Our tailor-made Africa specialist, Adele Jones, took a week-long trip to Cape Town and the Winelands. We ask about her favourite moments from heli-flying over Table Mountain to an oyster rampage through the city…
Where did you stay and why is it fab?
In Cape Town I stayed at the Pepperclub Hotel & Spa. It’s right at the foot of Table Mountain and near to the oft-instagrammed neighbourhood of Bo-Kaap. The views were sensational – we woke up to stunning panoramas of Lion’s Head and you can see Table Mountain while you’re lounging from the pool deck! This was a real girls’ trip and the staff went above and beyond with tips about where to go, which local eateries to eat at while calling ahead to make reservations.
In Franschhoek, we stayed at Leeu House, an elegant retreat on the edge of town. Not only did it have that beautiful Cape-Dutch architecture but it’s within walking distance to all the bars, restaurants and the weekend market which itself is a must visit.
Most memorable moment?
A 12-minute helicopter ride absorbing Cape Town from above spotting all the landmarks and Table Mountain dominating the skyline. It was truly incredible!
Did anything surprise you about Cape Town? Any preconceived notions challenged?
I was surprised at how small the capital really is, it’s compact and easy to get around. I always thought you needed to be based on the V&A Waterfront but actually whether you’re in an urban location like the Pepper Club or just outside the city at the sea-facing Winchester Hotel, getting out and about is similarly effortless. Plus, Ubers are cheap.
If a client had one day to explore the city, what would you plan?
Boulders Beach – famous for its penguin colonies, a cable car up Table Mountain for lifechanging views followed by a long lunch somewhere on the fashionable V&A Waterfront before like me, you get hangry.
What did you eat?
You mean what didn’t we eat? We ate out for lunch, afternoon nibbles and dinner with plenty of amazing wine and champagne. We feasted on steak, so many oysters and fantastic cheese which are all very reasonably priced in South Africa at the moment so we indulged on everything that would usually cost a fortune here in the UK! Most of these ingredients are sustainably sourced with a fork-to-plate concept so the quality is excellent.
The Silo Hotel for panoramas of Table Mountain. I had a Bloody Mary and my friend had a glass of very blush, cold rose while we drank in the views. It’s a great stop after visiting the iconic Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa which is situated just below. Then we had dinner at The Pot Luck Club at the trendy Old Biscuit Mill. The setting was really cool, right at the top of an old flour silo with 180-degree views of the city lights.
A glass of Atlas Swift Chardonnay and I didn’t even like Chardonnay until I visited the Atlas Swift Wine Estate (first stop on Franschhoek’s blue line wine tram). I even brought a few bottles home with me.
Anything for families?
Visit the Two Oceans Aquarium on the V&A Waterfront. Take a walk or a bike ride along the promenade, it’s very safe during the day and if you’re staying at the Winchester Hotel, it’s the perfect location for it. A trip to Robben Island is perfect for that important educational interlude and if you want a full beach day you could visit one of Cape Town’s Blue Flag beaches awarded for top notch environmental standards.
Cape Town couldn’t be easier for families with direct flights on British Airways and Virgin Atlantic who are great with young children. Plus, there’s no jet lag so your routine is never really out of sync and it’s great value for money with just so much to do at your fingertips.
You definitely need to pre-book dinner reservations especially during peak season. In the height of summer, you could be waiting an hour for a table so I would recommend taking the time to research beforehand. Cape Town has some globally acclaimed restaurants that can be booked months in advance such as Fyn Restaurant (one of the World’s 50 Best) which we tried to get into but sadly couldn’t.
For me, it has to be wine – the quality is just outstanding for as little as £7.50 to £30 a bottle. Make sure you keep some luggage allowance spare to bring home a few bottles (all of the estates sell wine carriers – which if you’re going for a 6 case can be checked in luggage).
What’s the Alfred& difference when visiting a destination like the Cape region?
The people. From meeting Kerstin, our point of contact at the airport (who was on hand at all times via Whats App) to the hotel team behind hotels like the Pepper Club and Leeu House. The staff are amazing and so friendly. They wanted to know what our plans were and then they’d suggest things we hadn’t thought of or didn’t even know we could do… Anita our guide on the Cape Peninsula tour was just brilliant. Just her knowledge was jaw-dropping and she seemed to know everyone and the best places to stop for ice cream which was a real hit.
Your journey will start with one of our UK team – someone like Laura, who's travelled extensively in South Africa. They’ll shape your ideas into the trip of a lifetime. But they won't do it alone. They'll draw on the expertise of our contacts on the ground, connecting you to the people who'll make your holiday one you'll always remember - ex banker who can show you the hottest foodie spots in Cape Town, the award-winning young sommelier who can introduce you to Stellenbosch's finest wines and the walking safari ranger who can guide you to the best game.
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