To make the most of our full day guided tour, we were met at our hotel by our private guide – Jackie – complete with a utility vehicle packed full of kit, SUP boards, beach activity toys and enough snacks to keep my 12-year-old happy. We headed out of Cape Town along the coast to Muizenberg. During our drive, Jackie brought to life the history of the Cape.
Arriving in Muizenberg, to our delight there was a local kids’ surfing competition in full swing. We grabbed a coffee from the local shop adorned with surf boards, had a chat with one of the enterprising locals who makes and sells the surfboards, and we went down to the beach to watch the competition. Muizenberg has always been a hit with its rainbow collection of coloured beach huts.
Following the coastal road heading towards Simon’s Town, we stopped at Kalk Bay and walked down to the harbour where we met huge cape seals warming up in the winter sun. Watching the seals is fascinating and a highlight for both kids. We admired the brightly coloured fishing boats that mirror the houses in the Bo Kaap area of Cape Town.
Penguins, normally found in the Antarctic, have been living happily in the Cape since 1982 on Boulders Bay. Having been lucky to see the colony before they became a major attraction, we made the decision not to walk down to the beach where it now gets very busy but took to the sea in kayaks. Seeing the African penguins from a different perspective was excellent, along with sea birds and seals.
After an hour on the water, it was time for our picnic. The winter weather was being kind to us – a warm 19 degrees, bright blue sky, and turquoise sea. Jackie found a secluded area of the beach where no other traveller would ever find, and we set up the perfect picnic spot. The home-made picnic was delicious, hand crafted by Nicky Gibbs who resides in Cape Town and is the ex-private chef of the MTV music awards, Rolling Stones and infamous politicians. (For an enhanced food experience, you can dine at Nicky’s house – an experience not to miss).
Next stop: The Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. The drive is beautiful. We hugged the coast and admired the small towns. Once in the reserve, we spotted ostrich and eland (the largest antelope). On the beach we learnt about the fynbos (indigenous plants to the Western Cape) and the history of shipwrecks. Jackie knows the reserve like no other. If we had more time, we could have hiked for the whole afternoon, but she knew the best vantage point to get out and admire the dramatic coastline. And of course, have our photograph taken on the most south-westerly point of the African continent
I have visited the reserve multiple times, but to view the sea as smooth as glass it’s hard to believe all the hidden shipwrecks under the waves. As we started to head back to Cape Town, we had time for one more stop: The ice cream shop on a farm in Noordhoek. Not on the standard tourist trail and clearly a place for locals, full of charm with Cape Dutch style buildings.
Back in the vehicle, we ended our day driving the famous Chapman’s Peak and it didn’t disappoint. The road has been used in movies and adverts and you can see why; hugging the coast and the cliff, this drive is stunning. Jackie of course was able to find the perfect place to end our day as we watched the sunset with a local drink and reflected on the day’s adventures.
We chose to eat at The Silo, an icon in this vibrant working dock. We dined in The Willaston Bar with views over the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront and ocean in the distance as the night sky changed. The service was attentive and the atmosphere relaxed; my teenager and 12-year-old very much at home. The Silo sits above the Zeitz Mocca art gallery – for any art enthusiast, it is a must-inclusion.