Where To See The Wild Flowers In Cape Town West Coast
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Where to see The Wildflowers in the Cape

Each spring the Western Cape is transformed into a wildflower wonderland. For a few weeks from about mid-August till end-September the landscape is scattered with beautifully coloured blooms. They last until the deadly summer heat descends and turn the hills into plain brown fields.

On a clear, sunny day you can drive a short distance out of Cape Town to be mesmerized by nature’s own art gallery. The following are a few of the best spots around the city to go hunt the natural beauty. On an overcast day the flowers will hide their pretty faces, so best to travel when the sun is out.

#1 Kirstenbosch

Distance: about 20 minutes from the city centre

This is the easiest option to see the flowers. Nestled against the Eastern slopes of Table Mountain, this amazing botanical garden will take your breath away. The 36-hectare garden is the first in the world that is specifically dedicated to indigenous flora.

It is also ranked no. 6 on National Geographic’s list of Top 10 Picnic Spots in the world. Take in the splendour of pincushion proteas, Daisies, and of course the famous fynbos. Hike up to the Boomslang to view the spring display from a higher vantage point.

Entry fee: R65 (adults) | R35 (South African students with valid student card)

R15 (children, 6 – 17 years) | Free (children, 0 – 6 years; BotSoc members on presentation of membership card)

Free on Tuesdays (South African senior citizens with valid ID, except on public holidays)

#2 Postberg And West Coast National Park

Distance: about 1 hour and 50 minutes

The West Coast National Park is a popular destination every year for flower hunters. During the peak flower months of August and September, the Postberg area is open for the most amazing undisturbed floral display. You will be greeted by magriets, sporries, and Daisies.

While driving through the park, look out for tortoises and snakes crossing the road, plus zebra and buck lazily grazing. You can explore the area by car, on foot, or with a mountain bike.

Fun fact: walk in the footsteps of Eve, a young woman reported to have lived in the area 117 000 years ago. The Eve’s Trail is a special two-and-a-half-day hike meandering through the park.

Entry fee: During flower season, August – September.

R76 (SA citizens and residents with ID) | R38 (children)

#3 The Renosterveld Reserve

Distance: Around 1 hour

This area you can explore for free. It is located above the Darling Primary School. The 20-hectare flower reserve offers you endless fields of spring flowers including vygies, kapokbos, bellendini, and renosterbos. Keep an eye out for the cute little red-bellied tortoises. It’s also a great spot for bird-watching. There is a circular hiking route that you can follow around the reserve.

Fun fact: The Versveld family donated the land to the community in 1958.

#4 Tienie Versfeld Wildflower Reserve

Distance: about 1 hour and 10 minutes

You can also stop at this reserve for free. It’s located on the R315 on the way to Darling. The varying topography makes it perfect for a wide range of flowers. You can see about 10% of the Cape Floral Kingdom in one go here. Enjoy the beautiful chincherinchee, lachenalia, and Butterfly lilies. The area is also great for game-spotting, bird-watching, hiking, and picnics.

Fun fact: the reserve was named after Oom Tienie or Marthinus Versveld who donated a part of his farm to create the reserve.

#5 Harold Porter Botanical Garden

Distance: about 1 hour and 30 minutes

This one is located on the side of the Cape Town coastline, towards Hermanus. Travel on the N2 and take the R44 to find this mesmerizing garden. Tucked away between mountains and the beach, it has stunning little waterfalls and pools to explore. Perfect for a leisurely Saturday or Sunday outing!

Fun zigzag paths were created by the garden’s namesake, Harold Porter. The expansive garden has all things indigenous to marvel at including orchids, daisies, and stunning proteas. While you’re in the area, stop at the penguin colony close by. If you’re lucky you might also spot a whale.

Entry fee: R25 (adults) | R15 (seniors and students with a valid student card)

R10 (children, 7 – 17 years) | Free (children, 0 – 6 and BotSoc members)

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zeitz MOCAA
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Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art (MOCAA)

The Zeitz MOCAA is a not-for-profit contemporary art museum. It exhibits the biggest collection of contemporary African art and is the only museum of its kind on the continent. The main aim of the museum is to collect and preserve twenty-first century art from African artists and its Diaspora.

International exhibitions are hosted as well. The museum supports and develops educational and enrichment programmes to encourage better intercultural understanding. This formidable building, once an old grain silo, holds more than hundred little galleries in its nine floors. There a both permanent and temporary exhibitions.

Besides the fantastic art on display, the building also includes centres for Curatorial Excellence, Photography, the Moving Image, Performative Practice, the Costume Institute, and Art Education.

The museum is named after Jochen Zeitz, a German businessman and African art enthusiast. He is the main funder of the world-class art museum and gallery.

Marvellous Architecture

In total about 6 500 square metres of gallery space has been created. The silo dates back to the 1920’s. It was once the tallest building of Sub-Saharan Africa. The famous British architect Thomas Heatherwick is responsible for the innovative revamping of the formidable structure. The “Pied Piper of Architecture” as Vanity Fair has named him was also commissioned to design the new headquarters of Google.

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Zeitz MOCAA🌐

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The once-solid concrete tubes now boast with mesmerizing jewel-like geometric windows. This might be the most impressive feature of the building – the cylindrical tubes were sawed open to include the expansive windows. Once inside, you can either admire this architectural feat from the winding steel staircase, which was assembled piece by piece from the silo’s top. Or you travel up in the stylish glass lift.

As you enter the museum it opens up to a breath-taking atrium. The cathedral-like look was created by local contractors who carved the shapes into the concrete tubes with diamond ropes. Suspended from the ceiling, a feisty dragon greets you. The crucifix-shaped, Afro-infused dragon was created by Nicholas Hlobo. From top to bottom, this museum will mesmerize you. The basement is a maze of tunnels. When the silo was operational, it was filled with conveyor belts to move the grain from one area to the next.

The Who’s Who of Zeitz MOCAA

Jochen Zeitz’s collection include the most respected African artists. To name drop but a few: Cyrus Kabiru, Jody Paulsen, Kendell Geers, Hank Willis Thomas, and of course William Kentridge. Cape Town’s beloved Thania Petersen is part of a group of 41 artists whose work is displayed in the All Things Being Equal collection. Nandipha Mntambo’s unmissable solo exhibition spans five rooms. And Kudzanai Chiurai’s fascinating mixed-media work spans around the floor. Per occasion performance art pieces are hosted.

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They paved paradise and put up a parking lot✌

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Expose Your Children to The Art World

Children under 18 can enter the museum for free. Before you dread the idea of dragging your kids around an art museum, there is a special art education centre for school-aged children, located in the basement. You can drop them off before embarking on your own art adventure.

An Immersive Art Experience

If you want educate yourself more about the rich world of African art, you can take an audio tour of the museum. You can also book a special guided tour of the architecture. Once you’ve filled your eyes and mind with inspiration to last you a lifetime, stop at the restaurant on the top floor. It leads onto the Rooftop Garden. The restaurant can accommodate 200 guests and can be booked out for events. The opening times are Wednesdays to Mondays from 10:00 to 17:00.

Opening Hours

Wednesday to Monday (including public holidays)
10:oo – 18:00 Last entry: 17:30
Closed Tuesdays

First Friday of the month
Extended opening hours: 10:00 – 21:00. Last entry: 20:30

Museum Night
Extended opening hours: 10:00 – 22:00. Last entry at 21:30

Click here for upcoming exhibitions and events

Tickets

Daily admission: R 190 per adult

Annual Membership: R 270 per year
Over 60’s Annual Membership: R 195 per year

Under 18’s: Free entry, all year, at all times
Must present ID.

First Friday of the month: Half price (R 95) from 16:00 – 21:00. Last entry at 20:30

Free entry for African citizens: Every Wednesday 10:00 – 13:00
Must present ID.

Free entry: (10:00 – 18:00. Last entry 17:30)
Freedom Day, 27 April
International Museum Day, 18 May
Africa Day, 25 May
Heritage Day, 24 September
Museum Night: Twice a year. Extended opening hours: 10:00 – 22:00. Last entry at 21:30

Buy tickets

 

 

Cape Town Car Rental Companies
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Best Car Rental Companies in Cape Town

Although the public transport system in Cape Town is of high quality, the freedom to move around on your own schedule, is very appealing. To truly experience Cape Town, you must drive to the outskirts to enjoy the vast difference between areas.

From the outstretched beaches of the Atlantic coast, to the forest-like feel of the Southern Suburbs, to the rocky mountains near Muizenberg. Each little hub of Cape Town has its own unique vibe. And cruising around in your own rental car, will offer you a much more holistic picture of the city.

We’ve found the best car hire Cape Town has to offer. Some names are well-known across the country, and world. Others are local companies, passionate about offering you a reliable way of exploring the Mother City.

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South African National Parks Week 2018

The first South African National Parks Week was hosted in 2006. Originally the initiative wanted to link the South African national parks system with the bigger global national movement. It creates awareness of the wide range of national parks in South Africa.

This year South African National Parks (SANParks) celebrate its 13th annual South African National Parks Week, hosted from 10 to 14 September 2018. Total South Africa and FNB are official partners, helping SANParks achieve its vision to create a sustainable National Park System that connects society.

The SA National Parks Week

During the week, 21 national parks offer free access to the day visitors, encouraging specifically the local communities to visit the parks. The free access does exclude access to accommodation facilities and other tourist activities. A few of the parks has decided to extend the free access to include the weekend. The following are the national parks with easy access from Cape Town, all with a two-hour drive from the city.

Agulhas National Park

Dates: 10 – 15 September 2018

This park is an open-access park, with no pay points.

Activities include interpretation walks. A walk from the lighthouse to the Southernmost Tip. It’s a circular walk including a new stretch along the ridge above the Southern Tip, plus the Southern Tip Icon. The Soetendalsvlei Western Shore walk also includes birding opportunities.

Click here for more information on the park.

Table Mountain National Park

Dates: 10 – 15 September 2018

Please note: the free entry does not apply to the Boulders Penguin Colony and Table Mountain Cableway. Read our post about the Table Mountain national park

Click here for more information on the park.

West Coast National Park

Dates: 10 – 14 September 2018

Click here for more information on the park.

Read our post about the West Coast National Park

South African National Parks week excludes Boulders Beach, The Table Mountain Cableway and The Namaqualand National Park in the Western Cape.

 

Guide To Getting A SIm Card In South Africa
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Guide To Getting A South African SIM Card and Using Your Cell Phone While Traveling In South Africa

VoiceMap App: Audio Walking Tours in Cape Town
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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.

19 Tidal Pools Cape Town
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Cape Town’s 19 Amazing Tidal Pools

Cape Town is home to some of the most beautiful and world-famous beaches. Whether you’re looking for a place to swim, surf, or simply relax—Cape Town has it all. For those looking for a safe spot, tidal pools are rocky pools built along the coastline and regularly filled by the tides to provide a safe, family-friendly place to swim and play. There are 19 tidal pools to visit along the coastline of Cape Town, and we’ve listed them for you here. So load up the kids, pack some snacks, and check out one of these natural swimming pools.

#1 St. James

#stjamestidalpool #beachtime

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St. James Tidal Pool is considered Cape Town’s most well-known and iconic tidal pool, and is easily recognized with its colourful beach huts that sit near the water’s edge. Situated between Muizenberg and Kalk Bay in the seaside suburb of St. James, this pool is a great spot for kids to swim and families to hang out for the day. Located near a railway and main road, St. James is an easily accessible and popular spot to explore.

Please note: There aren’t any food or drink amenities available on the beach, so be sure to pack a lunch and drinks for the day.

Where to find it: St James Beach, St James, Cape Town

 

#2 Milton

The Milton Tidal Pool, a natural seawater tidal pool located in the heart of Milton Beach, is a safe and family-friendly place to swim. With easily accessible, shallow, cool waters this tidal pool is the perfect swimming spot for kids and families.  Read more in our post about Milton Tidal Pool.

Where to find it: Beach Rd, Sea Point, Sea Point, Cape Town

#3 Miller’s Point

Loved by locals for its secret location, Miller’s Point Tidal Pool is about a 5-minute drive from Simon’s Town on the Southern side of the False Bay coastline. Located in Miller’s Point Bay, the tidal pool can be found in-between two boat launch sites. With incredible views across the bay, a water slide, changing rooms, and grassy spots perfect for a picnic – Miller’s Point Tidal Pool is the perfect, secluded spot for a relaxing day.

Where to find it: Miller’s Point, M4, Simon’s Town, Cape Town

#4 & 5 Maiden’s Cove 1 and 2

Boasting some of the best pool-side views in the Cape, these two tidal pools provide a safe and clean environment to swim. The first pool can be found between Glen Beach and Camps Bay Beach; the second is located between Glen Beach and Clifton Beach. Located close to restaurants, bars, and cafes along Victoria Road, Maiden’s Cove Tidal Pools are a convenient and safe place to relax and swim for the day.

Where to find it: Victoria Rd, Camps Bay, Cape Town

#6 Glencairn

Glencairn Tidal Pool: Before #glencairntidalpool #falsebay #capetown #lovecapetown

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Located on the Southern side of Glencairn Beach, this tidal pool is a family and dog friendly spot, perfect for safe swimming and sunbathing. The beach is easy to spot from the train that runs between Simon’s Town and Cape Town city center and is a popular spot for swimmers, snorkelers, and sunbathers.

Where to find it: Glencairn Beach, Glencairn, Cape Town

#7 Dalebrook

Located opposite the Kalk Bay Community Centre between St James and Kalk Bay, Dalebrook Tidal Pool is one of the most beautiful spots along the coast. With a low wall, there’s a constant flow of fresh, new water. The secret and often overlooked spot is located near an outdoor shower and a changing room, making it a great stop for a swim. Enjoy the shallow, warm water during the day before the sun sets behind the mountains.

Where to find it: Off Main Rd, Dalebrook, Cape Town

#8 Camp’s Bay

18 tidal pools in Cape Town and this one is my favorite!

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Located on Camps Bay beach, which is the most visited beach in the city, this tidal pool is easy to find and labelled as one of the most popular tidal pools along the Atlantic Seaboard. With many restaurants located nearby, this tidal pool is the perfect stop for a swim before grabbing a bite to eat. Although the waters are a bit chilly, the beautiful views of the Twelve Apostles are well worth it.

Where to find it: Camps Bay Beach, Camps Bay, Cape Town

#9 Buffel’s Bay

Making a trip to Cape Point Nature Reserve? Pack a swimsuit and visit the relatively sheltered and crowd-free Buffel’s Bay Tidal Pool. Take in the breathtaking white sand and abundant flora and fauna as you relax by the clear blue waters. The spot is perfect for picnics and braais, with safe waters for a post-hike swim. You’ll have to pay the Cape Point Nature Reserve entrance fee of R145 for adults and R75 for children to enjoy this spot.

Where to find it: Buffels Bay, Cape Point Nature Reserve, Cape Town

#10 Soetwater

This tidal pool can be found South of Kommetjie, next to a braai and picnic area that forms part of the Soetwater recreation area. Located just across the iconic Slangkop Lighthouse, it is a quiet spot to swim. Due to the vibrant animal life that surrounds this spot, it was named a conservancy in 2009. You might be able to spot the endangered African Black Oystercatcher. After swimming, you can go fishing in one of the various famous fishing spots located just next to the tidal pool.

Where to find it: South of the Slangkop Lighthouse, below the coastal road leading from Kommetjie to Scarborough

#11 Shelley Point

Shelley Point Tidal Pool is a small, quiet pool great for a quick swim. The pool is also a popular spot for whale watching.

Where to find it: M6, Glencairn

#12 Sparks

#sparkstidalpool #gb #CapeTown

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Sparks Tidal Pool is in Gordon’s Bay near Spark’s Bay Beach. It is one of the best and most tranquil braai and whale watching spots in the country, as named by the City of Cape Town. Make a little mini road trip out of Cape Town to enjoy this great little town. Visit gordonsbaytourism.com to find out more about this little seaside village, just over an hour drive from the city.

Where to find it: Clarence Drive, Spark’s Bay Beach, Cape Town

#13 Kommetjie

This tidal pool is located in Kommetjie, a popular destination for kite-surfers and campers, and lies on the edge of the catwalk along the Kom, within sight of the famous Slangkop lighthouse. The area is known as “De Kom,” which is Dutch for “bowl.” With concrete steps and a handrail, it’s an easy descent into the pool’s cool waters. Grassy areas are nearby shaded by milkwood trees, making it the perfect spot for picnics. Keep an eye out for the vibrant pink flamingos that frequent the spot, earning it the name Bird Island.

Where to find it:  Kommetjie, South of Long Beach at De Kom

#14 Saunders

Located on the rocky Saunders Beach, this tidal pool is situated between Clifton and Sea Point in the suburb of Bantry Bay. With white sand and blue waters, this beautiful spot is perfect for an afternoon swim. While the pool is a popular swimming destination on the weekends and holidays, it remains fairly empty during the week. So, put on a swimsuit, grab a towel, and head out for a swim at Saunders Tidal Pool. Afterwards, you can grab something to eat at one of the many restaurants located along the beach.

Where to find it: Saunders Beach, Bantry Bay, Cape Town

#15 Silwerstroom

Want to take a day trip up the West Coast? Enjoy a getaway and visit the Silwerstroom tidal pool. Located near the Silwerstroom Resort, this pool is a great spot to swim, braai, and relax. Its gradual slope makes the pool a great safe spot for kids. With a thriving plant life and the blue outstretched ocean, this tidal pool has beautiful views you won’t want to miss.

Where to find it: West Coast Road, Melkbosstrand

#16 Wooley’s

#wooleystidalpool #tidalpool #kalkbay

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Looking for a safe place to swim with spectacular views of Fish Hoek? Wooley’s Tidal Pool is the perfect spot. Located between Kalk Bay and Clovelly in the bend of the coastal road and a few steps off the ocean road, Wooley’s is divided into two pools. One is a small, splash pool great for the little ones. A bit further is a deeper pool, perfect for a relaxing swim.

Where to find it: Off Main Rd, Kalk Bay, Cape Town

#17 Monwabisi

Want to swim in the largest tidal pool in the Southern Hemisphere? Pack a picnic and head to the Monwabisi Tidal Pool. Located along an exposed stretch of False Bay, just off Baden Powell Drive in Khayelitsha on the Cape Flats, the tidal pool is the perfect spot to enjoy the sun, sea, and sand.

Where to find it: Off Baden Powell Dr, Khayelitsha, Cape Town

 

#18 Brass Bell

Want to let the kids swim after eating? This tidal pool is located right next to the Brass Bell Restaurant, making it an ideal spot for good food and fun. There are two separate tidal pools; one is shallow and perfect for splashing around while the other is deeper and best for swimming.

Where to find it: Main Road, M4,  Kalk Bay

#19 Harmony

Located in the seaside town of Strand, this tidal pool is a great spot for kids and families of all ages. With lifeguards on duty throughout the day, it’s a safe place to have some fun. You can even spot small marine life in the pool, and a kiosk is nearby where you can buy snacks and drinks.

Where to find it: Gordon’s Bay Drive, R44, Strand

Share the Ocean Love with Secret Cape Town

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12 secret spots in Cape Town
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12 Secret Spots in Cape Town

Sure, a visit to Cape Town is not complete without going up Table Mountain. And there are many other must-see tourist spots to visit such as Robben Island, the V&A Waterfront, and Kalkbay. But if you want to really soak up Cape Town like a local, you need to go off the beaten track.

The Best Kept Secret Places in Cape Town

Cape Town is home to some of the most beautiful and unique views in the world. And many of them are hiding in unique locations. We’ll let you in on the secret!

#1 The Heritage Vine

Location: Corner of Bree and Short Market Streets

The oldest wine-producing vine in the Southern Hemisphere and the oldest vine in South Africa, the Heritage Vine is considered something of a miracle. It is one of the few remaining original French vinifera rootstock still alive. Estimated to have been planted in 1771, the vines roots trace back to the burghers of Cape Town, who planted vines in their gardens to make their own wine.

The vine has continued to thrive despite the Phylloxera epidemic that spread to Cape Town in 1866 and the car park project that left the Heritage Square abandoned for over a decade. The vine survived on rainwater alone until the Cape Town Heritage Trust took over the square in hopes of renovating and returning it to its natural beauty. Now, the Heritage Vine still thrives and produces a few litres of wine every year.

 

#2 We Are Still Here Memorial

Location: Long market Pedestrian Mall, Cape Town Central

This powerful piece of art-work created by mosaic artists Lovell Friedman and Leora Lewis memorializes the 7,000 children that were advertised as destitute in the Cape Government Gazettebetween 1841 and 1921.

These children, some as young as eight-years-old, were often found roaming the streets of Cape Town. If no one came forward to claim or support them after the ad was run, they were sold as indentured labourers. Copies of these advertisements form the image of a child, who is surrounded by drawings and written work by current street kids.

Situated just outside the Cape Town Central Library, the We Are Still Here Memorial is a compelling must-see when visiting Cape Town.

 

#3 The Ubuntu Tree

Location: 99 Kloof Street, Gardens, City Bowl

Though to be planted over 400 years ago, the Unbuntu Tree is believed to be endowed with magical and spiritual healing properties. The tree, also referred to as “Nokuphila” in Xhosa, means “’place of the healing mother, where people gather for health and wellness.”

The Unbuntu and other trees originally marked the border of a dam that held waters from Camissa, water that ran from the mountain, and people from near and far would gather to collect the fresh water. The tree is in the courtyard of what is now a health and wellness centre, still providing a place to receive, refresh, and inspire people.

 

#4 Netsuke Miniture Carvings

Location: South African Jewish Museum, 88 Hatfield St

Located in the South African Jewish Museum, a small room houses over 200 carvings created from wood, ivory, staghorn and bone. These miniature sculptures, called Netsuke, are ceremonial carvings that were worn by wealthy male merchants during the time of the Samurai.  These netsukes were both functional, as they held containers for tobacco, money and other objects, and decorational as a form of expression of the artist with elaborate decorations, lacquer, and exotic materials such as ivory. Subjects for the work included history, mythology, religion, popular humour, and any other aspect of Japanese life.

With their intricate, life-like features, these sculptures quickly became small works of art. One of the founders of the South African Jewish Museum, Isaac Kaplan, developed a passion for netsuke after being introduced to Japanese okimono, or ornamental art, by a friend who visited Japan in the 1930’s. Although he never visited Japan himself, Kaplan acquired over 600 of these carvings through trading houses and auctions. The exhibit showcases over 200 of these sculptures and includes specific details and background information for all artwork on display.

 

#5 Beta Beach – Bakoven

R&R #headspace #atlanticseaboard #betabeach #gratitude

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Location: Beta Beach, Beta Road, Bakoven, Atlantic Seaboard

Looking for a small, secluded, quite beach? With exceptional views of the Twelve Apostles and Lion’s Head, Beta Beach is the perfect spot. Located in the heart of the Atlantic Seaboard’s Bakoven and next door to Oudekraal beach, this spot has a short bright, white, sandy stretch and big boulders to keep the wind away while you read the paper or soak up the sun.

Although Beta is surrounded by several residences and thought to be private, this small beach is open to anyone. Beta Beach is the perfect, quiet, secret spot for safe swimming and beautiful sunsets.

 

#6 St Georges Cathedral in Woodstock

Location: 75 Mountain Road, Woodstock

St. George’s Cathedral, also known as the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of St George, was built in 1904 for the Greek community of Cape Town. Byzantine-style frescoes decorate the vaults, walls, and apse with depictions of Jesus and various other saints and icons. This artwork, painted by the Romanian priest and hagiographer Father Nikolai during the 1990’s, is nothing short of beautiful. The domed ceilings are painted light blue and dotted with stars, and when the light shines in through the stained glass windows, it is as if you are transported east to the shining Mediterranean.

In 1968, St. George’s was accorded cathedral status and became the seat of the Orthodox Archbishopric of Good Hope, Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa. The archdiocese presides over the Western, Northern and Eastern Cape provinces, the Orange Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland.

Hidden in a little spot in Woodstock, perched almost atop the hill on Mountain Road, St. George’s is a beautiful, hidden landmark.

 

#7 The Singular Cycad

Location: Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens

It is one of the rarest and most highly prized plants in the world, and can be found in the Cycad dell at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens. John Medley Wood discovered the plant in the oNgoye Forest in KwaZulu-Natal, where it was later identified as a new species and named after him in 1908.

When Wood discovered the plant, it was part of a clump made up of four trunks. Deputy James Wylie, sent by Wood in 1907, returned to the forest to collect two of the larger trunks, which still grow in the Durban Botanical Gardens. 5 years later, an excursion through the forest resulted in finding only one three-meter tall trunk left in the wild, which died in 1964. Searches through the oNgoye Forest have resulted in no other plants being found. Due to this, the Wood’s Cycad is considered to be extinct in the wild.

There is still hope that one day another wild, female Cycad might be found somewhere in the oNgoye Forest. However, for now it remains as the “the loneliest plant in the world.”

#8 Van Riebeeck’s Hedge

Location: Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

Located on the lower slopes and above the stream, with its large, intertwining branches growing in all directions—lies a section of the Van Riebeeck’s Hedge.

Van Riebeeck’s Hedge, a series of indigenous wild almond trees, was planted in 1660 by the governor of the Cape to define a boundary between the Dutch and the Khoi-Khoi. The goal was to create a barrier that would prevent any livestock, or people, from getting through. The plant quickly expanded and soon became a hindrance as some of the best land for livestock developed on the other side of the hedge. For many, this separation symbolized the start of apartheid—white South Africa cut itself off from the rest of Africa, dispossessed the indigenous people of their land, and kept the best of the resources for itself.

Two sections of the hedge remain today, with one in the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens and the other located in Bishops Court.

#9 Koeberg Nature Reserve

Navigating new landscapes #trailadventure #cycling #fitness #expeditionhappiness

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Location: Off the R27, Melkbosstrand

Looking for a place to bike or hike surrounded by beautiful animal and plant life? The Koeberg Nature Reserve is home to a thriving animal life with over 153 species of birds, including Ostrich and the African Fish Eagle. Although it is located around the Koeberg Nuclear Power Station, the Reserve was opened to the public in 1991 to stay in line with Eskom’s environmental policy.

There are several biking routes to follow. These routes are perfect for families and beginners with a flat terrain and less than 50 meters of climbing. Not into biking? The Reserve also has two different hiking trails—the Dikkop Trail, which is a 13-kilometer loop with two kilometers on the beach, and the Grysbok Trail which is a 6-kilometer, 2-hour walk. Whichever path you choose, keep an eye out for the Eland, Zebras, Angulated Tortoise, or even the Cape Cobra you might see along the way.

For more information visit click here

 

#10 Charles Darwin’s Rocks

Location: Parking lot at the South-end of Queens Beach, near the intersection of Beach and Alexander Roads in Sea Point

These striking rocks are considered a ‘geological wonder.’ They represent an impressive ‘contact’ from about 540 million years ago between granite and the sedimentary rock that forms Signal Hill.

Although the honour of discovery lies with Clark Abel who discovered them in 1818, the rocks are named after Charles Darwin who visited them on his world-wide journey in 1836. Darwin was intrigued by what he saw and decided to stay at the Cape of Good Hope, which was the second-longest of all his stops during his five-year voyage. His later accounts of the rocks at Sea Point, which he called “Green Point,” resulted from 8 years of writing and correspondence after he returned to England. Today, there is a plaque located in the parking lot that commemorates Darwin’s observations.

#11 Groote Schuur Residence

Location: Klipper Road, Rondebosch

Now the official home of South Africa’s president, the Groote Schuur Residence is a fascinating house steeped in history with a beautiful view, set against the slopes of Table Mountain. While arranging a visit requires a tour scheduled in advance and a form of identification, it is definitely worth the time and effort.

Cecil John Rhodes, who became Prime Minister of the Cape Colony in 1890, was the first to rent the property and bought it in 1893. He then hired Herbert Baker, a British architect visiting Cape Town, to renovate the building. The style he created became known as the ‘Cape Dutch Revival Style.’ After a fire in December of 1896, Baker and Rhodes reconstructed and modernized the building using handmade ironmongery and antique Dutch and Spanish tiles, bricks and lanterns.

Rhodes released his estate to the nation, and it was used as the official Cape residence of South Africa’s prime ministers and presidents from 1911 to 1994. In 1990 FW de Klerk and Nelson Mandela signed the ‘Groote Schuur Minute’, an historic commitment to peaceful negotiations.

 

#12 Paulsberg Cannon

Location: a 45-minute walk up the path behind Bordjies Rif parking lot along the Farmer’s Cliff Trail in Cape Point Nature Reserve

Located on the Eastern seaboard of the Cape Point Nature Reserve, a black-painted, 4-pound, Dutch cannon stands on top of Paulsberg. It offers you beautiful, uninterrupted views of the Atlantic Ocean, False Bay, and Cape Point. The cannon was once a signal cannon, created by the Dutch to warn people if an enemy ship entered False Bay and posed a threat to anchorage.

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Cape Town Secret Beaches
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Best Secret Beaches in the Cape

Cape Town boasts with ten Blue Flag beaches. But there are also other hidden gems that you can visit if you are in the mood for a quieter beach outing. We’ve searched high and low to find you a few for you. Some are located within the city borders, others a short drive out of the city.

Platboom

Location: Cape Point Nature Reserve

There are a few secret beach spots hidden in the reserve. This one, translated as Flat Tree, is by far the most unspoilt option.  You can access it just past Dias Cross or from the North-South side near Gifkommetjie.

You might even spot an ostrich or baboon in the lush vegetation hugging the side of the beach. It’s definitely a unique beach outing. Entrance fees to the reserve are R145 for adults and R75 for children. But it’s worth it. You can do some wildlife spotting as you drive through the reserve before heading to the beach.

The outstretched coastline with chalk-white sand offers you the opportunity to indulge in an undisturbed long stroll.  It’s also perfect for kite- and windsurfing. Swimming is at own risk, not recommended because it’s so secluded. It’s ideal for birdwatching, picnicking and provides epic photography opportunities.

Visit the Cape Point Nature Reserve website for more information.

Diaz Beach

Location: Cape Point Nature Reserve

Another one of Cape Point’s great beaches. It’s a bit more popular than Platboom, but you still only have to contend with visitors to the reserve. It is definitely one of the most beautiful Capetonian beaches.

Cape Town Secret Beaches Diaz Beach

Getting to this secluded spot is a bit of a challenge. From the parking lot, it’s a 20-minute walk down quite steep wooden stairs. But the views are worth the trouble. The towering cliffs behind the beach creates a stunningly dramatic effect. Surfers enjoy the hollow barrels, but swimming is risky with strong currents to contend with.

Preekstoel

Location: West Coast National Park, between Yzerfontein and Langebaan.

Translated as the Preacher’s Pulpit. The name comes from a rock formation jutting out of the sand near the water edge. It creates a bit of shelter while you relax in the shallows next to it. It’s a short drive along the West Coast road, perfect for a weekend outing. The beach offers you a 25km stretch of rugged coastline, situated close to the Langebaan Lagoon.

The West Coast offers you a completely different experience compared to the more “commercial” city beaches such as Camps Bay. Its calm waters make it a perfect spot for snorkelling, fishing, and swimming.  You can also braai at the picnic area next to the lagoon. And look out for the rusted shipwreck. Entrance fee to the park depends on the season. It is R54 to R76 for adults, and R27 to R38 for children.

#beautifulscenery_nature #beach #preekstoelbeach

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Visit the West Coast National Park website for more information.

Water’s Edge

Location: Between Seaforth and Boulders Beach, Simon’s Town.

Depending on where you stay in the city, this can also count as a mini road trip. It’s a secret spot all the locals know about, a bit off the beaten track. It is situated at the end of a little paved pathway. Park at Seaforth Beach and continue walking till you’ve passed the Seaforth Restaurant.

Even though Simon’s Town is one of the most popular seaside spots in Cape Town, this secluded bay with beautiful views is never as packed as the other Simon’s Town beaches. Nestled between the popular Seaforth and Boulders Beaches, this one remains a bit more undiscovered by the masses. It’s a great family-friendly option. Keep the kids busy for ours hunting for starfish in the rockpools. On the side of the beach you can also set up for the day under the trees or relax on the granite boulders. If you’re lucky, you might see penguins too. Perfect for swimming, snorkelling, diving, and picnicking.

Windmill Beach

Location: Simon’s Town, access via Bellevue Road.

Another quieter spot in Simon’s Town. It is similar to Boulders Beach, but more hidden. The granite boulders surrounding the beach creates a great sheltered swimming area. You can park at Links Crescent, the first right passing the golf course.

The rock pools team with fascinating sea life. And it’s close to the penguin colony, who sometimes visit the beach. The shallow water, sheltered by the boulders, creates a lovely safe kids-friendly swimming area. Also perfect for snorkelling, swimming, and picnicking. Plus, it is a dog-friendly beach. Caution must be taken when swimming because there are no shark spotters or lifeguards on duty.

Sunset Beach

Location: Blaauwberg

Perfect for long walks along the crashing waves, ending in picture-perfect sunsets. Keep your phone ready for a postcard moment, with Table Mountain being painted shades of red and pink by the setting sun. If you want something a bit different than Bloubergstrand or little bit closer to the city than Melkbosstrand, this one is a winner.

The beach was rewarded the status of third best windsurfing option in the world, at the top with Hawaii and New Zealand. You can swim here, sunbathe, picnic and bodyboard. Ideal secret spot, it’s never as crowded as the other beaches on this Atlantic Ocean stretch.

Scarborough beach

Location: Camel Rock Road, Scarborough

Another fun option for a small road trip. It’s situated between Noordhoek and Kommetjie. A lovely peaceful spot frequented only by a few surfers. A dog-friendly beach, so you can go for a long stroll with your four-footed friend. But you need a Level 1 My Activity Permit (R270), as the beach is part of the Table Mountain National Park.

The unspoiled beach and beautiful ocean views will whisk you away for a moment to an idyllic location. Take note, the wind gets really strong here. Great for flying a kite and windsurfing, not ideal for a picnic. Also, rather just dip your toe in the ocean and resist the urge to swim, the area has lots of strong rip currents. It is better to visit with a group of friends, as there are safety issues in the area.

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