Well, the silly season is upon us, no matter if you are living in the northern hemisphere or the southern hemisphere.
The advantage of living in the southern hemisphere at this time of year, is that the sun is out, the skies are clear and the days are long – especially in Cape Town, South Africa. So packing a bag and booking a flight to the city that offers the most fun in the sun, might sound like an excellent plan to get the very best out of your silly season.
Just think… no comments about dry turkey on Christmas day – no last minute scramble (if you are in the UK) for heirloom veg at Daylesford Organic or for whole-grain mustard at Tegut-Markt if you find yourself knee-deep in the snow in Germany. Just fly into a city with plenty of sea and sky and ample opportunities to indulge in food and summer activities.
Our beaches are already filled with golden-skinned sun worshippers enjoying the taste of delicious melting soft serve ice-cream, the smell of coconut oil, the distant sound of squawking seagulls and the feel of our soft-grain sand between one’s toes. With its majestic Table Mountain backdrop, Cape Town has more than 70 peaks above 300m (980 ft) within its official city limits – once you have settled down on a pearly white beach, you can spend hours enjoying the unbeatable vistas of our endless turquoise waters and the beauty of our mountains – and there you have it, all five senses employed and you’re on the beach! No disgruntled family members holed up around a fire in woolly jumpers… rather excited members of the family wearing traditional shweshwe (local printed material), summer bitty things, flip flops (flat backless sandal) and fashionable sunhats. All of this could be found on the stretch of coastline called the Atlantic Seaboard, home to an entire plethora of properties that SeaSky villas has to offer. The area is also known as Cape Town’s “riviera”, stretching from the V&A Waterfront on the north shore of Table Mountain, as far as Hout Bay.
Cape Town is so much more than just sea and sky, yet, within these two words we offer a world of affordable luxury: sun and sea, some of the world’s most exquisite scenic routes and nature drives, excellent food, a vibey night life, reliable transport, great markets, friendly people and affordable luxury accommodation at SeaSky villas on the
Atlantic SeaBoard Platinum mile.
Speak local: Capetonians love their local slang and enjoy good-humoured bantering with visitors. Fun words include flip flops, also known here as “stropes” or “plakkies” and Howzit (pronounced How-zit) – it is another way of saying how are you? “Howzit bru (brother)?”
We encourage you to plan your activities to get the most out of your holiday.
Book a ride on the cable car to the top of Table Mountain (this is a must)! You can also hike on Lion’s Head (the distinct slope next to Table Mountain); it offers magnificent views of the city, Table Bay and the Atlantic Ocean and you might even be able to see your villa from up there! No visitor should ever leave Cape Town without having been on Table Mountain – it is the iconic natural landmark of the city and a world heritage site.
Once on top of the mountain, refreshment could be in the form of your own picnic, or you can purchase light snacks at the cafeteria. One of my favourite times to take the cable car is at sunset – it is like sitting in a cathedral in the clouds, while you watch the burning summer sun sink lower and lower into the Atlantic Ocean until that last and final blip… and then it’s gone in a flash and twilight has arrived. A truly magical moment – when you feel as if all wrongs can be righted.
An integral feature of the city slopes is the Table Mountain Nature reserve, spanning some 30 000 hectares of Fynbos (our indigenous Cape flora).
On a visit to Cape Town, you might even experience the “Cape Doctor” – our south-easterly blustery wind that is responsible for the white cloud cloth which cascades down the table legs. This fearsome dame earned her name due to local folklore, according to which “she blows away all disease and ills”.
“flying” off the top of Signal Hill or Lion’s Head is another “must”. If you have an adventurous spirit and enjoy the thrill of a dare, then this is for you! The two lower mountains form part of the Table Mountain trunk that graces the city bowl. Whenever it is a clear day in Cape Town, visitors will see brightly-coloured human kites launching themselves off precipices and ledges, descending to the beaches amidst breathtaking views of the city, the mountains and the ocean.
Take an adventurous trip to this small rugged island, seven kilometers off our mainland. It was once home to political prisoners in the darker listless period of our country. Home for eighteen of his twenty-seven-year prison sentence, to the Father of Change in our land, the one and only Nelson Mandela. You will recognise his history; and his tireless vision and belief in a better land and a strong democracy for all South Africans will touch your heart. Here you will once again, meet the Dassie and be able to walk through the hallowed halls of the now vacant prison. Share the wonder of our history while climbing up the most rickety, quirky flight of stairs, (meant, I’m sure, for elves and fairies) to see the view from atop the local lighthouse.
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens:
these carefully curated gardens lie on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, facing the Cape Flats (the flat area lying between Table Bay and False Bay). We are exceptionally proud of this National Botanical treasure, as it is a truly glorious fiesta celebrating the Cape Fynbos Floral Kingdom. It is home to the Cape Protea, our national flower (a hardy beauty of tough bark-like stem and intricate stamens and petals sporting hues from deep reds to soft pinks, mixed with minty whites). Kirstenbosch Gardens span just more than five hundred hectares – here, you have a good reason to completely lose time between its many hills and dales, rolling lawns and cool mountain pools hidden between the lush indigenous gardens. It is a fabulous place to spend time with a young family as well as the much-older generation. There are lovely places to have tea, lunch and buy pressies with a local stamp – something to take back home as gifts and souvenirs.
Among many local arts and crafts to choose from, you will find Protea-inspired napkins and tablecloths and cute soft toys depicting our penguins and whales.
In the height of summer (this is from about November to March), the gardens host summer concerts at sunset. It is simply a sterling way to start the week ahead, enjoying a lazy Sunday afternoon listening to home grown musical talent, sharing your picnic blanket with your nearest and dearest.
The southern peninsula:
ready to visit gorgeous rock pools with clear waters and small sandy beaches?
This is a rugged stretch of coastline facing into False Bay, known to South Africans as the home of the penguin. Boulders Beach, Simonstown is a great spot for people with young families. You can pack your picnic basket, buckets and spades and don’t forget the over-sized hats and sun cream. All of the beaches on this coastline are on the Indian Ocean, and this means warmer waters and breathtaking views of the Hottentots Holland mountain range. It’s a quirkier coastline with smaller villages and towns, along the way.
Loads of eateries offering the best-tasting honest simple food, fresh line fish straight out of the bay, hot artisanal bread and croissants. Kalk bay in particular is dotted with tiny shops from yesteryear and markets offering vintage wares ranging from clothing to table lamps, silver handmade jewelry and bohemian accessories. There is a lot to enjoy… take your time, embrace the sunshine and stay on your set budget.
I have only mentioned a handful of gorgeous enticing places to visit and things to do, all within a forty-minute drive from your base at any of the SeaSky villas. And believe me, I haven’t even scratched the surface.
What are you waiting for… ditch that turkey and the gammon and grab your suitcase!