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November 24, 2009

Celebrate the year-end in the Mother City

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Hike one of the city’s many nature trails

Cape Town is counting down the days! Cape Town Tourism, visitors and excited locals celebrated 200 days to kick-off for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ at the amphitheatre in the V&A Waterfront on Monday, November 23. Festivities kicked off with a diski dance demonstration, where we again proved that Capetonians are some of the most colourful, rhythmic people in the world! Fusion band Coda then thrilled the crowd with its unique music, followed by the sultry sound of Chad Saaiman.

This does mean that there are only 38 days left of 2009. Seriously, only 38 and the clock is ticking!

The good news is that we are bearing down on the summer holidays and what will surely be a welcome break for most of us – a time to put our feet up, relax, unwind and reflect on the year that was 2009.

This week, we therefore look at year-end fun to be had in Cape Town and, in particular, suggestions for that annual institution: the year-end office party!

Perhaps you’ve left it a little late this year – or perhaps the office stalwart who diligently plans the party each year put her foot down this year – and your crew is up the creek without the proverbial paddle and not one creative idea between the lot of you! The recession also means that a lot of companies, especially the smaller ones, have had to tighten their purse strings. Your year-end party may require some imagination to ensure that everybody can still have a good time and ring in the festive season. Here are some great ideas to help you out:

Option 1: You have a budget

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If you’re keen for an adventure, try sand boarding

Adventure activities are always a great idea for a fabulous time out and to create a great sense of team. Super year-end options include quad biking, deep sea fishing, abseiling, paragliding, sky diving or sand boarding.

Bikes ’n Wine. Make the most of the summer weather and go for a “vineyard meander” with Bikes ’n Wine. The 9km cycle through the winelands includes two wine tastings and a visit to a brandy distillery. Enjoy a picnic lunch on the lawn of a wine estate and visit the Cheetah Sanctuary at Spier Wine Estate. Bike & Wine also offers “adventure ride” and “platinum” packages, with prices per person starting at R450. For more information visit www.bikesnwines.com.

Get creative.

  • Take a jewellery-casting course at the Gold of Africa Museum’s Goldsmith Studio and follow this up with dinner in Gold restaurant, complete with Malian puppets and live entertainment.
  • Discover the inner sculptors in your team and take a pottery lesson. Locations range from eclectic Observatory to scenic Noordhoek.
  • Enjoy a show at one of the city’s many theatres. For dinner and a show go to the Baxter, Artscape, Theatre on the Bay, On Broadway, New Space Theatre or Die Boer Restaurant.

• Head out to the wildest place in Africa. Ratanga Junction not only offers some of the wildest rides in Africa – it also hosts a rocking year-end event for up to 1 100 people. Venues include the legendary Monkey Falls, Spice Island and Livingstone’s, with a special festive menu available. Visit www.ratanga.co.za for more information.

Go sailing. The Waterfront Boat company has a number of special offers perfect for a year-end event, ranging from “sundowner sailing” and “cruise and dine” packages, run in partnership with 221 Restaurant in the V&A Waterfront, to “triple extreme” packages for an adrenalin rush.

• A classic is defined as “having lasting significance or worth that endures” – which brings us to the year-end classic, the cocktail or dinner party. Cape Town has a wealth of restaurants that offer beautiful settings, delicious food and often an interactive option, such as a cooking or cocktail-making class before dinner. Visit www.capetown.travel for a list of city eateries to suit any budget, from a R40 bunny chow to fine dining.

Option 2: Budget … what budget?

Potjiekos cook-off. You don’t need much space – a company courtyard or small garden will do. Mix up your departments to team up against each other and extend the invitation to families as well.

Hike one of the city’s many nature trails. A moderate hike will suit most of your team and all you need are comfortable clothes, sensible footwear and rehydration along the way.

Pack a picnic basket and head out to a naturally pristine area, such as Tokai Forest, Rondevlei Nature Reserve, Durbanville Nature Reserve or a local beach for a relaxing day out of the office.

Another summer event that you, as a Capetonian or visitor, should pencil into your diary as we near the year end is the Cape Town Summer event taking place at Kenilworth Race Course on November 27 from 15h00 until 22h00. The event, organised by Next 48 Hours, will include a five-a-side soccer challenge, diski dancing, Coda and much, much more. The switching on of the festive lights in Adderley Street on November 29 also promises to be a crowd puller.

Before we bid you farewell for the week, just a quick reminder – the office party should always be more “office” than “party”, and be sure to have a lovely time this festive season!

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