Africa's undisputed gourmet capital, Cape Town rolls out a feast for every sense. We've gathered together our favourite favourites in this video, from the city's cafe culture of artisan coffee roasters to the inspired menu of a Cape Winelands treasure set in heavenly gardens, from the decadence of pure chocolate to a pedigreed high tea and, finally, a signature cocktail at our favourite spot to admire the setting sun.
Pretty much all travel guides talk about seasonal attractions, but we’re safari experts so this booking advice is about what safaris to book during the months of May and June to ensure that you can have the best lodges, guides and locations on your vacation, whether you’re travelling now or the coming year.
Summer in Cape Town is all about beautiful views, good food, sunshine and enjoying the great outdoors. For the more adventurous traveller, there is a host of exciting options and the lastest of these is the SA Forest Adventures Zipline at Silvermist Estate in Constantia Valley.
It’s just after dawn, a time rarely seen on traditional beach holidays. Yet a group of guests has already gathered in front of the Rocktail Beach Dive Centre. I wander up - weight belt in one hand, cup of coffee in the other - and listen to the excited chatter about what lies ahead (or rather below): “There have been fantastic whale shark sightings recently!”; “Massive mantas circled us yesterday!”; “I hear the coral is incredible!”
Soft white snowfall on Christmas Day is a real scene-stealer but the months before and after the powdery magic give the northern hemisphere winter a bad name: sludgy ice mixed with mud tracked all over your living room and grey skies as dull and endless as left-over turkey. Luckily, there's a a perfectly balmy solution to escape your central heating and trade your thermal underwear for beachwear and sandals: say ‘hello’ to Christmas in Africa.
Book a window seat if you’re flying into Cape Town for the first time: the bird’s-eye view of the Mother City’s natural beauty deserves the chorus of ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ it elicits from arriving visitors. Accessible and easy to enjoy, the city’s mountains and beaches are its primary natural attractions, but there are hidden gems on the wilder side of this Atlantic Ocean peninsula. Underwater kelp forests, rugged hiking trails and great white shark enounters all lie within sight of Cape Town.
South of the equator, January is midsummer. If you’re planning to come to Africa at this time, you might hear things like: it'll be hot, it'll be wet, the wildlife is as widely dispersed as the abundant surface water (instead of conveniently concertrated around waterholes), and some lodges and camps are closed for the 'off' season.
The world was transfixed when Nelson Mandela was finally released to freedom in 1990 after 27 years in jail for his role in the struggle to overcome apartheid. Twenty-three years later, in 2013, the eyes and cameras of the world were once again on South Africa as this former president, Nobel Peace Prize winner, statesman and father figure to millions was laid to rest. None of us will ever again have the opportunity of interacting with this great-yet-humble man but we can visit some of the places that shaped his life and that are indelibly connected with his story.
Game drives cover a lot of ground but it’s only when you get out of your vehicle and set off on foot that you shift from being a camera-clicking observer to an active participant in the wilderness. As your armed guide leads you along well-worn elephant trails your senses sharpen and you notice things you’d otherwise miss in a vehicle: the alarm call of a troop of baboons, leopard paw prints on a sandy riverbed, the rich scent of sweet mahogany blossoms.
My first evening on Botswana’s Chobe River was the stuff of dreams. I sat on the roof of a game drive vehicle and watched in open-mouthed wonder as herd after herd of elephants poured out of the surrounding forest and down to the river to drink. Many younger ones broke into a run, their trunks and ears flapping in excitement; the older ones usually managed to keep to a dignified pace – at least until the last few yards. The countless trampling feet sent dust billowing into the air, turning the setting sun into a huge, hanging orb of fire.