Lockdown in Cape Town

Cape Town Promenade

Where would I have been better off during lockdown? I had two choices.

A) Staying putt in Cape Town, living in my own place with all my stuff?

B) Leaving to Germany, staying with family, living out of a suitcase for an uncertain amount of time?

I chose Cape Town. Not sure if it was the right choice. Germany had way less stricter lockdown rules, travelling within Europe is restrictive but possible, I could’ve seen friends and family, potentially even meet up with the friends who are that side of the world somewhere in Europe and most importantly I wouldn’t feel so alone on the other side of the world.

Despite probably more pros for Europe, I am not regretting having stayed here. We had one of the toughest enforced lockdowns in the wold apparently. No alcohol and cigarette sales allowed for most of the time. International and provincial borders closed. Not allowed to leave the house except for essentials in the first six weeks, then for four weeks we were only allowed outdoors between 6am-9am for jogging, walking etc. It became gradually more relaxed and now 5 months in we are on Level 2 which is almost back to normal. International borders remain closed, so no regular air schedule in place yet. Daily life has returned to a somewhat normal state of being again.

Cape Town is a beautiful city, in between the mountains and the ocean, the wine lands a short drive away, the rough natural beauty of the West Coast not far and all of this just for us, those that stayed behind at the far end of the African continent. No tourists, just us. I am utterly enjoying the freedom of #WFH and with that comes daily prom walks either in the morning or in the late afternoon. Mountain sessions on empty trails, beach walks without a hassle to find parking.

  • Cape Town Promenade

Level 3 Advanced then finally allowed for trips within our province of residence. August – November is typically whale watching season in the Western Cape and Hermanus is a good spot to do so. Luckily the Western Cape is also home to some great wine estates. Albeit alcohol was still permitted in Level 3, most of these wine estates are just beautiful to visit and stop a bite to eat.

We are lucky to spent lockdown here and call this home. So, no regrets after all of staying here.. however, I will be flying on home as soon as it allowed again.

Things to do

Rent a SUP and cruise the canals

Easiest way to start getting a feeling for Stand Up Paddling is renting a SUP and cruising the canals. No waves make it easy to stand up and not loose your balance. The canals around the Waterfront a beautifully lined up with the One & Only Hotel, kept clean and you can watch people strolling along the sidewalks.

Rent your SUP at https://supcapetown.co.za either make a booking online or just get there. We were lucky as they weren’t super busy during lockdown and they had enough SUPs available for the 3 of us. 1 hour will cost you R220.

Lion’s Head walk-around

During Lockdown the path up Lion’s Head was closed. But there is an alternative – the walk-around. Not as steep as you don’t go up all the way, but still amazing views as you also take a 180° walk around. Starting point is the same parking. You just walk right towards the Kramat instead of up-hill.

Green Point Lanes

During Lockdown Level 4 when we were only allowed to go out in the morning between 6-9am (Sun in Cape Town only went up at around 7h30) the promenade was too busy, so I started going the other direction. Through the neighbourhood, all the way up towards Upper Green Point. There are lovely lanes with steps between Main Rd and High Level and then again between High Level and Ocean View Drive / Springbok Rd. Besides, being rewarded with a nice view once on the top, these lanes also offer a nice work-out if you go all the way up.

Check out this Facebook Group to see the cutest pics of Green Point Lanes .

Winter Magic

6 Reasons to love winter in the Cape

Winter in the Cape is underrated. So much in fact, that Cape Town and the Western Cape as a whole struggle with tourist numbers every year. Visitors, come! There is no reason to avoid the Cape in winter. In fact it has become one of my favourite seasons.

Reason number one

Less traffic – way less traffic. And I mean not only on the road. No queues to most tourist attractions, no need to book a restaurant two weeks in advance. The city is not as congested as it is in peak season.

Reason number two

The wind – there is basically no wind in winter. Have you been to the Cape in summer and experienced the South Easter? Then you know what I mean. In winter, there is basically no wind in the Cape.

Reason number three

Sunsets – the most beautiful sunsets are unarguably in autumn and in winter. Especially on a cloudy day. Remember what they say: beautiful sunsets require cloudy skies.

Reason number four

Really affordable – prices fall for locals. You can find a lot of restaurants offering winter menus at reduced prices. Even weekend get-aways are becoming more affordable for locals when the influx of foreigners with stronger currencies wears down.

Reason number five

Sunny days – and there are plenty. Winter in the Cape is rainy season. That’s true, but the rain usually never lasts too long. A few rainy days are usually followed by as many (if not more) days with temperatures rising to a gentle low twenty. Ideal for beach or prom walks, lazy lunches in the sun or visiting a wine farm and buying some red for those rainier days.

Reason number 6

Fireplaces – who doesn’t love them? And I am happy to announce that I have just learned how to make a fire in a fire place! My first one!

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.

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”

Proud owner of a Cape Town flat

It is not a secret that I have fallen head of heels in love with Cape Town. It has been just over 9 years ago that I first arrived there and I was hooked within the first week. About two weeks ago I took my brother on a long weekend to Cape Town. It was his first visit to the Mother City.  Although he is not a man of many words, I had the impression that he liked it, too. Since we decided to buy an apartment together, it was important that he also liked the place we decided to buy in. Continue reading “Proud owner of a Cape Town flat”

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”

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..