Cape Town travel tips - 2

Nov 9th, 2002, 01:51 PM
Selwyn Davidowitz
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Cape Town travel tips - 2

Cape Town restaurants - The best and most unusual of them all!

I reckon that this little tip is going to leave you all staring in dismay.

Most visitors to Cape Town's shores ask me where the best restaurants are and what they should eat while they visit my city. Eating out in Cape Town is a real treat for visitors to the city as the value for money that ones gets is so good. This is only because of us having a rather poor currency relative to some of the major currencies of the world. Furthermore the standards of eating out can measure up to most of the world capital cities.

With that said there are many restaurants that one can visit but today I am going to tell you about the one restaurant that very few Capetonians know about, let alone visitors to Cape Town, that offers an experience that you will NOT get anywhere else in the world. I hope you are sitting down because the restaurant that I am talking about is at Pollsmoor Prison which is one of the top 3 centers for incarcerating some of our most dangerous criminals in South Africa. Now before you, like everybody else, starts laughing read on:

At Pollsmoor prison the warders of the jail have established a Warders Club Restaurant. To staff this prison low risk, soon to be released, prisoners are used. One of the many objects of this exercise is that the soon to be released into society prisoners are taught to be waiters, chefs, plate washers or whatever else is required of them to let them earn a living in the restaurant industry in society. The prisoners are also encouraged to speak to patrons at the restaurant telling their guests who they are, why they are in prison, what prison life is all about and when they are leaving jail. They also tell their visitors why they never will want to return to the jail. This helps them slowly reintegrate into a normal society with normal patrons to serve etc. The secret of this restaurant that it is open for the public to go to and as far as locals are concerned the real secret is that the food is incredibly cheap as government sponsor the program. In all fairness the food is of an average nature but this surprisingly is NOT important as going to Pollsmoor is not about the food, it is about it's people.

In my quest as a tour operator/guide to always find something different for my visitors to Cape Town to do, I generally take them to this venue for a meal. You might be quite surprised to hear that, without fail, every single person whom I have taken to this place for eating has come out saying that this was one of those meals in their lifetime that they will never ever forget. As a matter fo fact on leaving the prison the first point that crosses every one of their minds is "who am I going to tell about this". It might sound bizarre but then let me tell you it is a different portrayal of life. All in all for my visitors to my wonderful city this has always been a unique and different touring experience which believe me no other tourists generally get to do.

As there is so much to tell about this whole experience I cannot do it all in this type of email. If you want to know more about this journey you can write to me and I will gladly tell you more about this restaurant and what it is like to enter into a high security prison, surrounded by barbed wire and electric fences for lunch.

Selwyn Davidowitz

Nov 9th, 2002, 02:22 PM
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Very interesting, Selwyn. I have forwarded this to some family members.
Nov 14th, 2002, 12:28 PM
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Facinating - on my many trips to CPT, we often go by Pollsmoor between Franschhoek and Paarl, look across at the gates - it's a real reminder of the events some years ago. What you don't remind us all Selwyn is that this is where Nelson Mandela was released from! Who doesn't remember 1990 and those images of him walking out of Pollmoor with his hand clenched?

Great tip.

I'll certainly go there for a meal next time - this is a modern Robben Island.
Nov 15th, 2002, 11:46 AM
Selwyn Davidowitz
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Hello James,

You are confusing Pollsmoor (opposite Steenberg Golf course) with Victor Verster prison of old (known as Drakenstein prison these days) as it is the one that is situated between Paarl and Franschhoek. No matter what you are so right in that driving past the Drakenstein Prison near Paarl certainly brings back wonderful memories of the Mandela release. That is a day that I will never ever forget.

Btw Nelson Mandela was also jailed in Pollsmoor but this was before he was moved to Victor Verster.

Enjoy the experience at Pollsmoor if you do visit the restaurant.

Nov 15th, 2002, 02:03 PM
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ha ha !! of course you're absolutely right, thanks for pointing out my silly mistake. Must be too much lovely SA wine!!

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