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>>> Tastes of the World - February 2017
>>> Cape Town's Holiday Appeal - January 2017

>>> Cape Town Ocean Activities - December 2016
>>> Best sushi spots in Cape Town - November 2016

>>> Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve - October 2016
>>> Coffee Culture Cape Town - September 2016

>>> Wildlife Adventures in Cape Town - August 2016

>>> Top Historical Sites in Cape Town, Western Cape - June 2016
>>> Cape Town's top family friendly activities - May 2016
>>> Cape Town voted best city in the world for the 4th time - Apr 2016
>>> Exciting Easter activities in Cape Town - Mar 2016
>>> Romantic Cape Town - Feb 2013
>>> Whale Season - Aug 2012
>>> Exploring The Garden Route - Apr 2012
>>> Wining, Dining and Dancing in Cape Town - Feb 2012
>>> Celebrating the Festive Season in Cape Town – Dec 2011
>>> Table Mountain - The Flag of Cape Town - Oct 2011
>>> Celebrating Spring in Cape Town - Aug 2011
>>> Creative Cape Town - July 2011
>>> Top Adventure Activities in Cape Town - June 2011
>>> Transportation options in Cape Town - May 2011

>>> Touring the West Coast of South Africa – April 2011
>>> Cape Town Beach Guide – March 2011

>>> Local favorites - Wine farms in the Western Cape – Feb 2011

>>> Cape Town’s Hidden Secrets – Jan 2011
>>> Car hire and roads in Cape Town - Dec 2010

Tastes from around the World - Feb 17

Cape Town is a cosmopolitan city and is home to a wide diversity of tastes from every corner of the globe. The extensive variety of unique and authentic cuisine available in Cape Town has won it many awards and has made it not only a travel destination but also a taste destination for food lovers.

Indian Cuisine
Jewel of India - Green Point
For a true Indian experience, Jewel of India in Sea Point serves authentic Indian food prepared with delicate brilliance. The friendly staff, simple decor, comprehensive menu and the perfect balance of spices makes this charming restaurant is an sheer treat for all spicy food lovers. The Kheer, a traditional Indian dessert of rise and cream, is a must for all diners to sample.

Japanese Cuisine
Nobu Restaurant - V&A Waterfront
The worlds most recognised Japanese restaurant, with its innovative cuisine and celebrity following, has a prime location at V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. The view and location is enough to make this restaurant a firm favourite and its world-class cuisine has made this restaurant famous. Master chef Nobuyuki 'Nobu' Matsuhisa has built this empire by offering mesmerising dishes and fresh indulgences such as Sake Roast Whitefish, Chocolate Bento Box and Sake and Shochu based cocktails.

Chinese Cuisine
Make Restaurant - Sea Point
This restaurant is highly recommended with its delightful sushi and Chinese food. The authentic food, irresistible flavours, friendly Chinese chef and good value for money has made this charming establishment a favourite amongst both locals and travellers.

Mexico Cuisine
San Julian - Green Point
For the best Mexican food in Cape Town, San Julian Taco & Tequila Restaurant in Green Point is well known for its authentic Mexican food, ambience, friendly staff and its wide variety of tequilas on offer. This establishment is run by the San Julian family who immigrated from Mexico in 2009. Their reputation and unsurpassed flavours makes the food as genuine and as authentic as you can get in South Africa.

Italian Cuisine
A Tavola - Claremont
For a homely and wholesome traditional Italian meal, A Tavola in Claremont specialises in fresh, home-style Italian fare and makes use of seasonal ingredients. What makes A Tavola special is that they only use organic products sourced from local growers, free range livestock nurtured by farmers who care and fish sourced in a sustainable manner. The handmade pasta and food sourced and prepared with love and care is one of the reasons why this charming restaurant has been voted as Cape Town's best Italian restaurant.

French Cuisine
Pastis Brasserie - Constantia
If you're a French food lover, this cosy bistro is a firm favourite with locals due to its French Flair and Cape Country style ambience and top quality food. Pastis is situated alongside the vineyards of the world-renowned Groot Constantia, the oldest homestead in South Africa and a leading tourist destination. The menu offers an impressive range; quintessentially French with a South African flavour and include items such as bouillabaise, seafood linguine, beef espetada and nicoise salad.

Greek Cuisine
Maria's Greek Cafe & Restaurant - Gardens
This cosy cafe is an absolute delight with its perfect, colourful, delicious food. The Greek country style food is all made from fresh ingredients and is a a treat for your taste buds. The distinctive Mediterranean atmosphere provides the perfect backdrops to try out some of their specialities like their mezze and baklava.

Local Cuisine

A visit to Cape Town would not be complete if you don't sample some of the unique and distinct South African flavours. As we say in South Africa, local is lekker.

Cape Malay Cuisine
Bo Kaap Kombuis - Bo Kaap
South African's love curry and have mastered local dishes that are unique and traditional and are steeped in culture and history. Bo Kaap Kombuis features panoramic views of Table Mountain and Lion's Head and serve traditional and authentic Cape Malay cuisine. A visit to this establishment not only offers world class, tasty food but also offers a cultural experience.

Xhosa and African Cuisine
Marco's African Place - Bo Kaap
In this vibrant orange building, you'll not only encounter authentic décor, but live music and dancing too. The menu specialises in game such as, springbok, kudu and ostrich accompanied by pap and other staples. The menu includes popular Xhosa dishes such as ulwimi (steamed ox tongue in a mustard sauce) and umleqwa (free range chicken and onion stew) and is home to a marimba (Afro-Jazz) band that plays nightly.

Cape Town's Holiday Appeal - Jan 17

Cape Town's gorgeous scenery and beautiful weather has been taken advantage of by the international film industry more and more over the years. The Mother City and its surrounding countryside has hosted some of Hollywood's biggest names as they chase their own silver screen glory.

Many may not know it but some of the biggest blockbusters have been made here thanks to the local studios and experienced crews. But the biggest star normally turns out to be the locations available in Cape Town and the rest of the Western Cape.

In Safe House for instance, with Ryan Reynolds and Denzel Washington, 3 Arts Theatre in Plumstead, one of the oldest theatres in Cape Town, was converted to a sound stage for 3 months during filming. Scenes were also shot at Cape Town stadium and Langa Township which give this film a truly South African and Capetonian feel. The production also made use of some local talent and, with some crowd scenes involving up to 4000 extras, the movie scenes shot in South Africa were as authentic as possible from the scenery to the people.

The Western Cape has a vast range of landscapes, from beaches and forests to arid landscapes and mountains and everything in between. This wide variety provides the perfect setup for scenes which doubles up for a range of places all across the globe. For example, Flashbacks of a Fool with Daniel Craig featured Malibu beach shots which were actually filmed on the Atlantic coast in Cape Town. The film also featured a scene in the upmarket Salt Restaurant at the Ambassador Hotel overlooking the ocean in Bantry Bay. Then there was Tiger House shot in Wynberg which doubled for Surrey, England. In Young Ones, Namaqualand substituted for a futuristic arid American waste land. Doomsday had scenes shot at Ratanga Junction and the rest of the scenes were again a substitute, this time for Scotland's rolling landscapes.

Cape Town is renowned all across the globe for its perfect waves, so it's only apt that the adventure movie The Perfect Wave was shot in and around Cape Town. Starring Scott Eastwood, this love story takes the audience on a journey searching for the perfect wave and with the fantastic weather, the bluest water and the white sandy beaches, there is no better location to feature some of the world's best surfing spots than Cape Town.

In Free Willy: Escape from Pirate's Cove, Kirra's father runs a run-down amusement park in Cape Town, South Africa where a baby orca whale becomes stranded. Muizenberg's Beach Front Water Park was converted to be the star location of this family adventure film. Muizenberg is an idyllic family friendly beach with white sandy beaches and beautiful scenery and with its mild waves and stunning beach front setting, it is the perfect location to film a beach and ocean based family film.

There are so many more, Redemption is a made for TV movie shot mostly just outside of Cape Town, Chronicles had scenes shot at the Artscape Theatre and Cape Town Film Studios, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom featured the actual Robben Island prison where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated, The Giver was filmed in Cape Town, The Deal and even Blood Diamond had scenes shot in the Mother City.

So why is Cape Town so popular? The answer is the diversity of landscapes that are available within only a few hour's drive from Cape Town. You have gorgeous ocean views, mountainous vistas that are second to none, arid desert-like conditions, forests teeming with wildlife, game reserves with the big 5 and one of the most beautiful cities in the world. All of these and so much more are available in easy driving distance for anyone who has an urge to experience a little of this fantastic natural beauty that has been featured in all of these Hollywood movies for themselves.

Cape Town Ocean Activities - Dec 16

Cape Town is based in a unique position surrounded by oceans. The 1000m high peninsula divides the Atlantic Ocean side with the Indian Ocean side and the expansive False Bay is 30 kilometers wide at its widest point. Cape Point provides a spectacular view and although not the true place where the two ocean meet, it is one of the most beautiful view points in the world where the ocean view is endless. Cape Town's ocean teems with wildlife provides the perfect opportunity for endless ocean based activities.

Surfing
Cape Town is a famous surfing destination where seasoned surfers from across the globe seek out the thrill of riding the notorious waves. Cape Town is dotted with both idyllic, beginner beaches and adrenalin pumping big waves that will intimidate even the most experienced surfers. For the beginners, Muizenberg Beach is the place to be with its small, fun waves and relaxed beach vibe. Long Beach in Kommetjie is a scene of serenity and picture perfect waves that makes it the perfect destination for the intermediate surfer and surf photographers. Intermediate to advanced surfers can also escape the crowd and head to the nearby Scarborough beach with its stunning views and low levels of congestion. Big Bay between Melkbos and Bloubergstrand is popular with all levels of experience depending on the weather. On small days it is perfect for the beginner and more suitable for the intermediate and advanced on bigger wave days. For the very experienced surfers, there is Off The Wall in Mouille Point, Dunes near Noordhoek Beach and the Crayfish Factory near Kommetjie where surfers can escape the crowds and experience some of Cape Town's most exhilarating waves. If you have the courage of a soldier, Dungeons is a big wave, tow-in spot near Hout Bay. Red Bull Big Wave Africa used to hold their annual event here due to the monstrous waves the size of buildings. In 2006, the record for the biggest wave ridden in Africa at the time was made at Dungeons with a tow-in surfer tackling a colossal 60 foot wave. This spot is definitely not for the faint hearted and if you are either inexperienced or value your life, a short hike up the mountainside provides the perfect location for a picnic while watching adrenaline junkies through binoculars.

Snorkeling and Diving
Cape Town has a wide range of snorkeling and diving sites with gentle sheltered bays for a tranquil day out to deep offshore wrecks and reefs for the adventurous and skilled divers. Long Beach in Simon's Town is a sand bottomed site with a few small wrecks and old mooring tackle providing artificial reefs. This is a great training destination with a wide variety of ocean life to keep your dive interesting. Windmill Beach is one of the most popular sites amongst both snorkelers and divers. The protected beach entry and small sheltered bay provides a tranquil snorkel and the offshore reefs to the East of the beach produces a wide variety of fish and invertebrates for divers. If you have a spirit for adventure, free diving with Cow Sharks is a once in a life time experience. Shark Alley in the Castle Rock Marine Protected Area is one of the best places to dive with these magnificent creatures. Diving is best done during Winter and a permit is required. Cape Town is dotted with shipwrecks and many provide excellent diving opportunities. One of them is the SS Clan Stuart, a 3500 ton British steamer that was wrecked in 1914 in Simon's Town and lies in fairly shallow water at 8m. This historic wreck is a local favourite amongst divers as it provides accessible shore access, is well protected from the South Westerly swell and provides a diverse and interesting population of reef animals. Other popular sites include Sunny Cove, the Quarry, Roman Rock, A Frame, Spaniard Rock, Outer Castle and Outer Castle. For the adrenalin junkies, you can face the most fearsome and feared creature in the ocean from the safety of a metal cage. Come face to face with the majestic Great White Shark with the many Shark Cage Dive operators that operate in False Bay which is home to this frightening predator. You don't need any diving experience for this adventure, just the courage of a lion.

Boating and Cruise Adventures
Cape Town is the perfect destination for anyone who would love to get out to sea. From relaxing booze and lunch cruises in the harbour to thrilling deep sea fishing adventures, Cape Town has something for everyone. At the famous V&A Waterfront there are a variety of cruises available for all ages. You can choose between site seeing cruises, lunch or champagne cruises, dinner or sunset cruises and even a Jolly Roger Pirate Boat themed adventure. Cape Town is famous worldwide for its whale season when Southern Right Whales migrate to calve and breed. The whales are frequently seen close to shore but to guarantee a sighting, it's best to hop on one of the many whale watching boat cruises available. If you are a bird watcher, Cape Town is renowned for its pelagic birding trips where you can spot Petrels, Albatross, Shearwaters and much more. These trips often produce rarities that people travel from all over the world to spot. Cape Town also has a unique and sought after variety of game fish and you can try your luck in catching Tuna, Snoek, Yellowtail, Mako Sharks, Dorado and more over 40 miles offshore.

With all these great adventures and many more, Cape Town is a must on your itinerary.

Best sushi spots in Cape Town - Nov 2016

Sushi lovers are in for a treat when visiting Cape Town, South Africa. Not only are there a wide range of world class sushi restaurants and deli's, Cape Town has some of the worlds best scenery, views and has been voted the best city in the world on numerous occasions.

1) Harbour House - V&A Waterfront
For a great location, legendary sushi platters and friendly staff, Harbour house is a stunning seaside restaurant based at V&A Waterfront. Fine dining in such a gorgeous settings earned them the 2015 Certificate of Excellence by Tripadvisor. The glass walls surrounding the restaurant enables you to enjoy the lively atmosphere of the Waterfront and appreciate the perfect backdrop of Cape Town Harbour. There is also a stunning Harbour House restaurant in Kalk Bay.

2) Andy's Sushi Bar - Sea Point
This Asian-inspired eatery serves top quality, creative sushi at reasonable prices. Chef Andy Wang has a passion for preparing delicious and authentic dishes. Bring your own drinks and enjoy top quality sushi at this colourful little eatery.

3) Kyoto Garden Sushi - Cape Town
Kyoti is an authentic Japanese Restaurant located in the heart of Cape Town. Not only were they awarded the Best Asian Restaurant at the Eat Out Awards in 2014, they also source and serve top-quality, unusual ingredients from all over the world. Farmed abalone, scallops, Alaskan King crab, sea urchins and eel are some of the interesting items you can find on their menu. Interesting variations and exquisite food tantalises taste buds while the intimate, tranquil Zen setting provides the perfect ambience.

4) Fugu Restaurant - Cape Town
This up market yet relaxed spot serves outstanding, mouth watering sushi and a broad range of Thai, Japanese & Chinese Hot dishes. The generous sushi menu is very popular with the local sushi lovers whilst the more traditional seafood lovers are spoilt with diversity.

5) The Codfather - Camps Bay
The Codfather has been delighting both locals and tourists for over 17 years with its gorgeous views of the ocean and its appetizing, creative sushi. There are endless options and all the sushi is SASSI-approved so you can have the peace of mind that the food you are served is sustainable to the oceans. The restaurant is trendy and buzzing but you can opt for a quiet, romantic meal in their exclusive wine cellar should you choose to.

6) Balducci Asian Noodle & Sushi Bar - V&A Waterfront
This little gem is rumoured to be the best Sushi bar at the V&A Waterfront. Only the freshest ingredients are used by their professional Japanese and Asian chefs and the great views and fantastic service makes it a definite visit for next time your mouth is watering for sushi.

7) Willoughby & Co - V&A Waterfront
You can expect nothing less than extraordinary seafood and sushi at this much loved spot. The substantial menu is packed with inventive dishes and the best technically constructed sushi that are served with pride.

8) Nobu Louge - V&A Waterfront
This international chain of 30 restaurants across the globe features its newest outpost at the Cape Town Waterfront. Featuring a world-class chef, this visual and culinary delight spoils you with simple, creative sushi and sashimi menus. Patrons are also spoilt for choice with traditional drinks like a selection of Sakes including plum wines, Japanese beer and a Selection of Sake and Shochu based cocktails.

9) Just Sushi - Simon's Town
This charming sushi restaurant not only has, what many claim, to be the best sushi in the South, it is also overlooking Simon's Town Harbour captivating both your taste buds and delighting you with picturesque views of the boats, birds and ocean. This establishment is simple, friendly and well priced.

10) Sushi Box - Cape Town
The Sushi Box has various outlets in Cape Town including Newlands, De Waterkant and Kloof Street. They offer both eat in and take away sushi and are famous for their custom takeaway presentation making them a choice restaurant to pick up sushi for your next catering events.

11) 1890 House Sushi - Observatory
This hidden gem in Observatory has great sushi, a great selection and great prices and is a must for all sushi fans. Sushi is served off a conveyor belt and they also have an extensive Chinese menu and some Thai options.

12) Panama Jacks - Cape Town
Panama Jacks have been operating at Cape Town Harbour since 1989 and transformed from its humble beginnings serving the Royal Cape Yacht Club to a world renowned, top quality seafood restaurant. The chilled fisherman's setting and Caribbean atmosphere makes it the perfect place to relax and enjoy the harbour. If that's not enough, the sushi is to die for and will surely not disappoint even the most hardcore sushi lover.

13) Beluga - Green Point
Beluga has grown into one of Cape Town's most loved restaurants for sushi. The restaurant is located in a 100 year old building and is a truly memorable place to enjoy high quality and well presented sushi. Their half price sushi specials means that you can eat more and not worry about a huge bill.

14) Umi Restaurant – Camps Bay
Situated at The Marly Boutique Hotel, this prime location on Camps Bay's trendy beachfront has a killer vibe and a million dollar view. The extraordinary Japanese sushi and Asian-inspired atmosphere makes Umi a firm favourite with foodies.

15) Blowfish Restaurant - Tableview
Renowned for its fine seafood and superb quality sushi, Blowfish Restaurant offers a magnificent setting and breathtaking scenery. Long-standing favourites are complemented by new additions keeping the menu innovative.

Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve - Oct 2016

The Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve is situated in Cape Town, South Africa and is a treasure trove of unspoiled beaches, magnificent scenery, picturesque picnic spots and timeless tales surrounding its history and landmarks. The Southernmost tip of the reserve ends in the majestic Cape Point which offers majestic views that will leave you breathless.

Portugese explorer Bartolomeu Dias first rounded Cape Point in 1488 and called it the 'Cape of Storms' due to its unpredictable weather and menacing storms. 10 years later, Vasco da Gama opened up a new trading route with the East and India by navigating the same route and Portugal's King John 11 renamed it to the 'Cape of Good Hope' because of the considerable optimism the new route generated.

By night and in heavy fog, the rocky shores became a tremendous danger to passing ships and the coastline has become a ship graveyard with nearly 3000 sunken ships. The Portugese built two navigational beacons, Dias Cross and Da Gama Cross to honour the early explorers and warn passing ships of a hidden danger. When lined up, the crosses point to Whittle Rock, a large submerged hazard, which has been the cause of many shipwrecks. In 1859, the first lighthouse was completed making navigation along this shipwreck littered coastline safer for the nervous traders. The lighthouse still stands at 238 meters above sea-level and is currently used as a centralised monitoring point for all the lighthouses in South Africa.

To access this historic lighthouse, visitors can either catch an exhilarating ride in the Flying Dutchman funicular or challenge themselves with a brisk uphill walk to the top. The lighthouse isn't the only highlight you will encounter on top of Cape Point. The rugged rocks, sheer cliffs and panoramic ocean views will leave you breathless and the rich diversity of fauna and flora will keep you fascinated.

At the foot of the walk, the Two Oceans Restaurant offers the finest seafood and world class views. Shoppers are also in for a treat shopping for curios and mementos at the three curio shops.

While Cape Point is a definite must see on your itinerary, there are countless things to see and do in the park. A definite detour is a visit to cultural and historic spots like the monuments dedicated to the great explorers Vasco da Gama and Bartolomeu Diaz. Spend the afternoon swimming, barbecuing or lazing around at the picturesque picnic spots at Bordjiesrif and Buffels Bay tidal pools. Visitors to this World Heritage Site between June and October will be rewarded with awe-inspiring views of migrating Southern Right Whales that grace the Western Cape shores every year. These aren't the only creatures to delight visitors in the park, Cape of Good Hope is abundant with local fauna and flora. The park boasts over 1100 indigenous fynbos species which is the highest concentration anywhere in the world. There are also an abundance of bird and mammals species, including the world's largest antelope, the Eland, and the Cape Mountain Zebra. One of the best ways to enjoy the park is to get on foot and explore the many shipwreck, scenic and overnight trails.

No matter your age, fitness level or interests, there is something for everyone in this 7800 hectare park and its 40 kilometer coastline.

Coffee Culture Cape Town - Sep 2016

Coffee Culture has been a trending industry across the globe for many years and it has grown astronomically in Cape Town over the last few years. You would be surprised to learn that before the year 2000, there were only six coffee shops in Cape Town City Centre but today there are over 60 coffee shops in the city centre alone and hundred's more across the province. This booming industry has turned Cape Town into a perfect destination for coffee lovers and along with the stunning views and scenery, Cape Town is not only a coffee destination but also offers a vibrant coffee culture for the caffeine fanatics.

Starting off our tour of some of the best coffee shops and roastery's in Cape Town, we are going to begin with one of the oldest coffee roasters in Town. Anthony's Golden Cup Coffee Shop offers 45 years of experience in roasting some of Capetonians favourite blends including African and South American and a variety of blends from Blue Mountain, Old Vienna and Mocha Java and Espresso. They also have some of their own classics like 'The Golden Cup Special Household Blend' or their 'Out of Africa' blend to provide you with a unique coffee experience.

For a vintage feel with its eclectic interior and history, Café Mozart is the perfect places to relax and watch the city go by. This little coffee shop, located on Church Street in the CBD, is a renowned landmark and has been serving some of the cities best coffee roasts for over 40 years. The café has been under Madame Zingara's management since 2010 which has added a new bohemian style to the store which has drawn in a more eclectic clientele. Café Mozart is the perfect place to enjoy a cup of coffee with its tables spilling out onto the antiques market & shaded pedestrian walkway.

Also based on Church Street is Deluxe Coffeeworks. This roastery and coffee shop serve a unique blend of high quality coffee sourced from all over the globe including Kenya, Nicaragua, Ethiopia and Brazil. If their coffee tickles your taste buds and gets your mouth-watering for more, they will freshly grind some beans to your specification to take home with you.

Rosetta Roastery roasts and supply their own range of coffee and has a roastery / café at the Woodstock Exchange specialising in slowly brewed speciality blends that will satisfy any coffee lover. Original single origin coffees are sourced from South America, Africa and Asia and each are roasted to best represent its unique taste and personality.

The coffee is as good as it gets at David Donde's new coffee spot, Truth. With over a decades worth of experience in the Coffee Industry, David is not only a coffee genius but also a marketing genius and with the combination of world-class coffee and a charming environment, Truth has already been listed by The Telegraph as one of the world's best coffee shops. The shop is decorated with metal piping and quirky old machinery, making it a steam punk inspired artisan coffee shop.

From its humble beginnings operating out of a garage, Bean There has grown at an exponential rate to become one of South Africa's top coffee companies specialising in the sourcing, roasting and distribution of Africa's finest single origin, fair trade coffee. The personally sourced beans are roasted in the coffee shop, so you can virtually see the whole process while you are there. You can taste each country's unique character as they only sell single origin coffee.

No matter your taste and if you prefer the trendy spots or the quaint, quiet spots, Cape Town offers some of the finest coffee in the world and an array of places to drink them.

Wildlife adventures in Cape Town - August 2016

Cape Town and the Western Cape offers a wide range of wildlife activities and adventures for the nature lover from magical butterfly experiences to hair raising encounters with Great White sharks and everything in between.

Big 5 Adventures

• Aquila Private Game Reserve
The Four Star Aquila Private Game Reserve is located in the Little Karoo where you can experience the famous Big Five which includes the lion, elephant, buffalo, elephant and leopard. The reserve is a 10 000 hectare conservancy and offers a wide range of safaris including horseback, quad bikes, days trips and overnight safaris. As part of a wildlife conservation effort, cheetahs are also captive bred and you can experience an educational introduction to the fastest land mammal.

• Fairy Glen
Only an hour's drive from Cape Town, you can experience the magical Big 5 at Fairy Glen Big 5 Safaris. Tucked away at the foot of the majestic Brandwacht Mountains, this award winning private game reserve also hosts a variety of other mammal, bird and reptile species giving you an over all African wildlife experience. Set amid indigenous fynbos vegetation, Fairy Glen offers both game drives and horse back safaris and onsite accommodation.

Wildlife Adventures

• Drakenstein Lion Park
A short drive from Cape Town, you can experience a once in a lifetime opportunity to sleep amongst lions. Overnight in a well appointed tented camp surrounded by the roars of the King of the Jungle. A traditional South African braai is served in the rustic Lapa where you can also enjoy sundowners overlooking the Drakenstein Mountain Range. The Lion Park is a wildlife sanctuary dedicated to preserving these majestic animals and provides lifetime care to captive born lions and assists in re-homing lions in distress.

• Table Mountain National Park
The Table Mountain National Park protects the fragile eco-system surrounding the City of Cape Town. The park is home to many indigenous species and is part of a fascinating fynbos ecosystem that is unique to this area of South Africa and is the only kind in the world. The park extends all the way from Table Mountain to the far South including Cape Point and Boulder's Beach so whether you are in for a hike, a casual stroll, a picnic or a drive through the park, there is something for everyone.

• Monkeyland
Monkeyland is the worlds first free roaming multi-species private sanctuary and homes 18 different species of primates. 11 of these species are free roaming in a 12 hectare forest, making this once in a lifetime experience both intimate and a photographers dream. Species include Vervet Monkeys, 2 Lemur species, 2 Langur species, Black Howler Monkeys, Spider Monkeys and the White Handed Gibbon.

• Giraffe House Wildlife Awareness Centre
Only 39 km from Cape Town, you can explore 39 hectares of magnificent wildlife and bird habitat at Giraffe House. Meet the resident giraffe Gerry who, at almost 6 meters tall, was hand-reared and part of the wildlife education program. Giraffe House not only boasts the tallest land animal but also the biggest and smallest antelopes and the biggest bird. Make a day of it, bring a picnic basket and explore the home of over 50 African animal species.

Sea Life Adventures

• Great White Shark cage diving
If you are in for a thrill or have ever dreamed of getting up close and personal with a Great White Shark in its natural habitat, cage diving is a must for your itinerary. Cape Town is a hotspot for these fearsome, yet magnificent creatures. There are a wide variety of tour operators in the area and if coming face to face with these apex predators is the subject of your worst nightmare, you can also view them from the comfort of the boat.

• Hermanus Whale Festival
From June to November, Southern Right Whales visit the Cape waters to breed and calve. Cape Town is one of the world's most spectacular vantage points for whale watching. These majestic animals can easily be observed close to shore or you can join one of the many whale watching boat cruises that operate in and around Cape Town. Every year these whales migrate from their icy feeding grounds off Antarctica to the Cape Coastal waters giving whale watchers amazing displays of spectacular water acrobatics. Although these giant mammals can be spotted all along the Cape Coast, Hermanus is known as the whale capital of the world and thousands of enthusiastic visitors head to the annual whale festival which takes place around October each year.

Birding Adventures

• Boulders Beach Penguin Colony
Boulders Beach in Simon's Town is home to the endangered African Penguin. The breeding pairs of this vulnerable species suffered a loss of 80% in just over 50 years and the Boulders Penguin Colony was established in 1983 to try and preserve this tuxedoed little bird. This beach, with its wind sheltered bays and safe sandy shores, offers an interesting opportunity to observe these birds.

• World of Birds
World of Birds is the largest bird park in Africa with over 3 000 birds in more than 100 spacious walk through aviaries. Located in Hout Bay, this tropical garden is a must see for all nature lovers and photographers who want an intimate closeness with nature. The reserve includes birds of Southern Africa as well as exotic birds, including cormorants, pelicans, parrots, penguins, eagles and owls. World of Birds also serves as a sanctuary, orphanage and breeding centre, caring for injured birds and breeding threatened species.

Reptiles and Insect Adventures

• Imhoff Snake Park
If you are interested in observing and learning about some fascinating reptile species, Imhoff Snake Park is a must on your itinerary. You will find some of the worlds most interesting snakes and reptiles at this reptile sanctuary and rehabilitation centre. Some residents worth observing include the blue-tongued skink, a 3.5 meter long yellow anaconda, a Mozambique spitting cobra and the African rock python. Combine the visit with a lunch at one of the restaurants and a visit to the Higgeldy Piggeldy Farm Yard.

• Butterfly World
Butterfly World is a unique attraction and consists of a tropical garden in a 1000 square meter green house. You can experience these magical creatures in this spectacular environment where exotic butteries can fly around freely. Not only can you experience the vibrant colours of these beautiful, wonderful creatures but these stunning gardens also host a large aviary, a meerkat enclosure, free range farm animals and a spider room.

Top Historical Sites in Cape Town, Western Cape - June 2016

The first Europeans to discover Cape Town were the Portuguese, led by Bartholomeu Dias in 1488, followed by the Dutch in 1652 when Jan van Riebeeck was sent to establish a halfway station for travelling ships. Since then, Cape Town is steeped full of history from historical sites, figures and even famous dogs. Here are a few of our favourites.

The legendary tale of Just Nuisance
Just Nuisance left his paw print in history with a legendary tale that made him Cape Town's most famous dog. Born on a Thursday on 1 April 1937 in Rondebosch and sold to Benjamin Chaney who moved to Simon's Town to run the United Service Institute (USI). As fast as he grew in size, the Great Dane quickly became popular with everyone who worked at the institute who would feed him all sorts of snacks and take him for walks. He soon began to follow them to the South African Navy Base and would sun himself on top of the gang plank. At almost 2 metres (6.6 ft) tall when standing on his hind legs, he became quite an obstacle for those trying to board and he affectionately became known as Nuisance. Just Nuisance began to follow the sailors onto the trains and take trips of up to 22 miles (35 km), the disgruntled train officials would put him off the trains but this would not deter him as he would simply board the next train or walk to another station. Even though besotted travellers would offer to pay his fare, the South African Railways company eventually threatened an ultimatum that he would be put down if he continued to board the trains. The South African Navy responded to this threat by enlisting him as an official Navy officer (the first dog ever to be enlisted), which meant he was officially entitled to free rail travel. For the next few years he served with honour as a faithful travel companion to the sailors and a morale booster for the troops serving in World War 2. In 1944, at the age of 7, Just Nuisance was involved in a serious car accident and was euthanised after his condition deteriorated drastically. He was buried with full naval honours on top of the hill at Klawer. Visitors to Simon's Town can visit his grave or admire the statue erected in his honour at Jubilee Square.

Robben Island
Robben Island is a tiny island in Table Bay, Cape Town located 6.9km west of Bloubergstrand. The name is Dutch for "seal island" but it is famous, not for its seals, but for it's dark history. At different times in the past, it was a leper colony, defense training base and a mental hospital but it is most famous as a prison where former South African president Nelson Mandela was banished during the Apartheid struggle. Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela spent 18 of his 27 year incarceration on the prison island. The prison is also known as the 'university of the struggle' as many of the most famous anti-apartheid activists sharpened their political thinking and formed lifelong relationships while they were behind bars. They emerged to lead South Africa into democracy and changed the course of South African history. Robben Island has become a World Heritage Site and visitors can catch a short boat trip to the island and visit the cell in which Nelson Mandela was kept. It will give you a unique glimpse into the great sacrifice the anti-apartheid leaders made in order to make South Africa a better place for all.

The Castle of Good Hope
The oldest surviving colonial building in South Africa is the Castle of Good Hope and was built between 1666 and 1679 by the Dutch East India Company. It was not only built as a replenishment station for their ships journeying from Europe to the East but as tensions rose between Britain and Netherlands amid rumours of war, Zacharias Wagenaer was instructed to build a pentagonal fortress out of stone. The fortress housed a bakery, church, living quarters, various workshops, shops and during the Second Boer War part of the castle was also used as a prison. In 1936, the Castle of Good Hope was declared a national monument, the first building in South Africa, and extensive restorations took place to preserve the building. Guided tours of the Castle are conducted daily and you can visit the workshops, the living quarters, the cellars and dungeons. Key ceremonies are performed, replicating the ceremonial unlocking of the Castle and is followed by the firing of the signal cannon.

Bo-Kaap
Bo-Kaap is a photographers dream with all its colourful houses and cobble stoned streets. Situated above the city centre, it offers a unique trip into the Malay history of the early Muslim settlers as it is the historical centre of the Cape Malay culture. The Bo-Kaap museum is the oldest house in the area that is still in its original form and dates back to the 1660s. A visit to the museum will highlight the cultural contribution made by early Muslim settlers in South Africa and the little village on the slopes of Signal Hill offers a unique cultural experience with its many restaurants serving traditional Cape Malay cuisine and unique shops. You will also be able to hear the Noon Day Gun which is Cape Town's oldest lasting tradition going back to 1806. The cannon has historically been fired every day at noon since.

West Coast Fossil Park
A short drive from Cape Town will transport you back in time to the West Coast Fossil Park which has a rich fossil deposit dating back over 5 million years to the Milocene / early Pilocene era. Located near Langebaan, the fossil sites have exceptionally well-preserved fossil fauna and includes many extinct animals that lived in the riverine forest and wooded savanna when the sea levels were much higher. You can see the fossils of bears, sabre-tooth cats, short-necked giraffes, three-toed horses and many other exotic animals which inhabited the west coast area at the time. Activities at the park includes fun, educational activities as well as coffee shops, picnic sites and mountain bike trails.

Cape Town's top family friendly activities - May 2016

When you have children, you know that the most important factor in choosing a holiday destination is picking a place that is not only family friendly but also packed with activities to keep the little ones occupied and happy. There are endless family friendly beaches, wine farms, restaurants, resorts and outdoor activities. The city of Cape Town boasts a wealth of fun activities that will etch your holiday in their memory for many years to come. Here are a few of our favourites.

1) Cave golf & scratch patch
Every kid enjoys a good game of putt putt. Cave Golf is based at the W&A Waterfront and is an interesting indoor 18 hole course. It is set inside a enchanting man-made cave with an assortment obstacles that will keep your kids as well as the adults entertained. Right next door a Scratch Patch where you kids can emerge themselves in picking out their own beautiful gemstones.

2) Bugz family playpark
Bugz Family Playpark is the largest play park in the Western Cape. There is an indoor and outdoor play area with a wide variety of activities including pedal cars, jumping castles, rowing boats, horse rides, mini tractor rides, a choo-choo train, a tree house, a castle and waterslides. The play park will challenge minds, exercise and burn through that extra energy in no time.

3) Cape Town Science Centre
With over 250 interactive displays and a wide range of events and activities, the Science Centre will provide some education fun and a world of wonder that will inspire your kids as well as stimulate curiosity and develop an enquiring mind.

4) World of Birds
World of Birds is situated in the picturesque town of Hout Bay and is the largest bird park in Africa. There are over 3000 birds and you can have an intimate encounter with them with the landscaped walks through the aviaries. A must for the kids is the Monkey Jungle where they can interact with the cute squirrel monkeys.

5) Ratanga Junction
There is something for everyone at Ratanga Junction. Based in Century City, there are more than 30 attractions suitable for children of all ages. Rides on the park include a zipline, canal boats, slingshots, a world-class roller coaster, climbing walls and much more.

6) Boulders Beach
What is there not to love about cute, waddling penguins? Boulders Beach, located in a sheltered little bay in Simon's Town is home to over 2000 endangered African Penguins. The beach forms part of the Table Mountain National Park Marine Protected area and there is breeding program to help ensure the survival of these magnificent penguins. A stunning walkway has been established to explore the area and their nesting and breeding sites. An intimate experience with these endangered birds will be a memorable one for both young and old.

7) Table Mountain Cableway
A visit to Cape Town is incomplete without catching a cable car up the iconic, world famous Table Mountain. Enjoy a day of food, fun and natural beauty and during Kids Season in Winter, your children can ride for free and engage in an exciting treasure hunt.

8) Two Oceans Aquarium
Take your kids on a magical aquatic journey at Two Oceans Aquarium based at the V&A Waterfront. The aquarium offers unique experiences like diving with predators, meeting rockhopper penguins face to face, visit the worlds only living kelp forest exhibit, touch and feel an assortment of creatures and see creatures that cannot be seen in any other aquarium in the world. The aquarium boasts over 3000 creatures and 88 species.

9) Jolly Roger Pirate Boat
Every child at some stage pretends they are a pirate, make them feel like a real fearsome pirate onboard the Jolly Roger Pirate Boat. The Jolly Roger offers the young an authentic, adventure-filled experience and is the only pirate boat in South Africa. The boat departs daily and you will be able to enjoy fantastic views of Table Mountain, Granger Bay, Robben Island and Clifton. There are often sightings of whales, dolphins and other marine life

10) The Ice Station
Whether you are young or old, a novice or professional, a day gliding on ice at The Ice Station is something the whole family can enjoy. Based at Grand West Casino, the many restaurants, movies, shows and other activities makes it an exciting day out. There is also a mini-arena for the younger kids to enjoy themselves without getting hurt by the older kids.

Cape Town voted best city in the world for the 4th time - Apr 2016

Readers of the 2015/2016 Telegraph Travel Awards have once again chosen Cape Town as the best city in the World for the 4th consecutive year beating both Vancouver and Venice. This prestigious award is voted for by over 75 000 readers worldwide.

If that's not enough to brag about, in the Reader's Choice awards, Cape Town also took the top spot as the number one food destination in the world. Along with the freshest sea food, Cape Town offers anything from traditional Cape Malay, South African delicacies to Italian, Chinese and everything in between. Many of the restaurants and wine farms, not only offer world class food but also breathtaking scenery and views.

Cape Town as a destination offers a variety of things to do for both the young and old, the foodies, the travellers or the adventurers. The stunning scenery, great lifestyle, vibrant and an interesting cultural and cosmopolitan mix makes Cape Town one of the world's best destinations for a holiday.

Situated between the ocean and the mountains, the Mother City has a cultural heritage spanning more than 300 years. A few attractions that is a must on every tourists itinerary is a trip up Table Mountain, The V&A Waterfront with its many shops, restaurants and world class Two Oceans Aquarium, the famous Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, the internationally acclaimed Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens and a full moon walk up Lion's Head.

Cape Town is also very well known for its views and magnificent landscapes. There are countless hiking opportunities to some of the most incredible lookout spots but don't fear if you don't have your hiking boots with you. You can catch a cable car up Table Mountain or simply take a leisurely drive on the breathtaking Chapman's Peak drive. Unless you lock yourself up in your hotel room with the curtains drawn, it is difficult to escape magnificent views of both the mountains and the beaches. Short drives will take you to the winelands and stretches of country landscapes. If you do plan on just relaxing in your hotel room, there are countless hotels and guest houses with sweeping views of the ocean or mountain.

Getting around Cape Town is relatively easy via the trains and MyCIty bus service but for a full experience it's best to hire a car as you can travel a bit further to experience places like the West Coast, Winelands and the whale watching capital Hermanus.

Exciting Easter activities in Cape Town - Mar 2016

For the kids:
1) Lindt Chocolate Studio Easter Kids Class (19 & 26 MAR)
Your children will be boasting with pride after attending this workshop and moulding their very own official Lindt Gold Bunny along with an artistic and delicious chocolate garden to home for their Lindt Bunny. The Lindt Chocolate studio is based at the Cape Quarter and the classes cost R200p/p. Book early as there are only limited spaces available.

2) Make your own bunny ears with Capegate (18 - 28 MAR)
The Centre Court at the Capegate Shopping Centre will be filled with fun with arts and crafts for free. Your kids will be entertained making their own bunny ears with a very special appearance by the Easter Bunny on 26 and 27 March.

3) Easter Egg Hunting on Table Mountain (31 MAR)
Take your kids on a magical fairy tale ride up Table Mountain. After taking the Cableway, your children will be met by the Easter Bunny, the Easter Fairy and The Mad Hatter. Your treasure hunters will be given treasure maps to hunt for chocolate treats and Easter Eggs. Along with the Easter Egg hunt there will be various other activities to keep your little ones (as well as yourself) entertained.

4) Cavendish Square Gold Bunny Gardens Easter Egg hunt. (19 - 21 MAR)
Your kids will be filled with awe visiting the enchanting gold gardens and embarking on Easter Egg hunts. The little hunters will be rewarded with Gold Bunny minis and Lindor eggs and one lucky child will find the gold bunny 100g. Entrance is free and hunts take place every half hour from 19 - 21 March.

For the adults:
1) Easter Vortex Trance Party (26 - 28 MAR)

If you're in the party mood, head to Caledon from 26 - 28 March and dance the weekend away at one of the Mother City's most favourite trance party. The weekends features a fantastic international line-up along with talented local producers and mix masters. Camping is included in the ticket price and there will be food and drink stalls. You are welcome to bring your own goodies excluding any glass bottles. Tickets are from R360p/p to R450p/p.

2) Stand-up shows at the Cape Town Comedy Club (23 – 27 MAR)
If you are up for some laughter this Easter, head to the Cape Town Comedy Club based at the V&A Waterfront. The Easter weekend shows will headline the true comedy heavyweight KG and supported by Wesley Cockrell and Darren Amos. The host for the evening will be Mel Jones.

For the whole family:
1) Sedgefield Slow festival (25 - 27 MAR)

There is fun for everyone at the Slow Festival this Easter from a nightly Drive-in, Trail Runs, an Easter Bunny Beach Fling and Egg Dash, Sand Sculpting Challenges to Fashion Shows and Street Parades. The Sedgefield Slow festival is geared towards families and not only will there be tons of entertainment but many charities will be supported with funds raised.

2) Easter at Spier (25 - 27 MAR)
The whole family is invited to celebrate Easter at Spier this year and there will be events to suit both the kids and grown ups. On Good Friday you can feast out at the Eight Restaurant including many Easter Treats or have dinner at the Spier Hotel Restaurant. The Easter Werf Market will be held on the Saturday and Sunday and is guaranteed to be fun for the whole family with food, drink, Easter egg hunts, workshops and a kids entrepreneurial market amongst other activities. On Sunday the Spier Hotel will be hosting a special spitbraai.

3) Easter Lunch at Lanzerac Hotel & Spa (27 MAR)
Along with a special Easter Egg hunt for your children, Lanzerac will be offering a luxury and delicious menu for adults and children. There will also be a delicious dessert buffet and sweet station.

4) Easter lunch at The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa (27 MAR)
The Twelve Apostles Hotel have lined a feast and fun activities for the whole family. Enjoy a festive Easter egg themed buffet lunch with stunning views and live music. The young ones can participate in an exciting Easter Egg Hunt after lunch.

5) Easter picnics and Sunday lunch buffet at Hazendal Wine Estate (3 - 6 APR)
Hazendal in Stellenbosch will be treating both children and adults with an Easter themed picnic basket and Sunday lunch buffet. Picnics can be enjoyed over the whole weekend while the lunch buffet will be served on Sunday afternoon. Your children will be treated with an Easter Egg Hunt after the Sunday lunch.

6) One&Only Cape Town (25 - 27 MAR)
While the adults enjoy a Lindt chocolate fondue with magnificent views of Table Mountain, the kids can join an exciting Easter Egg Hunt at 3pm on Easter Sunday. There will also be an Easter egg decorating workshop with a prize awarded to the most talented young decorator. Alternatively adults can spend celebrate Easter Sunday with a Cape inspired lunch in Reuben's or relax at the Isola restaurant with a Mediterranean-style menu including live entertainment at both venues. The One&Only has fun for the whole family this Easter.

7) The Grande Roche Hotel on Easter Sunday (27 MAR)
Visit Grande Roche in the beautiful Paarl valley and enjoy a delicious Eater brunch with stunning views. For the kiddies there will be a jumping castle and swimming pool. Bookings are essential.

Romantic Cape Town - Feb 2013

With February being the month of love, there is no better place to spoil a loved one than the magnificent sights and sounds of Cape Town. The City of Cape Town and surrounding areas provides the most romantic restaurants, picnic sites, wine farms, beaches and an array of activities to suit any couples tastes.

Below are a list of romantic ideas to get the romance flowing.

Horse riding on Noordhoek beach.
Noordhoek is situated below the slopes of Chapman's Peak and is Cape Town’s hidden treasure with a farming atmosphere. But above all, this is horse lovers’ paradise. With a pristine 6 kilometre stretch of beach, the stunning valley and the majestic peaks of Table Mountain, Noordhoek is the perfect place for a romantic horse ride. If you enjoy the wind in your hair and gentle sea spray on your face then exploring the endless stretch of Noordhoek beach is the perfect romantic outing for you. On the 2 hour guided ride you will experience magnificent views of Chapmans Peak, a shipwreck and a variety of wildlife and birdlife. The horse rides are suitable for all levels of riding ability.

Table Mountain cableway.
The top of Table Mountain has provided the perfect setting for many marriage proposals and declarations of love. Cape Town has long summers days and you can catch the last cable car up on a sunny day to watch the magnificent sun set over the Mother City while sipping a glass of champagne. Take your romance to new heights while savouring the incredible views. So here’s to the lovers of the world – bask in the glory of the beauty and wonder of love!

Romantic picnics.
Pack your own picnic basket and blanket and head to one of the many picnic sites that Cape Town has to offer. Popular spots include Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Table Mountain, Cape Point, Silvermine, Lion's Head and Signal Hill. Many of the wine farms offer pre-packed picnic baskets so you just need to pitch up with romance in your heart and your loved one by your side. When the sun is shining and the sky is blue, experiencing the natural beauty of Cape Town while having a romantic picnic is a great way to relax and unwind.

Sunset cruises.
There are various romantic cruises available from private charters for one couple, dinner cruises to more sociable scenic cruises where you can experience the magnificent scenery along the beautiful coastline. Cruises are perfect for proposals, anniversaries or any special intimate occasion.

Relaxing spa treatments.
There is no better way to spoil your loved one than to melt away all their stresses and strains at a romantic day spa. There is nothing more romantic than enjoying a massage with your loved one. Cape Town and surrounds offers a variety of indoor and outdoor spas for a romantic day with your sweetheart.

Cape Town Carriages.
For something special, hire a carriage and driver and explore Cape Town at your own pace. A carriage ride offers not only a romantic, but also a unique view of Cape Town. For a touch of romance, a carriage for two with champagne is always a great way to spoil someone you love.

Wine and chocolate tasting.
If you are a wine or chocolate lover there are various wine estates that offer wine and chocolate tasting. Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Constantia, Paarl and surrounding areas provide romantic experiences, world class wines, accommodation and majestic mountain backdrops.

A little bit of romance is music to the soul. Spoiling your sweetheart in Cape Town doesn't need to leave you out of pocket as there are a variety of activities to suit all budgets.

Whale Season - Aug 2012

The first few whales have started appearing along our beautiful coastline and we are in for yet another exciting whale watching season. The Western Cape is one of the best places in the world to watch these magnificent mammals from both land and boat. The whales start arriving in June and leave in November but peak season is from September – October. Most of the whales seen are Southern Right Whales although other less commonly seen whales including Bryde’s Whales, Humpback Whales and Orca Whales also occur in Cape Waters. The Southern Right is the easiest to differentiate from the others, as they do not have a fin on their back.

Every year Southern Right whales migrate from their icy feeding grounds off Antarctica to the Western Capes warm sheltered bays to play, court and nurse their newborn calves. They spend up to 5 months of the year here and can be seen a few meters from the shore. False Bay, Hermanus and Gansbaai offers the best whale watching opportunities and you can even watch them jumping and playing from a restaurant or guest house balcony.

Hermanus is the only place in the world that has a whale crier who plays a kelp horn to draw visitors to view the whales who often come as close as 20 - 30 metres from the shore. Hermanus also hosts an annual whale festival at the end of September, which is very popular with both locals and tourists. Licensed boat operators are not allowed within 300 metres of the whales making land based watching just as satisfying and it is not uncommon to watch a mother and calf frolicking a few metres from shore.

The Southern Right Whale averages 15 metres in length and can weigh up to an astonishing 60 tons. They are filter feeders and eat plankton and other tiny crustaceans. The gestation period is about a year and the calf is born tail first. It is an experience to be remembered watching their antics of breaching, lobtailing, spyhopping, fluking, blowing and logging.

Witnessing these majestic animals instills a sense of calm and wonder leaving you breathless for the rest of the day. Whale watching from our magnificent shored is an inexpensive and unique experience not to be missed. Let your friends and family know just how easy it was to get so close to these giants of the ocean.

Exploring The Garden Route - Apr 2012

The Garden Route is a diverse lush landscape dotted with lagoons, lakes, kloofs and rivers. The climate is mild, the beaches vast and the forests abundant. It includes towns such as Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, Wilderness, Nature’s Valley and George and is regarded as the most beautiful area in South Africa.

The area is jam packed with things to do for all ages and types. George has an airport but driving from Cape Town is rewarding with all its picnic spots, attractions and viewpoints.

Below are some highlights of the Garden Route

  • Ostrich farms – Oudtshoorn is South Africa’s ostrich capital and you can get up close and personal with the largest bird in the world when you visit any of the local farms. Most of the farms offer guided tours, ostrich rides and ostrich products.
  • Exploring Knysna – Knysna is by far the most popular town along the Garden Route with its many attractions. You can explore or fish the Knysna Lagoon by yacht or ferry and indulge in local oysters while sipping on locally brewed Mitchell’s beer at the many eateries at Knysna Waterfront, The Knysna Heads are known as the most striking feature along the entire Southern African coastline and is well worth a visit.
  • The Cango Caves – 29km from Oudtshoorn lies the underground wonderland of the Cango Caves. Inside the caves you can explore with easy walks or adventure caving offered by experienced guides. You will be faced with breath taking formations, ancient stalactites, decorative chambers, soaring columns and impressive stalagmites.
  • The Otter Trail – The Otter Trail is by far the most popular hiking trail in Africa. It takes 5 days to complete and follows 42.5kms of spectacular coastline from the Storms River Mouth to Natures Valley in the Tsitsikamma National Park. Too far for you? There are an endless amount of shorter trails and day walks in Knysna Forest, Wilderness National Park, Tsitsikamma as well as many coastline walks.
  • Treetop Canopy Tours – The Tsitsikamma Forest canopy is rich with magnificent indigenous flora, bird life and scenery. The fun and adventurous zip line consists of 10 slides and 10 platforms, the longest of which is 100m, which make its way through a forested valley.
  • Elephant Parks – Get up-close-and-personal with the worlds largest land mammal. There are 2 elephant parks in the Garden Route, the Addo Elephant Park and the Knysna Elephant Park. At Knysna Elephant Park you can even touch, feed and take photographs of these gentle giants and time spent in their presence will leave you in awe.

No matter what your idea of a holiday is, the Garden Route has something for everyone. The magnificent scenery alone makes this area well worth a visit.

Wining, Dining and Dancing in Cape Town - Feb 2012

Spending a sunny Christmas and New Year’s in shorts and flip-flops outweighs the joys of having a white Christmas in our books. If the stunning weather, girls in bikinis and magnificent views are not enough to make you climb on the first plane, the wide variety of activities, festivals, concerts and happenings should give you enough reason to celebrate Christmas and New Years in Cape Town. Here are some ideas to celebrate in style.

• Catch a cable car to the top of Table Mountain on Christmas Day and meet Father Christmas at the Lower or Upper Station. The restaurant will also be offering a special Christmas themed menu. You can watch the last sunset of 2011 and welcome the New Year from the top of the mountain with the last cable car going back down at 1am.
• The Kirstenbosch Summer Concerts offer a relaxed way to spend a Sunday afternoon in a breathtaking setting. The best way to enjoy the concert is to pack a picnic basket, bring along the family and friends and relax on the grass banks while enjoying the music echoing through the beautiful botanical gardens. Enjoy carols by candlelight, the popular rock band Zebra & Giraffe as well as South African icons Mango Groove partying in 2012.
• Nothing spells summer more than enjoying a picnic on the many wine farms that Cape Town has to offer. A day out in the countryside is ideal for the whole family and the majority of wine farms offer a Christmas menu or Christmas picnic to enjoy on the farm.
• If you are after massive crowds, huge dance floors and a good party. The 5fm New Year’s Party at V&A Waterfront is bound to be the biggest party in Cape Town. Hotshot DJs will be entertaining the crowd while the New Year rolls in.
• The Wavescape Film Festival takes place from the 9th – 19th of December and includes local and international films as well as an auction of artistic surfboards for charity. The Film Festival opens it’s screening on Clifton Beach and draws surfers from far and wide.
• For that last minute Christmas shopping, Cape Town has a wide variety of retail centers, flea markets, craft markets and much more. With places like Green Point Flea Market, Kirstenbosch Craft Market, Century City and Cavendish Mall you will most certainly find what it is that your heart desires.
• If its fine dining you're after with the family on Christmas day there is no better place to indulge in anything from the best seafood, sushi, Italian, Cuban, Mexican, Greek, you name it, and of course take-aways by the beach if that’s your fancy. Cape Town definitely has some of the best fish and chip restaurants anywhere. While you at it, don’t forget the endless amount of popular ‘watering holes' around town. Rub shoulders with the rich and famous for a sundowner in Camps Bay or have a laid back cocktail while watching the boats cruise by at the V&A Waterfront.
• Enjoy the clean and safe blue flag beaches of Cape Town with various activities for the whole family or just a romantic stroll along the beach. You will find many stunning beaches to choose from across the peninsula from the cool crisp Atlantic to the warmer waters of False Bay. Keep an eye out for the Sharkspotters and be sure to have a chat with them to find out more about their unique and very interesting organization. The more popular beaches will have renting facilities of surfboards, wetsuits etc. for the active at heart.

Cape Town has something for everyone this Christmas, boating, fishing, abseiling, hiking, birding, surfing, diving, shopping, dinning, partying, wine tasting you name it, all with convenient travel and a lovely climate to add to the enjoyment.

Celebrating the Festive Season in Cape Town – Dec 2011

Spending a sunny Christmas and New Year’s in shorts and flip-flops outweighs the joys of having a white Christmas in our books. If the stunning weather, girls in bikinis and magnificent views are not enough to make you climb on the first plane, the wide variety of activities, festivals, concerts and happenings should give you enough reason to celebrate Christmas and New Years in Cape Town. Here are some ideas to celebrate in style.

• Catch a cable car to the top of Table Mountain on Christmas Day and meet Father Christmas at the Lower or Upper Station. The restaurant will also be offering a special Christmas themed menu. You can watch the last sunset of 2011 and welcome the New Year from the top of the mountain with the last cable car going back down at 1am.
• The Kirstenbosch Summer Concerts offer a relaxed way to spend a Sunday afternoon in a breathtaking setting. The best way to enjoy the concert is to pack a picnic basket, bring along the family and friends and relax on the grass banks while enjoying the music echoing through the beautiful botanical gardens. Enjoy carols by candlelight, the popular rock band Zebra & Giraffe as well as South African icons Mango Groove partying in 2012.
• Nothing spells summer more than enjoying a picnic on the many wine farms that Cape Town has to offer. A day out in the countryside is ideal for the whole family and the majority of wine farms offer a Christmas menu or Christmas picnic to enjoy on the farm.
• If you are after massive crowds, huge dance floors and a good party. The 5fm New Year’s Party at V&A Waterfront is bound to be the biggest party in Cape Town. Hotshot DJs will be entertaining the crowd while the New Year rolls in.
• The Wavescape Film Festival takes place from the 9th – 19th of December and includes local and international films as well as an auction of artistic surfboards for charity. The Film Festival opens it’s screening on Clifton Beach and draws surfers from far and wide.
• For that last minute Christmas shopping, Cape Town has a wide variety of retail centers, flea markets, craft markets and much more. With places like Green Point Flea Market, Kirstenbosch Craft Market, Century City and Cavendish Mall you will most certainly find what it is that your heart desires.
• If its fine dining you're after with the family on Christmas day there is no better place to indulge in anything from the best seafood, sushi, Italian, Cuban, Mexican, Greek, you name it, and of course take-aways by the beach if that’s your fancy. Cape Town definitely has some of the best fish and chip restaurants anywhere. While you at it, don’t forget the endless amount of popular ‘watering holes' around town. Rub shoulders with the rich and famous for a sundowner in Camps Bay or have a laid back cocktail while watching the boats cruise by at the V&A Waterfront.
• Enjoy the clean and safe blue flag beaches of Cape Town with various activities for the whole family or just a romantic stroll along the beach. You will find many stunning beaches to choose from across the peninsula from the cool crisp Atlantic to the warmer waters of False Bay. Keep an eye out for the Sharkspotters and be sure to have a chat with them to find out more about their unique and very interesting organization. The more popular beaches will have renting facilities of surfboards, wetsuits etc. for the active at heart.

Cape Town has something for everyone this Christmas, boating, fishing, abseiling, hiking, birding, surfing, diving, shopping, dinning, partying, wine tasting you name it, all with convenient travel and a lovely climate to add to the enjoyment.

Table Mountain - The Flag of Cape Town - Oct 2011

The flat sandstone plateau of Table Mountain is approximately 3km wide and has become the signature of Cape Town. The plateau, is flanked by Lion’s Head to the West and Devil’s Peak to the East. It’s highest point, Maclears Beacon, rises to 1085m above sea level and overlooks the city of Cape Town and is edged by dramatic cliffs. The clouds that often hangs over the peak is fondly known as the Table Cloth by locals. This trademark profile adorns post cards and logos across South Africa and has become Cape Town’s unique trait.

Table Mountain National Park has an extraordinarily rich biodiversity. The Cape Floral Region mainly consists of indigenous fynbos with an estimated 2200 species confined to Table Mountain itself. Many are endemics only found in this region and many are threatened and protected species. These protected areas form part of a World Heritage Site to protect this unique habitat. Patches of indigenous forest can also be found in the wetter ravines. Many animals inhabit the slopes of Table Mountain including dassies, porcupines, mongooses, tortoises and snakes as well as more secretive creatures like the caracal and the African Wild Cat. The indigenous Klipspringers have recently been reintroduced to replace exotic species and restore the balance in this unique biosphere.

Table Mountains’ charisma has always drawn people to the top, The Table Mountain Aerial Cableway has made it effortless to reach the top, while the adventurous still take to hiking or climbing it’s many routes. The Cableway has attracted more than 20-million visitors since its launch in 1929. The plateau offers panoramic views and activities to suit the entire family. From the top you can visit the café, souvenir shop, abseil or relax with a glass of champagne. The mountain and views offer a hiker’s, nature lovers and photographers paradise. The upper cable station offers views overlooking the whole of Cape Town, Table Bay, the historic Robben Island and the Atlantic Seaboard.

Table Mountain is so spectacular with it’s stunning views, history, culture and fauna and flora that it is in the running to become one of the New7Wonders of Nature. Table Mountain is a national treasure that inspires locals and many stories, photographs, painting abound surrounding myths, history and the landscape. Travellers from far and wide are never disappointed by the magic the mountain holds in tales, views and sheer magnificence.  

Celebrating Spring in Cape Town - Aug 2011

There is no better time to visit Cape Town than Spring when the Southern Right Whales are frolicking in the bay and wild flowers are carpeting the landscape with dazzling displays of colour. Days are usually pleasant and cooling towards the evening, but is enjoyable compared to the scorching summer heat waves.

The West Coast Flower region is an important part of the Cape Fynbos Kingdom and includes many sought after endemic species amongst the thousands of species of flowering plants. The flower season brings a natural phenomenon that adorns post cards and draws in thousands of visitors from all corners of the globe. Darling is an hour drive from Cape Town and offers easy access to the flowers with its many flower reserves. For a true Namaqualand daisy adventure, you will need more than just a day trip. The Namaqualand Flower Route is approximately 5 hours north of Cape Town and includes Garies, Springbok, Port Nolloth and Kamieskroon. The flowers are weather dependent and about 4000 species of seeds lie dormant awaiting Spring to transform the barren landscape into the world’s best flower show.

Every year, between June and November, Southern Right whales migrate to the pristine stretch of coastline in the Western Cape. The main whale watching towns are Kleinmond, Stanford, Hermanus and Gansbaai but whale can be found along the entire coastline. Land-based whale watching can be just as rewarding as boat based watching, as these giants often venture very close to shore to nurse and calve their young. The whales can put on a spectacular show blowing, breaching, lobtailing and spyhopping, which can often be observed from the comfort of the many pubs and restaurants overlooking the ocean. Hermanus has proclaimed itself the Whale capital of the world, and with good reason. The annual Whale Festival is held here every spring and attracts over 100 000 visitors each year. The town even employs a “whale crier” to walk through the town announcing where whales have been seen. Whale watching in the Western Cape is an unforgettable experience and watching their spectacular displays of power and water acrobatics will prove to be a humbling experience.

Even though Spring in Cape Town may not be the best time to pull out your bikini and flip flops, it is definitely the most rewarding time to visit the mother city where everything is green and fresh and the weather is soft and mild. The temperature starts rising and the days become longer. Along with the flowers and whales, the mild temperatures are also perfect to explore all that Cape Town has to offer from hiking, shark cage diving, site seeing and general exploring and relaxing.

Creative Cape Town - July 2011

Cape Town is a diverse, cultural city and is the hometown of many South African artists, poets and musicians. The vibrant people and magnificent views inspire many creative souls and Cape Town is renowned as the creative centre of South Africa. There are a variety of attractions for those who love a bit of artistic flair from art galleries, jazz festivals and flower shows to theatres, annual festivals and music events, Cape Town has a creative outing for the most distinct and creative travelers. If you would like to get your creative juices flowing, here is a list of Cape Town’s creative hotspots.

  • Everyone loves flowers and the Cape Town Flower and Garden Show offers a world-class display of show gardens, lectures, Cape Town cuisine and wine. This spectacular exhibition of flowers, plants and exotic species is held annually at the Lourensford Wine Estate.
  • Cape Town has a host of theatres offering the best of South Africa’s homegrown talent. The Baxter theatre was established in 1960 and is a platform for dance, music and live theatre. The Artscape Theatre is an all-round arts venue and is renowned for its ballet and opera. On Broadway in Longstreet focuses on the cabaret scene. The Masque Theatre in Muizenberg is an intimate theatre that hosts a variety of professional and semi-professional productions. Other theatres include Theatre on the Bay, Maynardville Open Air Theatre, The Playhouse and Villa Pascal Theatre.
  • The Kirstenbosch summer concerts are the perfect way to spend a family outing on a Sunday afternoon. Relax and picnic in the beautiful botanical gardens while South Africa’s talented musicians entertain you. All music lovers are catered for from jazz to rock.
  • Cape Town proudly hosts more than 100 art galleries and the artwork reflects the diverse South African culture and scenery. You will not be disappointed if you are looking for a piece of art as a unique memento and even the most serious art collectors will easily find a masterpiece.
  • Bo-kaap is the home to the Cape’s Muslim community and this brightly coloured village adorns many post cards. Bo-Kaap has a fascinating history and it is worthwhile having a traditional Cape Malay meal at one of the restaurants that line the brightly coloured houses and narrow cobbled streets.
  • In 1966 the government declared District Six a “white area” and moved all the coloured and black people out the area to the Cape Flats. The history of this vibrant community is relived in the District Six Museum and is worth a visit to learn more about Cape Towns’ history.
  • The “Museum Mile”, collectively known as the Iziko Museums, is located near Cape Town and consists of 12 museums and celebrate natural history, social history and art. These museums are the perfect way to explore Cape Town’s cultural history. The exhibits include insects, fish, dinosaurs and 700 million year old fossils.
  • The Cape Town International Jazz Fest is a favourite amongst locals and is a feast of good music. It has grown into a hugely successful international event and about 34 000 people attend each year. The festival brings more that 40 international and local artists who perform over 2 days on five stages and has earned the status of being a prestigious event.

If you have a creative spirit, Cape Town is also the perfect destination to inspire your own creative ideas.

Top Adventure Activities – Cape Town - June 2011

The Western Cape in South Africa is a diverse landscape with wild oceans, magnificent mountain ranges, blue skies and raging rivers. If you are adventurous at heart, there is a wide range of adventure activities that will get your blood pumping. From the extreme adrenaline rush of the worlds’ highest bungee jump to more casual strolling in the beautiful mountains, the Western Cape has many options to choose from.

1) Shark Cage Diving: Ever dreamt of coming face to face with the oceans apex predator, from the comfort of a cage of course! Cape Town offers various options for shark viewing and you can experience natural predation, breaching sharks, cage diving or surface viewing.
2) Skydiving: Cape Town has several sky diving clubs and whether you choose a standard jump or a tandem jump, the Western Cape has one of the most scenic Drop Zones. You will get to see Table Mountain, Robben Island and the whole Cape Peninsula from altitude. If you can handle the thrill, then there is no doubt that skydiving is a must for you.
3) Bungee Jumping: Bloukrans Bridge in the Western Cape is the highest commercial bungee jump in the world at a staggering 216 metres. If you can handle plunging head first in a free fall and rebounding into the sky over the beautiful Garden Route then the highest jump in the world should definitely be added to your bucket list.
4) River Rafting: The Orange, the Doring and the Breede rivers are the most popular in the Western Cape for commercial river rafting, each offering their own experience and grading. The Doring is fast-flowing and demands a reasonable level of fitness, others including the Orange River is calm and offers tranquility with occasional spills. Great scenery, chilled evenings and a touch of adrenalin is guaranteed to make your trip memorable.
5) Rock Climbing: The Western Cape is a rock climbers paradise, you will find hundreds of top quality sport routes and classic trad routes all within a stone’s throw of the city. From the famous Table Mountain to the beautiful expanse of the Cederberg there are endless routes to suit all levels of experience and ability. The crags are not overcrowded as they are in the Europe or North America, yet the quality of some of the climbs surpasses those found elsewhere in the world.
6) Hiking: Cape Town is world renowned for its majestic mountain ranges, indigenous fynbos and diverse fauna and flora. There are an abundance of hiking trails to suit various levels of fitness and ability. Table Mountain alone has a network of over 550 walks and there are also endless trails at Cape Point, the West Coast, Cedarberg and the Garden Route ranging from 20 minutes strolls to grueling multiple day adventure hikes.
7) Kite Surfing: Kite Surfing in the Western Cape has boomed over the last few years and when the wind is right you will see adrenalin junkies taking to the waves all over Cape Town. The “Cape Doctor” winds can be uncomfortable to some but is a favourite companion to those addicted to the heart-racing sport of Kite Surfing. Blaauwberg and Langebaan are amongst the favourites with locals. There are various outfitters offering lessons, rentals and advice if you would like to ride the “Cape Doctor”.

There are many other adventure activities in the Western Cape to choose from include abseiling, paragliding, horse riding, surfing, fishing, diving and kayaking and many operators who can provide you with assistance. The beauty about Cape Town is that it is so diverse that should you be bringing your family along there is something for everyone, even if they prefer sun tanning on the beach or shopping up a storm.

Transportation options in Cape Town - May 2011

Cape Town is a beautiful city with magnificent scenery, hot nightspots and lots to see and do. It has been voted the top tourist city in the world, the last thing you want while exploring this gem is to be hindered by transportation limitations. Here is some advice on the best way to get around Cape Town and what to avoid.

Public transport in South Africa is not very reliable and safe. There are bus routes and train routes but they are unlikely to get you everywhere you want to go. Minibus “taxis” are cheap, overcrowded and unsafe as the drivers have very little regard for the rules of the road and are best to be avoided. Metered taxis are safer and reliable but charge quite hefty fees per kilometer and need to be called and ordered to get to a specific destination. Public transport in South Africa cannot be relied on if you want to do a great deal of stress-free sightseeing.

The easiest and most affordable way to get around Cape Town at your own steam is by hiring a car. You can choose and book a car online in a minute and have it delivered to the airport or your hotel for convenience. When choosing a vehicle, think practical and consider the season. If you are planning on doing longer distances with lots of luggage and your family, opt for a larger sedan or SUV but if you are just going to zip around town, save yourself some money and petrol and go for a small car. In summer it can get fairly hot so hiring a car with an air con will make your travels a lot more comfortable. For your own benefit, check for any cracks, scratches or dings the car may already have to prevent any charges when you return the car. Most car rental companies will insist on checking it with you. To make the most of your experience in Cape Town, hiring a car is definitely your best option.

Now that you have the freedom of getting around how you please, you can enjoy Cape Town and her endless beauty and charm. Cape Town is very easy to get around allowing day trips to explore the Peninsula, West Coast, Winelands and Whale Route fairly simple. The roads outside the city are spacious and generally quiet. Take it easy and enjoy our world-class city.

Touring the West Coast of South Africa – April 2011

The West Coast of South Africa is an alluring place that holds a special magic that remains with you long after you have gone home. The contrasting landscapes hold legends, history and beauty from delicate daisies, forgotten shipwrecks, crashing waves, misty mountains and sand dunes.

An obvious time to visit the West Coast is in spring when the barren landscape transforms into a magic carpet of colour. The Namaqualand daisies are famous worldwide for their beauty and splendour and a tour from Cape Town to Springbok will make you feel like you have taken a magic carpet ride to a fairytale land with millions of daisies stretching as far as the eye can see.

The coast is dotted with quaint fishing villages including Paternoster, Saldanha and Lambert Bay, where the local fishermen make a living out of the ocean. These villages are well worth a visit and if you have the palate, you can try the local delicacy, bokkoms, which is fish biltong or dried and salted fish. If you don’t mind the icy cold water, dress up in your diving suit and try your hand at catching your own crayfish. Remember that you will need a permit and it’s best to check with the locals where the best and safest spots are.

The most popular town on the West Coast is Langebaan, an idyllic little seaside town about an hours drive outside of Cape Town. This village is popular for its lagoon, water sports, golf course, restaurants and stunning accommodation. Die Strandloper in Langebaan is a unique restaurant on the beach and is famous for it’s fresh and delectable seafood and the experience rather than the eating.

Inland you will find the charming little village of Darling tucked away between vineyards and wheat fields. Victorian homes and old trees made an idyllic setting and it is traditionally known as the home of well-known satirist Peter-Dirk Uys. His theatre, Evita se Perron, is a cabaret venue and restaurant and is named after his alter ego, Evita Bezuidenhout.

The Cederberg region includes Clanwilliam, Citrusdal and the spectacular Cederberg mountain range and is popular for its world class climbing and hiking and is home to historic bushmen paintings. The solitude and breathtaking natural beauty of the area is captivating.

Further up the West Coast you will come across isolated places that escape the tourism brochures. One such place is Noup about 6 hours drive from Cape Town. The divers cottages overlooking the Atlantic provide memorable sunsets and a magical stay. Crayfishing, hidden surf spots, 4x4ing and shipwreck tours are a few of the activities that you can engage in with locals.

The West Coast is place of magic and instills a sense of belonging. Once you have been there, you will forever wonder around with the longing to return.

Cape Town Beach Guide – March 2011

Cape Town is acclaimed for its collection of postcard perfect beaches; which makes this part of South Africa one of the top sun, sand and sea destinations in the world. Each beach has it’s own character and you can expect a variety of experiences that will make your visit to the Mother City unforgettable. From mussel picking and penguin viewing, to family friendly and trendy and everything in between, you are sure to find a stretch of sand to suit your tastes. Cape Town boasts 3 blue flag beaches and it is the first country outside of Europe to earn blue flag status.

Cape Town is separated by a mountain range into the eastern and western side of the peninsula so on any given day you can expect very different sea and weather conditions on either side. You can watch the sun rise on the eastern side and end the day with a sundowner and sunset on the western side. In False Bay, the water is usually about 3ºC warmer but is also renowned for the Great White Sharks lurking in the bay. There are shark spotters on duty at the popular beaches and when you hear a siren you know it’s time to get out the water.

Clifton, Camps Bay and Llandudno are on the Atlantic side and are trendy beaches with beautiful views and magnificent sunsets. These beaches are perfect for sun tanning, sundowners and swimming but remember South Africa has sunny days so smear on the sunscreen.

Muizenberg and Fish Hoek are both family friendly. Surfers Corner in Muizenberg is an historic surfers beach and offers perfect beginner waves and is well known for it’s perfect long boarding conditions. Fish Hoek is a popular family beach and has a relaxed beach front restaurant and play area for the children.

Hout Bay, which is fondly known as the Republic of Hout Bay by locals, was originally a small fishing village and has a traditional harbour and many restaurants and shops. The magnificent cliffs of Chapman’s Peak flank the beach. The scenic Chapman’s Peak drive entering Hout Bay is well worth a drive.

Bloubergstrand and Table View are popular with water sport enthusiasts and offers perfect conditions for surfing and kite surfing. The signature photographs of Table Mountain that adorn tourist magazines and postcards are taken from Bloubergstrand so it’s well worth a visit to get add an experience behind the photograph.

Noordhoek and Kommetjie boasts stunning stretches of white sand and are ideal for long walks and sundowners. Long Beach in Kommetjie is a favorite amongst surfers and you can go on horse riding trips on Noordhoek Beach. If you have the permits and the know-how, you can also pick mussels and catch crayfish during the right season. 

Boulders Beach and Windmill Beach in Simon’s Town are renowned for the endangered African Penguin and they offer great pleasure watching their awkwardness on land and stealth in the ocean. Windmill Beach offers protection from the wind and is well known for beach weddings due to the absence of the South Easter.

If you into that sort of thing, Sandy Bay is Cape Town’s nudist beach which can only be reached by walking along the coast from Llandudno. It can get windy and there are no amenities but it is quiet and beautiful.

There are many more beaches to choose from, all with their own special character so make sure to set aside some time for exploring Cape Town’s beautiful beaches with white sand, blue skies and turquoise waters.

Local favorites - Wine farms in the Western Cape – Feb 2011

Wine farms in the Cape Town and the Western Cape are abundant from small family run farms to high-end 5* tourist destinations. The locals have shared some of their favorite wine farms and estates outside the pages of a glossy tourism brochure. From experience, here is a list of our top 20 favorite wine farms and estates straight from the mouths of locals.

1) Fairview Wine and Cheese estate, Paarl – For the cheese, wine and great experience.
2) Waterford Estate, Stellenbosch – Fantastic chocolate and wine pairing.
3) Ross Gower Wines, Elgin – Their sparkling wine is to die for.
4) Quoin Rock, Stellenbosch – Stunning tasting and gorgeous views.
5) De Morgenzon, Stellenbosch – Their 5* chenin blanc is unbelievable good.
6) Diemersfontein Wine & Country Estate, Wellington – Good accommodation and excellent restaurant
7) Alee Bleue, Franschhoek – Awesome restaurant and really different tasting room.
8) L’Ormarins Wine Farm, Franschhoek – Good wine, port and car museum.
9) Tokara Wine & Olive Farm, Stellenbosch – Fantastic deli and stunning views of olive trees.
10) Haute Cabriere, Franschhoek – Delicious champagne.
11) Hart Espoir, Franschhoek – Small, family vide and stunning wines.
12) Springfield Estate, Robertson – Stunning wines.
13) Bouchard Finlayson Boutique Winery, Hermanus – Tastings excellent and staff incredibly knowledgeable.
14) De Grendel Wines, Durbanville – Excellent wines, great tasting and large variety.
15) JC le Roux, Stellenbosch – Gorgeous venue and delicious bubbly.
16) Beyerskloof Wine Farm, Stellenbosch – Stunning restaurant.
17) Muratie Wine Estate, Stellenbosch – Stunning wine tasting room with restaurant and guesthouse.
18) Neethlingshof Estate, Stellenbosch – Stunning wines.
19) Graham Beck Wines, Franschhoek – Fantastic wines.
20) Klipdrift Brandy Distillery, Robertson – For something different.

Cape Town’s Hidden Secrets – Jan 2011

Visitors to South Africa are more than likely familiar with the tourist hotspots in Cape Town. Table Mountain, V&A Waterfront and Cape Point are likely to be on your itinerary. Cape Town boasts some hidden secrets that might not be on your tourism brochure. Here is a list of our top 20 favourite hidden secrets that the locals know and a tourist should know.

1) Peregrine Farm stall in Elgin Valley is in the middle of apple country and is well known by the locals for their fresh homemade apple juice and delicious home made pies.
2) You can’t get any fresher strawberries than to pick your own at Mooiberg Farm Stall
3) Observe the vibrant hustle and bustle at Kalk Bay Harbour while enjoying classic and fresh fish & chips are served at Kalky’s.
4) If you are feeling a bit adventurous, try your hand at Kite Surfing.
5) Windmill beach is adjacent to the popular Boulders Beach and is an attractive secluded haven for penguins and vivid blue channels of seawater.
6) The Porters Market in Tokai is the best place to stock up on some organic food and fresh produce.
7) Watch the sun set over the Atlantic ocean while sipping cocktails at Monkey Valley Resort in Noordhoek.
8) Stop and chat to the Shark Spotters on duty as they will give you an interesting low down on the magnificent Great White Sharks that visit our shorelines.
9) It is well worth taking the scenic drive to Betty’s Bay and visiting the Harold Porter Botanical Gardens.
10) The Old Bisuit Mill is a vibrant village where talented people share and show off their passions from shops, markets and designer stores to workshops and festivals.
11) For a unique seafood experience, book a lunch at Die Strandloper in Langebaan and indulge in crayfish, mussels and snoek right on the beach.
12) Oom Samie se Winkel in Stellenbosch follows the old tradition of the rural trading post and stocks everything from straw brooms to clothing, fruit, veggies, arts and crafts.
13) Catch the water taxi between Simon’s Town and Kalk Bay, the only delays you might expect is whale crossings.
14) There is always an interesting show at the Kalk Bay Theatre located in the old Kalk Bay DR church; which is a heritage building built in 1876.
15) Hike up signal hill and watch the sun set over Cape Town.
16) If you are a cheese lover, then a visit to Imhoff Farm in Kommetjie is a must to stock up on your favourite home made cheese.
17) Go cart racing at the indoor circuit at Kenilworth offers a heart racing activity that is loads of fun.
18) Over 450 varieties of whisky are served at the Bascule Whisky Bar situated at the Cape Grace Hotel.
19) Baboon Matters monitor four troops of baboons in Cape Town and you can take a guided hike with them to observe the troops at close quarters.
20) Cape to Cuba in Kalk Bay offers a rustic and relaxed atmosphere to sip cocktails and try out some Cuban cigars.

Car hire and roads in Cape Town - Dec 2010

Public transport in South Africa is not very reliable and has limited coverage of the city. If you are heading for the Mother City, the most affordable and reliable form of transport is car hire in Cape Town and the rest of South Africa. Roads are world class and you will have no trouble reaching your destinations in a standard vehicle, unless 4x4'ing is on your itinerary.

Petrol stations are widely available and are not self-service, it is courteous to tip the attendants as they will fill you up, check your oil and water and clean your windscreen. A tip between R2 and R5 is generally acceptable. There are two tollgates on Cape Town's roads, one on the scenic Chapman’s Peak drive and the other heading out of the city on the N1; you can pay toll fees with cash or credit card.

You are more than likely to encounter baboons on your travels, take care when driving and do not feed them, feeding baboons is strictly prohibited by law and is a punishable offense. Along other wildlife, Cape Town is home to the endangered Western Leopard Toad, take care when driving at night during rainy season as they are often found crossing roads heading to their breeding grounds.

Cape Town is considered a safe city, but like elsewhere in the world, there are areas that are best avoided after dark. You can check with your travel agent or hotel for advice on which areas to avoid. Locking your car and keeping valuables out of site will keep you safe on your travels and sticking to the speed limit will keep you on the right side of the law as law enforcement has a no-nonsense policy against traffic offenses. Cape Town is a beautiful city with lots to see and do and a visit to this part of South Africa should not be missed.

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