The Mount Nelson hotel is over 100 years old, and it retains its old- world colonial atmosphere. It does not take much imagination to let your mind drift back a century and imagine the ex-pats sipping gin and tonics to distract themselves from the Anglo-Boer war.
Anyway, we went for afternoon tea mainly because Michael Winner, the Sunday Times columnist, regards it as the best in the world. I don’t do afternoon tea that often, so I am not really qualified to disagree, but I can say I really enjoyed the experience. We sat out in the verandah overlooking the lush gardens and were offered a menu of teas. Then we went up to serve ourselves from the sumptuous buffet. There were quiches, savoury pies, and of course, cucumber sandwiches. But to really appreciate Mount Nelson’s afternoon tea, you need a sweet tooth; there was carrot cake, chocolate cake, lots of fresh fruit, and a delicious strawberry cheesecake. Cheesecake is notoriously difficult to get right, but the confectioner in the Mount Nelson succeeded—the base was crunchy and the topping was creamy and not cloyingly sweet.
The service was warm and attentive, even though, as backpackers, we are probably not their usual clientele. We sat on the sun loungers for the afternoon, until we had sampled nearly everything. All of this for 100ZAR.