Nothing hits the reset button quite like some time away from the city, looking onto an uninterrupted vista, cocktail or coffee in hand. At any given time in Cape Town, you’re a short drive away from a stunning view and a relaxing weekend away, so why not make the most of it, hire a car and treat yourself to some time out. We’ve dug up four local destinations with gorgeous views that will be good for your soul (and good for your Instagram feed.)
South Africa’s West Coast has a rugged appeal, with its wide open planes and wind-swept beaches. In Spring, the dry landscape gives way to fields upon fields of wild flowers. The Olive Tree Villa is situated in Yzerfontein, one of the quaint costal towns on the West Coast that boasts endless stretches of white-sand beaches.
Nestled among the fynbos in this coastal fishing village, the Olive Tree Villa offers luxurious accommodation with the iconic silhouette of Table Mountain fading in the background. The villa’s bold, modern architecture beautifully contrasts its rough surroundings and turns the villa into a destination in itself.
Located on the beachfront, the villa caters for whale, dolphin and bird-watching. A front-facing pool invites you to recline while enjoying the gorgeous views and sunsets. If you’re not one to leave technology behind, you’ll be happy to know that the villas offers wifi, Netflix and Showmax. Small luxuries like extra length king size beds and 100% linen haven’t been overlooked either – if you’re looking for a short trip from the city, The Olive Tree Villa is for you!
On South Africa’s other coast, a somewhat longer drive from Cape Town (we would estimate about a five-hour drive), you’ll find the lush green town of Wilderness. The East Coast of South Africa offers as many beaches as the West Coast, but here the terrain is greener, with cliffs and rocky coastline giving way to beautiful beaches. The water is warmer and the climate is altogether more mild with less intense winds and less drastic swings in temperature.
Perched on the hills of Wilderness you’ll find Nima Lodge, the ultimate sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of the city – you’ll feel like you’re a world away. Nima Lodge offers self-catering accommodation with splendid views over wooded hills and valleys, that will refresh your soul and lend themselves to some spectacular images.
There are three spacious chalets, each of which comes with a fully equipped kitchen including a two plate induction stove, a convection oven, mini bar fridge and all cooking utensils. The chalets boast wrap around balconies and floor to ceiling windows that let in plenty of light.
Apart from the jaw-dropping views, Nima Lodge offers several activities so that you can enjoy the area to its fullest: from morning yoga sessions to guided hikes, it will be easy to stay active here. You can also enjoy fresh, locally-sourced vegetarian breakfast on request and a beautiful shared lounge area, complete with sundeck and pool.
A little closer to the city, there’s a magical drive that is perhaps one of the most famous in the world: Chapman’s Peak drive. The western flank of Chapman’s Peak mountain drops sharply for hundreds of metres into the Atlantic Ocean. Winding through the cliffs at the bottom of Chapman’s Peak is Chapman’s Peak drive. The drive offers a sweeping view over Hout Bay, Noordhoek and the Atlantic ocean.
Perfectly positioned to take in all the grandeur of this view is Tintswalo Atlantic, a 5-star, award-winning boutique lodge, nestled at the foot of Chapman’s Peak. The lodge sits right on the ocean, at a pebbled beach and enjoys panoramic views of the picturesque Hout Bay harbour, the dramatic Sentinel mountain peak, and the Atlantic Ocean beyond.
Tintswalo Atlantic offers the opportunity to truly spoil yourself without travelling too far from the city. Each suite is decorated in a unique style, according to individual themes drawing from the rich heritage of the lodge’s surroundings. Tintswalo promises all the luxuries and style you’d expect from a 5-star lodge, as well as unmatched views that you won’t be able to find anywhere else. Fancy taking a bath with uninterrupted views over Hout Bay harbour and the Hout Bay Sentinel? The Elba & Corsica Suite will make your dream come true! Or would you prefer to see out the day with a sunset dinner on the deck, with sweeping views over the while bay? In that case the Lamu Island Suite is the one for you!
Tintswalo Atlantic offers a picturesque, cosy dining experience in their dining room featuring exciting meals created from fresh, locally-sourced and sustainable ingredients. The dining area leads to an expansive deck where you can enjoy ocean views and the fresh sea air.
Lastly, you’ll want to treat yourself to the divine spa experience that Tintswalo Atlantic offers you from the comfort of your suite, against the backdrop of ocean sounds and smells. The Tintswalo spa therapists promise to leave you feeling rejuvenated and peaceful.
And there you have it! Three destinations in different price ranges to enjoy spectacular views from. Escaping from the city is that easy!
Twelve things you might consider doing during a powercut
Power failures have become a part of every day life in South Africa and while we could while away our time complaining about them, we like to disconnect and make the most this downtime. We’ve racked our brains for some fun activities to do at home or around Cape Town for when the power cuts out, whether you’re a local or a visitor!
Bust out the board games
Be honest, when was the last time you’ve played a board game? Power cuts are the perfect opportunity for your family to put their screens aside and come together around a board game – like in the good old days. With a game of monopoly and a few snacks and drinks, those two hours sans electricity will fly by!
Read a book or two!
Remember when you used to inhale books like no tomorrow? Here’s your chance to rekindle that love affair. Make sure you have a good stack of books at hand and kick back with one whenever the power goes off.
Go for a walk
Cape Town offers plenty splendid hikes and walking routes. From Lion’s Head to Constantia all the way to Cape Point, the Cape is littered with opportunities to get out and explore the gorgeous natural environment. Round up the dogs, pull on the hiking boots, call up a friend and get out there – you won’t regret it!
Do absolutely nothing.
When was the last time you really switched off completely? Find an outdoor spot, put out a blanket, lie down and watch the clouds move across the sky (or look at the stars if the sun has set!). Not being able to work due to a power cut is the perfect excuse to take a real break and do sweet nothing.
Enjoy a candle lit bath
Well if a powercut isn’t just the perfect excuse to spoil yourself. With a little bit of luck your geyser will still have enough hot water for you to run yourself a steaming bath. Recline into the tub and savour the bliss of not being able to do anything productive. Unless you’re in an area that’s experiencing water shortage – in that case, scrap this point.
Pack a picnic
Fashion yourself a good old sandwich with cold meats, gherkins, cheese and whatever else you fancy, pack a lemonade, a sweet treat and a blanket and head to the nearest park with a friend or colleague. A powercut is the perfect reason to turn your lunch into a full blown event.
Fit in a workout
If there’s one thing you don’t need power for it’s working out! Plan your day around the power cut(s) and make sure you fit your work out in when the power’s off. If you download a workout app or learn a routine off by heart, you’ll be able to exercise practically anywhere. Bonus? The more power cuts there are the quicker you’ll reach your fitness goals!
Go for a dip
With two gorgeous oceans on offer and no power, heading to the beach and going for a swim is the perfect solution in Cape Town. Let the Stage number determine whether it’s a sunrise swim, a lunchtime swim, a sunset swim, or maybe all three if you’re in luck! Let the ocean wash away your worries and don’t forget – it only counts as a swim if you’ve dipped under three times!
Enjoy a candlelit dinner
If you look at from the right perspective, a power failure can be quite romantic: complete silence, candles everywhere and no one is distracted by their phones. Make the most of it and pick up dinner someplace, grab a bottle of wine and turn it into a romantic evening for two: where you’ll be entirely focused on another for a change, for want of distractions.
Do a spring clean
You may not want to hear it but what better time to tackle that spring clean than when the electricity keeps you from doing literally everything else you’d rather do! The bright side of powercuts is that they twist your arm and make you do that one thing that would otherwise be at the very bottom of your list. So empty your closets, sift out everything you don’t need and do a deep clean.
Go to the cinema
If there’s one place that’s guaranteed to have a generator during a power failure, it’s the cinema. Head to the Labia, sink into the gorgeous retro seats and enjoy a little bit of culture: you’re bound to come out feeling more refined!
Learn something new
Whether it’s skateboarding or a new language, dedicate the time during powercuts to practice something you’re learning. This way, you’ll always have something to do when the lights go out and the more frequently they go off, the quicker you’ll improve at your craft.
Your guide to exploring this gem in the Deep South
Far beyond the leafy suburbs of southern Cape Town lies a quaint naval town that offers the perfect day escape from the city. The town is rich in history and boasts beautiful Cape Dutch architecture along the M4 (this stretch is rather aptly also known as the historical mile) that winds through the town. The historical mile wraps around a gorgeous bay that is home to the South African Navy’s Naval Base and pristine beaches with crystal clear blue water.
How to get there
The drive alone makes this day trip worth the while! If you’re coming from Cape Town’s CBD, we recommend driving through Camps Bay over Victoria Drive which offers jaw-dropping views, before winding your way through to Constantia and Lakeside onto the M4.
The M4 passes through the charming seaside towns of Muizenberg, Kalk Bay and Fishhoek, before reaching Simon’s Town.
Where to eat
There’s a lot to choose from in terms of restaurants in Simon’s Town, but you’ll want to go someplace that offers the local specialty: seafood and fish!
A local favourite with a deliciously fresh menu is the Lighthouse Café. The Lighthouse café draws you in with its light and airy beach house décor and keeps you coming back with its friendly service and mouthwatering menu. From juicy mussels to burgers to excellent vegetarian options, the Lighthouse Café has something for everyone.
If you’re just after a good coffee and snack, head to Café Penguino, which is conveniently located right next to a souvenir shop. The family-owned café serves a good coffee and breakfast, that you can enjoy at their quaint tables on the sidewalk outside the café while watching the world go by, or on their veranda which also get a lot of light.
To round off your meal, or afternoon at the beach, head to JB’s Ice Cream Parlour. With its traditional, old-world charm and wide range of exciting, delicious gelatos, sorbets and soft serves, JB’s may be one of the best ice cream joints in the deep south. What’s more, it’s owned & run by Mr JB himself. Be sure to try the salted peanut brittle icea cream – you won’t regret it!
What to do
Head to Boulder’s Beach and make acquaintance with the local residents, the African penguins. The little crowd-pleasers love to waddle around the beach and swim between the large granite boulders. For the best view of the penguins, take a walk along the wheelchair-friendly boardwalk that will take you through the dunes & indigenous vegetation at Foxy Beach. The African penguin is an endangered species, so come prepared to pay an entry fee, which goes towards the conservation of their habitat. Be sure to familiarise yourself with the rules of the beach, which include not feeding the penguins.
Boulder’s offers a good swimming beach, but for an even even better swimming experience, head a bit further down to Water’s Edge. This beach is something of a secret beach & you won’t find it on Google Maps. Just north of Boulder’s beach, behind a wooden gate that keeps the penguins off the road, you’ll find this secluded bay which offers a pristine white beach and a perfect swimming area. Bring an umbrella, towel and swimming gear and while away your day in bliss.
Especially if you’re on an outing with kids (or just looking to entertain the kid in you!) you’ll want to explore the Warrior Toy Museum. This small museum houses thousands of toy cars, airplanes, soldiers & dolls many of which date far back. Owner and curator Percyl Van Zyl has taken great care in putting together a delightful display of model trains, ships and miniature figurines. This little gem will take you down a nostalgic walk down memory lane. If you’re a collector, you’ll be happy to learn that an array of toys are also for sale.
Take some time to admire the statue of Just Nuisance, but not without knowing the back story! Just Nuisance was an enormous Great Dane that in the 1930s became the first, and only, dog to be enlisted in the Royal Navy. Just Nuisance grew up in and around Simon’s Town harbor, and became friendly with anyone and everyone that looked like a Royal Navy sailor. As a very friendly dog, Just Nuisance was treated to all sorts of titbits, and started following sailors around, thereby earning himself the name “Just Nuisance”. Just Nuisance started jumping on and off train rides to and from Cape Town, much to the annoyance of conductors who insisted that his train fares should be paid for. Not wanting him to be put down, many sailors pleaded on his behalf and eventually succeeded in having him enlisted as an Able Seaman. As a member of the armed forces, he would be entitled to free rail travel. In 1985, many years after his death, a statue of Just Nuisance overlooking the harbor, was erected in Simon’s Town and still stands there today.
Simon’s Town has so much to offer – we’ve only picked a few of our favourite activities –that you might want to consider spending a weekend there. Have you been to Simon’s Town? What were your highlights?
Hiring a car can sometimes seem more complicated than it should be! If it’s your first time, the process of hiring and navigating the terms and conditions is time-consuming and confusing. To combat this, we’ve gathered some important points to take note of around hiring your holiday vehicle. Considering it’s our area of expertise, we’d like to think that we have some valuable insights into getting ready to hire a car. We’ve tried to make it somewhat more easily readable than our hire guide and Terms and Conditions, but if you’d like to get stuck into those, you can do that here.
Hiring with multiple drivers
If you’re travelling as a family or with a group of friends, you might want to switch drivers, especially when you’re driving long distances! Our policy allows you to select up to three additional drivers. The first additional driver can be added free of charge, and for the second and third additional driver you will be charged R300 per driver. It’s important to note that the initial hirer will be liable for any risks or charges associated with the usage of the vehicle by any nominated additional driver.
Fulfilling all driver requirements
For safety reasons, there are several requirements that the driver of the vehicle must fulfill (this also applies to nominated additional drivers, not just the hirer). Drivers must be a minimum of twenty-three years old on the start date of the vehicle hire. All drivers must have a valid driver’s license and, importantly, they need to be valid for a minimum of two years. When purchasing an international driver’s license you can choose between a one-year or a two-year one, so be sure to pick the two-year option. All international driver’s licenses have to be translated into English!
The embossed credit card
Many car hire companies, including us at Vineyard Car Hire, will only accept payment by an embossed credit card. This means that the digits on the credit card have to be raised. While this may seem like an inconvenience, it’s essentially to protect both you, the hirer, as well as the car hire company from fraud. The embossed credit card allows a physical imprint to be made of the card, as evidence that the credit card was present when the transaction was made. The imprint, together with a signature, is unique and cannot be replicated. In the event that the hirer should accuse the hiring company of fraudulently using their credit card, the company will have physical evidence to dispute this. In the case that you don’t have an embossed credit card and would like to use someone else’s, that person will then be the hirer of the car and will have to be present when the transaction takes place.
Vehicle delivery & collection
Make the most of our free vehicle delivery service! You can make your life a whole lot easier by having the car dropped off wherever you happen to be in Cape Town. Take the time to familiarize yourself with our free delivery hours & areas, or pay a small fee out-of-hours fee. Within office hours, Vineyard Car Hire delivers anywhere in the City Bowl and southern suburbs free of charge, for any bookings for a period of three days or longer. Airport deliveries are free of charge between 7am and 7pm. Out-of-office-hour delivery fees do not exceed R275 and airport collection of the vehicle will cost R200. If you’re planning a one-way roadtrip and want to leave the car at your destination, a one-way drop-off fee will be charged. All you need to do is pre-arrange the return city or town with us beforehand.
Navigating the T’s & C’s of the insurance
This is the important bit! Make sure you have complete peace of mind by ensuring that you’re adequately covered. Our quoted rates include a Standard Cover insurance plus and excess which will be paid by you, the hirer, in the event of an accident or theft. If you have a lump sum saved up that would cover the excess, then Standard Cover should suffice for you. If that is not the case, it may be wise to consider the Super Cover, which comes at an additional cost but will either reduce or waiver the excess amount. There is a list of exclusions that insurance does not cover (such as driving in contravention of the law or in a race!) which is worth taking a look over.
Complete the vehicle checklist
On the handover of the vehicle you will be presented with a checklist to make notes of any existing damage on the vehicle. Take your time to carefully look over the vehicle together with the Vineyard Car Hire representative. Once you agree that all existing damages have been identified, both parties will sign the document. You will be liable for any variances in the vehicle from the checklist on return of the vehicle, so be sure to be thorough and don’t rush the examination.
We’ve highlighted some of the most important things to be aware of before hiring your car, but you’d be well-advised taking a good look over the Terms and Conditions too. If you have any questions whatsoever, we’re always available to answer them! You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at (+27) 21 761 0671 and we’ll do what we can to help!
Here’s how to celebrate Christmas like a true Capetonian
It just so happens that Christmas falls squarely in the middle of the South African summer, and as a result veers quite far from the traditional Western notion of a white Christmas. No snowmen, no eggnog, no landscapes blanketed in snow. But that’s not to say that we don’t have our own traditions! As we head into the festive season we’ve racked our brains for some of our favourites way to celebrate that Christmas feeling in Cape Town.
Braais (barbeques) are a hot favourite all year around (excuse the pun), but they’re especially synonymous with the festive season. While the traditional Christmas scene is that of egg nog around the fireplace, the South African version is somewhat better suited to the typically hot weather: a braai around the pool.
Cape Town Festival of Lights
Every Capetonian will recall the drive through the Adderley Festival of Lights with nostalgia as a classic childhood Christmas memory. On the first Sunday of December, the Christmas lights along Adderley street are switched on with great fanfare. The Festival of Lights marks the day that the major turns on hundreds of festive lights in the city centre, followed by a huge free street party. 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of this special tradition, so this year will be bigger than ever. You can expect stalls lining the streets with everything from snacks to Christmas gifts. At around mid-day, a live concert commences, featuring the likes of Sho Madjozi and the Ndlovu Youth Choir. As soon as the sun dips below the horizon, the Christmas lights are switched on. If ever there was an event to kick off the Christmas spirit, it is this one!
Swap Snowmen for Sand Castles
Thanks to the hot weather around Christmas time, much of the holiday season is centred around the beach. Plan in a good few beach days around Christmas, and be sure to get there early because every one else will be making their way to the beach too (the beach culture runs strong in Cape Town!). Instead of building the classical snowman, you can spend your day revelling in the sunshine, building sandcastles. Don’t forget to bring the seasonal favourite snack, a watermelon, the traces of which are easily washed off with a quick dip in the ocean.
Carols by Candlelight
Nothing gets you into the festive spirit quite like Christmas carols! Carols by Candlelight is a hugely popular event that takes place every year in Kirstenbosch Gardens. Imagine the melodic sounds of Christmas carols and picture the hundreds of glow stick lights in the beautiful garden setting and you’ll get an idea of what you can expect. Families come together to picnic on the luscious Kirstenbosch lawns, before the sun sets. As the dusk comes on, glow sticks are handed out and the carols begin. This year, the event will also host several Christmas-themed pop-up stalls, featuring everything from festive headgear to stocking fillers and tree decorations. This year Carols By Candlelight takes place on the 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th of December, and marks the 31st anniversary of the event. Be sure to book your tickets in time!
South African Christmas Pudding
No Christmas is complete without a traditional Christmas dessert. In South Africa, this means Malva pudding and a unique South African take on the traditional British trifle. Malva pudding has a sticky, caramelized texture and is made using apricot jam and vinegar. The pudding is traditionally topped with custard.
Local Christmas Markets
What better way to get started on Christmas shopping than to dodge the mall madness and browse at the local markets. It’ll get you into the Christmas mood, make for a far more pleasant shopping experience and you’ll be supporting local businesses too! From the Potters market which offers beautiful locally crafted ceramics, to various craft and gift fairs, you’re sure to find unique and original gifts for your loved ones.
Cape Town Minstrel Carnival
This carnival might not strictly form part of Christmas time, but it’s a thoroughly Capetonian holiday tradition. On the second of January, the Cape Town Minstrel Carnival (better known amongst locals as “die Kaapse Klopse”) explode onto the streets of the Mother City in a flurry of colourful costumes, thumping drumbeats and song, for a street parade called Tweede Nuwe Jaar (Second New Year). Throngs of Capetonians hit the street to take in the vibrant show that the Kaapse Klopse troupes put on. The history of the Carnival runs deep, and has its roots in the colonial era, when most people of colours in South Africa were enslaved. Slaves were given a single day a year off, namely the second of January, when their masters were recovering from the previous night’s debauchery. They made the most of this day off and celebrated it by dressing up, dancing and playing music. Many of the songs still sung today date back to the 1800s. To watch this incredible parade, you can find yourself a place among hundreds of other spectators along their 7km route from Keizersgracht street to Rose Street in Bo-Kaap.
So if you’re looking to exchange an icy winter for a blistering summer this festive season, don’t fear, there are plenty of ways to keep that Christmas spirit in Cape Town!
How to best interrupt your beach visits with some cultural experiences
What makes the city of Cape Town so exceptional is the diversity in its attractions: the city offers spectacular beaches, hikes and outdoor activities, as well as cultural experiences that are on par with its European counterparts. The city oozes with arts and culture if you know where to look. We’ve rounded up a few of our favourite arty experiences (from an old-world opera experience to a boozy gallery tour) for your next Cape Town trip – all within driving distance so you can get there in your Vineyard rental!
Contemporary African art at the Zeitz MOCAA
The Zeitz Museum is the (fairly) new home for African contemporary art. The modern building houses the work of local artists over no less than nine stories. The building alone is rather impressive: it’s a disused granary which has been transformed into a spectacular atrium where the grain was once housed. The museum shows work by contemporary African artists and exhibitions are regularly rotated. Currently, for example, the museum is exhibiting the work of William Kentridge, a legendary South African artist that is famous for his charcoal drawings. A hot tip for all African citizens: visit the Zeitz on a Wednesday and you get free access, all you need to do is bring some form of identification.
Authentically South African theatre at The Baxter Theatre
The Baxter is housed in a building designed in the 1970’s by one of the most prominent modern architects of South Africa, Jack Barnett. The building in itself is impressive and the local performances you’ll see there will be too, without a doubt. The building is historically important in that it presented multiracial, progressive work during apartheid, when all other non-racial interactivity was banned or censored. Today it provides a stage for all types of professional entertainment: music, drama, ballet, opera and intimate theatre. You will see exciting local drama here, driven by South Africa’s rich cultural diversity, powerful messages, and brilliant, vibrant local talent.
Art and Drinks on First Thursdays
Every First Thursday of the month, arts and culture enthusiasts flock to the Cape Town CBD to tour various locations set up as exhibition spaces. The fun part is that they are all within walking distance of another, which means that you’re best off parking on the outskirts of the CBD and tackling your First Thursday stops on foot. In a city that is otherwise highly reliant on transport by car, it’s a refreshing and distinctly European feeling to be able to explore the inner city on foot. You can plan your favourite exhibitions, galleries, shops and restaurants to visit by heading to the First Thursday site or Facebook page where you’ll find the program for the month. First Thursdays are best accompanied by regular wine or beer stops, making the experience all the more jolly.
A vintage cinema experience at the Labia Theatre
For a truly authentic and vintage cinematic experience, be sure to head to the Labia: THE destination for independent art cinema in Cape Town. Originally the Italian Embassy ballroom, the theatre was opened by Princess Labia 1949 and is the oldest cinema in South Africa. The Labia Theatre offers a wonderful old-world charm, as well as a unique selection of independent films for the discerning cinema goer. Head to the Labia Theatre’s website to find out about the movie-and-meal special for two, an excellent deal that runs every day other than Friday in collaboration with various different restaurants. The Labia also sets itself apart from ordinary cinemas with the availability of a bar.
An organic breakfast at the Oranjezicht City Farm Market
Cape Town is flush with markets, each with their own drawcard, but none quite encapsulates the contemporary spirit of Cape Town quite like the Oranjezicht City Farm market. With its offering of fresh, seasonal produce from independent local farmers, the market is a reflection of a growing movement focusing on sustainable consumption and supporting local businesses. The OCZF market day takes place every Saturday and Sunday at Granger Bay just outside the V&A Waterfront. Spend your weekend morning browsing the wide variety of fresh produce, baked goods and artisan, hand-made foods. It’s the perfect place to get a feeling for the culture of Cape Town – and have a delicious, fresh breakfast.
Old-world grandeur at the Artscape Theatre Centre
Grab the rare opportunity in Cape Town to kick off your flipflops and dress up (and we mean, really dress up) for the Artscape. The opera house and theatre centre offers a platform for a wide variety of performing arts, from opera to ballet to comedy. While there is no strict dress code for the venue, it’s a good chance to put your evening gown to use. You will marvel at the majestic, colourful chandeliers in the foyer and get a real sense of old-world grandeur with the glitter of the footlights and the sweeping velvet curtains.
Young talent at The Raptor Room
The Raptor Room is a quirky but comfortable Cape Town restaurant that mixes the modern with the traditional. The venue is beautifully decorated with an art deco feel and bright colours. It has developed into an incubator for young South African artists and offers a platform for local musicians, comedians, poets and so forth. Here you can watch the newest local band before it goes big, attend a Grow Cannabis workshop or enjoy an evening of only female comedian performances. Grab a bite to eat and enjoy some fresh local talent in this stylish lounge.
And there you have it – a host of different cultural experiences you can choose from before you decide to make it a beach day in Cape Town…again!
Spring has made a very sudden appearance in Cape Town, here are our tips on how to make the most of it!
Winter has come to an abrupt end and as if someone has flipped a switch, Spring is here. A few sweltering days have already given us an indication of the hot summer that lies ahead of us and we’re not about to complain about it! In the name of ushering in Spring, we’ve rounded up ten fun outdoor adventures that our rental car can take you to around Cape Town!
The Milnerton Market takes place every weekend and public holiday and makes for a great day-outing. It is in fact no longer located in Milnerton, but in Paarden Eiland, with a majestic backdrop of Table Mountain. Unlike many over-curated markets these days, the market is an authentic flea market and the ideal destination for deal-hunting! Round up the gang and make a day of finding the perfect bargain!
Cherry-picking at Klondyk Farm
Nothing quite says summer like a basket and a belly full of cherries! Cherry-picking at the Klondyk Farm in Ceres is the ideal family activity that will keep the kids entertained while they harvest fruits for the next few weeks. The farm is located two hours outside of Cape Town and offers accommodation in case you want to make a weekend out of it.
Note that there is a designated cherry-picking season that opens toward the end of November.
Franschoek Wine Tour
The Franschoek Wine Tram takes you through the beautiful Franschoek Valley and stops at picturesque vineyards where you can enjoy world-class wines and cuisine against a breath-taking scenery. The tram itself is a vintage-style railway tram that allows you to hop on our off wherever at any point. Get your best friends together and spend the day reveling in the beauty of the Franschoek Valley.
Wild Flower viewing on the West Coast
Is it even Spring if you haven’t been to see the West Coast’s wild flowers? From August, several little towns along the West Coast, about an hour’s drive outside of Cape Town, light up with colourful wild flowers. The closest wild flower destination is the Blauuwberg Nature Reserve, which has spectacular views on to Cape Town’s cityscape and coastline. The wetland is located 30 kilometers outside of Cape Town, offers several hiking trails and is known for its rich biodiversity.
This bustling Friday-night market is a fun way to kick off the weekend. The market is located in Muizenberg, an area of Cape Town that has become a hub for creatives from all walks of life. On Friday evenings, Muizenberg locals gather at the Bluebird market for a few drinks, to enjoy the delicious culinary experiences on offer and to browse the clothing and jewelry stalls.
Penguin-watching at Boulders Beach
For a truly special and uniquely Capetonian experience, head to Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town to hang out with the penguins. Boulders Beach is the home of a colony of African penguins and is located just 45 minute south of Cape Town. The area consists of three pristine beaches with a viewing deck for observing the penguins. The beaches are also suitable for swimming, so bring your swimsuit! Entry to Boulders Beach requires a conservation fee, so don’t forget your wallet.
Galileo Open Air Cinema
Does watching cinema classics under a blanket and a magical ceiling of stars sound good to you? From October through to April, the Galileo Open Air Cinema will be screening movies at various open air venues again. From Kirstenbosch Gardens to Battery Park at the V&A Waterfront, all the venues are magnificient, as is the choice of film, which is typically a timeless movie that appeals to a wide audience. Galileo offers different packages, with the option to include a blanket, back rest and a box of chocolates. What better way to usher in summer than an evening spent watching your favourite movie under the open sky.
Hike Lion’s Head
Lion’s Head is the lion-shaped mountain that towers over Cape Town’s City bowl and the Atlantic Seaboard. The hike to the top of Lion’s Head serves as a perfect sunrise or sunset hike, offering breathtaking views over the entire city bowl, Table Mountain and the Atlantic Seaboard of Cape Town. The hike is a fairly manageable distance and can easily be done under 2 hours, but it’s rather steep so make sure you’re feeling up to the challenge. Be sure to take along a flask of coffee and some snacks to enjoy when you’ve reached the top!
Take a drive to Kirstenbosch Gardens in Newlands and let yourself be amazed by the diversity of this botanical garden, which is considered one of the grandest in the world. Kirstenbosch Gardens is steeped in history, with the land being in use since the late 1400’s. Spend the day walking through the picturesque garden and conclude your day with a picnic spread on Kirstenbosch Gardens’ ample lawns.
High tea at the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel
There is no celebration of Spring more refined than a high tea at Cape Town’s Mount Nelson hotel. The Nellie, as she is affectionately known, offers a morning, afternoon and evening tea in a regal setting. Each tea sitting comes with a spread of assorted treats, as well as over 40 different teas and a tea sommelier that is on hand to guide you in the art of tea-tasting. Tea can be taken in the lounge, on the terrace or in the garden, in a formal yet beautiful environment.
Cape Town is a city for adventure and the warmer seasons suit it all too well – we’ve barely scratched the surface here, there’s so much to do! What is your favourite activity to do in Cape Town?
Tips and tricks on how and where to find snow in the Western Cape of South Africa
A cosy cottage blanketed in dazzlingly white snow, a roaring fire in a stone fireplace, a good read and a mug of hot chocolate – it’s the ultimate winter dream! Living in a country where the climate ranges from Mediterranean to subtropical, with sunshine aplenty and scatterings of rain, there’s a certain kind of awe reserved for snow. Most South Africans maintain a child-like sense of wonder for it, especially because sightings of snow are limited to the movies for most. Luckily, there’s a small window in winter where you’ll be able to track down snow in certain areas of South Africa.
We’ve taken it upon us to collect information around some of the best areas in the Western Cape to find snow (all within driving distance from Cape Town), as well as how best to time your snow hunt. If you’re heading to Cape Town for your next vacation, you may want to consider hiring a car and making a day trip in search of snow – the kids will love it!
How to track a snow front
Most of the fun lies in the sense of adventure as you closely monitor snow forecasts and strategise when the optimal time is for the trip to kick off. Your snow hunt starts by keeping an eye on the weather forecast and maintaining a degree of flexibility, so that you’ll be able to up and go for the day when there’s a potentially snowy day.
To the uninitiated, we’d like to introduce the snow reporting website aptly named “Snow Report” (snowreport.co.za). Snow Report SA provides a comprehensive report of any potential snowfall in South Africa, as well as images of snow sightings, via its Facebook (Snow Report SA) and Instagram (@snowreportsa) pages. Its snow charts provide insights into how much snowfall is expected in which areas, and the website links through to webcams around the country that are set up to monitor snow. Snow Report is your ultimate tool for tracking snow and the best starting point for planning your trip.
Where to go
Matroosberg Private nature Reserve
The Matroosberg Private nature reserve is an area that frequently sees a decent amount of snowfall when there’s a cold front and is located a mere two-hour drive outside of Cape Town. The reserve is situated on the farm Erfdeel, a fully operational farm just outside of Ceres.
You have the option to stay in the oldest building in the area, the 100-year old Goatherder house, which is a quaint stone cottage that will meet all your expectations for the perfect rural winter getaway (including the stone fireplace!). The Goatherder house is nestled at the foot of the Matroosberg mountain and rather remotely situated. Note that there is no electricity, so you’ll want to come prepared with warm clothing!
Klondyke Cherry Farm
The Klondyke Cherry Farm in Ceres is renowned for its consistent snowfall. What is the site of a cheery and colourful scene in summer, transforms into an idyllic winter wonderland in winter. While the snowfall is sometimes limited to dustings on the mountaintops, in a good season it can also snow so much that it covers the entire farm.
Klondyke is situated just two hours outside of Cape Town and can be visited for a day trip or an extended stay. The farm offers three self-catering cottages that are fitted with everything you’ll need to keep you warm at night: electric blankets, heaters and a fireplace.
Swartberg Mountain Pass
If you’re willing to venture a bit further from Cape Town, head to the Swartberg mountains near Oudtshoorn. It may be a lengthy five hour drive, but the Swartberg Mountain pass is often closed due to snow when there’s a cold front, so you may very well luck into a proper snow sighting. While you’re in the area, spend a few nights in Oudtshoorn, where you’ll be able to find beautiful accommodation options that are steeped in grandeur and history.
If it’s luxury you’re after and you’re happy to settle for beautiful, snow-capped mountains, you could consider heading to Nuy Valley in Worcester. Here you’ll find De Wilge, an old wine cellar dating back to 1905, that has been transformed into two luxurious apartments. The self-catering units are spacious and stylish, and the more luxurious of the two features a Jacuzzi and private bath that overlooks the mountains and a citrus orchard. When it’s cold out, you’ll be able to spot snow on the caps of the majestic Langeberg mountains.
Preparing for your snow hunt
Wherever you decide to go, it’s certain to be cold, so make sure you’re prepared for it! You’ll need a good pair of boots, long tops and jerseys that can be layered, a quality jacket and spare blankets.
You’ll also want to be comfortable in tackling somewhat rougher terrain, so be sure to hire a car that will meet the challenge. At Vineyard Car hire, we can offer you anything from a 5-seater Toyota Fortuner to a 4×2 Toyota RAV4.
If you’re lucky enough to come across heavy snowfall, make the most of it! Can you really enjoy your trip without a few gimmicky snow games? It may be a cliché but building a snowman is something of a rite of passage when it’s snowing – there’s no way you can get away without building one. And don’t forget the snowball fight, as you’ve seen it in all of your favourite Christmas movies!
So there you have it, as unlikely as it may seem – if you pay attention to the forecast and know where to go – you could very well enjoy some decent snowfall in Africa!
7 realistic ways to save smartly so you can travel more!
With the costs of flights, accommodation and car hire, travel is no cheap affair but isn’t it oh-so worth it? You simply cannot put a price on the thrills of discovering a new destination and the memories you make on every journey. So, in the name of travel, we’ve put together a few useful tip that can help you save toward your next trip!
Save on subscriptions
This is an easy and relatively pain-free way to shave off those unnecessary expenses. Examine your subscriptions and consider whether a) they are essential and b) you can find a loophole to spend less. You might not really need that magazine every month that you briefly page through before you toss it aside, or that gym subscription that you hardly use.
If you subscribe to music streaming services such as Spotify or Apple music, or movie streaming services such as Amazon Prime, Showmax or Netflix, make a point of choosing your favourite one and cancelling the others. Once you’ve selected your favourite, you can look into getting together with friends or family to share an account, thereby significantly reducing your expenses.
Go the extra mile
You’ll be surprised at how much you can save by just putting in a little bit of extra effort: the premium you pay for convenience adds up! Scan your bank statements for routine expenses that you can do without or reduce. You might want to consider packing your lunch at home, or carrying a flask of coffee with you instead of paying for multiple coffees to go. Instead of rushing to the shops every evening before dinner, plan for the upcoming month and take a relaxed Saturday morning to buy everything you need in bulk (or order it online!) This way you’ll save on bulk deals.
Often cutting back on convenience not only helps you save, but also reduces your impact on the environment, so it’s a double win!
Flog your stuff
Let’s be real, most of our homes are filled with a whole bunch of stuff that we hardly ever used. If you haven’t used it in the past 6 months, chances are you won’t be needing it in the next 6 months either. Scan your house for things that don’t serve you anymore – that old sewing machine you never use, those golf clubs that haven’t seen daylight in a few years – and sell them off. Not only will it help flesh out your travel fund, but you’ll also be able to simplify and de-clutter your living space.
With the help of Facebook Marketplace, it’s also never been easier to pass on possessions you no longer have a need for. Snap a quick photo, upload it and usually in a matter of days you’ll have sold your stuff to someone that has much better use for it.
Ditch a bad habit
Got a bad habit that doesn’t serve you? This is the perfect opportunity to ditch it! Take the time to work out how much you spend on those cigarettes in a year and you’ll be kicking yourself. Maybe those post-work cocktails can be limited to one evening a week. You’ll be surprised by how much you can reduce your expenses by cutting back on habits that don’t necessarily add value to your life. Needless to say, you’ll be winning on two fronts: your body will thank you AND you’ll be watching your travel fund swell up!
Second hand clothing
As you may have picked up by now, there is often a correlation between saving money and protecting the earth: consumption does not serve our environment! Fast fashion is not only expensive, but also costs our environment. Instead, you could save up around 75% of a clothing item’s price by hunting for its second hand counterpart.
Plus, the thrill of finding a quality, stylish thrifted garment is incomparable with walking into a retailer and picking up whatever the latest trend may be.
Do free things
They say the best things in life are free! And how much better if you’re saving for an awesome trip overseas while you’re at it. Rather than pursuing activities that will cost you an arm and a leg, find ways to enjoy the place you live in free of charge. This could be something like having a picnic at a lake nearby, or looking for museums or exhibitions that don’t charge an entry fee. If you’re feeling altruistic, you could sacrifice your time to support a local charity.
If you’d like to build on your knowledge, there are a myriad of free resources on the internet to help you learn anything from coding to quantum mechanics. You may even want to consider using free apps to learn the local language of the next destination you plan on travelling to!
Save on luxuries
Okay, so self-care is all the rage these days, but what if your self care is travelling? You might want to think about cutting back on some luxuries so that you can allocate that money towards your next trip.
You can easily go with fewer haircuts, fewer visits to the spa or fewer manicures. You might have to “rough it” a little until your next trip but think of the satisfaction of booking that flight to an unfamiliar destination!
Saving money may seem daunting at times, but with these tips it’s definitely made a lot easier – without compromising your quality of life! Let us know how YOU save money for the next time you hit the road (or air!)
Sometimes the journey alone is the destination. Especially when we’re on holiday, we tend to pack our days with activities: things to do, things to see, things to tick off our bucket list. But sometimes the most precious moments are the ones in between: taking a deep breath of fresh, salty air, pulling over to take an unexpected dive in an icy tidal pool or maybe just rolling down the window of your car with your favourite song blasting.
Consider this. Maybe don’t plan your day this time, but pick a route and let a day of adventure unfold itself. Who knows, you could discover your new favourite coffee place on the way or capture the most magical photo you’ve ever taken. Cape Town is jam-packed with scenic drives that will knock your socks off every single time, no matter how many times you’ve done them! We put our heads together to come up with our absolute favourite drives in Cape Town. Give them a go!
Chapman’s Peak Drive
Okay, so this one’s a classic. In fact, it’s known as one of the world’s most scenic drives and it does not disappoint. Think 9 kilometres of coastline stretching from Noordhoek to Hout Bay, with panoramic views on the Atlantic Ocean on one side and a spectacular view of the Western Mountains of the Cape Peninsula on the other. Apart from the mind-blowing scenery, you might also want to take a moment to admire what an exceptional feat of engineering the road is. It took seven years to build (completed in 1922) and later received an excellence award for rockfall protection (that was in 2004).
The spectacular scenery looks even more magnificent in the evening light, so when you’re planning your drive, time it so you catch the sunset.
If the spectacular panoramic scenery itself isn’t enough of a highlight for you, you might want to keep a pair of binoculars handy: in the right season (typically toward the end of winter or early spring, so June through to November) it’s likely that you’ll be able to spot a Southern Right Whale. Your chances of a sighting are especially high during peak calving season, which is in July and August.
Don’t forget to bring:
If nothing else, bring your camera! There will be several arresting views you’ll want to hold on to forever. This is also the perfect drive to pack a picnic for there are areas where you can pull over perfect for a picnic. What better way to watch the sunset than with an Aperol Spritz and a snack in hand!
More practically, don’t forget to bring cash or your card or else you won’t be able to get past the toll gate. If you’re planning on doing some whale watching, be sure to pack your binoculars.
Muizenberg – Kalk Bay – Simon’s Town
This drive takes you along the eastern coast of the Cape Peninsula, from Muizenberg over Kalk Bay, to Simon’s Town. Apart from the beautiful scenery, the stops along the way are packed with cultural experiences and little gems of coffee shops and bakeries.
In Kalk Bay, make a stop at the harbour and order a traditional fish and chips. The fish is straight out of the ocean and tastes delicious. Take a walk along the harbour wall and you might just catch the fat resident seal scavenging for some leftovers.
Make a turn past the Ice Café in Kalk Bay, the unofficial purveyor of the best ice cream in Cape Town. They have a wide range of ice creams and sorbets, with something for everyone.
For more wildlife action, be sure to visit Boulder’s Beach, somewhat further along the coastline past Simon’s Town, where you can watch penguins bathing in the clear water.
Don’t forget to bring:
Be sure to pack your swimming trunks! This drive is littered with tidal pools that make the perfect refreshing pit stop for a dip in ocean water. The water on the Indian Ocean is warmer than on the Atlantic Ocean, but bring a sweater to keep you warm after your swim.
Gordon’s Bay – Hermanus
From Gordan’s Bay through to Hermanus, this drive takes you along another beautifully scenic route past a bay called Koel Baai. If you’re up for something more active, you can make a stop along the way for the Crystal Pool hiking trail. As the name suggests, this hike takes you past several beautiful pools perfect for swimming in.
On the right day with a light wind, you can stop off at Koel Baai Beach to take a walk on the pristine beach and watch surfers slide into barrels in crystalline waters.
Don’t forget to bring:
If you plan on hiking, bring a pair of good shoes. Otherwise, a good beach towel, an umbrella and some snacks will make for the perfect beach day at Koel Baai Beach.
For the ultimate road trip feel, head up the West Coast over Eland’s Bay to Lambert’s Bay. Once you’ve hit the open road, you’ll have dry, arid plains stretching out ahead of you. The raw natural beauty of this area is unmatched.
If you have the stamina, you can head all the way to Lambert’s Bay where you’ll find a magical open-air restaurant called Muisbosskerm. The restaurant offers an unrivalled buffet with a wide range of seafood, as well as magnificent sea views. Be sure to book in advance as it’s only open on certain days!
Don’t forget to bring:
Both in winter and summer, the air on the West Coast gets chilly in the evenings. Be sure to pack a warm jacket to keep comfortable!
We’ve barely scratched the surface of scenic drives in Cape Town, but these are undoubtedly some of the best – enjoy the ride!