long overdue cape town and winelands report


Apr 17th, 2005, 04:25 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 82
long overdue cape town and winelands report

i am so grateful for all of the wonderful advice i received here for the trip my fiance (then just my boyfriend!!) and i took to cape town and the winelands in march. i assume that "better late than never" applies to trip reports...

for our first 5 nights we stayed at clifton house btw camps bay and clifton. we loved clifton house. nice pool and our room was spacious, clean and provided an amazing view of camps bay and the 12 apostles. breakfast was heavenly--they put out a huge spread of fruit, cheese, bread, cereal, yogurt and offered made to order eggs as well. my fiance says that the scrambled eggs were the best he's ever had. we loved the location. we could easily walk to clifton 4th beach (our favorite beach) and camps bay. the one thing i should caution is that our room (and this might not be the case with all of the rooms) had a open floor plan, including the bathroom. by this i mean, the toilet was in its own room with a door but the sink, tub, and shower were visible from the rest of the room. basically, anyone in the room can watch whoever is in the shower. i suppose the logic is that the person in the shower still has the incredible views but it could be awkward for those who are not totally comfortable having their bodies on display for their travel companions!!

in cape town, we had dinners at blues, baia, africa cafe, codfather, and savoy cabbage. they were all truly incredible--and fabulous values. in terms of overall food, codfather was our favorite. the seafood was just amazing and the service was excellent...baia was a close second though. i really enjoyed the africa cafe experience, as did my fiance at the time. however, the food did not agree with him in the long run--he was sick for the entire next day.

our favorite activity was lazing on clifton 4th beach. despite all reports that this is the beach for beautiful people and it's all about seeing and being seen, it was packed with all sorts of people...families, folks in their 50s and 60s, couples in their 20s and 30s. not nearly as intimidating of a place as it's made out to be. be warned that drinking is not allowed at clifton beach! we watched as a couple was arrested for enjoying a can of beer each on the beach. the police did not treat them well and announced--so all could hear--that they were under arrest and being taken in!

we looked forward to spending an afternoon at st. james beach but were scared off by HUNDREDS of children...we continued to drive to muizenberg beach which was fabulous--much warmer water than clifton and we practically had the whole beach to ourselves.

other highlights: a sunset ride on a schooner called the "spirit of victoria" out of the waterfront, table mountain, and a daylong mountain biking trip to cape point, and driving chapman's peak.

for our last two nights we headed to franschoek. we stayed at a guesthouse there called les chambres. it was fabulous! the room was very luxurious and the bed was the most comfortable i've ever slept in. the bathroom was enormous with travertine tiles, a rainwater shower, and a claw foot bathtub. les chambres featured beautiful gardens and a gorgeous pool area. also, it was a two block walk to the village. my only complaints about the room was that it was missing two things--a clock and a refrigerator...we don't need a fully stocked fridge, but we love to keep bottled water cool for those hot days.

when we made our reservations in january, bill, the innkeeper, booked us at a couple of local restaurants. friday night we had a very special dinner at klein oliphants hoek. they have one seating for their prix fixe 9 course meal. we were two of ten guests. i've never received such personal service at a restaurant--we were personally introduced to everyone who worked there--waiters, chefs, etc. the meal was fabulous and we opted for their wine pairings. dinner was served on a porch (following sparkling wine and hors d'oeuvres in the garden) under a starry sky. we walked out of the restaurant at 11pm with full bellies and HUGE smiles on our faces.

we spent the next morning at haute cabriere for their tour and wine tasting with the owner (*quite* a character). this 2+ hour experience was well worth the 25 rand. i was selected to assist the owner in a sabrage--opening a bottle of sparkling wine with a sabre. we followed the tour with lunch at la couronne--the view was awesome but the food was average. in truth, my meal was the worst one i've had anywhere in years. after our disappointing lunch with headed to grand provence vineyards for a tasting. the gentleman--fergill--who poured for us (i don't think he's techinically a sommelier?) was extrememly personable and knowledgable and was even kind enough to snap some pictures of us with the wineyard as a backdrop.

for our last night in SA, we ate at french connection. we both had steak and it was awesome!! we paired it with the haute cabriere pinot noir which we had enjoyed earlier in the day. we practically fought over the au poivre sauce!

on sunday, we fly fished at the dewdale fishery. it was a scenic and relaxing finish to our week. we packed and then headed to la petite ferme for lunch. this was the best meal of the whole trip--fitting since it was our last. the view was amazing. we shared a bottle of wine on the lawn before we went and ate on the porch. at one point, i turned to my fiance and said that heaven probably couldn't get much better!

3 days after we returned to london from cape town, we got engaged! but no, he did not get the ring in SA!!

anyway, thanks everyone (selwyn, especially!) for all of your help!! it was the greatest week we've ever had! we can't wait to get back to SA!
victoria_sw3 is offline  
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Apr 18th, 2005, 03:42 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,182
Sounds GREAT!
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