All Around Cape Town

by Anna

We loved our time spent exploring in and around Cape Town – so much vibrant culture and gorgeous natural beauty to see. Here are some of the highlights from our week:

V&A Waterfront and Downtown
The V&A Waterfront had been described to us by many friends as “the Fisherman’s Wharf” of Cape Town. It definitely reminded us of that with its noisy, colorful restaurants and shops lining the boat-packed harbor. Even though a bit touristy, it was a beautiful spot to walk around, get lunch and gaze up at the magnificent Table Mountain. Moving into the heart of the city, we stopped by Green Market Square to check out the stalls filled with jewelry, crafts and souvenirs, and walked over to Bo-Kaap, “The Cape Malay Quarter,” known for its brightly painted houses, cobblestone streets and multicultural neighborhood on the slopes of Signal Hill. We also tried to visit the District Six Museum, but it was closed for renovations. In the process, however, we met one of the founders of the museum who had been a resident of District Six. He shared his story and heartbreaking accounts of families torn apart during apartheid, resulting in a much more personal and touching experience than we would have had just visiting the museum.


Neighbourgoods Market
On Saturday morning we had one of our favorite experiences of Cape Town, the Neighbourgoods Market. Johnny had read that it was a cool spot in the emerging neighborhood of Woodstock to check out, so we decided to give it a go. Little did we know what an amazing, sensory overload of food, atmosphere, crafts, fashion and community awaited us. It was the most awesome, heady place of all times, and we didn’t want to leave! We spent a couple hours just looking at all the food stalls and wandering through the shops before deciding on a crepe and champagne (for me) and a microbrew and BBQ steak sandwich (for him, of course!), which we enjoyed at one of the many candle-lined family style tables. Since I can’t do the place justice in words, here is a better description from the website/blog (which is also really awesome!):

The Neighbourgoods Market is an independent initiative … whose aim is to revive and reinvent the Public Market as a civic institution. This award-winning market features over 100 specialty traders every Saturday, creating a weekly platform for local farmers, fine-food purveyors, organic merchants, bakers and distributors, grocers, mongers, butchers, artisan producers, celebrated local chefs, and micro enterprises. The Neighbourgoods Market is housed in an old sky-lit Victorian warehouse and courtyard at the Old Biscuit Mill in the emerging industrial neighbourhood of Woodstock, Cape Town. It is as much a source for farm fresh… goods, as it is a meeting point to enjoy community, swap ideas and stories, and become educated about what we buy and eat by going directly to the source. The Neighbourgoods Market has been created along ethical, eco-friendly and organic lines, to offer a wide range of products from the extended community of Cape Town.

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens
The beautiful Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens back up to the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, making for a pretty breathtaking setting. You could easily spend an entire day wandering through the tranquil gardens, and we passed many people picnicking, sketching or just napping on the expansive lawns dotted with funny little guinea hens. The gardens are part of the Cape Floral Kingdom, and both the region and the gardens were listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004 (you know how we love the UNESCO!), making it the first botanical garden in the world to be on this list. We would have loved to have checked out one of the open-air concerts that are held here in summer, but just missed them by a couple of weeks.

Hout Bay
We were really happy that we picked Hout Bay as our base to explore Cape Town. As you already read, we were instantly in love with Poplar Tree Lodge and the beautiful bay below it, and we even loved the stunning drive along the coast, through Camps Bay to Cape Town. We took a late afternoon stroll one day along the white sandy beach and watched the sun go down in the company of tons of happy dogs running along the sand dunes and in and out of the water fetching sticks. We ended our walk with some delectably greasy, down and dirty fish & chips at Fish on the Rocks which had a million dollar location right on the harbor.

Kalk Bay
Although we had driven through Kalk Bay on the way down to Cape Point, we decided to go back so that we could spend more time “behind the lentil curtain” and check out the town’s main drag of craftsy shops and restaurants. We were so happy we did, because not only did we love the Bohemian/artsy vibe of Kalk Bay, but we also had a delicious lunch at Olympia Cafe (go there if you are ever in Kalk Bay!!) and saw THREE whales along the coastal drive between Kalk Bay and Simon’s Town. We also couldn’t get enough of the cute little furry seals playing in the breakwater at Kalk Bay Harbour. There has definitely been no shortage of wildlife on our adventure thus far!

Now it’s off to give South African wines a little Sherwood taste-test in Franschhoek, the culinary heart of the country…sounds like trouble!


2 Responses to “All Around Cape Town”

  1. If hippies use the side door, then that means I get to use the front door, right? Don’t tell me there is an “Occupy Kalk Bay” movement going on!

    I just realized you may not know what that means, given your recent disconnect from American news. Oh, the things you’ve missed…

    Anyway, Cape Town looks as stunning as I imagined. That sign in the Neighbourgood market about the bottle is genius. I ask that to my bottles all the time!

    Have fun, Finchwoods and be safe! I’ll hold down the fort on the eastern seaboard.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: