“After Lockdown” Adventure Series, Part 3
Discover the joy of living again through these exhilarating outdoor activities!

Welcome back to DK Villas’ three-part article series on the incredible diversity of exhilarating outdoor activities the Cape has to offer! Previously, in Part 2, we explored ziplining, stand-up-paddle (SUP) boarding, trail running, “Scootouring”, and kite surfing as ways to discover the joy of living again after so long in lockdown. In this instalment, we continue a final rampage through the thrilling ways you can explore the Cape: by horse-riding, snorkelling (with seals), ATV / quad biking, jet skiing, and 4 x 4 off-roading.

Horse-riding

Horse-Riding

The wind in your hair, the smell of fynbos and vineyards in your nose, and powerful muscles rippling between your thighs…is there any better way to experience the beauty of the Cape than from horseback? To sweeten the deal there’s a great array of outright options to choose from, from romantic sunset beach rides to wine-soaked meanders through the winelands’ vineyards.

To arrange your horseback riding adventure in Cape Town, contact any of the three reputable and experienced companies below….

Horse Riding Cape Town

Where: Multiple sites, including Noordhoek Beach, Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Overberg, and more.
Website: www.horseridingcapetown.com
Email: info@horseridingcapetown.com
Telephone: +2776 251 8584 / +2783 313 4821

Mountain View Horse Trails

Where: Van Schoorsdrif Road, Durbanville
Website: www.mountainviewhorsetrails.co.za
Telephone: +2783 727 0256

Horse Rides at Pete’s

Where: R304, Koelenhof, Stellenbosch
Website: www.horseridesatpetes.co.za
Email: deirdre@horseridesatpetes.co.za
Telephone: +2781 038 7170


Snorkelling (with seals!)

Snorkelling

For the adrenalin junkies, sign up for a half-day, eco-friendly adventure, where you’ll actually jump into the ocean water (in a wetsuit) and snorkel with Cape fur seals! Experience their underwater world through your goggles, as they wheel and dive beneath the waves, coming close to inspect you out of curiosity. Don’t worry: the seals are harmless and pretty used to sharing the water with snorkelers. Besides, your friendly guides will keep you safe.

To arrange your snorkeling adventure in Cape Town, contact any of the three reputable and experienced companies below….

Animal Ocean Seal Snorkeling

Where: 8 Albert Road, Hout Bay
Website: www.sealsnorkeling.com
Email: info@sealsnorkeling.com
Telephone: +2772 296 9132

Ocean Experiences

Where: Shop 8, Quay 5, V&A Waterfront
Website: www.oceanexperiences.co.za
Email: info@oceanexperiences.co.za
Telephone: +2721 418 2870

Cape Town Bucketlist Ocean Adventures

Where: Harbour Road, Hout Bay
Website: www.capetownbucketlist.co.za
Email: info@capetownbucketlist.co.za
Telephone: +2782 497 8797


ATV / Quad-biking

Quad-biking

Sand dunes, mountain trails, and even vineyards…these varied landscapes are even more fun to explore from behind the wheel of a quad bike or ATV (all-terrain vehicle). Most of the quad bikes supplied by Cape Town’s adventure companies such as Dirty Boots, Absolute Adventures, and Downhill Adventures (details below) are automatic, so all you need to do is open the throttle and let her fly: no experience needed!

To arrange your quad biking adventure in Cape Town, contact any of the three reputable and experienced companies below….

Dirty Boots

Where: Multiple locations, including Melkbos, Cape Town, and the Cape Winelands.
Website: www.dirtyboots.co.za
Email: esna@dirtyboots.co.za
Telephone: +27 21 713 1491

Absolute Adventures

Where: Atlantis dunes, located 50 km outside of Cape Town on the N7.
Website: www.absoluteadventures.co.za
Email: ross@absoluteadventures.co.za
Telephone: +27 74 620 1525

Downhill Adventures

Where: Based on Kloof Street, Gardens (tracks are in Melkbos and the Atlantis Dunes)
Website: www.downhilladventures.com
Email: info@downhilladventures.com
Telephone: +2782 459 2422


Jet skiing

Jet skiing

Jet skiing (or “WetBiking” as it is now known) is quite possibly the most fun you can have travelling on the ocean’s surface. A WetBike is a planing water motorcycle that is often described as a cross between a motorcycle and a jet ski. There are a number of spots around the Cape and up the West Coast that offer WetBikes for rent or tours. The tours are weather dependent and do require all participants to be able to swim and to wear life jackets, but that’s hardly an imposition when you’re rocketing along the ocean surface with the fresh wind and sea spray in your face!

To arrange your jet skiing adventure in Cape Town, contact any of the three reputable and experienced companies below….

Ocean Star Sailing Academy

Where: Pentridge house, 11 Portswood Road, V & A Waterfront
Website: www.oceanstarcharters.co.za
Email: charters@oceanstarsailing.com
Telephone: +2783 556 6407

Bugaloo Adventures

Where: Harbour Road, Hout Bay
Website: www.bugalooadventures.co.za
Email: info@bugaloo.co.za

Dirty Boots

Where: Multiple locations, including Melkbos, Cape Town, and the Cape Winelands.
Website: www.dirtyboots.co.za
Email: esna@dirtyboots.co.za
Telephone: +2721 713 1491


4 x 4 Off-roading

4 x 4 Off-roading

Beating a path into the heart of the Cape’s wilderness reveals fresh perspectives, new scenery, and exhilarating terrain you would never encounter on any well-traveled road. You don’t need to own, buy, or even know how to drive a 4x4 to partake in a little ‘bundu bashing’. But for those with the necessary tools of the trade and the skills to operate them, you’ll find no shortage of bush whacking, dune bouncing, and donga diving opportunities near Cape Town:

  • The steep dune systems in Atlantis, 45 km from Cape Town (difficulty level 2-5)
  • The Blombosch 4×4 Nature Trail in Yzerfontein (level 1-2)
  • Buffelsfontein, which is spread out over Yzerfontein, Darling, and Langebaan (level 3-4)
  • The Wiesenhof Trail in Stellenbosch
  • Two Oceans View Route in Somerset West (level 3-4)
  • Takbok 4x4 Trail in Paarl (level 2-3)
  • Babylonstoren Trail in Malmesbury (level 4)
  • Sir Lowry’s Pass Route (bookings through CapeNature.co.za)
  • Sneeukoppie 4×4 in Rawsonville (level 2-3)
  • Tierkloof 4×4, also Rawsonville (level 3-4)

For a more comprehensive list of 4x4 trails in and around Cape Town with booking information, go to Bokkom.co.za/4x4-routes-around-cape-town.

There are also an abundance of 4x4 adventure companies in and around Cape Town that offer guided and self-drive tours. Here are three of the reputable, experienced ones….

All Terrain 4x4

Where: Atlantis Sand Dunes
Website: www.allterrain4x4.co.za
Email: trevor@allterrain4x4.co.za
Telephone: +2721 553 3390 / +2782 775 4941

Cape Wow Factor

Where: Zevenwacht Wine Estate, Stellenbosch, Cape Town
Website: www.capewowfactor.co.za
Email: info@capewowfactor.co.za
Telephone: +2782 775 4941 / +2782 379 7007

Activity Zone

Where: Melkbosstrand, Cape Town
Website: www.activityzone.co.za
Email: trevor@allterrain4x4.co.za
Telephone: +2782 775 4941

“After Lockdown” Adventure Series, Part 2
Discover the joy of living again through these exhilarating outdoor activities!

Welcome back to dk villas’ three-part article series on the incredible diversity of exhilarating outdoor activities the Cape has to offer! Previously, in Part 1, we explored skydiving, sea kayaking, Segway tours, mountain biking, and surfing as ways to discover the joy of living again after so long in lockdown. In this instalment, we continue on our rampage through the thrilling ways you can explore the Cape: by ziplining, stand-up paddle boarding, trail running, “Scootouring”, or kite surfing.


Ziplining

If you ever wondered what it must feel like to fly, ziplining is your answer! Strapped to a steel cable, your own gravity pulls you down the cable while the most spectacular scenery unfolds below you, from lushly carpeted valleys and forest canopies to roiling ocean, jagged cliffs, and more. There are a number of ziplining locations scattered around the Cape, each with unique landscape to explore from the air.

To arrange your ziplining adventure in Cape Town, contact any of the three reputable and experienced companies below….

SA Forest Adventures

Where: Multiple locations, including Caledon, Kleinmond, Cape Town, and Hermanus.
Website: www.saforestadventures.co.za
Email: bookings@saforestadventures.co.za
Telephone: +27 21 795 0225 / +27 79 495 3987

Cape Canopy Tour

Where: Forestry Road, Elgin.
Website: www.canopytour.co.za
Email: zipline@capecanopytour.co.za
Telephone: +27 21 300 0501

Acrobranch

Where: 1 Hout Bay Main Road, Constantia Nek, Constantia
Website: www.acrobranch.co.za
Email: info@acrobranch.co.za
Telephone: +27 86 999 0369


Stand-up-paddle (SUP) boarding

Stand-up-paddle boarding

For a more leisurely approach to outdoor adventure, why not rent a stand-up paddleboard and meander your way around the coast? Aside from balance and core strength, there isn’t much to master in order to enjoy the sport and whenever you need to cool off, you can just jump in the water!

Clifton, the V&A Waterfront, Simon’s Town, Bloubergstrand, and Langebaan are all super popular locations for stand-up paddle boarding in the Cape. To arrange your SUP adventure, contact any of the three reputable and experienced companies below….

SUP Cape Town

Where: Battery Park, Alfred Road, Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town
Website: www.supcapetown.co.za
Email: supcapetown@gmail.com
Telephone: +27 71 603 8388

Stoked School of Surf

Where: 25 Strathmore Road, Camps Bay
Website: www.stokedsurfschool.com
Email: info@stokedsurfschool.com
Telephone: +2782 412 8781

Cabrinha

Where: Shop 53a, Eden On The Bay Shopping Center, Big Bay
Website: www.cabrinha.co.za
Email: lessons@cabrinha.co.za
Telephone: +27 21 554 1729 / +27 72 197 7020


Trail running

Trail running

If you prefer to tackle your hiking trails at speed, you can turn any of the Cape’s numerous hiking routes into a trail running course. The Peninsula Mountains offer a staggering diversity of trails but if you prefer a glass of wine at the end of a run, why not tackle the Cape winelands? Here are some gorgeous farms that maintain well-kept trail runs through stunningly beautiful indigenous flora and farmlands:

  • La Motte, Franschhoek
  • Zevenwacht, Kuils River
  • Lourensford, Stellenbosch
  • Kaapzicht Wine Estate, Stellenbosch
  • Blaauwklippen Wine Estate, Stellenbosch
  • Meerendal, Durbanville
  • Boschendal, Franschhoek
  • Mont Rochelle, Franschhoek
  • De Grendel Wine Estate, Durbanville
  • Steenberg Wine Farm, Tokai
  • Groot Constantia, Constantia

If you’re an avid trail runner looking for advice or a community to join, check out these great groups: Cape Town Trail Runners, Trail Running in Cape Town, Trail Run SA, and Tuesday Trails.


“Scootouring”

Scootouring

Jump on a Monster Mountain® Scooter and freewheel into the city below! “Scootours” offers a selection of scooter tours that provide an adventurous (and family-friendly) way to explore the Cape’s magnificent mountains and wine farms. All tours are guided by professional qualified guides and also accompanied by a photographer who will take action photos of the tour. Scooters are non-motorised and propelled by gravity.

Scootours

Where: 209 Tafelberg Road, Table Mountain (Nature Reserve) – they also run tours in Franschhoek and Stellenbosch
Website: www.scootours.co.za
Email: bookings@scootours.co.za
Telephone: +2782 776 0557


Kite surfing

With its broad expanses of beach, rich marine life, and sometimes tireless, yet prime wind conditions, the Cape boasts some of the country’s finest real estate for water sports…and kite surfing is no exception! Plus, the Cape is legendary for its summertime southeasterly winds, which may be a pain in the you-know-what for beachgoers but for wind surfers, it’s a guaranteed party!

Three beaches great for kite surfing
  1. Bloubergstrand: This is, without a doubt, the most popular beach for kitesurfers in Cape Town. Here, the reliable summer southeasterly wind provides for great down-winder sessions all the way from Sunset Beach to Bloubergstrand.
  2. Langebaan: The turquoise blue lagoon is a fantastic, scenic coastal area to enjoy kite surfing. Also, because it is sheltered from the main power of the open ocean, it’s a great place to learn how to kite surf!
  3. Muizenberg: With the wind pushing directly onshore, this relatively quieter beach is as popular for wind surfing as it is for wave surfing. There are a lot of quirky shops, restaurants, and coffee shops in the area so you can cap a session off with a bite to eat.

To arrange your kite surfing adventure, contact any of the three reputable and experienced companies below….

Kitekahunas

Where: Advanced Kiteboarding School, 12 Beach Boulevard, TableView
Website: www.kitekahunas.com
Email: mail@kitekahunas.com
Telephone: +2772 712 0498

High Five

Where: 68 Beach Boulevard, Table View, Bloubergstrand
Website: www.high-five.co.za
Email: info@high-five.co.za
Telephone: +2760 663 8775 / +2772 902 7899

Constantly Kiting South Africa

Where: 1 St. Croix Close, Langebaan, Western Cape
Website: www.constantlykiting.com
Email: info@constantlykiting.com
Telephone: +2773 071 3878


Stay tuned for part 3….

Next week, we’ll be dropping the third and final instalment of our three-part “After Lockdown” Adventure Series. Think: jet skiing, horse riding, 4x4 off-roading, snorkelling (with seals), and more! What better way is there to stretch your legs and feel alive again than with a little adrenalin rush?

“After Lockdown” Adventure Series, Part 1
Discover the joy of living again through these exhilarating outdoor activities!

We might still be several months away from really getting out and exploring our country the way we did before lockdown but that doesn’t mean you can’t start planning for, and getting excited about all the awesome things you can do in a post-COVID-19 world. In this three-part article series, we’ll explore all the exhilarating ways you can discover the joy of living again (and who you should contact to make it happen)!


Skydiving

Skydiving

There can hardly be a more sure-fire way of getting your heart hammering and blood roaring than by hurling yourself out of a plane flying at 9,000 feet above the ground. Complement the adrenalin rush with spectacular bird’s eye views of the Cape—her farmlands, vineyards, mountains, and embracing oceans—and you’ve got an unforgettable experience you will rave about for months and years to follow!

To arrange your skydiving adventure in Cape Town, contact any of the three reputable and experienced companies below….

Skydive Cape Town

Where: A 35-minute drive north along the R27 (West Coast road)
Website: www.skydivecapetown.co.za
Email: bookings@skydivecapetown.co.za
Telephone/ WhatsApp: +27 82 800 6290

Mother City Skydiving

Where: Diepkloof Airfield, off the N7 Highway, 14 km north of Malmesbury, just past the Annex Kloof Padstal.
Website: www.mothercityskydiving.co.za
Email: info@mothercityskydiving.co.za
Telephone: +27 79 337 2443

Skydive Africa (Two Oceans drop zone)

Where: in the heart of the Cape Winelands, at Diemerskraal Airfield, just outside the scenic town of Wellington.
Website: www.skydiveafrica.co.za
Email: info@skydiveafrica.co.za
Telephone: +27 82 707 8107


Sea Kayaking

Sea Kayaking

The Cape is embraced to the east, south, and west by glittering oceans and a rich, diverse marine ecosystem just waiting to be explored. Sea kayaking is an adventure that opens your eyes to the beauty of the region from the perspective of the water, as well as the birds, mammals, and sea life that thrive above, on, and beneath its surface. It’s also a great workout for those arms!

To arrange your kayaking adventure in Cape Town, contact any of the two reputable and experienced companies below….

Kaskazi Kayaks and Adventures

Where: 179 Beach Road, at the Shell service station, Mouille Point, Cape Town
Website: www.kaskazi.activitar.com
Email: info@kayak.co.za
Telephone: +2783 346 1146

Kayak Cape Town

Where: 1 Wharf Street, Simon’s Town, a 45 – 60-minute drive from Cape Town.
Website: www.kayakadventures.capetown
Email: info@kayakadventures.capetown
Telephone: +2782 497 8797


Segway touring

Segway touring

Exploring on the back of a Segway is a thrilling, four-dimensional way to experience the Cape’s nature and wine farms. Segways are two-wheeled motorized personal vehicles consisting of a platform for the feet mounted above an axle and an upright post surmounted by handles. They are controlled by the way the rider distributes their weight, which is something that can be learned and even mastered in as little as a few minutes.

Once you do get the hang of it, let the fun begin!

Here are two reputable companies that offer Segway adventure tours in Cape Town….

Spier Segway Vineyard Tours

Where: Spier Wine Farm, R310 Lynedoch Road, Stellenbosch
Website: www.segwaytours.co.za
Email: spier@segwaytours.co.za
Telephone: +27 21 809 1157 or +27 74 142 2307

Taylor-Made Adventures

Where: 3 Heathfield Way, De Wijnlanden Estate, Stellenbosch
Website: www.taylormadeadventures.co.za
Email: rory@taylormadeadventures.co.za
Telephone: +27 82 903 8660


Mountain biking

Mountain biking

The Cape’s vast abundance of natural landscapes is crisscrossed with mountain biking trails that allow adventurers to explore her thick forests, lush valleys, fynbos-carpeted mountains, and world-famous winelands on the back of a mountain bike. If you don’t own one, there are a ton of companies that rent them out and even offer guided tours with added perks like winetasting and lunch!

To arrange your mountain biking adventure in Cape Town, contact any of the three reputable and experienced companies below….

Cape Mountain Biking Tours

Website: www.cape-town-mountain-biking-tours.com
Email: info@capemountainbikingtours.com
Telephone: +2721 447 9240 / +2782 490 5879

Awol Tours

Where: The ClockTower, Dock Road, Victoria & Alfred Waterfront
Website: www.awoltours.co.za
Email: info@awoltours.co.za
Telephone: +2783 234 6428 / +2762 349 9025

iRide Africa

Where: 8 Richmond Road, Mowbray, Cape Town
Website: www.irideafrica.com
Email: info@irideafrica.com
Telephone: +2774 512 1306 / +2783 457 5662

For the more serious mountain bikers, there are lots of forums and communities, such as Western Cape Mountain Bike, you can refer to for route information and advice.


Surfing

Surfing

Cape Town is a world-famous destination for surfing and for good reason! Embraced on three sides by open ocean and with so many beaches to launch from, there is no shortage of challenges for beginner, intermediate, and advanced surfers. Here’s a look at some of the beaches we recommend for surfers of the various skill levels…

Three beaches great for beginners
  1. Muizenberg, False Bay: Perfect for beginners and intermediate surfers. Also boasts a vibey beachfront littered with surf schools and surf shops, and there are lifeguards and shark spotters on duty.
  2. Big Bay, Blouberg: Also a great spot for novice surfers with its user-friendly waves, vibey beachfront, and lifeguards. Big Bay does, however, offer a bit more swell and power than False Bay.
  3. Witsands Corner, Misty Cliffs: Perched on the west-facing flank of the Cape Peninsula, Witsands Corneroffers beginners and intermediate surfers big wavesto practice their skills on. Just be careful of the rip currents here.
Three Beaches great for intermediate surfers
  1. Kalk Bay, Cape Town: Kalk Bay isn’t onlyone of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world (according to Forbes); it’s also home to an epic surfing beach, both in summer and in winter.
  2. Bloubergstrand, Cape Town: Boasting iconic views of Table Mountain from across the bay, Bloubergstrand offers sugary white sand beaches, and miles and miles of surf for beginner and intermediate surfers.It is also one of the best and most exciting kiting hotspots in the country.
  3. Llandudno, Cape Town: This tiny sweep of soft, white sand is tucked into the peninsula right before Hout Bay, and offers gentle wavesand gorgeous views. Be warned, however:Llandudno’s big, hollow-barrelled wavescan make it treacherous so only experienced, intermediate surfers are advised to surf here.
Three beaches for the clinically insane
  1. Dungeons, Hout Bay: Dungeons is home to monstrous waves (up to 60-ft!), making it one of the most extreme surfing beaches in the country, featuring waves in the same league as Waimea(Hawaii) and Mavericks (California).
  2. Crayfish Factory, Kommetjie: Home to some of the heaviest and most exhilarating surfs, this iconic Cape Town surfing hotspot is a dream for extreme surfers in search of their next challenge.
  3. Dunes, Noordhoek: Located close the beautiful beachfront town of Noordhoek, a 30-minute walk along the beach, you’ll findDunes, which gets pumping when there is a good south-easterly wind blowing. Here, you can expect powerful, heavy,6 to 8-foot waves that provide world-class tubes.

To arrange surfing lessons, contact any of the two reputable and experienced companies below….

Surf Emporium

Where: 66 Beach Road, Surfers Corner, Muizenberg Beachfront
Website: www.surfemporium.co.za
Email: info@surfemporium.co.za
Telephone: +27 21 788 8687 or +2782 562 8687

Surf Big Bay

Where: 143 Big Bay Beach Club, Otto Du Plessis Drive, Big Bay
Website: www.capetownsurflessons.co.za
Email: info@surfbigbay.co.za
Telephone: +2771 425 5470


Stay tuned for part 2….

Next week, we’ll be diving right back into another bevvy of thrilling outdoor adventures that are just as popular with locals as they are with visitors to the Cape. What better way is there to stretch your legs and feel alive again after so long in lock-down than with a little adrenalin rush?

Make that Mocktail!
8 Delicious Virgin Cocktail Recipes

South Africa has just emerged from a terrible, terrible season. The dry season: a season of prohibition. But if there’s one thing living without booze has taught us, it’s that our bodies feel better and healthier when we live cleanly. So if you wanted to remain on the bandwagon, here are eight delicious ways you can happily do that (without peer pressure from your friends).


1. The Mango Mule

What you need:
4-5 Slices of cucumber
30 ml Honey syrup
45 ml Mango puree
45 ml Fresh lime juice
45 ml Ginger beer
Crushed ice

How to make your mango mule: Muddle cucumber and honey syrup in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add the mango puree and lime juice and shake with ice vigorously. Once your ingredients are thoroughly blended, strain your delicious mocktail into a copper mug for the perfect “Moscow Mule” aesthetic, top up with ginger beer, stir, and savour!


2. Virgin Cucumber Gimlet

Virgin Cucumber Gimlet

What you need:
45 ml Club soda
4-5 Slices of muddled* cucumber
30 ml Fresh lime juice
30 ml Simple syrup

How to make your virgin cucumber gimlet: Super simple - combine all the ingredients and shake vigorously with ice. Serve over crushed ice in a glass of your choice and garnish with lime and/or a rolled slice of cucumber. Refreshing!

* “Muddling” is the process of extracting the essence of an ingredient, without actually adding it to your cocktail. You achieve this by throwing cucumber into your cocktail shaker and shaking it up with the rest of your ingredients. This partially pulverises the cucumber, lending its clean, mild flavour to the resultant mocktail. You can also do this with mint, basil, and other herbs and botanicals.


3. Tahitian Coffee (serves 2)

Tahitian Coffee
Image source: www.bevvy.co

What you need:
60 ml Lime juice
60 g Orange
30 ml Simple syrup
30 ml Passion fruit puree
60 ml Guava puree
60 ml Cold brew concentrate
90 ml Honey syrup*
450 g Ice

How to make your Tahitian Coffee: Like a mad scientist, throw all the ingredients, including ice, into a blender and process until the mixture attains the texture of a slushy. Then, divide between two large glasses and garnish with orchard flowers (if you’re feeling fancy).

*How do you make honey syrup? Mix three parts honey to one part hot water by weight. Shake and stir until syrup reaches uniform dilution. Keep refrigerated.


4. Mojito Mocktail

Mojito Mocktail

What you need:
1 Tbsp sugar
Handful of mint
3 x Limes, juiced
Soda water

How to make your mojito mocktail: Using a pestle and mortar (or a small bowl and the end of a rolling pin), muddle the sugar with the mint leaves. Then, throw a handful of crushed ice into two tall glasses and divide the lime juice between them, together with the mint and sugar mix. Finally, add a straw and top up with soda water.


5. Negroni Mocktail

What you need:
½ Grapefruit (approximately 125 g)
2 x Slices orange
125 g Caster sugar
3 x Cardamom pods, lightly crushed
A pinch of coriander seeds
A few drops red food colouring
25 ml White grape juice

How to make your Negroni mocktail: Chop the grapefruit into small chunks and put them into a saucepan along with the orange slice, sugar, 125 ml water, cardamom pods, and coriander seeds. Heat the mixture and simmer for ± 5 minutes, crushing the fruit pieces with the back of a wooden spoon to release the juices. Once the fruit has softened, take it off the heat and leave to cool. If you like, add a splash of red food colouring. Once the syrup mixture has cooled, strain, fill a tumbler with ice and pour in 25 ml of it. Add the grape juice and 25 ml of cold water, and stir. Garnish with a slice of orange.


6. Pear and Rose Punch

Pear and Rose Punch

What you need:
1 Litre of pear juice
1 Vanilla pod
1 Tbsp golden caster sugar
4 Cardamom pods
Few slices of root ginger
25 ml Raw apple cider vinegar
½ Tsp rosewater
250 ml sparkling water

For the garnish: rosemary sprigs, thyme, sliced pear, frozen redcurrants

How to make your pear and rose punch: Pour the pear juice into a large pan. Add the vanilla pod, golden caster sugar, cardamom pods, and root ginger, and bring to a simmer. Leave to cool completely, then strain into a punch bowl or jug.
Add the raw apple cider vinegar, rosewater, and sparkling water. Garnish with rosemary sprigs, thyme, sliced red pear and a handful of frozen redcurrants. Add ice and serve!


7. Virgin Watermelon Margarita

Virgin Watermelon Margarita
Image source: www.fooddonelight.com

What you need:
1 Medium seedless watermelon, cut into chunks
5 Cups of fresh lime juice
4 Tsp agave
5 Tbsp sparking water

How to make your virgin watermelon margarita: In a blender, puree enough watermelon chunks to make 4 cups of puree. Add lime juice and agave and mix again. Pour into four cups and top up with sparkling water. Cheers!


8. Gin-free G&T

What you need:
5 Cardamom pods
½ Cucumber
1 Chamomile teabag
½ Bunch mint leaves, plus extra to garnish
1 Strip lemon zest
5 Cloves
½ Bunch rosemary
Tonic water
A few pomegranate seeds for garnish

How to make your gin-free G&T: Bruise the cardamom pods and slice the cucumber. Put them both in a large jug and add the chamomile teabag, mint leaves, lemon zest, cloves, and rosemary. Top up with 500 ml cold water. Leave to infuse in the fridge for 2 to 4 hours. To serve, strain the infused water and pour 50 ml of it into each glass. Top up with tonic water and lots of ice. Garnish each one with a few more mint leaves and pomegranate seeds.

Hiking Table Mountain, the Mother City’s Icon

Walking one of the many trails that crisscross Table Mountain is practically a rite of passage for Capetonians, and an absolute must-do far any remotely fit visitor to our fair shores. Cape Town’s flat-topped, megalithic icon not only offers up a decent challenge for fitness enthusiasts, but also, for anyone and everyone, spectacular views and an experience in nature you literally cannot replicate anywhere else on Earth.

Before you do embark on a hike anywhere in the Cape, it’s best to acquaint yourself with the recommended safety guidelines. We have provided these for you to read through at the end of this blog. Without further ado, here are Table Mountain’s best-loved hiking trails….


1. The Pipe Track

The Pipe Track

The Pipe Track is an easy hiking route that starts at the intersection of Tafelberg Road and Kloof Nek on the foothills of Table Mountain, and strikes from north to south along the slope’s natural contour. The route is popular because it’s an easy walk for people of all ages (including dog-walkers) and yet the rewards are gorgeous, sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean and the seaside suburbs of Camps Bay and Bakoven, which unfurl beneath your lofty vantage point. At your back are steep sandstone cliffs and lush ravines that plunge into the western flank of Table Mountain.

Hike difficulty: Easy, though long if you take the trail to its furthest extent.

Approximate trail length: The full length of the hike is 6 km, one way (to Corridor Ravine) and about 4,5 hours return.

What’s special about the Pipe Track? The views are wonderful but we especially love the pristine montane fynbos you discover embracing the trail.

Any special warnings? The Pipe Track is shaded in the mornings but, because it is west facing, it receives a lot of sun during the day so it can get uncomfortably (and dangerously hot) on those warmer summer days. Come prepared!


2. Skeleton Gorge Hiking Trail

Skeleton Gorge offers a thrilling hike through emerald ravines, thick vegetation, and steep mountainous terrain, ending at MaClear’s Beacon, the highest point of Table Mountain. The starting point for the hike is at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens but the real “meat” of the route begins at the intersection of Skeleton Gorge and the Contour Path. The first hour of the hike involves a steep forest climb on stone and log steps, followed by a series of wooden ladders over steep rocks. There’s so much in terms of natural beauty to soak up here, from the mountain’s shy, endemic birds to truly splendid views of the city.

Skeleton Gorge

Hike difficulty: Moderate to hard. Skeleton Gorge is a long hike and has occasional steep and strenuous passages.

Approximate trail length: About 4 km to McClear’s Beacon, which can take fit hikers 2 hours to reach or, for the less fit who take plenty of breaks, ±4 hours.

What’s special about Skeleton Gorge? Being a gorge hike, the route is shaded nearly all the way to the top, which makes it a cooler option for the hot summer months. It’s also staggeringly beautiful at the top!

Any special warnings? Parts of Skeleton Gorge are slippery, even in summer; take special care after rain and in winter. In fact, it’s best to avoid this route during and immediately after heavy rain.


3. India Venster Trail

India Venster Trail

India Venster is, debatably, the most gorgeous half-day route one can take to the summit of Table Mountain. Striking directly up the imposing and dramatic north-facing slope of the mountain, the hike leads explorers through a steep, boulder-strewn, fynbos-carpeted landscape with panoramic city and ocean views. In places, the route requires a bit of scrambling through narrow spaces and over boulders so it’s for the more ambitious of hikers. The route starts to the right of the cable car’s lower station (on Tafelberg Road) and climbs quickly to the contour path. From there, India Venster really takes off! Just follow the yellow footsteps all the way to the top of the mountain.

Hike difficulty: Difficult for its steepness, obstacles, and exposure to heights.

Approximate trail length: About 3 km but it can take upwards of three hours to complete due to its gradient.

What’s special about India Venster? It offers the thrill of great heights, the adventure of striking up a steep mountain face littered with boulders, and heart-breakingly beautiful views of Cape Town.

Any special warnings? India Venster is not to be trifled with. It’s steep, demanding, and all precautions should be taken to avoid dehydration and sun over-exposure. With adequate preparation, however, it’s an unforgettable hike!


4. Kasteelspoort Hiking Trail

Kasteelspoort Hiking Trail

The Kasteelspoort trail is an exhilarating and fairly long hike that embarks from the Pipe Track starting point above Camps Bay. Alternatively, you could park in Theresa Road and walk up the Jeep Track and from there, to the Pipe Track. Once on the Pipe Track, you just take the Kasteelspoort turn-off to enjoy 3 to 10 kilometres’ of gorgeous peninsula scenery, fynbos, and fresh ocean breeze. Travelling up the Twelve Apostles side of Table Mountain, the hike ends at the summit for even more rewarding views.

Hike difficulty: Moderate the difficult – it can be challenging for the less fit hiker.

Approximate trail length: Depending on how far you go, the trail is between 3 and 10 km long to the summit. Once there you may take a little longer to wander around. All in all, it should take just under five hours of leisurely-paced walking.

What’s special about the Kasteelspoort Trail? It’s the perfect blend of challenge, stunning scenery, and reward because once you get to the top, you can actually walk around and explore the summit.

Any special warnings? Similar to the Pipe Track, this route is shaded in the mornings and receives direct sunlight throughout the day. It is, however, quite a bit more taxing so hiking early in the morning is recommended (and bring plenty of water with you!)

*Special Tip: For longer, more strenuous hikes you should pack as much as 3 litres of water to keep you hydrated. To keep your back-up bottles nice and cold throughout your hike, freeze them before you leave home.


5. Platteklip Gorge Hike

Platteklip Gorge Hike

Embarking from Tafelberg Road, about 1.5 km past the lower cable car station, Platteklip Gorge hike follows the natural cleft in Table Mountains’ city-facing countenance. The path has been well constructed with anti-erosion gabions and stone steps but it is hard. Why? Because it goes straight up, for 3 kilometres. Imagine climbing stairs for 3 kilometres. That’s Platteklip Gorge for you.

So why do it?

Platteklip Gorge takes the most direct route to the top of Table Mountain and it’s for the thrill of the climb, its dramatic steepness and imposing cliffs, and beautiful views that it’s become the most popular too.

Hike difficulty: Difficult - your butt and calves will HURT afterwards!

Approximate trail length: It’s only about 3 km in length but it’s straight up, so it can take 1 hour for the super fit and up to 3 hours for the more human of us.

What’s special about Platteklip Gorge? Aside from the challenge of it all, there’s a river en route (and who doesn’t love encountering a river on a hike?)

Any special warnings? Don’t underestimate this hike! In summer, the route can be extremely hot and windy and in winter, extremely cold and windy (that’s Cape Town for you). Always pack enough water, sun protection, and warm, wind-proof clothing, even in summer.


The Ten Basic Rules of Mountain Safety

Basic Rules of Mountain Safety
  1. Don’t hike alone; four is the ideal number.
  2. Choose your route carefully and stick to it. Allow yourself enough time - start early. Inform someone of your route and what time you’re expected back.
  3. Choose a hike leader and walk at the pace of the slowest member.
  4. If lost, don’t split up. Rather try to retrace your steps. Remember that climbing down is more difficult than climbing up.
  5. Always take waterproof clothing, even in mid-summer, and wear walking shoes or hiking boots. Wear a hat or cap and sun block in summer. The weather in Cape Town changes rapidly.
  6. If lost or forced to stop because of bad weather, stay together and remain in one place. Find the closest shelter from wind and rain.
  7. In case of injury, take time to assess the situation. Then send two people for help and let the third remain with the injured person. If possible, mark the position on a map and send it with those going for help.
  8. Stick to well-used paths and read any warnings. Don’t take shortcuts and especially don’t wander into ravines.
  9. Always take enough water (especially in summer) and food in case of a delay. Watch the weather and time, and turn back before you start running late or if bad weather threatens.
  10. Take a fully charged cell phone. Some parts of Table Mountain do not have reception, but you will always be able to reach a place where you can use a phone more quickly than if you wait to get to a landline.

Three Rules for Personal Security

  1. Do not attract unwanted attention by openly displaying cash, cameras, or other valuables.
  2. If you are confronted by a criminal, don't resist. Hand over your goods as resistance might incite violence.
  3. Program emergency numbers in your cell phone before your hike.

Kalaeidescopic Kingdom: The Cape’s Fynbos

When the colonial settlers first arrived in the Cape, they were met with dramatic and stunningly beautiful landscapes, the width and breadth of which they could scarcely communicate in letters to their loved ones back home. Yet, for all its beauty and fecundity – its abundant wildlife, teeming oceans, and mineral-rich soils – the one natural resource the colonists needed the most to build their early settlements was nowhere to be found.

Hardwood.

What they discovered upon dropping anchor along the Cape’s naturally scalloped peninsula were great carpets of a fine-leafed, kaleidoscopically coloured flora teeming with bejewelled sunbirds. This unique floral kingdom has since become known as fynbos (“fine bush” in Afrikaans), because of its slim build and fine leaves. In other words: no good for building homes and ships!

Outside of Hout Bay’s great forests of yellowwood trees, the colonists were forced to import their own hardwoods from Europe and further afield, like Australia. Today, the only forests that flourish in the Cape are imports, some of which, not too long ago, became a major threat to our very own and very special biome: the Cape Floral Kingdom.


Our Kingdom: the most unique of them all

Our Kingdom: the most unique of them all
Pincushions – named for their shape – are a type of protea

Covering about 90,000 km2, the Cape Floral Kingdom is the smallest of the six plant kingdoms on planet Earth (which include the Antarctic, Australasian, Boreal, Neotropic, and Palaeotropic kingdoms). And yet, it is the most rare and diverse, with more than 7,000 different species of plants, a staggering 75% of which are endemic to the region, meaning that they are found only here and nowhere else in the world.

At first glance, fynbos might not appear to be all that beautiful: indeed, landscapes carpeted in this low-lying, scrubby indigenous vegetation can appear quite drab and a mix of olive greens and greys in colour. But if you look a little closer, particularly during flowering season, you will find a canvas painted every colour of the rainbow, from brilliant pink proteas and bright orange pincushions to delicate blue ericas and yellow watsonias.

Their shapes, if at all possible, are even more beguiling and otherworldly, as you can see in the image of the orange pincushion proteas above.


Recognising the different types of Fynbos

Recognising the different types of Fynbos
The montane fynbos of Table Mountain

Due to the variation of landscapes found throughout the southwestern Cape, fynbos has been broadly divided into two archetypes:

Lowland fynbos: occurs in a narrow coastal belt of up to 300 meters above sea level, particularly in the sandy soils of the West Coast.
Montane fynbos: found at higher elevations, carpeting the majestic flanks and crowns of the Cape fold mountains and peninsula.

The Western Cape experiences cool, wet winters and hot, dry summers, which is described as a Mediterranean climate (although no fynbos actually grows in the Mediterranean). Fynbos tends to thrive on poor soil not high in nutrients, which likely explains its small stature and fine leaves: it just doesn’t have the energy to expend on developing large leaves and rotund boles.


What makes Fynbos so incredibly unique?

As we’ve already mentioned, the Cape Floral Kingdom boasts more than 7,000 species of plants, of which 75% are totally unique to the Cape. Put another way, we are home to a staggering 3% of the world’s plant species, and 20% of the African continent’s. This makes the Western Cape more botanically diverse than the richest, most prolific and lush tropical rainforests in South America, including the Amazon!

Because fynbos is endemic to the Cape, it also supports a number of endemic bird species, such as the Cape sugarbird, orange-breasted sunbird, and protea seedeater. And it’s for these rarities and once-in-a-lifetime sightings that birdwatchers travel to South Africa from all over the world.

The Cape sugarbird
The Cape sugarbird is found exclusively in the Western Cape of South Africa

Another unique feature of fynbos is that is literally depends on periodic fires for survival, which is just as well because every few years, devastating wildfires break out along the peninsula mountains. Rather than being destroyed by these fires, the heat triggers the release of the plants’ hard, woody seedpods. Once the fire has abated, these seeds take root in soil that has been made fertile by ash. And like a literal Phoenix rising from the ashes, the fynbos is reborn.


An uncertain, yet celebrated future

As with so much of the Cape’s indigenous life, fynbos faces multiple threats, with 1,700 species on the brink of extinction. Invasive vegetation, particularly alien imports from Australia (e.g. black wattle), agriculture, urbanization, habitat loss, and even global climate change are all taking an immense toll on fynbos and the meagre acreage it has left to grow on.

The wonderful news is the Capetonians understand the importance of our unique Cape Floral Kingdom and are doing whatever they can to preserve it in all its authentic glory. Many wine estates and farms around the Cape dedicate percentages of their land to this indigenous vegetation, while Cape Nature and San Parks protect what pockets of fynbos remain in and around the Western Cape.

So, the next time you find yourself walking through the fynbos, take a look deep into the bush and marvel at how lucky the Cape is to have such a rich and unique natural heritage.

The Best Board and Card Games for Friends and Families

Getting a little BORED at home? Why not disinter the old board and card games of that golden, bygone era when people used to have fun away from a digital or LCD screen? And if you don’t have any games, why not order a few online? That’s right: step away from the iPad: it’s time for some fun, funny, and flirtatious board and card games. Here are our favourites….


Cluedo

Cluedo

Cluedo has been around for decades but that doesn’t make it out-dated. Recently, in fact, the game has been reimagined to fit many themes: Game of Thrones, Star Wars, and even Big Bang Theory.

So, how does it work?

The objective of Cluedo is to solve a murder mystery (to keep things simple, we’ll stick to the original version in our explanation). You have been invited to a dinner part in a mansion and – shock / horror! – one of the dinner guests has been murdered and the murderer (and murder weapon) are somewhere in the mansion.

Your task is to figure out in which room the crime took place (the study, the kitchen, the ballroom, etc.), which weapon was used (poison, candle stick, rope, etc.), and which of your fellow guests did it. Each player assumes the role of one of the six suspects and attempts to deduce the correct answer by strategically moving around a game board representing the rooms of a mansion and collecting clues about the circumstances of the murder from the other players.

It’s a great game for the whole family (suitable for 5+ years | 3-6 players) and will put your skills of deduction to the test! Buy It Here on Takealot.


Jenga

Jenga

Jenga is super simple to learn but challenging (and fun) to master. Essentially, the game kicks off with a tower of 18 levels of 3 rectangular wooden blocks that are stacked on top of each other (as you see in the picture above) but with each level having the blocks positioned at right angles to the previous level.

Once the tower is built, the game begins. The goal is to carefully remove one (and only one) Jenga piece from any level in the tower, except the one below the topmost level, and relocate it to the top. You may use only one hand at any time!

At first, Jenga seems simple, but as blocks are removed from their positions so too is the support they provided the tower, and things start getting decidedly unstable. The game ends when the tower falls, which it does in spectacular style the higher you manage to build it. The winner is the last person to remove and place a block successfully.

Jenga is a game of strategy and steady nerves, and is suitable for people 6+ years and 2+ players. Buy It Here on Takealot.

Change it up: Make Jenga a little naughty by writing dares on each of the wooden blocks. Then, whenever someone extracts a block from the tower, they have to perform the dare written on their block: for example, sing an operatic rendition of the American national anthem, peel a banana with your feet, or give someone a smooch.


Uno Card Game

Uno Card Game

Ah, Uno… a legendary card game. In fact, Uno is one of the few games you can play, literally for hours, without getting sick of it (although it has caused more than just a few fight between friends, family members, and couples!)

The goal of the game is to be the first player to get rid of all the cards in your hand. At the beginning of the game, you’re dealt seven cards and, during each turn, you get a chance to put one card down. The card you play needs to match, either in colour or number, the card played before you. If you can’t play, you must draw a card, and if you forget to yell “Uno!” when you get down to one card in your hand, you must also draw cards. The first player to get rid of all their cards wins the game.

Uno is suitable for people aged 7+ and for 2+ players. Buy It Here on Takealot.


Trivial Pursuit

Trivial Pursuit

Trivial Pursuit is the original trivia game that started it all. Each player has a circular playing counter with six pie-shaped holes in it. Each slice of pie is represented by a different colour and each colour represents a trivia topic, from sports and geography to nature and history, etc.

The goal of the game is to collect a piece of pie in each colour until your counter is full and you can rain your smugness down upon your unworthy opponents. How do you collect pie pieces? By moving about the spokes of the board to certain special locations where you get to answer trivia questions. If you get the question right, you get a slice of pie!

This one, like Cluedo, has also been reimagined and released in various editions so you can nerd out on the Harry Potter version or get a little kooky with Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas edition.

Trivial Pursuit is suitable for players of 7+ years (although the original version was super difficult!) and for 2+ players. Buy It Here on Takealot.


30 Seconds

30 Seconds

30 Seconds is a brilliant game for any gathering and a firm favourite of trivia lovers. Teams are composed of two players who each take turns explaining cards to each other. Each round, the team draws a card and then has 30 seconds to explain up to five different words printed on that card, such as the name of a city, a famous politician, or a rock band.

You can’t use any words (or parts of that word) that appear in the name to explain it and you can’t use any “sounds like” or “rhymes with” tactics. For each answer your teammate guesses correctly within the 30-second timeframe, you can move forward by one square. If you want to up the challenge you can bring the dice into play, which shows a 0, 1, or 2. Throw the dice before your turn and whatever number it lands on is the number of tiles you must move backwards.

The goal is to work your way around the board to the final tile. 30 Seconds is suitable for people aged 15+ years (it might be too hard for younger players) and anywhere between 2 and 16 players. Buy It Here on Takealot.


Exploding Kittens

Hilarious, tongue-and-cheek, and totally addictive, Exploding Kittens is for people with a wry sense of humour (and who love kittens and explosions). How it works is: players take turns drawing cards until someone picks up an exploding kitten. The only way to survive an exploding kitten is to play a defuse card, of which each player gets only one.

The rest of the game involves avoiding this untimely and violent death by playing a variety of hysterically funny, illustrated (and occasionally rude) cards, like the “a plague of bat farts descends upon you” card.

The game itself is simple once you get the hang of it but the true joy is in the cards themselves, which are incredibly random, funny, and dirty. Exploding Kittens is suitable for older kids and 2-5 players. Buy It Here on Takealot.


Cards Against Humanity

Cards Against Humanity

If you have a truly filthy mind and no amount of crudeness can offend you, Cards Against Humanity is a party game that will forever play an integral role in any and all of your gatherings. The first time I played this game, I literally cried my eyes out laughing, and in the morning, my abdominal muscles felt like I’d attended a power core gym class.

How it works is: one player draws a “fill-in-the-blank/s” statement card. He or she then announces this statement to the rest of the players who must now submit, from their hand of cards, which are dealt at the beginning of the game, the funniest possible word or phrase to fit into the blank.

Whichever card is deemed the funniest, most provocative, or clever by the player posing the statement wins the round (and the player who submitted it is awarded a point). The next round, someone else takes the podium and so on. Whoever wins the most rounds is the overall winner, although no one really cares about winning. You get all the kicks you need from the content of the game itself.

Cards Against Humanity is an adult-only game and is suitable for 3+ players. Buy It Here on Takealot.


What Do You Meme?

What Do You Meme?

What Do You Meme? Is similar in concept to Cards Against Humanity, except that instead of a statement card with blanks, each player takes turns showing to the group a picture card with a famous Internet meme like “Success Baby” or “High Guy”. Each player then submits what they believe to be the funniest, dirtiest, or cleverest tagline to go along with the meme and the judging player decides who wins.

There are a few versions of this game: there’s the family version, which keeps things nice and PC and then there’s the original version, which is just as risqué and politically incorrect as Cards Against Humanity. Either way, it’s a guaranteed laugh! Suitable for 3+ players. Buy It Here on Takealot.

Lighthouses to Explore Up and Down the Western Cape Coast

There is something incredibly nostalgic and even romantic about lighthouses. In a world where technology is ruthlessly taking over, rendering old world methods, structures, and equipment redundant, it’s comforting to know that lighthouses, some many centuries old, still serve a vital function. And it’s for their history, picturesque addition to any coastal landscape, and beguiling nautical (and occasionally naughty) tales that we simply love visiting them! Here are some of the Cape’s most notable lighthouses.


Cape Point Lighthouse

Where to find it? Cape Point Nature Reserve, Cape Point, South Africa

When was it built? Originally, in 1860 and then it was relocated to a lower elevation in 1919.

Brief history: The lighthouse at Cape Point has long served as a beacon of hope to intrepid explorers and traders. Located at the resupply station for early trading ships rounding the wicked “Cape of Storms”, it would warn approaching ships of the treacherous coastline, but also bring joy at the prospect of land and a chance to replenish supplies with fresh food and good wine.
Owing to its high elevation, however, the old Cape Point lighthouse ran the risk of being spotted too early by ships, compelling them to approach too closely. Additionally, foggy conditions at higher levels would often smother the lighthouse’s powerful beams, making it invisible to ships. It was precisely this that wracked the SS Lusitania, a 5,557-tonne Portuguese ocean liner, on Bellows Rock, just south of Cape Point, in April 1911. Subsequently, a new lighthouse was built at a lower elevation (87 meters above sea level), which cannot be seen from the west until ships are at a safe distance to the south.

Why it’s worth visiting today: The new Cape Point lighthouse is the most powerful on the South African coastline, with a range of 101 km or 55 nautical miles, and shining with an intensity of 10 mega candelas in each flash. Located at the Cape of Good Hope, with commanding ocean and peninsula views, the area is also incredibly scenic, arrestingly beautiful, and offers many hiking trails and picnic spots. Just watch out for the baboons!

Website: www.capepoint.co.za


Cape Agulhas Lighthouse, Southernmost Tip of Africa

Where to find it? Lighthouse Street, L’Agulhas, Western Cape

When was it built? 1849

Brief history: For 171 years, the Cape Agulhas Lighthouse has stood sentry over this auspicious section of coastline, the southernmost tip of the continent, and the official meeting point of the mighty Indian and Atlantic Oceans. The lighthouse was first lit on 1 March 1849 using sheep tail fat as its original fuel. This was replaced by an oil-burning lantern in 1905; a petroleum vapour burner in 1929; and then a four-kilowatt electric lamp powered by a diesel generator in 1936.
In 1968, the Cape Agulhas lighthouse was retired from service due to excessive weathering of its sandstone walls and the building declared a national monument. In 1988, however, it was restored and re-commissioned, making the Cape Agulhas lighthouse the second oldest working lighthouse in southern Africa.

Why it’s worth visiting today: The prestige and wonderment of witnessing the meeting point of two of the world’s mighty oceans is an unforgettable experience, set against the backdrop of the magnificent Cape Agulhas lighthouse, a Western Cape provincial heritage site. Visitors to the area can also see and explore the Meisho Maru shipwreck on the shores nearby, as well as the remains of ancient stone fishtraps used by the Khoisan people.

Website: www.sahistory.org.za


Green Point Lighthouse, Mouille Point

Green Point Lighthouse, Mouille Point

Where to find it? 100 Beach Road, Mouille Point, Cape Town

When was it built? 1824

Brief history: With its slick, candy-striped paint job, and squat, cheery disposition on the Mouille Point promenade, the Green Point lighthouse might not look it, but it is indeed the oldest lighthouse in South Africa. It was originally designed by sculptor Herman Shutte, who arrived in the Cape in 1790, and its single-wick Argand lanterns powered by sperm whale oil. In 1865, it was expanded to its current size and certified a provincial heritage site on 12 January 1973.

Why it’s worth visiting today: The Green Point Lighthouse is an eye-catching landmark in Mouille Point that makes for some unforgettable, atmospheric photos (and selfies) of this spectacular cosmopolitan coastal strip. Not only is it the oldest operational lighthouse of its kind in South Africa and a national monument, it is also rumoured to be haunted by a ghost called Daddy West.

Website: www.cape-town-heritage.co.za


Slangkoppunt Lighthouse, Kommetjie

Slangkoppunt Lighthouse, Kommetjie

Where to find it? Lighthouse Road, Kommetjie

When was it built? 1919 – sort of

Brief history: The lighthouse at Slangkoppunt was first due to be completed in 1914; they even had a brass sign commissioned for this date. However, the explosion of hostilities across the globe during the First World War brought progress to a standstill for a few years. The lighthouse was then officially inaugurated on 4 March 1919 but was in fact operational in the years prior to that, as was noted in the captain’s log of the HMS Himalaya on 19 July 1917. In 1979, the Slangkoppunt lighthouse became fully automated, reducing it three-man station staff to a single senior light keeper.

Why it’s worth visiting today: Today, this lighthouse, which is a visible landmark from tens of kilometres away, even as far away as Hout Bay, remains the tallest cast iron tower in South Africa. Standing at 41 meters tall and painted white to stand out against the blues and greens of its backdrop mountains, the Slangkoppunt lighthouse serves as a faithful tourist attraction to visitors to the area. It’s open for guided tours, which take visitors up a rather hair-raising inner spiral staircase to the top of its beacon.

Website: www.capepointroute.co.za


Cape Columbine Lighthouse, Tietiesbaai

Where to find it? Cape Columbine Nature Reserve, Tietiesbaai, Western Cape

When was it built? 1936

Brief history: The lighthouse at Cape Columbine on the West Coast of the Western Cape is the last manned lighthouse to have been built on the South African coast. The lighthouse, as well as the headland and surrounding nature reserve, were named after the barque Columbine, a three-mast sailing ship that met her untimely and unfortunate end on the rocks approximately 1.5 kilometres to the north on 31 March 1829. The Columbine Lighthouse was commissioned on 1 October 1936, more than 100 years after the tragedy.

Why it’s worth visiting today: The Columbine Nature Reserve in Tieties Bay (or “Tietiesbaai” in Afrikaans) sprawls out on a spectacular stretch of coastline, even though the surrounding landscape can appear quite barren at certain times of the year. The spiral staircase within the lighthouse affords visitors breathtaking views out over the Britannia reef and the Atlantic Ocean. Also, its design is somewhat unorthodox with its tapered, square tower and buttressed tower corners.

Website: www.paternoster.co.za


Shelley Point AKA Stompneus Point Lighthouse

Shelley Point AKA Stompneus Point Lighthouse

Where to find it? End of 14th Street, Shelley Point, St. Helena Bay

When was it built? 1920

Brief history: The Shelley Point lighthouse, also known as the Stompneus Point lighthouse, is a classically attractive nautical structure located at the northernmost boundary of the Cape St. Martins peninsula at the western entrance to Saint Helena Bay. In 1920, it was built in a private capacity by the owner of the surrounding estate, a lighthouse enthusiast (although, strictly speaking, it’s not a lighthouse but rather a “lead light”). Today, the site is open for all to walk around and enjoy but the tower is closed to explorers.

Why it’s worth visiting today: Perched right at the end of a tumble of rocks in the Atlantic Ocean, the Shelley Point lighthouse is a beautiful landmark and a great photographic opportunity. It’s also embraced by pristine beaches.

Website: www.visitwestcoast.co.za


Danger Point Lighthouse, Walker Bay

Danger Point Lighthouse, Walker Bay

Where to find it? Southern end of Walker Bay, near Gansbaai, Southwestern Cape Coast

When was it built? 1895

Brief history: It was in 1488 that Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias landed at the southern end of Walker Bay and called it Ponte de Sao Brandao (The Bridge of Saint Brandao). Later, this treacherous section of reefs and rocky outcrops would become known as Danger Point, a name well-earned after it saw to the demise of more than 140 ships and thousands of lives. In 1890, the lighthouse commission finally stressed for the need for a lighthouse at this particularly perilous point, although it was only actually completed several years later, in 1895. Thankfully, the Danger Point lighthouse performed its duty and has saved countless ships and lives from getting dashed against the rocks.

Why it’s worth visiting today: The Danger Point lighthouse is open to the public on weekdays from 10:00 until 15:00 (although you should call beforehand to make sure they’re open, since it is a working lighthouse). It’s a remarkably attractive structure with three lights that flash every 40 seconds and shine with the intensity of 4,750,000 candles! Also, the surrounding coastal scenery is breathtaking.

Website: www.whalecoast.info

DK Villas’ Properties are Available for Longer-term Rentals at Great Deals!

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced all of us to re-examine our lives in the most minute of details and redesign them to be compatible with our new reality. During the quarantine, dk villas also had to take a good long, hard look at our business and determine a way forward. In a world where travel and tourism has ground to a halt, how we can continue to offer luxury, high-end accommodations in some of the Cape’s most beautiful destinations?

The answer is to open our accommodations up to longer-term rentals. While COVID-19 may have most of us in lockdown, life continues and people – couples, families, working professionals, and retirees - still need a place to call home. And so we’ve reshaped our offering to include longer-term rentals of our three properties at great prices.

If you’re looking for a beautiful, fully furnished, tech savvy home to walk into and stay for several months or even the better part of a year, dk villas’ three luxury apartments are available to you. To book your stay or find our more, simply fill out the Contact Form Here or send us an email at info@dkvillas.co.za!

Now, let’s show you our gorgeous locations….


dk villas Harbour View Property

9 Harbour View, 46 Main Road, Hout Bay
Three bedrooms | two bathrooms | sleeps six people
R18,000 per month, incl. 160 GB Wi-Fi, weekly service, fully furnished, 24-hour security, secure parking spot

On the Chapman’s Peak side of the valley, with direct views of The Sentinel Mountain and Hout Bay’s beach and charming harbour, you’ll find the beautiful and spacious Harbour View property. This three-bedroom, two-bathroom self-catering apartment is a masterpiece by the DK Villas team, and a seamless blend of luxury furnishings, high-end electronics and appliances, gorgeous views, and home-style convenience.

A generous and fully kitted out modern kitchen and state-of-the-art appliances such as SMEG washing machine, tumble dryer, and dishwasher gives tenants a turnkey space in which to prepare full meals and instantly feel right at home. But, if it’s a restaurant take-away meal you’re after (in these times of restricted movement), Hout Bay has a vast spectrum to choose from, including the nearby Spiro’s Greek Restaurant, Dunes (right on the beach), and ever-popular Chapman’s Peak Hotel.

The bedrooms are the epitome of oases with their soft colour palettes, natural textures, Egyptian cotton bedding, luxurious furnishings, and designer room fragrances; an aesthetic and feel that is echoed by the two bathrooms, one full and one en-suite.

Finally a stylish open-plan lounge and dining area with seating for eight people, large TV, and Wi-Fi round out the offering. For your safety and peace of mind, dk villas’ Harbour View property has 24-hour camera security, electric fencing, and a secure undercover parking bay.

Cost: longer-term rental of dk villas’ fully-furnished, three-bedroom Harbou View apartment costs R18,000 per month and includes safe parking, 24-hour security, 160 GB high-speed Wi-Fi (80 GB daytime and 80 GB night time), and a weekly service. Please note that water and electricity are not included.


The Boardwalk, Hout Bay

3 The Boardwalk, 3 Oxford Street, Hout Bay
Two bedrooms | two bathrooms | sleeps four people
R13,000 per month, incl. water, unlimited Wi-Fi, weekly service, fully furnished, secure parking spot

Located a short walk from Hout Bay beach and the surrounding restaurants and shops, dk villas Boardwalk property is a trendy, modern, fully furnished and spacious self-catering apartment with two bedrooms that sleep a total of four people. From the contemporary yet homey lounge area, tenants can marvel over views of the bay and Chapman’s Peak, which turns beguiling hues of pinks and crimson as it catches the light of the setting sun.

There isn’t a modern amenity or luxury that isn’t represented here, with all furnishings, appliances, and electronics being sourced from high-end manufacturers. A fully equipped kitchen complete with SMEG appliances, washing machine, and tumble dryer invites tenants to sink right in and treat their new lodgings as home.

dk villas Boardwalk property also packs two bathrooms, safe basement parking, free Wi-Fi, a gorgeous lounge and dining area, and beds dressed with poofy duvets and Egyptian cotton so soft, your biggest challenge will be getting up in the mornings.

Cost: longer-term rental of dk villas’ fully-furnished, two-bedroom The Boardwalk apartment costs R13,000 per month and includes water, unlimited, high-speed Wi-Fi (160GB), and a weekly service. Please note that electricity is not included.


Dwarskersbos

2 Hoof Street, Dwarskersbos, West Coast
Two bedrooms | two bathrooms | sleeps four people
R8,500 per month, incl. water, Wi-Fi, weekly service, fully furnished, secure parking spot

Dwarskersbos and its beach, Dolfynstrand, is a place to “get away from it all” - away from the city and the insanity. It’s a serene escape in which one can do a little reconnection with oneself, a loved one, and nature. And as a visitor to this far-flung portion of the Cape, there couldn’t be a better home-away-from-home to do it all in than dk villa’s beach cottage at Skilliepark.

dk villa’s two-bedroom beach cottage is perfectly positioned near the beach to allow guests front-row seats to the sunset. And with a sheltered indoor braai area with eight-seater table and wrap-around windows, the show can be enjoyed irrespective of the season.

Inside, the cottage is decidedly chic and beach-themed with full attention paid to every detail concerning function, comfort, space usage, and aesthetics. There is an open plan double volume living room and fully kitted-out kitchen that includes high-end appliances, a coffee and tea-making station, as well as heaps of storage space.

dk villas’ beach cottage has two bedrooms, both with queen-size beds and one with an open plan en-suite bathroom with a bath.

The apartment is flush with everything one could possibly want and need to enjoy a luxurious stay in the fairly remote coastal village of Dwarskersbos. This includes free Wi-Fi, an enormous flat screen TV, and Egyptian cotton towels and sheets. There are even reference books for birding and nature enthusiasts to peruse.

Cost: longer-term rental of dk villas’ fully-furnished, two-bedroom Skilliepark apartment costs R8,500 per month and includes water, safe parking, free Wi-Fi, and a weekly service. Please note that electricity is not included.

The Adrenalin Junkie’s Guide to Cape Town

The Cape’s fiercest and most fun outdoor activities

What better time is there to plan a thrilling bucket list than in the current climate? We’ve certainly got the time for it, and besides, the Cape has no shortage of adrenalin-packed adventure to offer. Here are some of our Cape Town recommendations for people who want to get the blood rushing in furious fashion after months and months of lockdown.


Skydiving

Skydiving and adrenalin (or, for most, terror) are practically synonyms for each other. But if it’s the best view in the country you’re after, you’ve got to fling yourself out of an aircraft at 12,000 feet above sea level to see it! Whilst plummeting towards the ground, make sure to absorb the Cape’s staggeringly beautiful scenery, from her rugged peninsula and mountain ranges to her gently rolling farmlands. Mother City Skydiving (+27 79 337 2443) and Skydive Cape Town (+27 82 800 6290) are two well-known, reputable companies that offer adrenalin-soaked tandem skydives, an unforgettable experience.


Ziplining

Have you ever wondered what it felt like to fly? Who hasn’t? Ziplining is as close to that feeling as you can get, without a noisy engine in your ear. Once strapped in to all of your safety equipment, you can blissfully throw yourself into thin air, and delight in the scenery that whips past you, from yawning mountain chasms and rushing rivers to pristine fynbos carpeted valleys. There are several locations in the Cape that are considered prime spots for ziplining adventures. One of the most reputable companies is Cape Canopy Tours (+27 21 3000 501), which arranges exhilarating tours of its 13 elevated platforms in the Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve.


Abseiling

Instead of the slogging the six hours it takes to get up Table Mountain’s imposing city-facing slopes, why not take the easy route: catch the cable car up and then abseil down? With an altitude of over 1,080 meters, Cape Town’s iconic mountain offers one of the highest commercial abseiling experiences in the world and there couldn’t be a better way to get up close and personal with her stony, fynbos-clad, and dassie-decorated countenance than to abseil down it. Abseil Africa (+27 21 424 4760) is a popular and well-respected company to go through; another is Cape Extreme (+27 76 016 9696).


Hot Air Ballooning

Is there anything quite as romantic as hot air ballooning over a patchwork quilt of vineyards and farmlands? Hardly! GoBallooning (+27 72 955 5444) is a Stellenbosch-based company that offers morning rides over the Cape Winelands. The point of departure is Klein Joostenberg Farm and from here, the balloon soars over the N1 and then the surrounding farmlands and winelands. Without the roar of an engine, guests can take in the early morning melody of the Cape farmlands, from the toll of church bells to the lowing of cattle. It’s an unforgettable, multi-sensory experience.


Paragliding

The Cape Peninsula is peppered with paragliding spots, the best known and most easily accessible of which are Lion’s Head and Signal Hill. These scenic launch sites offer breath-taking views of the Cape’s rugged and dramatic topography. Fly Cape Town (+27 82 851 7119) and Cape Town Tandem Paragliding (+27 76 892 2283) are two reputable companies that offer such exhilarating experiences in the city. Further afield, you can look into paragliding in the picturesque Franschhoek valley, Porterville in the Olifants River Mountains (155 kilometres northeast of Cape Town), the whale-watching town of Hermanus, and the hair-raising Sir Lowry’s Pass in the Hottentots Holland Mountains.


Quad biking

Sand dunes, mountain trails, and even vineyards: the Cape’s varied landscapes are even more fun to explore behind the wheel of a quad bike or ATV (all-terrain vehicle) than by foot! Most of the quad bikes supplied by Cape Town’s adventure companies such as Extreme Scene (+27 79 666 9789) and Downhill Adventures (+27 21 422 0388) are automatic, so all you need to do is open the throttle and let her fly: no experience needed.


Important note: All of the above-mentioned thrilling adventures are weather dependent so keep a close eye on the forecast and stay in contact with the company you’ve booked through to avoid disappointment.