Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

January 24, 2022

The country's oldest vineyards are in the Constantia Valley, a 10-minute drive from downtown.

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Bend it in Cape Town

The FIFA World Cup host city shines with hip street life, dazzling sea views and vineyards just around the bend

All eyes will be on South Africa next June as the host of the World Cup of soccer, and beautiful Cape Town, where the Atlantic and Indian oceans join, is an ideal meeting place.

Cape Town is South Africa’s premier vacation destination because of its ocean-side climate and scenery, its proximity to the country’s major wine region, and its relative safety when compared with similar-sized Johannesburg and Pretoria. It also offers a good deal for visitors because its cosmopolitan amenities — hip restaurants and shops, boutique hotels and great excursions — are very affordable.


9am Heavenly breakfast

Manna Epicure (151 Kloof Street; tel: 011-27-21-426-2413) in The Gardens neighbourhood is wonderful for breakfasts and brunches. The decor is white, bright and modern. All bread is made on the premises. Their rye bread is excellent, and cakes delicious, especially the cupcakes. The toilet décor is interesting as well. Open from 9am to 6pm; closed Mondays.

10am Table top

A quick way to learn the layout of the city and the Cape peninsula is to jump aboard a cable car to the top of Table Mountain (Lower Cable Station, Tafelberg Road; tel: 011-27-21-424-8181; where you can go on several walks varying in distance, views and destination, including a day-long trek across the mountain top, and descend to the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden (Rhodes Drive, Newlands; tel: 011-27-21-799-8899;

Two cars operate from a station at Tafelberg Road at the mountain’s western end served from the city core by the City Sightseeing Bus (, or a taxi that costs about $9 one way.

The 10-minute ride features a rotating floor offering a 360-degree view of Cape Town. The more adventurous can hike up the mountain instead. Book a guide at the Visitor Information Centre at the Lower Cableway Station. First car goes up at 8am; last car up at 6pm; last car down at 7pm. Tickets are $21 for adults, $11 for children under 18, and children under four enter free.

Once on top at 1085 metres, visitors can see as far as Robben Island, where you should spend the afternoon.

11:30am Bloom county

The flower seller stalls have stood for more than 100 years in the heart of old Cape Town on Adderly Street, adding colour, humour and continuity to an area that is undergoing regeneration. Admire the local proteas, South Africa’s national flower, and some of the country’s 9000 “fynbos” or fine bush species. The vibrant colours and cheeky service will brighten your day.

Take a walking tour (about an hour and a half) of this evolving city area, where some early 20th-century architecture remains and several Art Deco buildings have been restored. Contact the local Tourist Information Centre (corner of Burg and Castle Streets; tel: 011-27-21-487-6800;

Also check the jugglers, street food (lunch?) and curios of the flea market in nearby Greenmarket Square between Long Market and Short Market streets. It runs daily from 9am to 4pm.

1pm Getting chic-y

You may want to grab a nap before heading out again. The central Urban Chic Hotel (172 Long Street; tel: 011-27-21-426-6119; is a great place to stay. It offers king-sized beds and goose-down pillows and is elegantly decorated with Spanish marble, warm textured carpets, African mahogany and contemporary artwork. Rooms have views of the city, Table Mountain, Lion’s Head or Signal Hill. Rates start at $140.

Grab a bite at Limoncellos (8 Breda Street; tel: 011-27-21-461-5100; a wonderful Italian restaurant in The Gardens neighbourhood. Small and cozy with a pizza oven, it serves wholesome Italian food and the free warm bread is delicious. It is open Monday to Friday for lunch and daily for dinner. Meals average $17.

3pm Mandela’s legacy

A nine-kilometre boat ride off Cape Town takes you to the island most famous for holding Nelson Mandela prisoner for 18 of his 27 years behind bars. Tours are conducted by former political prisoners, who can relate the horrors of hard labour at the maximum security facility and its nearby lime quarry. A highlight is Mandela’s small cell, which has been left in its original harsh condition.

Ferries leave from the Nelson Mandela Gateway at the V&A Waterfront (tel: 011-27-21-408-7600; at 9am, 11am, 1pm and 3pm. Tickets cost $25 for adults and $12 for children under 18. Each tour takes about three and a half hours.

8pm Dinner by the bay

Travel 20 minutes to Kitima (140 Main Road; tel: 011-27-21-790-8004; in Hout Bay, a Thai restaurant with Thai chefs. The place is so hot you may have to book weeks in advance (use their website). But the service is excellent, the food tasty and the decor is amazing. Serves a fantastic Sunday buffet. Prices range from $21 to $42.


9am Heart transplant

A doctor’s visit to Cape Town would not be complete without visiting the site of the first human heart transplant. Journey back to December 3, 1967, when Cape Town’s Groote Schuur Hospital was the centre of a medical marvel.

The Heart of Cape Town Museum (tel: 011-27-21-404-1967; at the hospital commemorates Dr Chris Barnard’s team in the two operating theatres where the heart of accident victim Denise Darnall was transplanted to beat in the chest of Louis Washansky.

Tickets are $25 plus 14 percent VAT and the museum offers a $7 shuttle bus service to the city’s hotels. Shows begin at 9am, 11am, 1pm and 3pm.

11:30am Colourful culture

Take a stroll through brightly coloured Bo-Kaap, the heart of Cape Town’s Muslim area, at the foot of Signal Hill. Georgian houses painted orange, yellow, red and blue (not all on one building!) mark the neighbourhood of narrow cobbled streets where descendants of slaves transported by the Dutch from Malaysia make their home.

The history of this Cape Malay Quarter can be discovered at the Bo-Kaap Museum (tel: 011-27-21-481-3939; Nearby you’ll find the Anwul, South Africa’s oldest official mosque dating from 1797.

After soothing your soul, feed your senses again by eating a spicey Cape Malay meal from a centuries-old recipe at Biesmillah (2 Upper Wales Street; tel: 011-27-21-423-0850) or at the Noon Gun (273 Longmarket Street; tel: 011-27-21-424-0529;, a tea room and restaurant. Both are cheap and have great views.

Then wander a few streets further into Cape Town’s hot fashion area, De Waterkant, with its trendy Soho feel. French-style Café Max (126 Waterkant Street; tel: 011-27-21-425-5102; has a lovely patio and a new bakery serves freshly baked croissants. The lemon tart is to die for; the chicken liver tartine — excellent. Open 8:30am to 5am, and from 9:30am to 3am on Saturday and Sunday; closed Mondays.

3pm Monkey see

Check out your long lost ancestors with a two- or three-hour guided walk among baboons in Cape Town’s South Peninsula mountains with Baboon Matters (tel: 011-27-21-785-7493; Walks are available year-round. The cost is $39 for adults and $19 for kids under 16. Groups are limited from two to six people.

5:30pm Beach bites

Head to the place to see and be seen. And that means Camp’s Bay, the rock star and film diva destination of choice for a Cape Town beach, located under the Twelve Apostles formations of Table Mountain.

Catch the sun’s last rays with a sundowner at one of the trendy places along Victoria Road, or come earlier to enjoy the wide family friendly beach of white sand flanked by palm trees and creased with volleyball nets.

Stay for dinner at Tides Restaurant (69 Victoria Road, Camps Bay; tel: 011-27-21-437-9701; for its award-winning food. Or try the legendary Mediterranean dishes at Blues (8 The Promenade, Victoria Road, Camps Bay; tel: 011-27-21-438-2040; There’s also Theatre on the Bay (1a Link Street, Camps Bay; tel: 011-27-21-438-3301;

Or you could grab a sundowner and a spectacular view at the Entabeni Guest House (6 Fiskaal Close, Camps Bay; tel: 011-27-21-438-8216; on the slope under the Twelve Apostles and stay overnight.


9am Ride the dunes

If you miss skiing or snowboarding, don’t fret. Do it the African way, on sand, at Atlantis, a nature reserve about 40 minutes from the city centre. Sandboarding pioneers Downhill Adventures (tel: 011-27-21-422-0388; will outfit you with a board to surf the white dunes. A half-day adventure is $70.

1pm Vineyard next door

Cape Town’s Mediterranean climate makes for great vine growing and wine making. The country’s oldest vineyards are in the Constantia Valley, a 10-minute drive from the city centre. A tour makes for a pleasant afternoon beginning with a picnic at one of the estates or ending at one of their restaurants for dinner.

The estates host wine tastings, cellar tours and often have restaurants, such as Constantia Uitsig’s (tel: 011-27-21-794-2390; La Colombe and the restaurant at Buitenverwachting (tel: 011-27-21-794-5190;

Other excellent vineyards include Groot Constantia (tel: 011-27-21-794-5128;, Klein Constantia (tel: 011-27-21-794-5188; and Steenberg (tel: 011-27-21-713-221; www.steenberg-vineyards., which includes a golf course and hotel.


9am Agog in Gugs

End your stay by taking a closer look at how people live and work in one of the Cape’s poor but colourful areas. Spend a couple of hours in Gugulethu township, 20 minutes outside the city.

Guided tours of the township, nicknamed Gugs, can be booked from the tourism centre at Sivuyile (corner of NY1 and NY4; tel: 011-27-21-637-8449), meaning ”we are happy.”

Sights include the Gugulethu Seven Monument, a sculpture honouring seven young black activists who were killed during the apartheid years. There’s also an arts and crafts shop and after your walk you may want to refuel at one of the township’s lively bars known as shebeens, or its braii (BBQ) shacks, or maybe even check out a traditional healer. There are also restaurants, jazz clubs and B&Bs.

This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm rates and details directly with the companies in question.


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