Kim Copitch falls in love all over again on a visit to Cape Town..
When looking for the perfect partner, there are many things you might think of as important.
I was lucky enough to find someone who not only shares my interests and appreciates my sense of humour but also shares my love of Cape Town.
With both our families having connections in the “Mother City”, it was wonderful to spend our holiday somewhere special to us.
Every day I spend in Cape Town, I walk around in awe of the considerable beauty of this city. It is blessed with seas and mountains all around, which means there are stunning views in every direction.
The spectacular coastal road, Chapmans Peak Drive, is one of the most beautiful scenic routes.
It bends round the mountains hugging the cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. We spent an enjoyable night in the only building in the region, the Tintswalo Atlantic .
A short shuttle drive down from the main road towards to ocean leads to this secluded accommodation, the entire boutique hotel consisting of a strip of rooms, each facing the ocean, making guests feel they are on a little isolated island. Our bedroom was stunning, with comfy armchairs facing out to the lapping waves and the boutique hotel’s private beach. We spent the afternoon by the pool drinking cocktails. In the evening we were greeted by the chef for “sundowner” canapés on the balcony. He talked us through the menu and once we’d experienced a remarkable sunset we sat down to dinner.
With only 12 rooms the boutique hotel delivers a very intimate feel. The food was delicious and the service was lovely. It was the perfect place to enjoy the nature of the Cape, away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
The Cape flora relies on fire for its reproductive regeneration, and every so often a fire erupts on the mountain, though it is quickly brought under control. While we were in Cape Town, the mountain was ravaged by one of the worst fires on record and we were devastated to be woken a few days after our stay there with the news that the Tintswalo Atlantic had burnt down.
Driving south from Tintswalo Atlantic to the south-western tip of Africa, known as Cape Point, we entered the national park, spending hours exploring small beaches and enclaves on both coasts of the peninsula.
We finally arrived at the Point and walked up to the lighthouse where visitors can see the currents from the opposite sides of the peninsula colliding.
We were fortunate to see some wildlife on our jaunt including zebras, ostriches and a family of baboons at play in the trees.
The next animals we encountered are not what you would expect to see on a visit to Africa. Penguins are normally associated with the icy conditions of the Antarctic, and one thinks of them huddling together in their rookeries to shield each other from the cold. At Boulders Beach there is a large colony of African penguins living happily and basking in the sun.
It’s an attractive beach with a clear sea littered with large rocks. The penguins are everywhere, toddling on the beach or swimming in the ocean. We spent the afternoon rambling on the boulders, finding hidden enclaves with patches of sand and sleeping aquatic birds.
It was mating season, which made for some interesting wildlife viewing.
Lawhill Luxury Apartments in De Waterkant provided us with a self-catering experience which would be great for a family, and gave us a chance to do some cooking with the fresh ingredients we sourced from the local supermarkets. Right by the V & A Waterfront shopping centre, we enjoyed exploring the new market-style Watershed, where we bought hand-crafted African souvenirs.
On a day trip out of Cape Town to the winelands of Stellenbosch and Franschoek, we visited a series of wine farms, sampling the produce and exploring the grounds. Each farm has its own special features. Fairview has a wide selection of goats’ cheeses to sample, all kosher under the South African Beth Din. Visitors can even observe the animals living in a small goat tower.
We particularly enjoyed the luxury of the Delaire Graff Estate, which is owned by Graff diamonds. We could have spent hours there, enjoying the opulence of the building with its stunning artwork, water features lining the corridors and even a floor made of peach pips. We roamed the grounds of Babylonstoren, exploring more stunning gardens and vegetable patches, where all produce is used for cooking in the restaurant.
The funky up-and-coming area of Woodstock provided our next night’s accommodation, at the DoubleTree By Hilton Cape Town Upper Eastside. This hipster part of town feels nothing like the rest of Cape Town.
The area is famous for the “Neighbourgoods” food market at the Old Biscuit Mill every Saturday, with art galleries, cafés, artisan coffee shops and bars all over this formerly rundown area.
The hotel is modern and spacious and provided an excellent base for getting around town. While in Woodstock we paid a visit to one of the world’s top 50 restaurants, the Test Kitchen, where we enjoyed a five-course tasting menu with wine pairings.
There is also the option of a full vegetarian menu.
Each course was beautifully presented, with interesting combinations of flavours and textures. Most people know Cape Town for Table Mountain. Visitors can ride a cable car which reaches the top in just a few minutes so they can explore the views and nature but I think the best views by far are from Lion’s Head mountain next door. The hour-long uphill spiral hike is well worth the effort, offering different views of the city at each turn until it arrives at the summit for a vista of sea and the neighbourhoods and Table Mountain standing tall nearby.
Our final night was at the Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront, Cape Town in Granger Bay, right on the ocean, with an infinity pool beside the crashing waves. With its nautical atmosphere, it was like being on a cruise ship at sea. Cape Town has so much to offer for every kind of tourist. There is a wide variety of things to do, including exploring wildlife, relaxing on the beach, or having a cultural experience in town. Fortunately, we were able to enjoy all three!
•For more details visit www.capetown.travel