I recently had the opportunity to visit the city of Cape Town, amid some of the worst weather conditions the city has experienced in the longest time.
I have always had the luck of visiting the Cape of Storms when the weather is at its best. Sun shining, warm and the beach with its cold waters is calling my name.
So it was a challenge for me adjust to this different face of Cape Town, with cold wind and rain that could start falling at any moment. After the rainy couple of days the city had endured, that had also destroyed the homes of many in the process, the weather was not convincing.
It was just our luck that when we landed at Cape Town International Airport the rain had stopped. We were then set to enjoy our adventure all over the Mother City.
Our home for the next three days was the Southern Sun, The Cullinan Hotel that is a minute maybe two minutes away by foot, from the Cape Town International Convention Centre.
A beautiful hotel,The Cullinan is sophisticated. As we walked into the hotel, the afternoon sun shone its golden rays into the reception area from the double glass doors. It made the entire room glow with golds and pinks. Decorated with metallics and wood, the hotel has a polished feel to it. The hotel is quiet.You are guaranteed to a peaceful night’s rest.
The table decor at the reception of the Southern Sun The Cullinan Hotel in the evening. Photo: Masego Panyane
With the Western Cape facing possibly the worst drought in the last five years, I was impressed by Tsogo Sun’s efforts to make guests conscious of their water usage. They placed a note in the bathroom, telling guests about the drought and urging them to use water sensibly.While I would have loved to see more being done, it's a start.
As a welcoming gift, the hotel’s Stella’s Cafe and Bar treated us with platters to share. Prepared under the watchful eye of executive Chef Lindsay Venn the food was not only picture perfect, but it was delicious too. We took the opportunity to sneak in a picture with chef Venn, seeing as he’s a celebrity chef and all. He has been one of the judges on SA's version of Chopped.
Through the City Breaks excursion that had been organised by Cape Town Tourism and low cost airline kulula.com, we were given the opportunity to explore all the reasons why we Love Cape Town, with a number of fun activities that we took part in.
I had two favourites, one was the group cooking session at Ginger and Lime. The space is welcoming, with a long table that seats possibly 12 people, and a kitchen set up with bar stools for you to watch the cooking happen. The chefs are big on two things- the participation of the audience in the actual cooking and wine. I enjoyed the experience because it reminded me of what cooking can be when it’s not a time consuming chore or something you do for a living wage: therapeutic, fun and a good way to bond with friends and family.
Their recipes were also easy to follow. Our evening was a Thai inspired evening. I am not really a soup person, but I loved the Thai inspired Butternut soup.
Assistant chefs at Ginger and Lime Almo Geldenhys and Paula Mainstone talking us through the art of cooking. Photo: Masego Panyane
My other favourite activity was the helicopter ride over the V&A Waterfront. NAC Helicopters, the company that runs the tours provides flying enthusiasts with the choice between four routes, all differing in the scenery they expose you to, and the length of the ride. Our hopper tour, 15mins long, went over the 12 Apostles, Greenpoint, Camps Bay, Clifton and Sea Point. Our pilot Anthony was friendly and a sport. He gave us fast facts about helicopters and entertained all my strange and weird questions.
We also did the regulars like Table Mountain and the City Sight Seeing Bus tours. As always it was a humbling experience to be able to see the magnificence of Cape Town and Robben Island from the top of one of the seven wonders of the world. It was however, extra cold because it’s winter.
We wound down Friday night at the hip venue The Vue. Possibly getting its name from the kind of views you’re treated to while enjoying the food, The Vue, provides magical views of Cape Town at night. The lights glimmer like stars in the night sky. It gives you the weird feeling of the sky on the floor, while you float in the air somewhere. With the latest pop music setting the mood for the evening, it struck the balance between a dinner and night time outing.
The trip confirmed to me that Cape Town is an ever green tourist destination, and the good times don’t only have to roll in the Summer. CT is open for excitement even in Winter.