A snippet from the U K Sunday Times about Cape Town – undoubtedly the most exquisite city and a must-see for any world traveller:
How you spend Saturday morning is the litmus test of how well you know the city. Visitors head for Neighbourgoods Market at the Old Biscuit Mill, but experts slip away to the Platteland Market at The Palms (+ 27 21 462 0394, http://www.palms. co.za; 9am-2pm), a gourmand’s trough of foodie feasts, supplied by local farmers. The setting is a beautiful Art Deco building, the clientele local. Sample everything from fresh oysters to robust breads and braaied (barbecued) mushrooms.
Sports fans will want to watch with the locals on Saturday afternoon. Vasco da Gama (+27 21 425 2157) has loads of big screens – grab a table where you can. The place is 30 years old and has never altered its South African/Portuguese menu; tripe and beans are the local favourite, but first-timers should try the house steak – large fillet, chips, peri-peri sauce and fried egg.
This is the shop you’ve always dreamt about: ceiling-high shelves, informal readings and wine-fuelled ‘conversations’ with authors. Drop in to the Annex (+27 21 788 2453) next door, and enjoy good bistro fare – or just a great cup of coffee – looking out over the harbour.
If you’re on a Cape Town food quest, go French-Italian at Societi Bistro (+27 21 424 2100, www.societi.co.za). This unpretentious restaurant changes the menu according to what’s available at the market. Its bar, the Snug, is filled with in-the-know colleagues having after-work drinks and late-night final rounds. For the freshest fish in town, head to Panama Jacks (+27 21 448 1080, http://www.panamajacks.net), a local haunt hidden among the containers and dockyards of Cape Town harbour. You have to go through customs control, but it’s worth it for the exquisite eats served straight from the sea.
See Table Mountain from a different perspective on the Hoerikwaggo Trail, a 75km hike through the Table Mountain National Park, staying in tented camps along the way. The treks last from one to four days and take you through parts of the park that are off limits to the rest of the public.
Not your average tourist experience – and your photos won’t be either (+27 21 422 2816, www.sanparks.org/parks/table_mountain/ht).
On Kloof Street, cocktail lounges move in and out of fashion with the frequency of clouds passing over Table Mountain. At Asoka (68 Kloof Street; +27 21 422 0909, www.asokabar.co.za), a neighbourhood mainstay, the crowd is as cool and contemporary as the decor, but nobody will call you ‘grandpa’ just because you’re over 35.
The places to stay: Always quick with a warm, New-World welcome, hoteliers in Cape Town are keen to make your stay memorable, even at the big joints. The best for exploring town on foot are the Cape Heritage Hotel (+27 21 424 4646, http://www.capeheritage.co.za; doubles from £90, B&B), a historic townhouse in the City Bowl, and Daddy Long Legs (+27 21 4223074, http://www.daddylong legs.co.za; doubles from £66, room only) on Long Street, famous for its boho boudoirs.
Beachcombers stay over the Kloof Nek in Camps Bay, where a short climb up the mountain is the discreet Atlantic House (+27 21 437 8120, www.atlantichouse.co.za; doubles from £180, B&B). There’s also the spectacular Camps Bay Retreat (+27 21 437 9706, www.campsbayretreat.com; doubles from £227, B&B), a child-free mini-resort in a sea-view manor. For the socially conscious, there’s Vicky’s (+27 82 225 2986, http://www.vickys-bed-andbreakfast.com; doubles from £53, half board), southeast of the city in Khayelitsha township. The corrugated iron and wood cottage offers a rare snapshot of black Cape Town you won’t get on a guided tour.
So that ladies and gents, is a small snippet of what my home-town offers – I miss it dearly, and my next blog will detail a short trip Kobus and I took back to South Africa two weeks ago, covering over 4000 kms in one week, and visiting some of the most beautiful sights and sites in the world. Hope you will enjoy the journey with me, as much as I enjoy taking you with me on the tour.
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