Travel is not allowed right now, but it doesn’t mean we can’t dream about travelling. When this is over, we will need to help rebuild our country’s economy and one way to do that is to travel local.
In February I hopped on over to Cape Town to have a birthday weekend with my bestie and we went on a wine farm tour with Beyond the Vine. It was so much fun – it definitely beat doing a self-drive just to taste wine.
We left from a hostel in Cape Town on a very comfortable shuttle with a mix of South Africans and Americans onboard. Robbie, co-owner and tour leader, entertained us on the way to our first taste of the winelands.
first winery stop, Villiera Wines, tasted four of their wines and had a special
tour within their cellar. The Villiera
Wines cellar tour is not available through all wine tour operators.
this historic winery with its cobweb dating from the year voetsek! Was quite an
experience. We were entertained with tales of the past and how the farm ended
up in the hands of the first owner, saw the original farm owner document and
tasted wine around old creaky tables.
Our stop at
Delheim included a lunch with a view.
Last time I was at Middelvlei we tried the delicious braaibroodjies and wine pairing, but with Beyond the Vine we blended our own wine. During the wine blending experience you had to work out which percentages of different wines would offer you the best blend. I even got to cork my own wine!
I would really recommend joining Beyond the Vine on a tour – and I paid for the tour myself. They offer experiences beyond just wine tasting and that is what travel is about (don’t be a tourist, be an explorer). After my winelands tour with Beyond the Vine they’ve added quite a few other tours. You can read more about their tours on www.beyondthevine.co.za.
When my BFF said she wanted to go to Charly’s Bakery I recalled all the many episodes I watched on some DSTv channel many years ago about all the amazing cakes, cupcakes and cookies they make. It was like a heavenly little store… on the other side of the world. I had forgotten about them.
The Charly’s Bakery is an old Jewish bookstore with a yellow Cape Town frame next to it with Table Mountain as its backdrop. It’s a pretty old building with pink accents and a delicious secret inside.
Inside you can observe
the cakes, cookies and cupcakes being decorated or feast your eyes on the
ready-to-buy baked goodies. Spend a little time, order a coffee and cake and
sit outside at a table.
Charly’s Bakery truly is a special place where best friends can meet before setting off on an adventure.
Yeah, I’m just not that
into wine that I would want to go to a bunch of wine farms to taste wine – but
when you add food or a snack to the equation…I’m in!
On my recent trip to Cape
Town to visit my BFF we decided that we wanted to find the most amazing food
and wine pairings to try – because after a year in Cape Town, my BFF had forgotten
the first rule of drinking… to eat. Just an FYI, we had a designated driver who
Drinking good wine with good food in good company is one of life’s most civilized pleasures.
Braaibroodjies and Wine
Pairing at Middelvlei
This was the most
interesting pairing on paper and even more delicious on the tongue. I grew up
with braaibroodjies on the fire with every braai so this was my number 1 food
and wine pairing to try.
We watched them roast our
food on a fire and was kept company by the big black dog in front of the fire.
The food and wine pairings were spot on and I easily could’ve stayed for more!
Macaron and Wine Pairing at Blaauwklippen
This was an experience!
The day before there was a wedding at xxx and we were treated to a wonderland
of flowers hanging from the roof.
The decadent macarons were perfectly complimented by their wine pairings. It was a feast for the eyes and the tongue.
Pizza and Wine Pairing at Brennaisance
Anyone who says that money cannot buy happiness has clearly never spent their money on pizza.
This was our lunch and it was amazing. The last red wine was a bit heavy for me, but it went well with the pizza it was paired with. This was R200 per person – but well worth it!
Next time you venture down to the Cape Winelands (or Stellenbosch) hit up these wine farms and do a food and wine pairing. I’m a wine heathen, but you can trust me on this.
Finally landing in Cape Town after almost 5 years I knew what to expect from the sleepy town at the southern tip of Africa. I was here with my parents and then again with colleagues for a marketing summit – where we made time to get out a bit. We visited the V&A and we all got on the yellow frame and had fun with it.
The iconic yellow frames in Cape Town perfectly frame some of the most iconic and picturesque attractions. Here is a list of where you can find Cape Town’s yellow frames:
Hill, Cape Town
– Eden on the Bay
Waterfront overlooking the harbour and Table Mountain
of the Zeitz MOCAA at the V&A Waterfront
Lookout Hill, Khayelitsha
District Six, Harrington Street – right next to
These frames will definitely help tourists find the best spots to take photos and to have an awesome souvenir photo of places visited in the Mother City.
I’m putting it out there, I like fun useless facts…
Did you know that the yellow frames are 2.8m tall by 4m wide?
The frames are painted in yellow or Pantone C109.
The V&A Waterfront was the first location to receive its yellow frame.
Signal Hill received the second yellow frame.
Here are some OBVIAAAS tips to get great photos of you in one of Cape Town’s yellow frames:
Don’t ask a stranger to take your photos.
As you can see on the photo above this stranger snapped while I was still getting on the frame and forgot to check that she actually captured the landmark (Table Mountain) in the frame. The rest of the series aren’t better either.
Snap pictures of just the frame and landmark.
Stand back, seriously, you don’t have to stand on top of the frame to snap a picture. Look for the white X to stand on.
The frame, when you stand on the right spot, will perfectly frame the landmark.
Take photos in landscape – just like the one my BFF snapped at Charly’s Bakery (see below).
The simple truth about
getting on the City Sightseeing Red Bus Tour in Cape Town is that it is a must.
I loved it! It was a cheap way to get around Cape Town and I get to see a lot
of interesting places without having to look for parking…
Cape Town seems to have a
shortage of parking spaces. I even saw a car being pushed out of the way into a
wall with a car. I don’t know if it’s normal, but if I rented a car I would get
the smallest car possible and take super waiver damage insurance – just saying.
There I was, sitting at
the top of the City Sightseeing Red Bus Tour under a canopy/roof looking at all
these beaches filled with people… on the beach and not in the beautiful blue
freezing water. (Clearly this is not KZN)
I even got off my perfect
vantage point to walk and snap photos.
I only booked a 1 day
ticket – and it even included stops at 3 wine tastings… The route stretched
from the V&A via the Bo-Kaap (depending on the colour line you took)past Kirstenbosch,
wineries and even up Table Mountain and down along the coast. It was a really
If I was to ever go back
to Cape Town – and I only get there every decade or so – I would totally book
my spot on some of the more expensive excursions they have… which are more wine
Let’s talk about all the
places you want to visit in Cape Town (and surrounds)… I did the tourist thing
and got on a City Sightseeing Red Bus Tour (well, after an Uber).
It was a sunny day in
Cape Town, no wind, no clouds and only blue skies. I set off on my solo travel
experience of the Mother City with Table Mountain as my first stop.
Pre-booked tickets in
hand I stood there looking at the incredibly long queue to get up the mountain
by cable car. The long line was made up of local and international visitors all
excited about the prospect of having a clear view from the top. One and a half
hours in the African sun and an eye-rolling employee later trying to get us to
all stand closer to each other – obviously I blew a little gasket explaining in
no uncertain terms there will be no getting on top of each other after being
baked to shreds. If I hadn’t paid a whopping R330 for the privilege of working
on growing skin cancer just to get up a mountain, I would’ve left.
The Table Mountain cable
car was a nice surprise. The cable car rotated and gave all its passengers
different views. It felt safe enough as they are fairly new – I still don’t
I followed the footpaths
on the mountain, stopping occasionally to snap a picture of the city at its
feet. I stared at the wild landscapes on the Hout Bay side and watched the
waves break over rocks and even a ship or two.
I might’ve spent more
time on the mountain, but 40 minutes later my legs and back begged for
somewhere soft to rest and I got back in the queue to make the journey down the
mountain. Two minutes after hitting tar the City Sightseeing Red Bus Tour
arrived and down the mountain we went.
Looking back, I made a few
simple mistakes. I didn’t arrive at 7 am to get in a queue and 750ml of water
wasn’t enough for that 1.5 hour wait – and I couldn’t very well leave the queue
to go buy stuff… I was solo travelling!
Check my (mostly) solo travel experiences in Cape Town.
Crawling through caves… yeah, not something I would usually
do. However these caves from part of the whole Maropeng experience – and I had
to have the whole experience.
They will ask who suffers of from claustrophobia, asthma,
knee or back problems. My husband and I were the only ones to raise our hands
for asthma, knee and back problems *shame*. We however managed fine even with
the loads of steps and places we had to crouch-walk.
The Sterkfontein Caves are famous for fossil-finds and is
owned by the University of the Witwatersrand or University of Johannesburg as
it is know as today). Scientists from this university are responisible for
notable discoveries at the caves – including Mrs Ples.
The tours start above ground, but once inside the cave you
will have a dimly lit tour.
The most spectacular part of the tour is the underwater lake
with its iridescent water. Other highlights include stalactites and stalagmites.
What you need to know before you go:
Take a torch
Wear comfortable shoes
There are many tours throughout the day, but you
can book beforehand
Walk through almost 100 statues of icons from South Africa’s
past at Maropeng. The Long March to Freedom public art exhibition is a must-see with its life-sized bronze
statues. This exhibition was previously housed at the Fountains Valley Resort
in Pretoria but thanks to an agreement with the National Heritage Project
Company it found a temporary home at Maropeng.
It is rumoured to be the largest outdoor
exhibition anywhere in the world – and with an estimated value of around
R100-million! The statues will eventually grow into a procession of over 400
bronze statues over time.
You can walk through the loosely spaced statues and snap selfies with chiefs, missionaries and freedom fighters like Walter Sisulu, Oliver Tambo and Nelson Mandela. The statues depict figures dating back as far as the 1700s. The details on the statues are spectacular – so pay attention.
How much does it cost to visit The Long March
to Freedom exhibition:
The Long March to Freedom exhibition is
absolutely free to visit currently. You can opt to visit the Maropeng
exhibition while you are here – this however does have a price tag.
I love the North Coast! It is my other home. My parents brought us here after my matric year – and I’ve been back so many times since. Even crazier than that, my husband briefly went to school here and used to surf the waves down on Willards.
When we bought a place out here we never could’ve dreamt just how this place would become our little hideaway home. At first it buying a place here was so we didn’t have to check out early from a hotel then it became about bringing my cat, Genie. It also just happened to be the perfect place to wait for the births of our 2 daughters and finally now it is a place for our little family.
We feel like locals. We have our favourite spots like Burnedale, Sage and Litchi Orchard. We always eat bunnychows from the Sasol in Salt Rock, donuts from the new Checkers at Mt Richmore and go to Mica every single week we are here. We love the revamp of Ballito Lifestyle and the shiny new mall down the road. We still haven’t been to the Railroad Brewery down the road and we always say we want to visit more spots but somehow when we’re here we end up on the beach or the old familiar places.
The best thing about the Dolphin Coast… dolphin sightings duh!
What to do in Ballito and Salt Rock with kids
I think I love Sage Centre a little more each time we go – even if Tsonga is no longer there. The little shops are stocked with South African made products – offering such temptations for my wallet. A huge plus of this place is the play park… that you can see from your table at Sage Cafe & Deli.
My favourite shop definitely is Willow and Ruby. Maybe I’m a little biased because they stock IY Apparel bags or maybe it’s the gorgeous jewellery…
We visit Burnedale during every stay. This place has one major attraction for kids that we love… the donkeys! Lexa loves spending time with them and then I get snap happy.
Burnedale is also home to Natural Living, one of my favourite shops. I won’t spoil it, but it’s something between treasure island and heaven when you’re in the shop.
Another not to be missed eatery that is family friendly is Burnedale Cafe but you can also pop into another little gem for a slice of cake and coffee called The Meeting Place.
There are so much more you can do in Ballito and Salt Rock with kids…
Flag Animal Farm
Litchi Orchard… especially when they have litchi picking season
The Great Railroad Brewing Company / Ballito Brewing Company
Did you know that South Africa’s school holidays is starting sooner than usual? Not great news for me, because now it starts before my birthday, but it means that low season in Zanzibar coincides nicely!
When you have a friend in paradise 🙁
I see all these amazing pictures of what she sees and does on a daily basis and my heart just aches to live on a tropical beach somewhere. I know she works hard, but she gets to live a life that I want.
I want to go back to Zanzibar one day. I know I’ve been there, but it was literally in and out because of a family tragedy.
What I would do if I was in Zanzibar right now…
Obviously I would be in the water, taking photos, drinking
cocktails, eating, going on tours – but… there is something else I want to do.
It is out of my comfort zone, it is in the air and it scares me.
I have been wanting to do parasailing and fly boarding for some
time now – however, I want to do it in paradise! Plus now that I have a friend
with the inside scoop as a local, I wasn’t shy to ask who she would recommend…