Welcome to the ih blog! I am Margaux, a 20 year old intern from Belgium. Together with the other interns, we will write down our experiences, tips and tricks, funny stories and hidden gems of Cape Town as we discover them ourselves during our time here.
When travelling in South-Africa, people will always tell you to go on big tours such as garden route and route 62, while the real beauty is hidden all over the city itself.
Kiff Kombi Tours’ urban safari tour organizes this alternative way of showing you Cape Town. Thanks to our social media manager Derek, Gideon and I had the chance to go on this tour and write down our experience for you.
Before the tour started off, we met at never@home which is a hostel, because we were there early we had the chance to chill out at the pool area and play a few rounds of giant jenga before we were picked up by our tour guide Richard, who didn’t only show us around the whole day, but also gave us some amazing inside facts and a list of things to do that you’d never discover as a tourist. Because of Richard we discovered a secret gin bar behind a chocolate shop, an amazing rooftop bar, where to go horse riding the best beaches and the most amazing hikes to go on.
First up was a visit to the colourful Bo-Kaap neighbourhood, situated at the foot of Signal Hill, on the fringe of the city centre, and formerly known as the Malay Quarter, the Bo-Kaap’s origins date back to the 1760s when numerous “huurhuisjes” (rental houses) were built and leased to slaves. These people were known as Cape Malays, and were brought from Malaysia, Indonesia and the rest of Africa to work in the Cape. In these days, the houses weren’t as colorful as they are now, the Kiff Combi tour is a perfect way to find out why the owner’s decided to paint them and other facts about this area
After Bo-Kaap, we drove to Distrixt six, which is just a short but beautiful drive through the city away. District Six is a former inner-city residential area where over 60,000 of its non-white inhabitants were forcibly removed during the 1970s Apartheid regime. It boasts an array of street art which serves as a powerful voice and is available for everyone to see. We were shown graffiti that touches on social issues, murals that speak of a deep connection to Africa, and abstract paintings of things meaningful to the local residents.
By this time in the day we got a bit hungry, even though it was only around 1.30pm in Cape Town at that point, no one is shy of a little bit of alcohol of course. Which is why the next stop is the Devil’s Peak Tap Room. Home to arguably the best beer in South Africa, the Devil’s Peak Brewing Company has grown enormously from its humble garage beginnings in 2012. They now offer 11 craft beers, including their award-winning flagship, the King’s Blockhouse IPA. We enjoyed a meal and a drink on the side but the recommended option is to go for a beer and food pairing with five 100ml beers and five small typical South-African bites paired with them. Both come with vegetarian options and there are amazing home made non-alcohol drinks available as well.
On the way to our wine tasting we made a few stops in the infamous suburb of Woodstock. There, a street art initiative was started many years ago to uplift the area for the local residents. We went through the narrow roads and saw neighborhood as it stands today, with big pieces of art by various graffiti artists on every corner of the street.
Arrived at the vineyard, we were stunned by the view. The wine tasting location is quite high which gives you an amazing overview on long beach and table mountain. Located in the sleepy town of Noordhoek, this town is famous for its countryside meet beach vibe. The wines were surprisingly low priced compared to their quality. I myself did a few years of hotel school it was incredibly interesting to get some more information about the winery and the wines we were tasting. You can also go picnicking on the estate, for which they prepare a wine basket paired with small bites and lay out a blanket and some cushions next to their pond.
If you’ve ever driven in Cape Town you know what Chapman’s peak Drive is, without a doubt. And even though you’ve never seen it in real life, you’ve undoubtedly, and probably unknowingly, spotted it in several movies or adverts. Sadly, any pictures or video footage of this drive don’t do it the justice it deserves. The real experience is the one you have when driving through the small zig zag road, making a stop to check the view, windy hair, cars passing, it’s indescribable. Carved out of the rock face, the slow winding road offers jaw-dropping views of Noordhoek, Hout Bay, and the Atlantic Ocean. The various stopping points along the road offer prime views for that perfect Instagram photo – no filter needed. Although sadly we didn’t spot any, most of the time you can keep your eye open for whales and dolphins.
My personal favorite part of the day, and one that I will definitely do again, was the secret sundowner spot. A five minute short but exciting hike in between humongous villa’s and open nature with rocks and bushes will take you there. For a split second it feels like you’re lost somewhere on a mountain, wandering in between these big rocks. Until, you can finally climb onto one and see the amazing 360 degree view. With lion’s head, 12 apostles, Clifton beach, robben island and much more all in one horizon. We had a beer (and a photoshoot) up that rock, before watching the sun go down.
By then it was time to return to our meeting point, some people got dropped off home by our amazing tour guide Richard, because it was not that far off the road. He also provided us with some nice South-African tunes inbetween our stops to get us in the right mind set, and at the end he even stayed with us and talked us through some other things to do in Cape Town. We were pretty tired after this joyfully filled day and decided we weren’t going to cook ourselves anymore. Richard gave us a list of restaurants he recommended, and we ended up at a small local deli, somewhere you would never go in on yourself. The dinner was a perfect ending to a perfect day.
In general, the tour is something I recommend to everyone! If you are staying here for a long time, like us, it is nice to see a different side of Cape Town then the one you are used to. If you’re only here for a short amount of time it is really nice to do something other people probably haven’t. Apart from all of the amazing stops the tour also offers a great deal of new friends (your co-travellers), a full list of things to go explore next and a new profile picture for your Instagram or facebook. You won’t go home empty handed!