I took a short break with my daughter this past weekend, and booked us, using my Flexi Club timeshare point, into The Riviera Suites in Sea Point, Cape Town. After a very wet week, the rain dissipated and Cape Town presented herself in all her glorious splendor to entertain us as we set about being tourists in our own City.
The Riviera Suites were a delight – from warm smiles and helpful porters, to pristine clean suites overlooking the ocean, huge family sized beds covered in soft pillows and duvets, to a huge balcony on which we fed sea-gulls and pigeons, I was happy that I chose them.
Friday night was pre-booked by Belinda, with us enjoying an affordable three-course meal at one of Sea Point’s many world-renowned restaurants. We had excellent wine, the food was truly an astronomical delight, and we laughed and relaxed as we both mellowed into the weekend.
Saturday morning we woke up to a glorious winter’s day, sunshine, no clouds, and took to the Promenade for a walk, sharing the crisp winter’s air with hundreds of cyclists, runners, walkers, dog-lovers etc. Loads of interesting sculptures, photos of some adventurers sea explorations that have been enlarged and pinned onto the break wall, as well as an oudoor gym in the park made for a leisurely stroll, filling our senses with sights, ocean smells and sounds. At one point a tandem paraglider pair came whoozing past my head to make a grand landing a few metres from us, after taking off from Signal hill minutes before. Looking up to see the rest follow, we were delighted to also spot a bright orange Mango aircraft gliding further above – obviously a city-proud pilot showing off our Mother city’s most iconic piece – Table Mountain.
Satruday afternoon was spent at the world famous V & A Waterfront, more good food and beer, leisurely strolls around looking at boats and yachts, and finishing it off with a good movie at Cinema Nouveau. A quick ride home in a waiting taxi found us falling into bed that night, tired but happy.
We thought of spending Sunday at the famous Winchester Mansions Hotel in Sea Point for their “to-die-for” brunch – everything to eat from breakfast cereal to sushi to roasts and everything in between!! Not to forget the dessert table weighing down under the selection of sweets for those who still have a small space left in their tummies, whilst all the while listening to some of the best jazz on offer on the local circuit. But with an even more glorious sunny day than the previous one, we set our hearts on doing a true tourist trip atop the red bus for the day. We got onto the bus almost directly opposite our hotel, after merely waiting for 10 minutes. And the delight began.
Stopping firstly at the Waterfront, where we changed buses, we slowly started winding our way through the city, up Long Street, where I could see all the balconies of backpacker lodges and restaurants from the top deck. Next we passed the famous Mount Nelson, and then onto De Waal Drive towards Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. Looking out over Table Bay never ceases to fill me with wonder at the beauty of this place – the large container ships and sail masts, oil rigs and sparkling water leading to the vista of Robben Island in the distance – a world heritage site.
A winding road, almost touching the tree canopies along the way, hugging the back of Table Mountain, led us to Kirstenbosch, and breakfast at the Tea Garden. “Tea for two” is what we ordered to fill the gap – and boy! Did it fill the gap! Every morsel was more delicious than the last. We started with cucumber and cream cheese on white triangles, then a savory spinach and cheese tart to die for, then the freshest scone with double thick whipped cream and berry jam, and lastly, a piece of heavenly carrot cake – all washed down with a cuppa Earl Grey tea. Yum-yum! Only then did we have the strength to climb the short incline to the starting point of the “Boomslang”, or loosely translated, the “Tree snake”. This structure was designed to allow movement below your feet, yet totally secure and safe, walking high above the gardens and drinking in the most beautiful views of the Cape Flats all the way to the Hottentot’s Holland Mountains in the far distance, and the silky green slopes of our mountain behind you. Kirstenbosch is extremely well-kept, and many families were setting up for a glorious day of picnicking with their broods on the lush lawns. I remembered many concerts there in summer, with the likes of Bryan Adams, Michael Buble etc entertaining us under the stars in such beautiful surrounds. The gardens also boast life-size dinosaur statues to entertain the young ones (or the not so young). Many walkways were laid out for specific plants, and each tree and plant is named and a short summary of the plant given.
Our next stop, after another faerie-ride through Constantia forests up to Constantia Neck, was a change-over to the wine-route bus. This took us to Groot Constantia in the Valley and back up to the other wine farms, and although you can stop at each and hop back onto another bus, we opted to only visit Constantia Glen, where we were allocated the best table and seats in the house. We sat right in front of a glass door (closed because of the crisp mountain air), overlooking the expanse to the far-off mountains yet again, and this time also the views to False Bay seas on our right. We savored crispy wine, and fresh, delectable sushi. I truly could spend a day there, and will certainly go back for that sushi. Before we left, we had to visit the loo, and was delighted to use the “Loo with a View”!
Quite mellow, and by now mid-afternoon already, we decided that we would simply enjoy the ride to our destination, and not get off again. The bus stopped at Mariner’s Wharf in Hout Bay, before winding up the infamous Suikerbossie Hill (here, many an ardent cyclist in the world-famous Cape Argus cycle race, has seen his or her proverbial and physical ass!!). Gasps of delight ensued as we descended on the other side of Leeukoppie – our famous Sol Kerszner of Sun City / Atlantis in the Bahamas and many more luxury hotels world-wide, has a special hide-away here where he hosts the New Year’s eve parties many of us can only dream of, frequented by some of the world’s rich and famous. At the bottom of hill lies Llandudno – the most picturesque and pristine beach front, especially loved by surfers, flanked by houses that makes one wonder where the people get all the wealth from! Of course, further along that coast is our original nudist beach (I have to confess I’ve never been there) – Sandy Bay.
Driving towards Camps Bay we passed the Twelve Apostles Hotel, Oudekraal picnic resort and being overlooked by the Twelve Apostles themselves – or rather the twelve mountain peaks that line the sea at the back of Table Mountain.
Camp’s Bay was still filled with sun seekers, waiting for the spectacular sun-set hour, cocktail bars an restaurants packed to the brim. The stretch between Camps Bay and Sea Point is lined by the rich and wealthy of this world’s pads, and necks on board our bus were almost snapped off in turning in all directions trying to see every part of the opulence. The sun’s rays started to cast a golden glow on it all and we were in a hurry to get to our stop, so as to drink in the sunset.
Once in Sea Point, we decided to end the magnificent day with cocktails at Harveys at the Winchester Mansions. Here we sat and got a bit tipsy – easy for me on just two cocktails, whilst we also drank in the sunset, complete with lots of catamaran sunset cruises and our very own Pirate boat coming past.
We were pooped and ready for bed when we got back to our suite that night – tired, but thoroughly fed with the beauty that is Cape Town!!
My fellow Capetonians and friends – have you not done this tour?? At R150 per head it is the best value and entertainment you will have in one day probably ever, so do it!! Just do it. You can book online, or just buy your ticket on the bus at R170 pp.