3 Absolute Must Do Off-the-Wall Tours in Cape Town
Dec04

3 Absolute Must Do Off-the-Wall Tours in Cape Town

Cape Town is an eclectic place with an interesting mix of cultures, adventure activities and nightlife. It’s a coastal “vibe” mixed with a unique sense of creative flair. We’ve discovered 3 unusual ways to experience Cape Town – ways that stray from the standard bus tours and day trips. Here are our must do Off-the-Wall tours in Cape Town. Cape Town Sidecar Adventures Fancy a vintage motorbike journey exploring the highlights of Cape Town? Cape Town Sidecar Adventures allows you to be a passenger in a sidecar, which is basically a motorbike with a side cart. There are three options available, depending on how adventurous you are feeling. There’s the 2 hour journey, the half-day trip and full day adventure. We recommend the Atlantic Seaboard and Chapman’s Peak Drive option, given that Chapman’s Peak is nominated one of the world’s most scenic drives. This whirlwind tour will also introduce you to Cruise along cascading cliffs and roads with views of undulating vineyards while your motorbike hugs the road and navigates tight corners. A great idea, and so much more fun than being in a car! Cape Town Sidecar Adventures says, “All our sidecars are decommissioned military bikes originally used by the Peoples Liberation Army of China between the early 1950’s and mid-1970’s. They are known as cj750’s and are based on the old German BMW R71 used extensively during from World War II. Our fleet has been fully refurbished & modified to suit South African Road traffic requirements.” Gin Campervan Tours with Kiff Combi Tours When the craft beer culture hit the scene, we had an array of creative brewers cropping up left right and centre. Craft beer became trendy, and it has since become a part and parcel of the Cape Town culture. Unique craft beers are everywhere, and available on tap together with traditional beers synonymous with South Africa. Gin became the new kid on the block, and we followed our international counterparts with their fascination with this old school drink spirit from Juniper berry and coriander. Gin bars, mixologists, secret gin bars and liquor stores lined with gin bottles are the new norm. Gin is now where craft beer was a few years ago. Cape Town has burst onto the gin scene with plenty of brands and local brews with fynbos flavours and more. Kiff combi’s is an exquisite idea. It combines two of Cape Town’s finest – our fascination with gin and our coastal culture. The gin campervan takes you on a tour of various distilleries, combing tastings with food pairing and ending off at the Cape Town Secret Gin Bar. Campervan’s remind of us...

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An Escape to the Cape: Blue Sky Arniston Guest House
Nov23

An Escape to the Cape: Blue Sky Arniston Guest House

Just up the coast from the southern most tip of Africa, enjoying the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, the coastal retreat of Arniston exists as a little piece of South African sea-faring history, and is an escape to salty air, unpopulated beaches, turquoise waters, and simple seaside cottages that leave an impression on any visitor. This is not the place of palacial beach villas, but rather, Arniston has fondly maintained its unique fishing village appeal with lime-washed, thatched houses, uneven and endearing, with low-rising doorways and blue window panes. It was named after the Arniston, which was a ship that wrecked on this coast in the 1800s, killing hundreds on board. The original Afrikaans name for this little beach town is Waenhuiskrans, which translates to “wagon house cliff”, after a local sea cave large enough to accommodate a wagon and a span of oxen. History lives in this wind-swept, white-sand, rocky stretch of Cape Coast, and you should go and see it for yourself. Our pick? The Blue Sky Guest House. This is a perfect seaside B&B, only 450 from the beach, offering accommodation to a total of 12 guests in 6 bedrooms. Each of the ensuite bedrooms is designed to sleep two guests, while 1 is a Honeymoon Suite with a king size bed, and another has special wheelchair access and bathroom adaptations for a wheelchair user. The other 4 rooms have extra-length queen size beds with shower ensuites. There is a swimming pool on the property and a restaurant run by a trained and passionate chef who is known to produce some excellent dishes. Each bedroom has Wi-Fi and air-conditioning, which offer modern luxuries and conveniences to this quaint beach cottage. The area is longing to be explored, and it has been for many hundreds of years. The famous Arniston Caves are a must-see, and the numerous coastal walking trails lead wanderers along beautifully vegetated paths with views out into the Big Blue. Look out for whales and dolphins beyond the breaking surf, and keep your eyes peeled for plenty of colourful birds that live for the indigenous flowers. Small mammals, tortoises, wild rodents, little antelope, and butterflies are all a part of the terrestrial population of this special place; while De Mond and De Hoop Nature Reserves hug the village on either side and offer some fantastic places for exploring the local nature. Guests are encouraged to take a walk down to the slipway to watch the colourful wooden chukkie boats come in with their catch of the day. It is a vibrant hub of activity, entirely not meant as a tourist attraction, and purely...

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Planning a Coastal and Safari Holiday to South Africa?
Nov14

Planning a Coastal and Safari Holiday to South Africa?

South Africa is a confident, vibrant country with a myriad of cultures, unsurpassed contrasting scenery and endless gourmet restaurants displaying a sense of creative flair. South Africans don’t follow a mould, and most certainly aren’t afraid of experimenting and trying out new things. Whether it’s food, new hotels, sports, and cultural endeavours, South Africans are always pushing the boundaries. The country is dotted with small towns, from inland farm country estates to coastal villas, bohemian city hotels, traditional villages and luxury bush camps in the wild; there’s so much waiting to be explored. It has been said that South Africa is the world in one. We have vast safari landscapes, deep lakes, forests, rocky coastlines, golden beaches, mountains, buzzing cities, deserts and an array of local cultures and traditions waiting to be discovered. So, how do you encapsulate the best of this country in one short holiday? You don’t! Unless you have 3 months to explore this mysterious land of wonder, we suggest you select a few prime not-to-missed destinations that can easily be covered in a 3 week holiday. Here are a few ideas for destinations if you are planning a safari and coastal holiday to South Africa. A Safari to Kruger The Greater Kruger is an interesting biome covering kilometres of acacia woodland, rocky terrain, sandy savannah, undulating landscapes and a myriad of river systems. The national park itself spans across 19,485 square kilometres. The big five roam wild and free in the Kruger, and there are plenty of predators such as wild dog, cheetah and other carnivores. There are also over 500 species of bird fluttering about in this wild landscape of South Africa. There are numerous lodges and campsites inside the park for a more self-catering safari holiday for those on a budget. Within the private reserves forming part of the Greater Kruger there are safari camps, mobile walking safaris and lodges offering daily guided safaris in open-topped game viewers with game rangers guiding and educating their guests. A set 3 day safari for first time safari-goers is recommended – you will learn about both the wildlife, vegetation and the natural landscape. Cape Town Cape Town is the coastal destination to visit when coming to South Africa. There are two oceans – the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean, one has sandy beaches with cold turquoise waters and the other warmer waters. Bohemian coastal villages, trendy town centres, vineyards, museums, art galleries and a rich cultural heritage all bind together to create an eccentric and remarkably good-looking holiday destination. A few highlights that should not missed include a trip to Cape Point, a drive over...

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Top 5 Road Trip Farm Stalls in the Western Cape
Nov08

Top 5 Road Trip Farm Stalls in the Western Cape

South Africa is the perfect place for a road trip, and one blog article certainly won’t do the varying landscapes, bushveld and coastal regions justice. The beauty encountered while self-driving this country remains unsurpassed, and travellers from around the world have remarked that our country is a “world-in-one”. Farm stalls and coffee shops pop-up in the middle of nowhere, on the roadside of meandering jeep tracks and winding tar roads. We’ve selected a few of the most popular road trip farm stalls to stop at for those self-driving from the Western Cape towards inland and coastal destinations. Peregrine : Modern Flair  Peregrine farm stall is a hub of activity and is a much-loved destination for Cape Town locals heading towards the whale watching town of Hermanus. Located in the Elgin valley, and hugged by the fruit orchards of the area, Peregrine is certainly one of the most scenic farm stalls in the Cape. Famed for its locally sourced artisanal products, this is not a farm stall to be missed. Peregrine farm stall has grown from strength to strength in recent years, and what was once was a small low key farm stall now has a bustling restaurant, and store with just about every locally made product, a cider tasting pop-up stand showcasing ciders from the surrounding Elgin Valley, and a unique play area for children. You will need plenty of time to browse around this delightful farm stall, and if you choose not to stay for lunch, then buy a mouthwatering homemade pie, gourmet quiche or bag of biltong. Peregrine is permanently busy, but there’s ample parking and free flow of traffic. Expect to see families, class cars and motorbikes stopping in convey, and a mix of genuinely happy road trippers grabbing their skinny lattes. It’s modern, but still has its original charm. Kardoesie Farm Stall : Rustic Simplicity and Delectable Homebaked Goods Located on the N7 in Citrusdal, this traditional farm stall is the perfect stop over for road trippers en route to the popular mountainous region of the Cederberg. Find homemade jams, dried fruits, rusks and more. There’s a restaurant serving simple foods and daily the menu alternates. The best part of Kardoesie is the panoramic view of undulating farmlands and mountains. It’s a great little spot to stop and stretch your weary legs. Die Pampoenstalletjie : A Fun and Delightful Place Die Pampoenstalletjie is more than a farm stall, it’s an attraction and it really is located in the middle of no man’s land. While you’re ambling along singing “I’m on the Road to Nowhere” you’ll stumble across this unusual looking house littered with pumpkins. Located in...

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Do You Know About These Exclusive Places to Stay in Cape Town?
Oct29

Do You Know About These Exclusive Places to Stay in Cape Town?

Cape Town is brimming with luxury hotels catering for holidaymakers with a champagne lifestyle and endless budget. The hotels spilling over into the 5 star range, and bordering on 6 star, most certainly conform to international standards of luxury. One five star hideaway is not the same its neighbouring five star hideaway – we don’t do carbon copy, and each hotel has its own flair, architecture and design. Even if your bank balance reflects that of the Jones’ next door, it does not mean that your taste is the same. There are travellers wanting the crème de la crème of accommodation with bold colours and contemporary architecture, and there are other crème de la crème guests wanting more placid hotels with understated decor. We are all different in our desires, and this has nothing to do with our bank balance. So, with that in mind, we’ve selected our top 3 most exclusive places to stay in Cape Town. Each of these places contrasts the other, but one thing remains consistent – their commitment to service, architecture designed to take advantage of the views, chefs with a flair for gourmet food and attention to detail when it comes to finishings. Here are our 3 “new kids on the block” in terms of hotels. The less explored, but most exquisite – do you know about these exclusive places to stay in Cape Town? If not, it’s time to find out! The One Above at the One and Only Hotel in the VA Waterfront Yacht Basin If you thought that the One and Only Hotel offered a sense of style and luxury to the discerning traveller, you should visit The One Above. The One Above is part of the Royal Portfolio, and is at the top of the A-list of penthouse living in Cape Town. Guests staying in the One Above can enjoy the amenities offered by the Waterfront’s elite hotel, but can still enjoy a sense of privacy and exclusivity while cocooned in their millionaire mansion up in the clouds. This is a private residence was included in the Town & Country Magazine’s 100 Best Hotels in the World during 2015. It’s decor is superb, with a focus on muted and neutral colours with flecks of brighter hues. The glass, crystal, perspex and light colours reflect the commanding views from outside, and each element is careful not to detract from the world of colour outside. This luxury residence has 4 beautifully-appointed bedrooms each with an en-suite bathroom, 42 inch flat-screen TV, and private balcony. Balconies overlook the Mother city’s most famous landmark – Table Mountain and her yacht basin, the Va&A Waterfront. The master bedroom...

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Top 5 Big Five Safari Options in the Eastern Cape
Oct01

Top 5 Big Five Safari Options in the Eastern Cape

The Greater Kruger is not the only option for a safari in South Africa, despite it being the largest wildlife conservancy in Africa and prime destination for game viewing. There are plenty of other private big five game reserves dotted throughout South Africa, many of which can be found extending across the coast and inland of the Eastern Cape. A safari to the Eastern Cape is the perfect option for holidaymakers that simply don’t have the time to fly to the Kruger if they’re living it up in Cape Town and the Garden Route region.  The Kruger is wild and expansive with a different biome to the Eastern Cape. The Kruger is quite arid with plenty of mopane and an abundance of species, while the Eastern Cape reserves have a combination of Karoo scrub and coastal vegetation. One of the major draw-cards of the Eastern Cape is that it is declared a malaria-free zone, making it an ideal safari destination for families. The reserves are more confined and don’t share unfenced borders with neighbouring reserves, which means game doesn’t migrate.  Apart from the Addo Elephant Park that offers self-catering options for the more budget conscious safari, the reserves scattered in the Eastern Cape region provide a more exclusive, luxury experience. This caters for those wanting the idyllic safari experience with daily game drives, boma dinners, sundowners, bush walks and knowledge from guides.  Here are our top five big 5 safari options in the Eastern Cape :  Shamwari Game Reserve Shamwari is steeped in safari history and offers its visitors an opportunity to immerse themselves in complete luxury, while learning about the various conservation initiatives undertaken by the group. Shamwari offers a variety of different styles of safari, catering for all types of safari-goer. There is the Explorer Tented Camp which offers guests the chance to enjoy a 3 day guided walking safari between October – April. This is ideal for the more adventurous guest that enjoys the creature comforts of home.  Sarili Lodge is perfect for families and has sweeping views of the Bushmans River, while Riverdene Lodge also caters for families but is designed to look more like a homestead; and the Lobengula Lodge is a tranquil retreat hiding deep within the thickets of the lush bushveld. The lodge has been designed to resemble an African kraal, and is ideal for couples. The Longlee Manor is an Edwardian style manor house ideal for both business and leisure travellers, and is neatly perched on perfectly manicured lawns. Eagles Crag is Shamwari’s premier lodge and offers an exclusive sense of privacy combined with a unique location. The standard daily game drives, with sundowners, boma dinners...

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3 Exquisite Wine Farms Outside of the Cape Winelands
Aug26

3 Exquisite Wine Farms Outside of the Cape Winelands

The Cape Winelands is a mountainous region dotted with carpets of vineyards, a variety of cultivars, breathtaking vistas and unusual tranquil small towns with a unique heritage. The Cape Winelands is a hotspot foodie destination and the gourmet cuisine capital of Cape Town. Paarl, Durbanville, Stellenbosch, Franschhoek are the sought after wine capitals that form part of the wine route. Weather , terroir, and climate have played decisive roles in the selection of cultivars from each farm. For visitors to Cape Town that do not have the time travel out to the winelands and traverse distances between farms, we recommend on the below farms for wine tastings – all easily done in an afternoon (or morning?!). Make sure you have a driver – our wine should be swallowed, not spittooned… Cape Point Vineyards in Noordhoek The coastal climate of the Cape Point Vineyards gives rise to the ideal conditions for Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon cultivars. Cool climates tend to favour the production of white wine, and these vineyards are located a couple of kilometres from Noordhoek Beach, making the terroir ideal for award winning wines. Perched on the slopes of the mountain and overlooking the endless sands of Noordhoek coast, the Cape Point Vineyards has some of the most spectacular views. There is a tasting and pairing room where visitors can indulge in their choice of food menu. Thursday evenings there is a bustling and trendy food market where visitors can enjoy a variety of food options, from Greek to vegan and traditional meals. The market also sells wines produced at the Cape Point Vineyards and locally brewed beers and ciders. Accommodation close to Cape Point Vineyards : The Long Beach  Groot Constantia Groot Constantia vineyards are located on the east-facing slopes of Table Mountain and there’s plenty to do when you visit the vineyards. There are daily tastings, cellar tours, a museum, restaurants, walks around the leafy property and picnics for the family. In terms of varietals, there is quite a range. There are actually 9 different soil types on the farm, which means the area produces some exquisite Merlots, Shiraz, Sauvignon Blancs and Rose wines. Take the family and enjoy a picnic on the lawns outside Simon’s restaurant, or enjoy a leisurely stroll through the grounds. Accommodation close to Groot Constantia : Cellars Hohenhort Steenberg Wine Estate, Hotel and Golf Club Steenberg wine farm is the perfect destination for engaging in a host of activities. As a matter of fact, you might not want to leave! There is a five star hotel complete with 24 rooms with sweeping views of the vineyards, and some with a view of the signature golf course. There are award-winning restaurants on...

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