The Best burger spots in Cape Town

There is nothing like the burger. According to legend, a man from Athens, Texas by the name of Fletcher Davis was the first person to have served, or at least invented what is known as the burger. It was two slices of bread, jam packed with ground beef patties, bermuda onions and had a pickle on the side. The burger has come a long way since the 1880’s and the mouth watering options that are now available to us is far from simple and ordinary… there is no end to the burger and especially in the Mother City, the heart of the creative soul, below are some of the best burger spots known and loved by everyone! Continue reading “The Best burger spots in Cape Town”

The Very Best of Cape Town in a Week

A week in Cape Town as any visitor to the city is never enough and it opens the doors to a return visit for so many tourists. What could an Itinerary in Cape Town for a week look like? Here is just a teaser.

Hopefully you will fly into Cape Town on a clear day and the first thing that will greet you will be Table Mountain. Many airlines and their pilots often get permission to fly around the mountain and give their passengers a view they will never forget, if you are on one of these flights then your week Cape Town is off to a fine start.

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Cape Town Day Tours

Whether you have come to visit one of the world’s most beautiful cities with its 7th natural wonder of the world set majestically in the heart of all its splendor, for a day or a month, day tours are extremely appealing. They appeal not only to tourists who have a large bucket list to complete, but also to the average Joe who is a born and bred Capetonian and who wants something to do with the family that is not only cost effective, which day tours usually are, but will offer an exciting excursion as well as an array of wonderful sites to see in a single day. Below is a comprehensive list of companies that offer day tours as part of their packages and whose pricing is definitely not steep, and the best value for money as well as excellence.

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10 easy steps to use Uber

Heard all about Uber, the quick and inexpensive transportation network that criss-crosses Cape Town, but not sure how to use it? No problem, we walk you through it.

1. Visit www.uber.com and sign up for an account or download the Uber app on your smartphone.

2. Fill out Uber’s member form with your name, mobile number, email address and billing information (credit card or VCPay).

3 .Read the terms and conditions (wink wink) and know what you’re getting yourself into. No really, read it.

4. Once you click the “Sign Up” button, you’ll be sent an email to confirm your information and activate the account.

Whew. You’ve done the hardest part — it’s all smooth sailing from here. To request a ride, first select the type of ride you’d like:

– UberX: an everyday car (the cheapest option) for up to four people

– UberBLACK: Uber’s original service delivers a high-end sedan for up to four

– UberXL vehicles for larger groups up to 6 people.

5 .Next, enter your pickup address (or use a pin to mark the spot) and hit the “Set Pickup Location” button. Confirm your payment details are correct and watch your designated driver approach via GPS. A fare estimator tells you how much you can expect to pay.

6 .Be ready and waiting for your driver as he or she arrives — there’ll be a number you can call if you need to give them any special instructions. Moving to another spot creates confusion. If there are no Uber drivers available, try again in a couple of minutes.

7. If you need to cancel your reservation, do it quickly — your card will be charged if you wait more than five minutes.

8. Hop in and head to your destination.

9. While the Uber sign-up process is fairly seamless, we recommend doing it before you head out for a night on the town so you’re not trying to input billing info when it’s 02h00 and you’re balancing your phone and a drink in your hands.

10. Be sure to rate your driver with five stars if you’re happy with the service. Remember: a four-star rating or less will damage your driver’s reputation and he or she may not be allowed to drive for Uber again in future.

Find out more about how Uber works here

3 great kiteboarding instructors in Cape Town

You’ve got to start somewhere, and the best way to learn the basics is with a few lessons. A good kiteboarding instructor will not just teach you the techniques — they’ll pass on the right attitude. Here are my top three instructors around Cape Town.

1. Dimitri Panagiotibis

WindChasers, Langebaan

“It’s absolutely vital to go for lessons for the simple reason that safety should be your absolute top priority,” says Dimitri Panagiotibis, who has been teaching since 2002. “Getting into the water safely is as important as having the skills. It’s not something that you learn on your own.”

WindChasers kiteboarding school has been around since 2004. It is one of only two International Kiteboarding Organisation centres in South Africa and was the first kiteboarding school to use radio communication to teach (in 2006). And it’s based in Langebaan — a great location for kiteboarding.

2. Bruce Gonlag

Best Kiteboarding School, Table View

Bruce has been a kiteboarding instructor for 12 years. He learned to kiteboard in England, and teaching others is something that has come quite naturally to him. “Having battled my way through it myself, I found myself spending more and more time helping other people on the weekends,” he says. “That’s when I learned about the qualification and after I completed it I became an instructor.” He hasn’t looked back since!

3. Lewis Crathern

High Five, Sunset Beach

If you prefer something a bit more social and fun, then this is the school for you. High Five is essentially a set of three neighbouring beach houses in Beach Boulevard that offer accommodation and a gateway to the many adventure sports in Cape Town. “Last night we had a huge barbecue,” says Lewis Crathern, who runs the kiteboarding school, “and we’re all about the good vibes.” He recommends group sessions to start with, because they’re cheaper and can be more fun.

Art is taking over the streets of Cape Town

The hip and gritty suburb of Woodstock on the border of Cape Town’s city centre is at the centre of an explosion of colourful street art.

The once industrial and semi-derelict suburb of Woodstock, just outside Cape Town’s city centre, has seen a revival recently, led by the opening of new galleries and a rich collection of street art that has won the attention of the foreign press such as BBC News and France24.

Much of the street art in Woodstock is a result of collaborations between local and international artists. In 2011, for example, an artist residency programme called A Word of Art collaborated with Adidas to bring in 13 artists, both local and international, to paint large-scale public art projects throughout the city of Cape Town.

Well-known Cape Town artist Grant Jurius has helped this interest grow with his Woodstock art tour called “The Street is the Gallery”. He sees his work as partly a community upliftment project. “The tours are about giving insight into communities in our city via street art and graffiti,” Jurius explains. “Cape Flats and coloured culture are for the most part misunderstood and we look a little bit at how the art reflects and is affected by the surroundings and the laws in place, be it by the city or street values.”

Jurius believes that more cooperative projects should happen between artists and local residents to renew and beautify Cape Town’s urban spaces.

Artisan distilleries introduce locally made gin to Cape Town

With gin bars popping up across Cape Town it’s no surprise that artisan gin distilleries have arrived hot on the heels of the craft beer movement. Here’s where to taste ‘mother’s ruin’ in the Mother City (as Cape Town is called by locals).

Worldwide, the demand for premium gin is booming and Cape Town distilleries have been quick to hop on the mixology bandwagon with a range of artisan handcrafted gins.

Although Inverroche is distilled on the southern Cape coast a three-hour drive from the city, you’ll find this fragrant gin at top-notch bars across the city. Infused with indigenous fynbos it’s a true taste of the Cape.

Closer to home, the Inception gin from The Woodstock Gin Company is also getting attention from gin lovers and mixologists.

While the focus is often on small-batch producers, one of the most interesting gins to appear on bar counters this year has come from the drinks giant KWV.

First distilled from pure grape spirits, Cruxland gin is then distilled a second time in a copper pot still allowing the bespoke blend of aromatic botanicals to infuse with the spirit.

Those botanicals include the typical gin notes of juniper berries, aniseed, cardamom, almonds and lemon, with the addition of honey bush tea and rooibos for a touch of local flavour. It also includes one very special ingredient: Kalahari truffles.

These rare truffles grow in the arid Northern Cape province, forming after the first rains have fallen. As they grow a crack appears in the dry earth, a hint as to where they can be dug out. Hence the name, Cruxland.

It’s a smooth gin best suited to sipping, not mixing, with classic juniper notes that mellow into a lingering spicy sweetness.

Asia comes to Cape Town at sleek and sexy Tjing Tjing Torii

For a taste of delicious Asian street-food in a sexy inner-city space, Tjing Tjing Torii ticks all the right boxes for great food, great service and great wine, and has earned itself a place as one of the most popular restaurants in the heart of Cape Town.

Sandwiched between the ground floor Dear Me bistro and the popular Tjing Tjing rooftop bar at 165 Longmarket Street in Cape Town’s city centre, Tjing Tjing Torii is a gorgeous gourmet space. With top chef Christi Semczyszyn at the helm, this small fine dining restaurant is reinventing Asian-style tapas dishes in Cape Town.

Think tuna tataki lightly seared and served with ponzu sauce and a dusting of sesame seeds. Perhaps start with oysters, raw or tempura, or a salad of edamame beans. The crispy cubes of deep-fried sushi rice are delicious, served with a dipping bowl of hot soy sauce. Don’t leave without trying the sticky pork belly wrapped in a soft bao and topped with pickled cucumber.

Feast your eyes on this not-so-secret-anymore Cape Town gem.

All photographs by Andrea van der Spuy.

Best time of year for surfing in Cape Town

The best waves for surfing are created by an ideal combination of swell and offshore wind. Luckily this happens year-round in Cape Town, thanks to its unique geography.

Cape Town gets year-round swell from the South Atlantic storm system known as the Roaring Forties, which is one of the most active storm tracks on earth. The summer months, from November to March, generally offer smaller swells that are best at many of the beach breaks around Cape Town. From autumn to spring (April to September), regular cold fronts generate large, consistent surf with the biggest waves usually arriving from mid to late winter (June to August) when these cold fronts slam into Cape Town. This is the best time of the year for surfing the reefs and big wave spots on the Atlantic coast, as well as False Bay.

Cape Town enjoys a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers, but don’t be fooled – it gets cold and very wet for a few months of the year. The wind is always a factor, no matter what time of the year, and will determine where you surf most days. An offshore wind blows from the land to the sea and is best for surfing because it makes the wave face smooth and creates ‘clean’ conditions. An onshore wind blows from sea to land and does the opposite, churning up the waves and making conditions choppy.

Summertime winds typically blow from the south to southeast, which is offshore along much of the Atlantic coast. Beware of the Cape Doctor during this time, a nickname given to the southeast wind when it reaches gale force strength and blows for days at a time. Fortunately there are some protected spots that can offer good waves even when the Cape Doctor is out in full force.

Autumn usually sees the lightest winds or ‘glassy’ conditions, when there is no wind at all. This is when the reef breaks on the Atlantic coast start to pump. Wintertime sees the prevailing wind switch between northwest and southwest, which is offshore along most of False Bay. There are still, however, many days with light or favourable wind conditions on the Atlantic coast when many of the big wave spots come alive.

It’s hard to choose the best time of the year for surfing in Cape Town, but April and May are your best bet for good, consistent swell, great weather and favourable wind conditions at a variety of spots on both coastlines.

Borage brings global bistro cuisine to Cape Town

With a stint in the kitchen alongside Heston Blumenthal under his belt, chef Frank Marks knows a thing or two about cooking, and his casual Borage Bistro is shaping up to be one of the go-to restaurants in Cape Town.

Borage Bistro likes to tick all the boxes. At the foot of the tallest building in Cape Town the express breakfasts and gourmet sandwiches appeal to the hungry office-workers who scuttle by on their way to their desks.

But for food-loving travellers with a little more time on their hands, this Cape Town restaurant offers wonderful bistro-style dining that will encourage you to linger.

The triple-volume space has a rather industrial feel to it, but plenty of Nordic wood and long banquettes make it somewhat cosier. The open kitchen at one end allows you to keep a close eye on the brigade of chefs at work.

Chef Frank Marks runs a tight ship and it shows on the menu, where some dishes help this restaurant blur the line between bistro cuisine and fine dining. The lunch menu hints at what the kitchen is capable of, but rather visit for dinner to taste superb bistro food in Cape Town.

A traditional steak tartare ticks the right boxes when it comes to balancing parsley, capers, gherkins and onion; and the pork belly is a crowd-pleaser served with buttered mash and fresh vegetables. Chef Marks has a way with duck, though, so don’t miss the seared duck breast enlivened with Brussels sprouts and sprouting broccoli.

The plating is generous and the service is warm. Not many tourists venture to this part of town come evening but the adventure is richly rewarded with one of the more interesting restaurants Cape Town has to offer.