Wave your freak flag in Observatory

Wave your freak flag in Observatory

Explore organic food, art and alcohol-fuelled debates in this bohemian Cape Town suburb

Need to let your hair down and let out your creative freak somewhere close to the city? Visit Cape Town’s most bohemian suburb, Observatory.

It’s an arty district locally known as ‘Obs’. The main entertainment area centered around the Lower Main Road. You’ll find quirky restaurants, easy-going bars, live music and lots of hippies in Observatory, which also represents one of the largest residential arts communities in South Africa. We’re talking shabby chic.

People from various walks of life find themselves calling this area home. Youngsters, students, artists, philosophers, actors, backpackers and all kinds of weirdos engage in alcohol-fuelled debates about philosophy, politics, jazz, organic food, books, history and the arts. Enter any café in Obs by yourself and you simply know you will leave with a new friend, philosophy or self-produced poem.

The Wild Fig Restaurant
Sit down, relax and enjoy the comfort of this 18th century farmhouse restaurant that serves pub lunches and even Mediterranean and Asian meals to boot. Situated on Valkenberg Estate, The Wild Fig Restaurant is home to a cosy and casual fireplace that’s perfect for those winter nights out. Their menu perfectly matches the setting; think hearty, country cooking buffered by garden salads, seasonal vegetables and fresh linefish specials – how’s that for a great day or evening out?
Opening Hours: Mon – Sat: 12pm – 10:30pm; Sun: 12pm – 9:30pm

1 Liesbeek Ave | Observatory | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 448 0507

South African Astronomical Observatory
The reason this area is called Observatory is because the headquarters of the National Centre for Optical and Infrared Astronomy is based in this suburb. Every second and fourth Saturday of the month at 8pm you are welcome to have a peek. The headquarters include offices, the main library, computing facilities, engineering workshops and historic telescopes. This is your chance to look through the historic McClean telescope and spot that shooting star.
Opening Hours: Mon – Fri: 8:30am – 4:30pm
Observatory Road | Observatory | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 447 0025

This shabby chic café offers freshly prepared breakfast, lunch and, more recently, dinners. The menu is filled with organic and healthy foods. Opt for one of the delicious, homemade soups or taste the rich gourmet sandwiches. The staff recommends the bacon and potato salad. At Mimi’s all dishes are homemade and fresh. You won’t find any preservatives in the kitchen. Healthy enough, right?
Opening Hours: Mon & Tues: 7am – 7pm, Wed – Fri: 7am – 9pm, Sat & Sun: 9am – 4pm
107 Lower Main Road | Observatory | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 447 6747

The Image & Hair
Looking for an excuse to escape the hustle and bustle of the city? Give yourself a treat and head to The Image & Hair. In this extensive beauty salon you can get your hair and make-up done, while you’re getting a manicure and pedicure. Not satisfied yet? There’s also a fashion boutique and a massage salon, all under one roof.
Opening Hours: Tues – Sat: 9am – 5pm
80/82 Lower Main Road | Observatory | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 447 4426

OBZ Cafe
Start off with the OBZ Burger, try a piece of homemade cake for desert, head off to the OBZ theatre for live music, enjoy an Original Long Island Ice Tea and fall asleep in your dorm room at OBZ Backpackers. OBZ Café has everything you need for a full night out. On Wednesday you can grab a pizza at half price or taste the huge Big Daddy Special on Mondays for just R99.
Opening Hours: Mon – Sun: 11am – 11pm
115 Lower Main Road | Observatory | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 448 5555

The Foreign Exchange
Forex, as it is commonly known, sports with a combination of good eats, great drinks, interesting people and a great vibe that makes this Southern Suburbs bar a prime nighttime option. This spot is anything but cliquey hence there are people who come from all over just to experience the global diversity of The Foreign Exchange. Forex gives all other Mother City watering holes a real run for their money. So, make a night of it at this vibrant Observatory pub centred on global mixing and mingling.
Opening Hours: Mon – Wed: 4pm – 11pm; Thurs: 4pm – 12am; Fri & Sat: 4pm – 1am

92-96 Station Rd | Observatory | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 448 0083

Hello Sailor Bistro
If you’re an “Observatorian”, the rock’n’roll bistro Hello Sailor should definitely become one of your go-tos. The sailor-decor is inviting, the music is well chosen and the food is good. “Food is a big thing for us. We serve stuff we like and what people like.” says owners Bosko and Ryan, “Full on flavours but simple.” And chef Maggie (cool eyewear, cool tattoos) will make sure you have a good food experience.
Opening Hours: Mon – Fri: 8:30am – 11pm, Sat & Sun: 9am – 11pm
86 Lower Main Road | Observatory | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 447 0707

Café Ganesh
This is a downscale student bar-cum-club-cum-restaurant in the Observatory neighbourhood. It serves samoosas downstairs, the South African Indian answer to egg rolls. They also showcase art films as well as live, sometimes impromptu, performances upstairs. It keeps the charm of the township tavern kitchen – serving traditional meals and unbelievably cheap quarts. Meals cost R28 – R60 and you get the real pap here: pap and vleis with a  nice authentic feeling.
Opening Hours: Mon – Sat: 11am – 2am
Lower Main Road at Trill Road | Observatory | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 448 3435

A Touch of Madness
From the onset of arriving at A Touch of Madness, you are transported back to the Victorian era. The restaurant is quaintly situated in a Victorian-style house, which was built between 1900 and 1905. A Touch of Madness definitely holds a superior ambiance with its large windows casting a warm and homely vibe for those special get togethers. The burgundy walls and delicate chandeliers add to the eloquent feeling of fine dining. The extensive menu caters for all tastes. A definite must!
Opening Hours: Tues – Sat: 12am -10pm
12 Nuttal Road | Observatory | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 447 4650

Mango Ginger Coffee Shop
Pastry chef Fiona injects love into every fresh dish. She focuses on pure health food. The gluten-free products are high in quality and low in price. If you’re a sucker for freshly prepared and tasteful goodies, this is the place for breakfast and lunch; the quality is in the ambiance and the details.
Opening Hours: Mon – Fri: 7:30am – 5pm, Sat: 8am – 3pm

105 Lower Main Road | Entrance in Trill Road | Observatory | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 448 2500

The River Club
The River Club Golf and Conference Centre is the place to be. Enjoy a day of golfing on the 9-hole mashie course or the 90-bay driving range. The world famous Logical Golf Academy is also based here. Afterwards, grab a bite at Players Café and Bar. The menu offers a wide range of dishes from breakfasts to light snacks, salads and sandwiches.
Opening Hours: Mon: 11am – 8pm, Tues – Fri: 7am – 8pm, Sat & Sun: 8am – 8pm
Liesbeek Parkway | Observatory | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 448 6117

Circus School
This South African National Circus School was founded by trapeze world champion, Dimitri Slaverse and his wife, Nicky. Watch contortionists move their bodies in unbelievable shapes and positions and figure out how the fire jumpers also jump through the ring at the right moment. Dare to take a challenge? Find out how fearless you really are and brave the trapeze or construct a human pyramid.

Willow Road | Hartleyvale | Observatory | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 692 4287

Gear up for some indoor adventure at this wondrous venue. CityRock’s climbing facilities include a large bouldering area and high walls for rope climbing. They cater for everyone – from inexperienced first-timers to professional rock-climbers. The venue also has a relaxed coffee shop area, which is an ideal place to make new friends and climbing buddies to make plans for the next trip up the wall.
Opening Hours: Mon & Wed: 9am – 9pm, Tues & Thurs: 9am – 10pm, Fri & Sat: 9am – 6pm
21 Anson St | Observatory | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 447 1326

Queen of Tarts Bakery
The delicious cupcakes, freshly baked goods and funky decor are what makes Queen of Tarts Bakery the treat of Observatory. This bakery takes its inspiration from Parisian patisseries. Make a lasting impression on your guests and order from Queens of Tarts for that one special event you’re hosting.
Opening Hours: Mon – Fri: 8am – 4pm, Sat: 8am – 2pm
213 Lower Main Road | Observatory | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 448 2420

Source: capetownmagazine.com

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5 reasons why Cape Town is the best city in the world

5 reasons why Cape Town is the best city in the world

There are few places in the world that offer some of the greatest things in life in one neat and easily accessible package: Stunning nature, interesting history, awesome adventure, great food and wine, and some of the most exciting wildlife in the world. Cape Town in South Africa manages to do just that.

Here’s why my vote for the best city in the world goes to Cape Town – and why I think you should book a flight over right now. Or at least right after reading this article.

1. Stunning nature

At almost any location in or around Cape Town, you only have to look up to see the magnificent Table Mountain. At 1100 m tall, it dominates the horizon around the city and is, without doubt, Cape Town’s most famous landmark. If you ever get tired of seeing it from below, head on up the mountain to see the vista from a different perspective. You can jump on the cable cars to enjoy an easy glide up or take one of a few different trails ranging from 3-10 km that lead up to the top.

Directly across from Table Mountain sits Lion’s Head at 670 m above sea level. A 5 km hike to the top provides sweet views with little sweat. Interested in more adrenaline? Schedule a tandem paragliding trip off the top and soar above the city, off the coast and back.

2. A rich and raw history

Robben Island, where South Africa’s most famous civil rights activist and former president Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, is a must-see. Used as a criminal prison by the Dutch, Robben Island became a prison used by the apartheid-era South African government to lock up civil and political activists who opposed the government. Walking through the compound you can visit the cell where Mandela spent 18 years of his life. Walking outside the compound gives you a view of the iconic skyline of Cape Town, ominously out of reach.

Coming back to the city center you can learn about the trials and tribulations of what was once the city’s soul – District Six. While nothing much stands in this location now there was once a booming neighborhood that used to be home to 60,000+ merchants and immigrants. Under apartheid law District Six was made a white only sector and by 1968 families were forcibly removed and relocated over 25 km away to the Cape Flats. Taking a walking tour of the now vacant area with guides who were themselves evicted in 1968 gives you very raw and real insights into what life in the city was like for decades. Don’t forget to visit the District Six Museum for further insights into what life in the area used to be like.

3. Adventure that’s all around

Adventure is part of the very DNA of this city. You can surf, hike and paraglide off mountains in one single day, and if you’re really, really brave you can go cage diving with great white sharks. Head out to Birkenhead Peninsula and you’ll find many companies eager to take you out to safely view one of the largest marine predators on the planet. Take your GoPro – but be careful with that selfie stick.

When cage diving with Great White Sharks isn’t enough take a drive to Tsitsikamma National Park where you’ll find many more opportunities to cross off your bucket list. Bungee jump off Bloukrans Bridge, the 4th tallest bungee jump in the world, then do a spot of kayaking, scuba diving or mountain biking in the park.

4. World-class wining and dining

The Garden Route is arguably one of the most iconic and idyllic places in the world to sample outstanding wines and eat outstanding food. And it’s easily accessible from the city. It sports beautiful coastal views, picturesque lakes and gorgeous farmlands and makes for a perfect road trip. It’s here that you’ll find South Africa’s best and most famous wine growing regions and vineyards, including Stellenbosch, Constantia and Paarl.

For some world-class (casual) dining, make a short trek to the Hout Bay Market on a weekend to check out a bustling marketplace with local vendors and eat oysters the size of your head. There you’ll find endless types of artisan foods, including hearty meats cooked on a brai (a South African barbecue), cured biltong (dried meat), fire-baked pizzas, (more) gigantic oysters and plenty of other fresh seafood. It’s also a bit of a shopping mecca, with art, clothes and jewelry being sold by local artisans.

5. The Big 5 (up close and personal)

The Garden Route Game Lodge is a great place to spot the famous “Big 5”: the African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard, and the rhinoceros. Jump in the back of an open Land Rover and get your binoculars and cameras out for a beautiful sunset safari. Sunrise safaris are wonderful too, especially if you stay overnight and take advantage of the early hours of the day when lions and other big predators are at their most active.

Not close enough? The De Hoop Game Reserve is another great place to continue your wildlife spotting. This private game reserve is next to the famous Whale Trail – a common backpacking trail with coastal viewing of whales. Better yet, stay a night or two in the reserve surrounded by the (non-predatory) wildlife. Watch out for those baboons though.

All sound a little too good to be true? It isn’t. Don’t take my word for it and just go see it for yourself.

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Good Food and Wine Show (2 – 4 June)

Good Food and Wine Show (2 – 4 June)

Pick any weekend of the year in Cape Town and you’re bound to find a host of events planned throughout our hip and happening city. We have rounded up a bunch of super fun things to do in and around the Mother City this weekend!

Celebrate your love of cuisine and vino at the Good Food and Wine Show.

30 Mei 2017 blog

This event in the Cape Town International Convention Centre on Lower Long Street is a three-day food and wine jamboree with all the frills and trimmings. There’s more to it than simply eating and drinking; this fest gets interactive and gives you a chance to meet some influential and world-renowned South African chefs and get your hands dirty. Cooking workshops will be led by a few of the chefs, and celebrity chefs giving cooking demos in a live theatre will be on view. Aside from this, you can check out sections such as the Lifestyle area with teachings about organic vegetable growing, a Kid’s area for your little ones, and lots of vino.

The Cape Town Good Food and Wine Show (GFWS) is one of the country’s foremost gourmet events, and as always, it’s back to whet the appetites of Mother City foodies at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) from Friday, 2 to Sunday, 4 June 2017. This immensely popular event shines the spotlight on all things tasty and is highly anticipated by local lovers of yummy nosh and chefs alike.

This year’s fest returns with a spring in its step and will be tackling the controversial issue of food waste and how to minimize it in our kitchens.

The Good Food and Wine Show has eight separate sections for you to enjoy. These dedicated sections aim to totally encapsulate their respective ideas, and showcase the best goods and services available. There will be areas dedicated to Wellness, Lifestyle, Wine, Market, Beer and Alcohol, Kids, Street Food and Baking. So whatever aspect of food you love, this event provides the perfect experience for you.

credit: capetownmagazine

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