West Coast National Park

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When people visit Cape Town and its surrounding areas they normally go up the east coast more than they do up the west coast. I’d heard that going up to Langebaan (west coast) during spring time was very beautiful because you get to see all the flowers, but unfortunately last spring I was here we didn’t come around to organizing it. But we finally did it! We decided to go to the West Coast Naitonal Park which is located next to Langaban. It is a humongous national park with a lot of flora and wildlife. On one side of the park you get the sea and then hidden in between those valleys of flowers you get the most breathtaking lagoon you’ll ever see. We went prepared with food and drinks to be able to do a picnic there. If you do go I definitely consider you to either braai (bbq) in the braaing area they have, or to make a picnic. We decided to make up our picnic at the beach in the lagoon, and it is one of the greatest picnics I’ve had in my life! If you go make sure you have a whole day because it is like a half day expedition, especially if you decide to stay for picnic/braai. The drive alone is 1.5 hours from the city centre, and then when you are inside the park, it is so big you really don’t want to be in a hurry. I’m not really sure if the flowers are out during summer as well, but I definitely recommend that if you get a beautiful day any time in the next month you should take advantage of it and visit the West Coast National Park. It is one of the many treasures that I’ve discovered that South Africa has to offer. 

The West Coast National Park website: http://www.sanparks.org/parks/west_coast/

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Fork

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Fork is a tapas restaurant located in the CBD, on Long St. This restaurant is from the same people as Knife (another restaurant in city). I do recommend this restaurant very much. They have delicious dishes and for those of you who are vegetarian, they have many many options to choose from as well. The restaurant was very busy so the service was not amazing, but I really can’t complain because the manager and our waiter were very nice. What I like about their menu is that they divide it on price so you get the forty-five rand dishes, or the fifty rand dishes and so on. The location is also great, especially if you are planning on going out somewhere in Long St. right after. We made a booking for two people on the same and that wasn’t a problem, which is amazing, considering how restaurants are starting to get busier and busier with summer right around the corner! 

Fork website: http://www.fork-restaurants.co.za

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New Yourstruly Cafe on Kloof Street

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I had already posted about Yourstruly Cafe on Long St. earlier in my blog. But a little under a year ago they opened a second, much bigger, place on Kloof Street. The one in Long Street is more of a coffee shop only open until 4pm where as the one on Kloof is a coffee shop/restaurant during the day and is open until late and has more of a bar-like vibe at night. I personally like the one on Kloof more. At the moment this is definitely the place to go; it is very trendy, very hipster, with a very nice chill atmosphere and it is full of both cool locals and foreigners. It has a lot of benches outside, so even though it is full you always find a place to sit. I really recommend Yourstruly on Kloof to anyone who wants to have a laid-back drink, with some beer or wine, friends and food.

Yourstruly Cafe website: http://yourstrulycafe.co.za

(Above picture from: http://yourstrulycafe.co.za/gallery/ )

TEDxCape Town

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Surprise speaker: Zolani Mahola

I’ve been watching TED talks online for about 5 years. I find these talks to be informative, catchy, creative and most importantly they actually make you think. It’s been countless times where I feel inspired to do, create or learn about something after watching a TED talk. I had always wanted to attend one of these conferences because I wanted to be part of their mission of “ideas worth spreading”. Over the weekend I finally got the opportunity to attend one of the TEDx conferences here in Cape Town; this year the conference was called “Design Your Thinking”. I have to say that it was really amazing, and the speakers were outstanding. Many of the speakers not only got my attention with their first sentence, but I do feel like I came out of the conference knowing more or thinking a bit differently about certain topics. I recommend that if you are ever in a place that holds these conferences (either TED or TEDx), that you attend. Hopefully those of you in Cape Town go to the next TEDx organized here in the city. It is extremely well organized and I do believe that most of the guest speakers did meet the general standards of TED talks around the world. If you did go this year I hope you were as happy as I was after coming out of the conferences and share with others your experience. 

TED website: http://www.ted.com
TEDxCape Town website: http://vp.tedxcapetown.org

Sea Point Promenade

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For those of you coming to Cape Town for a week or so, if you get a pretty day and you feel like going for a beautiful walk but are tired of the V&A or tired of the touristy scene I would recommend the Sea Point promenade. It is also a good place to do a bit of exercise if you want to go for a run or a long walk.  The Sea Point promenade is a walkway, specifically made for pedestrians, that goes along the sea. It starts in Mouille Point and goes all the way through to Bantry Bay. But what I think makes it so special is being able to walk next to the sea, you can sometimes spot surfers trying to catch the perfect wave, or whales, dolphins and seals, and because it is not very touristy you see all the locals walking there dogs or just exercising. As a backdrop you get Lion’s Head and Signal Hill which just makes it even more beautiful. I normally like to walk when it’s busy because it’s a bit more entertaining, I love to see the people and the dogs. I also love to get the sunset when I’m walking there, so I like to go around 4pm or 5pm during the week, and go for a walk. So for those of you coming to Cape Town for a longer period of time I really recommend the promenade. 

Sea Point Promenade Information website: http://www.capetown.travel/attractions/entry/sea_point

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Franschhoek and Fransvliet

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It was my birthday over the weekend, so my boyfriend took me to Franschhoek for a surprise weekend. It is a small French town in the wine lands, with a lot of vineyards and a small colonial town center; it is one of the most beautiful towns I’ve been to in South Africa. I really recommend everyone to go there even if it is just to spend the day. We did many things, we went horse-back riding amongst vineyards, we took the car and drove along the mountains where I saw the most stunning scenery I’ve ever seen, we also had wonderful dinners at two restaurants: Motte and Cafe Bon Bon (both at vineyards). It was a memorable experience and I would love to go there again sometime soon.

There are many B&Bs, guest houses and vineyards you can choose from for accommodation. We stayed at a lovely, very small and quaint, guest house called Fransvliet. Fransvliet is a working fig, olive and grape farm which also has accommodation for guests. They are known for their amazing breakfast, which really were phenomenal and I can see why people rage about them. Very good service, very very nice rooms, all in all, I recommend this guest house to anyone traveling to Franschhoek.

Fransvliet website: www.fransvliet.co.za

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Church in Franschhoek

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View from Fransvliet

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The Pot Luck Club

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Last week I went to the famous restaurant The Pot Luck Club. The Pot Luck Club was opened by the British chef Luke Dale-Roberts, who is the same chef who opened the even more renowned restaurant in Cape Town, The Test Kitchen. Both restaurants are located at the Old Biscuit Mill and have similar vibes but have different menus. The Potluck Club is located at the top floor (6th floor) of one of the buildings inside the Old Biscuit Mill. This location is truly special, with an almost 360 degree view of Cape Town, it really has been the most beautiful setting I’ve been in at a restaurant in the city. I like the fact that it has an open kitchen, and open layout, so the kitchen becomes part of the ambience of the restaurant. The decor is very unique as well, I would say it is trendy industrial, but very chic; even the way they served some of their food, with paper with their logo on, like NYC street food style.

The food at the restaurant is one of the best I tasted in Cape Town, it is basically a tapas menu where proportions are purposely small so you can order many dishes and share. The menu is very international, it is a mix of dishes and flavors from Asia, South Africa, Europe and America. Its diversity in its flavors and dishes makes it a very exceptional restaurant to visit because it fuses all these tastes. What I also liked is that they have a vegetarian menu available, which also had delicious dishes like tofu tacos. My absolute favorite dish was the beef short ribs, they were insanely delicious. For the table we order the Moroccan lamb, the Korean chicken, potato wedges, fish tacos as well as the tofu tacos and a few other things. We ordered like 9 different dishes to share and I think it was the perfect amount for 3 people, although we were very full by the end. I would say that everyone interested in having a outstanding culinary experience should definitely go to The Pot Luck Club. It is quite pricey, but it is worth the price, even the service was the best I’ve had in Cape Town so far.

The only small problem is that because it is so famous you do have to book your table at least 2 or 3 weeks in advanced. I booked it 2 weeks in advanced and was only able to get the 6 pm slot instead of the 8 pm slot (they only sit people at either 6pm or 8pm), but I really didn’t mind because it was my dream to go to this restaurant. If you are a foodie, then you have to eat at The Pot Luck Club. And if you do go you have to try the pomegranate, litchi and sake cocktail… best cocktail I’ve ever had!

The Pot Luck Club Website: thepotluckclub.co.za