Hello! I’ve been away from my familiar smoothie stained desk for what feels like a long stretch – and I’ve really missed this stuff. I miss tapping away into the never-ending white page and seeing what thoughts come back from far and wide.
So where to start? I’m slightly daunted by the task of trying to get my thoughts and photos to resemble a few tidy blog posts, but I’ll give it a crack. The last 7 weeks spent travelling a few continents have been some of the most incredible, challenging and exhilarating of my life. It was one of those trips that you know you’ll reference for years to come – where I was lucky enough to meet folks from all corners of the world, and eat a.lot.of.food. Lots of freaking good food. It was also one where I caught ‘ little malaria’, drank champagne with Jamie Oliver and rode an ox-cart in an African thunderstorm… in the dark. Life’s pretty wild right?
My journey kicked off in stunning Cape Town, South Africa; a city that reminds me of Sydney in so many ways, and in others it is startlingly different. The raw beauty, the beaches, the sunshine feels like home – but taking a walk through one of the city’s many townships and you’re transported, quickly, to the other side of the world.
I was very lucky to have a vivacious local show me the ropes of her hometown (who also happens to be one of my best friends in ze world) and man, we lived and breathed her knowledge of the city. What a local can teach you verses the pages of a Lonely Planet is unparalleled. They know their shi*t! If I can give you one useful ‘travel tip’ from any of my time abroad it’s this – grab onto a local and hold them tight. There is nothing better than ditching the Trip Advisor recommendations and winging it with some local know-how. Email that friend of a friend who lives nearby and meet them for a coffee (unless they suggest Starbucks… then, run).
NB: Don’t know any locals? Stay with AirBnB and you soon will!
My South African gal/guide recommended two foodie adventures, which turned out to be huge highlights of our time Cape Town. First the Bay Harbour Organic Markets, followed by a mind-blowing 10-course seafood lunch extravaganza at Western Cape’s famous Die Strandloper. The pictures really say it all…
Bay Harbour Markets:
Where: Bay Harbour, 31 Harbour Road, Hout Bay Cape Town
When: Friday nights (live band!), Saturdays and Sundays until 9am – 4pm
Vibrant seaside market in Hout Bay, about 20 minutes drive from Cape Town. Packed to the brim with locally made arts, coffee, jewellery and food. I’ve never been to a place where you could order your omelette with ‘crazy healthy bread,’ wrapped in a lettuce leaf, with a salad, in a bun OR just on it’s own. Oh and egg whites only please? Why certainly.
Life changing Lunch – Die Strandloper
Where: Langebaan, West Coast, South Africa
When: Sittings at 12noon every day until 6pm.
Cost: 250 rand per person (approx: $25 AUD)
About a two hour drive up the western coast of South Africa, is a rustic seafood paradise you have to experience once in your lifetime. Die Strandloper had me gobsmacked from the get-go for it’s sheer beauty, laid-back vibe and fresher than fresh seafood. BYO beer or head to the reggae bar for a cheap local ale. At Die Strandloper, life’s pretty tough.
At noon on the dot, mountains of food begin to appear from steaming iron pots and outdoor woodfire ovens. Diners are encouraged to wander over from their sandy tables and grab a paper plate, along with the famous cutlery – a mussel shell – before getting stuck in. Loaves of handmade bread are pulled hot from the coals along with spicy seafood broths and simmering curries. There seems to be an endless supply of freshly grilled fish with chunks of lime tossed in for good measure. Take your plate back to the table, or hey – pull up a rock in the sun and enjoy.
The feast continues for 10 courses, until 6pm. That’s 6 entire hours of eating, sun soaking and water paddling. Lunch of a lifetime – check! I’ve listed a few more Cape Town recommendations below – but if all else fails, ask a local. ;)
More on my Cape Town hit list…
Bombay Bicycle Club:
Book early and ask for the swing chair table – you won’t regret it! Cheeky service for trendy young men – and rich, delicious dishes.
Chopper over the city:
Sounds extravagant right? But a 20 minute helicopter ride was about $150 (split between two), and less if you have a bigger crew. The most spectacular views of coast and city!
Lions Head Hike
Less touristy than Table Mountain and 360 views from the top. Awesome way to get the legs pumping! Midnight hikes at full moon – very cool.
Township Tour with ‘Africa Moni’
Take a walk through the Mandela Park Township in Hout Bay, with a local guide called Africa – kinda easy to remember right? Support local business while gaining some perspective on how many South African’s really live. Pop into Tea Bag designs and grab yourself some beautiful crafts made by local woman – made with used tea-bags.
Nu Food Cafe
Okay guys, we NEED this in Australia. A super healthy cafe chain that made me want to order pretty much everything on the menu. Green smoothie, quinoa and chia seeds galore. All local produce!