Travel – The Corniche South Africa Special – Part 1 of 4: Cape Town

It’s difficult to overstate the case for visiting Cape Town, and this year the world seems to have realised. Our social media feeds have been filled with the in-your-face beauty of its nature, from craggy mountain ranges that drop precipitously into a glittering sea to the pristine white beaches lapped by the Atlantic. In and around Cape Town, the biggest source of amazement is without doubt the proximity of nature, whether it’s spotting zebra grazing on the slopes of Table Mountain from the highway, watching whales breach from a restaurant deck overlooking False Bay, or being halted by dancing baboons near Cape Point.But Cape Town has an urban edge too. There are outstanding art galleries, cool bars, world-rated restaurants, and design-savvy shops – many home to Africa’s innovative artists and designers, drawn by the city’s innate beauty. So, without further ado, here are some of our favourite places to eat, drink and sleep when visiting.The finishing touches are being put to the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, housed in the old Grain Silo. At the same time, Liz Biden, the hotelier behind La Residence in Franschhoek – is preparing to introduce the much anticipated boutique hotel The Silo. 28 rooms, including a spectacular one-bedroom penthouse with what might be the city’s best views, will be spread across several upper floors of the building. Besides a jewel-box bar and private access to the museum collections, The Silo promises to be strong on the soft, unassailable service we’ve grown to love from Biden’s other properties.For something more traditional and with a very different – but equally lovely – setting, check out The Cellars-Hohenort Hotel, located on the slopes of Table Mountain in Constantia, a calm spot surrounded by rolling lawns and acres of garden. Rooms are stylishly chintzy and there’s a fantastic restaurant, The Greenhouse, where you can eat Cape Malay-scented sea bass.An ideal day in Cape Town starts outdoors. Capetonians are hugely into fitness, and Cape Town has one of the most beautiful seafront runs in the world, winding out of the city all the way from the Green Point Lighthouse in Mouille Point to Camps Bay. Oh, and a good way to get a sense of place – and rid yourself of jet lag – is to climb Lion’s Head before it gets too warm.When it comes to Table Mountain, sunrise and sunset is without doubt the best time to jump on the the cable car. The golden light that shines over the city is truly breathtaking. Remember to bring a jacket, even on warm summer days as it can be pretty damn cool up on the top.

For going out, Coco is a hip-hop club that’s lots of fun and has a mixed crowd – Nigerians, Angolans, a big contingent from Jo’burg. If you want to talk rather than dance, there’s a lovely café nearby called Yours Truly that’s open until 2 am. One of our favourite bar and restaurant is a speakeasy called the Duchess of Wisbeach, on Sea Point. It serves unpretentious food like roast chicken, fish and chips, gnocchi – and there’s music and dancing.
As you wake up the next day you’ll once again appreciate why coffee and exercising outdoors has become essential to the Cape Town way of life.