Tintswalo Atlantic

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For my boyfriend’s birthday we decided to spend the night away. I choose Tintswalo Atlantinc, a hotel very close to CT just outside Hout Bay. We had an amazing stay. For starters, to get there from CT you drive through Chapman’s Peak, which is the most beautiful drive you can do in the Cape Town area. Whether you stay in this hotel or not make sure you do the Chapman’s Peak drive!

The food at Tintswalo was mouthwatering, the service was great, the pool was so perfect, it really was a lovely stay. Best of all you get free wine (of a certain brand called Protea, which was delicious) throughout all your stay. The thing is that it is expensive so we only stayed one night. I recommend this for a special night or celebration, the price was very high and if you book during peak season (which is summer, Nov-Feb) it might be even higher, but if you have the money go for it! What you can also try to do is book to have lunch or dinner and then ask if you can stay the whole day at the pool. I really enjoyed it here. The only thing I didn’t like as much was the interior decor, but once you see the view of the room you get over it immediately! I hope you get a chance to visit.

Tintswalo Atlantic website: http://www.tintswalo.com/atlantic/


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Hiking Adventures

So I this is one of the post that has been way overdue. I live in the city with some of the most amazing hikes. As an avid hiker myself, hurting my knee has not been pleasant. I love to hike and although my knee is hurt, I still try to hike as much as I can, trying to stay more on the easy hikes. So the following are hikes that I’ve done and that I recommend:

1. Lion’s Head– This is the most obvious and typical hike besides Table Mountain, but don’t underestimated, it is famous for a reason. It is a beautiful hike. It is semi-easy, if your an beginner-intermediate. Just the hike by itself (with no stopping to see the view above) is like 50 min total, up and down. There are a few parts that are scary and the last part which is a bit of a climb with big rocks, but overall it’s one that mostly anyone can do. And at any point in time you can stop and the view will still be breath-taking, you don’t have to reach the top to get a beautiful view. I do recommend this hike, not too easy not too hard. If you are here on a full moon, make sure you hike Lion’s Head then (if it’s a pretty day), that way you can reach the top to watch the sunset and then you see the moon rising on the other side and then you go down with the light of the full moon. Although the full moon really lightens the night up make sure you still take a head lamp to go down when it’s dark!

LEVEL: Medium-easy

VIEW: 360 view of the city

HIKE TIME: 50 min total (beginner/intermediate)

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2. Devil’s Peak– I did this one with a hurt knee, so that means that it is also a medium hike. It took us about 3 hours in total (excluding our break on top to take in the view and get something to eat). It is a beautiful hike, I would recommend you to do this hike in the morning (I started 9am) that way you do go up with the intense African sun hanging over your shoulders which can make the hike very hard. Definitely take snack to eat at the top, as it is a longer hike it does require a bit more planning. But overall it is a great hike, like I said, not easy but also not hard.

LEVEL: Medium

VIEW: 360 view of the city

HIKE TIME: 3 hours total

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3. Pipe Track– Pipe Track is a small trail that goes along the bottom of the Twelve Apostles. It is more of a walk than it is an actual hike. It is very easy, but you still feel like you exercise. It loops around but the last bit to get back to the beginning spot you have to go by the street so what I do is when I get to 30 min into the walk I turn around and head back. That way I do a 1 hour walk. Because it is so easy (a bit of a rocky terrain but it is mostly flat-ish) a lot of people run it. It is pet-friendly so you see a lot of the people walking/running with their dogs. It’s nice to go like at 4pm or 5pm because that light is always beautiful then, which makes the scenery even more worth it.

LEVEL: Easy

VIEW: Twelve Apostles and Camps Bay Area

TIME: The entire loop about 1hr and 20 min

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4. The Glen – This hike is on the side of Camps Bay, you can start at different points but I normally start at the entrance on Chilworth Road. This is a beautiful hike because it is in the forest. At the beginning you see a picnic area with tables underneath huge African trees; it’s a lovely place to plan a lunch at. It is a quick and easy hike. It has a bit of a slope so yo do exercise but it’s not at all as intense as Lion’s Head or Devil’s Peak. Some people start this hike and then connect through the street to other hikes like Lion’s Head, Pipe Track or even Table Mountain. At the end of the day most all hikes are somehow connected.

LEVEL: Easy but with a hill

VIEW: Forest

HIKE TIME: 45 min total

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5. Table Mountain – So there are a lot of trails and ways to get up to Table Mountain. The first time I came here I did the one that is known to be the easiest which is called Platteklip Gorge. I must say it was hard, but worth it. To come back down we decided to do it via the cable car because it looks a bit dangerous to go down because you have to climb over big rocks, but many people do it. When you hike any mountain, but especially Table Mountain because the view is like none other, make sure that clouds, or the “table cloth” as they call it here, isn’t covering the summit of the mountain otherwise you won’t get the views at the end, which is kind of your reward and the point of the hike.

LEVEL: Hard-Medium

VIEW: During the hike city center. Above a 360 view.

HIKE TIME: 1 hr 50 min to go up.

*Word of advice, don’t do any of these hikes by yourself. For starters in case of an accident it’s always good to have someone else. And second of all, there have been a lot of muggings in Lion’s Head, the Glen and Pipe Track so if you go with someone it lessen’s the probabilities. Also check that it hasn’t rained the day before or that it’s not misty so you don’t get a wet or slippery hike (which can be dangerous). But don’t let that scare you and just enjoy the hikes that this lovely city has to offer. Remember to take lots of pictures and lots of water as well!*

El Burro

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It was Mexico’s Independence day on the 16th of September, but we normally celebrate it on the night of the 15th to party all night until after 12am. So this year, seeing as though I’m far away from home, I decided to go to a Mexican restaurant to be a bit patriotic. We went to a restaurant called El Burro. I have written about a bar from the same owners called Cabrito. This is the first time I actually eat something at El Burro and I loved it! It is not only my favorite Mexican restaurant in town but it also one of my favorite overall restaurants in Cape Town. As a Mexican myself, I think some of the most important things that make a good Mexican restaurant good are: its tortillas and the guacamole, and El Burro did amazing on both! Very authentic I must say. The drinks are also amazing and the service is really good too. My boyfriend ordered the special for the night, the short ribs, and they were some of the most delicious short ribs I’ve ever had in Cape Town, even better than the ones at the Pot Luck Club. And we obviously had churros for desert, AMAZING; if you go order them. After having dinner at El Burro we went to have drinks downstairs at Cabrito.

I’ve only been there once and I made a reservation a couple nights in advance and they had space. But when we were there it was full and it was a Monday, so just to be safe I would call a few days before to make a reservation.

I really recommend El Burro for anyone looking to have a delicious and fun night out! Really one of the best so far.

El Burro website: http://elburro.co.za

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Churros!

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