Those of you that have followed my footsteps from when this blog was started (which I must admit, was a while ago) will recall that my very first trip that was all paid for by me, was to South Africa and it was on a shoestring. I had always wanted to come back to this part of the world and explore it in style, and I am so pleased that this dream finally came true for me! Staying at the swanky Taj Cape Town, a wine estate, being driven around in style, helicopter rides….it was all on the agenda! And I can’t wait to share my adventures with you, so thanks for stopping by and enjoy!
The Taj is located parallel to the famous Long Street, and right opposite a beautiful park known as The Company’s Gardens. It is a refurbished historic building, and so incredibly luxurious – it was a far cry from the City Lodge we stayed in when we first visited Cape Town!
The first afternoon was spent soaking in the atmosphere at the V&A Waterfront, which was so vibrant as the sun was shining and there was a beautiful live band playing. We went to Baia, the seafood restaurant with a stunning panoramic view of Table Mountain and indulged in some delicious fresh caught seafood and crisp white wine to toast to this South African adventure! Now, the last time we were in Cape Town, we had heard a lot about Long Street but never ventured out there, as our accommodation at the time was so far away from it. So this time, we were determined to set footsteps on Long Street. And it was fantastic! Littered with restaurants, clubs and pubs and crawling with people, we enjoyed walking up and down the street and then decided to eat at Mama Africa.
Mama Africa – indeed, a taste of all things African! The inside is decorated like an African Manyatta (hut), and has all manner of African paraphernalia scattered around it. The bar is a large, red wooden snake, and was packed with people whiling away time before getting a table. Advance reservations are recommended if you are more than 2 pax because – it is very popular! Great atmosphere, with a live band and the humdrum of people enjoying an evening. The food – was delicious. It was a mix of cuisine from all over Africa – hence the name! We tried the Mama’s Game Kebabs, which was a miniature version of the Safari Platter and had springbok, kudu and warthog, a biltong and feta salad and a Zimbabwean Don which was chicken and spinach in a peanut sauce, served in a cute little potjie! Great value for money and definitely recommended for a taste of Long Street.
This being the year of luxury and checking off experiences on the bucket list, we opted to do the Two Oceans Helicopter ride with Cape Town Helicopter. I cannot even begin to describe my excitement as we lifted off into the air and started to soak in the stunning view of the various hues of the Indian ocean beneath us, fringed with the white beach and shadowed by the buildings of the V&A Waterfront!
I felt like a kid in a candy store on Christmas day. This was a pretty decent flight – 24 minutes in total, and as we chose the 4:30 pm flight it was not so cloudy and we had great views of the Twelve Apostles, Hout Bay and Table Mountain. I would highly recommend this for a taste of Cape Town! It will make you feel like a celebrity, if nothing else – and that can never be bad, can it? Wink wink!!
We had gotten a free Hop on Hop off Bus ticket with the Helicopter tour, and I must admit that I am a sucker for these tours as I do think they are a great way to get around and see a place. So, after a hearty breakfast of Eggs Benedict at the Taj, off I went. The bus stop is not too far from the hotel (though me being me – terrible at directions and adept at getting lost had to ask the doorman to point it out), and I chose the Blue Mini Peninsula tour, which goes behind Table Mountain, all the way through to Hout Bay and then back into the city centre through the Atlantic Seaboard, Chapmans Peak Drive and Camps Bay.
The Kirstenbosch Gardens are a stop on the blue route and if you are a nature lover then you could easily spend a couple of hours here. I felt like Alice in Wonderland amidst all the tall, green trees and there are so many routes to choose and so much to see that it is impossible to do it all. So I chose to walk around the route lading to the “Boomslang” or the tree canopy walkway and it was worth the long walk from the entrance, with plenty of stops along the way to marvel at the flowers in the brightly coloured flower beds. And to finish off a perfect morning adventure – a cup of English tea with scones, clotted cream (the proper stuff and not just whipped cream) and home made jam at the tea house!
Carne is the restaurant we chose to eat our final meal in Cape Town in. If you are a meat lover and have time for only one restaurant – make it this one. As its name suggests – this restaurant is all about the meat. From the moment you enter into its vicinity, you see hunks of beef hung everywhere and bottles of wine stacked into the walls. It is like eating in a wine cellar cum meat store and it is awesome!
The cuts of the day are brought around and you choose what you are going to eat. Food aside (and it was delicious beyond words), the highlight of being at Carne for me was meeting the nicest, friendliest old man who took an interest in us, and we got chatting. He is now traveling the world for his wife who he lost early in the year, because it was her lifelong dream to travel. I found his story so heartwarming and I now wish I had taken his contact details to follow his journey!
Cape Town once again weaved its magic over me, and I am so glad that I got to experience it in such a luxurious manner! But wait…the adventures in South Africa are not yet over…I still have loads to tell you, so don’t wander away too long, will you? Keep posted!