Cape Town, South Africa, known for its breathtaking harbor, natural surroundings in the Cape Floristic Region, and landmarks such as Table Mountain and Cape Point, is a multicultural city that is home to numerous expatriates. In 2014, Cape Town was voted the world's best travel destination by the New York Times and the Daily Telegraph. The oldest metropolitan area in South Africa, Cape Town was originally a supply station for Dutch ships en route to East Africa, India, and the Far East.
Have a Bite at Chef's Warehouse & Canteen
Headed by chef Liam Tomlin, this modern tapas-style restaurant, which features communal wooden tables surrounded by spice and cookware-filled shelves, serves eight-dish tasting menus for two people. The menu changes daily and features Asian, Middle Eastern and Indian fare, as well as Irish and Australian influences. The generous portions make this a good bet for travelers. Among the notable dishes, diners will find cured salmon with fennel and grapefruit, lamb kofta with marinated aubergine, confit chicken wings with wood blewits and oysters Vietnamese. Given its relaxed vibe, the restaurant does not take reservations, though it recommends coming early to put your name on a waiting list and have a drink at the bar. The space also functions as a market where diners can purchase any of the ingredients or cookbooks on display.
Stroll Amongst the Street Art
The street art in Cape Town is spectacular and can be admired for free on the sides of buildings in District Six and Woodstock. The electricity Substation 13 on Canterbury Street features a blue painting of Nelson Mandela on one side, and a mural honoring District Six on the other. The images were painted by Mak1one, whose work is also displayed on the façade of Charly’s Bakery, as well as on other sites around town. Faith47, another street artist, has covered the side of a building on Keizersgracht with a portrait of a mother with a baby on her back, while The Harvest has depicted a South African woman holding a crop of reeds on a building on De Waal Drive. When donations are made to the #ANOTHER LIGHTUP project, which supports public lighting in Monwabisi Park, electronic lights switch on. The area of the Woodstock Exchange showcases a collaboration between local artists and Adidas Originals, as well as murals like Raised By Wolves by Nardstar, and Freedom Day Mural by Freddy Sam. The street art, which originated in the 1980s as a form of protest against apartheid, now deals with issues such as human rights and wildlife conservation.
Head Over to the Greenhouse
Greenhouse in Southern Suburbs, rated one of the top twenty restaurants in South Africa, offers an $85 12-course tasting menu exquisitely prepared by chef Peter Tempelhoff. Sourcing local products, Tempelhoff “looks to the sea and the garden, to the fields and orchard... to find ingredients that have meaning.” Among the innovative dishes, diners will find traditional Xhosa steam bread with stewed lamb, steamed blue prawns and chokka noodles. The dining room, which overlooks the magnificent gardens of the Cellars-Hohenort Hotel, is decorated in white, green, and silver tones, while the waitstaff is exceedingly courteous and helpful. Greenhouse also provides a “chef for the day” cooking experience, in which participants can work in the kitchen prior to having lunch or dinner.
You’ll be hard-pressed not to be blown away by Cape Town. Aside from its majestic beaches, the city offers a host of cultural attractions, including the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, constructed atop the docks of the Port of Cape Town. The area features several hundred shops and the Two Oceans Aquarium. From there, visitors can take a ferry to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, Hout Bay, Simon's Town and the seal colonies on Seal and Duiker Islands. Known for its architectural heritage, Cape Town contains innumerable Cape Dutch style buildings that merge design influences from the Netherlands, Germany, France and Indonesia. The annual Cape Town Minstrel Carnival, a Medieval festival in which participants dress in colorful costumes and perform Cape Jazz takes place in January. Also, nature lovers will certainly appreciate the 36 hectare Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden that houses over 7,000 plant and animal species.