For our birthdays this year, Dan and I went on an adventure to discover South Africa’s hidden treasures, starting with a week in Cape Town. Rather than head for the beach at Camp’s Bay like most people, we decided to ‘live like locals’, turning our attention to the leafy inner-city suburb of City Bowl under the watchful eye of Table Mountain.
Our home? La Grenadine, a rustic bohemian paradise in the most beautifully renovated 19th-century farm building. We push open the gate and emerge in a breezy garden full of fruit trees and cosy corners perfect for morning coffee and cocktail hour sundowners. All for just £70 a night for a double room!
Inside, the decor is light and bright and filled with vintage finds. There’s a big kitchen with the coolest Art Deco bar in the corner, and a lounge-library room with slouchy chairs and shelves full of well-worn dusty books guests are free to read.
Here’s a little look at our room, which has an epic shower, and lovely colourful additions like the flamingo and a cool yellow radio.
Nested, we decide to go on a snooping mission in our new hood, starting with a walk around the pretty residential streets. It’s not long before I start the ‘could we live here?’ conversation, especially when I spot these glorious wonders! Look at the balcony!
We find our way to the main street filled with shops, bars, cafes, restaurants – home to this treasure trove of African textiles called Ashanti Design. This must be where all those cool, artistic Capetonians furnish their leafy whitewashed houses… I wonder, could I sneak a beanbag into hand luggage?
The mid-morning sun beating down, we take a pitstop and grab a late breakfast at this gem of a neighbourhood cafe, The Power And The Glory, serving up strong coffee and hearty platefuls. It also has a little bar out back open late.
Tummies full, we carry on strolling before a chance encounter with a secret garden. It looks like something out of a Sofia Coppola movie and I’m in heaven. Turns out, it’s actually a place called Kloof Street House, , an eclectic dining room set in a magical Victorian house with leafy gardens where you can listen to jazz, cocktail in hand on a summer’s evening, or cosy up for a romantic dinner. For now, I’m going to carry on pretending it’s a movie set.
You can easily eat up an entire day wandering your way through the Garden suburb’s leafy streets, picking out your dream houses, searching for quirky local shops and hidden alleyways, but let’s face it, we are in the city where you can be urban exploring for secrets one minute, hiking and surfing the next. So we decide to end the day with an afternoon hike up Table Mountain to take in the view across this magical city and get a sense of where we are.
We have the path up to Lion’s Head all to ourselves, for the most amazing view across the western beaches.
I hope you’ve enjoyed our little introduction to Cape Town and feel at home. Now, where’s that sundowner?
Next up in our South African adventure: Discovering Cape Town’s Colourful Hidden Suburb.