This was my first time to visit South Africa, even though it was a very short trip, Cape Town and the Winelands certainly lived up to everything I expected and more. We got off to a great start, flying with British Airways in business class! Their Club World combines premium levels of comfort and service with a spacious seat which converts into a fully flat bed - believe me on an 11hr flight makes such a difference. Delicious food, drinks, service and access to the private lounges and dedicated check-in desks and priority boarding made this a lovely experience. We arrived safely in Cape Town feeling refreshed and ready to start the day. For our stay in Cape Town, we had the pleasure of staying in a 4* hotel, situated at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront with spectacular views of Table Mountain and the harbour. Ideally placed to discover some of Cape Town’s top attractions with many of them in walking distance. With a jam-packed itinerary, we embarked on Africa’s premier route to the romantic meeting place of the Indian Ocean and Atlantic Ocean – Camps Bay, Chapmans Peak, Hout Bay, Cape Point Nature Reserve, Cape of Good Hope and the penguin colony in Boulders Beach. Borris the Baboon joined us for lunch ... unexpectedly I might add !! One of my personal favourites and weather permitting, I would recommend taking a cable car up to Table Mountain. I would recommend you do this on your first day to allow for any changes in weather. On our second day, we headed to the Western Cape winelands to Stellenbosch to enjoy a culinary tour. Situated just an hour from Cape Town this is a beautiful university town with a vibrant feel to it, offering a nice balance between relaxation and excitement, making for an enjoyable day trip. We were guided through the old town centre, sampling freshly baked artisan bread, washed down with amazing wine. We then headed off to a gorgeous 5* boutique hotel and vineyard in the town and picturesque valley of Franschhoek.We boarded the famous Franschhoek wine tram offering views of the valley from a unique perspective, journeying through rolling vineyards in an open sided tram and stopping in at some of South Africa’s oldest and most distinguished wine estates. Robben Island is a must and I would recommend you pre-book in advance as it is very popular. Departing from Nelson Mandela Gateway at the V&A Waterfront, the ferry takes about 40 minutes. Make sure to look out for whales on the way over! Most of the tour guides inside the prison are former political prisoners or prison guards, sharing their knowledge and interesting stories. The Tour includes a visit to the lime quarry, Robert Sobukwes House, the army and naval bunkers and the maximum-security prison including the viewing of Nelson Mandela’s cell. It was a very humbling moment to be there and one that will stay with me for a long time. Our last day we enjoyed a cultural tour of Cape Town, interacting with the local people both on the streets and in their homes. We visited Woodstock, where we explored the local street art, visited the ceramicist scientist John Bauer at his studio, and had our own personal concert with musician and composer Hilton Schilder at his home in Grassy Park. We then visited Langa, the oldest township in South Africa.
We finished off this wonderful trip with sundowners at the amazing Twelve Apostles Hotel. South Africa offers a variety of attractions including sandy beaches, tropical wetlands, spectacular mountain scenery, and the most amazing food and wines. It is a magnificent country blessed with extraordinary natural beauty with a rich cultural heritage. I hope that after reading my blog on Cape Town and the Winelands you’ll be inspired to travel and experience this wonderful part of the world for yourself. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me to discuss your own South African adventure.