This is now my third year and my fourth instalment of the Cape Town to-do list. I love it when friends and family comment on the list with feedback on the activities they have done and ideas for new activities which often feature on this lists. I am aware that the list may be too “sporty” and “adventurous” for some but that’s because it’s my own list with my name in the title. It should inspire others with some fresh Cape Town ideas but more importantly motivate you to compose your own lists with what you would like to do. I find that by writing it down and putting it out publicly on a list it motivates me to tick through all of the items. It also helps me find other adventurous souls who want to join me.
1. Scarborough Beach to Witsands (or Crayfish Factory) Swim
This one is a bit of a cheat because I already did the swim on 4 January 2019. But it really was the perfect bucket list swim and so it has to feature. It was an almost 4km swim along the pristine coastline from Scarborough Beach past the Misty Cliffs to the Witsands jetty (also known as the area of the Crayfish factory). The water was fresh but crystal clear and bright blue in colour. The Cape Town sea can be a bit green and murky with poor visibility so it felt like we were swimming in a tropical paradise or even, dare I say, a dream. It also was a complete adventure swim because it was the first time anyone had swum the route and had to be organised around proper conditions and support logistics. There were also a number of people opposed to the swim due to the potential of sharks so being a bit “dangerous” made it all the more appealing to me and it has to feature on my 2019 list. I am so grateful for the False Bay swimming crew for including me on this epic adventure swim.
2. Kirstenbosch Fireflies
I have been to Kirstenbosch so many times during my life. As I child I loved playing in the gardens, climbing the trees, splashing about in the river and rolling down the lawns. I remember eating scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam with my grandparents at the old tea room. As an adult, I’ve attended picnics here for birthdays or for the summer sunset concerts and even New Year’s Eve. And I’ve run up and down the laws at 6am as part of a boot camp and organised an outing there for my MissWrite girls. But I have yet to see the Kirstenbosch fireflies. Apparently, they only appear for 1-3 weeks every year around mid-October and it’s a night time walk through the garden to find them. There is no confirmed date so you have to be on the ready, so I’m going to try to see them this year for the first time and create a new Kirstenbosch memory.
3. Kromriver Trail
Last year I was able to hike the magical Crystal Pools trail with five different pools and waterfalls just past Gordon’s Bay. But the Krom River hiking trail has been on my list for as long. I’ve seen many pictures of this beautiful hike ending in a lush waterfall and I’m very prone to waterfalls. The hiking trail is on the N1 just past the Huguenot tunnel but you need a Cape Nature Reserve permit to access it with a limited number being issued each day. The good news is that my hiking group seems keen to adventure that way so it may well be organised for me.
4. Beau Constantia
The Constantia wine route has grown substantially over the last few years with a number of new exciting vineyards and restaurants popping up. I have been seeing images of Beau Constantia for a while now and even my parents (who no longer actually live in Cape Town) have been. Whether I go to the fancy Chef Warehouse restaurant will depend on whether they cater for a plant-based lifestyle or not. Otherwise I may just have to go there for the wine-tasting only. Oh well!
5. Canopy Tour Elgin
The first and only time I have ziplined was in Chang Mai, Thailand. It was an absolute blast. And despite being bad at “jumping off of things” I found the ziplining easy-peasy except the “superman” one where we had to jump forward with the rope tied to our back and nothing to hold on to. I sat down on the platform at that point and plopped off while holding on to the non-existent straps on my shoulders. But I have heard from a few people about the Canopy Tour in Elgin and it looks like so much fun with spectacular scenery. Plus, it’s en-route to/from Hermanus where I spend a lot of time.
6. Stay at The Guesthouse @ Kopke Classic Cars in Riebeek Kasteel
I have never been to the quaint town of Riebeek Kasteel which is situated about 80km North-East of Cape Town. It features wine farms, olive tasting, museums and cute coffee shops and restaurants. It also is near the famous Goedgedacht farm which is an olive farm founded as a community development trust which has amazing environmental sustainability and community development principles. But the other reason to visit is to stay with relatives, well super distant relatives, who apparently run a guesthouse and own a classic car collection. When I told my parents about it (they had also already been), they commented about how all Kopkes in South Africa came from the same original family from Germany so we must be related. But I also had a guy that I dated once visit and send me pictures. He was most excited about finding the Kopke classic cars but because I was not that excited about him, I sadly did not share his enthusiasm.
7. The duck parade at Vergenoegd Low Wine Estate
I have seen so many images of the duck parade of about 1200 ducks waddling out together in a line towards the vineyards on a wine farm that I have been dying to see this spectacle for myself. Apparently the Vergenoegd Low Wine Farm in Stellenbosch lets the ducks out three times a day on a scheduled basis ready to work the vineyards. And maybe I can fit in some wine tasting before or after the duck extravaganza.
8. Catholic Shrine. Schoenstatt
I had never heard about the existence of this tiny charming Catholic shrine covered in green vines until I found it by doing a google search for “Cape Town hidden gems”. As some-one who has lived in Cape Town all of my life, I have pretty much discovered most of the hidden gems over the years. The chapel is a replica of the same shrine in Schoenstatt in Germany and sits on a beautiful tree-lined estate in Constantia. Apparently, you can ask the Sisters for a visit or you could also stay there as part of a retreat.
9. Sundowners on The Rock at the end of Ocean View Drive, Fresnaye
I am almost at the end of my time staying in Fresnaye and have yet to explore it all properly. It seems apt that I drive to the end of Ocean Drive to what looks like a dead end. I want to find the beautiful flat rock that overlooks Camps Bay and Clifton. It should be a great sunset spot to share sundowners. Who is with me?
10. Torpedo SwimRun from Sandy Bay to Clifton
The Torpedo SwimRun is an event like no other which includes intervals of swimming and running in and out of the coastline between Sandy Bay and Clifton. In total it’s about 12km of running and about 4km of swimming all done while swimming and running in a wetsuit and running shoes. I am not a runner but I’ve gotten such sporting FOMO from this event from friends who have done it that I have to try. It is schedule for November this year and I have already entered with a friend.
P.S. I was definitely going to add the underground tour of the tunnels of Cape Town to my list this year but have discovered that it has been temporarily closed. So, if it opens again it might feature on a future list.