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The best day trips for Spring

With the return of longer days, added sunshine and warmer temperatures, it’s time to get out of hibernation mode and start exploring again.

From wildflowers to whales, here are our favourite day trips to take from Cape Town this Spring.

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Whale watching in Hermanus

Rated by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) as one of the twelve best whale watching locations in the world, Hermanus is under two hours from Cape Town and gives you the ability to spot these magnificent creatures from the land, air or sea.  Southern Right Whales migrate from the Antarctic around June to calve and mate, with calving taking place in August and September and males arriving for mating in October when the whale population peaks – making Spring the perfect time to take a drive down to Hermanus.

Make the most of the sun setting over the ocean, and head on over to the luxury Marine Hotel for sundowners and a bite to eat.

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Beautiful canola in Caledon

A gem in the Overberg, Caledon is barely an hour from Cape Town, and known for its fields of yellow canola, which hare particularly beautiful this time of year. If you have time to spare, make a weekend of it and spend time at their world-famous, mineral-rich hot springs.

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A seafood feast at Die Strandloper

A casual, open air restaurant, Die Strandloper is easily one of the most famous restaurants in Langebaan.  There’s a set menu with 10 courses, so put aside at least four hours. You’re welcome to bring your own drinks, cooler box encouraged, while you feast on the jewels of the sea. Traditional treats include, fish curry, angel fish and snoek, grilled haarders, smoked angel fish, snoek with sweet or steamed potato, plus waterblommertjie bredie.

Find our more on their website here.

Experience the best of Cape Town – and beyond – with Cape Voyage. Contact us for more information on how we can help craft your perfect experience.

 

Trending travel – a peek inside Cape Town’s hotspots

The South African tourism industry is constantly shifting and evolving, with people looking for a different kind of travel experience.

Whether travelling for business, leisure, or a bit of both (coined as “bleisure” tourism), people want to experience as much as possible within a limited time frame. South Africa has a plethora of vibrant attractions to offer the curious traveller, and Cape Town is at the heart of it all!

Sarah Rootman, owner of Cape Voyage, shared her thoughts on recent travel trends in Cape Town.

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With summer approaching, what are you most looking forward to?

Touring Cape Town and basking in the sun! Scenic drives, beach picnics, and walks along the promenade are some of my favourites.

What are 3 must-do activities in Cape Town that you recommend?

A scenic drive along the Atlantic seaboard to Cape Point, with a mandatory stop to see the penguins at Boulders Beach. And, of course, a visit to Cape Town would not be complete without a visit to the winelands.

Cape Town is best-known for its incredible wine farms. What are some of your favourite farms, and what makes them stand out?

There are so many, but we love Waterford Wine Estate. Some delightful wine farms listed on our tours (and website) include Delaire Graff, Haute Cabriere, Steenberg, Constantia Glen, De Grendel and Warwick.

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In your opinion, what makes for a great wine tasting experience?

Beautiful views, a good sommelier and great service are a must.

Travelstart recently featured a blog on 5 Undiscovered Wine Farms In and Around Cape Town. Which winery would you include in your tour?

They all sound great, but we will definitely visit Whalehaven Winery when we plan our tours to Hermanus to see the whales in a month or two.

What trends have you noticed in your company in the last year about travel and tourism in South Africa?

We are seeing more and more international travellers, and so many are returning for their annual summer holiday. With so much to offer – beaches, hiking, world-class restaurants and warm weather – Cape Town is certainly becoming the place to visit.

In your experience, how are local tourists different from foreign tourists?

I think locals take so much for granted. Foreign visitors show their appreciation for what they see and experience, and there’s a certain excitement to see and explore as much as possible.

Cape Voyage has been around for 7 years. How would you define your company’s success?

It may be a cliché, but good service. We are quick to respond to all enquiries and are available 24/7. We understand that with travel, things can change at the last minute, so we have to be flexible and able to accommodate last-minute changes. Our drivers and tour guides are very reliable and will always go the extra mile to ensure our guests have a memorable time.

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If Travelstart approached Cape Voyage to do a team-building event, what would you recommend?

We work with a company that specializes in team events, so we would be able to provide the transport, (luxury sedans, minivans or coaches depending on the numbers) and ensure you have a safe, comfortable trip.

Gear up for summer in Cape Town, where its beckoning coastlines, shimmering beaches and natural wildlife will take your breath away. Get ready to wine and dine your way through some of the Cape’s most spectacular wine farms, set against picturesque landscapes. Whether you’re a local or first-time visitor, you’re in for a treat with Cape Voyage’s fantastic tours and tailor-made packages!

Interview as told to Travelstart

3 Great day trips from Cape Town

If winter’s already giving you cabin fever, or you want a quick break without breaking the bank – you’ll soon realise that you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to easy day trips around the Cape.

Here are three of our top day trips, all under two hours from the Mother City – ensuring you’ll be back in time for dinner.

Explore the South Peninsula

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Only 40 minutes from the centre of town, there’s so much to explore “down south”, from Muizenberg all the way through to Cape Point. Whether it’s time spent exploring quirky and colourful Kalk Bay, before heading on to historic Simons Town with its famous penguins at Boulders Beach, you can easily spend an entire day in the area. If you have time to spare, we suggest heading out to Cape Point – the most southerly point in Africa – and taking in the incredible views, before enjoying a late lunch at their restaurant. Keen for a more DIY option? Pack a picnic and enjoy it on one of the private beaches within the nature reserve. You’ll return home feeling like you’ve had a true holiday away!

Darling and the West Coast

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Particularly popular during wild flower season, from August to October, the West Coast is barely an hour from the CBD. With lagoons and beaches reminiscent of the Mediterranean, set against endless carpets of vibrant flowers, it’s easy to make a day of the area. If you want to experience some local culture while you’re there, then we suggest looking into the San Bushman Cycle Tour, which allows you to explore the history of the !Khwa ttu people, who have been in the area for over 2,000 years. We also recommend stopping in at Evita Se Perron – the home of Tannie Evita Bezuidenhout – and Darling Brew, a local microbrewery offering tastings and delicious platters.

A day in Hermanus

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One of the most famous whale-watching towns in the world, Hermanus is under two hours from the city, making it a popular day-trip destination. A bustling town, set against the rocks and cliffs of the coast, it has small-town charm – but comes alive during whale-watching season – from October onwards. With the Hemel-en-Aarde wine route just outside town, and plenty of kayaking and water-sports options, the family-friendly town offers something for everyone. A must-visit if you’re in Cape Town for more than a few days.

Experience the best of Cape Town – and beyond – with Cape Voyage. Contact us for more information on how we can help craft your perfect experience.

 

Top 5 things include in a trip to Cape Town

Planning a trip to Cape Town can be overwhelming – no matter if you’re a local traveller, or visiting from further abroad. With so many attractions and things to see, it can be difficult to know where to start. We’ve put together our 5 top things to include in a trip to Cape Town for you.

Table Mountain

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Whether you choose to explore Cape Town’s icon by cable car or by foot – you can’t visit the city and not visit one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Set aside some time to spend at the top, taking in the views from every angle and enjoying a bite to eat at the restaurant. The hike can be challenging, if you are contemplating tackling it by foot – so remember to take the necessary precautions and prepare accordingly.

A helicopter trip

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No matter if you’re a Cape Town local or international visitor, seeing the city from the sky is guaranteed to wow you. With flights as short as 15 minutes, all the way up to one hour, it’s easy to fit one in to your schedule, even if you’re pressed for time. Most flights depart from the V & A Waterfront, making it a central option for most visitors. Be sure to book in advance, especially in peak season (November – March).

Cape Peninsula Tour to Cape Point

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The Southern-most tip of Africa, the iconic Cape Point Nature Reserve allows you to do everything from taking scenic hikes, to getting up close and personal with African Penguins at Boulders Beach. A beautiful drive from the city, it’s worth booking out at least half a day in your diary to make the most of this area.  Note that entrance fees for the nature reserve do apply.

A visit to the winelands

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Showcasing more than simply spectacular Cape wine, the three main wine regions around the Cape – Constantia, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch are also filled with heritage monuments and rich history of the area. If you’re short on time, Constantia is barely 30 minutes from the city centre – with Franschhoek and Stellenbosch more suited if you have half a day or more to spend. No matter where you choose to go, we guarantee you’ll find a new favourite wine!

A sunset cruise

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The perfect pre-dinner treat, sunset cruises usually leave from the V & A Waterfront. Including a glass of bubbly, watch the sun go down on the Mother City while taking in the views from the water. Perfectly situated to take advantage of the many fine restaurants at the Waterfront, you won’t find a more magical way to send a day in the Cape.

Experience the best of Cape Town – and beyond – with Cape Voyage. Contact us for more information on how we can help craft your perfect experience.

The best spots to celebrate in Cape Town

While visiting Cape Town is, in itself, a special experience – there are a few spots that are simply magical. Whether you’re looking to celebrate an anniversary, pop the question or have a special birthday coming up – these are our top picks for spots to celebrate in Cape Town.

Tintswalo Atlantic

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Situated just below Chapmans Peak, within the Table Mountain National Park, Tintswalo Atlantic is unrivalled in terms of location. With the ocean barely meters away, this boutique 5* hotel is as special as it gets. If you aren’t looking to spend the night, sundowners and dinner will allow you to experience the magical sunset, and, if you’re lucky, an al fresco dinner with the lights of Hout Bay shimmering across the bay.

Planet Bar at The Mount Nelson

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The Nellie is more than simply a pink facade, boasting two restaurants, a spa and retail outlets on its grounds. However, often overlooked, is its gorgeous Planet Bar. Sophisticated and elegant, it offers privacy away from the hustle and bustle of the CBD – and, a fantastic selection of classic cocktails for all palates. Whether it’s pre-dinner drinks or an entire evening of celebration, Planet Bar will add more than a touch of class to your night.

12 Apostles Hotel

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Situated outside Camps Bay, the 12 Apostles is perfect for those wanting a seaside escape away from the crowds. With their Leopard Bar and restaurant both offering fantastic sea views, you’ll be forgiven for turning your drinks into a night in one of their luxury rooms. It’s also worth keeping an eye out for their winter movie specials, which include dinner and a classic movie in their intimate on-site cinema.

La Colombe

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Voted the second best restaurant in the country for two years running, La Colombe offers refined dining at its most elegant. Situated at the top of Constantia Nek, expect gorgeous views across the valley, impeccable service and food that will leave you thinking about it for weeks afterwards. As it is popular, booking is essential – it’s worth including a visit on your itinerary before you hop on the plane. Even if you don’t have a special occasion, as soon as you step into the restaurant, we guarantee you’ll be in the mood for some bubbly.

Experience the best of Cape Town – and beyond – with Cape Voyage. Contact us for more information on how we can help craft your perfect experience.

Boulders Beach – Penguin’s Paradise

Boulders Beach is all about the Penguins! With it’s pristine beach, clear water and plenty of penguins, it’s not surprising that more than 60 000 visitors flock to Boulders Beach every year

Boulders Beach, with its wind sheltered bays and safe sandy shores, is home to a breeding colony of over 2000 endangered African Penguins. Only 50 minutes from Cape Town, a trip to Boulders Beach is well worth a visit.

Book a tour, enjoy the scenic journey and enjoy a few hours amongst these little guys. It’s great fun to watch the tuxedo clad penguins go about their daily routines of sunning themselves, guarding their nests or waddling across the beach.

 

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At Boulders Beach, the penguins have adapted quite well to camera-wielding humans.

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They walk and nest undisturbed just a few feet away from the thousands of visitors that visit every year. But, as cute as they look they can be quite feisty, so don’t try to feed them!

If you’re travelling with kids, be prepared to stay a while: the water is safe for swimming, there are rock pools to explore and granite boulders to climb on – it really is the perfect spot for a family beach picnic.

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Experience the best of Cape Town with Cape Voyage. Contact us for more information!

We love this video clip! (Credit David Jacobs)  What a cute little guy – sometimes you just need to trust your ability!

Cape View Clifton – A Beautiful Boutique Hotel

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting Cobus Bester, the General Manager of Cape View Clifton.  My brief from a client was to find 5 star accommodation, ideally not a hotel, with the essential “home away from home” feeling.  As I arrived I knew that I’d hit the jackpot.

Cape View Clifton is centrally located and within minutes of the city of Cape Town. It offers convenient access to many of the spectacular sights of the area, Twelve Apostles, Lion’s Head, Signal Hill, Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch Gardens and Clifton’s very own Blue Flag beaches.

Two things struck me when I arrived, firstly the very warm welcome (Knowledge, the porter, opened the door before I could press the buzzer!) and then the uninterrupted views of Clifton, Camps Bay and the Twelve Apostles.

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This boutique hotel is beautifully appointed and Cobus was quick to tell me that Jessica Latimer, Founder and Owner of the Cape View Clifton, has transformed the family beach house into this elegant guesthouse.

First we viewed one of the Deluxe suites. Three words come to mind – spacious, bright and luxurious!  You can see that Jessica has an eye for detail. Every room has a sea view with a sea facing balcony and each room is beautifully decorated.

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The two Junior Suites are generous and have king size beds with crisp white linen. They have the same features as the Deluxe suites, sea facing balconies, beautiful furnishings and luxurious attention to detail.  The only difference is that the balconies and living areas are slightly smaller than the Deluxe suites.

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Cobus mentioned that they also have two and three bedroom suites on the ground floor, perfect for small groups and families. These suites have separate living / dining areas and a fitted kitchen, ideal for the nights when your want to enjoy a casual dinner at home and enjoy the spectacular view of the Atlantic Ocean.

A delicious breakfast is served in the open plan kitchen area and the coffee station is available to guests during the day.

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I loved the honesty bar concept where you can help yourself to drinks and freshly made cakes whenever you feel like it, note it down and it will be charged to your bill.

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For those who like to stay fit whilst on holiday there is a small gym on the top floor with possibly the best workout view in the world! Trail runs and hikes are easily accesible for those wishing to enjoy the outdoors.

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Photographs courtesy of Cape View Clifton

Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway, a special honeymoon venue or a luxurious escape with spectacular views, I think we’ve found your perfect location.

For more information contact Cape View Clifton +27 (0) 21 438 8748 or visit Cape View Clifton.

 

Segway tours at Spier Wine Estate

On Saturday we had the opportunity to tour Spier Wine Estate on a Segway PT (Personal Transporter), a two-wheeled self balancing electric vehicle. What an incredible experience, although I must say I was skeptical and to be honest terrified of these vehicles with no brakes!

Our group had to meet at 09h45 at the Wine Tasting room.  Once we had completed the indemnity form it did cross my mind to  stay back, enjoy the views and perhaps even do some wine tasting.

Before each tour guests receive a comprehensive orientation by an experienced Segway trainer. Stanley was assigned to train our group. I needed more than group training and Eric quickly came to my rescue to offer a one on one training session! I’m glad he jumped in, as I was ready to back out. The training takes between 15 and 20 minutes and covers operational and safety procedures. You learn to go forward by leaning forward, reverse by leaning back, (I didn’t see a need for that!) and how to turn by using the ‘lean steer’ handlebar. To stop, there are no brakes you just need to stand upright, and find your balance! Quite a strange concept but it works!

 

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Once we had completed the mini obstacle course, Eric gave me the green light to join the group. I was feeling less apprehensive and I was determined to enjoy this challenge!

We started the tour in tortoise mode with our guide Stanley ensuring that everyone was safe and looking a little more comfortable. Once we were more confident the Segways were taken off the slower mode to allow us to go a little faster. The top speed is 20kms.

The tour takes approximately an hour and what an amazing experience. You glide through the farm and learn interesting facts about the Protea Garden, the vineyards and the wastewater treatment plant which combines nature, art and technology.

 

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Photographs courtesy of Segway Spier

The one-hour tour costs R300 per person and leaves at 09h00, 10h00, 12h00pm, 13h30 and 15h00 daily; the two-hour option which leaves at 09h00, 12h00 and 15h00 is R500 per person  and includes a complimentary wine tasting. When the weather allows, there is also a later sunset tour that gives participants the chance to see the vineyards bathed in vibrant colours as the sun goes down.

Booking is essential and can be done by visiting the Spier website, or the Segway Tour website. Alternatively you can call  +27 (0)21 809 1157 or email spier@segway.co.za. Guests must meet at the farm’s main visitor centre 30 minutes before the excursion is set to start. No children below the age of 10 are allowed on the one-hour tour and no children younger than 12 can participate in the two-hour trip. Remember to wear sunblock and comfortable shoes.  Helmets are provided.

Highly recommended for a fun day out in Stellenbosch.   Contact us for more information.  We can collect you from your hotel and book your tickets in advance.

Keep an eye on this site for all the Cape Town winter specials!

 

 

 

Looking for a child friendly wine estate?

Last weekend saw the end of the Cape Epic. 8 days on their bikes, 739km and 16000m of climbing! An incredible week watching super fit athletes cycling in mountainous, dusty and very hot conditions.

Monday was time to relax! A day to reflect on the week, and celebrate with friends and family! So the question was posed,  “Where are we going to enjoy a day out in a relaxed environment?”  The only stipulation was to find a beautiful, child-friendly, wine estate.

The unanimous decision was Warwick Wine Estate. On Sunday we called to order the gourmet picnic for our party of 12 and on Monday we headed for the winelands.  I can’t think of a better way to start the week and as we parked the cars we knew we had made the right choice!

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When we booked we mentioned we had toddlers in our party so a table had been reserved right next to the water feature. An immediate hit!  T-shirts off and nappies on, the water amused the toddlers for hours.

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With the rolling lawns and beautiful views of the Kanonkop and Simonberg mountains, Warick certainly lends itself to the perfect picnic venue. Our party immediately chose a comfortable spot. Some sat around the table, other chose to relax on the grassy areas with blankets and cushions.

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The gourmet picnic was outstanding. Pretzel rolls (delicious!), cheese, trout, biltong pate, baby potato salad tossed in olives, sundried tomatoes & fresh basil vinaigrette; and for those with a sweet tooth, a cheesecake pot for dessert.

Plenty of delicious fresh food, chilled Warick wine and happy children certainly allowed everyone to relax after a tough and challenging week.

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Warwick is open 7 days a week.  Enquire online, 24 hours in advance or call  directly to make a booking.+27 21 884 4410

 

 

Balducci at the V&A Waterfront has had a facelift!

It really has had a makeover! Lighter, brighter and perhaps more informal, Balducci has managed to maintain the special ambience!

 

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The service ambassadors are all dressed in black and white, some even sporting bow ties, and we really couldn’t fault the service!  Zanlele was very attentive and told us all about their loyalty program.  10% of your bill is credited to your Slick card and the accumulated value can be redeemed at any time.  We signed up straight away!

The new menu still has all the favourites and you definitely need some time to ponder and perhaps debate all the delicious options.  The portions are all generous, so you can go hungry!  I overheard the lady next to us saying “wow, that dish could feed my entire family”.

All our meals were outstanding. If you’re not following the popular Banting LCHF diet, the pizzas and pastas all looked delicious. For the rest of us there is a great sushi and fish selection.

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The lunchtime specials are great value, only R59 for a pizza or pasta (excluding the flaming prawn) and R89 for a 250g grain fed 28 day matured Sirloin with a choice of starch or vegetable.

The 23pc Bento box is R119, and judging from the number of boxes in the restaurant it seemd to be a popular choice!  The Bento special includes:

2pcs Salmon Nigiri, 2pcs Inari Nigiri, 4pcs Alaska Rolls, 3 Salmon Roses, 4 Veg Rolls, 4 Cucumber Maki, 4 Avo Maki & a  bowl of Miso Soup.

Balducci offers free wifi, 20MB with no time limit, convenient to catch up on e-mail or for posting that photograph after a great night out!

 

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