This is part eight of my travel series to South Africa. For the complete series, please see below:
Traveling to South Africa – South African Airways and Federal Air
Singita Ebony – The Lodge
Singita Ebony – Day to Night
Singita Sweni – The Lodge
Singita Sweni – Day to Night
Cape Town – The Peninsula Tour and The Boat House
Cape Town – City and Winelands Tour
Cape Town – V&A Waterfront, Test Kitchen, Fork and Table Mountain
24 Hours in Istanbul
After our first day of touring with Pam, we were really excited to continue exploring the amazing city of Cape Town. Our second day with Pam was dedicated largely towards walking around the city, experiencing some local food and shopping, and the visiting the nearby winelands. We always love to do local food tours when we travel – it’s such a great way to get to know a city – and had requested that Pam include some of her favorite spots.
Our first stop that morning then of course, was a local cafe for coffee – TRUTH Coffee Roasting – a Steampunk coffee shop!
Inside we not only had some of the best coffee we’ve ever had, but also were treated to a tour of the roasting process, all done in house from raw beans.
Raw coffee beans from all over the world.
The huge roaster, and some of the warm and friendly employees.
After a cup of wonderful flat white to start our morning, we headed across the street to the District Six Museum. When you’re in South Africa, you can’t get away from the issue of race. Everybody talks about race relations, problems past and current, and what being white or non-white means in South Africa today. It’s a fascinating discussion- almost everyone is blunt and truthful, and it was a refreshing change from the sometimes overly politically correct environment in the United States today.
We wanted to learn more about the apartheid era and took a first step when we visited the District Six Museum. The museum exhibits many of the relics, physical memories and interviews from those that were forcibly resettled from the District starting in 1901.
Former street signs that were in District Six before it was razed to the ground, brought in by former residents and their relatives.
An ongoing work in progress – a map showing the former District Six before it was razed. You could see street names and houses labeled in various handwriting all over the map, as people came and filled in what they remembered.
We spent about an hour in this museum (it’s quite small) and it was well worth it! My favorite parts were reading the quotes and memories of the former residents of District Six on the walls. I would highly recommend a visit.
After our museum visit, we headed back to Pam’s car and then took a short drive over to our next stop – the Cape Malay area of Cape Town. This is where historically Javanese people from Indonesia settled in Cape Town – today, there is a large Muslim community there.
The most striking thing about Cape Malay that we noticed immediately was its architecture and bright colors! Super striking, and it reminded me a bit of the “Painted Ladies” in San Francisco.
Our first stop in Cape Malay was at a shop to try a local favorite dessert – egg tarts.
These egg tarts reminded me a lot of the Chinese egg tarts that you get at dim sum (dan ta). They were delicious!
Some minced meat samosas. We were supposed to head over to a local cart to buy samosas, but the shopkeeper insisted that hers were the best in the area. Pam suggested that we buy both and do a taste test!
And a rosewater drink to top it off. This drink was super sweet and as Pam stated, “You either love it or hate it.” I was probably in the latter camp…Mr. Feather on the other hand, loved his and finished the whole thing.
After we had finished our initial sample of samosas, we walked down the street to a local vendor who was supposed to have the best samosas and desserts.
The samosas were pretty good, though my favorite were these fried dessert treats.
After our samosa tests, we walked to our final snack stop in Cape Malay – Cafe Haas, a really cool coffee shop that served food, coffee, and which also displayed art for sale.
At Cafe Haas, we tried a modern version of an old local favorite called “Bunny Chow”. Bunny Chow was basically a bread roll filled with a hot chicken curry mix – it sounded delicious, and indeed it was! It was also incredibly filling.
After we had filled up our tummies, we walked some of it off by doing some local shopping. Pam brought us to some of her favorite shops.
This was one of our favorites, called Streetwires. Everywhere around South Africa we saw amazing artwork made with wires. Streetwire had some of the coolest pieces that we saw.
Workers creating some very cool bowls.
I loved this awesome lion/tiger hybrid. Streetwires does custom work and I would love to order a piece one day. While we were there, we saw the workshop finishing up a large custom order from Anthropologie for display in their stores, so for you Anthro fans, keep an eye out!
Another shop recommended both by our concierge and Pam was Tribal Trends. Tribal Trends is where I’d recommend you go to purchase any African souvenirs. While the prices were a bit higher than average, there was a breadth of selection and level of high quality across all products. Shopping here was a lot easier than going from shop to shop, not knowing what an appropriate price might be. I ended up bringing home a little bronze cat.
After Tribal Trends, we walked through the city center of Cape Town. We passed by a food fair – however we were so full that we were unable to eat anything! So sad. Instead, Mr. Feather took photos so we could regret not getting these snacks later on.
I was however, able to make room for some chocolate at this lovely shop – Honest Chocolate, where they made chocolate entirely free of processed sugar and milk. Really delicious and rich.
The flea market! Lots of nice little finds here (along with the normal kitschy items).
A lovely large community park.
All around the city center and in the park, we saw these very large Egyptian geese running around. We don’t see many of these in California and thought these birds were so cool! Pam explained however that local Cape Town residents were very annoyed by the birds and it was legal to hunt them. Apparently they leave very large…bird poops. Ha.
Instead, Pam explained that Cape Townians doted on a very common animal often ignored in the States – squirrels! And sure enough, we saw that all around us, squirrels were being pampered and fed nuts by locals. If I were a squirrel, I’d live in Cape Town – a very charmed life.
After a final loop around the city center, we headed back to Pam’s car to go to the winelands. Cape Town has a lovely wine area about an hour or so drive from the city. If we had stayed longer, we probably would have spent a few days in the winelands. As it was, we only had a few hours to explore the winelands and decided to stick to a single area.
The scenery in the area was beautiful and reminded me quite a bit of Napa with a few differences.
Since we wanted a relaxed afternoon, Pam took us to the Spice Route- basically a one stop shop of all kinds of great artisan food, drink and art.
At the Spice Route, our first stop was again, chocolate!
We made our way to De Villiers Chocolate.
First, we took a short tour of their chocolate facility, where we saw Mr. De Villiers hard at work.
Quality control and packaging!
After our little tour, we sat down and did a “dark chocolate tasting”. I’d never really realized how many different flavors could be present in dark chocolate! It was very fun and educational.
From there, we headed over to a little bar called “Beer and Biltong”. Since I’m a big jerky fan, I was very excited for this, and the biltong did not disappoint!
There were lots and lots of different types of biltong to choose from. I couldn’t narrow down my selections enough, so we ended up doing a sampler each of all the different varieties. My favorite was actually a tie between the kudu and beef.
It was wonderful to sit outside with some snacks. We ordered some beers and sparkling water, and enjoyed an hour just sitting under the sun and chatting. It was a perfect end to our day.
On the way out, we waved to the winelands and promised we’d be back. An hour later, back at our hotel, we said bye to the lovely Pam. It was final day of touring with her, and we were sad to say goodbye to her! We really enjoyed our time with Pam and felt like over the last two days we had become friends. We would truly recommend her as a private guide in Cape Town – we had such a blast with this lovely, funny woman. You can find Pam at her website, Cape Fusion Tours.
For my next post, I’ll be rounding up some of our final experiences in Cape Town – our favorite restaurants, and the amazing Table Mountain. Thank you for reading along!