Cape Town Journals

South African Magic

A March 2005 trip to Cape Town by Coronado Bob & Berie

The Lodge on the Bay Photo, Cape Town, South Africa More Photos
Quote: After a week of rest on the beach in Strand, South Africa (Cape Town), and the Cape Winelands, we drove the Western Cape to Klein Karoo and the Garden Route to Port Elizabeth, then flew to the Northern Province to experience our first game drive, the thrill of the "Big Five!"

Rosenhof Country House

Best Of IgoUgo

Hotel

Rosenhof Country House Photo, Cape Town, South Africa
Quote:
The main house is an old Victorian country house built in the 1800s, beautifully restored, and it houses the restaurant and some lovely sitting rooms. We stayed in one of 12 guest rooms arranged around a garden with a fountain in the center. Our room was huge, with beautiful antique furnishings. The en-suite bathroom had both a bath tub and separate shower. We had our own little veranda on the garden. It was peaceful and beautiful. The grounds were manicured perfectly. We used the gym equipment in the tiny but lovely little spa, and while we did not sit by the main pool, there were several guests who were there. In the morning, breakfast was served either under a garden gazebo...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 25, 2005

Rosenhof Country House
264 Baron Von Rheede Street
Cape Town, South Africa
+27 44 272-2232

The Lodge on the Bay Photo, Cape Town, South Africa
Quote:
We included this one because it was so fantastic, but, alas, we were among the last guests to stay here, because it was sold for private ownership. There were only six guest rooms in this ultra-modern boutique hotel-like place. We had reserved the Zen Room, the most luxurious, complete with its own private swim area and plunge pool. The enormous room was peaceful and serene, with truly Zen furnishings. We climbed to the roof-top deck for a fabulous view of Plettenberg Bay and the beautiful homes along the beach area. The Zen Room was on the bottom floor, and there was a pool on the second floor, with other rooms opening onto the deck. This was another recommendation of Frommer's gone wildly p...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 2, 2005

The Lodge on the Bay
77 Beachy Head Drive
Cape Town, South Africa

Quote:
This is an old-fashioned beach hotel that has maintained its warmth and elegance despite the fact that an enormous, new mall has risen right beside it. The rooms have clearly been refurbished a time or two, but they continue to carry the sense of times gone by. The clientele appears to be the regulars who come here again and again.

We were lucky to get a room overlooking Hobie Beach, where a weekend carnival was underway. That night we dined in one of the two well-known restaurants on the premises, The Crest. Another mouth-watering rendition of karoo lamb shank and wild pig hit the spot as an early dinner before retiring to get some sleep before our early morning flight to Johannesburg.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 2, 2005

The Beach Hotel
Marine Drive, Humewood
Cape Town, South Africa

Royal Malewane

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Hotel

Royal Malewane Photo, Cape Town, South Africa
Quote:
There are only six private, thatched hut suites. The main room of the suite has an enormous four-poster bed topped by mosquito netting. A living area with a sofa, desk, fireplace, and tables spreads out at the foot of the bed. From the bedroom, you enter a big bathroom with an old-fashioned tub beside a huge glass window, double sinks, a shower head in the corner, and even a towel-warming rack. There is another outdoor shower on the deck beside the bathroom. The deck itself wraps around the suite, with a plunge pool with a view to the bush. For shade lovers, there is a canopy with big, comfy chaise lounges next to the plunge pool. Nothing separates the suites from the animals in the wild. W...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 2, 2005

Royal Malewane
P.O. Box 1542
Cape Town, South Africa 1380
27 (0)15 793 0150

Strand Pavilion Resort

Hotel | "Strand Pavillion"

Strand Pavilion Resort Photo, Strand, South Africa
Quote:
Best Things Nearby:The very long, wide beach and the beach town of StrandBest Things About the Resort:Beautiful view of Table Mountain in the distance, nightly sunset views, and the fact that it is built over the beach and even over the waterResort Experience:Strand Pavilion is a very well-maintained resort built on pillars over the water. The staff is friendly, warm, and helpful in every way. When we arrived at bout 7 a.m. after a long overnight flight from London, the Manager offered to open up the pool bar and let us relax there while we waited for our unit to be free and cleaned. She also provided the use of the pool dressing area to get refreshe...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 25, 2005

Strand Pavilion Resort
Beach Road
Strand, South Africa
021 853 2725

Oceana

Restaurant

Quote:
This is a seafood store as well as a fast-food seafood place. Fish-and-chips is made with the fresh line fish of the day, like kingklip. There is also calamari, crab cakes, and other great stuff. When you order fish-and-chips, it is cooked fresh for you. There a couple of picnic tables out in front, or you can take it with you. The portions of fish are huge, and it is some of the best fried fish you could want.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 25, 2005

Oceana
Strand
Cape Town, South Africa

Quote:
The dining room has glass on three sides and is built over the water, providing great ocean and beach views while dining. It is perfectly placed for a sunset view during dinner. The seafood is all very well prepared and very fresh. The prices of the food, and even the wine, are very moderate, and you will not leave hungry.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 25, 2005

Surf Side Restaurant
Strand Pavilion
Cape Town, South Africa
+27 (0)21 853 2748

Blaauwklippen Vineyards

Restaurant | "Blaauwklippen Wine Estate"

Blaauwklippen Vineyards Photo, Cape Town, South Africa
Quote:
We had lunch on the patio, with a beautiful view of the grounds and the mountains soaring behind the estate. It was peaceful and tranquil. We chose a springbok steak with a bottle of Blaauwklippen Cabernet Sauvignon. The springbok came well presented on a bed of quinoa and broccoli, cauliflower, and zucchini topped with spinach. A wonderful plum sauce complemented the meat and was not too sweet. We chatted with our young waiter, who was in the process of finishing school and preparing to go off to England to get some work experience. On this day, they were not serving inside for lunch because they were setting up for a wedding dinner in the evening. Other tables on the patio and the lawn filled ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 25, 2005

Blaauwklippen Vineyards
Route 44 Between Stellenbosch And Somerset West
Cape Town, South Africa 7599
+27 (0)21 880-0133

Ikhaya

Restaurant

Quote:
We were the only customers at this noon hour on a Sunday, even though we were down near the crowded Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. This very African restaurant was in the Clocktower a little off the beaten track on the second floor. Our table had a view of Robinson Graving Docks and the ferries heading out to Robben's Island. We ordered a meal called Go Wild Steak, which consisted of springbok, kudu, and ostrich. Our waitress, Ziyanda, was dressed in South African tribal garb and had an accent tinged with tribal tongue. She brought us traditional African cornbread, which has whole kernels of corn in it. We selected a Nederberg Chardonnay for our wine, and it was very good (only about $12). At ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 25, 2005

Ikhaya
Clocktower, Victoria and Alfred Waterfront
Cape Town, South Africa
+27(0)21-461 8880

96 Winery Road Restaurant Photo, Cape Town, South Africa
Quote:
Located on the Zandberg Farm, there is elegant indoor and outdoor dining. The view is very nice and soothing. We chose alfresco dining. Our appetizer was a wonderful calamari dish that we shared. Then we ordered the 750-gram prime rib for two. This restaurant is known for fabulous corn-fed beef. The beef was grand and came with a Madagascar sauce that was fabulous. We chose a bottle of Somerbosch Pinotage, a wine that is only found in South Africa. Our funny story is that there is a pig farm down the road, and after the sun set, the interesting odor of the pig farm started to infiltrate the air... but we had finished by then and were ready to go.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 25, 2005

96 Winery Road Restaurant
96 Winery Road
Cape Town, South Africa 7130
+27 021 842-2020

Petite Ferme

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Restaurant | "La Petite Ferme"

Petite Ferme Photo, Cape Town, South Africa
Quote:
We did not have reservations for lunch, as we arrived to a filled parking lot at La Petite Ferme Wine Farm. It was nearing 2pm, when lunch ends and they close to prepare for dinner. We were told that they were full, but that if we wished to wait, we could go out on the lawn and they would bring us a glass of wine. We did. The view was nothing short of breathtaking!! La Petite Ferme restaurant looks to be the original farmhouse, converted. We chose La Petite ferme Cabernet Sauvignon, which was excellent as we enjoyed the view and snapped pictures. They called us to a table inside, beside an enormous window to the view. Their signature dish is smoked salmon trout, but we selected a new dis...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 25, 2005

Petite Ferme
Pass Road Franschoek
Cape Town, South Africa
+27 (0)21 876-3016

Zevenwacht Wine Estate Photo, Cape Town, South Africa
Quote:
We had a choice of dining inside or getting a picnic basket for the lawn beside the beautiful little lake. We chose the former. It was, again, after 1:30pm, so most of the lunch crowd was wrapping up, and the staff was preparing the lawn for an evening wedding. Our waiter, Leslie, put us at a nice little table on the patio where we could watch the wedding preparations and enjoy the lake view. He was pleased when one of us ordered the Karoo lamb shank, which he said was excellent. We also ordered an ostrich steak. The food was to be accompanied by a bottle of Zevenwacht Cabernet Sauvignon--yet another wonderful South African wine! The food was fabulous! A memorable afternoon lunch!

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 25, 2005

Zevenwacht Wine Estate
Langverwacht Road
Cape Town, South Africa
+27 21 903 5123

Quote:
A warm and wonderful dining room with magnificent South African art on the walls. Our waitress, Bula, wore the traditional South African garb. The dinner comes in five courses. We selected a Berwatter Cabernet Sauvignon. The soup was a tomato-based creamy soup with almost a chili flavor. That was followed by a foccacia-type bread with melted cheese, but we also got some grainy bread that we had grown fond of in South Africa. We both ordered the ostrich steak, rare, with cherry sauce. It was absolutely wonderful! The meat was accompanied by a variety of fresh vegetables that somehow just had much more flavor than anything we buy and cook at home! The only disappointment was the brie cheese we s...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 26, 2005

Rosenhof Country House
264 Baron Von Rheede Street
Cape Town, South Africa
+27 44 272-2232

Royal Malewane

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Royal Malewane Photo, Cape Town, South Africa
Quote:
Dining at the Royal Malewane Private Game Reserve is actually for the guests only and included in the overall price, but it is well worth mentioning. Each meal, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner, is planned by the staff for the 12 guests on site, but there is a menu of choices from which to select. Everything is fresh and made with the fresh ingredients available to them. We were awakened at 5:30am for our daily morning game drive. We indulged quickly in fresh orange juice, coffee or tea, and some delicious fresh muffins before departing. During the game drive, our ranger and tracker paused and prepared more coffee or tea and provided crumpets as a snack. We returned to the "camp" and se...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 28, 2005

Royal Malewane
Kruger National Park
Cape Town, South Africa

Quote:
This is a small kiosk featuring the handmade silver and gold jewelry of an artist who does not use molds but makes each piece separately. He does beautiful abstract pieces, as well as renderings of animals and of the African continent. The pieces range from very small to quite large and are somewhat expensive. The quality and workmanship as well as the creativity make this a great place to buy a momento of Africa. We bought a gift for a family member and a little something to keep.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 25, 2005

Jewelry Art by Simon
Kiosk 7, 3 Victoria Mall
Cape Town, South Africa

Chapman's Peak & Atlantic coast

Attraction | "Chapman's Peak Drive"

Quote:
We drove down the western side of the Cape Peninsula and encountered Chapman's Peak Drive as we headed from Hout Bay toward Noordhoek. Frommer's Guide says that it is closed, but that is no longer true. You pay a 20 Rand (about $3) toll to help pay for this engineering marvel of a drive. The ride is on a rocky cliff above the Atlantic Ocean and is so literally carved from the mountain that at one point, there is an incredible natural canopy of rock above. A must-see for on a Cape Peninsula ride.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on April 25, 2005

Chapman's Peak & Atlantic coast
Cape Peninsula
Cape Town, South Africa

Boulders Beach (Penguin Colony)

Attraction | "Penguins & Baboons at Boulder Bay"

Boulders Beach (Penguin Colony) Photo, Cape Town, South Africa
Quote:
These cute little "Jack-Ass" African penguins arrived in Boulder Bay, much to the chagrin of the local residents, in the 1980s. It is easy just to park and walk around the beach, snapping pictures of these little creatures. Driving further toward Miller's Point, you will see the Chocma Baboons. These creatures are not so friendly-looking, and indeed, tourists are warned to beware of them, as they can be quite aggressive.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on April 25, 2005

Boulders Beach (Penguin Colony)
4 Boulders Place Simon's Town
Cape Town, South Africa
+27 (21) 786 1758

Cape Point Nature Reserve

Attraction | "Lighthouse at Cape Point"

Cape Point Nature Reserve Photo, Cape Town, South Africa
Quote:
This lighthouse, high on the hill, is at the tip of Africa. For lighthouse enthusiasts, this is one to see and ascend. Beware, because it is very busy and filled with tourist buses.

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on April 25, 2005

Cape Point Nature Reserve
Cape Point
Cape Town, South Africa 7975
+27 21 780 9100

Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve

Attraction | "Cape of Good Hope"

Quote:
The Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve is interesting, rugged land. The Cape of Good Hope holds an important part of the history of navigation around the tip of South Africa.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on April 25, 2005

Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve
Off the M65
Cape Town, South Africa 7975
+27 21 780-9526

Strand Beach

Attraction

Strand Beach Photo, Cape Town, South Africa
Quote:
Wide beach of soft golden sand that is a great "walker's" beach. In the early mornings, many of the people who own the high-rise condos can be seen taking a long morning walk. It is also a beach where bus loads of children arrive for a couple of hours of swimming and romping. There is a daily flea market that sets up along the center part of the beach. The local fisherman launch their boats in the morning and evening and then return to a fish cleaning station before selling the fresh fish from the back of their trucks.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on April 25, 2005

Strand Beach
Beach Road
Cape Town, South Africa

Fat Cat Bar

Attraction | "Fat Cat Bar in Strand Pavillion"

Quote:
The Fat Cat Bar is part of the Surfside restaurant in the Strand Pavillion. In the late afternoon, there is a deck where you can have drinks and watch the fantastic sun set. On some nights, they have live bands, and there is a small dance floor. Our margaritas were not fabulous, but okay, and the atmosphere was nice and friendly. We got to dance to at least one Country and Western song before things turned younger and friskier.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on April 25, 2005

Fat Cat Bar
In Strand Pavillion, Beach Road
Cape Town, South Africa

Traversing the Swartberg Pass Photo, Cape Town, South Africa
Quote:
We chose to drive out of Oudtshoorn, through the awesome Meiringspoort Pass, and up to Prince Albert before tackling the Swartberg Pass en route back to Oudtshoorn. As we turned up the road to the Swartberg Pass, we realized that the pavement had ended. Almost immediately, the road began its series of tight switchbacks. We could just barely pass those coming in our direction, as the road is mostly one lane wide. The views grew more inspiring with each turn until we finally reached "Die Top" at about 4,000 feet. We felt some awe that Thomas Bain had engineered this road 100 years ago. The ascent was about 6 miles long, and then the gravel road continued back toward R328 for another 11 m...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 2, 2005

Traversing the Swartberg Pass
Swartberg Mountains
Cape Town, South Africa

Thorny Bush Private Game Reserve

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Attraction | "Game Drives in South Africa"

Thorny Bush Private Game Reserve Photo, Cape Town, South Africa
Quote:
Each day at 6am and again at 4pm, we met with our personal ranger, Geran, and Tracker and Shadrack for 4 hours of driving through the bush looking for the Big Five and many other animals, birds, and flora! In an open Range Rover, we were just a few feet from the most dangerous animals on earth: lions, elephants, water buffalo, and rhinoceros’, as well as other predators, such as cheetahs, warthogs, vultures, crocodiles, and many more. We also saw the graceful giraffes, beautiful impala and ignala, zebras, etc. Each game drive is a new and separate experience. The night drive also reveals the entire Milky Way as seen only in the southern hemisphere. There are beautiful sunrises and sunsets and ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 9, 2005

Thorny Bush Private Game Reserve
Thorny Bush Private Game Reserve
Cape Town, South Africa

Victoria and Alfred Waterfront - Alfred Mall

Attraction | "Victoria and Alfred Waterfront"

Victoria and Alfred Waterfront - Alfred Mall Photo, Cape Town, South Africa
Quote:
Cape Town is a large and bustling city that has the feel of San Francisco. The waterfront area is an attraction all in itself with museums, shopping galore, and restaurant choices for every taste and pocketbook. The mall has major retailers, as well as specialty shops with South African treasures and merchandise. You can view Table Mountain from the outside walks of the V&A Mall or watch boats bustling in and out of the harbor. We noted that many of the major retailers are different than what you most often see in the US and Europe. We are not generally mall rats, but we managed to walk the long indoor corridors for hours. It is a well-lighted mall with wide walks. There are squares around the ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 27, 2005

Victoria and Alfred Waterfront - Alfred Mall
Dock Road
Cape Town, South Africa 8001
+27 21 408 7500

South Africa, A Come-Back Place

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

Cheetah Brothers Photo, Cape Town, South Africa
Quote:
Our interest in a trip to South Africa may not have happened had it not been for the fact that Bob had done consulting stints in Botswana and Lesotho and brought home books showing the beauty of the country. The trip is a very long one from California, so we hoped that we were planning enough time there. We were concerned about healthcare, so we went to an international health clinic and got every conceivable shot, plus our anti-malarial pills, for our time in the bush. We planned to take very little in the way of jewelry after hearing about the dangers that might await travelers in Cape Town. We were advised not to eat fruits or vegetables that were not peeled and not to drink the water. While w...Read More