JET SET IN CAPE TOWN
At twilight in Cape Town, the best place to be is near the ocean, as the sun slowly fades into the Atlantic and casts an otherworldly glow onto the untamed, unspoiled coastline that hugs this sophisticated—yet decidedly relaxed—city. It’s rare to find a place where you can begin your day at the beach, swimming with penguins; spend your afternoon hiking up one of the world’s natural wonders; and end it at a sophisticated bar set into a cliff, listening to sultry tunes, while sipping a Mojito with flocks of the young and beautiful. Many, in fact, consider Cape Town the “un-city” as it truly defies logic: a vibrant, culturally rich urban center that also offers opportunities for amazing high-octane adventures. There’s so much to do in Cape Town, you could have the full spectrum of cultural, adventure and luxury experiences without ever going outside the city itself.
WHAT WE LOVE
- Swim with Penguins: A day at the beach takes on a whole new meaning when you’re hanging with 3,000 African penguins at Boulders Beach. While the views (and penguin photo ops) are great from the wooden boardwalk at Foxy Beach, we recommend taking a swim with the amusing creatures, who playfully dart in and out of the warm ocean water. The sand there is soft, the surf is calm and the entertainment is first-class.
- Table Mountain Trek: Sure, you could take the aerial cableway to the top. But those who prefer their gratification less immediate and more lasting will find hikes of varying degrees and breathtaking vistas at every turn on Table Mountain. This iconic landmark is often photographed, and its beauty beckons adventurers of all stripes. The popular Platteklip Gorge Trail is a non-technical route, and can take up to three hours, but the panorama of the sea and the city at the top are well worth the effort. Nearby Lion’s Head is a less challenging and shorter climb, and the views at sunrise especially are incredible.
- Drive Chapman’s Peak: Chapman’s Peak winds its way between Noordhoek and Hout Bay on the Atlantic Coast, and is one of the most spectacular coastal drives in the world. Hemmed in by sheer drops to the sea on one side, and towering mountains on the other, the curves in the road are exhilarating, and the landscape is a photographer’s paradise. There are plenty of scenic spots to stop if you want to bring a picnic, but we also recommend a meal at the Tintswalo Atlantic—one of the best restaurants in the entire country.
- The Atlantic & Indian Oceans Collide: Cape Point is the at very tip of the Cape of Good Hope, the most extreme southwestern point in Africa, and a natural icon of breathtaking beauty and deep historical significance. Now designated a nature reserve, Cape Point is a little over an hour’s drive from Cape Town proper, and offers some of the most spectacular scenery and ocean vistas in all the world. Climb or take a cable car up to the Cape Point Lighthouse—one of the brightest in all of Africa—gaze upon the debris of shipwrecks, and absorb the sweeping Atlantic and Indian Oceans below: views that are as unspoiled today as the very first time European explorers encountered this rugged, remote strip of land over 500 years ago. For a relaxing seafood lunch stop at Live Bait in Harbor House, and enjoy the best fresh fish in Cape Town.
- Noordhoek on Horseback: a mellower way to navigate Cape Town’s sparkling sands is on horseback. The wide, flat and pristine Noordhoek Beach is ideal for horseback riding excursions. Canter along the water’s edge and take in uninterrupted scenery of Chapman’s Peak and the stunning blue Atlantic. If you’re lucky, you might even see whales frolicking offshore.
- Exploring Cape Winelands: nestled in a pastoral valley about an hour from Cape Town, Cape Winelands is a world-renowned destination that produces top class vintages. Rent a car—or, better yet, a vintage vehicle—and wind leisurely through scenic back roads, past charming farmhouses and wine estates, and take advantage of opportunities to stop and taste along the way. The town of Franschhoek, settled by French Huguenots, is a connoisseur’s dream, with an array of outstanding restaurants among its top cellars. And in nearby Stellenbosch, the Cape Dutch thatched-roof farmhouses create a dramatic storybook feel. End the day sipping a bottle of fine Chenin Blanc, while enjoying some of the most bucolic landscape in all of Africa.
- Dining in Paradise: In the past few years Cape Town has transformed into a world class dining destination, with a spurt of new restaurants that feature highly inventive, multi-cultural menus that please the palate of foodies of all stripes. Many homegrown chefs, who first left to train abroad, have now returned for the opportunity to work with local flavors, spices and indigenous ingredients, and to create gourmet cuisine that elevates African food to an international standard of excellence. The result is a number of high-end dining options that range from exquisite seafood and sushi establishments—often set in spectacular ocean front locations—to brasseries that offer a panoply of delicious dishes featuring local game like ostrich, karoo lamb and antelope.
- Uthando: A unique non-profit which aims to raise funds for life changing community development projects in South Africa. Through their deeply respectful and culturally-sensitive philanthropic experiences, travelers can visit these communities and not only witness the impact of a variety of amazing projects including dance classes that empower young women and senior centers that care for the otherwise neglected elderly, but also meet the local heroes behind the scenes and learn about their history, the legacy of Apartheid, political, social, economic, cultural & local issues. Click here to watch a short video which really explains what Uthando is all about.
REST & REJUVENATE
Cape Town has so much to offer, it wouldn't be a surprise if you never sleep. But relax you must, and there are a number of luxury lodging options that range from high opulence to understated chic.
WHAT TO KNOW
MORE ON CAPE TOWN & SOUTH AFRICA
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