Bikram yoga: it’s so hot right now

Cape Town is the hot yoga capital of South Africa. Doing difficult asanas (yoga poses) in a heated room may not be everyone’s cup of tea. But thanks to the somewhat controversial Indian yoga teacher Bikram Choudhury (founder of Bikram Yoga), doing yoga in 40-degree heat is, well, so hot right now. Here are some suggestions on Cape Town hot yoga studios to sweat it out at.

Yoga Zone (on the 10th floor of the Picbel Arcade on Strand Street in the city centre) is at the heart of Cape Town’s hot yoga history, with owner Fulvio Grandin having first brought it to South Africa. The studio has a friendly atmosphere, with regular visiting teachers of note.

Meanwhile, up the road in the Cape Quarter on Waterkant Street, Yoga Life is a hub of hip activity that draws large classes of tight and tattooed bodies sweating to the latest radio hits. With well over 7 000 likes on Facebook, the Yoga Life studio has a strong focus on community, with three free beginner’s classes for first timers.

Hot Dog studio in Sea Point, the seaside suburb bordering the city centre, is a rustic haven for hot yoga. Here owner Hylton Jaggard brings lots of teaching experience from his days in New York. The place is totally unpretentious, while prop use is encouraged. “Stoned or straight, you’re welcome here,” he says.

Down in the southern suburbs, about 20-minute’s drive from Cape Town’s city centre, Claremont’s Yo Yoga is a sleek and airy studio with a dedicated following, especially among students from the nearby university. There is a refreshing diversity here, both in terms of demographics and ability, from first timers to advanced practitioners.

Also worth a mention is the calm and kind vibes of Yoga Spirit in the leafy southern suburb of Constantia (about 30-minute’s drive from the city centre), where a Friday morning community produce market offers home-grown veggies and preserves. And lastly, The Source, also in Constantia and the youngest of the hot yoga studios, offers an interesting array of talks and mind-expanding events.

Cape Chardonnay wins ‘best in the world’

Not so long ago it was “ABC” when it came to choosing white wine: “Anything But Chardonnay”. Times have changed, and the wine estates beyond Cape Town are producing world-class Chardonnay to teach Burgundy a thing or two.

In the world of Chardonnay, competitions don’t get much more prestigious than the Chardonnay du Monde. In 2015 this annual competition was held at Château des Ravatys in the heart of Burgundy, the traditional home of Chardonnay in France.

Can you imagine the Gallic unhappiness when a New World wine from South Africa beat the Burgundians at their own game? Judged against 800 entries from across the globe, Groot Constantia’s 2013 Chardonnay was judged the best in the world.

“Our Chardonnay has always been an over-achiever,” says Jean Naudé, chief executive of Groot Constantia, an estate with a wine tradition stretching back 330 years.

The vineyards’ sea views had plenty to do with the award, says estate viticulturist Floricius Beukes: “The summer breezes from the Atlantic Ocean have a big impact on our vineyards, keeping them healthy and retaining the amazing fruit character.”

The Cape vineyards are no one-trick-pony in the world of Chardonnay, though. Stellenbosch cellar Fleur du Cap bagged a gold medal for its Unfiltered Chardonnay 2014, while the likes of Boschendal, Glen Carlou and Tokara were awarded medals at the global Chardonnay showcase.

Beyond the mantelpiece of awards, also look out for Chardonnay from the likes of Elgin estate Iona, DeMorgenzon outside Stellenbosch, and the glorious unwooded Chardonnay from Robertson estate Springfield.

Napoleon Bonaparte, Jane Austen and Charles Dickens all loved the same sweet little wine from Cape Town

Cape Town’s most historically famous wine dates back to the early 1800s, a time when a glass of Vin de Constance was sought after by royalty. Let’s raise a glass to the most famous wine to arise from the Cape winelands…

In the early 1800s the world-famous Vin de Constance, from Cape Town’s Klein Constantia wine estate, was the favourite drink of European royalty. Napoleon enjoyed it in exile on St. Helena and Jane Austen suggested, in her classic Sense and Sensibility, that a glass of Constantia has “healing powers on a disappointed heart”. Charles Dickens, too, praised “the support embodied in a glass of Constantia”.

However, the good times weren’t to last. Disease laid waste to the vineyards of Constantia and for over a century Vin de Constance was all but forgotten until 1980, when the new owners of the Klein Constantia farm set about recreating this iconic Cape Town wine. Historical records, modern technology and a clone of the Muscat de Frontignan grape helped resurrect the wine in 1986, a century after its disappearance.

Today, a taste of Vin de Constance is a highlight of any visit to Klein Constantia wine estate, located in the leafy suburb of Constantia on the outskirts of Cape Town’s city centre. Made using Muscat de Frontignan, it’s a wine whose flavour bursts with rich Seville marmalade and dried apricots; fruity notes married with sandalwood and all spice flavours. Production is limited and the bottles sell out quickly, but if you’re lucky there will still be a few drops of “sweet Constantia” on offer.

Sip on Napoleon’s favourite tipple at Klein Constantia

Legend has it that Klein Constantia’s Vin de Constance was the last thing to touch the lips of Napoleon Bonaparte. But there is more to this Cape Town winery than just South Africa’s most famous wine.

Klein Constantia is tucked into a quiet corner of one of Cape Town’s most sought-after suburbs, where it has been producing wine for over 300 years as part of the original Constantia farm established by Dutch colonist Simon van der Stel in 1685.

Its peaceful location makes it one of the most relaxing places in the country to engage with the culture of fine wine that has been nurtured here. The 146-acre estate sits on the slopes of the Constantiaberg mountains, providing it with both spectacular views and access to the cooling winds of the Atlantic Ocean. Even better, it is within 20 minutes of Cape Town’s city centre, making it an excellent destination for an afternoon trip.

The estate is solely focused on making wine of the highest quality that is true to the unique conditions of the Constantia valley. The combination of rare, granite-rich soils and cool climate is perfectly suited to producing fresh, crisp Sauvignon Blanc and intricate, complex reds.

Klein Constantia has reaped the rewards of this philosophy recently, winning a slew of prestigious local and international awards, particularly for their red blend and Methode Cap Classique, the South African equivalent of Champagne.

Klein Constantia is also known for producing what is perhaps South Africa’s most famous wine, the Vin de Constance. This sweet dessert wine is a true reflection of the style that originally made the valley famous. The wine today is made in the exact same style as it was for such nobility as Napoleon and King George IV.

The estate’s dedication to quality has ensured that it has withstood the test of several centuries, and there are few better places to enjoy a few glasses of the Cape’s finest wines in peace, while still being a short, scenic drive from Cape Town.

Your Cape Town Weekend: 26 – 29 February 2016

Cape Town art turns rebellious, a world-famous dance party hits the city and there’s a fun run for pros and newbies… Take your pick and plan Your Cape Town Weekend.

Art and design: Mutiny

Art gets rebellious this weekend with Mutiny, an exhibition of illustrations making strong statements about fighting back and upholding respect. Anja Venter, Maaike Bakker and Jean de Wet present comics, landscapes and surrealist shapes in this off-the-wall, colourful collection that’s sure to be grunge and hipster heaven! Read more

Festivals: Ultra Music Festival

Ultra, in case you didn’t know already, is one of the globe’s biggest electronic dance music (EDM) festivals. And it’s in Cape Town this weekend! Featuring the electro DJs ruling the planet right now – Skrillex, Zedd, Afrojack, Tiesto – this is a major highlight of Cape Town’s summer music festival calendar. Read more

Sport and adventure: Lourensford Market Trail Run

Beginners and pros alike will love this little adventure run past rolling hills and friendly cows, ending with the sweet reward of farm-fresh foods at the Lourensford market. If you do this one spur of the moment, make sure to get there between 06h00 and 07h00 to buy your pass. Read more

Live music: Afro Fiesta at The Crypt

Here’s a voice expressing such emotion it’s impossible not to be moved. This reggae, Makossa, Latino and Afro-jazz band plays all over the world for Play for Change, a movement created to inspire and connect the world through music. Soak in the rich textures of Afro Fiesta’s harmonies at one of the coolest jazz spots in Cape Town before they head off on tour again. Read more 

Theatre: Azishe! 

Meaning “Let it burn” in Zulu, this new show is all about passionate contemporary dance with a blazing variety of moves, styles and cultures. The performers come from a collection of dance schools curated by Jazzart, an NGO and dance company with a history of creating spectacular art for the stage. Ashize! opens Friday. Read more

Food and Beverage: D’Aria Feast of the Grape

Drink in dreamy views along with award-winning wine at D’Aria Winery, where 12 vineyards from the Durbanville wine valley will celebrate the end of harvest with a day packed with family fun (and vino!). Read more

Nightlife: Touchbass yacht and rooftop party

Cruise around the gorgeous V&A Waterfront to bouncing electronic beats and then take the party up a level to a glamorous rooftop venue. Hurry, tickets are selling fast… Read more

Cape Town Helicopter present the Winelands Charters.

The mother city does nothing in small doses, in fact everything that she offers is done in absolute style and perfection, it is the place of awe-inspiring journeys and experiences. Cape Town is also famous all over the world for the amazing wine that she produces, the phenomenal wine lands that she holds dear to her bosom, and the intensely breathtaking beauty in which these wine lands are set. Cape Town Helicopters offer the most supremely spectacular way of seeing and experiencing the four most formidable wine lands that the Cape has to offer.

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