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Places to Visit in Cape Town During Winter

   

Journals  |  Adventure  |  Places to Visit in Cape Town During Winter

Adventure
Jun 07, 2019
0Cape Town
Gentle Reminder: Summer in the Northern Hemisphere means Winter in the Southern Hemisphere — even in Africa, yes, even in “hot as Africa” Africa. Even with it’s recent bout of random immigration laws, South Africa is still among the continent’s top travel destinations. However, ask someone if you should visit Capetown, the country’s star attraction, during the winter months of June, July, and August and you’ll get reactions that range from horrified to questions on your sanity. Even locals will advise that you skip the “Mother City” in lieu of sunnier pastures but what if you forgot this little morsel of knowledge and booked a trip smack dab in July thinking you were going to be all selfies and sunlight? There’s hope for you yet! While there is definitely a chill in the air, South African Winter is similar to early fall or early Spring in Europe and North America and provided you aren’t allergic to a chance of rain — you can actually have an amazing time (and skip the crowds of summer while you’re at it). Doing a winter trip will take a bit more knowledge and planning so we’ve created some must-do’s (and can-do’s) for a Winter holiday in the Western Cape. To make life easier, our suggestions are built for three types of travelers: foodies, YOLO adventurists, and history buffs. If you’re like us — you’re probably a mix of all three!

Foodies

Capetown probably has one of the best-hidden food scenes in the world. Creative chefs making the most of all that ocean cooking up seafood in purely indulgent ways. The Western Cape, the region surrounding Cape Town is also home to South Africa’s famous wine country and while the vineyards slow down during the winter months of June, July, and August.

it’s actually what makes it all the more enticing. Here are our must do's for a winter visit full of noshing.

Spasie

Owner Gregory Zeleny begins each night with his carefully crafted guest list of patrons who pile into a nondescript loft space right in Capetown’s colourful Bo-Kaap neighbourhood. He greets each person personally alongside the night’s guest chef with a huge smile taking just enough time out for small talk but not too much to keep you from the Cards Against Humanity game waiting at your table.

Each night a top South African chef or young, rising star creates a custom 4- or 5-course menu, complete with wine pairings, that is a complete surprise to the diners of the night. On Wednesday’s, Spasie hosts Pocket Watch Wednesdays or #PWW, it’s a gourmet street food mashup from the hunky chefs at Santa Anna’s (our favourite Mexican food on the continent) and the good folks at The Chef’s Bench.

Taking things up (or down) another level, there’s a custom built twister board built into the floor. Once the pinot gets poppin’ you’ll find guest wrapped up onto each other between meals — it’s just that kind of party.

Santa Anna’s Bringing Mexico to South Africa

Foodies on Foot

It’s not often that we shout out a proper tour — most times we can’t imagine having to wake up and be anywhere at a specific time however the good folks at Bites and Sites have put together a half-day food hop in Stellenbosch that is just the right start to exploring wine country.

Hanli and her team take you through the town’s myriad of food artisans tasting everything from creamy South African cheeses, organic olives and hand-pressed balsamic, and of course Biltong - beef jerky’s sexier cousin. The tour also gives you a quick pass around Stellenbosch’s historic district where you can pinpoint where your bar crawl for the night will begin.

A snap from the Foodies on Foot tour taken by Tastemakers Concierge Travelers

Terroir at Kleine Zalze Estate

For those of you looking for more of a white glove service, Terroir restaurant at the Kleine Zalze Wine Estate just outside of Stellenbosch is where the proverbial buck stops. Well recognized as one of the premier gourmet restaurants in the Winelands, Terroir packs a bunch of style with those white tablecloths.

Just one of many amazing restaurants to explore in the region, Terroir make our must-do list for it’s innovative, non-stuffy approach to gourmet and amazing wine pairings (especially the Shiraz). You’re in wine country so you might as well go a little high brow for at least part of the experience!

The epic Shiraz at Kleine Zalze Estate

Yolo Adventurists

You know who you are, have no chill, try anything once traveller concerned that the winter water temps might be just too cold for you to swim with the sharks on this trip. Take it from the surfer’s at Jeffrey’s Bay, the water temperature is the last thing you need to be worried about if you’re trying to get up close and personal with a great white.

Here are a few things in and around Capetown that’ll definitely keep you on your toes.

Abseiling Table Mountain

So you’re definitely going to have to give yourselves 3–4 days wiggle room to make this happen, the winds at any given time of the year mean that scaling the mountain with a rope isn’t always going to turn out well so your itinerary has to be flexible enough to wait out the weather conditions. Abseiling is an epic way to experience the views of Capetown from the top of the mountain’s vertical drop.

Instagrammer @khamouda preparing to abseil down Table Mountain

Downhill Longboarding

One of our favourite people in the world, Kent Lingeveldt brought longboard culture mainstream in South Africa. From making custom boards for Desmond Tutu to getting drop-in visits from the King of Crunk (Lil’ Jon) himself, the photographer, boarder, and owner of Alpha Longboards definitely knows a thing about the thrills of a board with four wheels.

Born and bred in the Cape Flats, Capetown’s version of Compton, Kent has probably ridden just about every inch of road in the Western Cape. A downhill pro, you might find him at high speeds coming down Signal Hill or the storied Carnage Hill.

Kent Lingeveldt catching a major slide down Signal Hill via @alphalongboards

Paragliding

With a landscape like nothing you’ve ever seen before, Capetown is a perfect place to catch the “air up there”. Leaving from Signal Hill at Lion’s Head Mountain, you can sail through the air over Capetown’s many neighbourhoods, beautiful coastline, and even catch Table Mountain if the wind cooperates.

With no training necessary this is definitely a YOLO moment to feel a bit like Icarus on your vacation (without the whole wing burning situation).

@ctparaglides taking a drift over Seapoint

History Buffs

Robben Island

Just because it’s obvious doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go. The place that imprisoned Tata Madiba, as he’s affectionately called by millions worldwide is a must do when you’re in Capetown. You have to go by ferry (don’t fall out the waters are shark infested) and it takes about 3 hours to explore the island, visit Nelson Mandela’s cell, and listen to some uncomfortable truths about South Africa’s recent history. It’ll be chilly so you’ll need a hoodie or light jacket in order to enjoy the experience and not cry cold tears of ice.

Instagrammer @cc_spies_with_little_eyes taking in Block B, Mandela’s 18 year home

District Six Museum

South Africa’s racial system of classification has left a legacy imprint on how people are identified even up to today. Black South Africans are called Black, Afrikaners or Boer descendants are called White, and people of mixed, indigenous, and African descent are called “coloured”. This doesn’t even include the various Asian populations that have settled in South Africa over the years.

Capetown is probably the place in South Africa where these structures are most obvious with the Black and Colored populations having been moved out of the central area of the city and into what’s now known as the Cape Flats. The District Six Museum explores the rich history of the mix of slaves, merchants, blacks, and coloureds that lived in a bustling in town district before being forcibly removed by the Group Areas act of 1950.

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