We forget, sometimes, how extraordinary the Mother City is. But within hours of arriving, you’re swept up in the cosmopolitan vibe that’s just like nowhere else in the country. If you haven’t yet booked your Summer holiday … just go!
There really is something incredibly exciting about a trip down to Cape Town. Certainly one of our most beautiful cities, and a cosmopolitan vibe that never fails to impress.
From walking along the promenade, stopping for an ice cream or iced-coffee at one of the many delis, to eating out at world class restaurants to taking a drive along Chapman’s Peak Drive with its breathtaking views (a description thrown around lightly but in this instance truly applicable) … a holiday here can be as jam-packed or laid back as you want it to be.
Best, then, that you choose where to stay carefully. On a recent visit, we opted for The Victoria and Alfred Hotel, and it was perfect. Situated right on the edge of the water in the buzzing Waterfront, it’s all endless views of Cape Town Harbour, Table Mountain and the dazzling surrounding city, and most of the places you’ll want to explore or adventures you want to experience are just a stroll, or an Uber drive, away.
Not that you’ll be rushing off in a hurry. With a pair of comfy chairs placed just so in front of the massive windows, it’s no hardship to sit with a cup of hot coffee or a pot of tea, gazing out at the harbour. Tugs glide past, seagulls swoop down to steal chips off the tables, seals pop their heads up out of the water to see what’s going on. On the other side of the hotel, views are equally as enchanting … what with the slick city and that ‘the mountain’ iconic view.
No need to venture out for first dinner, either. The hotel offers top class dining experience at the Ginja … a grand restaurant in it’s own right. It’s here you’ll be have breakfast too (we strongly suggest, if mother nature’s playing her part and the day is glorious, you choose breakfast outdoors on the water’s edge).
There is, for those who really can’t help themselves, a fully equipped gym (for heaven’s sake, relax, you’re on holiday!). For the more hedonistic of us, the Sanctuary Signature Spa beckons. That, followed by an afternoon lying on a lounger next to the pool with an icy cocktail, is the perfect day, really.
Except … the hotel is perfectly positioned for exploring.
At least one morning should be spent strolling along the promenade … walk from the hotel up to Sea Point and back. Dog walkers, runners, dads pushing prams … it’s a brilliant introduction to the city where taking advantage of the outdoors is a way of life.
On your way back to the hotel, foodies, market lovers, and the environmentally-conscious should stop at the Oranjezicht Market. A. Ma. Zing. Honestly … highlight of a Cape trip! As you enter, you’ll immediately be swept up into the rhythm of the place. Filled with local businesses who sell a range of items, from cuisine, to plants, to health products, to raw fruit and vegetables; it truly lacks nothing. Olive oil, dips, biltong, samosas, vegan desserts, pumpkin pancakes, stuffed bao buns, crunchy bagels, rooibos ice tea, smoothies and dumplings – bliss. It’s just a kaleidoscope of mouth-watering scents and colour and people milling around the stalls, puppies and children weaving amongst the organised chaos.
Adrenalin junkies … you’re next.
Paragliding off of Signal Hill. Signal Hill is a Cape Town attraction in itself. Whether visited by day for a picnic overlooking the entire city, or by night where this same view is ignited against the backdrop a velvety black sky, it is a top notch location for both locals and visitors. But take it one step further – literally. Just right off the side. It’s a duo jump, with licenced flight instructors, so you need no prior experience and it’s all very safe … just a gentle sail down to Sea Point, that takes anything between five minutes to half an hour, depending of the wind. Hot tip: be sure to include the option of them filming you … you’ll want to show this off to your friends back home.
An exceptional date night would be a visit to The Labia Theatre in Gardens. One of the oldest independent Art Movie Houses in Cape Town, it’s all squashy, red reclining seats, brown popcorn bags, velvet trimmings with gold finishes, and of course, a mandatory olden-day movie ticket to admit you into this swirling fantasy of a venue, where they show the best of circuit, independent films, foreign films, documentaries, and classics, as well as art circuit films.
There’s just so much more, too. You could also choose to hike Table Mountain, Lion’s Head, Devil’s Peak or Skeleton Gorge. Swim in some of the most iconic beaches and tidal pools on the globe, despite the shockingly cold water. Visit Boulder’s Beach, where penguins are the majority populace, or Dalebrook tidal pool in Kalk Bay, where starfish, kelp and baby octopus are in abundance. Take a heli flip over the city, go on an eco-friendly shark diving trip, or take a Robben Island tour. Shop in vintage shops, go for walks in Newlands forest, jog along the green belt or watch a performance at the Baxter Theatre.
There’s a reason why the Mother City is an international drawcard for tourists … it really comes out tops on our must-visit-this-year list.
The hotel’s concierge will have details and help you with any tours or adventures you may want to experience.
Text: Samantha Franklin