I've enjoyed 3 previous trips to Africa, covering South Africa, Botswana, Zambia (briefly) Zimbabwe, Uganda and Namibia. Currently I am back in Cape Town, South Africa and on this 10-day trip I will not be safari focused at all, for the first time.
As much as I can't explain how life changing and thrilling a safari will be for you, I also am going to struggle for the right words to convey all the effects Africa can have on you through the landscapes, food, music, fashion and most importantly, its people.
Enjoy this weeks Top 5 from the "Mother City."
Top 5 - Cape Town 2023
1. Belmond Bravissimo (above and below)
So why am I back in Cape Town? I am privileged to have been invited by Belmond hotels to the annual event they hold for the top producing and engaged travel agencies in the world.
20 advisors from 12 different countries are here, graciously hosted by the Belmond team. The event is named Belmond Bravissimo and we are enjoying 3 days of above and beyond experiences curated especially for us. More importantly the power of human connection is in full force, and I will continue to learn from my peers. We're located at Mount Nelson, a Belmond hotel, and affectionately nicknamed Nellie. At the end of the first World War in 1918, it was painted pink, in celebration, by its second manager, the Italian, Aldo Renaldo, to remind him of the houses in his home village in Italy. It's been pink ever since.
2. Mount Nelson (Nellie)
The grand dame of Cape Town strikes you with its elegance from the second you walk through the door. The pink theme I mentioned above remains a celbration of everything pink as a symbol of hope, joy, and passion. On a clear day such as Tuesday ths week, with Table Mountain as its backdrop (above) the setting is as dramatic as they come. On cold, rainy days like today, there are rooms such as the one below to discover with log fires burning.
3.Stories, Klein Goederust (above and below)
On Tuesday our group drove to Franschhoek to visit 3 wine farms as they are called in South Africa. We had a glorious weather day. With no idea of our itinerary beforehand it was a charming surprise that we focused on smaller boutique vineyards. All had special stories to tell as met with the owners and winemakers in person. The most interesting and moving was our first visit of the day to Klein Goederust.
Owner Paul Suguka grew up on a nearby property as a farm worker, a job that had been in his family for generations. He is now the first black owner of any wine farm in the Franschhoek Valley. This occurred a full 27 years after apartheid was demolished. His winemaker Rodney Zimba (below) grew up with Paul on the Backsburg Wine Estate along with 2 of the chefs and several kitchen staff.
How did Paul break the cycle?
Clearly from his stories it was Mom and his own drive. She was determined that Paul would better himself and focused every single day on the value of education. Every birthday present and every Christmas present was a book.
4. Franschhoek Highlights (above and below)
The town and surrounding vineyards of Franschhoek are bloomin fabulous! Relaxed wineries are everywhere such as the other 2 we visited, Haute Cabriere and Atlas Swift. the latter is where the Queen of Chardonnay reigns, Welma Smith. On this my second visit to the area, I was also drawn back to the art galleries where South African art is proudly on display.
5. The Peninsula (above and below)
A slender strip of land that extends southward from the city of Cape Town, the cape Town Peninsula is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and False Bay to the east. It's known for its stunning natural beauty, diverse ecosystems, and iconic landmarks, the most prominent being the Cape of Good Hope, located at its southernmost tip.
Our food truck breakfast stop (above) provided just what we needed to cope with the cool morning wind. We then headed to Boulders Beach, which is part of the Table Mountain National Park and situated near Simon's Town. The beach is home to a large colony of African penguins (below), also known as Jackass penguins due to their donkey-like braying sound.
Ready to experience Cape Town? It's more than a destination to cross off your bucket list. It's a place to fully immerse yourself and soak in all that surrounds you. Let's start planning your trip, click the button below to begin!
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