Nature Lover’s Guide to Cape Town

South Africa carries an international reputation for its wildlife and although many of the government and private game reserves are found in the north, Cape Town is no less rich in fauna, flora, and birdlife. Here are a few ways you can steep yourself in our gorgeous natural heritage during your stay in the Mother City!

The Two Oceans Aquarium

Dive beneath the waves of the Atlantic Ocean at the Two Oceans Aquarium at the V & A Waterfront (without a wetsuit and without getting wet). Explore the enchantment of the kalaeidescopic life that thrives beneath the surface of the ocean embracing South Africa: an educational experience that thrills people of all ages. From sea horses and starfish to enormous marine fish and sharks, there are live exhibits to explore and even interactive experiences for the little ones.

Address: Dock Road, V & A Waterfront, Cape Town

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

Located on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch’s sweeping, emerald gardens are a colourful and audacious celebration of life. Visitors here can get to truly appreciate the majesty and diversity of the Cape floral kingdom by meandering on the network of pathways that lead through protected Fynbos, ancient trees, forests, edible food gardens, and more. From pink proteas, emerald lawns, and fiery orange watsonias to olive reed beds, blue ericas, and yellow orchids, there isn’t a colour in the spectrum that isn’t represented in Kirstenbosch’s dazzling array of flowerbeds. When you get hungry, stop in at the Kirstenbosch Tea Room ( – they also prepare picnics while you wait – or sit down at the more formal Moyo at Kirstenbosch (

Address: Rhodes Drive, Newlands, Cape Town

Whale watching along the Atlantic Coastline

Every year, around June and July, great pods of southern right whales make their way northwards to the substantially warmer waters around South Africa, where they breed and give birth before travelling back south again to their feeding grounds around Antarctica. It’s during this special time of year that these enormous, yet gentle beasts can be seen from just about any vantage point along the Cape peninsula and southwestern Cape coastline!

The most notable of these vantage points are found in False Bay, Cape Agulhas, and, of course, the famous whale-watching town of Hermanus, which the World Wildlife Fund has rated as one of the top 12 whale-watching locations in the world. They even, on occasion, come right into Hout Bay! In addition to southern right whales, we are also routinely visited by humpback whales, Bryde’s whales, and several species of dolphins.

To get up close and personal to these mammoth marine mammals, Dyer Island Cruises ( and Simon’s Town Boat Company ( offer frequent whale watching cruises from Kleinbaai and False Bay respectively.

World of Birds Sanctuary

Whether you travel to Hout Bay with kids in tow or with fellow adults, the World of Birds Wildlife Sanctuary and Monkey Park is an enchanting daylong activity that immerses you in nature. Wind your way through humid micro-biomes populated by kalaeidescopic tropical birds, large raptors, and owls; take a step into the squirrel monkey enclosure and feel their little paws as they crawl all over you; and watch the keepers feed the penguins, flamingos, and pelicans. Bird enthusiast or not, the World of Birds is an institution and a delightful diversion for any visitor to Hout Bay.

Address: Valley Road, Hout Bay

Cape Town’s nature reserves

Cape Town is riddled with protected pockets and swaths of nature, where one can go hiking, picnicking, wildlife viewing, and birdwatching amongst the indigenous vegetation. The Table Mountain National Park ( encompasses the Cape peninsula and surrounding flats, mountains, and valleys. Here, you’ll find rock hyrax or “dassies”, Eland, Red Hartebeest, Cape mountain zebra, the critically endangered Table Mountain ghost frog, tortoises, more than 20 snake species, and a staggering diversity of bird species. Then, no more than an hour’s drive south from the city, there’s the Cape Point National Park (+27 (0) 21 780 9010) and north along the coast, the West Coast National Park (+27 (0) 22 772 2144). Both are rich in fauna, flora, and birdlife, as well as beautiful views of dramatic coastlines and ocean panoramas.

Boulder’s Beach penguin colony

Located on the adjacent coastline to the historic, naval base of Simon’s Town, you’ll find a secluded, white sand beach that’s home to a noisy colony of African Penguins (previously called Jackass Penguins for their donkey-like braying call). Boulder’s beach is a safe haven for these endangered birds and, for a small fee, visitors can actually share the beach with them for a few hours. The penguins are used to humans so don’t be surprised to find one hopping over your feet while you sunbath or swimming alongside you when you get in the water! Just don’t touch them.

Address: Kleintuin Road, Simon's Town

Visit / go snorkelling with Hout Bay’s seal colony

Right around the corner from Hout Bay Harbour, tucked behind the Sentinel Mountain, is a large, noisy, and rather odorous colony of Cape fur seals, a visit to which makes for a lovely 1-hour boat outing. Drumbeat Charters South Africa ( offers daily scenic cruises to Duiker Island’s seal colony, where visitors can watch the mammals basking in the sun, frolicking in the waves, and honking at each other.

Alternatively, you can don a wetsuit and jump into the water with the seals! Animal Ocean Seal Snorkeling ( takes visitors on an unforgettable half-day, eco-friendly adventure to Duiker Island, where you’ll actually jump ship to snorkel with the seals. You can even hire waterproof go-pros to record the experience of swimming with curious seals and the kelp forests and colourful ocean life that swishes in the currents beneath your flippered feet.

Annual blooming of the Cape wildflowers

The Cape practically has an international reputation for the annual blooming of its wildflower. Every August – towards the end of the month – millions upon millions of bulbs and seeds that have lain dormant in the soil erupt into a celebration of colour, carpeting the West Coast in swaths of orange, purple, red, and white. Visitors are encouraged to get out of their cars and walk through this wonderland, to take pictures with the flowers, and smell the Hesperantha (aandblom) and Babiana (Bobbejaantjie).

Some of the best places to view the spectacular annual blooming of the Cape wildflowers include Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens; Postberg Flower Reserve at the West Coast National Park; Citrusdal, the centre for South Africa’s fruit farming industry; Karoo Desert National Botanical Garden; Darling Renosterveld Local Nature Reserve; Ramskop Nature Reserve near Clanwilliam in the Cederberg; Cape Columbine Nature Reserve near Paternoster; Harold Porter Botanical Garden; Tienie Versfeld Wildflower Reserve near Darling; and the Namaqua National Park.

Hout Bay’s Historic and Cultural Attractions

Hout Bay might be known for its markets, restaurants, and beach but this verdant valley and Atlantic harbour has a staggering 400-year history, beguiling relics of which can still be found scattered throughout it today. So, whether you’re a history buff or a tourist wanting to get connected on a deeper level with Hour Bay’s historic and cultural heritage, here are some gems you should check out on your next visit.

The East Fort (and a bit of back story)

Did you know that Hout Bay is the third oldest surviving formal settlement in South Africa? Cape Town is the original and so it’s the oldest, of course, but only Simon’s Town beats Hout Bay in terms of age. The valley first became settled when its vast forests of hardwood were discovered; hence the name Hout Bay (“wood bay” in Afrikaans). And since the Cape is mostly carpeted in fynbos, which isn’t very useful as building material, timber was established as a primary industry in Hout Bay soon after Jan Van Riebeeck’s arrival in the Cape. Once all the forests had been cut down, the industry here turned to farming and fishing.

What does all of this have to do with Hout Bay’s militarisation and the building of a string of forts along the eastern and western flanks of the bay?

Well, Hout Bay was actually viewed by the government of the day as the soft-underbelly of the new Cape Town settlement. The Dutch were concerned that the bay was wide open to possible marine invasion from the south by British warships and so four coastal fortifications were erected during the period 1781 to 1806. The Dutch East India Company (DEIC) built the West Fort Battery on the western side of the Bay in 1781 followed by the East Fort Battery the year after, which is today bisected by Chapman’s Peak Drive.

The East fort now lies in ruins but its original shape and basic structure can still be seen and makes for a nice hour’s exploration. There’s also a battery of 8 x 18 PDR (Personal Defence Rifle) guns, which have been restored and, on certain special occasions, ceremonially fired.

Original Farmsteads (and a special river)

As mentioned, Hout Bay was originally populated when its hardwood forests were discovered, making available to the Dutch a source of timber for the building of the new settlement in Cape Town. Within 30 years of van Riebeeck’s arrival, however, this valuable resource disappeared and so the activity here shifted from logging and timber to agriculture. The reason this industry took off so well in Hout Bay was because of a very special feature of the valley’s nature heritage: the Disa River, the only intact riverine ecosystem rising from Table Mountain. This river supplied the valley with a steady and generous source of fresh water and the farmers prospered, building for themselves beautiful homesteads and farmhouses over the years.

Today, farming is largely a part of Hout Bay’s past although many of the original homesteads and farmhouses still stand as heritage buildings. And you can visit many of them! Kronendal (pictured above) and Oakhurst are two of Hout Bay’s original farmsteads. Established in the 1670’s, Kronendal was the first farm in Hout Bay and its Cape Dutch Homestead (built in 1800) is the only surviving example of an H-plan house in the Cape Peninsula!

Also, many of Hout Bay’s retail outlets and restaurants (such as Cheyne’s, Lucky Bao, and Woodcutter’s Arms) are located in heritage buildings that have thankfully been tastefully restored.

Hout Bay harbour

An important facet of Hout Bay’s history that still thrives to this day – and is still appreciable by all who visit the valley – is its fishing industry. The bay’s prime positioning along a coastline wealthy in seafood has, over the years, lead to the establishment of a busy working harbour and a colourful fishing community. Every morning, fishing trawlers return to the harbour laden with a fresh catch, a portion of which can be purchased directly off the boats or from the local fresh fish shop. Of course, most Capetonians know of the Hout Bay harbour as the home of the perennially popular Bay Harbour Market – a weekend food, arts, and crafts market. But more than its market, Mariner’s Wharf, and restaurants, the harbour has become a beating cultural heart and a stunning place to spend a leisurely afternoon.

Hout Bay’s leopard

On the other end of the bay, you’ll find the Hout Bay leopard. In 1937, the last ever Cape leopard to have been seen in the valley was spotted on Klein Leeukoppie Mountain (Little Lion’s Head). In 1963, Ivan Milford-Barberton sculpted a life-like leopard out of bronze, which was subsequently mounted on a granite boulder on the eastern periphery of the beach. This statue, which proudly stands today, serves as a memorial to the many wild animals that once called the valley and its surrounding mountains home but have sadly been edged out by human habitation.

Hout Bay Museum

Opened on 5th April 1979, the Hout Bay Museum collects, displays, conserves, and researches the cultural and natural history of Hout Bay and the neighbouring suburb of Llandudno. You’ll find the museum standing next door to the Hout Bay Tourist Office and is worth a visit for its collections of artefacts dating back to 1652, when the Dutch settlers first arrived in the Cape. There is a fascinating wealth of memories and information of Hout Bay's past to be discovered here; also, admission is free! Embracing the museum is a garden of local wild plants and medicinal herbs: edibles the earliest people here would have used for various reasons. For more information, go to:

A Little Retail Therapy with dk villas!

Some of our favourite products and brands

Petra and Johann de Kock, the husband-and-wife team behind dk villas, take enormous pride in the presentation and feel of their three self-catering apartments. Each location delivers an enormous visual impact through the use of colour, textures, artwork, and quirky décor details. But it’s also through designer room fragrances, the feel of quality linens and comfortable furnishings, and the luxury of complimentary handmade bathroom products that dk villas is able to offer guests a multi-sensory hospitality experience. So, if you loved, and have been inspired by your dk villa experience, here is where you can source many of the beautiful furnishings, décor, and luxury bathroom products Petra and Johann de Kock have used to create such gorgeous environments.

Simply Bee Natural Beeswax Products

Simply Bee crafts an impressive range of environmentally friendly, additive-free, and totally natural beeswax products from the raw materials obtained from the family-run business’ collection of bee hives. Their beeswax ranges tally up to an impressive 150 different products that include hand and body soaps and creams, facial skin care products, hair shampoo and conditioner, candles, ointments, balms, and much more. The dk villas team loves them – and stock all of their bathrooms at all three of their properties with them - because they are 100% environmentally friendly and encourage bees to flourish! Also, in 2019, Luxury Travel Guide declared Simply Bee the Conservation Company of the Year for the Western Cape, South Africa!

Address: 31A Church Street, Hopefield, Western Cape

Block & Chisel Designer Furniture and Décor

With several locations in Cape Town and Johannesburg attesting to their enormous success, Block & Chisel is a designer furniture and décor store where you can find lovingly curated and unique collections. Their style is very much informed and inspired by antique furniture, which has lead to the rough hewn, handcrafted pieces that they produce today. Block & Chisel started in 1987 with Master Cabinet Maker Sibley McAdam, who has a passion for traditional quality and craftsmanship, and wife Lynn McAdam who brings an intuitive eye for timeless quality and great design. It is the partnership between these two, and between raw talent and practiced craftsmanship that builds furniture and décor to complement the kind of lifestyle dk villas wishes to create for its guests.

Cape Town locations:
Chelsea Village, Wynberg (+27 (0) 21 762 3131)
Diep River (+27 (0) 21 712 5193)
Kloof Street, Cape Town (+27 (0) 21 422 0088)

Crystal & Twine décor shops

Crystal & Twine is a gorgeous French-inspired décor shop located in the popular, yet quaint town of Riebeek Kasteel. Clustered into this shop is such a cornucopia of brick-a-brack, gifts, décor items, ornaments, furniture, and artwork that you could quite happily and easily lose yourself in there for hours. Every corner tells a story with items even being colour coordinated. It’s a wonderful place to go gift shopping – there’s no shortage of unique items bursting with personality – but for the dk villas team, Crystal & Twine has proven to be a treasure trove of one-of-a-kind décor items for their three self-catering apartments. So, whether you’re looking for a really special gift or that perfect, bespoke décor item to give a room in your home a touch of intrigue, Crystal & Twine is the perfect artsy, boutique warehouse to visit on your next visit to the Riebeek Valley.

Address: 18 Sarel Cilliers Street, Stoned Olive Building, Riebeek Kasteel

Established in 2007, Beachsand is essentially a lifestyle shop that sells furniture, décor items, lamps, and textiles, with a particular emphasis on nautical, beach-themes: aesthetics that appear calm and tranquil to the eye. Beachsand sources their beautiful array of products throughout the world and brings them to our shores, as well as having many items specifically crafted for its shelves. Think: furniture made from driftwood and reclaimed hard woods from India (there’s an emphasis on sustainability and recycling). If you’re looking for something unique to breath new life into a room, Beachsand at Tygervalley Shopping Centre is absolutely worth a visit and you’ll see plenty of its inspiration throughout dk villas’ properties.

Address: Shop # LL015, Tygervalley Shopping Centre, Cape Town

With dozens, if not hundreds, of stores around the country, @Home hardly needs any introduction! The dk villas team love perusing their stylish and quality collections of furniture and décor, which cover just about every room in the home from kitchen, dining area, and lounge to bedroom, bathroom, and beyond. There’s even inspiration to be found here for the garden, patio, and walls. @Home might not deal in ultra unique and quirky pieces but if you’re looking for furniture that is made from quality materials, is comfortable, and is aesthetically pleasing, “a la mode”, and fits seamlessly with any space, this is the place to drop your pay check.

If you ever harboured the fantasy of owning a leather couch, you simply have to peruse Coricraft’s collection. For over two decades, the brand has offered great value on top-notch furnishings and has grown from just one store in Cape Town to a constellation of stores (nearly 50) in South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana. Of course, they build beautiful furniture for every room in the home, as well as a vast spectrum of décor items and accessories, from carpets, candlesticks, and wall art to textiles, pot planters, and table top décor. Coricraft can also manufacture its furniture according to your specifications so you can literally have the furniture of your fantasies made for you right here in South Africa… and dk villas is all about supporting local business!

Address: see website for numerous nationwide branches.

dk villas’ Favourite Cape Town Restaurants

Cape Town is bursting at the seams with so many restaurants, cafés, bistros, and bars that you can eat at a different establishment every night of the year and still not get through them all. The city centre itself is densely packed with all manner of eateries, from high end, fine dining restaurants to quirky takeaway joints. Choosing a place to eat for visitors unfamiliar to this culinary landscape can therefore be quite daunting. Over the years, however, we have cultivated a deep love for a handful of very special restaurants and so we thought we’d share our recommendations with you. Here they are….

BOCCA, Cape Town City Centre

BOCCA is an urban Italian restaurant located on Bree Street, and a strikingly colourful and vibrant space run by extraordinary couple, Chef Guido and Adnana Brambilla. The restaurant serves honest and authentic Italian food, inspired and made with love. Think yellowfin tuna carpaccio, robust and earthy Neapolitan style wood fired pizza, Venetian style seafood ragu, and tiramisu, which is so good it beggars belief. Every dish on the menu means something to the husband-and-wife team; and if you ask, they will tell you the (often romantic) story behind each one.

Address: The Block, corner of Bree and Wale Streets, Cape Town City Centre

Cape Point Vineyards Restaurant

Located on the rugged, Fynbos-carpeted peninsula with sweeping views of Noordhoek beach, the award-winning Cape Point Vineyards is one of our favourite regular destinations. The food here is prepared with great thought and attention to detail, and using only the freshest ingredients. The resultant delicious dishes pair beautifully with the estate’s Sauvignon Blanc driven wines. Cape Point Vineyards is also an immensely popular spot for picnics, which can be pre-ordered from the restaurant and enjoyed on the lawns overlooking the estate’s dramatic ocean views.

Address: Cape Point Vineyards, Silvermine Road, Noordhoek

Cowboys and Cooks, De Waterkant

Acclaimed restaurateurs and entrepreneurs Stuart Bailey (of Hussar Grill) and Michael Townsend (of Harbour House Group) had always dreamed about opening a steakhouse. Thus, the Cowboys and Cooks restaurant was born. De Waterkant is the second branch of this fabulously sexy yet approachable steakhouse. The interiors are a blend of rustic country and sophisticated chic, while the menu delivers the usual meaty and seafood suspects but executed at an altitudinous calibre.

Address: 4 Liddle Street, De Waterkant, Cape Town

Fork, Cape Town City Centre

For Spanish tapas with a South African twist, look no further than this intimate, low-lit restaurant located in the heart of Cape Town’s hustle and bustle on Long Street. Fork serves up contemporary tapas, which is a seamless blend of traditional Spanish favourites and cheeky new interpretations. The spirit here is all about sharing small plates in an atmosphere that is informal, yet trendy. The food is sensational and reasonably priced, and the rustic, bare-brick interior incredibly romantic.

Address: 84 Long Street, Cape Town City Centre

Green Vine Eatery, Silvermine, Hout Bay

Nestled amongst the Longkloof Mountain Range and overlooking the Constantia Valley, you’ll find the gorgeous Silvermist Organic Wine Estate. Silvermist’s restaurant is called the Green Vine Eatery. The "Green Vine Experience" focuses on abundance and the freshest ingredients, which it delivers in a shabby-chic-meets-wine-farm setting with gorgeous views, raw wooden decks, rolling lawns, exposed wooden tables, and friendly, welcoming staff.

Address: Silvermist Wine Estate, Constantia Main Road

Meaning “Master Anthony” in Italian, Il Leone Mastrantonio is one of several restaurants under the Mastrantonio Group umbrella. This Green Point based restaurant is popular for its excellent, authentic Italian food made from quality ingredients cooked to perfection. It also boasts a walk-in wine cellar (we love) and private dining room and bar. The atmosphere is sophisticated - so a night here feels quite exclusive and a real treat – yet there is also a friendly buzz and personality about it. The service is excellent to boot.

Address: Corner of Prestwich, 22 Cobern Street, Green Point

JÉAN, Klein Roosboom Winery, Durbanville

JÉAN is the brand new signature restaurant at the darling boutique winery of Klein Roosboom (“little rosebush”) in the Durbanville winelands. Named after the owner of the wine farm, the restaurant is contemporary with an eclectic, personality-riddled interior and affords diners beautiful views of vineyards. The delicious gastronomy is by Chef Lorianne Heyns, whose philosophy is simple: flavour is the priority. The menus change regularly with the season and whatever local, farm-fresh, and organic produce is available.

Address: Klein Roosboom Winery, Tygerberg Valley Road, Durbanville

The Potluck Club, Woodstock

Happily residing in the Valhalla of Cape Town’s gastronomy scene is a restaurant of such popularity that locals and visitors alike perennially line up, Monday to Sunday, to secure a booking. The Potluck Club (one of award-winning chef Luke Dale-Roberts’ restaurants) sprawls out on the sixth floor of the Silo at Woodstock’s artsy, industrial Old Biscuit Mill. From here, diners can enjoy views of the city bowl, harbour area, and Table Mountain. The Potluck Club’s menu, which encourages sharing, is divided into the five primary flavours: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami, each of which has its own selection of tapas-style dishes. Book well in advance!

Address: The Old Biscuit Mill, Woodstock Main Road

The Cousins Trattoria, Cape Town City Centre

They call themselves “the best Italian restaurant in Cape Town”, which might be little biased but we’re inclined to agree because we absolutely love this little tucked-away gem. The Cousins Italian Trattoria serves up steaming authentic and truly delicious Italian fare in an intimate, rustic atmosphere. The pasta is made fresh every morning – as is the tiramisu - and is absolutely to die for: particularly the Cousins’ pasta, a glorious, mushroom-and-cream taglioni pasta that’s tossed right at your table in a halved wheel of Parmesan cheese, before being dished up. It doesn’t get any better than that!

Address: 3b Barrack Street, Cape Town City Centre

Willoughby & Co, V & A Waterfront

Located in the vibrant and cosmopolitan V & A Waterfront mall, Willoughby & Co. is one of Cape Town’s original sushi establishments. This sprawling seafood restaurant offers an extensive menu and impeccably crafted sushi by experienced Japanese chefs. There’s also a delightful wine boutique adjacent to Willoughby & Co. so you can do a wine tasting or have a glass of wine while you wait for a table on busier days (they don’t take bookings). The restaurant has seated tables and seating at the sushi bar where you can watch the chefs at work.

Address: Shop 6132, V & A Waterfront

dk villas triumphs on’s Traveller Review Awards 2020!

What a way to kick off the New Year and new decade – dk villas’ two properties in Hout Bay have triumphed on’s annual Traveller Review Awards 2020!

dk villas’ luxurious self-catering apartment at Harbour View achieved a stratospheric 9.9 out of 10.

This three-bedroom, two-bathroom masterpiece offers guests a seamless blend of luxury furnishings, high-end electronics and appliances, gorgeous views, and home-style convenience. It has a generous and fully kitted out modern kitchen and state-of-the-art appliances such as SMEG washing machine, tumble dryer, and dishwasher. The bedrooms are the epitome of oases with their soft colour palettes, natural textures, Egyptian cotton bedding, and designer room fragrances and a stylish open-plan lounge and dining area seating eight guests features a sophisticated entertainment system, large TV (DSTV), and free Wi-Fi. dk villas Harbour View property has 24-hour camera security, electric fencing, and a secure undercover parking bay and is conveniently located a stone’s throw from Hout Bay’s beach, shopping, restaurants, and bars.

Located on the opposite side of the valley, our trendy, modern, fully furnished and spacious self-catering apartment at The Boardwalk scored 9.8 out of 10.

There isn’t a modern amenity or luxury that isn’t represented in this trendy two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment, with all furnishings, appliances, and electronics being sourced from high-end manufacturers. The comfortable lounge area has a large television (DSTV package included), there is a generous dining seating six people, a fully equipped kitchen complete with SMEG appliances, and free Wi-Fi throughout. dk villas The Boardwalk property also features safe basement parking, two bathrooms, and two bedrooms with built-in cupboards, block-out curtains and blinds, and luxuriously comfy beds dressed in Egyptian cotton. While the property is self-catering, we ensure that guests have everything they need to enjoy their stay, from high quality towels and designer toiletries (soap, cream, shampoo) to milk, tea and coffee, and even a bottle of bubbly!

We are just so pleased that all of the thought, effort, and heart we pour into our Hout Bay properties are appreciated by our guests who have found us on

What is the Traveller Review Awards all about?

The Traveller Review Awards is an annual appreciation programme that recognises partners for their exceptional hospitality, as evidenced in the review scores left by travellers after their stay or experience. The 2020 edition review score is based on the average score of all guest reviews published on the website and app between 30th October 2017 and 30th October 2019. Not only did dk villas’ two Hout Bay properties make the Traveller Review Awards list for 2020 but we absolutely knocked it out of the park with a scoring not even we could have anticipated: 9.8 and 9.9 out of 10.

What is is a travel fare aggregator website and search engine for accommodation reservations at a vast spectrum of properties all over the world, from hotels, guesthouses, and villas to hostels, backpackers, and bed-and-breakfasts. Headquartered in Amsterdam, is a trusted booking platform with over 2,598,000 hotels worldwide, of which dk villas is the loving owner and operator of three.

The site enables users to get honest information about potential accommodations in the city they intend to visit (through descriptions, amenity details, guest reviews, and photographs). Once they have made their choice, they can book through the platform with absolutely no booking fees and 24/7 customer service. It’s quick, simple, and secure for travellers to use, and is convenient and has a wide reach for hospitality establishments such as dk villas.

To all our guests who stayed with us and rated us so highly: a heartfelt thank you from the dk villas team!

Discover the World of Fire and Light with dk villas’ Complimentary Visit to the Shimansky Diamond Museum

It’s evident from the way each of dk villas’ self-catering guesthouses is styled, outfitted, and put together that husband-and-wife team Johann and Petra de Kock have a highly discerning taste for the finer things in life. It therefore comes as little surprise that the duo has teamed up with well-known South African diamond jeweller, Shimansky. Every guest who stays at dk villas receives a complimentary ticket to Shimansky’s Diamond Museum at the V&A Waterfront. It’s a real eye-opening experience considering our country’s natural wealth in diamonds has been the progenitor of some of the planet’s most famous and expensive pieces of jewellery, as well as romantic novels, blockbuster movies, and even bloody wars.

Here’s what you can expect from a visit to, and tour of this fascinating museum and working diamond jewellery workshop, the only of its kind in Cape Town and a non-profit organisation dedicated to educating and creating an appreciation for the world’s oldest and most beautiful gem!

Experience the Cape Town Diamond Museum

The Cape Town Diamond Museum is located in the Clock Tower Precinct in the iconic Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in the Cape Town harbour. Here, the Shimansky Diamond Experience takes guests on a thrilling tour that gives you a privileged peak under the skirts of the diamond jewellery world, from how these gemstones are valued and graded to cut, polished, and turned into exquisite statement pieces. The glittering, kalaeidescopic Shimansky showroom displays a coruscating array of loose diamonds in different cuts and sizes so you see how they are transformed from uncut and unpolished globules of crystalline carbon to glittering gemstones.

Some of the cuts are traditional, which you might recognise from the song “diamonds are a girl’s best friend” (square-cut and pear-shaped), while others have been patented by Shimansky and so are available nowhere else on Earth. In fact, there are more than five Shimansky internationally patented diamond cuts, the most famous of which are the ‘My Girl Diamond’ and the ‘Brilliant 10 Diamond’. During your tour, you’ll learn about the unique and beautiful facets of these diamond cuts and why it is they’re so exceptional.

Explore the history of the South African diamond rush and where it all began

All too often, diamonds are smuggled out of mines and sold on the black market. The conflict that arises from this illegal trade is the source of much bloodshed in Africa; hence, the term “blood diamonds”. Shimansky, however, sources its diamonds directly from South African mines and so are conflict-free. Independent international diamond laboratories such as the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) or the European Gemological Laboratory (EGL) grade the gemstones, which are then given their very own Certificate of Authenticity.

The importance of all of this is to ensure that Shimansky’s diamonds are legally sourced and in a way that does not stoke the fires of war in our country and on our continent. This is just one aspect of South African diamond history you’ll discover during your tour of the Cape Town Diamond Museum. You’ll also hear about the discovery of diamonds in Kimberley (pictured above), the great names in diamond history, such as Cecil John Rhodes and the Oppenheimer family, and how South Africa became one of the world’s top diamond producing countries.

This history is brought to life through life-sized exhibits of some of the world’s most famous, record-breaking diamonds – replicas, mind you!

Discover how rough diamonds are transformed into creations of fire and light

All of Shimansky’s gorgeous creations are cut and polished in the on-site factory and workshop, which you’ll get to explore during your Shimansky Diamond Experience. Transforming crystalline carbon into a gemstone that optimally refracts every colour of the rainbow and explodes into fire and light is a precise science and requires many years of experience in order to master. Visitors will be able to watch first hand how Shimansky’s artisans cut and polish diamonds in the workshop.

Book your Diamond Experience Tour

The Diamond Experience Tour at Shimansky’s museum is an engaging and enchanting add-on to any tour itinerary in Cape Town. Also, it’s one that is immune to the weather, which can’t be discounted in a place with weather as schizophrenic as ours! And with the Cape Town Diamond Museum’s location right across the drawbridge from the spectacular and fabulously entertaining V&A Waterfront, you can make a day of your visit by going for a walk-about, a trip to Robben Island, and lunch or dinner afterwards. Simply bring along your complimentary ticket courtesy of dk villas and let the world of fire and light unfurl before your eyes!

To book your Diamond Experience Tour at Shimansky, contact +27 (0) 21 421 2488 or email Independent and group bookings are welcome, and complimentary transfers can be arranged upon request. The tour operates seven days a week, from 09:00 to 21:00. The duration of the tour is approximately 45 minutes. For more information, check out the website at

Level 1, Clock Tower, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town

Paint the Town Red!

dk villas Favourite Theatres for Entertainment in Cape Town

Visitors to our fair shores – and to dk villas’ three beautiful properties in and around Cape Town – often ask us about recommendations for entertainment, to which we say: “how much time have you got?” The truth is, Cape Town is literally bursting at the seams with thrilling entertainment, vibrant nightlife, and theatrical shows so visitors are spoiled for choice. Here, however, are our favourite Cape Town theatres for a good night’s entertainment....

Raunchy and absolutely fabulous, Gate69 is lauded as South Africa’s premier cabaret theatre, where burlesque and The Birdcage clash in flamboyant style. Guests sit down to a three-course meal while being served and entertained by out-of-this-world characters dressed to the nines in drag. Your hostess (“with the mostest”) is busty, seven-foot tall platinum blonde bombshell, Cathy Specific, who plays flight attendant to the evening’s proceeding. It’s one heck of an irreverent and hilarious ride that will send you home with cheeks and abdominal muscles aching from laughing.
Location: 87 Bree Street, Cape Town City Centre

Fugard Theatre

Located in the historic District Six in the heart of Cape Town, the Fugard Theatre is one of the Mother City’s best-loved theatres for its intimate setting and celebrated local and international shows. The Fugard, named after famous South African playwright Athol Fugard, is both a theatre and a bioscope and has seen some outrageous shows pass through its curtains, including The Rocky Horror Picture Show and, currently Kinky Boots, which is running until 2nd February 2020.
Location: Corner of Caledon & Buitenkant Street, District Six, Zonnebloem

The Labia Theatre

If you’re a lover of cinema - and particularly thought-provoking, artistic cinema and ‘film noir’ - then you’ve got to experience the Labia Theatre on Orange Street in downtown Cape Town. Having just celebrated its 70th birthday anniversary, the Labia is one of the oldest independent movie theatres in the city. The films shown here are carefully selected to appeal to the Labia’s loyal following of Cape Town locals and are typically independent movies, foreign films, historical cinema and other alternative and art circuit films. The theatre itself is charming in its graceful “ancientness” and you can even take a glass of wine with you into the cinema.
Location: 68 Orange Street, Gardens, Cape Town

If you’re a lover of cinema - and particularly thought-provoking, artistic cinema and ‘film noir’ - then you’ve got to experience the Labia Theatre on Orange Street in downtown Cape Town. Having just celebrated its 70th birthday anniversary, the Labia is one of the oldest independent movie theatres in the city. The films shown here are carefully selected to appeal to the Labia’s loyal following of Cape Town locals and are typically independent movies, foreign films, historical cinema and other alternative and art circuit films. The theatre itself is charming in its graceful “ancientness” and you can even take a glass of wine with you into the cinema.
Location: 68 Orange Street, Gardens, Cape Town

Galileo Open Air Cinema

The Galileo Open Air Cinema is both an incredibly romantic experience and something the whole family will love. Every summer season, from Wednesday to Sunday night (and sometimes Tuesdays too), the Galileo Open Air Cinema sets up shop at a different venue around the Cape to screen a cult classic or modern blockbuster film under the gorgeous African night sky. Each guest is given a backrest and blanket, while vendors at the venue sell food, popcorn, hot beverages, beer, and even wine. Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Simonsvlei Winery in Stellenbosch, and Kelvin Grove in Newlands are just a handful of the venues and the movies are as varied as ‘Love Actually’ to ‘E.T. The Extra Terrestrial’.
Location: Click Here for more information on upcoming shows and venues.

Pieter Toerien’s Theatre on the Bay

Located right across the road from the glittering Atlantic Ocean on Camps Bay’s beachfront is the glamorous and opulent Theatre on the Bay. Arrive early to spend a leisurely moment sipping on a flute of champagne or a glass of wine while the sun goes down, and then take your seat in the lavish theatre for a night of performance and entertainment by top South African and international talents. This is the experience that Theatre on the Bay delivers and it begins at the entrance with the theatre’s striking façade and continues right through until the curtain goes down. If you’re hungry, grab a nibble at the Sidedish Theatre Bistro and if you’re in the mood for a real special spoil, why not book yourself and your partner into the Bill Flynn VIP Room?
Location: Link Road, Camps Bay

Alexander Upstairs Theatre

Upstairs from Alexander Bar, a sexy, intimate, and somewhat vintage watering hole on Strand Street in downtown Cape Town, you’ll find this, well, sexy intimate, and somewhat vintage theatre! It’s a place carpeted with Persian threads, dressed with plush red sofas, and frequented by people wearing suspenders and moustaches. The theatre is an intimate performance space that is completely separate from the bar area and it’s here that raw and honest performances of drama, comedy, cabaret, jazz, acoustic sessions, and readings are delivered to an enraptured audience. Afterwards, you’d be doing yourself and all of humanity a disservice if you didn’t enjoy a drink or three in the beautiful vintage bar downstairs.
Location: 76 Strand Street, Cape Town City Centre

The Artscape Theatre

One can’t sing the praises of Cape Town’s beloved theatres without paying homage to the Artscape Theatre because in terms of scale and grandeur, it really is without peer. From ballet to rock concerts and Shakespeare reimagined to Disney on Ice, the Artscape’s four theatres are the home of spellbinding theatrical entertainment in Cape Town. And, of course, what is a night at the theatre without a little pre-show beverage? Naturally, there are plenty of bars throughout the theatre complex and a café if you can order food from, although our recommendation is to book an early dinner at one of Cape Town’s fabulous restaurants beforehand.
Location: D.F. Malan Street, Foreshore, Cape Town

And more….
There are other theatres and cinemas in Cape Town, such as the Kalk Bay Theatre, Baxter Theatre in Rondebosch, Maynardville Open Air Theatre in the Southern Suburbs, and Masque Theatre in Muizenberg. But those we have mentioned above are our tried-and-tested favourites. We suggest that you experience them all!

Exciting Ways to Explore the Cape this Holiday Season

Here at dk villas, we love living like tourists in our own town and so we always recommend that our guests get out and do the same. So, whether you’re visiting Cape Town from another city in South Africa or from abroad – or are even just a local interested in exploring your own backyard – here are six exciting ways to experience the stunning, historic city of Cape Town and her surrounds!

Hop on the City Sightseeing bus

Okay, so it might sound a bit cliché but the “Hop-On, Hop-Off” bus truly is one of the best ways to gain a sweeping appreciation for all the best sites and spots the city has to offer. Who doesn’t love a ride in a London-style open top double-decker bus? Also, we’ve found it perfect for those days when you’re a little tired of walking around and would rather just admire Cape Town’s scenery and learn about its past without having to get up from your seat! There are a few ticket options to choose from, which take in 30 stops and over 50 of Cape Town’s top attractions. For more information, go to

Rent an (electric) bicycle

Cycling through a town or city is a multi-sensory experience that leaves one with a lasting impression of its personality. In a car, you don’t get to smell the sun-baked kelp or roasting coffee; hear the crashing waves or street vendors yelling to each other; or feel the ocean air and sunshine on your face. A bicycle ride, whether you’re on a guided tour or just exploring the suburb in which you’re staying, is an enchanting way to get the full experience. Add to the equation a quality EU-certified electric Pedelec bicycle and you’ve got a thrilling day experience! To learn more about electric bicycle tours in Hout Bay, contact Cape Lion E-Rides at

Discover the Cape on the back of a Harley Davidson Motorbike

What do you get when you pair the multi-sensory enchantment of exploring a destination on two-wheeler transport with a Twin Cam 88B™ engine? Well, for one, a sure-fire way to turn the family and friends back home green with envy! With Harley Davidson Rental and Tours, you can rent a Harley Davidson motorcycle and cruise up and down the Cape’s most scenic routes. From full day tours of the Peninsula or Winelands to a week-long drive down Route 62, there is a great diversity of packages and motorcycles to choose from and you can learn more about those here:

Go hot air ballooning over the winelands

The experience offered by GoBallooning ( begins with a cup of hot coffee in at Klein Joostenberg Farm in Stellenbosch, while the team inflates the balloon. Then, climb aboard for a truly magical ride over the Cape farmlands with views that stretch for tens of kilometres in every direction. Sail silently through the air and listen as the early morning melody of the Cape farmlands reaches your ears. After landing in a local farmer’s field, you’ll be treated to a glass of sparkling wine and hot breakfast at Klein Joostenberg Bistro. Does it get any better than this?

Explore by foot with a walking tour

Few other modes of transport really allow explorers to tap into the heartbeat of a city quite like walking through its streets and interacting with its people. Nielsen Tours ( offer walking tours of the Cape’s historic and cultural hearts, which take place every day and are completely free of charge. They depart twice daily from Greenmarket Square in the Cape Town city centre – look out for the green umbrella – taking you on two-hour walks through the town’s oldest streets or up into Bo-Kaap. Just show up a few minutes before and let the fun begin!

Take to the seas with Drumbeat Charters

Visitors to our Hout Bay properties are greatly encouraged to climb aboard a Drumbeat Charters boat ( to explore some of the oceanic gems this historic harbour has to offer. Take a short boat ride around the Sentinel Mountain and you’ll find a small outcrop of Peninsula rocks carpeted and cramped with Cape fur seals. These seal island cruises to Duiker Island depart daily from the harbour and take approximately 40 minutes.

Add a little world famous scenery to your boat trip with Drumbeat Charters’ hour-long harbour cruise of Duiker Island and Chapman’s Peak, a dramatic mountain range that’s home to one of the world’s most scenic (and, at times, hair-raising) drives. Alternatively, you can take a one-hour trip to Duiker Island, followed by the Atlantic border of Karbonkelberg, where you’ll find Maori Bay - a notorious graveyard for unlucky ships!

Berg River cruises

And if you’re staying at our Dwarskersbos property and are up for a boating adventure, check out Tollie’s Boat & River Cruises (, which depart morning and late afternoon from the Port Owen Slipway at the Riviera Hotel in Velddrif for a leisurely 1.5 hour cruise up the Berg River. The boat, captained by the amusing and informative Captain Tollie, accommodates 32 guests, is child friendly, and affords wonderful birdwatching opportunities, as well as spectacular sunset views!

Wet n’ Wild Water Sports on the Cape West Coast

With its sheltered lagoons, broad expanses of beach, rich marine life, and sometimes tireless, yet prime wind conditions, the Cape West Coast boasts some of the country’s finest real estate for water sports. From wind surfing, kite surfing, and sailing to stand-up paddling and kayaking, here are some exhilarating water sports and activities to engage in on a visit up the Cape West Coast!


The Langebaan Lagoon on the Cape West Coast is a favourite amongst water sport enthusiasts, owing to its almost year-round perfect windsurfing conditions. Being sheltered from the larger waves of the open ocean, yet still with great wind exposure, the lagoon offers ideal learning conditions, as well as high speed flat water blasting. It’s little wonder this slice of heaven has become internationally recognised as one of the top board sailing venues in the world!

Contact: Cape Sports Centre Langebaan at +27 (0) 22 772 1114 |

Sea Kayaking

Sea Kayaking is another vastly popular water sport on the Cape West Coast, and particularly in the tranquil Langebaan Lagoon, where you can explore the natural splendour of the West Coast National Park without the notoriously rambunctious surf of the open Atlantic. Kayaking excursions are conducted at a comfortable pace by an experienced guide, who can reveal the secrets and wonders of the local fauna and flora, both of the land and of the sea.

Contact: Gravity Adventures at +27 (0) 21 683-3698 |

Go Sailing in a Hobie Cat (Catamaran)

Hobie Cats, also known as Catamarans, are compact, high performance sailing boats that are launched from the beach straight into the ocean waves for a super fast sailing adventure. They only require one captain or crew to handle and, being an intense speed expedition, deliver a total rush to those aboard! You’ll be suspended in a trapeze harness from a cable attached to the high point of the sailing mast, whilst using your feet to anchor yourself to the boat. Charters can be scheduled in a 16-ft (one passenger, one skipper) or 18-ft (one skipper, two passengers) vessel.

Contact: Cape Sports Centre Langebaan at +27 (0) 22 772 1114 |

Kite surfing on the Cape West Coast

When you watch those guys and girls on their surfboards take to the skies, don’t you too wish you could fly? Kite surfing has become an increasingly popular water sports along the Cape Coast, thanks to our summertime wind conditions (frustrating for beachgoers; a blessing to water sports enthusiasts). Based in Langebaan and Blouberg, Constantly Kiting offers kite surfing lessons tailored to teach those who are brand new to the sport, or to add to the expertise and trickster repertoire of more experienced kite surfers.

Contact: Constantly Kiting at +27 (0) 73 071 3878 |

Stand Up Paddle (SUP) Boarding

Constantly Kiting also offers training sessions for Stand Up Paddle (SUP) Boarding, which is not only an excellent sport for whole body fitness (even though it seems pretty leisurely) but is also one of the best and most scenic ways to explore the Cape West Coast coastline. SUP is super easy to learn, which eliminates the frustration involved in trying to participate in some of the tougher water sport; is an option for people of all fitness levels and ages; and can be done on the open ocean, the quieter Langebaan lagoon, or on rivers. It’s just an engaging and fun water sport for the whole family!

Contact: Constantly Kiting at +27 (0) 73 071 3878 |

Private Chartered Sailing Tours

If you prefer to stay dry while enjoying some of the best vantage points on the Cape West Coast, a private chartered tour is the perfect water activity for you and your family and/or friends. Operating from the Club Mykonos Marina in Langebaan, Elite Charters offers private yacht and Catamaran charters around the Langebaan Lagoon and the West Coast Nature Reserve, although different tours are available and special excursions and activities can be arranged. The Catamaran is 39 feet long, can accommodate 40 guests, and comes equipped with braai facilities, a bar, and catering services. Party anyone?

Contact: Elite Charters at +27 (0) 76 397-8351 |

WetBike Tours

Elite Charters also rents out WetBikes, which are 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 cross between a motorcycle and a jet ski. The tour follows a 10 km route from Elite Charter’s jetty at the Club Mykonos Marina towards Schaapen Island and back again. 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!

Contact: Elite Charters at +27 (0) 76 397-8351 |

The Best Places to go Christmas Shopping in Hout Bay

Tis the season to be stressed out because you’ve left your Christmas shopping to the last second and now you have no idea what you’re going to get anyone and the kids are starting to sweat because the tree is looking decidedly empty and…and…and…

Okay, relax. Breathe. We’ve got you. Hout Bay is a visitor’s paradise for so many more reasons than just the food, the views, and the harbour. It’s also prime Christmas shopping territory so give the family’s finance minister a pep talk because the credit card’s coming out to play! Here are some fabulous Hout Bay gift shops, markets, and ideas for this year’s Silly Season.

Original T Bag Designs

It might sound a little kooky, but Original T Bag Designs craft one-of-a-kind products using recycled tea bags, which they sell as works of art. The tea bags are dried, emptied, ironed, and then painted with each artist having his or her individual style. No two pieces are identical. These miniature works of art are then applied to stationary, wooden trays, coasters, fabric items, wall décor, and more, which make for stunning, unique little Christmas gifts. Additionally, your support provides empowerment, financial security, and hope to previously disadvantaged people.

Address: 144 Main Road, Imizamo Yethu, Hout Bay

Bay Harbour Market

The Bay Harbour Market has practically achieved legendary status with its popularity amongst tourists and locals. It’s the place to be on Friday evening (17:00 to 21:00) and Saturday and Sunday (09:30 to 16:00). But in addition to all the multi-cultural food stalls, delicious and creative beverages, and live music on offer, there is also an extensive marketplace, which is packed to the gills with artisans selling arts and crafts, fashion and clothing, jewellery and accessory, and unique handmade items of practically every description. So eclectic and diverse are the Bay Harbour Market’s wares that you could quite literally shop for your entire extended family in a single day, and then celebrate with an ice-cold bevvy!

Address: 31 Harbour Road, Hout Bay

If it’s variety you’re after, you also can’t go wrong with Mainstream Mall, which, for a shopping mall, is actually a very beautiful place to meander about. With open sky, covered walkways, and manicured gardens leading visitors from one store to the next, Mainstream is anything but, well, mainstream. There is the usual collection of retail brands here (Pick n’ Pay, CAN, Woolworths, Clicks, etc.) but there are also a number of intriguing designer, boutique shops that are perfect for Christmas shopping. Star Dot Toys is your port of call for kids; The Bay Bookshop for book worms; Brand Collective for the seasons latest threads; Sorbet for pamper products; Nap for all things ‘home and décor’; and so much more.

Address: Corner of Princess Street and Main Road, Hout Bay

Red Room Gallery

If it’s variety you’re after, you also can’t go wrong with Mainstream Mall, which, for a shopping mall, is actually a very beautiful place to meander about. With open sky, covered walkways, and manicured gardens leading visitors from one store to the next, Mainstream is anything but, well, mainstream. There is the usual collection of retail brands here (Pick n’ Pay, CAN, Woolworths, Clicks, etc.) but there are also a number of intriguing designer, boutique shops that are perfect for Christmas shopping. Star Dot Toys is your port of call for kids; The Bay Bookshop for book worms; Brand Collective for the seasons latest threads; Sorbet for pamper products; Nap for all things ‘home and décor’; and so much more.

Address: Corner of Princess Street and Main Road, Hout Bay

A gift from Clay Café is the gift of quality time and discovering the joys of artistic expression and creation. So for something a little different and wholly memorable, how about bringing the little ones to the Clay Café to spend the day hand making and painting your very own clay creation? Here, you’re given unfired bisque and colourful paints to create your own masterpieces, and once done with the painting, you can explore the garden and let the little ones enjoy playground, while you relax with a cup of tea and a bite to eat from the café. Once complete, your creation will take around three and a half weeks to be fired and glazed before you can take it home with you.

Address: 177 Main Road. Opposite Bokkemanskloof Estate, Hout Bay

Rockchic Crystal Shop

Rockchic Crystal Shop specializes in gemstone jewellery and beads, as well as all the accessories necessary to make your own, if you want. Using these materials, Rockchic crafts high quality, individually designed, hand-made gemstone jewellery that incorporates the chakras and esoteric symbols like sterling silver Buddha, hill tribe silver, the tree of life, ohm signs, flowers, angel wings, rudraksha and sandalwood beads, mala tassels, and more. In other words, it’s the perfect gift shop for those among us who are enchanted by what lies beyond the veil.

Address: 35 Main Road, Hout Bay

Earthworx Garden World

One of humankind’s biggest problems nowadays is that we just don’t spend much time in nature anymore, and yet it has such a potent restorative effect on us. A beautiful flowering plant, potted herbs, or garden accessory, therefore, makes for a wonderful (albeit unusual) gift. A room can be utterly transformed both visually and in terms of ambiance with the introduction of a colourful flowering plant or a verdant explosion of fern. You might not be able to present it in Christmas wrapping but a decorative bow will do the trick. There’s also a gift shop and an enchanted garden to explore.

Address: 6 Valley Road, corner of Valley and Victoria Roads, Hout Bay