June 29, 2012
My love affair with winter in Cape Town
Fazielah Williams has lived in and loved her Mother City since birth. Having lived all over the Peninsula during her childhood, she now calls the picturesque City Bowl home and likes nothing more than watching the sun set over Table Bay from the window of her apartment.
A lover of the arts and proud Cape Town fanatic, Fazielah began her writing career by spending many hours as a child conjuring fantastical stories that featured independent heroines from faraway lands who saved the Prince instead. This Capetonian princess has enjoyed stints as a magical arts PRO and TV publicist before finding her calling as a travel writer.
When not waxing lyrical about the Fairest Cape’s most loved attractions and activities and embarking on unexpected adventures, Fazielah can usually be found taking in a show at one of the City’s fabulous theatres.
I have a bit of a thing for fireplaces, not to mention my love affair with food and my growing wine collection, and winter is the perfect time to indulge in all of them.
Tempting as it might be to hibernate at home, winter is my favourite time to dine out in Cape Town – on the condition that a crackling hearth, glass of good red wine and delicious food are on offer. There is no shortage of any of these in the Mother City. If I have to single out a favourite winter dining spot that excels in all these aspects it would be Societi Bistro. Situated in Orange Street in Gardens, it has a charming, homely ambience. Stefan Marais is a talented and passionate young chef and his personality is reflected in the flavours of the bistro-style food served. The quaint bar, leafy terrace and big fireplace add to the appeal of this inner-city restaurant.
The many wine routes in and around Cape Town have become one of our destination’s greatest assets, with up to 70% of visitors to Cape Town including a visit to one of our wine routes in their itinerary. All of our wine routes have three things in common – excellent wine, superb cuisine and some of South Africa’s most beautiful landscapes. I love exploring some of the lesser-known routes and estates and have discovered some wonderful new wines for my collection.
For winter I have stocked up on some Hermit on the Hill Syrah from the Durbanville wine route and red wines from Waterkloof wine farm situated on the slopes of the Schaapenberg in Somerset West. The restaurant and tasting room boast a 360-degree fireplace and jaw-dropping views over the Helderberg.
The 96 Winery Road restaurant remains another favourite dining experience with no less than three fireplaces to cuddle up next to, while enjoying the food and wine from the local area (the restaurant boasts over 320 vintages).
You can never have enough bottles of Klein Constantia Vin de Constance in your wine collection and I have made sure I am well stocked for winter. The dessert wine from the Constantia Wine Route is one of only five South African wines ever to earn a classic Wine Spectator 95-point rating and the first non-red to achieve this. If you are in the area, hungry and in need of cosying up in front of another fireplace, while dining on some of the best-rated food in the world, treat yourself to a visit to La Colombe.
Cape Town has a growing arts scene and winter is my favourite time to dress up and get arty. The Fugard Theatre in Caledon Street in District Six tops my list of winter theatre venues. Catch the new production of David Kramer and Taliep Petersen’s musical, Kat and The Kings, on until August 18. This high-energy production is being performed for the first time in the heart of District Six with a combination of award-winning soloists and a new young cast from Cape Town.
If documentaries are your thing, don’t miss the first major documentary about Athol Fugard’s life that will be screened on July 16 at 20h00. The 100-minute documentary will be screened to coincide with the run of Fugard's new play The Blue Iris, playing at the Fugard Theatre Studio from July 4 to 28. The production forms part of the Fugard Theatre's celebrations of Fugard's 80th birthday year. For information on other productions, visit www.thefugard.com.
Nature is at her showiest in winter in Cape Town and it is a great time to get outdoors. I love wading through a forest just after it has rained. Put on your wellies, pack a picnic basket, stocked with wine, breads and cheeses from one of Cape Town’s organic markets (I love the Bay Harbour Market in Hout Bay) and head out to Newlands, Cecilia or Tokai Forest. Visit hikecapetown.co.za for advice on Cape Town’s hiking trails.
A friend of mine, who writes a blog worth subscribing to if you have young ones, cisforcapetown.blogspot.com, reminded me about Kirstenbosch Garden's winter wonders programme. They have a wonderful programme for the winter school holidays with puppet shows, garden walks, story-telling and even a frog awareness talk. The full programme is up on their website. I’ll definitely be taking the kids to play in one of the most beautiful gardens in Africa, while they get to learn more about our special environment. It is also a good opportunity to try out the new Moyo Kirstenbosch restaurant – I hope it has a crackling fireplace and a good wine list.
South Africa’s music scene is hotting up. There is no better way to indulge in the best of live music than attending one of the many music festivals on offer. Oppikoppi ranks as my favourite music festival and I have many fond memories of camping under a tree in the middle of nowhere surrounded by thousands of other music lovers, while being treated to the best in local music. Oppikoppi is an annual music festival held near Northam (many kilometres from Cape Town) which takes place from August 9 to 11. If you can’t make it all the way to Northam this year, some of the headline acts of Oppikoppi 2012, including KONGOS, Seether, Bullet for my Valentine and Enter Shikari, will perform at GrandWest Casino in Cape Town on Thursday, August 9. Tickets for the event, One Night in Cape Town, range between R399 and R473 and are available through Computicket, which also has outlets at Cape Town Tourism Visitor Information Centres.
Some of my favourite live music venues in Cape Town are Mercury Live & Lounge, The Assembly, Zula Soundbar and &Union.
While the temperature might drop in Cape Town during winter there are plenty of things to keep me busy, entertained and warm. So, get out there and fall in love with winter in Cape Town!
Visit www.capetown.travel for more information on what’s on in Cape Town.
Mariëtte’s top winter choices:
• Societi Bistro
Opening times: Monday to Saturday: 12h00 to 24h00.
50 Orange Street, Gardens, Cape Town
Telephone: +27 (0)21 424 2100
• 96 Winery Road
Opening times: Monday to Sunday: 12h00 to 16h00 (lunch); Monday to Saturday: 18h30 to 22h00 (dinner).
Winery Road, Zandberg Farm, Somerset West
Telephone: +27 (0)21 842 2020
• Hermit on the Hill
Telephone: +27 (0)83 357 3864
• La Colombe
Opening times: Monday to Saturday: 12h30 to 14h00; 19h00 to 20h45; Sunday: 12h30 to 14h00.
Constantia Uitsig Wine Estate on Spaanschemat River Road, Constantia
Telephone: +27 (0)21 794 2390
• Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
Rhodes Drive, Newlands, Cape Town
Open in winter: 8h00 to 18h00
Entrance Fees: R40 for adults and R10 for kids (six to 17 years), free for kids under six
Telephone: +27 (0)21 799 8783 or Ticket Office: +27 (0)21 799 8782
Buy tickets online: www.webtickets.co.za