Tag Archives: cape town

Sighting of Slangkop Point Lighthouse in Kommetjie (2017-02-18) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 24 MAR 2017

Gah, another lighthouse tour opportunity missed – I really should look up the operating hours for these things! We were in the Kommetjie area (near Noordhoek) courtesy of a very successful visit to the nearby Imhoff Farm, following which, despite the VERY threatening clouds that seemed to have appeared out of nowhere, I manage to convince Chantelle that we NEEDED to drive into Kommetjie in order to visit the Instagram famous Slangkop Point Lighthouse – the tallest cast-iron lighthouse along South African shores.

Sadly for me and my excited expectations though, the barb wire topped gates were firmly shut on our arrival, with the nearby noticeboard taunting me with the normal operating hours for the lighthouse tours. Damn it.

Still, not completely deterred, I ushered the ladies out of the car for a quick stroll up the nearby boardwalk to get a better look at this magnificent 34 meter tall cast-iron beast!

Mind you, this didn’t really work for the girls, as they were pretty much back in the car almost as soon as they left it (too cold for their little shaved legs I would imagine), meaning it was up to me to amble along, snapping some quickfire pictures as the slight rain started to descend in the area.

Designed by the Chance Brothers, the Slangkop Lighthouse (or Slangkoppunt Lighthouse as it is officially known) was originally scheduled to be opened in 1914, but thanks to the commencement of World War I, it only officially launched in 1919.

The lighthouse derives its name from the Slangkop (Snake Head) hill directly behind it, and despite being fully automated in 1979, it remains one of the few lighthouses in the world to be manned by a light-keeper, better known as a lighthouse officer these days.

The particular piece of coastline that Slangkop Lighthouse protects has many reefs and headlands that stretch far out into the ocean, resulting in massive waves that have caused more than a few ships to be wrecked there over time.

Included among these shipwrecks of the area is the 1900 beaching of SS Kakapo, the 1905 wrecking of SS Clan Munroe, the 1906 sinking of the Oakburn, the 1909 destruction of SS Maori, and the more recent 2001 running aground of the Ikan Tanda.

Right. So as I mentioned, the weather wasn’t exactly the greatest and my timing in terms of visiting hours off, which then I guess simply means I’ll need to make another turn out that way sometime in the near future…

Note. Back home, we enjoyed a rather good braai. Also, a map:

Related Link: Slangkop Point Lighthouse | Transnet Ports Authority | Wikipedia

The Beach, Ice Cream and a Festival at Surfers Corner in Muizenberg (2016-10-16) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 16 MAR 2017

It is difficult to deny that the South Peninsula is a particularly beautiful stretch of Cape Town’s surrounds, and in fact, South Africa in general. If you are a surfer or are looking to become one, then Muizenberg Beach’s Surfer’s Corner is probably the spot that you should be – that is if you don’t mind all the sharks in the water!

Funnily enough, despite my main work office being out in nearby Westlake, I hardly ever make the effort of visiting out in that area, so it was thus particularly pleasurable to find myself putting aside some time to visit the Muizenberg beach stretch with my girls for the first time come October last year.

So I guess I had better blog about it then.

As luck would have it, for their very first visit to the famous Muizenberg Beach, Jessica and Emily got to watch some good surfing action, courtesy of a surf competition that was currently on the go.

Also, they got to see a blue bottle (Portuguese man o’ war) for the very first time, which on learning that these things sting and that it hurts when that happens, immediately added it to their ever growing list of reasons not to EVER swim in the sea!

The little coloured changing huts/storage units were of course a big hit, as was the very messy (but delicious) softserve ice cream grabbed from the venerable (and super interesting in terms of vintage decor) Majestic Cafe.

Which just by the way, happens to be the oldest shop in Muizenberg – having opened its doors way back in 1937!

Ice cream. Cones. Sun. Small kids.

Right. As you might imagine then, I was very, VERY grateful for the (architecturally quite beautiful mind you) public amenities that allowed me to get rid of some of that sticky residue that the girls seem to literally manage to get everywhere!

And then the bonus: What we didn’t know was that the day that we had decided to visit this part of Cape Town also happened to be the start of the 2016 Muizenberg Festival – which kicked off right in front of us with a loud parade lead by a giant silver fish puppet being accompanied by a large costumed crowd, and some VERY enthusiastic drummers.

In other words, quite the loud affair.

So, a great vibe and colourful sight indeed, but unfortunately also a completely overwhelming in terms of noise experience for the girls (Emily in particular) – all of which meant that we had to quickly cut our visit short, hightail it out of ground zero, jump into the car, and try and navigate our way to nearby Kalk Bay before the route closed because of the ever approaching parade!

A pity, but I guess then the perfect excuse for another visit in the nearby future – especially since I would love to take Chantelle to the brilliant seafood restaurant Live Bait (which I’ve had the pleasure of eating at for a business lunch before).

She would appreciate that I think.

Also, if you do decide to visit, take your camera along (if you are not going to surf). There is plenty of nice photogenic things to snap away at…

Also, just in case you can’t quite pinpoint where I am talking about on the map – a map:

Related Link: Muizenberg | Wikipedia | Muizenberg Festival

Birdwatching at Intaka Island in Century City, Cape Town (2016-09-18) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 15 MAR 2017

It is not exactly hidden, but if you only ever travel to Century City for the Canal Walk mall, Virgin Active gym, or Ratanga Junction theme park, then you may have missed the incredibly enjoyable nature experience lurking within its boundaries – Intaka Island.

Situated in the heart of Century City (which is about 7 km away from Cape Town CBD), Intaka Island is a large 16 ha wetland and bird sanctuary conservation area.

Intaka, which means bird in Xhosa, was actually setup by the main Century City developer Rabie – in response to the environmental impact assessment (EIA) which preceded whole area development – with the result being the creation of this sublime multi-purpose nature reserve.

In terms of credentials and recognition, well Intaka Island did receive the Voluntary Conservation Status from Cape Nature in October 2006, and to further their newly entrusted mission, the Intaka Trust followed up with the construction of a modern Environmental Education Centre, opening its doors to the public in 2010.

The site contains numerous paths for exploration (the longer round trip is 2 km in length) and bird watching (essentially it is littered with viewing platforms and bird hides wherever you look) – well worth it if you consider that over 120 different bird species call this unique area home!

Paradise for birders, photographers and nature lovers then.

Funnily enough, despite visiting the adjacent Central Park for many a year prior, I had never set foot on Intaka Island before last year September, when I decided to convince Chantelle that the girls would love a trip out that way.

Naturally, I was completely wrong.

It was hot, the girls weren’t interested in the surroundings, the path was too long, and basically they moaned for most of the walk.

Charming.

(Thankfully, they both loved the boat ride on the Canal that followed our little walkabout – meaning that all was soon forgiven!)

In other words, I need to make a plan on going back out there on my own, without the little ones in tow. So in summary then: Intaka Island is well worth a visit, though you may wish to give it a skip if you have little ones with a strong aversion to walking!

Also, if you have a camera, be sure not to leave it at home.

Also, just in case you want to got and do some birdwatching yourself, here’s a handy map:

Related Link: Intaka Island | Century City

Train Rides at the Century City Natural Goods Market (2017-01-29) Markets | Photo Gallery 08 MAR 2017

I like the Century City Natural Goods Market. Not because we’ve traded there in the past, but rather because of the always enjoyable vibe that emanates from this particular market.

The atmosphere is laid back, there is always chill music on the go, you have the openness that comes from being situated in Central Park, you are surrounded by the gorgeous modern architecture that makes up Century City, and most important of all, this always feels like a market that is catering directly for families as opposed to just trying to look cool.

That said, it is a little sad to see the market in its current shrinking form. The number of stall holders is definitely and very noticeably diminishing, which is a pity because as the stall holders become less in number and thus less diverse in offerings, so too does the number of visitors also eventually drop.

Nevertheless, there is still more than enough life in the market, as the girls and I found out for ourselves with an impromptu trip through to Century City at the end of January.

As expected, the music was good, the mini train ride lots of fun, the dog show via Dogz Cool entertained the kids, and all those little treats like hand-folded ice cream, fudge and millionaire’s shortbread delicious!

Not a bad way for the girls and I to start off a day that would eventually see us slumming with the Ostriches down at the Cape Town Ostrich Ranch!

(Naturally, I greatly annoyed the girls by taking pictures at every opportunity that it occurred to me to do so! These are some of the better ones that I decided to hold on to…)

As always, a handy map:

Related Link: Century City Natural Goods Market

Catching Sight of Table Mountain from Bloubergstrand (2016-11-27) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 01 DEC 2016

Following a lovely morning spent at the Century City Natural Goods Market, followed by a trip to Canal Walk for some Lindt chocolate from their newly opened boutique shop, we decided to cool down with a trip through to Bloubergstrand, in the hopes of securing a lunch spot at perennial favourite, The Blue Peter Hotel – and of course to give the girls a chance to play in the sand by the sea for a bit.

dav

Of course, at this point any local would have already rolled their eyeballs at this plan, because anyone from the area would immediately point out that on such a gorgeous, wind free summer’s day, there is literally a snowball in Hell’s chance of actually finding a table at the iconic Blue Peter!

dav

They would of course be 100% right.

So no Blue Peter Sunday lunch for the Lotters then, but that’s okay, because there was plenty of space for us on the nearby (but popular) Little Bay beach, where we were rewarded with the most beautiful view of the iconic Table Mountain.

dav

Nice right?

This classic view of Cape Town’s beloved mountain is of course absolutely stunning, and something rather special to see if you don’t normally come out this way – i.e. like us.

(Plus, as a massive bonus, we even got to enjoy the famous Silver Falcons do two formation fly-bys over the beach while we were there!)

dav

We are working hard at getting the girls more comfortable with the sea (in preparation for our December trip to Gouritz), and amazingly, despite the icy cold Atlantic water which feels like ice blocks on your skin (thanks Benguela Current!), the girls allowed themselves to get wet and in the end had an actual ball – both going so far as to strip right down to their undies!

(We really should plan our beach visits better – you know, bring with costumes etc. At least we had the presence of mind to apply sunscreen to the girls in the morning!)

dav

The kids had a blast, we were left with a quaint collection of mud painted rocks and shells to bring home, and of course, mommy and daddy managed to soak up some sun as well.

Not a horrible way to spend a Sunday afternoon out and about then!

A handy map to where we were:

Related Link: Bloubergstrand | Blue Peter Hotel

Century City Natural Goods Market… and Lindt! (2016-11-27) Markets | Photo Gallery 30 NOV 2016

I spotted on Facebook that the Century City Natural Goods Market was at last kicking off for the 2016 Summer Season, and seeing as we had in the past spent quite a few Sundays selling cupcakes there as part of the Chantelle’s Cupcakery food markets phase a couple of years back, I was eager to head out that way and catch some of that good old nostalgia vibe.

dav

Getting the girls on board was remarkably easy of course – just one mention of the Temperance Flyer mini train being at the market was more than enough to have them jumping up and down with excitement!

sdr

As always, the market was being held on the big green circular Central Park in the heart of Century City, right next to Railroad Square and of course Intaka Island.

The main trading action was all taking place under a large central Bedouin tent, with the other food trucks/trailers being accommodated along the wings of the market space. There was plenty of shaded seating and tables available (all very popular due to the great Summer’s weather on the day), with live music coming courtesy from the talented Capetonian singer Ryan Kidwell (former front man of the reggae outfit The Little Kings).

sdr

For the kids, there was a magic show courtesy of family magician Magic Nick (which sadly we missed due to arriving too late), a jumping castle, a zorb orb, and of course the Temperance Flyer train!

sdr

Interestingly enough though, and I’m not sure if it is just because it was the first market of the Summer Season or perhaps an indication of something else, the market certainly seemed a LOT smaller than what it used to be in terms of the number of traders on the day.

Sadly, this then meant that there wasn’t a heck of a lot of cool/interesting food choices on offer (like say what you might find at the bigger market cousins like the massive Root 44 or Lourensford), but nevertheless, we all managed to find something that we liked and in the end had a good morning soaking up the great sun, music and vibe that one can only get from coming to an outdoor market like this!

(So, maybe worth jotting down, but come the evening of the 7th December from 4 to 9pm, they will be having their first ever Summer Night Market which could be pretty cool to attend as well!)

Having enjoyed our time spent at the Century City Natural Goods Market then, we next headed down the road to the gigantic Canal Walk shopping mall, literally the first time in years since I’ve last been there. (We don’t come through to this side of Cape Town much in case you were wondering!)

dav

It is as always, an easy on the eye shopping centre, one of the nicest in terms of both architecture and design, though we didn’t have all that much time to admire our surroundings because Chantelle was pretty much focussed entirely on one very important mission – locating the newly opened Lindt boutique chocolate store ASAP!

dav

Seventh heaven for any lover of Lindt let me tell you, especially because you can buy flavours there that you can’t normally find on the retailer shelves. (Amazingly enough, Chantelle actually shared her Lindt haul with both the girls and myself. Talk about true love! :P)

(Oh, she wanted to check out Dunkin’ Donuts as well, but they were far too busy for us to be bothered with trying their stuff out. Plus, I was rather pleased to see that Baskin Robbins is hitting South Africa in the near future as well. I LOVED checking out all their ice cream flavours during my Japan 2014 trip!).

Anyway, here’s a handy map to Central Park if you want to catch the next Century City Natural Goods Market!

Related Link: Century City Natural Goods Market | Facebook | Canal Walk

Grand Canal Boat Ride aboard the Intaka Island Ferry at Century City (2016-09-18) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 20 NOV 2016

In September I took Chantelle and the girls for a bit of a bird watching stroll in the beautiful, 16 ha large wetland and bird sanctuary, Intaka Island – which is situated literally right in the heart of the architecturally beautiful Century City development.

dav

The weather was of course beautiful, the birdlife plentiful – and of course, the girls didn’t really like the long, hot walk at all.

However, what they did enjoy was climbing and playing on the two beautifully restored, plinth-mounted old steam trains outside the entrance to Intaka Island (right across from the Clubhouse and Century City’s Central Park), and even more so, the prospect of going on a boat ride along the Grand Canal on the Intaka Island Ferry.

dav

Tickets for the ferry were bought as part of the entrance package into Intaka Island, and so we made doubly sure that we were back at the boat for the prescribed launch time – not that the girls would have let us miss it anyway!

sdr

The short boat ride is actually pretty cool – essentially you get taken out into the waterways surrounding Intaka Island, circle the island and then head onto the Grand Canal, passing through under the massive Knightsbridge towers and then heading all the way down to the beautiful African Pride Crystal Towers Hotel, where you turn around and head back towards the island again.

dav

The  architecture of Century City is of course amazing (seriously, Canal Walk and Ratanga Junction is not Century City. Do yourself a favour and walk out back if you have never done so before – explore the beautiful pathways and art installations that makes Century City such a serene jewel in the first place!), and thanks the the plexiglass and shaded roof, the trip is quite a comfortable one.

sdr

Jessica of course walked up and down the boat for pretty much the entire trip, spending most of it hanging over the side to get a better look. (That was of course until the two of them spotted the cute little puppy that was also onboard for the ride!)

dav

All in all, well worth tacking on a boat ride the next time your find yourself buying a ticket into Intaka Island!

Also, Intaka Island is worth checking out if you’d quite enjoy a spot of birdwatching:

Related Link: Intaka Island | Century City | Canal Walk

The Flying Pan: Food Delivery & Catering Service in Cape Town
[Partner Content] 04 AUG 2016

Are you too busy to cook, tired of unhealthy takeaways or jaded by your limited dinner time cooking skills? Enter The Flying Pan, a healthy and convenient dinner time solution based in Cape Town that delivers chef prepared meals to your door.

In essence The Flying Pan is a dinner delivery service, but what sets it apart is its dedication to healthy, and delicious tasting food. Meals are prepared fresh in the morning of delivery, and then delivered throughout Cape Town’s CBD and the Southern Suburbs. It offers an alternative dinner time solution and provides all the benefits of home cooked meals, without the fuss. Their tagline, Rethink Dinner encourages people to break the hard wired habit of shopping, chopping, cooking and cleaning, and to consider dinner alternatives that work with modern, busy lifestyles.

the flying pan meals - penne and curry

Convenient

The Flying Pan understands that in the modern world, convenience is King, and as a result not only focuses on serving great food, but also on making the service as simple and convenient as possible. As such, The Flying Pan has embraced a simple-to-use online ordering system. Customers can order and pay for their food online (using multiple payment methods such as Credit Cards and SnapScan), and get dinner delivered the very next day. Plans are on the way to develop an online food delivery app, to make ordering a healthy dinner as easy as a tap or a swipe. The Flying Pan also gives customers total flexibility in meals ordered (no minimum order, no subscriptions), unlike some of their competitors.

Healthy

To suit different lifestyles, The Flying Pan has three different menus. The classic menu caters for everyday requirements, while the vegetarian menu offers a delicious selection of plant based meals. The low carb menu follows certain banting principles, and is suited to those looking to reduce their carb intake. The menus feature dishes from various cuisines, including crowd pleasing pastas, fragrant Thai dishes, South African favourites, and spicy Indian curries. Furthermore, menus are rotated so that customers will never get bored of dinner time.

Catering

In addition, The Flying Pan also offers a cutomised corporate and wedding catering service in the larger Cape Town area. Compared to other catering companies, The Flying Pan creates unique menus based on customer briefs, ensuring that a unique food experience is provided every time.

the flying pan meals - chicken

For more information of The Flying Pan’s food delivery and catering service, visit their website.

Related Link: The Flying Pan

Things to See in South Africa: GrandWest Casino in Cape Town Travel Attractions 28 MAY 2016

Sun International’s GrandWest Casino and Entertainment World, apart from being the only casino in Cape Town, is one of the largest entertainment destination of its kind in South Africa. It offers a wonderland of around-the-clock entertainment, making it comparable to something that you may find find all the way over in Las Vegas!

grandwest casino and entertainment world in cape town

Officially opened in December 2000, GrandWest is technically located in the suburb of Goodwood (on the old Goodwood Showgrounds), thus making it central to both the Southern and Northern Suburbs of Cape Town. It is a massive complex, featuring two hotels, a kids entertainment world (with arcade), a concert venue (The Grand Arena), loads of restaurants (12 in total, not counting the additional fast food court!), an Olympic-size ice skating rink, a bowling alley, a movie cinema, lots of conference facilities, exhibition space (SunExhibits), and of course – its massive casino!

grandwest casino and entertainmet world - grand hotel 1

A pretty cool design element of the GrandWest complex is its attempt at recreating historic Cape Town facades – in fact it recreates more than a kilometre of the old Mother City, which means a lot of grand, Victorian and Cape Dutch styled architecture, complete with a recreation of the 1652 Fort of Good Hope and a moored, fully restored tall-ship, the Victoria II!.

restored victoria ii tall ship moored at grandwest casino in cape town

Given all the entertainment options, GrandWest is quite a popular attraction in Cape Town, which in turn means a LOT of daily visitors. (So if you’re not so fond of crowds, you could always just play online casino games instead!)

However, if people are your thing, then the casino is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and offers both smoking and non-smoking gaming facilities. The floor hosts 2,563 smart card slot machines, and more than 79 premium table games that cater for pretty much every casino game imaginable. There is also an exclusive gaming area (Salon Prive) for Platinum MVG members, and a Gambling Information Centre – a great resource for first time gamblers who would like to learn the ropes!

grand hotel at grandwest casino and entetainment world in cape town

grandwest casino and entertainment world

Related Link: GrandWest