Exploring the Constantia Wine Route And all there is to see, smell, taste, and experience!

The history of the Constantia wine route is so intimately linked with that of the Cape that one cannot tell the story of the one without unintentionally accounting for the other. Constantia was the name of a vast property that carpeted much of the Constantia Valley as we know it today, extending all the way to Steenberg in Tokai. In 1685, this property was given to Simon van der Stel, the VOC (Dutch East India Company) Governor of the Cape of Good Hope. Over the ensuing decades, the property was broken up into the smaller estates of Groot Constantia, Klein Constantia, and Bergvliet, and grape farming took a firm foothold in the lush valley. All these centuries later, there are no less than 10 wine producing estates here, all of which contribute enormously to the rich fabric of the South African wine industry and that, when explored, offer an unforgettable food, wine, cultural, and historic experience. Here’s a peek at what there is to do – as well as a few wine farm recommendations - in the beautiful Constantia Wine Valley…

Wine tasting, naturally

Located on the cool ocean-facing slopes of the Constantiaberg in fecund, iron-rich soils of decomposed granite, Constantia’s vineyards are world-renowned for the quality of the wines they produce, particularly Sauvignon Blanc and other French varietals and blends. And so, any foray into the Constantia Wine Valley deserves a stop at a handful of estates for a wine tasting!

Try: Buitenverwachting (www.buitenverwachting.com) - a portion of the original Constantia Estate owned by Governor Simon van der Stel, this 150-hectare wine estate produces internationally acclaimed wines of great complexity with unique aromatic profiles.

Also: Eagle’s Nest (www.eaglesnestwines.com) - for 195 per person, you can take your wine tasting experience to a whole new level with a VIP wine tasting and guided walking tour in the vineyards (pre-booking is essential).

And definitely: Steenberg Vineyard (www.steenbergfarm.com) - located slightly further afield in Tokai, Steenberg routinely produces beautiful wines of an extraordinary calibre, with bottles so littered with shiny awards they look a little like Christmas trees!

Food, glorious food

What is wine without food? No visit to the Constantia Wine Route is complete without a fine dining (or casual fine dining) experience at one of its gorgeous wine estates. Most of the valley’s 10 estates have restaurants well worth a visit, but here are our favourites….

Try: Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia (www.chefswarehouse.co.za) - Chefs Warehouse, which delivers a multi-course fine dining menu, is one of the country’s best restaurants and routinely appears in the Top 10 of the Mercedes-Benz Eat Out Awards.

Also: Constantia Glen (www.constantiaglen.com) - for a more casual, yet no less delicious dining experience, try Constantia Glen’s short but sweet menu. The views from the tasting room and restaurant are stunning and their mouth-watering flammkuchen (German flatbread pizzas) are delicious.

And definitely: La Colombe at Silvermist (www.lacolombe.co.za) – one of the country’s and, in fact, world’s best restaurants, La Colombe offers an innovative and out-of-this-world gastronomical experience that is pure food theatre and absolutely unforgettable.

History appreciation

The history of Constantia Valley dates back to the very origins of the Cape as a fresh food station for the Dutch East Indian Company ships that were making the perilous journey around the tip of Africa en route to India. With their original Cape Dutch architecture, antique furniture collections, and artworks, many of the wine estates in the valley are serve as reminders of the valley’s multi-century history.

Try: Groot Constantia (www.grootconstantia.co.za) - a portion of the original Constantia owned by Simon van der Stel, this regal estate was also the Commander’s home. Today, visitors are invited to explore its handsome collection of lovingly restored historic buildings, homesteads, and manor house.

Also: Steenberg Estate – Established in 1682 by the indomitable Catherina Ustings Ras from Lübeck, Germany who braved a treacherous ocean crossing and the unknowns of a new continent to establish a farm that is, today, loved for its outstanding food, wine, historic appeal, and hospitality.

And definitely: Klein Constantia (www.kleinconstantia.com) - set amidst ancient trees and lush greenery on the upper foothills of the Constantiaberg, this estate – also part of the original Constantia estate – was declared “one of the most mythical vineyards in the world” by the French Institute des Paysages et Architectures Viticoles (Wine Landscapes and Architecture).

Other attractions

With roots that extend back to 1685, Constantia Uitsig has a long and rich heritage, as well as a firm focus on the future in terms of sustainability. In addition to wine tasting and history, the estate boasts a Heritage Market, a quaint row of cottages featuring the finest artisanal craft producers in their respective fields, including Sushibox, Kirsten’s Kickass Ice-cream, Nest Deli, Kind Kitchen, and Aegir Breweries.

Silvermist Wine Estate is home to a series of ziplines and platforms managed by SA Forest Adventures (www.saforestadventures.co.za), an exhilarating and unforgettable way to experience the high forests and mountains of the Constantia Wine Valley.

Groot Constantia maintains an impressive wine and cultural history museum, allowing visitors a glimpse into the history of the valley and the Cape. It’s also an enchanting place to kick off the day before sitting down to a wine tasting in the Cloete Cellar and lunch at Jonkershuis Restaurant.

DK Villas’ Bird Lover’s Guide to the West Coast

The arid Cape West Coast may at first appear an inhospitable place for any wildlife to flourish but upon closer inspection, the region’s patchwork quilt of coastal fynbos, succulent Karoo, estuaries, lagoons, beaches, harbours, mountainous landscapes, and pristine wilderness areas supports a staggering diversity of both animals and birdlife. And it’s in pursuit of the latter that scores upon scores of birding enthusiasts travel from all over the Cape, country, continent, and even world to experience in the (flesh) feathers.

The Cape West Coast offers a variety of top birding destinations, with no less than seven Important Bird Areas (IBA’s) registered with BirdLife International. Put simply, it is a birdwatcher’s paradise, home to hundreds of species of birds, many of which are endemic or endangered or incredibly rare to sight. Even if you aren’t a birdwatcher, the West Coast’s rich diversity of colourful sunbirds, soaring raptors, and quirky waders might just make a convert out of you.

Here’s a guide for bird lovers visiting our glorious part of the world….

Lower Berg River Wetlands

The Lower Berg River Wetlands around Velddrif (10 to 15 minutes drive south from DK Villas’ beach cottage in Dwarskersbos) is considered a top birding destination along the Cape West Coast. Here, tidal mudflats classified as an Important Bird Area IBA SA 104 are home to an impressive 127 water birds and 93 terrestrial species, of which 25 are of national importance and at least 5 Red Data listed species. The Lower Berg River also features diverse habitats from the afore-mentioned mudflats to salt pans and a saltwater estuary. Rarities found in the area in the past include the black-tailed and Hudsonian godwit, little blue heron, common redshank, and lesser yellowlegs.

Olifants River estuary

Located about an hour’s drive north of the bird colony at Lamberts Bay, lies the Olifants River estuary, one of only four perennial estuaries on the West Coast, which drains the second largest catchment area in South Africa. 127 Bird species have been recorded in the Olifants River estuary with birdwatchers flocking here to witness its variety of rare, threatened species, from lesser and greater flamingos to Caspian terns, African black oystercatchers, and African marsh and black harriers. In addition, great white pelicans from Dassen Island breeding grounds make use of the estuary as a key foraging and roosting area during the non-breeding season.

Bird Island at Lambert’s Bay

The staggering Cape gannet colony of the Bird Island Nature Reserves lies a short 100 m off the shore of Lambert’s Bay, an hour and 15 minutes’ drive Dwarskersbos. Here, visitors are treated to the rare opportunity to see (and, unfortunately, smell) the beautiful blue-eyed and yellow-headed Cape gannets, as well as many other marine bird species, up close and personal. Cape fur seals can be seen sunning themselves on the island’s rocks. The three-hectare island is one of only six breeding grounds in the world for this particular bird species and it is easily accessible to the public. Please do note that there is currently scheduled maintenance work being done on the Bird Island Nature Reserve’s bird hide, which will be reopening again on 13th March 2020.

Cederberg Wilderness Area

Considered one of the best examples of the Cape Fold Mountains, the Cederberg is one of the precious few places on Earth where Fynbos is the reigning floral kingdom. It’s a dramatic landscape of grand scale in both of the axes, with vast plains and boulder-strewn slopes soaring skywards into craggy cliff-faces and rocky pinnacles. Birdwatchers flock here to observe the bird species that are endemic to this biome, such as Cape sugarbirds, orange-breasted sunbirds, and Cape siskin. The area is also home to yellow bishop, Karoo scrub-robin, Karoo prinia, Cape robin-thrush, Cape bunting, and several nesting pairs of Verreaux’s eagles, enormous black raptors that surf the daytime thermals.

West Coast National Park

Sprawling to the south of the coastal town of Langebaan, an approximate 45-minutes’ drive from Dwarskersbos in the north, you’ll discover the West Coast National Park, which pristinely preserves the indigenous flora and fauna of the area. The reserve is sandwiched between the Atlantic Ocean to the west and R27 coastal highway to the east and is known and loved for its spectacular display of wild flowers in spring, gorgeous landscapes, array of wildlife, and diversity of birdlife. In late spring, large numbers of Palaearctic migrants arrive in the reserve and in summer the park transforms into a prime site for waders, rarities of which include common redshank, Eurasian curlew, broad-billed sandpiper, Terek sandpiper, great knot, and lesser sand plover.

Rocherpan Nature Reserve

Rocherpan is a coastal nature reserve teeming with birds and colourful wildflowers, particularly in the spring. Part of the Cape Nature Group, the 930-hectare reserve lies 10 km north of Dwarskersbos and consists largely of a seasonal vlei that is usually dry between March and June. During winter, however, it receives the water it needs to host a riveting array of fauna, flora, and birdlife – up to 183 different species thereof! African purple swamphen, black crowned night heron, Cape shoveller, greater flamingo, glossy ibis, and sandwich tern are just a few of the many common, resident species of birds visitors can hope to spot here.

Birdwatching the Cape West Coast

It’s owing to the diversity of landscapes along the Cape West Coast that such an incredible celebration of birdlife can be found here. The coastal areas, lagoons, and beaches are home to marine birds, waders, and even the occasional rare migrant; while the coastal fynbos and semi-arid Karoo biomes support a plethora of smaller bird species and larger raptors. And we here at dk villas encourage you to explore it all!

Just ask us

For more information on Dwarskersbos and its surrounding activities, places to see, restaurants at which to eat, and things to do, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Johann de Kock at info@dkvillas.co.za.

Time for School Holidays! Here are a Few Fun, Family-Friendly Ideas for Exploring Cape Town

The school holidays are upon us and with the long days of blissful freedom comes the inevitable whine of kids: “I’m booooored!” Thankfully, there is no shortage of fun, family-friendly activities in Cape Town – activities that are just as engaging for mom and dad as they are for the little ones! Here are a few of our recommendations for families visiting Cape Town….

Experience the Art of “Paintertainment” with Art Jamming


Unleash your inner Picasso, Rembrandt, or even Andy Warhol with Art Jamming; a fun, engaging, and wholly unique activity that is guaranteed to put your artistic talent to the test. They supply the tools (canvases of varying sizes, a spectrum of paint colours, and brushes) and you just let loose your creativity. Art Jamming allows each and every participant to create his or her masterpiece in an interactive environment and have enormous fun in the process. There are two studios in Cape Town: (1) Shop G26 Willowbridge, Carl Cronje Ave, Tygervalley, Bellville and above Toy Kingdom at the V & A Waterfront.

Explore Mother City Icon, Table Mountain


Take the kids on an exhilarating pilgrimage to the top of Cape Town’s iconic mountain. Once at the top, you could spend hours admiring the incredible city, ocean, and peninsula views and wandering the network of pathways that wind around the mountain’s fynbos-carpeted summit. Look out for colourful agama lizards and sunbathing rock hyraxes (known locally as “dassies” – small, rabbit-like animals with sombre faces). You can take a picnic with you or, alternatively, stop at the Table Mountain Café for a family-friendly lunch.

Get Your Hands Dirty at The Clay Café in Hout Bay


Who doesn’t love using their hands to make things? The Clay Café in Hout Bay is all about crafting something unique, which is then fired and painted so that you can take your creation home with you to use and admire. Whether you want to make a vase, a mug, a plate, or even just something decorative, the Clay Café provides families with the guidance they need to create something meaningful. They even have a decent (and licensed) on-site restaurant and a huge garden for kids to play in.

Address: 4080 Main Road, Hout Bay

Volunteer at an Animal Shelter

Teaching kids to take pleasure in helping those less fortunate than ourselves is an incredibly important lesson and what better classroom could there be than an animal shelter? There are several – the SPCA, DARG, F.A.L.L.E.N Angels, and Uitsig Animal Rescue - all over Cape Town and they readily accept help from volunteers to walk the dogs, help kittens become accustomed to loving contact, groom horses, clean cages, and more. Volunteers get the pleasure of interacting with the animals and knowing that their time and energy is helping them live more comfortable, love-filled lives.

Hike Up Lion’s Head

Right next door to Table Mountain is another of Cape Town’s iconic mountains: Lion’s Head. There is a short 1-2-long hike to the top, the summit of which reveals panoramic views of the city, peninsula mountains, and up the West Coast of the subcontinent. The hike is extremely popular for people of all ages and fitness levels and families with clutches of small children are a dime a dozen along the route. Just keep a sharp eye on your little ones because there are some steep drop-offs and, in parts, hair-raising climbing to be done.

Kenilworth Go-Karting


The need for speed is an affliction that hits hard during childhood and while it might fade with age, it only takes one lap in a go-kart at the Kenilworth racetrack to bring it screaming back to life. A ticket gets racers 10 laps around the 310-meter course and a lifetime of adoration from your kids (and husband). There are lightweight 140cc vehicles and a junior track specifically for younger racers (shorter than 1.5 meters) so you can rest assured that they’ll be safe.

Address: 10 Myhoff Road, Claremont, Cape Town

Visit 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

Iziko Museum and Planetarium

Located on Queen Victoria Street in the heart of Cape Town, you’ll discover a cultural haven at which a family could easily spend an entire day: the Iziko Natural History Museum and Planetarium. The museum maintains a beguiling record of South African history from well before the arrival of the settlers until well after. There are life-like and life-sized replicas of dinosaurs and whales, which kids will love, and an extensive collection of Africa’s (taxidermied) birds and beasts. Attached to the museum is the Iziko Planetarium, which has just recently been revamped and updated. Here, visitors are invited to sit all the way back in their recliner seats and watch as a fascinating digital show about the stars, constellations, and universe unfurls on the darkened dome above.

Explore the Cape’s Natural Wonders at Kirstenbosch National 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. When the kids get hungry, you can stop in at the Kirstenbosch Tea Room (ktr.co.za) for a lovely menu of family-friendly treats – they also prepare picnics while you wait, which you can take into the gardens to enjoy.

Address: Rhodes Drive, Newlands, Cape Town

Learn to Rock at the School of Rock Cape Town


If there were one skill virtually no one would turn down, it would be the ability to make music. Now, with the School of Rock opening its doors in Cape Town, the entire family can sign up for a totally rockin’ adventure that will put an instrument in their hands and a stage under their feet to experience a thrill that very few ever get to. There are a variety of performance-based courses, programmes, and camps to choose from (depending on age and experience) but the goal is the same: “to inspire the world to rock on stage and in life.”

Address: Suite 202, 2nd Floor Standard Bank Galleria, 120 Main Road, Claremont

Feed the Squirrels in the Company Gardens

In 1650, the first European settlers in the Cape established the Company Gardens, the original task of which was to grow fruits and vegetables to refresh and restock the merchant ships travelling to India via the Cape. Today, the Company Gardens are beautifully kept and a wondrous, historic place for families to explore by foot. We recommend a winding walk through the garden’s various attractions: the rose garden, bird aviary, minute forests, and past the historic buildings that line Governors Avenue. Here, you’ll find vendors selling snacks so why not purchase the kids a packet of peanuts, get comfortable on one of the gardens’ many lawns, and encourage them to entice the resident squirrels – of which there are scores – to eat the nuts out of their hands?

Cape Town Science Centre


Expose your children to the fascinating realm of science from an early age and open their minds to its fathomless fields of wonder. You might even learn something in the process too! The Cape Town Science Centre is a not-for-profit attraction that offers up a smorgasbord of exhibitions, awesome experiments, and interactive discoveries to keep the whole family delighted and engaged. They also run workshops and science camps over the school holidays so go to the website to check out their programmes.

Address: 370B Main Road, Observatory, Cape Town

Take the Kids to the World of Birds Sanctuary


The World of Birds Wildlife Sanctuary and Monkey Park is an enchanting daylong activity that immerses visitors 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 families visiting Hout Bay.

Address: Valley Road, Hout Bay

Go Diggin’ at the Scratch Patch, V & A Waterfront


The Scratch Patch is a total gem (pun intended) tucked away across the road from the V & A Waterfront’s revamped warehouse district, although the original is in Simon’s Town. With shimmering glass cases full of glittering crystals, colourful rock specimens, and jewellery and a veritable treasure of polished semi-precious stones on the floor of the Scratch Patch den, any self-respecting adventurer could keep busy for hours! The entry to Mineral World is free, but it costs between R25 and R130 to fill a small to large bag up with pebbles from the Scratch Patch.

Play a little Cave Golf


Literally right next door to the Scratch Patch is the aptly named Cave Golf: an 18-hole indoor putt-putt course located in a moodily-lit room that’s been elaborately done up as a cave, complete with running streams and low-hanging rock ceilings (in places). It’s deceptively tricky at times, making it a decent challenge for the whole family. A round of golf only costs R30 per player (R25 for groups of 10 or more) with a refundable deposit of R20.

Cape Town’s Craft Gin Scene and Where You Can Go to Get Your G&T On

If you love a chilled glass of gin & tonic like we do, then a night dedicated to the enjoyment of our local craft gin scene will sound like a brilliant idea any day of the week! Here are some fabulous gin spots to check out….

With a name like that, there simply has to be a succculent selection of botanical, locally-crafted gins on its menu. And there are! A part of the Copper Collection, which includes the Copper Club Eatery at the Tyger Waterfront and Patina Steak & Fine Wine Restaurant on Dean Street in Newlands, Botany Cocktail Lounge is the perfect go-to spot for indulgent after-work gin cocktails. On the menu, you’ll find 34 craft gins and a handsome selection of tapas to nibble on.

Address: Newlands Quarter, Corner of Dean and Main Street, Newlands

Cause Effect Cocktail Lounge


Cause Effect is to cocktails what fine dining is to food. Located on Park Street in the heart of Cape Town, this trendy establishment specialises in innovative mixology, the likes, flavours, colours, and aromas of which – it’s safe to say - you’ve never experienced before. A decent portion of their extensive cocktail list is dedicated to local craft gins, which are used to concoct both innovative new creations and old favourites, wholly reimagined and executed with remarkable skill, precision, and passion with a shot of the bartender’s personality thrown in.

Address: 2A Park Road, Gardens, Cape Town. There’s also a new branch at the V & A Waterfront.

Harringtons Cocktail Lounge


The super sultry and oh-so sexy Harrington’s Cocktail Lounge serves up delicious cocktails – plenty of gin options and locally crafted gin labels - and food in a venue dressed in warm woods, plush sofas, botanical art, and trendy music. It’s an opulent yet laid-back lounge – really popular amongst locals, particularly for after-work cocktails - located smack back in the centre of Cape Town on the up-and-coming Harrington Street.

Address: 61B Harrington St, Zonnebloem, Cape Town

Hope on Hopkins Distillery, Salt River


Ex-lawyers Lucy Beard and Leigh Lisk abandoned the rat race to chase a dream, which has culminated in the Hope on Hopkins Distillery. This small urban distillery, the very first in the Mother City, has been supplying gin lovers with much mirth and quality craft gin ever since. Together with esteemed South African craft distiller, Roger Jorgensen, they formulate Musgrave Gin from botanicals chosen by Musgrave Gin founder, Simone Musgrave. Hope on Hopkins Distillery also offers distillery tours by appointment.

Address: 7 Hopkins Street, Salt River, Cape Town

Inverroche Distillery, Stilbaai


Here’s a reason to trek 340 km east through road works, stop-and-goes, and some of the Cape’s most spectacular and dramatic mountainscapes: the best darn craft gin you’ll find this side of Cape Agulhas! In 2012, Inverroche Gin Distillery put down its roots a stone’s throw outside the town of Stilbaai and it has been offering locals and visitors alike an excellent reason to get pickled on quality craft gin ever since. Here, you can visit for a gin tasting, learn how to make your own craft gin, and indulge in G&T ice-cream.

Address: R323, Still Bay East, Still Bay / Stilbaai

New Harbour Distillery, Macassar


New Harbour Distillery is an experimental micro distillery that crafts small batches of artisanal, nature-influenced gins. Using locally sourced fynbos botanicals, such as spekboom, the New Harbour Distillery produces delicious gins and even gives back by donating R100 of every private collection bottle purchased to the Flower Valley Conservation Trust. They also run a “Gin Lab” in Woodstock, which offers three-hour classes on gin-making.

Address: The Distillery is located at Firgrove Industrial Park Unit 4, 5 Firgrove way, Macassar

Pienaar and Son Distilling Company, CBD


Go for a tasting and a tour at Pienaar & Son, a small craft distillery in the centre of Cape Town, a stone’s throw from Parliament. Here, an appreciation for traditional craft distilling is greatly expanded upon by the father-and-son team’s love of innovation, which explains their nerdy engineering principles and collection of cutting edge equipment. They produce two sensational gins – Empire and Orient - that would be the envy of any gin lover’s liquor cabinet.

Address: 1 Roeland Terrace, Cape Town City Centre

The Botanical Bar, CBD


Not to be confused with Botany Bar (Newlands), the Botanical Bar (Longmarket Street in town) is sister to The Gin Bar (Wale Street). Are you following? Here, there is a keen focus on foraged local ingredients and botanicals from the Cape Floral Kingdom, which they use to craft home-made bitters, liquers, and cocktails. They make a wicked assortment of delicious and refreshing drinks from lightly pickled fruit mixtures laced with gin and soda water.

Address: 160 Longmarket St, Cape Town

The Gin Lab Experience at the Twelve Apostles


The Conservatory at the Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa offers a daily gin tasting experience (from 11am onwards) hosted by the hotel’s talented bar team. The experience consists of a flight of three local gins paired with three different tonic waters and a variety of botanicals and spices, which guests can use to concoct their own uniquely crafted blend. Alternatively, or perhaps additionally, you can sign up for a gin and canapé tasting experience specially designed by Chef Nicholas Goldschmidt, also available daily from 11am onwards, although 24 hours’ notice is required for bookings.

Address: The Conservatory, Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa, Victoria Street, Camps Bay

The (Secret) Gin Bar, CBD


Tucked away behind Honest Chocolate on Wale Street in Cape Town’s city centre, you’ll find a rather sexy, speakeasy style bar with a Mediterranean vibe and a staggering collection of 118 gins from all over the world, 52 of which are from local distilleries right here in South Africa. The Gin Bar – nicknamed the “Secret Gin Bar” by Capetonians for its tucked-away location - delivers a vast smorgasbord of gin cocktails and remedies for everyday maladies such as “impulse buying, arrogance, big car syndrome, and lust.”

Address: 64A Wale St, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town

The Stack, Gardens


Cliché or not, there’s simply no better way to describe The Stack other than to call it a “hidden gem”. The Stack is, all at once, a restaurant, bar, cocktail lounge, and member’s club but to those who frequent this flamboyantly designed establishment, it’s the best cocktail in Cape Town and a smiling barman who knows you by name. They offer a well-curated list of gins and their cocktails are as varied as they are innovative. Oh, and they go for half-price from 15:00 to 18:00, Mondays to Saturdays!

By the way: Try The Stack’s eponymous cocktail – a mix of gin-soaked rosemary and lavender topped up with tonic water and juniper berries.

Address: 7 Weltevreden Street, Gardens Cape Town

The Twankey Bar, Taj Hotel

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The Twankey Bar is a sophisticated, yet edgy bar located in the Taj Hotel on the corner of Wale and Adderley Streets. Award-winning mixologist AJ Snetler is the proverbial captain of the ship and the genius behind their extensive and ever-changing list of decadent cocktails, many of which position gin as the star ingredient. If you want to appreciate cocktails as an art form, rather than just a way to get your buzz on, head over to Twankey Bar where the cocktails are mixed in a variety of curious ways, such as teapot brewing and wood-chip smoking.

Address: The Taj Hotel, 1 Wale Street, Cape Town

Wilderer Estate and Distillery, Cape Winelands


Wilderer is not only South Africa’s first private distillery, but also the most awarded, with over 70 international medals and awards, including many Gold and Double Gold Medals. Wilderer has two tasting rooms where you can also sit down for a delicious meal. Ristorante Pappa Grappa (located just outside Paarl, on the R45 to Franschhoek) is one of the winelands' best loved restaurants and here, you can taste and buy all Wilderer’s fine spirits. The tasting room at La Grapperia Pizza & Bistro is located at the celebrated Spice Route Wine Estate.

Address: Wilderer Distillery & Ristorante Pappa Grappa: R45, Simondium Paarl | Paarl Wilderer Distillery & La Grapperia Pizza & Bistro: Spice Route Wine Estate, Suid-Agter Paarl Road, Suider-Paarl

Woodstock Gin Company, Woodstock


Located adjacent to the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock, the Woodstock Gin Co. strives to handcrafted premium gins of a calibre that would make even the Brits turn their heads. Their flagship gin, called Inception, is a unique, elegantly smooth and herbaceous gin with subtle undertones of their fynbos blend, which includes rooibos, buchu, and wild rosemary. The distillery is open Monday to Satuday for gin tastings, which can be enjoyed neat or mixed with Woodstock Gin Co.’s house-made tonics.

Address: 399 Albert Road, Woodstock, Cape Town

One Week in Cape Town and the Treasures that Await!

There is so much to do and see in Cape Town. So much, in fact, that any visitor with limited time will find themselves with a real conundrum on their hands: what to do? What are the top must-see attractions? We’ve called Cape Town home for decades and we are still discovering hidden gems on our explorations. So, for those with limited time and a raging appetite for adventure, here are some unmissable treats the Mother City has in store for you.

Victoria & Alfred Waterfront


The Cape Town harbour is a huge draw to tourists and locals alike because of its enormous upmarket shopping mall, which sprawls out alongside the harbour, its waterside restaurants with stunning views of docked boats, and great Ferris wheel. Here, there is the full spectrum of entertainment for the whole family: boat rides, free live performances in the amphitheatre, sundowner cruises, retail therapy, causal to fine dining, a Scratch Patch (den selling semi-precious stones), cave mini-golf, arts and crafts market, and even an evening comedy venue. The V & A Waterfront is also home to some of the city’s finest hotels, restaurants, and the world famous ZEITZ MOCAA contemporary African art gallery. It’s a top cultural and culinary destination and we always recommend a visit to our guests.

Cable Car up Table Mountain


If you’re a fitness junkie, you can always hike up Table Mountain but for most people, the journey to the top of Cape Town’s iconic mountain is done by cable car, which only takes a few minutes yet makes for an exhilarating experience. Once at the top, you could spend hours just wandering the network of pathways that wind around the mountain’s boulder-strewn, fynbos-carpeted summit. Look out for the many endemic bird species that live here, like the orange-breasted sunbird and Cape sugarbird. Also keep an eye out for colourful agama lizards and sunbathing rock hyraxes (known locally as “dassies” – small, rabbit-like animals with sombre faces). For refreshments, there’s the Table Mountain Café and the Wi-Fi lounge and, for souvenirs, the Shop at the Top.

Hike Up Lion’s Head

Right next door to Table Mountain is another of Cape Town’s iconic mountains: Lion’s Head. There is a short 1-2-long hike to the top, the summit of which reveals panoramic views of the city, peninsula mountains, and up the West Coast of the subcontinent. The hike is fairly strenuous towards the end but seems to attract people of all fitness levels in their droves so pick your timing carefully or else you will find yourself standing in queues halfway up the mountain! The scenery along the way is just as gorgeous with lots of indigenous mountain fynbos and birdlife to be seen. We recommend an early morning hike to the top, followed by breakfast somewhere in the city bowl.

Iziko Museum and Planetarium


Located on Queen Victoria Street in the heart of Cape Town, you’ll discover a cultural haven at which you can easily spend an entire day: the Iziko Natural History Museum and Planetarium. The museum maintains a beguiling record of South African history from well before the arrival of the settlers until well after. There are life-like and life-sized replicas of dinosaurs and whales, and an extensive collection of Africa’s (taxidermied) birds and beasts. Attached to the museum is the Iziko Planetarium, which has just recently been revamped and updated. Here, visitors are invited to sit all the way back in their recliner seats and watch as a fascinating digital show about the stars, constellations, and universe unfurls on the darkened dome above.

For art lovers: right next door to the museum is the South African National Gallery, which sheds an interesting, educational, and inspiring lens on the country, the world, and its people.

Meander Through the Company Gardens

In 1650, the first European settlers in the Cape established the Company Gardens, the original task of which was to grow fruits and vegetables to refresh and restock the merchant ships travelling to India via the Cape. Today, the Company Gardens are beautifully kept and a wondrous, historic place to explore by foot. We recommend a winding walk through the garden’s various attractions: the rose garden, bird aviary, minute forests, and past the historic buildings that line Governors Avenue. Please do be careful with your belongings. It is a public park and there tend to be quite a few vagrants about.

Go on a Free Walking Tour


The city runs free, guided walking tours that depart every day, twice a day, from Greenmarket Square in the city centre. These walking tours expose visitors to our rich, yet troubled history and diverse culture, offering up titbits of advice on things to see, places to eat, and where to grab a beer or cocktail afterwards. The tours are completely free (you can tip the guides at the end) and are run by knowledgeable guides with big personalities.

Spend a Day in the Cape Winelands

No visit to Cape Town is complete without a day (or several days) spent in the Cape Winelands! Even if you aren’t a wine-drinker, the scenery of vineyards, farmlands, and Cape Dutch homesteads set against a dramatic backdrop of mountains is astounding. Few other places tell the history of the Cape quite like a centuries-old wine estate and there is no shortage of those to explore. The best-known wine routes are Constantia, Stellenbosch, and Franschhoek all of which offer gorgeous views, top-notch wines, and delicious food.

Culinary Trawl of Cape Town’s hotspot Bree Street

And finally, there’s no better way to conclude a day in the Cape than with a hearty dinner, washed down with good wine or an inventive cocktail. Bree Street in town is regarded as the city’s culinary hot spot and there are plenty of restaurants and cafés here offering unique, delicious, romantic, and innovative dining experiences. Some recommendations include La Tête (for nose-to-tail, farm-to-fork gastronomy); Bocca and True Italic Osteria (for Italian dishes made with love); and SeaBreeze Fish & Shell (for fresh, inventive seafood).

For other recommendations, check out our previous blog on DK Villas’ Favourite Cape Town Restaurants!

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 (ktr.co.za) – they also prepare picnics while you wait – or sit down at the more formal Moyo at Kirstenbosch (www.moyo.co.za/moyo-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 (www.whalewatchsa.com) and Simon’s Town Boat Company (www.boatcompany.co.za) 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 (www.tablemountainnationalpark.org) 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 (www.drumbeatcharters.co.za) 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 (www.sealsnorkeling.com) 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: www.westerncape.gov.za/facility/hout-bay-museum

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 Booking.com’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 Booking.com’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 Booking.com.

What is the Traveller Review Awards all about?

The Booking.com 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 Booking.com 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 Booking.com?

Booking.com 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, Booking.com 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!