In and around Cape Town: the best-of

No visit to South Africa would be complete without exploring Cape Town and its surroundings. It’s an amazing region with something for everyone: big city, lush nature, endless beaches, great food, plenty of wineries, baboons…and even penguins!

The Waterfront

Most of visitors usually start their visit with either the Waterfront, or the Table Mountain. I liked the Waterfront for only 2 reasons: the view of downtown with Table Mountain on the background and the statue of South Africa’s tremendous four Peace Nobelists!

Downtown from the Waterfront, Cape Town
Downtown Cape Town from the Waterfront

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Kapama Karula: a sleek safari experience

Like for Sabi Sabi, I recommend to spend at least 2 nights at Kapama Karula for a better overall experience (no rush) and to grow your chances to see as many different animals as possible. Sabi Sands game reserve has a common open border with the gigantic Kruger national park (meaning animals can migrate freely), whereas Kapama is a fenced game reserve. I know, at first it doesn’t sound appealing (I mean, I am totally against zoos)… But when you enter the reserve and drive many miles on dirt roads without seeing a single fence, you realize how huge this reserve really is. You will note the same during your safari drives: many hours of driving, no fences in view.

Where Sabi Sabi Little Bush Camp is intimate and authentic, Kapama Karula is sleek and modern. I would recommend to try both, but if I had to choose I would probably pick Kapama Karula. Why? For a similar safari experience, it comes with a lighter price tag (Sabi Sabi may be a bit overpriced because of its reputation). Plus the villas with big private pools and terraces are to die for…! The safari experience itself depends a lot on your ranger and how full the lodge is during your stay. I had the chance to have the whole open-air safari jeep for myself and my spouse, and an experienced ranger totally passionate about his job (Chris). During 3 different game drives (2 mornings and 1 evening) we went from bush walk among mud-bathing rhinos, sundowners in front of gracefully moving giraffes backed by one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen, to catching a python bare hand in the night and gazing at a starlit sky with zero light pollution. Unforgettable. Despite all Chris’ efforts, we didn’t manage to see a leopard (the most difficult Big 5 animal to spot) and he was even more disappointed by that than we were.

What I preferred at Kapama Karula:

  • the size of the private villa and its pool
  • the modern design of the property in general
  • the curio shop on-site
  • the passionate and experienced ranger Chris
Private plunge pool and afternoon drinks (air temperature +40C), Kapama Karula
Private plunge pool and afternoon drinks overlooking the bush (air temperature +40C)

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Sabi Sabi Little Bush Camp: safari with style

I recommend to spend at least 2 nights at the lodge to fully enjoy your safari experience and get better chances to spot all the Big 5 (buffalo, elephant, lion, leopard and rhino). Prepare for some pampering, as everything is included and taken care of from the moment you arrive to the moment you leave: meals, drinks, accommodation, morning and evening safaris in open-air jeeps, guided walking tours in the bush… Make sure to also visit the state-of-the-art Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge, the staff will gladly take you there for a quick tour of this amazing place. Nothing to dislike at Sabi Sabi, so I will just list the things I preferred. In the coming days I am going to post an article about another lodge in the area and, of course, an article about the Kruger area with great wildlife pictures I had the chance to take. Stay tuned!

What I liked most at Sabi Sabi:

  • candle-lit dinner under the stars
  • breakfasts with amazing fruit juices
  • all alcoholic drinks included (at the bar, in the room and with meals)
  • cosy and beautiful main lounge
  • intimacy of the whole lodge, with a private and secluded feeling
  • professional and very handsome ranger Matthew
  • visit of the incredible Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge
Sabi Sabi Little Bush Camp
Sabi Sabi Little Bush Camp

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Lunch at Test Kitchen

If you visit Cape Town, you should definitely try to book a table at Test Kitchen. Like for most trendy and internationally renown restaurants, getting a table booking ain’t easy… You will have to start trying very early, with a lot of flexibility regarding your dates. But it’s worth trying: clearly one of the best multi-course lunches I’ve had, in a chic-industrial atmosphere. One of the waiters told me a fascinating story on how his father was one of the first persons to start painting houses in Bo-Kaap. What comes to the chef, the creative use of different vegetables was just amazing. My favorite dish: the first dessert. Least favorite one: the veggie entr√©e. Now let the pictures talk (unfortunately I don’t have the names for each dish and the menu on their website has changed since my visit).

Starter #1, Test Kitchen
Starter #1

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POD Camps Bay: cool accommodation in Cape Town

Like

  • Location: right next to the amazing Camps Bay beach
  • Style: sleek and modern design
  • Breakfast: high quality¬†buffet with lots of fresh fruit!
  • Staff: nice and helpful
  • Private underground parking

Dislike

  • Private plunge pool: should definitely be heated…
  • View from the room: partial ocean view, but mainly facing an ugly building
  • Your own tree: they promise to plant a tree for you and send its GPS coordinates to you by e-mail after your stay, however nearly a year after my stay no coordinates received so far…
Room at POD Camps BayRoom at POD Camps Bay
Room at POD Camps Bay

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