There are so many fabulous activities to enjoy in the Cape area.
There are many golf courses within 10km of the house, not to mention the 18 hole, par 3 course on your doorstep, which is available to use for a small, nominal fee. The other local course is the far side of Strand, near Somerset Mall. There is a comprehensive book on all the courses in southern Africa on the bookshelf in the house, or click here for more details.Nearby courses include the championship Erinvale, Somerset West and Arabella. Also telephone +27 (0)21 686 1668 for more information on golf in the area.
There is sailing at Strand and Gordon’s Bay. Pleasure trips on luxury yachts and cruises are available from the two harbours in Gordon’s Bay. Tel: +27 (0)21 448 4441.
- Le Tigre is a luxury catamaran at the V&A Waterfront offering cruises to Robben Island, sunset cruises, or cruise to Clifton. Go to shop 5, Quay 5. There are also other charter yachts available from the Waterfront.
- Executive Yacht Charters. Tel: +27 (0)21 510 1775
- Drum Africa, based in Fish Hoek, just south of Cape Town, offers Hobie Cat excursions. Hang off the trapeze while an experienced skipper sails you around False Bay. Tel: +27 (0)21 782 2205 www.drumafrica.co.za
The popular surfing spots are Kommetjie, Long Beach and Big Bay on the Atlantic Coast side of the Peninsula. For more information on surfing conditions call 021 788 5965. The closest surfing is at the far end of Strand beach. The Miss Surf competition is held here in December.
Simon’s Town Sea Kayaking offers a 2 hour guided paddle to Boulders Beach (from R250pp), or a more strenuous 5 hour trip to Cape Point. Call 082 501 8930 or see www.kayakcapetown.co.za for further details.
Abseil from the top of Table Mountain – the world’s highest commercial abseil at 112m – with Abseil Africa. Call 021 424 4760 or see www.abseilafrica.co.za for further details.
Frixion runs day trips for canyoning to Smalblaar Canyon, near the Du Toits Kloof east of Paarl. The price includes all the necessary equipment, breakfast, lunch, guides and Cape Town transfers. Call 082 855 6271 or see www.frixion.co.za
There are so many vineyards to choose from that it can be difficult deciding where to begin for wine tasting. They range from large, commercial estates, beautifully kept, and often with other attractions to wonderfully old-fashioned building with cobwebs abound and no pretence. The cost of wine tasting is anything from free to R30 and then an average price for a bottle is R60. It is well worth stocking up even just for the duration of your stay. Franschhoek also has a number of quality vineyards, some with restaurants serving excellent food.
Explore the historic cannon and wagon wheel walk at Sir Lowry’s Pass, or take a leisurely walk above Gordon’s Bay on the Danie Miller trail, or go up to Crystal Pools up the Steenbras valley. Tel. 021 400 3269 for permits. There is also the Helderberg Nature Reserve, situated on the lower slopes of the Helderberg Mountain, which has various hiking trails covering 245 hectares. There is breathtaking scenery and pristine examples of indigenous flora and fauna. Finally, there is the Dick Dent Bird sanctuary between Strand and Somerset-West, on Lower Victoria Street.
The shopping in the Cape is superb. Cape Town has an amazing array of cosmopolitan outlets as well as characteristic local traders. There are many specialist shops with exclusive South African merchandise, such as diamonds and ostrich leather products. The V&A Waterfront offers many shops in the huge undercover mall. Century City is a new ‘destination’ mall, just off the N1 north of Cape Town. It is the largest mall in the southern hemisphere. The suburbs of Cape Town also offer the large shopping malls of Promenade, Cavendish Square in Newlands and Tygervalley. Closer to home, Somerset Mall, on the junction of the N2 and the R44 roads, has a good range of clothing stores as well as a supermarket, pharmacy, household goods and a cinema.
There is a plunge pool behind the house, or you may the use the larger pool up at the Club House – both are free of charge. The bay is safe for swimming or, alternatively there is an Olympic size pool at the pier in Strand.
The choice of beaches on the Cape Peninsula is vast, but each beach is unique, offering something to suit every beach goer. There are beaches for families, sun-tanning, snorkelling, boardsailing, surfing, fishing and swimming. There are also unofficial nudist beaches at Sandy Bay. The False Bay waters are generally 5ºC warmer than those of the Atlantic, but beaches on the Atlantic are generally more sheltered from the south-east wind.
- Sleepy Hollow Horse Riding operates 2 hour beach rides at Noordhoek, one of the best beaches in the area. Call +27 (0)21 789 2341 or see www.sleepyhollowhorseriding.co.za.
- Imhoff Equestrian Centre – Call +27 (0)82 774 1191 or check out www.horseriding.co.za
There is so much wildlife to see in the Cape. At Cape Point there are baboons, zebra, ostrich, and various antelope. There are African penguins at Boulders Beach, Rock Dassies on Table Mountain, and whales, dolphins and seals can all be seen around the Cape coast. There are also seals in the harbour at the V&A Waterfront.
From June to November these perennial visitors can be easily spotted from the shore as well as boat- based whale-watching. Of the estimated 7,000 Southern Right Whales in the southern hemisphere, approximately 2,000 make the journey to the South African coast each year. These large numbers contribute to making South Africa a premier whale-watching destination. Hermanus, in the Cape Overberg, is the premier spot for viewing these giant mammals. Though whales may be seen in most places around the Cape coastline. Whale Hotline – +27 (0)83 910 1028
- Blue Print Charters offer professional dive charters to all of the dive sites around the Cape Peninsula, including wrecks, seals, reefs, dolphins, and night dives. Visit shop 7 at the V&A Waterfront or tel. +27 (0)21 418 5806.
- Alpha Dive Centre, opposite Strand Station, are NAUI accredited divers and operate similar facilities locally. Tel: +27 (0)21 854 3150 www.alphadive.co.za.
- Marine Dynamics operates trips for shark cage diving from Gansbaai, which is just across the bay from Hermanus. Trips last three to five hours and include all the necessary equipment and a light lunch and cost about R1,500 per person. www.sharkwatchsouthafrica.com.