Next Stop: Cape Town
YOUR NEXT STATION STOP: CAPE TOWN
The Mother City of South Africa, Cape Town sits proudly at the end of the African continent and boasts a rich cultural heritage in a cosmopolitan setting. All creeds and colours call the city home, all living amongst the stunning backdrop of the unmistakable Table Mountain.
Climate: Cape Town enjoys a Mediterranean climate, with warm to hot summers (October to March) and mild winters. This makes the Western Cape an ideal getaway during the European winter.
No visit to Cape Town is complete without a trip up Table Mountain, dominating the city skyline from all angles. The more energetic can choose a satisfying hike to the summit, or there is the spectacular rotating cable car which will whisk you up to the top in a matter of minutes.
Victoria and Alfred Waterfront
An eclectic mix of shops, bars and restaurants situated along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, the waterfront is ideal for a spot of retail-therapy, an al fresco beverage or some local gastronomy. The Cape Town Fish Market comes highly recommended!
The most southwesterly point on the African continent is about an hour south of the city. See the colder Atlantic Ocean mix with the warmer waters of the Indian Ocean, and watch out for baboons along the way, who will try to steal anything you are eating! You can either rent a car or take an organised day trip by coach or minibus from the centre of town.
Boulders Beach Penguin Colony
Just south of the small town of Simon’s Town, Boulders Beach is home to a colony of African penguins. This breed of penguins is endangered so this is one of the only places in the world where you can see them. A boardwalk leads along the edge of the beach, giving you an up-close view and endless photo opportunities.
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
Around the other side of Table Mountain from the city centre are the gorgeous Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, boasting a wide variety of flora and fauna, much of which is unique to the region. On Sunday evenings in the summer, a series of concerts are held in the grounds, which are a delightful way to round off your weekend in Cape Town.
With its brightly-coloured houses and cobble-stoned streets, the Bo-Kaap District was formerly known as the Malay Quarter. Today it is a heritage site and contains the largest concentration of pre-1850 architecture in South Africa. It is widely regarded as the epicentre of Cape Malay culture.
Cape Winelands: Stellenbosch and Franschhoek
Under an hour to the east of the city centre are the iconic Cape Winelands, South Africa’s most revered wine-producing region, centred around the picturesque towns of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. Take a day to discover the various vineyards, taste the wine and also experience some of South Africa’s best cuisine. There are organised tours from the city centre, or you can rent a car to take you around the area.
Camps Bay and the Twelve Apostles
Around the Lion’s Head mountain on the shores of the Atlantic lies the affluent suburb of Camps Bay, with its gorgeous sandy beach and the Twelve Apostles mountain range. It truly is one of the most spectacular stretches of coastline in the world. Nothing better than a stroll along the sand with an unforgettable backdrop, followed by a sumptuous lunch in one of Camps Bay’s terrific restaurants.
Newlands Cricket Ground
Any cricket-lover will tell you that Newlands ranks as one of the most spectacular settings for Test Cricket anywhere in the world. Set against the backdrop of Table Mountain in the safe and wealthy area that gives the ground its name, Newlands plays host to a Test match (usually just after New Year), a variety of One Day Internationals and the local side, Cape Cobras.
Best known as the place where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for much of his sentence, Robben Island is a must-do half-day trip from Cape Town. Ferries and tours run regularly and a former inmate of the penitentiary will take you on a fascinating tour including an opportunity to see inside Mandela’s prison cell.
What to eat:
Bunny Chow (a traditional South African Indian dish and usually consists of curry served in a hollowed-out half-loaf of unsliced white bread. It’s best when the bread is soft and fresh and the curry is extra spicy)
Gatsby (a huge submarine-style sandwich crammed full of a range of meats, chips, and sauces, and is nigh on impossible to finish thanks to its size!)
What to drink:
Castle Lager, the South African staple available in almost every bar or pub.
Jack Black’s Beer, craft brewing with brewery tours available www.jackblackbeer.com
Essential words and phrases:
Howzit bru? – How do you do, old chap?
Braai – a barbecue involving steak, lamb chops and ‘boerewors’ cooked on a grill over fire and flames (see image below). Complemented by salads, rolls and ‘melktert’ for dessert and you are set for a traditional South African braai.
Ja-nee – Afrikaans for yes-no. Meaning ‘Sure!’ or ‘That’s a fact!’ Usually used in agreement with a statement. A: “These petrol price hikes are going to be the death of me.” B: “Ja-nee, I think I need to invest in a bicycle.”
Lekker – Nice, delicious, tasty