South Africa... 5 Western Cape experiences
The Western Cape of Africa impresses with a myriad of things to see and do. Here, Andrew Gibb takes us through his top 5 things to do in the Western Cape area.
During the first part of December, I had the privilege to travel to a part of the world known for its great climate and easy travelling. I’d heard great things through the media and from colleagues and friends and I had a bucket list of what I wanted to see. I loved exploring the iconic Table Mountain, travelling up in the cable car, browsing the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, driving around the world famous Winelands and exploring Robben Island, all mainstays of a trip to this region.
I was especially impressed by a few of the more unique ways in which I experienced some of the most visited sites. Here are five of my best experiences, in no particular order.
1. Cape Town Bike Ride
“Active travellers, get on your bike and ride.”
Cycling is always a great way to get under the skin of a city, especially if you are on a tight time scale and wanting to see as much as possible. Cycling along the harbour and seafront with stops including the Company Gardens, De Waterkant and the Malay quarter with its colourful buildings, this tour should be high up on the list for any active traveller.
2. Cape Peninsula Photograpy Tour
“Budding photographers as well as amateurs are all welcome.”
A visit to the Cape Peninsula is a must for all visitors to Cape Town. Sites such as Cape Point, Chapman’s Peak, Boulders beach and Kalk Bay really come alive with the aid of a professional photographer acting as your guide. Being taught a range of ways in which to take the best snaps in a small group of fellow travellers meant I took home with me some memorable pictures of these incredible landscapes. Don’t worry if you don’t have a fancy camera, the ideas shared work for all.
3. Waterford Estate Wine Safari
“A different wine tasting experience.”
Wine tasting experiences are two a penny with the vast amount of good quality vineyards in the Franschhoek, Stellenbosch and Paarl region. That’s why Waterford Wine Estate has come up with a unique idea to stay one step ahead of the game. They provide a ‘wine safari’ in the slopes of the Helderberg, where different varieties of grapes are grown in the differing conditions and terroir. Returning back to the estate you also have the choice of touring the cellars, taking part in a wine and chocolate experience or simply relaxing in the peaceful courtyard … with a glass of wine of course.
4. Bites and Sites
“Foodies will love this one.”
Full of interesting little cafes, restaurants and wine bars, the colonial town of Stellenbosch in South Africa’s Winelands region really lends itself to easy and interesting walks. The town’s character is brought to life with the ‘bites and sites’ tour, discovering authentic Cape food and excellent wines while learning about the history and culture of the region.
5. Sanbona Wildlife Safari
“A must for all safari lovers.”
Less than four hours drive from Cape Town is the 54,000-hectare Sanbona Wildlife Reserve, the Western Cape’s flagship Big Five safari experience and home to the only free, self-sustaining white lions in the world. The sheer expanse and stark beauty of Sanbona is awe-inspiring and, as well as a huge range of wildlife, there are 200 identified bird species, rock art sites dating back more than 1,500 years and the Fynbos Biome, part of the Cape Floral Region and a world heritage site. Here, going on safari doesn’t just consist of a wildlife drive, Sanbona also offers guided walks (including walking with cheetahs), boating, star-gazing, story-telling, massage treatments and visits to the rock sites.
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