weekend away - Cape Town
Written by Oryx
Cape Town has recently been on the receiving end of a string of travel accolades proclaiming it one of the world’s top cities to visit. The ‘Mother City’ is renowned for its natural beauty, outdoor pursuits, fine dining, and cultural attractions, but many don’t realise that wildlife-watching possibilities also abound on the continent’s southwestern tip.
Perhaps most famous is the colony of African penguins that inhabit the beaches of Simon’s Town, 45km south of the city centre. The diminutive birds congregate en masse at Foxy Beach, but it is at Boulders Beach that you can brave the icy waters alongside paddling penguins. For a less-visited penguin encounter, head to Betty’s Bay, some 90km east in the Overberg region.
This area is also known for whale-watching, and from June to December enthusiasts flock to Hermanus to spot southern right and humpback whales from the pretty town’s cliff path.
Back in Cape Town, fierce-looking baboons are often sighted around the Cape Peninsula – keep an eye on your lunch if you’re picnicking in the area. And atop Table Mountain, cute, fluffy dassies (rock hyraxes) entertain visitors hiking the network of paths.
If it’s big game you seek, there are private reserves within a two-hour drive of the city. Both Aquila and Fairy Glen boast the Big Five (lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo, and leopard), though not all animals are free-roaming. For a wilder experience, head to the West Coast National Park, 90km north of Cape Town. Here you can spot antelope, zebra, ostrich, and plenty of smaller mammals against an ocean backdrop, plus indulge in some superb bird-watching.
Cape Town, South Africa
Cool Cape Town
Cape Town has been designated the 2014 World Design Capital, and art is definitely in the air. Witness urban regeneration in the Woodstock district: a formerly run-down, industrial part of town that is now awash with artisanal eateries, boutique stores, small galleries, and weekend food markets.