Thursday, 28 July 2016

Hostel review - Atlantic Point Backpackers, Cape Town

Choosing the right hostel can be one heck of a challenge, and one that can really impact on your experience of the place you're visiting. Cape Town has a huge range of hostels for the avid traveller in you, and whether you're visiting on a pretty tight budget or you're all about splashing out the dollar bills on a little bit of luxury, you will definitely find the perfect place for you in this incredible city.


Atlantic Point Backpackers, situated in Green Point, is a fun and sociable hostel and is pretty much the perfect place to chill out, make friends and bank a whole lot of memories. My friend and I stayed for just under a month at Atlantic Point in the month of June 2016 and it's safe to say that we really couldn't have had a better time, in both the hostel and the city.

When staying in a hostel, there are a few things which really are essential, including clean showers, reliable wifi and a good nights sleep and whilst this may seem obvious, some places just don't get this right - thankfully, Atlantic Point aren't one of them.

Staying in one of their 8 bed dorms which was tidied daily, the room was fully equipped with a personal reading light, a locker with a plug socket inside (perfect for charging up laptops and phones securely when out and about) as well as a heater and ceiling fan, dependant on the time of year you find yourself there.

Source - Atlantic Point
Due to being in Cape Town for almost 7 weeks (and yet still we didn't want to leave!) and at Atlantic Point for 5 weeks (and yet still we didn't want to leave!), we decided to move to a private room in the later stages, not because of any problems we faced, but more the fact we were hankering after a little bit of luxury.

For us, it was the perfect room and whilst you could easily become much less social with fellow hostel members, it gave you the choice to have some time alone if you so wished for it. Like the dorms, the private rooms are cleaned daily and have the ultimate luxury of your own bathroom and actual real life, non micro-fibre towels... Lush!



Despite seemingly thinking that calories consumed internationally don't count and therefore eating out pretty much every night, we did sometimes have to listen to our poor internal organs who were pleading for us to cook and eat something green and step our toe into the kitchen (ugh). Thankfully for the health of both body and bank account, Atlantic Point has a large, fully equipped kitchen which can be used all day, and is also where breakfast (included in the room price) is served.

One of the most important aspects, which really can make or break your experience in a hostel, is the social factor and whilst the previous hostel we stayed at in Cape Town failed miserably, Atlantic Point should receive an A*. With an in-hour tour company enabling you to see the sights of Cape Town and the surrounding areas with your fellow dorm mates (highly recommend the wine tour!), a fab communal lounge area and a weekly braii night, you are encouraged, and given ample opportunity, to socialise and make friends in a really fun atmosphere.


Whilst we were in Cape Town in their cooler months, Atlantic Point has you covered if you find yourself there in the midst of their summer with a spacious garden area, a small pool and even a mini golf area for all you Rory McIlroy's out there!

Overall, Atlantic Point is a fab place to stay whilst you explore the beauty of Cape Town and I really couldn't recommend it more.

Convinced you to book a night or three there or just want some more info? No worries, just click here.

Want to chat? Let's get social...


SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave

Monday, 18 July 2016

Road trip on the Cape Peninsula tour, South Africa

There is so much to do and see and drink and eat in Cape Town that you could perhaps be mistaken for not knowing where the heck to start. In such an incredible city with so much natural beauty, there is a whole range of things that just have to be on the top of your to-do list whilst visiting the city, and one of those includes booking a tour of the Cape Peninsula.


The Cape Peninsula tour is one of the most popular adventures to partake in, in Cape Town, and although in some circumstances, the most hyped up activities are met with slight disappointment, this tour was actually, the exact opposite.

First stop // Camps Bay

Setting off from the V&A Waterfront, our first stop off point was Camps Bay, home to luxury restaurants, bars, cafes and shops, all of which look out onto one of the most popular beaches in Cape Town. With stunning views of the beach, the Twelve Apostles and Lion's Head, it really is difficult to think of a more picturesque setting.



Second stop // Hout Bay/Chapman's Peak

Next, we were onto Hout Bay and oh boy, this place is just stunning. A coastal town situated south of the city centre of Cape Town, Hout Bay offers picturesque views over the harbour, made even more enjoyable when accompanied with what some people claim as the best fish and chips in the world! You can also take a ferry from Hout Bay to the seal colony, Duiker Island.

From Hout Bay, we continued along Chapman's Peak Drive, a gateway between Cape Town city centre and the south peninsula and Cape Point route. Offering fabulous views of Hout Bay...





...as well as taking you to South Africa's very own version of Scarborough Beach...





...it's safe to say that this could very easily win an award for the most stunningly scenic route in the world and I have googled it and it is a thing. Promise.



Third stop // Cape Point/Cape of Good Hope

After an hour or two of driving, we made it to Cape Point, the most south-westerly point of the continent of Africa. It could perhaps be said that visiting this attraction within South Africa's winter months of June to August as whilst it took us merely moments to enter the site, it can take up to 2 hours in summer.

Whatever time you find yourself there though, it would really, be very difficult to be disappointed by this landscape, and I would really recommend the 30 minute hike (I'm not even kidding, I actually enjoyed it and everything) up and over the Cape of Good Hope, allowing you panoramic views of the area around you.











Fourth stop // Boulders Beach

After lunching in Simon's Town, it was time to see actual real life penguins chilling out on the beach and that sentence is as surreal as it sounds. Boulders Beach is home to a breeding colony of over 2000 endangered African Penguins and is an utterly amazing place to visit whether you are 8 or 80. Whilst you aren't allowed on the actual beach itself, the boardwalk path stretches right down to the bay and as you watch the little guys frolic around in the turquoise waters, build nests on the sandy shores and waddle around like they've had 3 too many proseccos, it really is difficult not to laugh...and then pinch yourself incase you're dreaming...and then laugh again.





The sights we saw an our Cape Peninsula tour really were majestic, with some of the most breathtaking views you could ever wish for. We booked with the tour company Cape Convoy and they were absolutely fantastic. We were able to book onto the trip less than 24 hours beforehand, were given ample amount of time at each destination and were encouraged to ask questions all day long if you wished to do so and I really couldn't recommend them more.


Want to chat? Let's get social...

Saturday, 16 July 2016

The guide to the Garden Route, South Africa

I love South Africa. 

As in, I really, really love it and after spending just under two months there this year, it's safe to say that it is hands down one of the best places I have ever been. After 6 weeks in Cape Town, it was a little hard to say goodbye however the prospect of embarking on a road trip along the Garden Route made it just that bit easier and oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, what a trip it was.


From picturesque forestry and drinking red wine besides a roaring fire to sunset cruises, elephant walks and kayaking with dolphins, the Garden Route has a place for anyone, at any age, at any time. With so many beautiful places to visit, it can be somewhat difficult to plan where to go, what to see, and who to stay with so to help you with this (pretty amazing) problem, I will be talking you through exactly what my friend and I did in the hope that it will be of some practical use to you.

Ready? Let's go...

DAY 1 - CAPE TOWN TO WILDERNESS

Starting out from Cape Town, we ventured on a long old 6/7 hour drive to Wilderness, a small but stunning seaside town, known for its long, white sandy beaches and beautiful lagoons. A combination of being on the road for almost 7 hours and possibly having 1 too many goodbye drinks the night previously led to a very quiet first night and unfortunately, the next day was practically a write off, pouring down with rain pretty much the entire day. As an extremely 'outdoorsy' town, there was only one thing for it - to the spa!






Our second day in Wilderness treated us fabulously though, with the sun beaming down on us as we went horse riding through the scenic forestry, on albeit, two naughty but gorgeous, little horses. It really is a stunning place however if you are planning to come in winter, be aware that there isn't a huge amount to do if the heavens decide to open. Although if drinking coffee, eating lots and going to the (super affordable) spa sounds good, absolutely no worries, hey!

Hints and tips:

- For great coffee and tasty breakfast, head to Blue Olive.
- For incredible chicken burgers, head to Flava.
- For super affordable accommodation, look into staying at Wilderness Beach House Backpackers, but be aware that it is super cold in winter and does not offer free wifi.





DAY 3 - WILDERNESS TO KNYSNA

After two nights in Wilderness, we were back on the road with a short drive to the quaint little town of Knysna. Staying at Jembjo's Knysna Lodge and Backpackers, which I absolutely couldn't recommend more (fab owners and great facilities at insanely good value), the first thing on our agenda was... elephants!

On a guided tour at Knsyna Elephant Park, we had the opportunity to feed the elephants from your own bucket of chopped up fruit and vegetables and were then able to stroke, pat and learn about the group. There were no barriers, fences or bars between us and the elephants and honestly, to be that close to one of the most beautiful animals in the world really was one of the most breathtaking experiences.





After a morning of staring wondrously at Sally the elephant and co, it was time to eat and drink and possibly book a sunset boat cruise to visit the Knysna Heads, two dramatic sea cliffs which guard the entrance to the lagoon from the sea, and is an absolute must see for everyone visiting this place for the first time.

The night consisted of stunning views, plenty of fizz and lots of laughs - perfect!







Hints and tips:

- Unfortunately we didn't get chance to visit the Rastafarian township, but if you do, I've heard great things about it so definitely check it out.
- If you're inclined to a good old oyster, or can't get enough of aaaall the sushi, 34 South is the restaurant for you.



DAY 5 - KNSYNA TO PLETTENBURG BAY

After a fab couple of days in Knsyna, we were on the road again, this time to Plettenberg Bay. Our first day treated us well, starting out with a morning hike within the Robberg Nature Reserve, one of the most popular trails on the Garden Route. With incredible scenic views everywhere you turn (we even saw dolphins!), it really is worth doing and for those of you who aren't about the exercising life (I feel ya), it's honestly not difficult at all. Promise, promise, promise.










The afternoon greeted us with a trip to the Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Centre, one of the largest
active wildlife rehabilitation centres in the Western Cape, and was set up in 2002 to raise awareness of the conservation issues in South Africa. We booked onto the Wild Cat Experience, which involved being shown round the park by a guide, entering the enclosures and getting up close and personal with the wildlife, including the cheetahs which was a wholly relaxing experience as you can imagine... Particularly when told they can go from 0 to 120mph in just 3 seconds!







Hints and tips:
Food wise in Plettneburg Bay, I would really recommend Mozambique restaurant, LM in Plett as well as The Fat Fish on the beachfront.



DAY 8 - PLETTENBURG BAY TO PORT ELIZABETH

Unfortunately, we saw very little of Port Elizabeth, and when I saw very little, I mean we arrived there in the evening, met people at the hostel bar for a few drinks and then woke up and went straight to the airport. The bus company we used, Bazbus, do not operate on a Wednesday however we hadn't taken that into account when organising our trip so we had to spend an extra day in Plettenberg Bay (no hardship at all) and therefore had literally no time in Port Elizabeth although at least now it gives us the perfect excuse to go back, hey!

Overall experience

Whilst both my friend and I had a great time travelling along the Garden Route, we probably did not see just how good it really can be due to the time of the year we went. The time you visit cities such as Cape Town and Johannesburg, in my opinion, does not matter in the slightest however the Garden Route is seasonal, with many of the places particularly summer orientated so bear that in mind when planning your trip.

We travelled along the route with a hop-on hop-off bus service called BazBuz. The shuttle service is convenient and will take you door to door to the hostel you are leaving from and staying at and costs R2100, which is equivalent to £95-100 depending on the exchange rate.

Have you travelled along the Garden Route? Which places did you enjoy most?


Want to chat? Let's get social...

Sunday, 3 July 2016

5 places to eat at the V&A Waterfront

The city of Cape Town is one of the most beautiful places in the world, and also one of the tastiest. Named as The Telegraph's best city on the globe for 2015/16, and taking Conde Naste's award for the number one food city in the world, you can be fully assured that a trip to Cape Town will be fit to burst with the most incredible eating and drinking experiences you could possibly wish for.



There is an enormous amount of places to choose from in order to satisfy that little tummy of yours, and one of the most popular areas to eat, drink and relax in, is the V&A Waterfront. Situated on the historical harbour, the Waterfront allows you to shop until you drop, dine out in a range of different places, listen to live music and even partake in a leisure activity or two, including riding on the Cape Town big wheel.

Here are my top picks of the very best places to eat in an area full to the brim of the tastiest food you could wish to set eyes on...

Sevruga



Sevruga is one of the Waterfront's most premium restaurants and oh boy, it lives up to every expectation you could wish for. My personal favourite eatery at the Waterfront, Sevruga offers some of the very best sushi in Cape Town, with a huge range of choice including both singular dishes and special platters. My personal favourites include 'prawn surprise' and 'Tokyo rainbow roll' and just when you think it can't get any better, sushi, dim sum and cocktails are all half price between 11:30am and 7pm - what more could you want!

Cape Town Fish Market



If you perhaps hadn't guessed already, I maybe enjoy a platter of sushi every now and again and when I saw that, I mean I could eat sushi every day for the rest of my life and be perfectly content. Whilst Cape Town Fish Market specialises in, wait for it, fish (!), the range as well as the quality of their sushi in particular is really fantastic and is even served to the table, impeccably. Whether you want to relax outside and relish in the Cape Town sun or feel the sand between your toes in the inside 'beach area' of the restaurant, if you're a fish lover, you will certainly not be disappointed by this place.

V&A Food Market





The place where foodies in Cape Town come to eat to much they feel physically ill, the V&A Waterfront Food Market is basically heaven for all those who take pleasure in eating...a lot. From coffee, frozen yoghurt and waffles to pulled pork burgers, burritos, oysters and biltong, you can literally find everything and anything in this place. With live music, a range of bars and a fab atmosphere, it's a great little place to spend a few hours and lose yourself in some seriously amazing food.

Den Anker





Den Anker is a Belgian restaurant, situated pretty much opposite one of the best views of Table
Mountain you could perhaps get, and serves a whole range of foods, from fish such as crayfish and tuna steak to meats such as sirloin steak, springbok and rabbit. With an extensive range of beers on offer imported from Belgium and a large wine menu, those who enjoy a tipple or three will be more than happy here although beware, as if you're wanting to sample a Kwak beer, the glass it is served in is so special that they request one of your shoes as deposit!

Tashas


The perfect place for brunching, Tasha's is the eatery you want to find yourself in for all egg related dishes. If, like me, you are partial to a fabulous eggs benedict or 7, you will not be disappointed in the slightest, nor too by the lack of judgement received for ordering a glass of prosecco before 11am - our type of staff members, amirite??


Are you hungry now? Yep, me too...

Want to chat? Let's get social...

Blog design by aleelily designs | Powered by Blogger.