Naomi Larkin teams up with some Cape Town and Jo­han­nes­burg lo­cals to bring you an in­sider’s guide to these dy­namic cities.

Simply You Style - - Contents -

– an in­sider’s guide to the coun­try’s two most vi­brant cities, Cape Town and Jo­han­nes­burg


Cape Town has some of the most beau­ti­ful beaches in the world. Places like Camp’s Bay, Clifton and Llan­dudno draw vis­i­tors from around the globe. The at­ten­tion is well de­served, as is the at­trac­tion of Ta­ble Moun­tain, which dom­i­nates the sky­line with its dis­tinc­tive flat top. Both are high on our list of places to visit in the Mother City but there is much more to do, a lot of which is only just be­ing dis­cov­ered by vis­i­tors who, once en­light­ened, vow to re­turn. Ur­ban re­newal pro­grammes have led to cre­atives set­ting up shop to make and sell their wares, from jew­ellery and bags to ce­ram­ics and fash­ion.

The sub­urb of Wood­stock has been trans­formed and well worth a visit. Places of note are Wood­stock Foundry, where Casa­mento and Vo­gel make beau­ti­ful fur­ni­ture, Wood­stock Ex­change and the Satur­day Neigh­bour­goods Mar­ket at the Old Bis­cuit Mill. Top food spots in­clude the Kitchen and Su­perette, while Test Kitchen and the Pot Luck Club are legendary. You’ll also find key art gal­leries, Steven­son, Whatifthe­world and the Good­man Gallery.

South Africa is renowned for its wine and the Capewinelands is at the heart of the in­dus­try. De­laire Graff Es­tate, Tokara and Vergele­gen are just three on our list, while Baby­lon­storen on one of the oldest Cape Dutch farms is not to be missed. It has been com­pletely made-over into a des­ti­na­tion on its own with mag­nif­i­cent gar­dens, de­signer ac­com­mo­da­tion, a spa, restau­rants, bakery and win­ery.


The Stack ex­em­pli­fies the widely ac­cepted state­ment that ‘Africa is hav­ing its mo­ment right now’ when it comes to dé­cor, art and de­sign. A pri­vate mem­ber’s club and pub­lic brasserie, it is the brain­child of hus­band and wife team Sarah Ord and Nigel Pace, an in­te­rior de­signer and an ex-hote­lier re­spec­tively. The in­te­ri­ors vi­brate with colour and pat­tern as African and Western de­sign col­lide glo­ri­ously. The walls are dec­o­rated with con­tem­po­rary art and the food is mem­o­rable. Chef War­wick King de­liv­ers on the prom­ise of ‘proper food. No smears, no soils, no spumas, froths or stran­gled in­gre­di­ents. The Brasserie is authen­tic, hearty, good and true French.’ thes­


Af­fec­tion­ately known as ‘The Nel­lie’, this pink-painted ho­tel is a Cape Town in­sti­tu­tion. Built in 1899, the ad­di­tion of sur­round­ing build­ings and var­i­ous re­vamps have meant it has grown in size and fab­u­lous­ness to be­come a fives­tar es­tab­lish­ment. Its 198 rooms and suites of­fer views of Sig­nal Hill, Ta­ble Moun­tain, the ho­tel’s glo­ri­ous gar­dens and two swim­ming pools. An award­win­ning spa com­pletes this epit­ome of true lux­ury. The Planet Res­tau­rant is all about fine din­ing and the Planet Bar re­mains one of the most glam­orous meet­ing places in the Mother City. The ho­tel’s lo­ca­tion in the cen­tral Gar­dens sub­urb makes it the per­fect base for tourists and busi­ness trav­ellers. A mar­tini on a sum­mer’s day in the gar­den un­der a flow­er­ing hi­bis­cus tree is one of life’s great­est joys. bel­­son-ho­tel-cape-town/


Tucked away in Cape Town’s leafy sub­urb of Gar­dens, this guest house in a re­vamped Vic­to­rian home is the per­fect bolt­hole. The house’s his­toric ex­te­rior be­lies the stylish con­tem­po­rary in­te­rior. Each of the four en­suite rooms is named af­ter a colour, with that hue then dom­i­nat­ing the dé­cor. The quirky touches in the Yel­low Room, for ex­am­ple, in­clude an em­broi­dered head­board, the Play Play cup­board, bath­room mir­ror, and side ta­bles all pro­duced by South African de­sign­ers. Chances are you’ll want to take a num­ber of the pieces home. Break­fast is avail­able on re­quest. 12Hofmeyr can also be rented for longer stays.; per­fec­thide­


Joburg­ers al­ways talk proudly about the high en­ergy of their city – that it op­er­ates at full-throt­tle. The catch-cry ‘Africa is not for sissies’ most of­ten comes from the mouths of those who live in this mas­sive, sprawl­ing metropolis. Truly a 24-hour city, it’s as won­der­ful as it is chaotic – usu­ally at the same time.

Pre­vi­ously down­trod­den ar­eas such as Braam­fontein and Mabo­neng have been given a new lease on life with stores, mar­kets, bars and restau­rants spring­ing up along­side busi­nesses and stylish loft apart­ments. Join Main­street­walks for a tour of Mabo­neng Precinct which takes in the Kwa Mai Mai Tra­di­tional Heal­ers Mar­ket, Mu­seum of African De­sign (MOAD), Bio­scope In­de­pen­dent Theatre, and Col­lec­tors Trea­sure – the largest sec­ond­hand book­shop in the south­ern hemi­sphere.

Head to the re­vamped Cos­mopoli­tan Ho­tel for lunch in the court­yard. Arts on Main is the lo­ca­tion for the hugely pop­u­lar Sun­day Mar­ket on Main, a mecca for con­tem­po­rary and vin­tage fash­ion, food of ev­ery de­scrip­tion. Nearby Braam­fontein has trendy stores, art gal­leries and bars and is home to Con­sti­tu­tion Hill, which in­cludes the Old Fort and the Con­sti­tu­tional Court.

South Africans love a mall and they can be found criss-

cross­ing the coun­try. The up­mar­ket Hyde Park Cor­ner in­cludes brands such as Burberry, Max Mara, Thomas Pink and Em­po­rio Ar­mani. When you’ve worked up an ap­petite head to Tasha’s le Parc for the ex­cel­lent food and ser­vice. You’ll need to al­lo­cate sev­eral hours to the Mall of Africa for its 300 shops, many of them lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional chain stores. South African art is gar­ner­ing grow­ing at­ten­tion and many gal­leries are worth vis­it­ing. The Keyes Art Mile, which in­cludes the ar­chi­tec­turally beau­ti­ful Circa Gallery, is a must.

Clock­wise from top: Cape Town, Clifton beaches, the Neigh­bour­goods Mar­ket, the Duchess of Wis­beach.

Clock­wise from above: Jo­han­nes­burg at night, View res­tau­rant at the Four Sea­sons; the Mall of Africa.

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