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Franschhoek Wine Tram
Franschhoek Wine Tram
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Tour the Western Cape!

Elsa and Colin in Utopia
Dinner at Utopia

I have just returned from a tour to South Africa, taking a group of three ladies. Once again, the sheer beauty of the country and its unique nature overwhelmed me. I’ll recap some of our highlights, starting in the Western Cape.

Utopia
Utopia Restaurant Cape Town

 

I arrived a little earlier than my group and spent a wonderful evening in the company of an old friend, Colin. He introduced me to the ritzy new restaurant, Utopia, recently voted as the top rooftop restaurant in Africa! Surrounded by glass views, guests have unparalleled views of the city. In addition, their five-course tasting menu (with vegetarian and wine pairing options) offers good value for money. Highly recommended, this restaurant certainly has Cape town talking!

Acorn House
Acorn House, Cape Town

It was great to welcome Dana, Joan, and Mary to the ‘Friendly City’ and my favorite Cape Town accommodation, Acorn House, in Oranjezicht. Centrally situated below Table Mountain, it offers beautiful views and warm hospitality. Beate and her staff go out of their way to spoil their guests.

View from Cable Car
View of Robben Island from Cable Car

Table Mountain is, of course, always first on the list. On the first clear, sunny day, we headed up by cable car. It is always a thrill to walk around on the top of the mountain – very negotiable for all ages – and see the endless vistas from there! Blue skies, blue seas, and blue mountains…..one gets an excellent idea of the city’s layout, suburbs, harbor, bays, beaches, and mountain ranges.

Kirstenbosch Cape Town
Cycads, Kirstenbosch Cape Town

 

 

We headed to Kirstenbosch to enjoy the beautiful indigenous gardens. Unfortunately, the shuttle car was not running, so we were forced to stroll and get some exercise! First, we traversed the ‘Boomslang,’ the high swing bridge through the tree-tops – always a challenge for me, suffering from fear of heights. One of my favorite areas to visit is the fascinating, pre-historic cycad section – the dinosaurs of the plant world.

Rack of lamb at Moya Restaurant, Kirstenbosch
Rack of lamb at Moya Restaurant, Kirstenbosch

 

We stayed for lunch at the Moya Restaurant. Mary’s rack of lamb is well worth documenting since it had us all drooling!

 

 

 

 

 

Sunset at Camps Bay
Tour group at Sunset at Camps Bay

We returned to our guesthouse via Chapman’s Peak Drive and stopped at Camps Bay for the beautiful sunset. Of course, the ‘Golden Girls’ (as several tourists started calling us) had to perch on the thrones on the beach!

Departure for Robben Island
Departure for Robben Island

Of course, Robben Island is a must because of its historical impact, and for shopping and dining, the Victoria and Albert Waterfront never disappoints. Unfortunately, it was rainy weather, so we did not spend too much time there.

Gold Restaurant, Cape Town
Gold Restaurant, Cape Town

My friend, Cindy’s Gold Restaurant, is always on my list. First, a twice-life size Mali puppet greets one at the door. Then, one is swept away by a drumming session, vibrant, colorful African music, lively dancing, face-painting, and an incredible menu of small, tasting platters of food from all over Africa! It is a truly memorable evening.

African Penguins
African Penguins at Boulders, Cape Town

 

 

Back to nature. The African Penguins at Boulders Beach near Fish Hoek is a big drawcard for tourists and locals alike. It was breeding season, so watching the penguins guard their eggs was enjoyable.

 

 

 

Jonkershoek restaurant, Cape Town
Lunch at Jonkershoek restaurant, Constantia, Cape Town

Of course, it was mealtime again, and we aimed for Groot Constantia, the oldest wine estate in the country (1685). I knew that Jonkershoek provided an excellent menu, and we were not disappointed. Dana and I had a traditional Cape Malay bobotie, lightly curried ground beef with a custard topping. I had to grin at the latest way, throughout South Africa, restaurant waitstaff and even hotel employees addressed womenfolk, e.g., “More coffee, my lady?”

We ventured into the Winelands the next day, first visiting the Spier Estate (1692) for a most informative chocolate and wine tasting.

 

 

 

Wine and Cheese Tasting, Fairview, Paarl
Wine and Cheese Tasting, Fairview, Paarl

 

 

We followed this up with a wine and cheese tasting at Fairview Wine Estate. Such delicious cheeses.

 

 

 

 

 

Wine Valley from Spice route, Paarl
Wine Valley from Spice Route, Paarl

I enjoyed the beautiful view of the wine valley while my group explored the Spice Route with tastings of chocolate, biltong, and much more.

 

 

 

Franschhoek Wine Tram
Franschhoek Wine Tram

We booked into an exquisite guesthouse in Franschhoek, owned by Marlecia, a gracious hostess. I had Petit Plaisir Cottage to myself, whereas Dana, Joan, and Mary had a large double room en-suite in the adjoining Grand Plaisir Villa. We had fun boarding the Franschhoek Wine Tram, taking one on a few different routes through the Franschhoek Winelands. All in all, we had a great time. Watch this space for our further adventures.