I can’t believe that it took me only about 3 months to work through the first volume of my Cape Town to-do list. And what a blast it has been! It has taken some commitment on my part, the sourcing out of willing partners, but I did it! What I loved most about the to-do list was sharing in the adventure with other people and the feedback from friends who had been inspired by my list.
I discovered the Kasteelspoort Ledge with that dashing American man. I had a friend who found Wally’s cave and hiked Lion’s Head (he was adamant that it was not as easy a hike as I had made it out to be). Another friend who hiked up to the same Kasteelspoort ledge and posted a picture of herself on Instagram with arms up in the air in triumph. And another friend took her kids to The Secret Location Tidal pool and down that not-so slippery slide.
And so, encouraged by the success of my first list, I have compiled a new to-do list (which I realised I had to make seasonal for the winter season) and given myself about 6 months to finish it. Because there definitely has to be a special brand spanking new to-do list for summer and I already have some summer-sizzler items on it.
1. Eat a Gatsby
When most people hear the word “Gatsby” they think of the famous F. Scott Fitzgerald novel “The Great Gatsby” with the plush house on Long Island, the decadent parties, that yellow Rolls-Royce and the mysterious green light on Daisy’s dock representing Gatsby’s unattainable dream and the American dream. We studied the novel in Matric (or Grade 12). But in Cape Town, a Gatsby takes on a new meaning as a foot-long submarine sandwich cut into four portions and packed with slap chips (or french fries), special sauce (like atchar) and a variety of other fillings including polony, steak or calamari. Its origin is the Cape Flats, where people filled their sandwiches with left overs, and its name is associated with the “Great Gatsby” movie when it came out in the 1970s. It is the authentic sandwich of Cape Town and I have never had it. It’s possible that it is because it’s carbs-on-top-of-carbs and I usually watch what I eat but my no dairy, sugar and gluten diet can take a break for a Gatsby. Also this is a perfect activity for winter when you just want to eat.
2. Kloof Corner hike
I have seen spectacular photos of Lion’s Head from the Kloof Corner hike up Table Mountain. There is a picture of a gentle path on the mountain which looks so peaceful and I was wondering why I had never heard about it before. And then some of my hiking friends showed me pictures of epic long chains and actual rock climbing. After all of the hype of the India Venster route being “dangerous”, but then in reality not actually, and with some hiking and climbing under my belt, I feel a bit more confident to tackle Kloof Corner. Also, since my last list I now belong to a hiking group called the “CapeTrekkers” and hiking Kloof Corner is on everyone’s hiking list.
3. Tea or drinks at the Silo hotel
The Silo Boutique Hotel opened in the V&A Waterfront in March 2017. I have already seen pictures of its geometric windows and spectacular views of the city and Table Mountain. Also, there looks like there is a magical rooftop pool. Can I swim in it (I always want to swim even if its winter) if I am not a guest though? The hotel will sit on top of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa which will open its doors in September 2017. So, I am down for tea or drinks or a swim at the Silo Hotel.
4. Sundowners at the mysterious Chapmans Peak Cave (or caves)
So apparently, there are one or two really cool caves on Chapmans peak but I have no idea (as yet) where they are or how to find them. I have only seen pictures of it. I recently drove the Chapmans Peak tollgate route on my way to Noordhoek and was reminded of the story of my grandmother who monitored the radars for enemy submarines in a little hut on Chapmans Peak during World War II. Yes, my history with Cape Town goes back generations. And because I don’t know about these caves or it may be one cave, it becomes a mystery that has to be explored.
5. Little Lion’s Head
So sadly, it took seeing pictures on Instagram to realise that you can actually hike up to the koppie above Llandudno named “Little Lion’s Head”. It offers 360 degree views of the Hout Bay and Llandudno areas. The reason it may not be as popular as the main Lion’s Head is because it is further from the city centre and way more complicated to access requiring some security code and gate access in one of those gated communities. But it’s a short hike with apparently amazing views and so I have to tick it off the list.
6. Sandboarding the Atlantis dunes
That American man told me about his sandboarding experience on the dunes in Atlantis and I was like “where is that?”. Another experience of many in Cape Town this year that he beat me too including Devil’s Peak and Wally’s Cave (so shamefaced). I have tried sit-down sandboarding on the sand dunes of Namibia and it was awesome but not stand-up sandboarding. I would love to recruit others to go with me so am looking for volunteers. Please PM or DM me.
7. Scuba dive in Cape Peninsula area
After years of waiting, I finally got my open water and advanced open water PADI scuba diving certificate in Thailand towards the end of last year. My friends have recommended diving with the blue and maco sharks off Cape Point. But it is seasonal from November to May (when the Great White shark season is low) so it’s not going to make the winter to-do list. Other dive sites recommended are Castle Rock, Justin’s Cave, the cow sharks at Pyramid or PMB. I think it’s going to be a question of best location for the season but I want to get one dive done in the next 6 months.
8. Full moon kayak (Simonstown)
This one sounds interesting (and a little scary) so I am in. Kayaking at full moon from Simonstown and it only happens once a moth. Also, this particular activity only happens in the Winter season (April – October) which makes it perfect for this list. I haven’t done kayaking in who can remember when. Much like my bicycle riding which was resuscitated in Paris and Amsterdam in 2016. This outing could definitely do with more buddies so please PM/DM me.
9. The Piano Bar in the Waterkant
Who doesn’t love a bit of live classy musical accompaniment with their drinks. The piano bar is described as a trendy New York-inspired music revue bar and eatery and an ideal spot to chill out over an evening cocktail. Having lived in New York for two years and not once gone to such a music revue bar perhaps it is time that I went to one in my home town.
10. Lunch at Bosjes
Bosjes is a wine farm situated at the foot of the Waaihoek mountain in the Breede valley. Images of the architectural masterpiece that is the chapel, a sort of white-curvy bird like structure that is about to take flight, have intrigued me enough to look up where it is. There is also apparently a beautiful blue-and-white delft inspired mural titled the “Tree of Life” constituting 366 tiles on the outside of the restaurant that looks like you could stand in front of and take a good pic. It’s about 1.5-hour drive outside of Cape Town and may require a weekend trip or super keen crew of day trippers. It features last on the list because this may be a mission to organise but hopefully because it is relatively new I can convince some trendy fellow Capetownians to join me.