By Gwen Sparks
Johannesburg – We love calling it Slaapstad but here are the top five ways to get the most out of Cape Town’s city centre these holidays.
Hop on the Red Bus
If you’re new to the CBD, why not take in the sights aboard a double-decker Red Bus. These hop-on, hop-off excursions allow travellers to get closer to iconic monuments and famous landmarks.
Take it slow, travel by foot
Another popular way to enjoy the city’s many treasures is on foot.
The CBD’s streets are as easy to navigate as they are charming, and it is almost impossible to get lost with the majestic Table Mountain visible at every turn.
Start at the Heerengracht Fountain and meander up through Adderley Street, past the kaleidoscope of flowers at the Adderley Street Flower Market and up to the Arch for Arch, a beautiful wooden structure created and installed to celebrate the life and work of one of South Africa’s greatest heroes, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.
What’s on the menu?
For foodies, there are walking culinary tours that explore the central city’s epicurean delights. Eat like a local, sampling Cape Malay curries and traditional African foods while taking in historic sights. For those with a sweet tooth there is even a stop at an artisanal chocolatier, Honest Chocolate. Walking tours aside, there is no shortage of eateries that cater to every culinary taste.
For authentic Indian, Chinese, Malay and Turkish street food, head for the Eastern Food Bazaar on Longmarket Street. A popular canteen-like eatery, it’s a stone’s throw from the Grand Parade and is loved by locals.
If fine dining is your flavour, visit FYN on Speakers Corner.
With visionaries Peter Tempelhof, Ashley Moss and Jennifer Hugé behind the award-winning restaurant, its selection of menus and use of unusual ingredients will pleasure your palate.
For something a little more everyday, there’s Burger & Lobster, the ever-popular Clarke’s, or La Parada – all on Bree Street – for casual dining with views of the bustling streets.
And for a little bit of culture
Book worms and art lovers are also well-looked after in the CBD with stores such as The Book Lounge – a gem that boasts two floors of novels and nonfiction – and iconic Clarke’s (no relation to the café).
If you have kids, pop into The Book Lounge on Saturday morning at 11am for story time or see if a book launch evening is planned during your stay. Visitors will be spoilt for choice with the world-class galleries dotted around the central city.
Meander through the streets to enjoy public art including Ralph Borlands’ ghost shark sculptures on Jetty Square and pop into spaces such as Michael Chandler’s Voorkamer Gallery of StateoftheART.
Or visit the popular Iziko Museums, which is an amalgamation of 14 national museums located in and around the CBD.
Among them is the Iziko Planetarium while the South African Jewish Museum is Africa’s first Holocaust Centre.
It mixes interpretive panels and archival photos with recreated environments and multimedia display.
Where to stay for the night
Out-of-town visitors have so many accommodation options.
In fact, even if you live in Cape Town, spoil yourself with a night’s stay in one of the CBD’s world class hotels for a well-deserved “staycation”.
Choose from establishments in the Tsogo Sun stable, including the signature Southern Sun The Cullinan.
Or opt for one of downtown Cape Town’s new boutique hotels – Gorgeous George in St Georges Mall, a celebration of local design and innovation located in two tastefully renovated heritage buildings, or Labotessa on Church Square with its classic European style and luxury.
If you’re in the mood for something a bit more casual, try 91 Loop Hostel, the CBD’s first boutique backpackers’ lodge, or Urban Hive, which is housed inside an historic Victorian building.
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