Top criteria for choosing a holiday destination in the Western Cape
One would probably choose the Western Cape as a holiday destination purely because it is the home of Cape Town, which is one of the world’s ten top cities, so it’s a no brainer. Exploring what the Cape has to offer means there will be no wasted days on your agenda. From the iconic Table Mountain to the traditional offerings of vineyards, beaches and historic places of interest, there are a pressing number of reasons to consider the holiday value of the city and its surrounding province.
The unique benefits
Accommodation: Across the Western Cape lies every choice of accommodation you can imagine. Nowhere else in the world will you find such a range, from the glass and marble of 5-star luxury to game lodges, to outdoor tenting on sheep farms, to intriguing township hospitality, to well-run back-backers, to the ubiquitous Air BnB’s in every shape, size and price.
Tours: Nowhere else will you find such a wonderful choice of things to do when perusing the tour offerings in the Western Cape: scenery to take your breath away, wine routes deluxe, the hustle and vibrancy of the townships, cable car adventure, helicopter flights over the city, sunset cruises, whale-watching, shark-cage diving, and much of historical interest. There’s a tour for everything, professionally presented and ably narrated.
Image credits: www.helicopterscapetown.co.za
Restaurants: For an eatery selection across the Cape, you’re in for a surprise. Apart from a variety to suit every taste from Greek to Mexican to Indian and the local mouth-watering offerings of original Malay cooking, we have here some of the best restaurants in the world. Just naming two would be world-renowned La Colombe in upper Constantia, and Wolfgat, the small beach restaurant in Paternoster on the West Coast, recently named the best restaurant in the world!
Weather: A great drawcard to the Western Cape is the fact that 80% of the time, you can expect fair weather. There is more sunshine than inclement weather, which makes the Western Cape an all year round attractive destination. Cape Town itself does not have snow, and the temperature rarely drops in the day below 14C in the winter or rises above 28C in the summer.
The surrounding value
Simons Town: The official winter anchorage of the Dutch East India Company since 1743, Simonstown has played a pivotal role in maritime trade between east and west. Today, the quaint 19th century main road is still a huge tourist attraction, not to mention the famous statue of Just Nuisance, the decorated Navy dog. Timeless and fascinating, and well worth a stroll through the many collectibles and curiosity antique shops, as well as a visit to the naval museum in the dockyard.
The Penguin Colony: A visit down to the beautiful outlook of Cape Point should bring you past the Penguin colony where you can literally walk among the penguins along a cleverly constructed boardwalk which allows you to view nests, and observe the penguins tottering about the beach, and ducking and diving through the waves. Humorous and endearing, this visit is guaranteed to provide a heart-warming and truly entertaining experience.
Image credits: TripAdvisor
Kirstenbosch Gardens: Along the east face of Table Mountain, you’ll find the famous Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens which offer superb walks and views across to the Hottentots Holland Mountains. Established in 1913, Kirstenbosch has grown to become one of the world’s most renowned gardens, protective home to the famous and ancient cycad plants, as well as many other uniquely South African flora.
The must-have history
Groot Constantia: Here is the first real settling in the Cape, with the earliest vines and the first wines produced. An historic house will capture your attention, while a visit to the dungeons takes you on a chilling trip to the past. History, wine and a choice of good restaurants is an unbeatable menu waiting to be digested.
The Castle: Based on the small fort built by Jan van Riebeeck in 1652, the castle was built between 1666 and 1679 to protect the supply gardens for passing ships of the Dutch East India Company. Here, you will take a step into the 17th century and an enthralling history of graceful bygone times, ghost stories, and the dark threat of the dungeons.
The South African Natural History Museum: This iconic building is set at the head of the Gardens in the city-centre. Famous for its displays of dinosaurs and startling artefacts from an ancient past, the museum will intrigue, educate and bring you up close and personal with a riveting history. And when you’ve seen the past on the ground, look for it in the sky by visiting the Planetarium for an awe-inspiring journey through time and creation.
The Bo-Kaap: Vibrant with history, visitors are fascinated by this area once known as the Malay Quarter. These colourful cottages represent not only a vital and interesting era of history in the Cape, but also present a fascinating melting pot of cultures, describing in colour and architecture how so much of Cape Town came into being. Explore this timeless and beautifully preserved slice of the past, immerse yourself in the lively Malay culture, or enjoy the bustling markets nearby. It’s the way to see the Cape from a different perspective.
Image credits: TripAdvisor
The outer view
The Taal Monument: Established in 1975 and overlooking the Paarl Valley, the Taal Monument honours the youngest language on the African continent, namely Afrikaans. Originating from three areas, Europe, Asia and Africa, the language is a proud heritage of the earliest Dutch settlers in the Cape. For superb artistic design, beautiful views, and an educative tour of recent history and culture, this cannot be beaten.
Paarl Rock: For climbers looking for something different, with the added joy of a superlative view of the Cape winelands, this route up to the ‘pearl’ of the Cape is essential. Named by Jan van Riebeeck for its beautiful sheen after the rain, and looking like a giant pearl set on the top of the mountain, this massive rock weathered to smooth perfection, is a landmark for miles, and a gentle and worthwhile challenge for climbers of all ages.
The Garden Route: Travelling to one of the best and most popular areas of the Western Cape, you’ll find yourself in a landscape of astonishing variety. Aptly named the ‘Garden Route’, the coastline is peppered with beautiful beaches, lagoons, mountains, forests, rivers and towns. To do the route justice you need several days. Hiking, kayaking, nature reserves, and the elephant park – all awaits the intrepid explorer, with possibly the most beautiful scenes between coast and mountain that you might anywhere in the world. Peaceful and pretty, the Garden Route is a holiday paradise.
Seal Island: The famous island set in the middle of False Bay is a very enjoyable way to spend a morning or afternoon. There is probably nowhere else in the world where you can spend a day watching penguins in the morning, and seals frolicking in the afternoon! A trip that takes you into the heart of the bay’s nature, and the mesmerising nature of the sea.
Robben Island: A UNESCO World Heritage site, Robben Island has served as a prison for over three hundred years. Established by the Dutch in the 17th century, it is most famously known as the place where Nelson Mandela spent 27 years of his life. As such it is a sombre window into South Africa’s past, and its position puts it as one of the Western Cape’s most valuable visitor sites. Despite it’s dark history as a maximum security prison and once leper colony, and accredited with a high record for shipwrecks, the island presents an exciting trip across the bay and a chilling look into South Africa’s apartheid history. As such, Robben Island presents one of the most compelling criteria for visiting the Western Cape.
The Western Cape offers a rich history of architecture, beautiful fauna and flora, together with captivating views of magnificent mountain ranges and the scenic blue of the oceans. In fact, it offers the best in experience and lifestyle anywhere in the world. And we believe in making the best of what both nature and refined living can offer, including finding those quiet, sophisticated and beautiful places to relax and indulge your senses, offering fitness and health information that goes hand-in-glove with the enjoyment of open spaces and splendid vistas, adding to lifestyle enhancement through the promotion of brilliantly refurbished antique items, brought to life in superbly crafted reflections of artistry, comfort and elegance.
If this sounds like an intriguing combination of services, find out more about our unique lifestyle offerings at: www.mylifestylecollections.com