots of fun activities and colourful bathing boxes. The beach stretches on for miles and the soft white sand along with Blue Flag status, makes it the ideal picnic spot for the day. It is also popular among the surfers, offering surf lessons as well as wetsuit and surfboard rentals.
The windy beaches of Blouberg offer the most captivating, picture-perfect snapshots of Table Mountain and is ideal for wind-related sports. The beach lends itself to an international kitesurfing competition each year.
CLUBS, BARS AND CITY HINTS
The Village Idiot , City Bowl
This quirky club is perfect for those who enjoy the old school vibes. Situated in the city, it boasts some of the most incredible fusion food and wait for it…a giant ostrich in the middle of the bar! Definitely a must visit! Website: thefirmct.co.za
Beer House City Bowl
Also in the centre of town, the Beerhouse is a must for all you beer fundis. This Eden boasts no less than 99 different beers from 13 countries and over 25 taps for anything from tasters to pints. They also have an impressive menu from snack pairing to more satisfying grub. Website: beerhouse.co.za
Cafe Caprice Camps Bay
This bustling bar situated on the Camps Strip is a hip and stylish hangout for sports fans and has a cool beach vibe owing to its prime location. Website: cafecaprice.co.za
Casablanca Nightclub Waterfront
Enjoy dancing under the stars in the summer or warming up to a cosy fire underneath a Bedouin tent in the winter. This club, just outside of the V&A Waterfront will have you partying into the early hours of the morning. Website: Facebook
City Tips and Hints
- Uber is a great way of getting around if you opt not to hire a car. If you’re using a local taxi to get around, make sure that you ask the fare first to your destination before getting in.
- Getting a local SIM card at the airport on arrival is a great idea. Depending on how long you’re staying, it might be a better and cheaper way to keep topping up instead of purchasing a 30 day package.
- Don’t be spooked when you’re suddenly faced with “load shedding”. This is a recurring “lights out” restriction imposed by government to curb the usage of electricity. It operates on a schedule, so be sure to enquire at your hotel or place of accommodation. There is an app that can be downloaded.
- Always carry a warm item of clothing, even in the summer. The windy conditions tend to cool down the hot summer nights and winters are often cold and wet.
- Cape Town is renowned for its factory outlets. Head to Access Park in Kenilworth for some great deals from clothing to food at great prices . Website:https://accessparkkenilworth.co.za/
- Do try the local cuisines, such as Bobotie, Cape Malay savoury mince dish topped with an egg custard and served with sweet yellow rice and a medley of vegetables. Snoek is another favorite, a local fish that is a species of mackerel and is often eaten smoked.
- Keep up to date and get great discounts with the local hangouts by downloading the Entertainer App from the app stores.
- Most of all, keep an open mind and open your eyes and soul to new experiences and savour every moment!