5 Things to do in Cape Town that won’t cost you an arm and a leg

I made 2018 my year of not going on a long-haul flight. It is November now and it looks like I’m going to make it! Having been on a ten hours flight once a month for the past nine years took its toll on me. Traveler burn-out is a real thing. Moving back to Cape Town a year ago and escaping the concrete urban jungle that is Johannesburg, made me wanting to explore my old new hometown more. It is after all one of the most beautiful places in the world with an influx of hundreds of thousands of tourists each year. If they all come to see what is so special about Cape Town, I can as well stay and discover that too.

Besides the bucket list items of every visitor, like a helicopter flight, a paragliding tandem jump, shark cage diving and having dinner at Africa’s only restaurant that made it into the top 50 restaurants worldwide, there is plenty of free (or at least free’ish) stuff to do. Here are my top 5:

#1 Lion’s Head

My number one activity has to be a hike up Lion’s Head. No doubt! I prefer the views to those from the top of Table Mountain, you get a bit of exercise in and it’s a perfect second date activity.
The hike up is very popular with locals as well as with tourists. So, choose your depature time carefully if you want to avoid masses of hikers which results in queuing and trying to ditch trailrunners and suicidal selfie takers. Never go up for a full moon hike! You have about 2000 people trying to squeeze in on narrow pathways. (Tip: get a tripod, head towards Vredehoek side of town and take a long exposure photo of those masses of people all equipped with lights making their way down).

If you go for a sunset on any other day, don’t forget headlights or at least a fully charged phone with a torch function.

#2 Promenade Walks

Take a long walk along Sea Point and Mouille Point Promenade. Restorations and construction work have almost been completed. If you start at the public swimming pool in Sea Point and you go all the way past the Mouille Point Light house, you can stroll a good 5km along the Atlantic Seaboard. There are different sculptures displayed along the way and the fresh sea air is definitely a goodie on top. If you are an eager jogger, it’s a popular route to go. You even have some outdoor gym facilities waiting for your if you want to push a bit more.

#3 Yoga on the beach

Get over your weekly hump with YogaLife, Cafe Caprice, Havaianas and Savanna!
Wind down the day with a free sunset yoga class led by The YogaLife on Camps Bay Beach. After your bodies and minds have been stretched, float over to Cafe Caprice for a healthy meal and complimentary Savanna Dry.

Bring along a towel, your swim wear, friends and family. All levels welcome! It happens every Wednesday during the warmer season. Check out their Facebook Page for all the details (and cancelations in case the wind blows too strong)

#4 Beaches

One of Cape Town’s main attractions must be its beaches. You don’t have to drive far out to find the most pristine beaches. Clifton (all 4 of them), Camps Bay, Glen Beach are super close to the City Centre and the neighbourhoods surrounding the City Bowl. Parking can be a nightmare and it gets full quite quickly. If you don’t want to lie on the sand like sardines in a tin, choose your beach times accordingly.

Just a short drive out of town is Llandudno beach – another one of these white sandy beaches. A little longer drive out is Boulders Beach in Simons Town. In case you are keen to swim and sunbath with some Penguins than that’s the place to go. If Penguins are not your thing but you are already on the False Bay side of the Peninsula, then head out to Fishhoek, Kalk Bay or St. James.

For the surfers or aspiring surfers amongst you, Muizenberg Beach is probably the beach to go to.

Kite surfers and those braving the wind should head out to Big Bay, Blouberg and Table View. Guess where the name Table View comes from? The view of Table Mountain is one of the best.

#5 Sightseeing walking tours

You probably know of the red City Sight Seeing (CSS) busses that you see around Cape Town or any other major city around the world. But did you know that CSS also offers free walking tours? You can choose between the The Historic City Walk and Vibrant Bo-Kaap Walk. They are for free and the guides work on a tip basis. Each tour is about 90min long and they offer morning and afternoon tours.

Enjoy your stay in Cape Town! Use #lovecapetown to spread the love.

Tried and tested

This happens when you are on a sabbatical and think you have all the time you want on your hands – your friends think it is time to find new spots in town and you volunteer to do the research and the bookings.  So it happened that for the month of April it was my task to be adventurous and actually check out new spots. I would just like to add that my friends are very judgmental… you can imagine how nervous I was at the beginning of each time we tried out a new spot.

Bolton Road seems to be the new place to be at anyway. A couple of new restaurants have opened up on the corner of Bolton Road and Jan Smuts. There is Bolton Road Collection (Which is next up on my to-eat-out-list), then there is Coalition Pizza which is a great spot to have Pizza e Vino. And then there is Sin+Tax somewhere adjacent to Coalition Pizza. However, the entrance is actually in a side alley next to Coalition Pizza and rumor has it that you can only get in with a password. All in the New York  “speakeasy” kind of bar vibe. The interior is simple but effective. The owner and head mixologist Julian just won the local World Class Bartender competition and will be representing South Africa in the World Finals (by the way another Sin+Tax bartender become third.. so if two of the best South African mixologists work in the same bar, you know it is worth the visit).  Julian has a “main menu” and a seasonal one, which actually changes today as I write this. So, I am very excited to go back and try the new winter cocktail menu.  My recommendation would be to come in smaller groups, maybe a max of 6 people. More gets tricky in terms of nice seating and the guys at Sin+Tax are also quite selective on the number of people they let in, which I guess makes half of the “Old New York days” vibe.

Workshop 55
Next on my list was Workshop 55 in Parktown North (one of my favourite neigbourhoods anyway). It is tucked away in an old residential home right on 7th Avenue, and is made of a bar area and a restaurant area with an open kitchen. We started off in the bar area with some amazing Gin and Tonics. Then went over to our table. It works with a flat fee, so basically each guest pays a flat fee of 240 ZAR and gets three tapas-like dishes. If you want more, you pay extra. It is ideal for sharing on the table and to be honest, it was enough for all of us. We didn’t even have space for dessert. After dinner, we went back to the bar area.  You can easily spend your whole night there without having to move to another place since restaurant and bar area are completely separate and quite different in style, too.

Although not a newbie in our experience-seeking and tried & tested successfully since December, it is worthwhile mentioning it in this context. Situated on the top floor of the Trumpet Building in Rosebank, Marble offers great views of Johannesburg and especially beautiful views for sunsets. Again, here you have the choice of going to the bar only or to combine bar and restaurant. The dining experience is amazing, a truly South African 5* braai  – the Chef might not like my blunt description but since I am not a food blogger I might get away with it (the fact that he is easy on the eye might attract a lot of female guests, so I have heard).

Workshop 55
Marble Sunsets

We found Wally

I’ve seen so many hash tags over the past 2 years (or so) tagging “Wally’s Cave” that I was curious where it is. Finally, yesterday we went looking for it and we found it!
I followed Mike’s directions which he thankfully shared. Check it our yourself. Continue reading “We found Wally”

Arty spaces 

Looking closer at Johannesburg (let’s call it Jozi from here on) one can see and even more so feel a change in so many aspects. One of them is definitely the upcoming art scene. So much has happened here in probably the last 2-3 years. Continue reading “Arty spaces “


Maboneng is so much more than just “Market on Main” or the “Living Room”. I have been to Maboneng before, usually on a Sunday to go to the market, meet with friends and maybe enjoy a drink at the mentioned Living Room. However, I have never really walked around the streets of Maboneng, looked at all the amazing street art that can be found all over, took in the energy this place, listened to some great live music, had a coffee/lunch stop at creative place and just felt so happy to be calling Johannesburg my home. Continue reading “Maboneng”

Bungee Jumping in the City

The City of Gold aka Johannesburg is creative. We might not have the best natural surroundings for bungee jumps, but we have the Orlando Towers in Soweto. An old power plant with two cooling towers, colourful decorated. I have driven past a few times already and I have seen it on various TV shows. However, actually being there is a complete different feeling and I feel something that the city can be proud of and advertise more to international visitors as well.

So, we were invited of the press launch of a new TV show (the same one that I took with to Switzerland). First time I drove to Soweto myself in my car – an experience I was more afraid of than necessary. Probably all the bad publicity that is still linked with Soweto (although the PR engine is doing a very good job to steadily improve Soweto’s image). There is a bar/ restaurant/ pub attached to the towers “Chaf Pozi” where we met and where the official part was held, where we got local food and from where the brave ones went up the towers. Chaf Pozi is quite an interesting place. Something, I can only recommend to all Jo’burger: just take a drive out on a Sunday, have lunch there, a drink and watch people jump. Such a viby place. Go with a bunch of friends and who knows maybe the one or other is even keen to jump….


Orlando Towers
My two favourite TV presenters launching their new show
Local food in beautiful enamel pots and plates (I am very bug fan of enamel)
Doing what they do best. Up for an adventure anytime
Chaf Pozi by the towers
If you look carefully you see someone who has jumped off


A weekend getaway to the Bush

It is actually  a waste of good experiences that we don’t take the opportunity to get away for a bit more often. Living in Johannesburg can really make you get stuck in this big city life.  It is a shame because Johannesburg is actually the ideal location for a short getaway to the Bush. It doesn’t always have to be the Kruger. There are plenty of lovely game reserves just a mere 2-3 hours drive out of Sandton. I have spent the past weekend about 250 km north of Johannesburg in a province called Limpopo. The Game Reserve we went to is just outside of a small town called Vaalwater in the Waterberg. Situated on a hill overlooking the Bush. There is a main lodge where they serve all meals and you have a beautiful pool deck to relax and enjoy an amazing view. Then there are about 5 luxury tents scattered around the main lodge. Each tent hidden away in the Bush yet in close proximity to the main lodge.
Since I am not a camping girl at all (I need my own bathroom and preferably a proper bed), I was very much interested in staying at least once in one of these luxury safari tents. The experience was great. It is a tent, however it also feels like a room. Especially at night you definitely feel closer to nature than you would if you were in a house.

The reserve doesn’t offer the Big Five (lions, elephants, rhinos, leopards and buffalos) however, a game drive is always an adventure. Just looking at the scenery and being in the bush is already a great experience for me. At least we saw giraffes, actually a whole family of 7, we saw a bird eating a snake and we saw a stunning African sunset and sunrise. The rest of the time was well spent on the amazing pool deck, either at the pool or with a drink by the fire.

The lodge also offers a Spa. It is just a small walk down the hill and you’ll find a very peaceful and refreshing Spa area. I spoilt myself with a facial, but could have easily spent a whole afternoon there.


The Tent
The Tent
Sunset in the Bush
Sunset in the Bush
The Tent
The Tent
The amazing pool deck
No caption needed
No caption needed


The Spa
The Spa
The pool deck
The pool deck
Just beautiful
Just beautiful
no caption needed
just cute
without words
A warthog family
so gracious

If someone wants to book – here are their details: Bushwa

I can highly recommend if you are looking for a weekend getaway not too far out of town or if you are arriving from overseas and don’t want to stop over in Johannesburg but you also don’t want to take a long drive to the Kruger after a 10 hours flight, Limpopo Province is a great alternative to the Kruger. There are Game Reserves that also offer the Big Five. Welgevonden being one of them.


Nice read: in praise of Johannesburg

I came across a nice piece about Johannesburg: In Praise of Johannesburg by John Simpson.

The city is really not as bad as its reputation, trust me.
All my visitors so far have confirmed it.

If I had to choose between Cape Town and Johannesburg, I’d go for Cape Town, but it is also not so bad to spend a couple of years in Jozi.


Delightful culinary holiday experience

This past December /January holidays I decided to stay in South Africa and show my family where I live. My aunt and uncle flew in to spend 3 weeks here and of course wanted to see and experience as much as possible. South Africa has a lot to offer. Besides a beautiful  scenery and landscape there is definitely a vast choice of excellent restaurants with creative menus and amazing wines. Knowing that my family are gourmets, I was quite surprised by their excitement about the South African restaurant landscape which they ended up calling one of the best although it didn’t really start off well.

Food in CPT

I booked Christmas lunch at the Cradle Restaurant in the Cradle of Humankind just outside Johannesburg. Having been there twice before I was never disappointed. So, I gathered friends and family and booked a table about two months in advance. The view and the location is still spectacular.. but that’s about it! The food was below average, the service was bad and a friend of mine found a caterpillar in her rocket salad.. Last but not least, the waiter gave about 100Rand change to little.. of course, out of mistake!!!

It could only get better.. and it did. Especially in Cape Town. Proof enough that Cape Town is the better place to eat out? Maybe.

First stop in Cape Town was Five Flies. Situated in a national monument the atmosphere is already worth going. The food was delicious, the wine could even impress my Spanish wine loving uncle. We ended up with a five course meal and had an evening full of laughter and fun.

The next top-notch restaurant was Aubergine, run by a German chef and located in the historical part of Gardens it was in the German media shortly before my family’s trip and therefore on their wish list. We were lucky that other guests cancelled their reservations, so we  got a last-minute call to confirm our booking. Brilliant wine pairing with delicious food was the outcome. The evening included a first for me. First time I had Abalone. Not quite sure what to think of it yet (on that note.. I actually once read a book in which they murdered for it, so maybe that was still stuck in my mind).

One of the most anticipated eat-outs was Reuben’s in Cape Town. Reuben Riffel is one of South Africa’s most liked chefs. His restaurant “Reuben'”s in Franschhoek well-known and famous for its creative cuisine. When I heard that he had just opened his first urban restaurant in the luxurious One&Only in Cape Town, I decided to book a table for uncle’s 50th birthday celebration. Situated right next to Nobu’s (world-class master chef Nobuyuki ‘Nobu’ Matsuhisa’s first African restaurant), I wasn’t sure if I made the right choice. All doubts vanished as we go there! They loved it. The interior, the menu and… the sommelier. Very knowledgable and a sales talent! He managed to sell us a more expensive chardonnay for starters then the red wine  for main. I was told before that Chardonnay tastes like butter, but I was never able to get my taste buds trained enough. I think with this one, no taste buds need to be trained… it just tastes like… well, butter. If you feel like testing or tasting: Glen Carlou, Quartz Stone. Back to the restaurant experience. It was almost keeping up to the expectations, except that they didn’t give us enough time to finish our sorbet between second and third course.. maybe something to look past, given all the other positive experiences.

Final verdict: South Africa and especially Cape Town surprises tourists by its density of great restaurants.

8 years and counting

Beautiful Cape Town

Today marks the day that I landed in South Africa for the very first time, 8 years ago to be exact. Cape Town was my point of entry.. Just named the world’s best destination by Trip Advisor, it is actually no wonder that I fell in love with this city and wanted to spend the rest of my life there at some point. Although, I must admit that my arrival day was terrible and all I wanted was to go back to Europe. Summer 2004 in Germany had been fantastic so far, loads of parties, afternoons at the lake with friends, ice cream and cocktails.. and then I arrived in Cape Town and was welcomed by a typical Cape Town winter’s day: rain, fog, clouds hanging so low that even Table Mountain was invisible. On top of that, I had made the typical mistake of most foreigners visiting South Africa: you’d think it is Africa and therefore always summer.. Oh what a prejudice.. South African Winter days can be cold and very uncomfortable and so was the 1st July 2004.

I remember calling home and crying. All I wanted was to go back to Germany and back to my friends and family. At least the friend-issue was sorted just a few days later. My good friend Christian from Germany who also did his exchange semester in Cape Town arrived a few days later and things went up hill (the weather, too). Continue reading “8 years and counting”

South Africa – the media starlett

I spent a lazy Friday evening on my new couch and just watched TV – I was looking forward to a nice movie on it but there was nothing on. I have also put my plan to watch The Help this long weekend on hold, after my dear friend ZKV recommended not to watch it.. when it comes to literature, she is one of the few whose judgement I fully trust.

So, I ended up on VUZU where “The Bachelor” was screening. I’m not proud of myself to admit that I actually watched it.. but it’s one of these things, although it is completely non-sense you somehow stick with it. ( The subject might even be new content for a future post.. watch the space!!!).  Now, what made me stuck with the programme was that the episode was taking place in SOUTH AFRICA. The Bachelor and his 6 (or was it 8??) girls were all flown over and did the most amazing things: Safaris, Cape Town. Continue reading “South Africa – the media starlett”

The Help

After having read “One Day” – the first book in ages that actually made me cry – I didn’t think another book can keep up with it in a long time… Well, wrong assumption. Last night I finished “The Help”. I didn’t cry but it touched me deeply. Maybe this is because the story that is told in the novel is not only relevant for Mississippi in the 1960s, but can easily be applied to South Africa in the 2010s, still.

Black domestic helpers are probably still the norm in white households. Raising the kids, often live-in, part of the family. Oh, and I say “black” deliberately. It might be politically incorrect across the Atlantic, but it is absolutely correct to use the term in South Africa. In fact, the up-coming South African upper class is proudly called the “Black Diamonds”. 

I didn’t grow up with a domestic. Even today, it is quite uncommon to have a domestic helper in Germany. If people do, then it it’s usually for a few hours once a week.  So, I am extremely grateful to have this luxury in South Africa. Not sure if I’ll be able to get someone when moving back to Germany.. There, I’ll probably spend my Saturdays cleaning my flat and ironing my clothes. We are truly living in luxury when we can afford someone to help us do our domestic work..

Urban Mosaic

There are many reasons why you can easily fall in love with South Africa: amazing people, breathtaking landscapes, the best light and colours in the world (that’s why the modelling world is taking over Cape Town in season), unforgettable wildlife impressions, beautiful coastlines, delicious food and tasteful wines. That’s why tourists come to visit  South Africa and return home with the most stunning photos taken and evening filling stories to tell.

Then, there are other reasons.. reasons that you might only find out after having been here for longer and seen the prettiness behind the prettiness.  What makes South Africa special and loveable for me is the amount of  CREATIVITY and OPPORTUNITIES – or rather the opportunities to be creative. South Africa is country with a huge potential of amazingly creative people. It feels like that the country’s regime was prohibiting any sort of creative and innovative projects for such a long time, that now there is a huge backlog demand. The list is long.. from fashion designers who are entering the world stage of catwalk to community beadwork art being sold in fancy shops in Europe.

It goes further.. the buzz-word nowadays being URBANISATION , it seems to me that South Africa is creating its very own urban mosaic and I am proud to spread the word here about one particular project in which one of my oldest friends from South Africa is involved in. I think that this video describes the project pretty good.


The Urban Mosaic project, one of the winners of the Your Street Cape Town Challenge, will be helping to prevent shack fires with a fire-retardant paint. At the same time designers Y Tsai, Porky Hefer, Ashely Stemmet and Matthew Skade aim to beautify the townships with paintings of cultural icons and symbols.

Indulging heavenly

I am definitely out-of-touch with Cape Town! I don’t even know anymore where to go out for a nice lunch.. Last week I had a meeting with our PR lady and asked her for a lovely spot to meet up! Her suggestion: The Grand Café & Beach at Granger Bay. Her description was as follows: 2 Houses down the road from the Radisson! Right! 2 houses down the road the Radisson coming from East (or is it West?) is the Hotel school!! 2 Houses down the road coming from the other direction is..nothing!!! Well, at least it looks like nothing. It looks like a road leading to a construction site!!! Even the entrance area makes you think: did I really land up in the right place??? I mean usually PR people have quite a good taste and a feeling for the latest hot spot in town! My other concern was the name.. Well, in Jo’burg there is a strip club also called “the Grand”! But Mrs PR proofed herself worth every cent! The venue is stunning! Romantic decor with oversized chandeliers and Parisian café chairs – open to the ocean and tables either on the deck or on the sugar white beach!

The venue has this amazing ability of making you feel like you are far far away.. like on an island! Every now and then one of those yachts sailing off shore Clifton all day will come by and make you realize that it is not just you, a few other people and the beach..

Unfortunately, time just flew and the next meeting was calling.. Unfortunately, not in such stunning surroundings..

Bushveld Get-Away

Beautiful Sunset in the Bush

Taking the city girl into the Bushveld was a huge success. Mission accomplished. I will even consider going back. Given certain conditions are met:
1. no camping
2. running water
3. en-suite bathroom
4. mosquito nets
So, basically taking the “bush” out of the Bushveld,  if you know what I mean.

Getting there was an adventure by itself. First time  ever that I landed on a dirt-strip. Flying in a new but retrofitted aircraft, it felt like I’m playing a character in “Out of Africa”.  Picture perfect start for a weekend in the Bushveld.

I have done a couple of game viewings since I moved to Johannesburg.  So far only the one-day safaris just outside Jozi. This time we went to Royal Malewane Game Reserve which is adjacent to the Kruger National Park. Part of Royal Malewane is the so-called Africa House. A moroccan style riad in the middle of the Bush… I agree, it might sound surreal but it blended in beautifully! Equipped with 6 beautiful suits, it’s the perfect get-away for a small group of people.

Africa House at Royal Malewane

This trip also marked another mile stone in my wildlife experience: viewing the Big 5 in one go! I have seen them before, but only in bits and pieces.  This time, I have managed to see all 5 in one trip.


Viewing a herd of Buffaloes

Leopard: usually extremely shy, wouldn’t even move when we drove close.

Lucky to have spotted a leopard

Elephants:  our vehicle was surrounded by a herd. I got quite scared at some stage

That’s how close they came

Rhino: subject to Asian superstition.

Spotting the endangered Black Rhino
Lions only showed themselves at night and my camera is not really suitable for nightshots, so you will just have to image the king of the bush.
All in all it was an amzing trip!

Transforming into a Sandtonista

This is my second post about Sandton in just a week!
The thing is that Sandton is actually not worth writing home about. Attributes like “boring”, “bland”, “unelectrified”, “unthrilled” (and so on and so on..) would have probably popped into most people’s minds (at least the ones I know) and I was certainly one of them. Until today! I was invited to a after work thingy on the San Deck at the Sandton Sun! What a stunning place! Wow!!

The view: just amazing
The set-up: interior (or rather exterior) excellence
The people: cosmopolitan mix
The verdict: the perfect after- work -drinks or weekend-sundowner-place!!

Sandton is really gearing up (with a lot of changes done and finished) and becoming a hot spot in the Jozi scene again!

San Deck @ the Sandton Sun


A piece of Berlin in Jo’burg

I spent last night with a great bunch of people  at 44 Stanley Avenue. Whenever I’m at 44 Stanley Ave I get reminded of how eclectic Jo’burg actually is and to give the non-Jo’burgers a hint of this city’s vibe, I decided to post something about Jo’burg’s best kept secret. I was introduced to 44 Stanley Ave more than 4 years ago when I first moved to Jozi and fell in love with this hidden away piece of city straight away.

What was once a refinery and a series of industrial buildings is now a relaxed “Hinterhof-Culure” with boutiques, restaurants and design studios. Looking at it from the outside it does not reveal what’s hidden behind its walls: artistic flair, a meeting point for Jo’burg’s intellectuals, a trendscout’s paradise. Sitting under olive trees and sipping your coffee or a  freshly-squeezed ginger-apple-carrot juice (my favourite at Salvation Café) makes you wonder if you are actually still in Jo’burg. For me, being a German, it reminds me a lot of Berlin, for a Dutch it could well be Amsterdam, and then there are two lanes to play Boule, lined with beautiful rose bushes and lavender, that makes you feel ike you are somewhere in France.

At 44 Stanley you can find a complete different vibe compared to those in Sandton, Melrose or Rosebank (Jo’burg’s other suburbs I usually find myself at). Some might call it more alternative, some others more intellectual, others say it reminds them a bit of the laid-back Cape Townian look and feel – whatever it is, it attracts more and more visitors and I fear that sooner or later it won’t be a secret spot anymore… which again makes me wonder if  it is a good thing to post this post??? (I guess if you read this, I couldn’t hold back..) But then again, I made it my mission to show non South Africans that Jo’burg is a much nicer place than what the media portrays..