People

Virginia takes Cape Town

Virginia, her family and a couple of friends decide to do the Garden Route (Map below) that starts in Johannesburg and finish in Cape Town. It took them 2 weeks and 700 miles driving. In this first post she shares her amazing 4 days in the city of Cape Town.

Cape Town is a coastal city and the MAIN city of South Africa, considered by locals as “The Mother City” Before this interview I used to think it was Johannesburg, but No! Johannesburg is the most populous urban followed by Cape Town, and that’s why a lot of us like me thought is the main one.  The city is famous for its harbor and has been compared with San Francisco-California and Sydney – Australia. Well recognized for its natural setting in the Cape Floristic Region, and for such well-known landmarks as Table Mountain and Cape Point.

Virginia is Dominican and one of my closest friends since 2001, sadly she lives far away from me in Oviedo-Asturias but very happy I have an excuse to go there visit her and explore!  When she travels, her favorite thing is exploring the areas and trying new foods. She is a firm believer that one of the best ways to get to know a new destination is by trying out the local dishes… She is a foodie!

Summer months in Cape Town are between November and February when is ideal to visit. She made the trip last year at the end of September starting October, it was sunny but with a very fresh weather.

What to do?

There’s tons of adventurous activities to do such as rock climbing, abseiling, caving, mountain biking, hiking and paragliding. Exploring Table Mountain National Park was her favorite part of this city, the natural environment, the sensation of freedom at the Top and of course the most scenic and breathtaking view she had ever seen.

The park contains two well-known landmarks: Table Mountain, for which the park is named; and the Cape of Good Hope, the most southwestern extremity of Africa.

She also recommends not to miss Boulders Beach (Full of penguins), Cape floristic Region, Kirstenbosch Gardens and the Old Biscuit Mill market.

 

 

 

Facts of Table Mountain:

-Table Mountain is believed to be older than the Andes, the Alps, the Himalayas, and the Rocky Mountains. Named as Table Mountain because it is a flat-topped mountain. Stands at a height of 1,086 meters above the bay. Its flats measures about 1.86 miles from end to end.

-Table Mountain has been nominated as one of the “New 7 Wonders of Nature”

-Wynberg Caves are the biggest caves located in the Table Mountain.

-The mountain is the world’s original highest commercial abseiling.

-The mountain is home of 2,200 species of plants and over 1400 floral species including the Silver Tree and the wild orchid.

-Travelers can buy in the shop at the Top where is the only place to buy exquisite handmade jewelry and local crafts.

Foodies Section

   

Ohhhh foodies if you are a meat-lover be ready to read about these amazing delicacies. Cape Town has a world –renowned gastronomy with many world class but also unusual dining options.

The local cuisine is a fusion of flavors, which is as unique as it is delicious. With an inspiring heritage from UK and Holland.  Let’s begging with the most famous options and must-try dishes:

Biltong:  Is a form of dried, cured meat. What prosciutto is to Italy, biltong is to South Africa! Biltong is usually accompanied with dried apricots, roasted nuts, and a “sun downer” which, for me, was a fine gin and tonic.

Waterblommetjies: Literally means “little water flowers” the texture of the flowers is somewhat like miniature artichoke leaves, but the taste is far more subtle. Have been successfully cultivated in France and the UK as ornamental plants, but nowhere has the idea of eating them caught on as strongly as in the Cape. Is a stew made from lamb potatoes and water flowers. Is a much-loved delicacy.

Bunny Chow: Don’t worry no bunnies included! This is pure comfort food.  A rich Malay chicken or lamb curry with chunks of carrots and potatoes drenched in a delicious blend of spices.

Game Meats and Braai:  If you’re a steak-lover, then you have to try some of South Africa’s game meats such as kudu, springbok, and ostrich.  And the best way to taste them is at a braai, a traditional South African barbeque.  Is not Bizarre Food! Don’t worry.  Instead, it will be like a great steak-tasting.  If you’re a fan of filet minion, try Springbok.  It is a sort of antelope that is similar in taste to this tender cut of steak.  Kudu is more like dear, with a rich and gamey flavor.  Ostrich it’s the leanest red meat available.

Favorite Places

The wines!  If you love wine, and have dreamed of the lands where bountiful vineyards sweep across a lush green valley surrounded by mountains, you’ve dreamed of Cape Town.  Their French history has influenced their wine making, producing some exquisite full-flavored wines.  Virginia loved the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir options. They couldn’t go to wineries because of the baby but during their investigation is well known that exploring the cape winelands is a must-go! And she shares this link:

http://www.capetown.travel/visitors/eat-drink/wineries/constantia/explore-the-cape-winelands

 

Last but not least there’s a very famous market: The Old Biscuit Mill is one of Cape Town’s must-visit attractions. Is situated in a 19th-century factory, is a bustling hub where people come together to eat, drink, shop and have an all-round great time.

Every Saturday, visitors flock to the Neighborhoods Market where you’ll find an assortment of vendors offering fashion, art and local food, from freshly baked bread to gourmet sandwiches, organic vegetables, wine, craft beer and more. It is a great place to enjoy a scrumptious breakfast or lunch in a vibrant atmosphere. If you plan on visiting over the weekend, be sure to get there early as it can get quite crowded, especially on Saturdays.

They have a few excellent restaurants, serving everything from gourmet burgers to Italian fare. The most well-known of these is undoubtedly The Test Kitchen, rated the best restaurant in South Africa and listed at number 22 on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list (2016).

Lodging

All the lodging was made through Airbnb, you can find an amazing ocean front loft from 60USD per night, is incredible! I’ve been using them for the last 2 years in Bogotá, New York, Montreal, Washington DC and here in Dominican Republic, and no complains!

Here I leave the link for you to take advantage of all the options the offer: http://es.airbnb.com/c/joannayd1

Cape Town has it all — exquisite beaches, breathtaking scenery and wildlife, world-renowned gastronomy and buzzing nightlife. She hopes these tips and stories will inform and inspire you – me – us to visit Cape Town. If you have already been to Cape Town, please share a tip in the comments down below!

 

Muah! Joa

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