Richard's South Africa Travel Tips

Laborie Vineyard Restaurant in Paarl

Right above Paarl lie the vineyards of Laborie. They do the regular wine tasting there but I am not too keen on the wine. They have an excellent sweet wine though, the Pineau de Laborie which is reasonably priced and can also be bought in a nice gift arrangement with 2 glasses. The highlight, however, is the restaurant. Situated underneath magnificent trees you can enjoy a delicious meal with a view over Paarl form their terrace. I've been there several times and can vouch for the Chicken Maroccan salad. I believe the other dishes are also good. See thier website

Moyo Restaurant

All good restaurants spawn chains in South Africa. Moyo is no exception. There's one in Melrose Arch in Johannesburg as well as in the Market Theatre. There's also a huge one in Spier, within driving distance of Cape Town. This one is huge with tents and stuff. You get an African experience. Artists come round and paint your face. You choose ethinc African dishes and if they fear you might be letting yourself in for something you might not like they will fetch you a sampler from the kitchen. The food is delicious. There's a stage and usually some chap with a giutar. A great place to go for a meal! A review of the Johannesburg Moyo. Spier Moyo

Rhino & Lion park, north of Johannesburg

If you can't get to Krüger Park stop off in the Rhino & Lion park. Best is a Sunday because the lions are fed then. They also have tigers in the park. I was able to play with a 7 weeks old tiger cub there! Their website, my visit

Montecasino - A casino done like an italian village

Fascinating architecture; it looks just like the postcards of italy. Only that the dilapidation is painted on the walls rather than real. Also the dirt and noise of real Italy is absent. Amazing. Located in the North of Johannesburg. Don't take picutres in the casino unless you feel like explaining to security all about your photographic assignments! Website

Market Theatre

Located in the South of Johannesburg I've watched some good plays there. Website

Chez Vincent, Bed and Breakfast, Nelspruit

An excellent place to stay for a night. French originating Vincent runs a spotless place with his wife in Nelspruit just outside the Krüger Park. His Breakfast is divine! website

Nanni's Paradise Swiss Lodge

A few miles off the road from Joburg to Nelspruit just outside Nelspruit lies the Bed and Breakfast run by Lotti and Franz Nanni. Spotless fully equiped Chalets await the guest. The garden is Franz's passion and he will gladly take the guests on a fascinating tour. Living so far from Switzerland they love to talk Swiss German and Franz will play the Alphorn on special days. website

Tsitsikamma Treetop Gliding

Located far East of Cape Town (perhaps 800km?) is the Storm River Mouth. Enterprising South Africans have copied the idea seen in Costa Rica and now offer a treetop gliding tour. Excellent fun if on the expensive side. You are hooked in a harness and slide along steel ropes from tree to tree. Nothing for people who fear hights. Website

Avlon Springs, Montagu, Western Cape

A warm water spring, Avlon Springs in Montagu can be reached from Cape Town in a day trip albeit a long one. They accept day visitors to their pools but will tell you to get out out the residents only pool if you stray there. website. I noted from Sonja and Eugen's trip that this could be combined with a visit to Rietfontein Farm.

Caledon Spa

Out behind Cape Town behind the toll tunnel somewhere is Caledon Spa. It's on my list of places to see. http://www.cnty.com/casinos/caledon/spa-wellness-centre

Bela-Bela (renamed from Warmbaths) Forever (Aventura) Resort

This hot spring is 100km north of Pretoria. They have large outdoor pools. http://www.foreversa.co.za/warmbaths/warmbaths.htm

Forever Resorts Swadini

Fantastic place to stay in the Limpopo province. Loads of well equipped chalets and cool scenery. http://www.foreversa.co.za/swadini/swadini.htm

Ratanga Junction Theme Park

Right behind Sandra's place, next to Canal Walk shopping center on the N1 outside Cape Town is the Ratanga Junction Theme Park. They have excellent rides but have a strange policy of closing early. If the bird guy is still doing his bird show that was really amazing and you'll learn a lot about large birds. http://www.ratanga.co.za/

Kite Surfing in Blouberg

Contact Cabrinha to book classes. Call ahead of time and be flexible as more often than not the wind is not quite right.

Boulder Bay Penguins

From Cape Town take an excursion to Simon's Town and have a look at the Penguins on Boulder Bay. Try to combine this with a drive over Chapman’s Peak drive (toll road) which is spectacular. http://www.simonstown.com/tourism/penguins/penguins.htm

Blue Peter

Head up along the Bloubergstrand to the Blue Peter Hotel. A sensational location for sitting on the steps or the lawn, having a pint and enjoying the blue sky and the view over Cape Town and Table Mountain. The Pizza's are not as bad as Sandra makes them out to be any more. link

On The Rocks

When you get hungry in Blouberg head for the On The Rocks restaurant. Pricy but excellent with fantastic views on Cape Town. future website

Gordons Bay - Whale Watching

I've never done it but apparently in Season around Gordon's Bay there is Whale Watching to be done: website

Maestros

I know of two Maestros restaurants in Cape Town. One is in Town on one of those long streets that go up the hill. The food was good but pricey. When I was there with Jay we saw some rhodent scurry across the floor. Perhaps it's hard to keep vermin out of old houses but if you don't the next thing will be the Cobras coming after them and those are customers you perfer not to have. The second restaurant is on the newly built up lagoon in front of Milnerton. It has a fantastic view over the ocean but for an evening meal it's not ideal as the panoramic windows will just open up on a black ocean with the odd spec of a freighter in it.

Matjiesfontein

Never been there but it comes highly recommended as a quaint hotel to stay in: website

Sinns Restaurant

A stylish affair integreated into the tiny Wembley Square mall.

La Med

An excellent place for sundowners at the foot of lions head in Clifton. Can be windy. Website

Sushi in CTFM

A godsend for those that love Sushi: Cape Town Fish Market. The name is silly as it a restaurant chain that does mainly fish. There's an excellent one in Canal Walk shopping center that has discounts on Mondays. But they are all over too. They also sell fish so there might be something in the name.website

Sushi in Blowflish Restaurant on Dolphin Beach Hotel

A nice scenec venue on the beginning of Bloubergstrand. When we were there they didn't remember the advertised specials.

Driving range in Century City

If you are found without a car around Century City, check out the golf driving range between the shopping centre and the motorway.

Platteklip Gorge

If you are fit you can go up Table Mountain in less then an hour. It's tough. And sometimes people get mugged.

Lions Head

If you are tired of Table Mountain or it's to tough try Lions Head. The trail winds around the rock and you have to navigate a steep bit with the help of a metal chain.

Signal Hill

Take your coolerbox up to the car park on Signal Hill for sundowners.

Kirstenbosch Gardens

If you are into plants I'm sure it's great. I really enjoyed the concert they did there. In Summer most evenings there will be a concert. You bring your blanket, coolerbox and enjoy the evening. website.

West Coast Park - Langebaan

The water in Cape Town is too cold for swimming. But if you drive 100km along the North Coast you get to the West Coast Park and the bay of Langebaan. Since there is no revolting river emptying itself into the ocean the water is quite clear. Due to the shallowness of the water it heats up quickly and is pleasant for swimming. On the other side of the lagoon I believe you can take kyte surfing lessons too.

Sun City

The casino isn't much but the setting of the two hotels and the Pilanisberg Nature Reserve in the Crater of an extinct volcano is quite special.

Gold Reef City

A huge theme park with a special attraction: a real gold mine. It's only 300m deep and nicely done up for tourists. Next to it is the Apartheid Museum which is well done and is interesting from it's architectural design too.

Rustica Restorant

On a nice warm evening visitg the La Rustica Restaurant for a meal in Johannesburg. It's nice open architecture opens up on the gardens. website

Aubergine

The Aubergine is a high class restaurant well tucked away in Cape Town. The portions are a bit minimalist so it you feel like that 500g T-Bone you're better off in Spur but the food is very nice. A Restaurant for special occasions. website

Cape Town Waterfront Aquarium

I've neber been but it might be worth a visit on a rainy day. website

3 day Wine Walk around Wellington

The Platter wine book mentions a 3 day Wine Walk around Wellington which sounds interesting. website

Pieter-Dirk Uys theatre in Darling

I've seen his Anti Aids satire on television and Sandra has been to his Theatre in Darling. Apparently it is very good. He also goes by the name of Evita se Perron. website

Transport from Cape Town Airport to the City

There is no bus service from the airport. You can catch a taxi or pre-arrange a shuttle. The cost is about R150 to the city (20 kms). The Backpacker Bus (www.backpackerbus.co.za) offers the cheapest door-to-door airport transfer, starting at R90.

The Cape Town Explorer bus

Jump-on-jump-off double-decker bus that cover the major attractions in the city, great way to get a quick orientation of Cape Town and close vicinities. It also stops at the Table Mountain cable car and Camps Bay. You can buy tickets at the Tourist Info centres.

Beaches

Camps Bay

very wide beach. Very popular and gets crowded when the weather is sunny and warm. Showers and toilets available, deck chairs and brollies for hire, roaming drinks and ice cream sellers. Great for suntanning, beach volleyball and people-watching.

Clifton 4

smaller beach surrounded by boulders and housing. Very popular, services as above.

Llandudno,

A favourite. Secluded and small, but can get busy at sundown. Beautiful setting but no facilities.

Muizenberg

If you are not brave enough for the Atlantic waters above and wish to go for a dip, head to the Indian Ocean side. A popular beach there is Muizenberg, it is very wide and also good for surfing. Can get crowded on week-ends.

Valerie's Restaurant reccomendations

Paranga, The Promenade, Victoria Rd. Tel : 021 438-0404

Seafood. Good spot for sundowners, find a spot on the terrace.

Summerville, The Promenade, Victoria Rd. Tel: 021 438-3174

Seafood. Good spot for sundowners on the terrace.

Heritage Square - Shortmarket Street, between Buitengraght and Bree Sts

I like Po Na Na Sook bar for decor, ambiance and eye-candy (there is a model agency in same building!)

Strega: italian

Savoy Cabbage: fine dining but not for vegetarians.

Caveau Wine Bar and Deli: great for afternoon drinks

Africa Café: great place for vegetarians. African feast at set price. Eat as much as you like but not buffet, civilized!!

Good jazz at Kennedy’s Restaurant & Cigar Lounge (aka The Dubliner), 251 Long Street. Upmarket and cover charge applies. Piano Bar upstairs.

M-Bar & Lounge, Metropole Hotel, 38 Long Street. Bar for the hip, chic and trendy.

95 Keerom, 95 Keerom St, Tel : 021 422-0765 Gourmet, upmarket.

Ginja, 121 Castle Street, Tel : 021 426-2368

Excellent fusion cuisine, not cheap. Upstairs is Shoga, bar/restaurant, more casual

Madame Zingara, 192 Loop St, Tel: 021 426-2458

Famous for their steak with chocolate sauce and decadent bohemian decor. They have a sister restaurant next door, Cara Lazuli, for Moroccan food. Dining there got my photo in the restaurant review section of the Cape Argus once. I owe them my fame!!

Anatoli - 24 Napier St, Green Point (off Somerset Rd), Tel: 021 419-2501

Great Turkish food, love their mezes. Best pita bread in town.

Cape Quarter (close to above) - De Waterkant Street. Has nice places to eat and hangout

Tank, Tel: 021 419-0007,

Is a great place for sushi, great decor, good lounge music, very cool hang-out.

The Nose Wine Bar, Tel: 021 425-2200,

is also great for a very wide selection of wine by the glass, food is average, best pre or post-dinner.

Andiamo, Tel: 021 421-3687

Great spot for al fresco breakfast/brunch. Also a good deli.

Zero932 - 79 Main Rd, Tel: 021 439-6306

Belgian restaurant, trendy and good moules et frites. Belgian beer but not cheap.

Buena Vista Social Cafe - upstairs in same building as Zero932

Good for after-dinner drinks. Can get very packed in the week-end.

Clubs:

Rhodes House, 60 Queen Victoria St, Gardens

Opens Fri and Sat from 22:00. THE hangout for Cape Town’s young, rich and trendy. Cover charge applies. Often has theme parties. Smart-casual but sometimes important to look good to get in faster.

Deluxe, 150 Longmarket St, Cape Town

Opens Wed, Fri and Sat from 22:00. Casual, hip, 23+

Bossa Nova, 43 Somerset Rd, Green Point

Opens daily. Latin lounge and club, cuban, latino, salsa music. Smart-casual, 25+ crowd. Cover charge applies.

Sutra Groove Bar, 86 Loop Street, Cape Town

Opens daily from 21:00. Lounge downstairs and club upstairs. 25+ crowd, for the sophisticated. Dress trendy. Cover charge applies.

Have breakfast at Rhodes Memorial.

Green Point market (by the stadium)

Great market only on Sundays and public holidays (not as good as Sunday). Huge outdoor market, lots of cheap junk but also lots of African stuff. Good bargaining skills required. Green Market Square (downtown). Has better quality stuff.

Robben Island

Apparently the people who run the Robben Island trip where you visit the prison where they kept Mandela for many years have managed to put themselves out of business due to a bit of reverse racism. The moden boats they had to take people over to the island belonged to a white company so they forbade them to do the trip and used boats of an african company that were so old and ill maintained that they broke down. So I have no idea if you can do the overpriced tour or not. When I went I found it very interesting as your guide is a former inmate who shows you around the camp.website

Have dinner at Reubens in Franschhoek

Best restaurant in the area and very well priced, not to be missed. Booking imperative. Tel: 021 876-3772.

Boschendal in Franschhoek

(not for the wine, but for the huge tree you can sit under, taste some so-so wine and chill)

Richard Eigenmann, Last Update 11.10.2007