Dungeons Surf Spot Cape Town

With surfing available almost year-round and an abundance of surf spots to choose from, Cape Town is one of the best destinations in the world for surfing. Whether you’re a newbie or a pro surfer, there are options for everyone no matter how the wind is blowing. However, if you’re an experienced surfer looking for your next great spot, Dungeon’s Beach is one of the most extreme and exciting surfing spots in South Africa.

Dungeon’s Beach is a well-known, world-famous surfing spot. It’s located at the foot of the Sentinel Mountain, just off the coast of Hout Bay. The beach is only accessible by a 15-minute boat ride from Hout Bay Harbour. It is one of the best surfing spots for advanced and experienced surfers, and waves of up to 60-feet have been ridden. Winter is the best time of year to surf. But both locals and world-traveling surfers alike frequent the challenging spot year round.

Surf’s Up!

Dungeon’s waves were first ridden in 1984 by Cape Town surfers Pierre de Villiers and Peter Button. Today the spot has been made famous by Red Bull Big Wave Africa. The contest is held at Dungeons every year in winter. It attracts the world’s top national and international surfers, with contestants surfing by invitation only. American surfer Greg Long is the only surfer in history to score a perfect 10 on a Dungeons wave (Red Bull Big Wave Africa event, 2008). He is considered the best big wave surfer in the world.

The best time to surf at Dungeon’s is during low tide, where waves start breaking from 8 to 10 feet. Paddle surfers rarely frequent the beach outside of the Red Bull Big Wave Africa event. But tow surfers can be found at the beach frequently. Despite the reputation as one the most shark-infested places in the world, Dungeons Beach still draws surfers looking for a adventure.

Featured on Food24 and Food&Home

Location: 110 Harrington Street, CBD

Crowdfunding has been used to fund many things. From new technology gadgets, to charity projects, to innovative business ideas. Two Capetonian chefs, Anouchka Horn and Neil Swart, saw the potential of this relatively new investment technique and decided to start the first South African crowdfunded restaurant in Cape Town.

The restaurant is based on an exciting new food trend that is picking up pace fast. Another speciality element of the restaurant is that they work on bookings only. And there are only 20 seats available per dinner seating.

A Nose to Tail Dining Extravaganza

The menu changes daily, according to what the chefs can grow or source from sustainable farming suppliers. Nothing goes to waste, the whole animal is used in combination with local seasonal ingredients. Menus range from 5 to 8 courses. All you must do, is show up and feast. It’s a very personal dining experience, you trust the choices of the chefs, without picking and choosing from a menu. Anouchka and Neil believe in a hands-on experience – cooking your food, serving your food, and pouring your wine.

The Restaurant Concept

Belly of the Beast Cape Town Pork Restaurant

Belly of the Beast aims to bring back a more intimate dining experience, like meeting at a friend’s house for dinner. Only this time, your friends are professional chefs. They interact with the guests, sharing stories about their passion for sustainable cooking. Their other passion is people, hence creating the intimate dining experience. The nose-to-tail principle means no food goes to waste. Menus are planned around which fresh produce is available from sustainable farmers. And each part of the meat is used to its fullest.

The Faces Behind the Food

Anouchka and Neil met while they were students. They both worked part-time at Terroir Restaurant in Stellenbosch. The two became good friends, sharing similar passions such as work and life philosophies, music – and of course, food.

Their personalities seem to complement each other perfectly, at the same time very similar yet different. The two chefs decided that they would make a good team in the kitchen. Neil specialises in meat. Since childhood he has been hunting and preparing a wide variety of meat. And Anouchka’s speciality lies with pastries, plus she’s a master ice cream maker. She creates ice cream from scratch, each batch with its own special base. Both chefs live and breathe good food. You can taste the passion in the highly creative dishes they produce.

Where Did It All Start

Anouchka and Neil started the Arugula Bistro in 2012, situated in Welgemoed, Belville. It’s a family-orientated restaurant, focusing on offering customers a high-quality dining experience. The bistro offers great wholesome meals such as burgers, or fish and chips. It has established itself as a firm favourite of the community. But the two chefs wanted to expand their dining repertoire and introduce people to a different side of their cooking skills.

After the bistro’s great success and popularity, the dynamic duo decided to expand and to open a highly exceptional restaurant in the city center of the Mother City. At the Belly of the Beast they are moving away from the tried and tested traditional meals, to a more experimental style that changes every day.

Shaking Up the Capetonian Restaurant Scene

The Mother City teems with restaurants. You could visit a different one every night of the week for a year, and still not make a big dent in the culinary scene. And often restaurants pop up overnight like mushrooms, but they die out again just as soon. To make Capetonians sit up and take notice of a new restaurant, isn’t hard. But to impress them and secure your sought-after permanent spot in the culinary scene, that’s a different challenge.

Belly of the Beast Cape Town Pork Restaurant

After opening at the end of August 2018, word quickly spread about this innovative restaurant. Now they are booked out most evenings of the week, sometimes even a few weeks in advance. The small bespoke eatery has won the heart of the Cape Town foodies.

With their menu changing every day, every visit to the Belly of the Beast will be a unique experience. And it’s not often that you can potentially book out a whole restaurant for your private function. Plus have two talented chefs attend to your dining needs.

Sustainable Cooking in Action

Belly of the Beast Cape Town Pork Restaurant

Belly of the Beast takes organic cooking to the next level. Using the nose-to-tail principle, they make sure that nothing goes to waste at one of their exclusive dinner parties. They create everything on the menu from scratch. The chefs use only fresh produce. So, whatever is ready to be cooked, is served. And the meat they use is meticulously sourced from sustainable farmers.

Another fun element of the restaurant is the on-display kitchen. You can watch Anouchka and Neil create culinary magic right before your eyes! While they are preparing the delectable dishes and selecting the wines to pair them with, they will chat to you a bit more about their passion for sustainable cooking. Find out more about this worldwide movement that is taking the restaurant industry by storm from two experts in the field.

Book Your Seat at The Feast Table Now

This exclusive fine dining restaurant has definitely managed to grab the attention of both local Capetonian foodies and visitors to the city. You must move quickly to snatch up a seat. The 5 to 8 course dinner costs R450 per person. To secure your seat, you need to pay a R150 booking deposit (per person). You can also pay with BitCoin.

Visit www.bellyofthebeast.co.za for more information.

Sunset Sea point Swimming Pool Cape Town Emma Van Der Vliet

Sunset Sea point Swimming Pool Cape Town Emma Van Der Vliet

 

I love swimming – I always have. When I was a child, we used to take the train from Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape all the way to Joburg to visit my grandmother. There I would run the gauntlet into her garden past the homicidal sausage dog, Curly Wee (yes, actually) but it was worth it, because if I could make it past him alive I would get to… The Pool. Flanked by vibracrete swans, adorned by lilos and reeking of chlorine, it was a suburban oasis. I loved that pool. I swam in it until my lips were blue and my fingers looked like mauve prunes. Most afternoons, my long-suffering, non-swimming mother had to drive me out of the water with dire threats as the daily thunderstorm brewed and lightning was imminent.

I still love swimming, though these days I’m a bit more discerning about where and how I do it. I’m not as quick to throw off my clothes and leap into any available body of water wearing nothing but two small stripes of lycra, and I prefer somewhere that I’ll be left in peace. Luckily, there are some magnificent places to swim in Cape Town, some more secret than others, which suit my needs perfectly. There are plenty of sea swims (and that’s a story for another day) but for now I want to stick to pools: here are some of the best Cape Town swimming pools open to the public.

I have to start with my all-time favourite, the Sea Point pool. Can there be a better poolside view than there is from this large, salt water swimming-hole, which seems to continue out endlessly into the Atlantic Ocean alongside it? There are four pools, including an Olympic sized main pool, a paddling pool for kids and a diving pool with a fearsomely high diving board which is open to the public during high season when there are lifeguards on duty.

For all this you’ll pay the modest sum of R25.30 a day for adults, R13.20 for children or nothing at all if you are a senior citizen or have a disability. Not surprisingly, the Sea Point swimming pool is one of the best-used facilities in Cape Town, frequented by a pleasingly diverse range of people. During weekdays it tends to be quieter, with older visitors swimming or sunning themselves convivially on the lawns, and on weekends it is teeming with children from all over greater Cape Town. High season runs from the 1stof October to the end of February, when the opening hours are extended to allow a full twelve hour day from 7 to 7. And because it is filled with (treated) sea water it is open despite the drought.

Sunset Sea point Swimming Pool Cape Town Emma Van Der Vliet Diving Board

 

The pool is set near the far end of the Sea Point Promenade, another wonderfully well-used bit of public open space and one of the few places in Cape Town where one can walk alone for a good solid hour or two, with spectacular views, in relative safety. People-watching makes for excellent sport here, but if you’re keen on more physical activity you can hire a bike, run, skateboard, play soccer or putt-putt, or even land your paraglider on the grass. Once again, the promenade is a worth a story all on its own. On Sunday evenings, on the outlook next to the pool, people gather informally for a spot of Latin dancing while the sun sets over the sea, or to watch others dance while enjoying some food from the street stalls.

But back to swimming… If it’s too chilly to brave the elements – or if a heated pool seems like a more relaxing prospect – the Long Street Baths is another of Cape Town’s open secrets.

Established well over a century ago in 1908, the Long Street baths is worth a visit just for the feeling of stepping into a different era. Yes, it could perhaps do with a spruce-up, but the genteel tattiness is part of its charm. As you come in through the original imported iron turnstile and into the light, old-fashioned lobby, it’s a little like walking onto a set from The Unbearable Lightness of Being or Hotel Budapest. A staircase leads up off the lobby to a spectator’s balcony where you can look down onto the pool and the murals of local scenes that flank it.

Long Street Baths Cape Town Swimming Pool Murals Emma Van Der Vliet Web

 

Even more like a film set are the changing booths next to the steam room to the left of the lobby, in which there are small slatted wooden beds on which one can apparently “take a break from the heat”. At least that’s what I was told. Unfortunately the steam rooms are still closed due to the drought.

You access the pool itself through the change rooms, which are at the back of the ground floor lobby as you walk in. These are basic, and apparently not always scrupulously clean but perfectly adequate. And the pool is magnificent – several lanes wide, 25 meters long and an inviting bright blue. The room is vast, with plenty of natural light and raked seating for spectators or resting swimmers. The facility belongs to the City of Cape Town and the entrance fees are the same as at Sea Point.

Both the Sea Point pool and the Long Street Baths have been around for a long time and are well-known and well-loved. It took a dip into Justin Fox and Alison Westwood’s wonderful book Secret Cape Town to lead me to a much more secret swim in the Mother City.

Although it’s open to the general public between 10am and 3pm daily, very few people seem to know about the heated indoor pool at the Wynberg military base. Swimlab swim school have their home-base here, but when it’s not being used by them, this well-maintained, 25-meter long pool is the perfect place to go to train or just to swim a few laps.

The Wynberg Aquatic Centre is inside the military camp on the corner of Scoble and Buren Roads. The camp is a very strange place, a secret suburb-within-a-suburb, where you feel like you’ve been transported back in time: it’s all a bit “Toto, we’re not in Wynberg anymore”. Pre-fab buildings give it an outback feel, and everything seems oddly still and quiet.

The pool is not easy to find. There are no signposts at the entrance, so you have to be in the know or ask the guards at the boom – and even they had to consult amongst themselves. They told me to take a left at the entrance, take the right fork in the road and pass the tennis courts. I missed it the first time: again, there was no signage and the gate was unattended and looked like it was locked. I went around the block, came back to the same spot and parked. When I tried the gate I found I could open it. I eventually found the lone attendant and had a wonderful, peaceful solo swim with the perfectly-heated pool all to myself for the princely sum of R10: highly recommended! It is a lonely place though, and you might prefer to take some company rather than going by yourself. That said, it’s a pool for training in, not for a picnic or a poolside chat, so find someone who’s as keen on an adventurous secret swim as you are.

Emma van der Vliet is the author of Past Imperfect and Thirty Second World, both published by Penguin SA.

Harrington Street Restaurants Leftys Cape Town

The hip and happening Harrington Street has a selection of must-visit spots for delicious food. From coffee to burgers and organic to vegan — Harrington street has something for everyone to enjoy.

Lekker Vegan Harrington street

Lekker Vegan | Corner of Harrington & 37 Barrack Street

 Hours: Monday to Thursday 12PM – 10PM | Friday 12PM – 3AM | Saturday 1PM – 3AM | Sunday 3PM – 10PM

The owner, James Knaap, altered his lifestyle drastically after experiencing health challenges with a chronic illness. By switching to a vegan diet and becoming more conscious of his eating habits, he overcame it. After this big lifestyle change, he decided to make more people conscious of the benefits of becoming a vegan. The menu includes Gatsbys and nuggets, gourmet burgers, and more. Lekker Vegan’s décor is simplistic and fresh, with a tongue in cheek bright logo.

Visit lekkervegan.co.za for more information

New York Bagels Harrington street

Photo by tripadvisor.co.za

New York Bagels | 44 Harrington Street

Hours: Monday to Friday 7AM – 4PM | Saturday 8AM – 2PM

New York Bagels dates back to 1940. The awesome brand finally hit the South African shores with a bang. Indulge in traditional, hand-rolled bagels with decadent fillings. Add to that a delicious cup of coffee, and you’re set to go. They also serve other pastries and cakes, prepared on site. A slice of traditional baked cheesecake or chocolate croissant can balance out your savoury bagel.

Visit the New York Bagels Facebook page for more information.

Kamili Coffee Harrington Street

Photo by House&Leisure

Kamili Coffee | 48 Harrington Street

Hours: Monday to Friday 7AM – 6PM |Saturday to Sunday 8AM – 4PM

Kamili means “perfect” in Swahili, and after one sip of the amazing coffee, you will agree with the name choice. You can either pop in to grab a bag of beans for your home. Or take a leisurely moment for yourself with a good cuppa coffee and a waffle in the funky space. They also serve breakfasts, fresh salads, gourmet hot dogs, and more.

Visit kamilicoffee.co.za for more information.

Bootlegger Harrington street

Bootlegger Coffee | 50 Harrington Street

Hours: Monday to Friday 6h30AM – 5h30PM | Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays 7h30AM – 3PM

The Bootlegger Coffee Company has been around since 2012. It was created by three best friends — Antonie Basson, De Waal Basson and Pieter Bloem. Starting in Cape Town, they’ve also branched out to Johannesburg. A unique feature of each store, is a carefully selected AC/DC song line, mounted on the wall in neon lights. The menu boasts with great café foods, to complement the coffee perfectly. There are 14 branches across the city. Grab a coffee for only R19 before 8:30am.

Visit bootlegger.co.za for more information.

Related: The Best Dive Bars in Cape Town: East City

Surfarosa Harrington street

Surfarosa | 61 Harrington Street

Hours: Tuesday to Saturday 12PM – 4AM

A funky surfer-punk bar with a casual and festive vibe. It’s a favourite hangout of the locals, to blow off some steam, or spruce up the night with live music. Inside you can relax in a private booth, or enjoy the fresh air outside in the courtyard. The bar also features a small dance area. The last Thursday of every month a live band fills it up quickly.

Visit Surfarosa’s website for more information.

Harringtons Lounge Harrington street

Harrington’s Cocktail Lounge | 61 Harrington Street

Hours: Thursday & Friday 12PM – 4AM | Wednesday & Saturday 5PM – 4AM

Upstairs from the surfer bar, you can relax in style in the sophisticated after-work drinks space. With stylish botanical prints, crystal chandeliers, velvet booths, and revived hardwood floors — its suaveness at its best. Their cocktails are rated among the best in the city. And the delicious tapas complement them perfectly. Pop in on First Thursdays to catch The Black Market. It features an exhibition, happy hour, and live DJ’s.

Visit Harrington’s Cocktail Lounge’s website for more information.

Downtown Ramen Harrington street

Photo by capetownmylove.com

Downtown Ramen | 103 Harrington Street

Hours: Monday to Saturday 5PM – 10PM

What exactly is ramen? It is Japanese quick-cooking noodles, mixed in a broth with meat and/or vegetables. The décor has a rough-and-ready feel to it, and the seating is tavern-like. All the focus is placed on the delicious bowls of ramen! It’s one of the best spots in the city to get your dose of healthy Japanese delights.

Visit Downtown Ramen’s Facebook page for more information.

leftys harrington street

Photo by Christine Diampovisa

Lefty’s | 105 Harrington Street

Hours: Monday to Saturday 4PM – 1AM

Another popular hangout of the locals in the area, including the students. The laidback atmosphere welcomes you in to come and chill with a drink after work. It has the typical look and vibe of a bar. Great off the beaten path spot, if you want to really feel part of the local crowd. They have American-style dishes and serve epic ribs. Try the fried chicken on waffles with syrup.

Visit Lefty’s Facebook page for more information.

Belly of the Beast Cape Town Pork Restaurant

Belly of the Beast | 110 Harrington Street

Hours: Tuesday to Saturday 7PM – 10PM

This is a secret fine dining space on Harrington street. They operate on an online bookings only system and each dinner sitting only serves a maximum of 20 guests. The reason for the tight guest list, is that the owner-chef Neil Swart and co-owner and Anouchka Horn believe in sustainable dining, ensuring that no food goes to waste, they operate on a nose-to-tail policy.

Read our post to find out more about this innovative restaurant.

Cape Town as A Solo Traveler: Part 2

Written by Kalee LaPointe, a student from San Angelo, Texas, United States. She is currently studying English Literature at Goucher College in Towson, Maryland. She has been doing an internship in Cape Town during her Summer break, and the following is her accounts. Follow her journey on Instagram @kaleefromtexas

Traveling Solo

As I sit here writing this, I honestly cannot believe my time in Cape Town is coming to an end. I know people told me 4-weeks would go by fast, but I just can’t believe how fast they really did.
When I think of my time here, I remember what it was like the first time I traveled alone. It was when I moved off to college, over 1,600 miles (2,600 kilometers) away from everyone and everything I knew. I was terrified to be quite honest. But I’d honestly never been so exited or felt so exhilarated in my life. A year later, I took off again to study abroad in Greece for four months. Now that was over 6,400 miles (10,000 km) and an ocean away, but I wasn’t as terrified so much as nervous.

Cape Town as A Solo Traveler: Part 2
Fast forward another year and I was jetting off here to Cape Town—over 8,900 miles (14,000 km) and 2 oceans away. While each experience has taught me something new (including how to break the news to my supportive but ever worrying mom) and my anxiety and nerves have definitely gone down – something about Cape Town just felt different. And it has been.

This experience has opened my eyes in ways I never expected; perhaps it’s the time in my life where the future is such a daunting idea, maybe it’s the way I started this journey completely on my own, or perhaps it’s just Cape Town. Perhaps it’s just…everything. Regardless of the reason, I’ve learned how to be myself because of it.

That’s the thing about traveling solo. While some people find it intimidating and others might think it’s scary, it can definitely be both, you truly learn more about yourself than you ever even imagined was possible. If you’re even the slightest bit interested in traveling to Cape Town on your own, I have just two words for you…DO IT! You will be so glad you did.

When in Cape Town

Like everyone I spoke to beforehand, I had some preconceived ideas of what Cape Town would be like. Every single one has been wrong except for one— “I’ll have some new adventures.” Which I most definitely have! Although they haven’t all been good or exciting, like the time my phone suddenly malfunctioned and I had to walk up and down Signal Hill to try and get a signal (and yes, my friends thought this was ironically hilarious), they have all taught me something valuable.

At times I was worried, like when I went zip lining for the first time in my life or climbed through caves, but every day I kept repeating my ever-standing mantra— “when in Cape Town!” It has been the most welcoming, friendly, and honestly most amazing place I’ve ever been. I’m beyond thankful I have had such an incredible experience here. I’m so grateful to all of the amazing people I’ve met along the way who have helped me to make memories I’ll never forget.

Cape Town as A Solo Traveler: Part 2

While traveling solo means you start off on your own (completely and utterly alone), it really frees you to meet new people. Not saying that traveling with people is in any way a bad thing, but I do think it’s a completely different experience. When you’re on your own, you’re just that—on your own. Free to go at your own pace, explore on your own schedule. This allows you the opportunities to really bond with other people, especially those who are in the exact same situation.

Most of the time it’s people you wouldn’t have otherwise even talked to, much less, in my case, built strong connections with. As a solo traveler, you get to meet people from all walks of life. And if you’re in Cape Town, you get to meet the most diverse, fun, adventurous range of people.

Well, This Is It

From last-minute adventures around the city to late nights out on Long Street and weeknights at Stones, Cape Town has been somewhere I’m proud to call my home away from home. It’s a funny thing, the word home. Everywhere I’ve travelled and lived, even school, I’ve always been reluctant to call it home. Home was San Angelo, Texas.  A grey-blue house with a white door and 2-windows. It was my mom, my dog and cat, my family. Home was…is…a feeling, I think. I don’t know what it is, but from the first few days I arrived here, I’ve just felt so at home in Cape Town. I’m honestly so sad to be leaving; I feel like I’m really leaving home.

Cape Town as A Solo Traveler: Part 2

I truly made the best decision of my life coming to Cape Town. It was never a grand plan of mine to come here, but now it’s my main plan to come back some day (probably in summer for all of you telling how much better it is then, although I honestly don’t know how it could be any better than it already is).
Traveling alone is so many things (you can choose which words you’d like to use), but traveling solo to Cape Town is something I think everyone should do. It’s amazing, so beautiful, fantastic—all of the words you might find as an exaggeration. But here, they’re just the plain truth. As I leave Cape Town, I’ll always treasure not only the experiences I’ve had here, but also the person I am in this very moment, and all of the adventures that have led me here.

So, I guess this is it. Thank you for the seemingly never-ending sunsets. Thanks for the breath-taking mountain views. And thank you for the bright lights and lively vibes. Goodbye, Cape Town. Adiós. Αντίο. Sala Kakuhle!

Wynberg Park Cape Town

Wynberg Park Cape Town

Photo by @cpt_wanderlust_

The park is located in the lovely leafy Southern suburbs of Cape Town. It stretches over 22 hectares and boasts with authentic Western Cape vegetation. Inside the park you can find the spring of the Krakeelwater River.

Other great features include a beautiful conifer garden and abundant hydrangeas, creating a beautiful colourful carpet in summer. Hunt down the elusive Silvertree, which once grew abundantly in the area, but now only one solitary tree remains.

 

Wynberg Park Cape Town

Photo by anitab79

The park has stunning little pathways crisscrossing through it, with immaculate lawns, perfect for picnics. Or look out for the braai facilities for an authentically South African lunch. It is a kids’ paradise with a great playground, as well as a duck pond to entertain your kids for hours. Bring your dog and enjoy a leisurely stroll in the beautiful surroundings.

You can also bring your bicycle and explore all the paths through the lush green park.

Wynberg Park Cape Town

Photo by anitab79

Wynberg Park occasionally hosts fun days as well as live concerts. Keep an eye on their social media pages to stay in the loop. The city’s Come and Play teams also host extreme sports demonstrations, and fun activities for kids. Contact the park for more information.

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#wynbergpark #treat #picnic #familyday #monkeychild

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Location: cnr Klaassens and Trovato Link Roads, Wynberg

Opening hours:

Summer 7am – 7pm (daily)

Winter 7am – 6pm (daily)

Cost: Free

Tel: 021 444 8849 | 086 576 1243

Website:  wynbergpark.co.za

Facebook: Wynberg Park

Twitter: @wynberg_park

See out top 10 parks in Cape Town post.

 

VoiceMap App: Audio Walking Tours in Cape Town

As a tourist, it’s all too easy to get wrapped up in the “tourist traps” that entice you with all of the must-see and do attraction tours. While touring popular spots in a new city is part of the experience, it’s important not to miss out on the authenticity of it all. Part of traveling is about immersing yourself in new cultures, which is what VoiceMap is all about. With their tours, you get the point-of-view and knowledge of an insider, which sets the experience apart.

What is VoiceMap?

VoiceMap is an interactive walking tour app that allows you the freedom to explore at your own pace. The app uses GPS to play audio automatically as you walk and provides directions along the way. If your data is limited or you don’t have access to Wi-Fi, you can download the audio tours beforehand and use the offline maps provided. You can start, stop, or pause the tour at any time.

With VoiceMap you don’t have to watch the screen, as with many other walking tour apps. Instead, you can switch the tour to “pocket mode,” stick in your earphones, put your phone in your pocket, and listen to the storyteller as you walk around and take it all in. With simple and descriptive directions and information, the tours are easy to follow.

Iain Manley, founder and CEO of VoiceMap, says the goal of the app is to change people’s perception of audio tours. “People [typically] think audio tours are not an exciting thing to do, [but] we want a very personal perspective.” He adds that they want to provide “a way of seeing a place through someone else’s eyes.”

VoiceMap connects listeners to passionate people who have stories to tell. These personal perspectives change how people see and experience places by walking you through their story. People can see the same place a thousand different ways, and with VoiceMap tours, you get the chance to look into someone else’s world.

Manley says one of the most rewarding things of working with VoiceMap is “working with people who are extremely passionate about a particular place and [have] a particular perspective on a place.” That passion can be felt through the voices and stories you hear in VoiceMap’s audio tours.

V&A Waterfront Audio Walking Tour

In order to get a better feel for what VoiceMap is, I did the walking tour at the V&A Waterfront. The script for the tour was actually written by Manley, and is a free, 1-hour, immersive tour that takes you all around the Cape Town hotspot. Starting at the Tourism Information Centre, the tour begins with a welcome message and a brief historical background of the Waterfront. Earphones and free Wi-Fi are available from the Information Centre.

As the tour started, I was surprised at how easy and accessible the journey was. The app would accurately play audio recordings automatically as I arrived at each location listed along the route, and the information was engaging.  I was transported back in time as the stories I listened to brought the location to life with different interviews from people central to the story of the Waterfront, sounds from its past, and information about the Waterfront’s daily operations and plans for the future.

After starting at the Information Centre, you’ll make your way past Nobel Square and through the bright and busy Watershed Market. After that, you’ll loop around the Two Oceans Aquarium, stroll along the water towards the Clock Tower, and end in the Silo District. This tour is definitely a must-do when visiting the Waterfront. You get to see more than just the surface level – you get to listen to what the Waterfront was and is.

How it works

  1. Download the VoiceMap app, available on iPhone and Android devices
  2. Sign up using Facebook or email
  3. Select Cape Town from the menu
  4. Download the Reinventing the Tavern of the Seas tour
  5. Once the tour has finished downloading, plug in your headphones and tap Start

Voice Map has 350 tours available in 120 cities to date, with 45 walking tours in Cape Town alone. If you’re looking for the best tours around Cape Town, check out the Bo-Kapp and Groot Constantia tours which are both Manley’s favorites.

There are new audio tours published every week, with the option to create your own audio tour with VoiceMap’s publishing tool. Other language options are available, including German, with more on the way.

Written by Kalee LaPointe, a student from San Angelo, Texas, United States. She is currently studying English Literature at Goucher College in Towson, Maryland. She is doing an internship in Cape Town during her Summer break, and the following is her accounts of arriving in Cape Town. Follow her journey on Instagram @kaleefromtexas.

Traveling Solo

My first couple of days in Cape Town were jam packed, and I was thrust into the life and beauty of Cape Town, South Africa. The thought of traveling alone, somewhere completely new, where I didn’t really know anyone was terrifying and exhilarating all at the same time. People warned me to be careful, to be wary as a solo female traveler (which is a bit of a daunting idea), but I’ve honestly never felt so at home so quickly and comfortably in an entirely new place.

After a few days in the city, I think I felt happier than I’ve ever been. There’s something new to see every day surrounded by friendly people, and while it’s smart to be vigilant, I have never felt unsafe. To be honest, the idea to travel to Cape Town was very impulsive, but I will forever remain grateful that I decided to embark on the adventure. While there are some nerve-wrecking aspects associated with solo travel—like asking strangers to take your picture and politely waiting to ask someone new when you want a different pose, Cape Town should definitely be at the top of your travel list.

Night 1: Cape Town by Night

I’ve been in Cape Town for exactly 3 days and I already know coming here has been one of the best decisions of my life. The moment I got off my eleven-and-a-half-hour flight—exhausted, weary, and definitely a bit nervous—I was anxious to get through passport control, find my luggage, and head out to catch my first glance of the city I had taken 3 different flights to get to.

The first thing I saw was cars. And signs. Not exactly the most exciting sight considering I was still in the airport, but it was sort of comforting. I remember looking around trying to find a sense of familiarity, a habit of mine I noticed while traveling, and there it was—signs and posters in English and even a McDonald’s and KFC along the way. That definitely surprised me, but it was something I was thankful to see. As we drove into the city and out of the airport, I found myself staring out the window trying to take in everything. It was eleven o’clock at night so everything was blurry, dark shapes. But it was still thrilling to know I was here. I made it. Cape Town was going to be my home for the next 5 weeks.

While I thought 32-hours of traveling meant I’d go straight to a shower, night clothes, and a bed, I was actually in for quite a surprise. The director of the program I was traveling through, Masambeni, mentioned if I was up for it, we could go out to meet some people from the program. I was tired, but that was pushed away and taken over by a rush of adrenaline and a sense of excitement as I thought of all the possibilities lying ahead in the city. I couldn’t wait to see where I was, meet new people, and get out and explore. Although I was excited, I expected to go to a restaurant or perhaps a café—Stones was far from either. I was suddenly introduced to the vibrant, lively, and constant night-life of Cape Town. And to my seriously horrible foosball skills.

Day 1: Wine Tasting and Views in Cape Town

I definitely wasn’t expecting to do anything on my first night besides sleep, but I was glad to kick-off my stay in true Capetonian fashion. The next two days followed suit and were nothing short of amazing. On Saturday I had the Stellenbosch wine tour experience, which was filled with more words and descriptions of wines than I can remember. I also had my very first vegetarian meal in South Africa—a salad with red wine vinaigrette and very thinly sliced cucumbers. It wasn’t exactly exciting, but it was definitely delicious.

Although the restaurant was fancy and not exactly a common setting, I was definitely surprised at the options. Being at a new restaurant, much less a new country, is always a wary experience for me as a vegetarian. Based on some prior research of Cape Town, I was worried that my diet would subsist on the granola bars and Annie’s Macaroni and Cheese cups I had managed to squeeze in my over-packed suitcase. However, it was looking like that might not have to be the case after all.

Before moving on to the next winery, I had the moment. You know, the moment when you’re somewhere new and it hits you—I’m really here. As I looked out beyond the winery at the beautiful landscape with Table Mountain and Lion’s Head in the distance, which looked as flawless and picturesque as an ad in a magazine, I was amazed. While I thought the wine tour would be all about the wine, I was happy to see that it was so much more than that. There was the wine, yes, but it was the people, the view, the way you could look out and see endless beauty, that was just…wow. It was the whole experience. Perhaps it was because it was my first day in Cape Town, but I couldn’t stop thinking about how beautiful this place is. It was only one day, but I couldn’t imagine ever wanting to leave.

Day 2: Cape Town Must-Sees

Sunday only strengthened these feelings. The day was filled with several “iconic” Cape Town stops—Boulders Beach, Cape Point, Cape of Good Hope, Chapman’s Peak Drive, and a stunning view of the sunset on the beach. Everything was absolutely beautiful and completely breathtaking!

Walking around Boulders Beach, where I did pay the optional R35 to get a closer view of its funny inhabitants, I was glad to place another checkmark on my Cape Town “Bucket List.” The penguins are a sight to see as they waddle about, and the stunning ocean around them is definitely worth the time. We visited Cape Point next, which turned into much more of a workout than I was expecting. It just so happened that the Flying Dutchman Funicular, the car that takes you to the top, was out of order the day we went. So, off I went making myself believe I’d suddenly become some sort of seasoned, champion hiker and promising myself it would be so much easier on the way down.

  

As the lighthouse at the top crept closer and closer, I was more determined than ever to see what was waiting. It was beauty. It was the clear, open skies above endless deep blue oceans. It was the steep, broken rocks and bits of green grass that jutted out at different points in different angles. It was the way you felt as if you were on top of the world. The views were without a doubt spectacular, but the hike to the top requires some definite pacing (unless you’re some sort of Herculean) and multiple stops on the way up and down to admire the vast ocean and beauty that is beneath, beside, and around you. I’m so glad I made it to the top (and not just because I needed to work off all the wine from the day before), but because, as I so lovingly kept repeating to myself— “when in Cape Town.”

To be honest, I wasn’t exactly sure what driving on Chapman’s Peak Drive would be like. I had already seen such beauty, and I thought it would be like driving on any old highway. Oh boy was I wrong! As we drove at a somewhat alarming speed around the never-ending curves and inclines, I peered out the window to the long drop off to the ocean. Suddenly my fear of heights came rushing to the front of my mind, but as we stopped in different spots for photos it disappeared into some long-lost abyss.

 

I stood there, on the edge of the road, looking out and I was speechless. All I could think was, “how could this place be even more beautiful?” As the sun was starting to set and the sky was slowly painted with the soft glow of sunset, the view of the ocean almost enclosed by the mountains— I didn’t want to move. It may sound odd, the words “Chapman’s Peak Drive,” but it is anything but. It’s somewhere I’d go a thousand times over.

Night 2: A Cape Town Sunset

My mind was in awe and I couldn’t stop smiling as we made our way to Clifton Beach. I couldn’t help but wonder why we were leaving such a beautiful spot, but as we started driving I was distracted by the views. When we finally arrived I figured I might as well go see what this was all about. I heard that we’d end the night with a beautiful “sunset on the beach.” My mind went straight to a stroll on a sandy stretch of ocean, which I could see from a short distance, but off we went walking in the opposite direction. I was in the middle of the group, and as we started walking, climbing, and almost tripping over rocks I was very confused. There were twists, turns, and my clumsiness wasn’t exactly helping to keep me steady on the rocky path.

I was walking next to someone and noticed I had spent so much time looking down (making sure I wouldn’t fall) and looking around (making sure I wasn’t going to suddenly drop off into the ocean), that when I stopped for a moment I noticed the people in front leading us had disappeared further up the “path” (if that’s what you would call the broken rocks and boulders surrounding us). I looked behind and couldn’t see anyone following. “Crap,” I thought, “what on earth have I gotten myself into?” The girl I was walking with kept going and I was not going to let myself get lost, alone, so I followed. She assured me they kept walking “this way,” so that way I went. We kept walking for what seemed like forever, but I finally spotted the leader of our group (climbing a rock nonetheless) and the people who had kept to the front standing on a very large rock hanging out over the ocean.

They waved us over, so we started attempting to climb and figuring out the best (and in my mind safest) way to get there. We reached the last step up to the rock, which was separated by a gap and slight height difference. As I looked through the gap my stomach churned and I froze. The girl I was with seemed to jump up so effortlessly. When it was my turn all I could think was “oh no, I’m going to fall. I’m going to fall and break something or get stuck or accidentally pull the person who’s helping me down and then we’ll both fall and then it’ll be my fault and my mom will kill me and…and…” My thoughts just kept circling on for what seemed like an eternity, but as they cheered me on and assured me I’d be just fine, I repeated the mantra— “when in Cape Town.” So…off I went!

You know those moments you see in movies where the scenery is so beautiful it’s almost fake and the people are so happy and smiling you think there’s no way that could ever be real? Well, I hate to break it to you cynics, sceptics, or pessimistics (whatever you want to call yourself)—it is. It’s very real. And I, from a small city in West Texas, was taking it all in. I was standing on a giant rock jutting out into the ocean, looking out at pure beauty.

As I stared out at the sunset, watching the sun fade and the sky turn from shades of yellow and orange to pink and blue, I couldn’t stop smiling. This was beauty; this was happiness. The people around me were smiling and laughing and I knew right then and there that this was a moment I would never forget. The waves were crashing, growing bigger by the minute, and I couldn’t help but hear them roar “welcome to Cape Town.”

Have you travelled solo before? Share your experiences with us.

Cape Town, Western Cape

Photo Caption: Can you #guesswhere this photo was taken from? You need to know #capetown pretty well, but the clue is in the distinctive mountain peak….

Looking for people to go hiking with or trying to get outdoors more often? Read our latest post on the top 5 hiking groups in Cape Town.  📷 by Dibert Theron from @unsplash. #mountain #hiking #capetownhiking #12appostles #secretcapetown #guesswherecapetown #mountainview

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