Walking and Eating in Cape Town


walk & eat CAPE TOWN

by Michael and Sue Scott

Area covered: The walks range from easy strolls in Cape Town itself and in Simon’s Town to a rugged climb onto the Lion’s Head for a stunning view. They include the best walks on Table Mountain and a selection of great walks on the Cape Peninsula, from Muizenberg to Cape Point.

The best months for walking in Cape Town and around are spring (September-October) and autumn (March-April).

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Cape Town PostcardsThis pocket-sized full-colour guide book to walking in Cape Town and the Peninsula is designed for walking holidays using public transport. Although all the walks are within the reach of the average rambler, even ‘non-walkers’ will want to stroll in and around the city, so will find the large-scale plans and maps, descriptions of the sights, and suggestions for eating out in Cape Town and surroundings useful. For each suggested restaurant there is a photograph of the décor and one of their dishes, plus sample menu, price guide, opening times, and a recipe for one of their specialities.

Other sections include: planning your trip, logistics on arrival, shopping for self-catering (including health food shops), local markets and specialities, glossary of local food terms, etc. A special feature is the emphasis on natural local foods suitable for those with food intolerances. All recipes have been made by the authors and are known to ‘work’.

Cape Town, a dynamic, modern, cosmopolitan city, is well-blessed for walkers, with Table Mountain and Lion’s Head on its doorstep, and the rugged Cape Peninsula just a short trip away by public transport. With excellent restaurants, glorious weather most of the year, and daily flights from major airports, it makes a perfect holiday destination.This guide contains enough walks, excursions, restaurants and recipes to occupy most of two weeks, so you can chose whichever appeal to you most.

Where to stay

Your choice of where to look for accommodation will be governed by several factors. For instance, if you intend to hire a car you will benefit from a much wider choice. On the other hand if you plan to rely on public transport, you will need to choose a centre offering good access to the walk routes or excursions you plan to do. There is also the factor of what type of accommodation you plan to use, for example whether you plan to stay in a hotel or in a self-catering apartment or villa. The author provides useful advice on the various options in the Where to Stay chapter which will be found in the introductory pages of the book.

Edition/contents etc

12 walks and 2 excursions
144 pages, large-scale plan of Cape Town; area map; large-scale (1:35,000) topo maps for other walks
1st ed, 2007; ISBN 978-1-85691-331-7; UK retail price £7.99 / USA retail price $14.99

Table of contents:

PLAN OF CAPE TOWN inside front cover

the excursions 5
the walks 5
the restaurants 6
the recipes 8
cape food 9
south african wines 9
planning your visit 10
when to go 10
where to stay 11
what to take 12
medical advice 12
getting the most from your visit 14
safety in cape town 14
getting around cape town 16
tourist information 18
planning your walks 20
shopping for self-catering 20
finding out more 22
the authors 22

WALK 1 · cape town highlights 24
restaurant: mama africa (cape town) 34
recipe: bobotie 35

Walk 2 · pipe track 36
restaurant: café paradiso (cape town) 42
recipe: pickled fish 43

Walk 3 · lion’s head 44
restaurant: the restaurant on table mountain (cape town) 50
recipes: butternut squash salad 51

Walk 4 · maclear’s beacon 52
restaurant: marimba (cape town) 58
recipe: spiced ostrich fillet with prune-potato bake 59

Walk 5 · platteklip gorge 60

Walk 6 · skeleton gorge and nursery ravine 66
restaurant: silver tree (kirstenbosch gardens, cape town) 72
recipe: sweet and sour carrots, fruit with red wine sauce 73

EXCURSION 1 · hout bay circuit 74

Walk 7 · table mountain reservoirs 82
restaurant: constantia nek, constantia 88
recipe: braaied chicken sosaties 89

Walk 8 · hout bay to karbonkelberg 90
restaurant: lookout deck, hout bay 96
recipe: tomato bredie 97

EXCURSION 2 · simon’s town by train 98

Walk 9 · mimetes valley 106
restaurant: empire café (muizenberg) 112
recipe: (a)frikkin’ chickin’ 113

Walk 10 · the amphitheatre and echo valley 114
restaurant: olympia café and deli (kalk bay) 120
recipe: braaied (barbecued) fish 121

Walk 11 · simon’s town to boulders beach 122
restaurant: boulder’s beach (simon’s town) 128
recipe: thai seafood and butternut squash 129

Walk 12 · cape point 130
restaurant: two oceans (cape point) 136
recipe: sambals 137

EAT GF, DF 138
eating out 138
gf, df shopping 138
conversion tables 141

map of the cape peninsula inside back cover

Guidebook index

The following is the index of places; the book also contains an index of recipes (which is not shown here). Page numbers shown in bold are where photographs appear; those shown in italics are where maps appear.

‘Amazon Forest’ 116, 119, 119
Amphitheatre 116, 118, 118
Bo-Kaap 32, 32
Boulders Beach 125, 127, 127, 128, 128
Cape Peninsula
map inside back cover
Cape of Good Hope 132-3
Cape Point 130, 131, 133, 134, 135, 136
Cape Town 14-19, 24-33
plan inside front cover
Castle of Good Hope ifc, 24, 25, 26
City Hall ifc, 27, 28
Constantia 9, 77, 84, 86, 88
Company Gardens ifc, 29, 30, 70

District 6 Museum ifc, 26, 27
Echo Valley 114, 115, 116
Fish Hoek 11, 104

Gardens District 11, 21, 139
Greenmarket ifc, Square 15, 29

Hout Bay 11, 74, 77, 78, 80, 91, 93, 94, 96

Imizamo Yethu Township 78
Kalk Bay 104, 105, 114, 116, 120
Karbonkelberg 90, 91, 92
Kirstenbosch Gardens 69, 71, 77
Kloof Nek 37, 38, 45, 46

Lion’s Head 10, 40, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 52, 90

Maclear’s Beacon 52, 55
Mimetes Valley 106, 108, 109, 116
Muizenberg 98, 103, 107, 108, 112
Cave 108, 110, 116

Nellie’s Pool 106, 108, 110, 116
Nursery Ravine front cover, 66, 69, 71
Pipe Track 36, 37, 38, 39, 40
Platteklip Gorge 60, 60, 62, 64
St James 98, 100, 102, 104
Sentinel, The 80, 93, 94
Signal Hill 46
Simon’s Town 11, 98, 100, 122, 123, 124-5, 125
Skeleton Gorge 66, 68, 69
Slangolie Ravine 38, 41
Spes Bona Valley 116, 117, 117
Table Mountain 4, 10, 14, 17, 50, 53, 54-5, 56, 60, 90
reservoirs 82, 83, 84, 85, 87
Twelve Apostles 36, 38, 49, 54

V&A Waterfront ifc, 76, 81

World of Birds 77

Current update

1st edition (2007); updated November 2011

Updates given below supplement the information provided in the guidebook. It is vital that this Update is read in conjunction with the text of the book, but note that the Update applies only to the edition stated and not to any earlier editions. (If you have an older edition of this book you can “upgrade” to the latest edition at half price.)

Information has been forwarded to us by users of the book, and Sunflower Books offers the data in good faith but cannot be held responsible for any misleading or inaccurate content in the Update. Unless indicated otherwise, what appears here has not been verified by the author or publisher, so please allow due caution when new or amended routes are suggested. Each piece of information is dated; bear in mind that some of the older observations may have since been overtaken by events or further changes. If, during your holiday, you are using the current edition of the guide and are able to provide any additional updating to add to this page, we will be pleased to hear from you. Please send information, preferably by e-mail, to info@sunflowerbooks.co.uk.

Please relay our appreciation and thanks to Michael & Sue Scott for their brilliant Cape Town Walk and Eat. Originally attracted to the ‘eat’ bit, my wife and I have returned from SA having done 6 out of the 12 walks (and several others). Excellent size for the pocket, good maps and instructions. The only problem was that for one reason or another we didn’t eat at any of the restaurants, only managing a beer or two. Thank you for giving our holiday an additional facet (ie walking) to all the wonderful other things the Cape had to offer. (Users, 2/09)

We returned to Cape Town in November 2011, and took the opportunity to check information in the book. We did not have time to revisit the walks, but to date no problems have been reported on any of them. If you find that any of the walk information, or any other information in the book, is out-of-date, please let us know on mail@sunflowerbooks.co.uk. (The authors, 11/11)

Safety in Cape Town (page 14)
Since the book was written, frustration has grown in Cape Town about the disparity between wealth and poverty, and this has led to some increase in crime. Our general advice still holds, about avoiding some of the poorer areas of the city, and only walking the Contour Path around Table Mountain in groups. However it was still the case on this visit that we never once felt threatened in any of the places we visited, but remember that theft is the major crime, so don’t display cameras, binoculars etc too prominently if you are ‘off the beaten track’.

Airport shuttle
There is now an excellent MyCiti bus service between the airport and the Civic Centre in Hertzog Boulevard (central Cape Town). It runs every 20 minutes during the day from 0510hrs to 2000hrs from the airport, costs R57, and takes between 20 and 55 minutes, depending on traffic on the notoriously busy route. For further information check http://www.capetown.gov.za/en/MyCiti/Pages/AirportShuttleCivicCentreAirportAirportCivicCentre.aspx .

Getting around Cape Town (page 16)
The ‘blue route’ City Sightseeing buses have been a huge success, as we predicted. The buses are now double-decker like ‘red route’ buses, so check whether the front of the bus says ‘Red City Tour’ or ‘Blue Mini Peninsula Tour’. A one-day ticket costs R140, and it is worth considering the ‘Go Cape Town Card’ at R410 which includes one admission to the Two Oceans Aquarium and one trip on the Table Mountain Cableway, with ‘fast access’ which is very worthwhile it to avoid the long queue.

Excursion 1: Hout Bay Circuit (page 74)
See note above re the ‘Blue’ City Sightseeing Bus. The bus is now double-decker and now leaves every 25 minutes during the day. You can add a wine tour from the Constantia Nek stop (free but with a fee for entrance and tastings at the Groot Constantia wine estate).

Maclears Beacon Walk (page 52)
The cable car onto Table Mountain now costs R100 single or R195 return if you buy your tickets at the lower station (but R92 or R175 if you buy tickets online before you go). There are discounts for children under 18 and students.

We believe all the restaurants in the book remain open, although we cannot speak for the quality of Café Paradiso (page 42) which has changed hands since we visited it for the book. The Restaurant on Table Mountain (page 50) is now more of a café, offering self-service meals and snacks (self-service buffets and salads are charged per 100g), as well as tasty pastries, a good selection of wines and speciality coffees and teas. Finding your way around is challenging, but the view from the outdoor terrace is outstanding, and it’s great to see the Café trying to be as green as possible in such a sensitive location. Marimba (page 58) is still highly recommended by locals we spoke to. The Lookout Deck at Hout Bay (page 96) has expanded its menu to include a Sushi Bar, and its breakfasts and platters are delicious. Breakfast or lunch on the deck at Boulders Beach Restaurant (page 128) is still an amazing experience, and the main meal menu from noon to 8.30pm continues to offer delicious variety, although the restaurant may close early on Sundays. It’s also remains a great place to stay with comfortable rooms and the serenades of braying of African Penguins from the nearby colony! Finally, we reckon that the food at the Two Oceans Restaurant (page 136) was even better on our recent visit (try the delicious char-grilled kudu!), but do try to sit on the front deck rather than the rather charmless interior of the restaurant.

Remember, if any information in the book is out-of-date, we’d be very grateful for any advice you can offer at mail@sunflowerbooks.co.uk. Enjoy Cape Town: it remains a wonderful, vibrant city blessed by amazing countryside nearby. Michael and Sue Scott; November 2011