We started from Toronto on Thursday August 30th travelling on an Air France Boeing 777. The seats were quite close to each other and made for a difficult night of sleep on our way to Paris. Upon arrival in Paris at 8:00am, we cleared security and after only another hour, had already boarded our second flight to Cape Town on an AirBus 340. Due to the length of the journey we opted to pay extra for exit row seats and found the investment to be well worth it. The extra room to spread out in the bulk head for the 11 hour flight made it a far more pleasant trip. We arrived in Cape Town around 9:00pm and found the gentleman waiting to transfer us to our apartment in the city. We settled in and went to bed fairly quickly after such a long transit time.
Our first morning looked clear so we decided to visit Table Mountain first thing since we had heard it can pose problems for sight visibility on certain days. We saw it was clear so we went straight there. We took an Uber through downtown and observed Colonial style architecture as we were driven up the winding roads to the parking level of the attraction. This took approximately 20 minutes from our apartment to the cablecar entrance. Arrived just before 8:30am and waited about 15 minutes for cablecar. Cablecar to top is only about 2 minutes - so you have to be quick with your picture taking. The floor rotates around in a circle so everyone will have a 360 degree view on the way up.
The Mountain top is relatively flat but rocky with various walking paths to access multiple views on both sides of the mountain. We walked the entire perimeter, admiring the interesting landscape and enjoying spectacular views of Cape Town, and the Atlantic.
After about 30 minutes, clouds began to settle in and the views on the Cape Town side became totally obscured. Views on the Atlantic side were partially obscured. We were fortunate to have seen just about the entire area before it became impossible to see anything.
We visited the gift shop that had lovely African handicrafts and then the Wireless lounge with free wi-fi with coffee shop and comfortable benches and chairs. There were handy charging stations for phones distributed throughout the coffee shop on the front of the benches. We were a little early to leave for our paragliding so we sat and had a coffee and herbal tea and posted some pictures of the beautiful vistas we had briefly seen.
Once we took the cable car back down, as soon as we cleared the clouds, it was beautiful and blue over Cape Town once again.
We took a taxi from bottom of cablecar entrance to Signal Hill (7.5 kms) - $12.
We arrived at Signal Hill just after 11:00am. Signal Hill overlooks Cape Town and the waterfront. Registered for paragliding ($120/person) - we had a reservation, but they do also take walk-ups. The weather was perfect with clear, sunny skies and a light breeze. We met our tandem paragliders - Roland for Denis and Wendall for Kim - Wendall was the owner. We were suited up in harnesses and before we knew it, we walked, then ran down the hillside until the parachute filed wiith wind and lifted us up and off the ground. It was a very smooth, gentle, quiet glide over and around the downtown - spectacular sensation - did a couple of cuts, dives and then glided gracefully over the water and back to shore, landing softly in the landing area on the sandy beach.
After saying a quick goodbye to our pilots, we headed for breakfast at the Winchester Mansions hotel, just across the street from the beach where we landed. Nice colonial style old hotel with porch/patio facing the street. Got a table on the porch and ordered Eggs Benedict, sparking wine and the S.A. breakfast - bacon, sausage, eggs, tomato, beans.
With our bellies full, we proceeded to walk down the palm tree lined street with art deco style hotels and shops on one side and the beach on the other. This beachfront area has a South Beach feel.
We leisurely walked towards Main Road for about 20 minutes to get to a clinic to look after Kim's cold. Walk-in clinic was not busy - Kim waited about 10 minutes to see a doctor at a low cost of $65. While waiting Denis went to a Woolworths Foods a block away and pick up some food. Came back to the clinic and Kim was already done and in the pharmacy next door to get her prescription of antibiotics and anti-flu meds filled ($30).
We were on the same street as our apartment so walked the 1.7 kms back in about 25 minutes arriving at around 2:30pm. After a bit of relaxation we headed to the Victoria Waterfront around 3:30pm. We walked straight down from our apartment - narrow street with a colonial style teaching hospital on one side and similar architiecture boutique hotels on the other. Arrived at the bustling waterfront in about 15 minutes.
The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront is a mixture of older marine warehouses and a modern shopping complex. Shopping complex was a large mall surrounding one side of the wharf. Along the length of the mall on the outside, and facing the marina/harbour are dozens of restaurants - apparently there are more than 60 in this area alone. We walked down the wharf and got our boarding passes at Waterfront Cruises for our sunset cruise. We had about half an hour before the boat sailed so we walked around the waterfront. Buskers and live bands were scattered along the piers. A large african trading market was on the pierside of the main whart. The older buildings had been renovated and are now high end restaurants and boutiques.
At 5:00pm we walked back to the water along one of the piers to where our boat, where a sailing catamaran was docked. We were the first ones to board so we got the premium seats on the bow. The sun was bright and the weather warm. About a dozen other people boarded and we began our journey out of the harbour and into the Atlantic. As we made the turn out of the harbour past the point, the crew passed us glasses and filled them with champagne.
The waters were calm and the views of the harbour and town with Table Mountain and Lion's Head were spectacular. The captain turned off the engines and hoisted the sails in moderate winds which made for a smooth, quiet ride into the sunset. Once the sun fell below the horizon, we made the turn back towards shore. On the return we spotted a whale breaching near the boat. We arrived back to shore just before 7:00pm. We hailed an Uber and were taken to our restaurant about 7 kms and 20 minutes away.
What can we say about our dinner at the Reverie Social Table? This was such a unique dining experience in the Observatory district on a quiet street. There is only one table that seats 18 people. The concept is based on a having a dinner party in someone's home and it was a truly magical experience. Two other couples: Max and Mika from Cape Town and Peter and Elizabeth from Virginia joined us at the table. Upon arrival we were served a gin cocktail by Innocent, one of the 5 staff serving and preparing our dinner. Julia, the chef and owner joined us for dinner and Melissa, the sous-chef, served us our meal and explained the pairings. All of the wines were from the Zandvliet Estate in the Robertson wine valley. This particular winery specialized in Shiraz however we tasted several different varietals and styles of wine during the course of the evening.
Below is our tasting menu in detail. We had enlightening conversation and couldn't get over how each course was so flavourful and made with local, fresh ingredients based on what is in season at the moment. Impeccable care is taken to create and prepare each and every course. The meal was exquisite and we were so fortunate to have the owner sit with us to discuss the food and wine in even more detail. An amazing night!
Dinner lasted until 10:30pm and finished with whiskey for Denis and hot chocolate for Kim. Our meal had been pre-paid so we just paid for the whiskey and gratuity. ($26). We called a trusty Uber and arrived back at the apartment at 11:30pm.
It had been an incredible day experiencing Cape Town to the fullest.
Tasting Menu at Reverie Social Table
1st Course: Vegetable pressé, key apple chutney, fennel & sultana slaw with crispy onions - served with muscat
2nd Course: Baked line fish, crisply fried garlic & almonds, leek & Swiss chard soup, roasted garlic hummus served with Chardonnay
3rd Course: Roasted duck breast, confit duck croquette, grilled spring onion, carrot puree, plu/anise jus, shiraz braised cashews served with Zandvliet Shiraz
4th Course: Gorgonzola cheesecake with hazelnut/pretzel base, cocoa nibs, fruit cake koeksisters served with Cape Vintage
5th Course: Caramel flan with warm chocolate mousse, sesame, pink pepper and rosemary glass, rosemary frozen yogourt served with Kalkveld Shiraz.
Continue to Day 2 - click here
Sharing Our Travel Dreams
Sharing our personal experiences onboard and on the road, along with tips and insight for creating memorable vacations.