Julie Skrei, JG Black Book of Travel’s Africa Specialist, recently returned from another trip to Cape Town, South Africa where she learned a lesson or two about civilization.
When people think of Africa, inevitably the wilderness comes to mind. How could it not? All of the magnificent wildlife, the gorgeous landscapes, the vast untamed spaces.
But there’s another side of Africa, one that comes to mind when I think about Cape Town. It's as breath-taking as the African wild but different...with a modern, cosmopolitan, culturally diverse and sophisticated feeling. The wildest thing about it (aside from the nightlife) was the baboons we saw breaking into a car to munch on a water bottle and the steering wheel. But even they seem rather civilized.
I had the pleasure of staying at One&Only Cape Town, one of the members of my company’s Black Book Collection by JG. From its location (on the happening Victoria & Alfred Waterfront) to its accommodations (the largest rooms in Cape Town, all with views of Table Mountain) to its food (Does it get better than Nobu?), it was incredible.
My favorite part was the spa. Situated on its own lush island within the resort, it’s peaceful and pampering. I was blown away by the manicures and pedicures at the Pedi:Mani:Cure Studio by Bastien Gonzalez. It was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before – every step of the process felt special. Instead of polish, my nails were finished by being buffed to a glossy shine with crushed mother of pearl. The whole experience was entrancing.
Another particularly memorable adventure was my tour of the Cape. We spent the day traveling the area, visiting the Cape of Good Hope, the Boulders Beach penguin colony, even an ostrich farm. It was a great way to get a sense of the natural and metropolitan wonders of Cape Town.
Unfortunately there were a number of things I didn’t get to do: a tour of the Winelands (about 1 hour east of the city), a visit to Robben Island (where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned), and shark diving (actually I don’t really regret missing the sharks). But there are many exciting things to experience in and around Cape Town. I recommend that you work with Nigel, the concierge at One&Only Cape Town, to book some unique excursions and experiences. Spend 3-4 nights in the city – anything less would be uncivilized. And that would never do in Cape Town. Enjoy!