CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA : The city of contrasts, the city of beauty
I would say it is almost impossible not to get affected by this beautiful city, its nature, history, contrasts and its overwhelming beauty. Welcome to the mother city. Be prepared to fall in love.
BEACHES : When in Cape Town you cannot miss a trip to the beach. Yes, the Atlantic ocean water is freezing cold but the beaches are beautiful and plenty. Instead of the tourist filled Camps Bay beach, rather head to the close by:
- Clifton Beach : The Clifton beaches are divided into 4 smaller enclaved beaches. I personally like the 1st beach best. It is the most secluded with less people.
- Llandudno Beach : Half way between Camps Bay and Hout Bay you will find this hidden local gem. Few tourists find their way to this small but stunning beach. Local surf spot .
WHERE TO EAT and DRINK? FAVOURITES YOU CAN'T GO WRONG WITH:
Cape Town is one of those cities that always has a new "hot spot" trending but all the greats stay season after season. In addition to my favourite spots, I thought I would give you some further insider tips from the locals themselves:
South African bespoke private jewellery designers Colleen and Jackie Zulich specialise in finding the most precious diamond gemstones and turning them into beautiful jewellery. Cape Town is their home town and who other then these two stylish sisters would be able to give you the best insight to Cape Town's hot spots and gems. Here are Colleen and Jackie's all time favourites for dinner, lunch and drinks:
- ROUND HOUSE IN CAMPS BAY: This is a great spot for a picnic on the lawn, long lazy Sunday summer lunches, wine with friends or for the children to run around. In the evenings the restaurant inside offers a fine dining experience.
- THE GRAND ON THE BEACH: This is one of the only spots in Cape Town where you can put your feet in the sand while eating. It has a chilled atmosphere but in summer time it can hold some wild parties (it holds one of the best on Pacha New Years day parties not to be missed). Order the pizzas - they never disappoint.
- LA PERLA: This restaurant is an old dame of Cape Town. Not always the best food but definitely a good spot to enjoy a sundowner cocktail on their patio.
- WILLOUGBY'S AND CO: Many tourists scuff at the fact that this very popular local restaurant is inside the V&A Waterfront (the largest shopping mall). Although there is no scenery it has without a doubt the best sushi and all round food in Cape Town.
NEW HOT SPOTS:
- BREE STREET: This is the place to be at the moment with new places popping up every other week. The best way to enjoy Bree Street is on "First Thursday" which is an evening every first Thursday of the month that showcases local eateries and art galleries. You will get a map of the local ongoings and you can explore at your own leisure (for tourists I would always be mindful of pickpockets).
If you are not in Cape Town for a First Thursday here are some other good spots to get you in the mood:
CHANGERO BAR & GRILL , CLARKES DINING & UNION BEER GARDEN PUBLIK. If you want good wine you should head to BOCCA PIZZARIA, MOTHER RUIN GIN BAR or THE VILLAGE IDIOT ( yes it is the right name..). In addition, HARBOUR HOUSE in KALK BAY is a great seafood restaurant not to be missed.
WHERE TO STAY:
- ELLERMAN HOUSE: Perched on the cliffs above Clifton/ Bantry Bay, this place is heaven.
- LA RESIDENCE in Franschhoek . Luxurious boutique hotel set in the most beautiful private estate.
- PRIVATE VILLAS : Cape Town offers a variety of private villas that can be rented.
OTHER THINGS TO DO:
- KIRSTENBORSCH NATIONAL BOTANIC GARDENS : Few gardens can match Kirstenbosch spectacular botanical garden nestled at the eastern foot of Table Mountain in Cape Town.
- KLOOF STREET : Trendy cafes and boutique shopping street
- LION'S HEAD: A morning or sunset hike up to Lion's head is a must. The view when you reach the top is priceless.
- THE WINELANDS : Head to Stellenbosh and Franschhoek for stunning scenery as well as amazing wine.
- BABYLONSTOREN ( above photos):
Babylonstoren is one of the best preserved werfs (farm yards) in the Cape Dutch tradition and lies in the Drakenstein Valley between Franschhoek and Paarl. Surrounded by the Simonsberg, Du Toitskloof and Franschhoek Mountains, Babylonstoren is in the heart of the Cape Winelands. Have a walk around the spectacular garden, taste some wine and sit down for a sumptuous meal at the Babel restaurant. Want to stay? Yes they do offer luxurious accommodation and is a perfect place to relax and enjoy the Winelands and its beautiful surroundings. Babylonstoren is some 60km from the city of Cape Town and an easy 45 min drive from Cape Town International Airport.
Cape Town and South Africa is certainly a special place. I can continue writing as there are so many additional places worth a visit as well as many other things to do. However, I hope that the above have inspired you enough to visit this unique city.