Cape Town


My trip to South Africa last year was a brief hiatus in the thick of a move from San Francisco to Amsterdam – I figured Cape Town and Amsterdam were in the same time zone, so it was almost rude not to pop in on the way. For anyone who has moved to another country before, I’m sure you’d agree it’s an arduous charge – I needed to focus on the relocation so planning for the holiday took a back seat; no bookings, no research, no expectations.

Going without a plan was perfect – it’s an understatement to say I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived. Cape Town is teeming with a rich and turbulent history and an abundance of character; it’s one of the most multicultural cities in the world and a melting pot for diverse religions, cuisines, cultures and businesses, all coexisting in one place.

Sea and farms surround the city, so there’s no shortage of great restaurants serving fresh and delicious food. There are stunning wine regions like Stellenbosch close by and the shopping in Cape Town is in a league of its own, with excellent homewares stores and weekend food and craft markets. You can’t go past the natural wonders, including attractions like Table Mountain, the beautiful beach at Camps Bay and game-park safari’s. I’d never been to a game park before and we spent a weekend at Aquila safari lodge – it was a novelty to be up-close with the lions, rhinos, buffalos, elephants and leopards. We did a sunset horseback safari, weaving our way through all the zebra’s and giraffe’s with the beautiful mountain backdrops. While a bit of a tourist attraction, Boulder’s Beach is also a good spot to visit to glimpse the colony of 3,000 odd freely wandering penguins – the scenery of inlets between granite boulders is also exceptional.

It’s hard to select just a few spots, but from a list of many, here are a few spots that I loved…

My Top 3 Picks for Cape Town


/ Cape of Good Hope

If you love nature and history, then you should definitely squeeze in a visit to the spectacular Cape of Good Hope, a rocky headland at the tip of the Cape peninsula, which is 70km south of Cape Town. On seeing the Cape for the first time, Sir Francis Drake described it as “the fairest cape we saw in the whole circumference of the earth.” The reserve has various scenic hiking paths and some incredible shipwrecks that scatter the coastline. There is bird, whale and animal watching all throughout the reserve, but learn from my mistake: the ostriches are wild – they can and will chase you if you get too close!

/ Where

Roughly one hour from Cape Town

/ Online



/ Babylonstoren

My afternoon spent at Babylonstoren, and its intimate signature restaurant, Babel, was without doubt a highlight of my trip. Dating back to 1692, Babylonstoren lies at the base of the Simonsberg Mountain, burrowed between Paarl and Franschhoek in the Western Cape region. Steeped in South African history and tradition, echoes of the past penetrate every facet of this outstanding area, including its diligently conserved Cape-Dutch architecture. Today it’s a working farm (divided between fruit orchards and vineyards), a luxury hotel, an innovative restaurant supplied by a bourgeoning on-site garden, a greenhouse, bakery, charcuterie, dairy, spa and cellar. It’s absolutely worth the drive out for wander around, a tea in the greenhouse or even a meal.

/ Where

R45, Simondium, 7670, South Africa

/ Phone

+27 (0)21 863 3852

/ Online

Kloof pick

/ Kloof Street House

Set in a converted twentieth century Victorian home in the middle of Cape Town, Kloof Street House is a fairy-lit dining oasis. Picture peacock chairs, birdcages hanging from trees, decadent sofas, chandeliers, fireplaces, plants galore and candles everywhere. It’s a bowerbird’s happy place. The indoor space includes a collection of rooms, each of which has its own unique charm and character. On Sunday afternoon the jazz band plays in the garden – sit back and listen while you enjoy the delicious brasserie-style menu.

/ Where

30 Kloof St, Gardens, Cape Town

/ Phone

+27 21 423 4413

/ Online

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.