Aubergine is a fine dining restaurant, regularly rated in Cape Town's top 10. It's in the Gardens area, so walkable if you're staying in Oranjezicht.
We treated ourselves to dinner there on our last night in Cape Town and enjoyed it immensely.
We had a delicious rack of lamb, accompanied by a serious red blend from Springfield Winery ('The Work of Time'), recommended to us by the very friendly (and unintimidating) sommelier, Dom.
It's not cheap - we paid R900 for two courses (for two of us).
Well worth the visit though!
Steeped in history dating to Simon van der Stel's era, this working wine estate is set in the fertile Constantia valley. Once the bread-basket supplying the former emerging settlement now it is only a twenty minute drive from the urban centre of Cape Town. Still holding its rural charm it offers the choice of three restaurants, hotel accommodation, spa facilities and a cricket oval as well as wine tastings seven days a week. History buffs and green-fingered enthusiasts can opt for tours of this restored and popular homestead and gardens. There is a selection of brandies and olive oils for sale in the wine shop as well as advice on food and wine pairing.
The recently revamped River Café offers a menu of affordable seasonal produce from Uitsig's own organic garden which is accompanied with specially sourced home-made breads, meats and cheeses. Understated and relaxed this bistro is open for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea throughout the year bar New Year's day.
La Colombe is the winner of numerous awards for both its service and predominately French cuisine but also offers diners a selection of Asian- inspired dishes. The estate's selection of prestigious wines only heighten the experience of fine dining.
Situated in the original manor house on the estate, The Constantia Uitsig restaurant focuses mainly on rustic Italian favourites for lunch and dinner. The best quality ingredients are used and this heartfelt approach adds to the convivial ambience.
With the option of three restaurants, fine wine, stunning scenery and a slice of Cape history this dining experience fails to disappoint.
Situated on the False Bay coast near Cape Town, this harbourside eatery caters for families, students and couples. Located in quaint Kalk Bay, well away from the CBD and more obvious tourist haunts, the area is popular with surfers and beach goers. The Brass Bell can be credited with launching the careers of local bands, who play live.
Offering fresh seafood specialities al fresco, standard pub fare as well as eastern culinary delights, the restaurants, pubs and pizza terrace occupy different levels leading to adjacent tidal pools and the Indian Ocean. Choose from The Main, The Cabin, The Waters Edge, The Pavilion or The Bikini Deck. The nautically themed pubs offer a selection of beverages both imported and locally sourced. The crowd is unpretentious, the atmosphere is very relaxed and the staff friendly.
It is open all year round and even popular in winter, thanks to an open fireplace when the Western Cape experiences its seasonal rainfall and the seas can be rough. Bear this in mind if heading to the Western Cape for the 2010 FIFA Football World Cup.
With Silvermine nature reserve as a backdrop, it is uniquely positioned sandwiched between the crashing surf and the Cape Town to Simonstown railway line. Access is by pedestrian subway under the main railway line. The sandy white beach and station are on its doorstep but there is nearby parking for patrons wishing to take in the views of this superb coastline by car or motorbike.
+27 (21) 788 5455/6
Waterfront, Kalk Bay, Cape Town, 7945, RSA
A beautiful setting to sit and relax tasting some of the best wine in South Africa. My wife is not normally a red wine person but she loves the Three Cape Ladies, a delicious red wine, while my preference is for the Trilogy with its richer more complex flavours.
If you join the Warwick Wine Family, they will arrange to send you a mixed case of wine every six months in the UK, and you get invited to their Garden Party in December, where you can get very drunk on the finest white and red wines for free. Another benefit is the 20% discount on buying wines at the estate
On the R44 between Stellenbosch and Klapmuts/Paarl
Here's a really novel idea of evening entertainment: The Jazz Safari introduces small groups of travellers to the private homes of various famous Cape Town Jazz personalities.
You'll dine with them, listen to their stories, hear their music! A real Cape Town experience!
Boulders is home to the adorable yet bizarre African 'Jackass' penguin. Just a walk down the road from Simonstown, near Cape Town, Boulders is wonderful for picnicing, surfing and building sandcastles. I first visited this bay when I was about eight years old with my family and some friends. It was nice to be so at-one with nature, yet still have a family holiday. The boulders the beach is named after are also great fun for climbing and jumping off into the warm ocean. The only thing I would be wary of is checking around your car before you leave, just incase one of the penguins has fallen asleep in the shade!
This public outdoor swimming pool complex is set below a raised promenade off Beach Road in Sea Point, Cape Town, South Africa. Situated between Table Mountain and the Atlantic Ocean it comprises an Olympic sized, filtered seawater pool, two splash pools and a diving pool.
Above and alongside the sea, the spray from breaking waves that occasionally land over the boundary railing reminded us of our location, at the southern end of the African continent.
The sound of seagulls overhead, the visual pleasure of seemingly limitless open ocean as you cool off on a hot Cape summer's day and the imposing yet restful backdrop of Table Mountain make this outdoor pool quite special.
The aromas from BBQs on the adjacent grassed area encourage locals and tourists from all walks of life and is the ideal spot to relax after a refreshing dip beneath blue skies.
Whatever your swimming level it is an affordable day out and costs adults around R9,50 while children pay R6,00. Die-hard swimmers meet in the winter months as it is open all year round from mid-April to mid-October (08:30 -17:00) and in the more popular summer season from mid-October to mid-April (07:00 -19:00) when swimming just prior to sunset and the onset of the evening precede a lazy stroll along the paved coastal path, ice-cream in hand.
Sea Point Pavilion, Cape Town
Address: Beach Road, Sea Point, Cape Town, South Africa
Phone: (+ 27) 021 434 3341
Google map: tinyurl.com/32momns
The Bohemian (or The Bo, as it's affectionately called) is a live-music Johannesburg landmark. Just round the corner from Melville, this grungy pool hall/pub hosts local bands at least twice a week. The vibe is super-chilled and there is no need to dress up, more important in fact you should be willing to play a game of pool or watch live sport on any of their big screens. There are also half-price pizza specials on Monday and Wednesday nights as well as student specials on pizza and beer. This place rocks literally.
5 Park Road, Richmond, Johannesburg
I ate at The Africa Cafe in Shortmarket St, Cape Town, it was the best food ever and great, great value. All the waitresses were dressed in national dress- many came from different parts of Africa. The ambiance was fab and the recycled decorations were out of this world. It consisted of a communal feast of 16 dishes which you were encouraged to eat without cutlery and the bonus was, you could have as many extra helpings as you liked! Booking essential.
Kalk Bay is a picturesque little fishing town tucked away on the Cape Town coast. The Brass Bell is on the seafront with a beautiful view out to sea.
My Capetonian partner took me there a few years ago. It was one April evening and one of the clearest skies Ive seen anywhere in the world, you could see millions of stars.
Book a table by the window like we did, and you can watch the tide come in over the harbour and out again.
You can't visit Cape Town without tasting some of the fresh seafood, and The Brass Bell is a great place to do it!
We had delicious tuna steaks and fresh calamari.
In my opinion, it's the best place to have a romantic meal or even a few bottles of Stellenbosch wine with friends in South Africa.
The Brass Bell Restaurant
Telephone: +27 (21) 788 5455/6
If destination heaven exists, fulfilling every exacting criteria of the jaded traveller, it would have to be Grootbos Nature Reserve on Walker Bay in South Africa.
I was lucky enough to find it when planning a journey from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth.
I’ve stayed before at places claiming to be “luxury,” which were anything but - but this is reassuringly expensive and did in fact prove to be more than worthy of the description. Well, if it was good enough for Brad Pitt and Kate Moss I should never have doubted it …
Bungalows are set in milkwood forest spread out either side of the main building. For two of us we had a huge lounge, outsize bathroom with bath you plod across to find the taps. There is a second shower room, and outside shower (for the brave or exhibitionist perhaps) on our own private decking, a kitchenette, dressing and storage area. The canopied bed was six foot wide. I lay in the bath looking at colourful birds inches away through the floor to ceiling window, surrounded by candles, then we lay in loungers on the decking, looking down across dunes to the sea as the sun went down.
But to recap. On arrival you are greeted with drinks and sat down to plan your stay - they like you to stay at least two nights as there is a full programme of activities, most of them included in the price. I was whisked straight off to go riding from the hotel’s own stables, in the “fynbos” - the local vegetation which is very pretty, very diverse and smells heavenly. Botanists go crazy apparently - David Bellamy has signed the visitors’ book.
The next day we went whale watching and had close-ups of southern right whales, cape fur seals and even a great white shark. There were only seven guests, the boat was comfortable and there was no danger of seasickness. We were there in October which is a great time to see whales, while the weather is still pleasant enough to swim.
We had a private guided jeep tour and walk in the extensive grounds with one of the local guides Silence, who pointed out plants, a mongoose scuttling across our path, birds - and even a highly venomous puff adder which had crept into the hotel’s ornamental pond and was being safely removed by an expert for relocation. Silence introduced us to weaver birds, bou bou, drongo, cape bulbul with their white-painted eyes, colourful sun birds and sugar birds, olive pigeons, yellow rumped widow, and the resident black harrier.
The restaurant was a dream, reached along the little wooded path from our bungalow, past the swimming pool and into the main central building. Five leisurely but elaborate courses with superb wine, attentive and friendly staff.
What I loved about the place was the combination of the feeling of absolute pampering, with touches like the soft white bathrobes, massive towels and full size up-market toiletries; but also a real sense of outdoor adventure, riding, sharks and unexpected wildlife encounters - it’s the real taste of how South Africa could be in an ideal world, where the staff are happy to take your round the local township and show you how they live, and the knowledge that the owners of Grootbos are aware of the fragility of the local ecology, sponsoring locals to visit the Eden Project to advise on the Fynbos, and giving much needed employment in one of the most outstandingly beautiful spots in the world.
Nestled at the foot of the Sani Pass in the Drakensberg Mountains at an altitude of 4,570 ft. It offers a fantastic range of sporting facilities- tennis, squash, bowls, badminton, swimming pools and a golf course as well as trail riding horses.
The Wellness Centre has a range of massage and health therapies which come in useful after a day's trip by 4X4 up the tortuous mountain pass to Lesotho where you can visit a Basuto mountain village as well as the highest pub in South Africa where a glass of hot gluwein is served in front of a log fire.
The scenery (wild flowers and animals along the way)is breathtaking.
It borders the World Heritage site, the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park an area singled out for its unique natural and cultural beauty.
The website is
Tel +27 33 702-1320
Google map: tinyurl.com/yeb2eog
We were looking for something a little more unconvential than a Kruger safari but which still allowed us total emersion into the South African countryside: Thendele is just the ticket. Nestled in the folds of the Drakensburg Mountains, Thendele Camp sits in an awe-inspiring position overlooking the towering expanse of the Amphitheatre. Nature at its best and most dramatic.
The camp consists of several thatched huts, basic but clean and comfortable. We took the self-catering option, so you really are your own boss. There is a small store on the site but really you need to bring most of your provisions with you. It is not the easiest place to get to and after passing the toll barrier into The Royal Natal National Park, the camp is literally the end of the road! But it is well worth the adventure!
The area is a showcase for the diversity of South Africa's landscape; the numerous hiking trails lead you through cascading waterfalls; lush green hillsides and scarred rockfaces. Just as varied is the wildlife; home to the bearded vulture and black eagle, boks and baboons. Which leads me on to the only danger of a stay at Thendele- the baboons. They have 007 stealth and will take any opportunity to investigate your belongings. So ensure all doors and windows are carefully closed!
Thendele offers seclusion and excitment: a natural high!
Woolworths (nothing to do with the firm that went under in the UK) is a fantastic source of food if you are self catering in SA. Some products are identical to M&S foods you'd get at home (at rather more competitive prices). Look on the website for store locations before you go - we visited the Cape Town stores but there are others. There are some interesting variations on a theme to take account of local cuisine as well as the usual favourites (the latter very useful if travelling with kids.)
We have just been on a great tour of South Africa and had a specialist guide take us around the site of the Battle of Isandlwana (which happened in 1879) and the incredible defence of the Hospital at Rorkes Drift. Anthony Coleman was our guide and was booked through Prana Holidays. Highly recommended.
This is South Africa's own version of Glastonbury. Swap your wellies for sun cream. Take the Klipdrift and the Windhoek instead of the vodka and the lager. Get on the road and head north out of Johannesburg towards Sun City. Drive right on by that place and eventually you'll be in the heart of the bush at Oppikopi Farm.S et up your braai, open the eski, roll out your sleeping bag and soak it all up. You won't find a cover band and you'll have a fruitless search for pop. If a tasteful Glastonbury combined with a Big Chill in a warmer place is your thing then look no further!
Venue Information: Oppikoppi Farm
Full Name:Oppikoppi Farm,Northam,South AfricaDirections
North-west of both Johannesburg (about 160km/100 miles) and Pretoria (about 130km, 80 miles), just west of Northam, on the way to Botswana.http://www.istc.org/sisp/index.htm?fx=event.detail&event_id=32509
A fantastic curry house just off Long Street. Authentic, regional curries that make the most of Cape Town sea food. About R170 for two courses. Can't recommend it highly enough.
33 Church Street (upstairs on the first floor)
A rustic restaurant with great food and wine. The resturant is next to the Ken Forrester Wine Estate, but they do wines from the Helderberg area. Wines outside Helderberg are in the rest of the world section.
They cater for both small and large parties of people with surprising ease. The steaks melt in your mouth, and if you have a sweet tooth, the duck & cherry pie is very good. For dessert I've never got past the creme brulee, but they all look very good
Surprisingly on Winery Road!! From Cape Town take the N2 to Somerset West, and take the R44 towards Stellenbosch. Winery Road is 3-4 miles on the left hand side. 96 is on the right about 0.5 miles down the road
Forget hotels stay here! Spotlessly clean modern rooms, (we even had a balcony overlooking table mountain). Great staff, gave really good advice on where to go in Cape Town and the area. Really fun bar, over all a great choice, the rooms and food is as good as any hotel, but for some reason these guys don't charge as much! They also have a great fun bar full of people who have travelled all over the world and who actually talk to you. We made so many friends amongst the staff and guests we left wanting to stay longer, thats never happened to me in any faceless hotel
81 New Church Street, Gardens, Cape Town.
(all the taxi drivers seem to know where this place is)
0027 21 426 0200
Brilliant safari with the big five. Excellent guides, fabulous lodges, plus your own personal chef at a very pleasing price. Stay in the heart of the reserve with the animals or outside. Had a truly fab three days here and wish I could have stayed longer.
Send your feedback or queries to email@example.com