Best of Cape Town at Christmas

Cape Town is a stunner. Full of activities and natural wonders, you could easily spend 2 weeks there in total awe. 3 days have been nowhere enough to do all we wanted, despite a very tight schedule with 6am morning call!

ATTRACTIONS

Table Mountain – if you have time take a day-trip and go trekking! Otherwise cable car is spectacular too.

Cape of Good Hope natural reserve.

Muizenberg for surfing!

RESTAURANTS & BARS

Kloof Street House amazing cocktails and food, in retro’ Victorian House with beautiful design and dreamy garden that’s perfect in summer.

Kyoto Japanese food at a higher level.

Yours Truly cafe by day, beer garden & DJ set by night, immersed in greenery, with rooftop and vibrant atmosphere.

ITINERARY (part 1)

1 – Arrival in Cape Town, check-in at Airbnb accommodation.

2 – Tour of Cape Town by bus.

3 – Surfing in Muizenberg, tasting wine in Stellenbosch.

4 – From Table Mountain to Cape of Good Hope, driving back to Camps Bay.

5 – Early departure to Johannesburg.

map

CHRISTMAS DAY IN CAPE TOWN

Even though downtown Cape Town looks like a ghost town, other areas like the V&A Waterfront, as well as Camps Bay, are very busy. On Christmas day tourism is business as usual!

TIPS

If you need to exchange money do that at the airport when you arrive, and remember that you need your passport. We lost time doing so in City Bowl and had to go back to our room to manage the whole process, which was fairly annoying…! In turn we discovered the wonders of Uber that you can easily book from a cafe with wireless connection and that will take you around for very little money. ATM cash machines are well spread and were no problem.

SAFETY

Cape Town is generally safe, although it’s best leaving your values in your hotel/room and just bringing the necessary.

1 – Kloof Street and Long Street

On the first afternoon of our arrival we leave the airport with a rented car and check-in at Airbnb rental. It’s a beautiful studio with outside pool & marvellous view over Cape Town and Table Mountain! The vegetation and the climate make us feel instantly on a holiday.

Hungry as we are, we grab an early dinner at Beleza and walk around the central areas of Kloof Street and Long Street to start submerging into Cape Town’s festive atmosphere. In these streets are located most pubs and bars.

Before heading back to our pool deck and glittering night view of Cape Town, we sip onto perfectly made cocktails at gorgeous Kloof Street House. Not a bad start!

2 – visiting Cape Town

On day 2, we plan touring Cape Town with the CitySightseeing buses, which is a great compromise to have a look around in freedom without worrying about parking.

We start off in Long Street 81, where we get tickets. At first, we walk into downtown Cape Town, and after visiting the Castle of Good Hope and the area of Green Market Square, we get on the red bus passing by the coastal area, until the V&A Waterfront. Here the historical harbour mixes with the modernity of a shopping centre and many tourist attractions. Impossible not getting fish and chips at Quai 4, a great option for lunch.

Later on, as it’s rainy outside, we visit the Aquarium – nice but nothing special – and would recommend the Springbok Experience Rugby Museum for fans and what not.

In the afternoon we take the blue line bus and tour Cape’s inner peninsula a bit further south, passing by Kirstenbosh Botanical Gardens, Constantia wine estate (where the first South African wine was produced), and the Township of Imizamo Yethu. If we had more time, and with better weather, we would have visited them all, especially the Botanical Gardens and the Township.

The concept of township was foreign to us. In few words, it’s a slum where people live in thousands. Homes are not made of bricks in most cases, but metal plates, and electricity and running water are no guarantee. Soweto, in Johannesburg, is the most populous Township in South Africa and counts over a million people. During the apartheid, non-white residents were removed from white-only districts and found refuge in these ‘unregulated’ areas in the outskirts. Finding such living situations beside incredibly wealthy residential area, is the first sign of how many contradictions are still to be found in South Africa today, inherited by a painful recent past.

3 – surfing and wine

On day 3, Christmas Eve, it’s surfing time! Luca has been longing for this since the previous summer in Portugal when he missed out on surfing, but wouldn’t get over it. You can imagine how damn happy he is. To be sure this was going to happen, we booked well ahead at Gary’s Surf School, one of the most popular and well-established surf schools in Muizenberg, about 30 mins driving from Cape Town.

At 8.45 am we are ready to rock. Actually, Luca is ready to rock, while I’m standing on the beach sheltered by a wind stopper… poor thing. Oceanic temperature is cold, especially in summer given Antarctic’s ices are melting. Be prepared to wear a wetsuit before going it!

Surfing for the first time is such a unique experience. When you manage to get on top of the wave you get a sense of powerful freedom. You are at one with the ocean and can feel the strength of the wave pushing below you, eventually understanding when it’s a good time to get up finding the right balance. It’s not easy! Do it if you are interested… you won’t regret it. When you are at it you don’t even think anymore about white sharks hehehe.

Gary is an old-style surfer with a lot a passion. His guys are easy, teach little incisive theory and leave space for practice. Andrew, Luca’s instructor, gave useful tips to understand the mistakes and shared advice on how to manage to stand on the board… until you do… and you dooooooooooo!!

After surfing and taking pictures we grab brunch in the cafe on top of the surf school, Ta-Da! (great coffee, smoothies, amazing vegetarian omelette by the way), and head out to the winelands for a taste of South African prestigious fruity wine. The way from Muizenberg to Stellenbosch is very pretty, stretching along the cost with view of the waves.

You could spend couple of days in the winelands if you are serious about wine, as there is tons to visit! Our suggestion is to book in advance and do some research. We didn’t organize anything ahead of time and so end up visiting couple of the most popular estates that are open on Saturdays: Spier, and Waterford. In Waterford we taste 6 wines, and despite we don’t particularly enjoy these, the estate surroundings, service received, and free tour of the cellar, are fabulous. For your info, on Christmas day wine estates are closed.

We asked around about which are the most recommended wineries to visit, and this is what we got. In Stellenbosch you can find Delheim and Kanonkop. Warwick for picnic lunches to pre-book well in advance as it sells out fast. Waterkloof and Morgenster have a production method that is similar to that of Italian wines if you are interested. Delaire Graff is a great option for dinner. In Paarl: Spice Route, where you can have lunch at renowned Bertus Basson.

4 – Table Mountain, Boulder’s Beach, and Cape of Good Hope

It’s Christmas day! A glorious summer day ahead of us. First thing in the morning we catch the Cableway to reach Table Mountain, proclaimed the new seventh natural wonder of the world in 2012. To access the Cableway get tickets online, best to be there first (7.30-8.00am) to avoid long queues and big groups. If you spend more time in town give it a whole day for a beautiful trekking, it’s worth it! It takes about two hours to reach the top.

Table Mountain is ancient, and very dear to its inhabitants. The top it’s edged by dramatic cliffs, and a stunning view over Cape Town and the ocean. Grey rocks alternate to bright orange flowers, succulent plants, and vegetation. The mountain has been literally invaded by cute dassies, as they are most commonly known, mammals that look like rabbits but have more in common with elephants. The beauty of the nature here will make you consider moving to this city!

Sad to leave Table Mountain so early we drive pointing to Boulder’s Beach, where a colony of penguins has permanent residency without caring about having to sit next to humans. Unfortunately entrance tickets to the beach are no longer available by the time we arrive, as families with kids had already flooded in. As second option, we walk along a wooden walkway at the back of the beache, that allows to peer at penguins in the distance.

We keep driving south and we finally arrive at the entrance of Cape of Good Hope natural reserve, which is part of Table Mountain National Park and World Heritage site. It’s queuing time to get ticket. Furthermore, it’s so crowded we can’t find parking space at Cape Point so we drive to Cape of Good Hope instead, the most South-Western point of Africa.

After a short trekking up hill, we peer at the horizon and the rough waters breaking against the cliff. In this place three Oceans come together: the Atlantic, the Pacific, and the Antarctic. The wind blows in so strong it’s almost able to lift us up. The scenery of the surrounding coast is divine: crystal clear waters in unspoilt land where ostriches and baboons freely move around.

From Cape of Good Hope we drive back to Cape Town on a panoramic route through Chapman’s Peak.

We decide to stop for dinner in stylish Camps Bay, one of the most well-known areas in Cape Town, placed directly in front of the ocean with dramatic view of Table Mountain at the back. In recent years it has become one of the most sought after districts, with house prices that have increased exponentially.

On the beach, Christmas is still being celebrated. Most of the people that arrived in the morning to spend the day on the beach, are starting to wait in endless lines to get back to the townships. In the meantime, on the other side of the road, locals and tourists are going to restaurants for a drink or dinner.

After dining in one of the numerous restaurants in the area we return to the beautiful studio, reluctant to say goodbye to Cape Town and that stunning view. We then realise that something even more exciting awaits us, that Valeria has been dreaming about since childhood: African safaris!

5 – fly to Johannesburg

The next morning we rise early and off to Johannesburg we fly.

 

 

 

Lascia un Commento

Lascia un commento

Il tuo indirizzo email non sarà pubblicato. I campi obbligatori sono contrassegnati *