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TThis week, on ITV’s ‘South Africa with Gregg Wallace’ which aired on 12th January 2021, Gregg experiences the awe-inspiring beauty (and of course, delicious food!) of Cape Town and the Cape Winelands. Catch up on the ITV Hub here
Gregg begins his journey in Cape Town and rides to the highest point of the city – Table Mountain. After soaking up the sweeping views of the city below, Gregg explores the mountain, admiring the local flora and fauna before bumping into the residents known as dassies or ‘rock rabbits’, the closest living relative thing to an elephant! Table Mountain can be easily accessed by cable car, or for those who would prefer to reach the top with their feet firmly on the ground, there are many hiking trails to be enjoyed. For those who would prefer a (slightly) easier hike, the smaller sister peak Lion’s Head can be explored, along with the less-treacherous Signal Hill – the perfect spot for sundowners. Read more here.
“Be sure to plan your journey up Table Mountain a few days before you leave Cape Town. That way, if the mountain decides to wear its cloud blanket – known to locals as the ‘table cloth’ (meaning you cannot access the mountain), you’ll still have a few days in Cape Town to make time for your visit before venturing out of the city!”
AA must-visit and Insta-worthy spot for all vsiting Cape Town is Bo-Kaap, a community brimming with colourful buildings nestled on the slopes of Signal Hill and the historical centre of Cape Malay culture. Like Gregg, whilst visiting Bo-Kaap a taste of koeksisters – a traditional Cape Malay donut that is both spicy and sweet, is highly recommended.
Gregg’s adventure takes him to the pretty town of Franschhoek, nestled in the Cape Fold mountain range and just over one hour’s drive from Cape Town. This picturesque town is one of the oldest towns in South Africa, home to centuries-old vineyards and French-influenced boutiques and luxury farm stays and is located just 30 minutes from its popular sister town, Stellenbosch. Discover the beauty of the Franschhoek Valley, soaking up the pleasant variety of wines on the famous wine tram. With over 80 independent winemakers in the region, there are plenty of options to choose from! Of course, the cuisine is not to be missed whilst Gregg is around, as he tries his first bobotie – a dish consisting of curried meat and a creamy golden topping. It gets a thumbs up from Gregg, and we’re confident it will get your taste buds' approval too!
WWHAT TO DO IN CAPE TOWN AND SURROUNDS?
Cape Town is your playground to explore, and the wonderful places visited by Gregg are just a handful of the fantastic activities and experiences you can discover whilst visiting the Mother City. Many holidays start here and it is easy to see why a minimum of five days is recommended for the city. For more of our top picks, keep reading below:
Woodstock & Old Biscuit Mill
We highly recommend a visit to the trendy, vibrant suburb of Woodstock, located just 10 minutes from the city centre. Here you can find quaint cafes and eateries, buzzing craft breweries and of course, the brilliant graffiti art that brings this edgy neighbourhood to life. When exploring this colourful suburb, be sure to stop off at The Old Biscuit Mill which comes alive every Saturday, boasting a lively vibe with over 100 stalls selling everything from shoes and jewellery to local dishes and craft beers. Dive into the history and culture of this must-see neighbourhood with our local ‘Meet Your South Africa’ guide, Juma Mkwela, here.
Take a leisurely stroll around the renowned V&A Waterfront, located in the oldest working harbour in the Southern Hemisphere. Stop off for some oysters and champagne or stock up on locally sourced biltong at the V&A Food Market where you’ll find a wide variety of street vendors serving authentic, tasty food. Walk along the harbour and meet the local sea lions that bask on the nearby jetty’s and do a spot of shopping in The Alfred Mall. https://www.waterfront.co.za/
A country rich in history, South Africa has many important historical sites that can be visited by the public. Robben Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is located a 1.5-hour boat journey off the coast of Cape Town and was once used as a prison where South Africa’s freedom fighters, including Nelson Mandela, were isolated, banished and exiled for years. Uncover the stories and history of Robben Island on a guided tour. https://www.robben-island.org.za/
A fun and exhilarating way to experience the mountains which surround the city, jump on a downhill Scootor and feel the fresh breeze in your face and take in the view! https://scootours.co.za/
Ready? Steady? Jam! Food Jams is the perfect activity for groups looking to cook up a storm with local produce, hosted by local people. Test your cooking skills and learn new recipes with your teammates and don’t worry, you can appreciate the flavours of your hard work and achievement once all teams have finished their foodie task. https://www.foodjams.co.za/
Boulder’s Beach Penguin Colony
Cape Town boasts some of the most fantastic activities and experiences and one of the most unique of these is the African Penguin colony, residing at Boulder’s Beach in False Bay. These local residents can be found just one (very scenic) hour drive from Cape Town city centre, on the way to Cape Point Peninsula. The journey in itself is a fantastic experience; stop off at Chapman’s Peak for sweeping views of Hout bay, past Noordhoek and Kommetjie and finally reaching the African Penguin’s home of Boulder’s Beach. The colony is estimated to be around 2,500 – 3,000 birds and are often spotted sunbathing on the boulders or riding the waves in the protected bay. As well as a great place for penguins, the beach is a great spot for a refreshing dip and a picnic to round up a beautiful day.
DDon’t fancy being behind the wheel?
We recommend a tour with Cape Town Side Cars. Traverse along the route in a vintage side car and soak in the views as a passenger. The itineraries can be customised to suit your desires including the sights and sounds of the city and surrounding areas, as well as a visit to the False Bay side of the Peninsula via Chapmans Peak Drive to enjoy some wine tasting in Constantia and a traditional fish & chips lunch at one of the picturesque harbour towns. https://www.sidecars.co.za/half-day-4-hrs/
Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden
Acclaimed as one of the great botanic gardens of the world, UNESO World Heritage Site Kirstenbosch is nestled at the foot of Table Mountain and supports a wide variety of flora and fauna. The estate includes a fragrance garden, a medicinal garden, 2,500 species of plants found on the Cape Peninsula, a Protea garden (best seen in spring!), a braille trail, and a cycad amphitheatre, as well as over 125 bird species to be spotted; all of which can be enjoyed on wide range of walking trails. https://www.sanbi.org/gardens/kirstenbosch/
Franschhoek is just one town where South African’s world class wine can be sampled, and vineyards explored. Stellenbosch, an hour from Cape Town, is famous for its wine and bustling university vibe with nature reserves on the outskirts neighbouring the oldest wine farms in South Africa. Further afield, Paarl and Robertson offer a more intimate experience off the beaten track of the more well-known towns.
Closer to the city, the wine farms of Constantia are a mere 30 minute drive and boast fine dining, views of the ocean and the Table Mountain national park. Find out more about some of the old vines in the region with our local guide Andre Morgental.
FFor a heart-warming (and racing!) visit to Gansbaai and the Whale Coast, tune in to episode four (26th Jan) of ITV’s South Africa with Gregg Wallace as he comes face to face with adorable African penguins, and takes a trip down ‘shark alley’.
NNeed some inspiration for your first-time holiday in South Africa? Here is our suggested itinerary: