En route to Cape town

Suzanne Barney on 13 March 2014
After reluctantly leaving The Residence at Franschhoek (I could have stayed there forever) we headed on to Cape Town via a place called Babylonstoren Gardens, which is located in the Drakenstein Valley about 60km from Cape Town.

This originates back to 1690 and has 300 varieties of edible plants of which we were encouraged to try! It is divided up into different areas over three kilometres and I must say the guide, Gundula, was really passionate about the gardens and made the walk really interesting. We had lunch here (yes more food - the waistline now is bulging).

From the gardens we headed to Cape Town via the Steinberg winery. This is a very beautiful area in Constantia about 20 minutes’ drive from Cape Town. The hotel is a converted old barn and has attached to it a golf course and bar/restaurant. This is where we did a bit of wine testing in Bistrosixteen82. We tried about five different premium wines which was good fun and there was a nice vibe in the bistro which was full of locals socialising.

Finally we arrived in Cape Town and checked into the Queen Victoria hotel which was going to be our home for two days. The hotel is located within walking distance of the Victoria and Albert Waterfront. The hotel is a boutique hotel compared to the lavish and opulent 'Residence' hotel. It was quite minimalistic and clean with everything white or beige in colour. We had dinner at the Cape Grace hotel which has a wonderful setting on the waterfront after looking around the hotel and its bar with 1000's of whiskies.

Once we had settled in we did a couple of Tours in Cape Town. Uthando, a community project took us into the townships which was a really uplifting experience. We were entertained by a local choir which was so powerful and emotional. They took us to projects they were working with such as a vets, garden project and a dance school giving young people motivation and also instilling self-confidence and discipline in a world which is really challenging for them.

We had free time in the afternoon to go off and explore. Not to waste the opportunity we decided to go to see the penguins at Boulders Beach. One of our fellow Travel Counsellors who is based in Cape Town offered to drive us, taking in the scenic route around the peninsular and viewing the stunning beaches (on shark watch) and the wineries all within reach of Cape Town. We had a quick beer at Calk Bay at the Brass Bell, a famous establishment that sits on the waterfront before heading to see the penguins who were really cute and funny to watch.

We then headed back to Cape Town in time to do site inspections at a couple of hotels on the front before having a beautiful dinner at the Victoria, what a contrasting day!