Province & Region
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The Western Cape is one of South Africa’s most popular holiday destinations. Its plethora of national parks is testimony to its natural beauty and hints at a world of promise for the outdoor enthusiast. Its cities are as lively as its country towns relaxed. Its culture reflects the richness of its history, both long past and more recent.
It has one of the world’s most famous mountains, right in the middle of the Mother City – a city that is often a finalist when lists of ‘most beautiful cities in the world’ are compiled. Cape Town is rich in history. And although laid-back, it also has a very active night life.
Extending south from Cape Town, the Cape Peninsula forms a spectacular knife edge that runs out to sea for miles. Naturally, this coast is rich in maritime history. Much of this is fraught with tragedy – it is not called the Cape of Storms for nothing.
On wild, stormy days its seas pulsate with unrestrained energy. You would hardly recognise it from days of cobalt skies and blond beaches when the weather gods are on their best behaviour.
The southernmost tip of the African continent is just a few hours’ travel to the east of Cape Town at L'Agulhas.
This coastline is probably the best place in the country to spot southern right and humpback whales at close quarters. Mid-August to mid-November is the best time for this.
From here the gentle corn lands of the Overberg gradually give way to the temperate ridges and valleys of the Garden Route.
This region is well known for its beaches, estuaries and freshwater dams, for its coastal cliffs, and for its green mountain ranges covered in indigenous forests and fynbos.
Crossing the first range of mountains to the interior – via a collection of ragged mountain passes or ‘poorts’ (a chasm through the mountains, usually following a river bed) – brings you to the plains of the Klein (Little) Karoo and its fortified wine and ostrich farms.
Here summers are unforgiving and the climate dry, but still nothing in comparison to the plains of the Central Karoo. This you reach by crossing yet another range of mountains. Go for early morning walks, go tortoise spotting in the late afternoon or arrange your own sundowners. The landscape is big and the skies vast. Most of all, appreciate the solitude.
To complete the ‘arid circle’, you have to head back to the coast again. Travel west until you reach the cold, nutrient-rich waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
In contrast to the southern coastline the Cape West Coast is arid, but makes up for this austerity with a rich bloom of flowers in spring. The flowers only open when the sun is high in the sky, making for lazy mornings. They are also polite enough to close in time for you to get back to your front porch to watch the sunset with a smoky single malt.
Returning to Cape Town - and heading out north-east from the city this time - brings you to the Cape Winelands. Here the valleys of the Cape fold mountains give shelter to stately vineyards. Some of them have been around since the early 1800s.
Spoilt for choice, the best way to make the most of the Western Cape is to plan your second trip even before you set out on the first.
Articles & Blogs
The Test KitchenValda 6:02pm 17 Jul
Pics Andy Lund
On the evening of 19 June 2018, arguably one of the globe’s most famous culinary destinations, Bilbao, saw a gathering of the world’s greatest chefs for the annual prestigious “The World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna”.
The Test Kitchen by chef Luke Dale Roberts was placed at 50th at the awards and number one on the African Continent, once again a phenomenal achievement.
Dale Roberts is ecstatic about the award, saying “My team and I have taken some risks over the last year and worked extremely hard to evolve...
Harkerville Red Route Re-opensValda 9:30pm 15 Jul
SANParks was delighted to reopen the world-famous Harkerville MTB red route on 20th June 2018, the first day of the Knysna Oyster Festival. Speaking on site after an assessment was done, Area Manager for the Knysna section of the Garden Route National Park, Megan Taplin says her section has received numerous requests from cyclists to reopen parts of the trail affected by the June wild fires.
The Red Route Mountain biking trail coastal section through the fynbos area is now open after monitoring rehabilitation for a year and working on the part of the trail that offers cyclists...
Exxaro Special Jersey Winners Belgium BoundValda 1:57pm 10 Jul
Pics Ewald Sadie, Greg Beadle, Mark Sampson/Cape Epic/Sportzpics
Lucky Mlangeni and Tshepo Tlou punched the air in joy after winning the Exxaro special jersey race at this year’s Absa Cape Epic. This month, as part of their prize, they head to the Bakala Academy in Belgium to have their mettle tested to the maximum
For the past six years the Exxaro special jersey competition has given previously disadvantaged riders a platform on which to test their talent against the best mountain bikers in the world. Since its inception the pool of teams has grown every year and...
CHEFSValda 1:02pm 3 Jul
One of Cape Town’s stylish local eateries, CHEFS epitomises the KISS principle (Keep it simple stupid).
It really is a fabulous concept. The daily menu of three mains (a meat - free range, obviously - fish and vegetarian dish) and a dessert, is presented in a very visual (read mother-watering fashion) on an iPad on your table. Then you can watch the action as the dishes, all made from fresh tasty ingredients and garnished with fresh herbs, are whipped up in the open kitchen and wood-fired oven before being brought to you on a tray by a white-jacketed chef. Simple,...
Toyota Fortuner 2.4 GD-6 AT Adventure DriveValda 1:28pm 1 Jul
Words & pics Elise Kirsten
Over the December holidays, many Vaalies normally head the way of the coast. Like Cape Town, for instance. But what do Capetonians, who also happen to be in the midst of the worst drought in more than a century, do over the same time? We handed Cape Town’s Elise Kirsten the keys to the new Toyota Fortuner 2.4 GD-6 4×4 AT and sent her and her family in search of water. And some adventure…
Like water to a weary soul
The Western Cape is somewhat parched, with the City of Cape Town particularly hard hit by the worst drought in over a century....
CapeNature Partners with SAPS on Lizard CaseValda 12:56pm 26 Jun
CapeNature, in partnership with the Malmesbury office of the South African Police Service(SAPS) Stock Theft and Endangered Species Unit, recently dealt a major blow to wild animal traffickers through the successful prosecution of four foreign nationals in three separate cases in the Bellville Regional Priority Court on May 22nd, 2018.
On November 24th, 2017, Mr Koji Ikoma of Japan was arrested after he tried to evade a SAPS roadblock outside Bitterfontein. During the pursuit, Mr Ikoma threw a cooler bag out of his car’s window. When the bag was retrieved after the dust had settled,...
5 Little Known Facts about the African PenguinValda 4:10pm 24 Jun
In honour of World Penguin Day, brush up on your African Penguin knowledge with five facts you may not know about everyone’s favourite flightless bird.
1) They were once considered ‘fish’
When Bartholomew Diaz and his crew first landed in southern Africa they became the first Europeans to see African Penguins. The Portuguese settlers were devout Catholics, and thus not allowed to eat meat on Fridays.
They were, however, allowed to eat fish, and made the decision to classify the flightless penguin as a fish, due to it’s love of swimming. This meant they...
Clanwilliam Cedar Tree Planting CeremonyValda 3:32pm 17 Jun
Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Wellness Retreat (Bushmans Kloof), in association with The TreadRight Foundation, CapeNature and the local Heuningvlei community, once again pulled out all the stops to host the 16th Annual Clanwilliam Cedar Tree Planting Ceremony.
At the event held on 19 May 2018, 380 trees were planted in the rural village of Heuningvlei. Around 200 conservationists, school children and families from all over the Western Cape, joined this unique conservation initiative aimed at preserving the endangered Clanwilliam Cedar Tree (Widdringtonia...
2018 AfricanX TrailrunValda 3:30pm 10 Jun
Words Jan Ham, pics Jetline Action Photos and Tobias Ginsberg
The weekend of 27 - 29 April 2018 saw the 10th running of the AfricanX Trailrun presented by ASICS.
The AfricanX is SA’s premier stage race, and the 10th edition was sure to be one for the memory banks, and it most definitely did not disappoint. In fact, it beefed up with 2 stages that rates right up there with some of the toughest single stage mountain running classics on the Western Cape circuit.
In the past the AfricanX might have “suited” runners with a road running background (or at least be...
Pushing Up DaisiesValda 7:22pm 5 Jun
By Marion Whitehead
Few flower tourists realise Vanrhynsdorp was a hotbed of resistance during the Anglo–Boer War – or that those long-dead soldiers are still providing the best show in town.
The campsite on the edge of Vanrhynsdorp was packed full of flower tourists, all of them hunting for spring splendours in this arid corner of the Knersvlakte. Some were simply stopping over on their way up north, while others used it as a central point for exploring the area, from the bulb-rich Bokkeveld around Nieuwoudtville in the east to the daisy-decked West Coast. As...
FNB Wines2WhalesValda 9:55pm 13 May
Entries for the 10th birthday of the FNB Wines2Whales opened on St Valentine’s Day, with organisers promising participants the most glorious, beautiful finish to a mountain bike race yet.
The end of the three events that make up one of the most popular stage races in South Africa has been moved to the Marine Hotel in Hermanus, where the whales that were part of the inspiration for the event will welcome them after their three days of endeavour. The hotel is regarded as the best place to spot whales in a town that has become...
FNB Cape Town 12 ONERUNValda 9:55pm 6 May
Pics Tobias Ginsberg
Running enthusiasts can look forward to “running Cape Town” their way at the 4th annual FNB Cape Town 12 ONERUN on Sunday, 20 May 2018.
Celebrating everything that the beautiful Mother City has to offer, the FNB Cape Town 12 ONERUN highlights the vibe, the city and its people. This fast paced, flat 12km run brings together runners from all walks of life, businesses entering teams as well as outrageous free spirited individuals that take the dress up option to the next level.
Event Information FNB Cape Town 12 ONERUN
Linger LongerValda 9:55pm 1 May
Words Fiona McIntosh, pics Shaen Adey
A Cape bulbul hops along the balcony rail eyeing me as I lie in bed. It’s clearly an admonishment. The sky is pink, there’s no wind. I should be up to experience daybreak. But I feel disinclined to rush. I’ve been appreciating the dawn chorus and the crash of the breaking waves from my comfy bed. There’s an uninterrupted view through the open flaps of my tent across coastal thicket to the Atlantic Ocean. It’s been a long time since I slept so soundly.
I’m staying at Slangkop tented camp in Kommetjie, in one of six tented dwellings hidden in...
Quenching Thirst in KammanassieValda 9:55pm 24 Apr
CapeNature’s Kammanassie Nature Reserve(KNR) in the Klein Karoo, between Uniondale and Oudtshoorn have been very concerned about the possibility of animals dying of thirst. Fountains, rivers and streams have dried up due to the severe drought caused inter alia by climate change.
Many farmers have been left with no other choice but to accept water from neighbouring farms to assist.
Amongst the animals in dire need is the precious herd of 42 Cape mountain zebras in the reserve. The small population in Kammanassie Nature Reserve is one of three relict Cape mountain zebra...
CapeNature WaterwiseValda 3:02pm 17 Apr
CapeNature is committed to using as little water as possible in all its existing tourism offerings. Over the last 5 years the Public institution implemented preventative measures on its reserves through innovative water saving technologies.
As guardians of the Western Cape’s precious natural resources, CapeNature focuses on developing nature-based recreational tourism products by leveraging natural assets in such a way that protected areas become sought after tourist destinations and balanced conservation spaces. CapeNature’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Razeena Omar says “The...
Pringle Bay Festival 2018Valda 9:55pm 10 Apr
Pringle Bay Festival 27th – 29th April 2018 Bringing people Together who Care for our Environment
Pringle Bay, just 60 minutes from Cape Town, is one of the finest examples of a coastal community who cares for its environment. We are proud to host our Annual Pringle Bay Festival from 27 – 29 April 2018. #ThinkingBlue is our slogan – declaring our intention to rid the communities of Pringle Bay and Rooiels of all single use plastics and to reduce the human footprint on our unique environment.
The Crayfish TrailValda 4:27pm 8 Apr
Words and pics Di Brown
The early morning sun warmed my back and cast a golden glow on the landscape. The air was fresh and fragrant, the peppery smell of fynbos mingled with a salty tang from the ocean hidden by the distant dunes. Birds called, creatures scuttled in the undergrowth and my feet kicked up little puffs of dust with each step.
My moving meditation was interrupted by a sharp command to STOP!
Our party of six watched in awe, and a little bit of fear, as two...
Get Your Gin OnValda 1:18pm 13 Mar
The newly launched ‘The Gin Lab @ The Conservatory’ at The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa is sure to be the destination of choice for Cape Town’s ever-burgeoning population of gin lovers.
Summer in Cape Town is better than being on the French Riviera. The place to be and be seen is The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa where the sun’s last rays touch the hotel before sinking beneath the Atlantic Ocean’s golden horizon. The only thing that could make this sundowner moment more perfect is a perfectly crafted gin. Short of decking the halls with Gin and Tonics, the hotel’s...
Di Data Celebs in Absa Cape EpicValda 4:25pm 11 Mar
The Absa Cape Epic has a long history of interesting celebrity pairings teaming up to undertake the Untamed African Mountain Bike Race to raise funds and awareness for charity. The 2018 the race is no different and now boasts one of the most competitive charity pairings yet, in the form of Douglas Ryder and Jan Scannell, riding for Dimension Data, technology partner to the Absa Cape Epic.
Ryder (Main pic above) is the team principal of Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka, Africa’s only Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) WorldTour team, while Scannell is better known as Jan Braai and...
Haute Cabrière Embraces SummerValda 9:55pm 4 Feb
Haute Cabrière boasts one of the most unique views in Franschhoek, making it a popular winelands destination year round. The farm is nestled at the foot of a majestic mountain, and serenades the sunset daily.
“With summer approaching it only makes sense to make this beautiful setting available for longer, and extend our food and wine offering,” comments Marketing Manager Lientjie McLachlan.
New tapas and oyster menu for summer
From 1 November, the Tasting Room extends its hours until 18h00 to celebrate the golden hour. The addition of a tapas-style small plates menu to...