DÉCOR ROUTE (starting from  AN AFRICAN VILLA)For the style-minded, here’s walking tour to give you African inspiration! Walk down Kloof Street until you reach Wale, here turn right and then left into Burg St.where you will see (on the corner of Church and Burg)….

AFRICAN IMAGE (cnr. Burg and Church) – www.african-image.co.za   A riot of colour and funky creativity for the voguish. Further on along Burg St. You will reach the ever popular….

GREENMARKET SQUARE (cnr. Burg and Shortmarket) The most well-known street market where bargain is the thing. Walk up to Long Street to find more of the same goods at……

THE PAN AFRICAN MARKET (27 Long – www.panafrican.co.za More of the same but inside a building with several floors – cheap (often flawed) curios. As you exit the P.A. Market look to your left to find….

TRIBAL TRENDS (27 Long – 021423 8008) Very stylish use of Africa in décor here, making the art accessible to the Eurocentric eye. One of my favourite shops.  If you walk back up Long Street you will find Church Street which has many street vendors selling their wares – not necessarily African but interesting none the less. Then continue up this road  towards Signal Hill until you reach Bree Street – take a detour here – turning right along Bree past Christian Barnard Hospital  to the corner of Longmarket to find….

AVOOVA INTERIORS (97 Bree Street)www.avoova.com/

This is extremely sophisticated decor ware made of shattered ostrich egg splinters embossed onto objects. I like!

Now you will need to cross Bree and cut back to Church street and the hed further up Church. Cross Buitengracht Street which is very busy – take care here! Having made it across the road, continue up  to the corner of Church and Rose Streets…..

THE HAAS COLLECTIVE (Corner Church and Rose)www.haascollective.com/ A wonderful space – much more ‘relaxed’ in style from your previous visit! You could stop for a coffee here and then wander around to learn from how the owners creative minds have though laterally to create interesting objects from ordinary things. Then continue down Rose Street until you see….

MONKEY BIZ(43 Rose) -www.monkeybiz.co.za Which specializes in beaded objects made of wire. (Actially, my favoured source of such goods is just around the corner (see ‘Street Wires’ below). But before leaving Monkey Biz, ask to be given access  through their back entrance and  up some stairs to  Carrol Boyes’ warehouse (www.carrolboyes.com/ ) where you will find pewter work for the home. Come down the grander stairs of Carrol Boyes’ shop and out of the front entrance and turn immediately Right into Shortmarket Street to find….

STREET WIRES(on Shortmarket)www.streetwires.co.za This is a non-profit organisation which has some amazing beaded objects. Continue down Shortmarket Street and turn left into Buitengracht. Carefully cross this busy road and walk down the further side where you will reach Heritage Square which although not a decor mecca, has some excellent restaurants which you may wish to return to (The Africa Cafe www.africacafe.co.za//The Savoy Cabbage www.savoycabbage.co.za/ and Bizerca www.bizerca.com/).

Walk on down the main road and cross  Strand (see the Gold Museum on your right) until you reach a pedestrian bridge (our ‘Fan Walk’ during the wonderful World Cup Soccer season). You can cross beneath the bridge if you wait for the lights and you will be in Waterkant Street heading towards the fun area called the De Waterkant Precinct (arty and alternative – actually ‘the gay area’). Look out for ….

AFRICA NOVA(74 Waterkant) – www.africanova.co.za Filled with contemporary local African art objects. Much inspiration here! After this you will definitely need lunch and our all time favourite for it is… LE PETIT TARTE

    Don’t miss  this delicious little oasis in Dixon Street. Many home made pies and quiches and especially the cakes!

After your lunch, cross over to the new Cape Quarter Pizza to visit an couple of galleries. Ask them to call a taxi for you because by now you will be exhausted!

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NEW YEARS EVE IN CAPE TOWN

NEW YEARS EVE 2012 IN CAPE TOWN
BE WARNED: everything needs to be booked in advance!

A) ON TOP OF TABLE MOUNTAIN (weather permitting)
Much of what happens in Cape Town is wind dependent so you may need to be flexible. For example, The Table Mountain Aerial Cableway has extended hours on 31 December – the last car up will be at 23h00 and the last car down at 01h00 next year! You can book a picnic basket on www.webtickets.co.za or bring your own food and bubbly. The half price special deal that they are offering for sunset rides from 18h00 at R97.50 and you cannot book the ticket online so need to queue. Of course if the wind is up that night you will not be able to complete the adventure! Also, transport BACK to the villa could be a problem – you would be advised to have a mobile phone to call a cab and help identify yourself to him amongst all the other revellers.

B) PARTY ON LONG STREET
Some guests are happy to eat a light meal locally (just as on any other night) and then walk down Long Street (which is usually filled with street party fun) or make their way to the V&A Waterfront where there is a fireworks display at midnight. Be warned though, the V&A becomes a huge traffic jam so getting home is always an issue. We generally advise guests to walk to the Cape Quarter and arrange for a cab to collect them at an appointed time somewhere there – again best to have a mobile phone to help identify yourself to him.

C) THE ‘HUGH M’ CONCERT AT KIRSTENBOSCH THEN DINNER IN TOWN
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens have the Jazz giant of SA, Hugh Massekela and another band called Hot Water are playing. Starts at 17h30 and you need to be there an hour before the time – you can take along something to drink – picnic style. This will sell out FAST and you need to book via www.webtickets.co.za well in advance (R270pp). The concert ends at 19h00 so you would have time to get to a restaurant afterwards – I suggest SOCIETI (close to home) where they have a late sitting at 20h30 which we could book for you. (N.B. If you don’t drive, you’d need to arrange for a cab to collect you at the Kirstenbosch entrance – get the same cabby to collect you where he drops you off – have a mobile phone with you to identify yourself.)

D) DINNER AT THE V&A AND FIREWORKS.
Several restaurants will serve a late supper and you can then linger until the fireworks display at midnight. See our warning about getting home – the V&A can be very crushed and you may need to walk out to the Cape Quarter to be able to call a cab – have a mobile phone with you. Some restaurant suggestions:
BAIA (R1650 pp payable in full on reservation) substantial menu and music/dancing – Double click on icon to view menu
*HILDEBRANDS (R1400 5 courses plus dancing) http://www.hildebrand.co.za/ Double click on icon to view menu

*SEVRUGA R1650pp – 5 course menu – on the water front – watch fireworks* Double click on icon to view menu
E) BREAKWATER ROOF PARTY
V&A Waterfront Welcome to the New Year and the promise it brings. At least 3 major parties will be hosted at various locations across the V&A featuring numerous bands, DJs and live music acts. Join us as we bid farewell to 2012 and set the skies alight with a magical fireworks display at midnight. Pete Tong will head the bill at the official 5FM party on the Breakwater Roof. You can watch the fireworks from here as well. Maybe have dinner before and hit the dance floor later in the evening?

F) DINNER AND ENTERTAINMENT AT GOLD RESTAURANT
This African-style evening promises to be good value at R1100 + 10% service fee. An extensive and interesting menu with some beverages included and lots of African entertainment. As this is likely to be booked out fast we have reserved a few tables for the Villa on a first-come-first-served basis. Please contact us if interested. We can send you more details. Need a 50% deposit to confirm.

G) DINNER AND DANCING AT THE RADISSON
This hotel has an excellent setting for watching the fireworks. They also offer a 5 -course buffet style dinner which should be sumptuous. See: New Year’s Eve at The Radisson Blu Waterfront Cape Town (31 December 2012) Cost R1795p/p.

H) A MASKED BALL
This sounds intriguing: see: New Year’s Eve Masked Ball at Five Flies Restaurant and Bar (31 December 2012) Keerom Street is just of Long Street and walkable from the Villa. Tickets: Tickets for this lavish affair cost R600p/p and includes a four-course meal and a glass of bubbly. N.B. a deposit is needed to secure the booking. www.fiveflies.co.za/
I) A GRAND AFFAIR AT THE MOUNT NELSON
‘The Nelly’ or ‘The Pink Lady’ is our affectionate name for our grand old MOUNT NELSON HOTEL. It is an easy walk from the Villa which makes it a good choice if you intend to enjoy some bubbly! See: New Years Eve at the Mount Nelson (31 December 2012) . To book your spot (formal attire at The Planet Bar R1950pp) or semi-formal at The Oasis R850pp, contact the Mount Nelson at +27 (0) 21 483 1948 or email restaurantreservations@mountnelson.co.za.

J) DINNER AND A SHOW
The Theatre on the Bay has a one-man-show performed by Alan Committie . See: http://www.theatreonthebay.co.za/show/bigger-better-faster/ The small restaurant is offering a special New Year’s 5 course meal at R580pp which includes the show. It’s ‘comfortable food’. A plus is that Camps Bay waterfront will party well into the night so you can wander along the seafront and join in everyone else’s fun! Have mobile phone to call a cab to get back home!

K) PIGALLE ‘DINNER/DANCE’
A typical dinner/dance venue with better than average food. 6-piece band. Dance floor. R1300 per person – to be settled in full to reserve. A little conservative?

L) THE SAVOY CABBAGE
Fine dining in a sophisticated environment. R995pp – 6 course meal (Plus 10% service fee). Recommended if you want to have a quiet and civilised evening. Double click on icon to view menu

M) SOCIETI BISTRO: a la carte menu. Two sittings 18h00 and 20h30.

N) *THE GRAND and BEACH PARTY (Granger Bay – near V&A Waterfront.
This promises to be THE party to be seen at. It’s a quaint and VERY trendy little restaurant which is right on the beach. We have sent an email requesting more information, but nothing forthcoming yet but it is probably sold out

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CHRISTMAS IN CAPE TOWN

CHRISTMAS IN CAPE TOWN Most people have a family dinner on 24 December and then on the morning of the 25th, gifts are given around a very European Christmas tree. The 25th is spent eating leftovers with friends by a pool or on a beach. Nothing special happens on the night of the 25th and the 26th is a public holiday called ‘Boxing Day’. Generally guests at the Villa like to have a special dinner at a restaurant on 24 December and there are several excellent restaurants which make an effort to offer a slightly more memorable meal than their usual fare. Of course this costs extra!

On the 25th many restaurant s are closed so the choice of where to eat is restricted.

DINNER 24 DECEMBER 2012
*THE SAVOY CABBAGE: offers a menu of several courses from which diners can choose between 2 to 5. We can send you a copy but is above average in quality. Price ranges from R250 to R395 depending on the number of courses chosen. www.savoycabbage.co.za/ (5 minutes taxi ride). double click the icon to open!
*BAIA mainly seafood – at the Waterfront great views. A la carte menu (7 min taxi ride) www.baiarestaurant.co.za/
*HILDEBRANDS: A la carte menu as per usual – nice harbour atmosphere – traditional fare. (7 min taxi ride) http://www.hildebrand.co.za/
*BIZERCA: Christmas Eve R550 set menu (we have reserved 2 tables for the Villa) – high class food. (4 min taxi ride)
*THE GRAND CAFÉ: Open 24th (we have reserved a table for 4 for the Villa) Closed 25th. (10-12 min taxi ride)
*SOCIETI: Open 24th A la Carte menu with special. 25th also open. (10 min walk from the villa) Christmas Day (25th) is a very quiet day in the city.

* Many (too many?) will go to the beach or escape the city – the easy to access beaches wil be unpleasantly busy. If possible head up the west coast to, say, Yyzerfontain – miles of untamed beach or, closer to home. Blouberg Strand with it’s classic picture book view of Table Mountain.
*Why not hop on the ‘BLUE BUS’ and spend the day being driven to some lovely spots around the mountain – The Botanical Gardens/Some local and ‘historic’ wine farms/an atmospheric small harbour lunch/drinks by the sea?
*You may want to drive out to the Winelands and have a picnic on one of the wine farms – contact us to find out what is open on Christmas Day.

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Driving Around the Peninsula

2. DRIVING AROUND THE CAPE PENINSULA (Full day trip – start 09h00 back at 17h50)

  


In the summer you can have dip in the sea so pack a bathing costume/ a beach towel/and hat and a tube of strong sunscreen :-)

Set off along the M3 taking care to stay in the Right Hand Lane when you reach the intersection with the N2 at Hospital Bend (otherwise you will end up heading for the airport!) Look out for Muizenburg signs (pass University of Cape Town campus on the right and then a turnoff to Rhodes Memorial – a very pleasant diversion adding 30 minutes to your trip.) At the next traffic light (Rhodes Ave.) you need to make the decision whether or not to turn right and spend an hour or so wandering about Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens (www.sanbi.org/kirstenbosch) or take another half day trip to do this amazing garden justice). If you do go to the gardens then simply return to this intersection (Paradise Rd) and turn right towards Muizenburg again.

Keep following the ‘Blue Route’ as it is called until you reach a T-Junction with Steenberg Rd where you should turn Left at the light and at the next T-Junction (Main Rd/ M4) turn Right. Look out for a right hand intersection about 500m on from the turnoff and follow the road to Boyes’ Drive (lovely elevated views of False Bay where whiles are often visible between July and November. At the end of this drive you reach another T-Junction where you should stop and park (there is a small parking area but you can park on Boyes’ Drive near the traffic light as well.)

This is the fishing village of Kalk Bay with its picturesque working harbour and many Dickensian second hand book shops, bric-a-brac emporia and a lovely restaurant called The Olympia Café which we highly recommend (if only for a visit to their loo!) Please do not miss a stroll along the pavement here and also a little further to St James where the multi-coloured Victorian changing booths are always seen on postcards.
   

If stopping off for an early lunch at The Olympia Café then relax here for a moment. You will need to get into a patient mindset for the next leg of your trip because there has been annoying road-works underway for a year now (though we are promised that it will stop over the Festive Season.)

But at the end of the frustrations of having to wait for oncoming traffic you can look forward to a dip in the ocean if you feel that way inclined because Fish Hoek Beach is a gloriously relaxed and safe beach (there have been isolated shark attacks here in the past but they have now installed nets and if you stay between the beacons there promises to be no problem.)

Once through Fish Hoek, continue on the M4 through Glen Cairn and Simon’s Town which is worth a short stop, on your way to Boulders famous in these parts for its penguin colony (there is a small entrance fee to be paid here – Adults R35 Children R10).                                                              Then onwards to the Cape Point Nature Reserve (www.capepoint.co.za/06h00-18h00 in summer) where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet. The Two Oceans Restaurant is a possible lunch stop. There is a short side trip to find the Cape of Good Hope (where there is a sign to prove that you have arrived there).

Be warned to lock your car and to leave windows shut. Baboons and known to open car doors and climb in to rifle your stuff looking for food – very messy!

On leaving the National Park, turn left on the M65 and head towards Scarborough a favoured surfing beach. Pass through the little town of Kommetjie (‘little bowl’) and on to a largish intersection where you must turn Left towards on Kaapseweg/ Noordhoek (M6). Follow signs to Chapman’s Peak Drive (there is a lovely ‘Farm Village’ with excellent restaurants just on the right before entering ‘C  happies’. Once you are on Chapman’s Peak Drive you will find yourself winding along an amazing road, cut into the side of the mountains with precipitous drops into the ocean on your left. This is a glorious drive at sunset in the summer! In Winter there can be rock falls and the road is sometimes closed – need to check ahead of time. There is a small toll to pay on leaving the Drive (R33.00 can be paid by credit card).
  
You will now be driving through the village of Hout Bay. The first hotel (known by locals as ‘Chappies’ on your left on leaving Chapman’s Peak Drive is a popular watering hole for locals where the calamari and Portuguese steak cubes are renowned. Take time out for an early dinner or a drink if you can. The view is brilliant! The Harbour i Houtbay is worth a second visit because there is a fun market there and the Marriners’ Warf centre is popular for lunches as well.

   

Then, make your way back following signs to Cape Town or Camps Bay. You will lass above Llundudno – a gorgeous beach to which you should return for an afternoon – this is also the start of the well-known nudist beach ‘Sandy Bay’. After a breathtaking drive along the coast you will reach trendy Camps Bay. My own feelnig is that you should turn right onto the M62 (Houghton Rd) towards the city BEFORE reaching the beach area in the summer because this can be VERY congested. Rather take this route and 
 head up Camps Bay Drive towards the city (you can always return to the bustling beach area on another day or have dinner at The Grand Café   one evening to watch the sun go down.
 

After a winding but beautiful drive, you will end up at the intersection with Table Mountain Rd which leads (at a roundabout) to the cable car. Drive straight through the traffic circle and on down Kloof Nek Rd. At the bottom of this road is a traffic light (intersection with Burnside). Drive across the light and take the second road left into Carstens Street where the Villa is at #19. WELCOME HOME.

Did you ask us to reserve a a table for you for dinner?

 

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Table Mountain

Table Mountain Aerial Cableway : the easiest and safest way up the mountain is to buy a ticket and use the cableway. We advise our guests to buy a ticket online (it’s valid for two weeks and there is no set time for you to travel – also you save some money R205 per adult at the ticket office and R185 online). Go to this website to book: http://www.webtickets.co.za/event.aspx?itemid=681080 )

 1. PLATTEKLIP GORGE HIKE (around 2 hours)

Hiking on Table Mountain is a great summer experience for those with a little walking experience. There are many routes but only one which is recommended for newcomers to the mountain: Platteklip Gorge (literally ‘flat stone’ gorge). It is anything by ‘flat’ however. It starts about a kilometre from the cableway along Tafelberg Road which is around 300m above sea level so you start about one third of the way from the bottom of the mountain.

The African Villa staff will gladly advise you and give you a map, also help you book a Cableway ticket online – these are valid for 2 weeks from date of purchase and can be refunded in this period, if unused. 

We recommend that our guests start early in the day (to avoid the sun) or in the mid-afternoon. Take a cab to the start or park halfway between the lower cable-way station and the start of the gorge – this means that there is less of a walk back to your car after a decent by cable car. Hike up takes about an hour and a half and the only slightly confusing spot is once you reach ‘The Contour Path’ after about 20 minutes of light uphill walking, you need to take a left turn for about 100m meters  along the contour path itself before the bath up Platteklip proper begins. From here on the path is clear and really amounts to a winding stone staircase to the top. Take time to stop and look back at the vista unfolding below you as the city gradually reveals itself.

 

A few cautionary tips: only walk in perfect weather; don’t climb alone, if you injure yourself you could be in big trouble; Take a mobile phone (African Villa can lend you one); let someone know where you are going; take warm clothing, even in summer (because the wind may come up and the temperatures could drop unexpectedly); take plenty of water – there is NO water once you leave the contour path; take along a sandwich and some fruit to enjoy as a picnic halfway up.

You can buy a one-way ticket online  or at the cableway station at the top of the mountain for R100 (its R185 return if you decide not to hike). Enjoy our iconic mountain – now voted one of the modern seven wonders of the world!

There are also guides who will escort you on this and several other routes. Ask the African Villa staff to put you in touch with a reputable person.

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OUR BLOG

Here are the latest updates on our pages:

To foreign shores?  The Department of International Relations and Cooperation has a useful page of “Advice for South African Citizens Travelling Abroad” at http://www.dfa.gov.za/consular/travel_advice.htm with topics such as -
“What happens if your passport is stolen/lost while abroad?”
“Registration of South Africans Abroad” (with a link to the ROSA online registration page)
“Driving abroad”
“Yellow Fever Requirements” (essential reading this – mess it up and you could be refused
e-entry!)
“The best travel tips”
And much more……

Guest Files: A visit from an Irish actress and her hubby!

Style: Louis talks about ostrich eggs in answer to a guest’s plea (watch this space for my favourite African Decor shops in a new ‘Decor Walk’ which I am drawing up!)
Villa Diary: Take a look at our local heroes! My Mom’s fabulous Milk Tart Recipe!
Activities: New! A DRIVE AROUND THE CAPE PENINSULA (also CLIMBING PLATTEKLIP GORGE – A SAFE ROUT UP T.M.)
Entertainment: This month in the galleries, concerts and theatres of Cape Town – The Annual World Aids Day Gala Concert at the ARTSCAPE.
Restaurants: A list of our nearest and dearest restaurants with a short description and walking distance form the Villa – XMAS CHOICES to follow – PLEASE REMEMBER TO BOOK YOUR RESTAURANTS DURING THE DEC-FEB TOURIST SEASON!

Louis is passionate about the latest in décor, style and design trends (STYLE) and, as Cape Town was recently named the World Design Capital 2014 , he will be keeping Villa visitors informed on that front.

Keith is our SPORT fanatic and will be giving his suggestions and opinions in a separate page. Cindy is our ‘homebody’ and she will write about interesting stuff happening in and around the hotel and our area  (VILLA DIARY).

Then I thought we should share some of the fun stories (and often uplifting ones as well) sent to us in a GUEST DIARY.

So the tabs at the top of the blog are:
* HOME
*
ENTERTAINMENT
*
SPORT
*
ACTIVITIES
*VILLA DIARY
*STYLE
*RESTAURANTS
*GUEST DIARY

We look forward to meeting you at AN AFRICAN VILLA – oh, by the way, frequent visitors at the Villa are Brandi (a golden retriever) and Taylor and Monty (two daschunds).  

      

 

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