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JET SET IN CAPE TOWN

OVERVIEW

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.

  • One & Only: Cape Town’s most luxurious resort, One Only is an urban oasis that is a destination unto itself. Located on the waterfront, with unmatched views of Table Mountain, One&Only is also renowned for its comprehensive holistic spa, 1100 square foot heated Infinity pool, and fine dining options that range from the deliciously eclectic Reuben’s—which showcases the talents of a beloved local celebrity chef—to a high end taste of home at Nobu.
  • Cape View Clifton: A supremely chic cliffside mansion by the sea. Perfectly perched above stunning beach and sweeping coastline with the most mind blowing of views, a gorgeous composition of the Atlantic and the Twelve Apostles to be seen from every which corner. Every room, every experience & every nothing but a moment is defined by the sea-view. Sea-View breakfast from bed or private balcony, sea-view cocktails from the Honesty Bar & sea-view lazy days by the pool. It's this symbiosis between mind blowing backdrop and trendy boutique property which makes the Cape View Clifton one of the city's most exclusive stays.
  • Kensington Place: The Cape's original boutique retreat. Owner run, resounding attention to detail, phenomenal service, ideal location & great value - Kensington Place soars above and delivers, drawing sophisticated travelers from near and far, year after year. Built on the slopes of iconic Table Mountain, just a short drive from Cape Town's prized beaches & winelands and nothing but a stroll away from lively bars and award-winning restaurants - the sheer concentration as well as proximity to these local highlights alone is what sets the Kensington apart from the rest. But then they go and throw in free oysters and champagne, and suddenly extending your visit seems like the only logical thing to do.
  • The Marly: Picture this. You're on an exclusive stretch of beach, Cape Town's finest, otherwise known as Camp's Bay. Look before you to the Atlantic ocean & up to the Twelve Apostles mountain range. Now shift your gaze inland- to the sidewalk cafes & chic bars, the cool kids & the beach babes, the young & the young at heart, the trendiest of seaboards & the beachiest of vibes - reminiscent of an exotic movie scene or seaside painting. Now it's time to freshen up, dress to impress and grab your drink of choice, because the sun is on its' way out and you're about to have a night. So for those of you who came to party, welcome to Marly. And for those of you who came for something more tame, not to worry, because the peace & quiet that you seek is just around the corner. 
  • Cape Grace: Backed by the unmistakable beauty of Table Mountain and surrounded by water on all three sides with its’ very own private quay on the gorgeous Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Cape Grace gives you both natural splendor & urban vibrancy. Sophisticated and infused with local charm, each room has its’ own distinct décor, decorated with local antiques, hand painted fabrics & local crafts. The Bascule whiskey bar as well as the award-winning Signal restaurant are both sensational – aperitifs to suit every taste and a cuisine to blow you away as all ingredients are sourced from local farms and surrounding oceans. Just the very names of dishes let you know right away that you’re in for the most exquisite of culinary experiences: biltong-cured ostrich, rooibos-scented apricot compote, bitter chocolate and goat cheese truffles, bobotie-spiced springbok loin, cardamom-scented sweet potato purée, buttered fine beans & savory almond streusel with caramelized orange jus. Family friendly, phenomenal service, offering every modern luxury imaginable & located right at the heart of one of the most beautiful cities in the world – Cape Grace really does have it all.
  • Mount Nelson: Where to begin. Mount Nelson, affectionately known as ‘the Nellie’ or ‘the Pink Lady’ has long been regarded as one of Cape Town’s best properties. At the foot of Table Mountain and around the corner from famously fashionable Kloof Street, Mount Nelson is first and foremost the ideal base from which to explore. With regards to the property itself, it doesn’t just have one or two highlights, everything about it, from the smallest of details to the most bespoke of experiences, is signature – to the extent that you could quite honestly never leave and still have something to write home about. We’re talking nine-acre gardens, a state of the art lounge exclusively for teens, an afternoon high tea that has people travelling great distances, a custom-design interactive culinary experience at the Chef's Table and, last but not least, a fascinating history which dates back to 1899, and takes you through countless stories of when the Nellie was private residence to dozens of celebrities. Mount Nelson is more of a historic landmark than it is a property - in fact, it was the first hotel in South Africa to have hot and cold running water.
  • Ellerman House: Located in a magnificent mansion that was once the private home of a shipping magnate, Ellerman House sits perched on the slopes of Lions Head in the prestigious residential area of Bantry Bay. Ellerman House caters to the most discerning of travelers, and stands as an icon of sophistication, taste and cultured hospitality. The Hotel includes only 11 rooms, two suites and two private villas. All guests enjoy the home’s shaded verandas, impeccably tiered gardens, and beautiful interiors featuring two lounges, a library, whiskey bar, world-class wine cellar and celebrated art collection. And to top it off: from the front lawn, one of the most spectacular ocean vistas in all of South Africa.
  • WHAT TO KNOW

  • Cape Town and the surrounding areas have their very own weather pattern, and the best time to visit is during the hot, sunny and dry months of November through March, when the area’s beaches and outdoor activities are best enjoyed, and the landscape is free of fog.  Take care to account for holiday crowds, however, when planning your trip, as Cape Town can easily get overbooked at Christmas and New Year.
  • Those traveling with U.S. and British passports do not need a visa to enter South Africa, though it is always best to check with the consular office ahead of time to ensure there have been no changes.
  • All individuals travelling with children under the age of 18 will need to produce a birth certificate when entering South Africa.
  • MORE ON CAPE TOWN & SOUTH AFRICA