South Africa - it really is a very special place. People can be a little apprehensive about visiting this beautiful land, but if you're sensible, you can enjoy it as much as anywhere else.
Been visiting South Africa since about 2003, and have taken friends and family too, who loved every minute of their trips.
Lovely friends of mine were married in the Drakensberg Mountains, which was a beautiful setting. You can get away with things in SA, that the British H&S would put an end to straight away, like putting taper candles in sand in brown bags, giving off an alluring glow.
Anyway, back to South Africa, we've spent quite a bit of time in Johannesburg, and in the nature reserves just north of there, not made it to the Kruger park, but it's supposed to be quite spectacular. A friend had a little face off with a Warthog or Bushpig - there was much debate.
Can highly recommend the The Butcher Shop for a great steak and glass of red - in Nelson Mandela Square, Sandton. They also sell a gorgeous range of wine accessories - we were given the below wine decanter for a present.
Heading down to Cape Town and the coast, our Summer Haze candles are inspired by the scents of the coast, so fresh and fragrant.
If you head to Langebaan, north of CT, you'll find the widest of white sandy beaches, and lots of water sports too. A rustic restaurant on the beach - with bread ovens carved into the rock, and a BYO option - Die Strandloper - go if you love fish as there are about 8 courses of different fish. Have been many times when up that way, as it's different to your average restaurant on the beach and the setting is lovely, as is the food.
Then back down south and east from Cape Town along the Garden route - there are lots of places to stop like Hermanus, where you can watch the whales or see the penguins at Stony Point, we made it as far as Plettenberg Bay before heading back to CT. And saw some fabulous sunsets in Knysna.
Stopping at Franschhoek and Stellenbosch, my preference is Franschhoek as it's just a quaint little village, and has lots of little shops to mooch about in. You can hire bikes and cycle between the vineyards or there's a wine train.
Franschhoek has so many gorgeous little guest houses and fabulous restaurants serving incredible wine and food. Haute Cabriere, Le Quartier Francais, Le Petite Ferme, Bread & Wine, The Kitchen at Maison and The French Connection are just a few of the Franschhoek restaurants worth a try - they vary in price and some only serve lunch, and pretty much all will need to be booked.
If you're in the mood for animals too, and you're down in the Cape rather than up near the Kruger - it's worth a trip a few hours outside of CT, the Sanbona Wildlife Reserve, we stayed at the White Lion Lodge which although sounds expensive, is actually good value for money - the food was wonderful, the wine selection excellent, the rooms were stunning and we saw so many animals. We spent about 8/9 hours each day out in the jeep looking, and our guide Israel had a great sense of humour and was keen to make sure we saw as much as we could.
So back to CT, we've stayed in numerous places, and friends live in Constantia so have spent lots of time hanging out in the vineyards there, they really do know how to do a meat and cheese platter to complement their wine. In Constantia, La Colombe is fine dining at its best, and if you're paying with British pounds, it really feels like excellent value.
Camps Bay is always a favourite place to hang out, lots of restaurants to visit along the front, Blues does a great seafood platter, but there are plenty of places to choose from. The beach is lovely here, and there are always some characters trying to get you to buy their wares.
There's lots of things to do in CT, climb up Table Mountain (or ride up in the cable car), great hikes in and around the mountain, wine tasting, boat trips, visits to Robben Island and Cape Point or just chilling on the many beaches that surround the city.
This blog could go on for pages and pages, as there are so many fabulous places to eat, drink and be merry, but we'll leave it here until next time as there's always got to be a next time when it comes to Cape Town.