“This cape is the most stately thing and the fairest cape we saw in the whole circumference of the earth.”
–Sir Francis Drake, 1580
So said Sir Frances Drake, an Englishman, a captain, a politician and everything in between, when he first laid eyes on the Cape back in 1580.
Although I cannot, yet, claim to having seen the ‘whole circumference of the earth’, I do tend to agree with this esteemed fellow. Cape Town is truly a spectacular place, and I can see how Francis would have been moved to utter such sentiments.
Francis is not alone in his love of the Fairest Cape. In 2010 Cape Town made it onto the Forbes.com list of ‘World’s Most Beautiful Cities’ This year Cape Town was featured in TripAdvisor’s Top 25 Destinations. At position number 1, I might add.
So what’s the big deal about this Cape Town place? Well there’s Table Mountain, the V&A Waterfront and Robben Island, beautiful beaches from Cliffton all the way around to Kalk Bay, Cape Point, Champan’s Peak and a lot more in between. These things, time and again, make it onto lists of ‘Must Do’ things in the Cape, and for good reason. See here and here for some such lists.
But how about doing something a little different? Seeing something equally as beautiful, but just slightly off the beaten track? If you’re interested read on and you’ll find out 4 alternative things you may like to experience in “the fairest cape (you shall see) in the whole circumference of the earth”.
1. Wake up on a Saturday morning and go and grab brunch in Woodstock at the Old Biscuit Mill‘s Neighbourhood Goods Market.
The market has gained enormous popularity in the last few years, and for good reason. What you can expect to find is a community of people who are passionate about food, clothes, jewelry, art and design. The food will make your mouth water and leave you unsure of if you should choose to eat from the steaming pots of seafood paella, the wood fired pizza, the mouth- watering steak burgers, the endless array of dips, spreads and breads. Go to the market hungry, very hungry. See here for details.
2. Of course you simply have to go up Table Mountain, but why not try something a little different and go for a hike at Silvermine?
Silvermine is located in the Table Mountain National Park, on the way out to Cape Point. There are many hiking trails that you can choose from, ranging from easy to more strenuous, but they are all spectacular and offer great views of the peninsular. Here is a little more insider information.
3. On your way back to the city centre from your hike you could, or should, stop off in Newlands at one of Cape Town’s oldest pubs, The Foresters Arms, fondly known to all the locals as Forries.
Forries is a great place to sample endless draughts of South Africa’s finest beers in their tree-covered courtyard. You may also like to try out the crispy wood-fired pizza or a juicy hamburger while you are surrounded by hordes of die-hard rugby or cricket supporters. You’ll be in the festive spirit of national sport loving camaraderie in no time, I can guarantee it.
4. I bet ‘Signal Hill for a sunset’ is on your list? Well it should be! But if you want to watch the sun set from an even more magnificent place I suggest that you get on over to Ocean View Drive.
Ocean View Drive is all that its name suggests- a road that winds along the contours of Signal Hill that has a, well, view of the ocean. But go to the end of that road and you may wish to change that name to ‘Ocean- Mountain-Bay-Amazing-View Drive’. Just saying. Although you might need a map, or GPS, for this one it is worth it. Park at the end of the road, amongst the houses of the rich and famous (I’m assuming they are rich and/ or famous with houses like that!) and scramble through the bushes and out onto the rocks. It’s not dangerous, I promise. It is spectacular to see the rock face of the 12 Apostles bathed in the pink light and the twinkling lights of the houses down in Camps Bay. The other tourists will be supremely jealous when they see your photos.
And that’s it. Well not really, but I can’t give away all the secrets of the fairest Cape too quickly or too easily or I might take away all the fun that you’ll no doubt have discovering it for yourself.