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February 17, 2011

Enjoy Cape Town Responsibly

View from Lions head

The view from Lion’s Head. Photo courtesy michaelbrandon

Jessy Lipperts runs Extraordinary Travel, a company dedicated to organising inspiring and custom-made travel itineraries to Southern Africa for responsible tourists. She’s a National Tourist Guide and moved from the Netherlands to South Africa in 2003. Her mission is to share her passion for South Africa and its beauty with as many people as possible in a responsible way. Extraordinary Travel supports several projects and non-governmental organisations such as the Trees4Schools Trust, the Chaeli Campaign, the Malealea Development Trust and the Shine Centre.

How do you enjoy the Mother City responsibly? What are your favourite places and experiences?

What a great question! And it will be difficult to stick to the 500 words because Cape Town has so many different places to enjoy responsibly.

Hiking Lion’s Head

First of all, my favourite mountain to hike is Lion’s Head. What a pleasure to enjoy this in the early morning. The mountain gives you 360° views of Camps Bay, the Atlantic, Clifton, Sea Point, Robben Island, Signal Hill, the harbour, the CBD and, of course, Table Mountain. Lots of people climb Lion’s Head in the morning and it’s such an easy walk (once you’ve managed to walk the first bit which is, for some people, a bit steep). Take a picnic and enjoy nature in the middle of the city. Being from Europe, I still find it difficult to fathom how spoiled Capetonians are: I hope they appreciate the beauty of their environment every single day.

Hiking in general

Only Table Mountain has about 350 different paths to hike. You can hike here forever and never get bored. I have hiked parts of the Hoerikwaggo Trail, which is a great way to experience nature again. They have done a wonderful job with accommodation that completely blends in with nature and is built in a sustainable way. For me the Hoerikwaggo Trail is the ultimate in responsible tourism. The Department of Water Affairs’ Working for Water programme is active in the area, providing jobs and at the same time taking out alien trees, which are then used for building accommodation. I hope this trail becomes a huge success, because it definitely has the potential to become world renowned.

Walking through the city centre

Cape Town becomes more and more pedestrian friendly with streetside cafés and terraces. Last Saturday we strolled along Loop Street, Long Street and Church Street, visiting different art galleries. No need to go on a bus tour when in the city centre. Walking is the way to do it, and every time I walk, there are new spots to be discovered. Capetonians should embrace their city centre and really come and visit. It is such a pleasure and can compete with many European cities. St Georges Mall and Greenmarket Square are ideal to walk, shop, have coffee, breakfast, lunch and dinner!

Cycling the city

Another great way to discover the city is to go on a cycle tour. These leave from the Cape Grace Hotel in the V&A Waterfront every day. Who would have thought to cycle in Cape Town? I think many locals might never have figured that this is possible, but it is a great way to take in the city and enjoy the many stunning views from every single angle.

Anything else?

Other favourite places of mine include Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, Noordhoek Beach and the Sea Point promenade.

And I almost forgot: How stunning is the new Green Point Urban Park? Wow! The place is amazing for the whole family. I just love the biodiversity garden and the exercise machines. They really have done an incredible job!

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