Influential travel publication Condé Nast Traveler has announced its 2015 Readers Choice Top 15 Food Cities in the World. For the first time Cape Town is at the top of the list! Continue reading →
*. Cape Town has been named as one of 35 most beautiful cities in the world for 2015 by the UK Telegraph, in the company of Istanbul, Florence, Paris, Siena, Jerusalem, Oxford, Cambridge, New York, Rome, Sydney, Bruges, Seville, San Francisco, Bath, Lausanne, Venice, Edinburgh, London, Havana, Prague, Kyoto, Moscow, St Petersburg, Dubrovnik, Rio de Janeiro, and more.
Cape Town was praised for its ‘in-your-face beauty of a craggy mountain range that drops precipitously into a glittering sea, its flanks carpeted in greens and delicate florals – the Cape Floral Kingdom, smallest yet richest in the world’. The pristine white beaches with their granite boulders are also Continue reading →
* Ghanaian rapper D Black has been holidaying in Cape Town, his Instagram and Twitter (with 146000 followers!) shows. He visited Robben Island, Table Mountain,CampsBay, and the V&A V & A Waterfront. He also recorded with local musician Donald in Denial.
* Cape Town has been named by National Geographic as the second best Beach City in the world, the Clifton beaches mentioned specifically for their protection against the wind and expensive accommodation. The False Bay beaches, as well as Milnerton and Blouberg, are referred to. Number one is Barcelona, with its Barcenoleta Beach. The rest of the Beach City ranking is Honolulu (Waikiki Beach), Nice’s three beaches, Miami Beach, Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, Santa Monica, Sydney’s Bondi, Tel Aviv, and Vancouver’s ten beaches.
* SA Tourism, host of INDABA 2015, is describing the trade show as one which will exceed the expectations of both Continue reading →
* The Business Confidence Index of the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry retracted by 2,5 points last month, to 88, and was also lower than in December 2013, and the lowest in the past six months. The economic future for our country for the coming year will be a balance between the crude oil price and electricity loadshedding. The Index being below 100 is a ‘matter of grave concern‘.
* A survey conducted by the Cape Town Central City Improvement District reflects a young owner profile, being 25 – 34 years old; plan to live in the city for at least another 4 years; enjoy visiting The Company’s Garden, St George’s Mall, Greenmarket Square, The Fan Walk, and Church Square; 84% visit a city coffee shop at least once a week; 68% visit a restaurant in the city centre at least once a week; and 66% live 3 km or less from their work. (source: City Views)
* South African Stormhoek Wines is the Official Wine Partner for the 40000 nautical mile 2015/16 Clipper Race starting on 30 Continue reading →
Cape Town has done it again, being named Best City in the World in the Telegraph Travel Awards 2014 by its readers for the third year in a row! Vancouver and Venice follow in second and third position, respectively, this year. The motivation for Cape Town’s top position is written by Pippa du Bruyn, who is a Cape Town-based local travel writer and ‘destination expert’, including author of a ‘Frommer’s Guide’ to South Africa, and of ‘A Hedonist’s Guide to Cape Town’. De Bruyn surprisingly exaggerates our restaurants as ‘Michelin-rated‘ fare, and in describing Dyer Island near Gansbaai as being in Cape Town. Her laudation for Cape Town follows: Continue reading →
* Cape Town will host the 14th World Summit of the Noble Peace Prize Laureates from 13 – 15 October, the first time that it will be held in Africa, report the Cape Times and Weekend Argus. A total of 1500 delegates is expected to meet at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, with the topic ‘Peace: living it’. Previous Noble Peace Prize recipients such as Mikhail Gorbachev and Lech Walesa will join FW de Klerk and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
* The largest number of international visitors to Cape Town in the third quarter of last year, ranked by figures just released by Wesgro, were from Germany, the USA, the UK, and Italy. Gauteng was the largest source of local visitors, followed by those from other parts of the Western Cape.
* Rio de Janeiro received close to 900000 visitors during the Soccer World Cup, spending $4,4 million, with more than half of the visitors planning to return in two years to attend the 2016 Olympic Games. The city hosted the closing Final, which was viewed by 3 billion TV viewers, and its iconic statue of Christ the Redeemer against a sunset was shown during the broadcast, as Continue reading →
* Mango is tightening up its credit card procedures, to prevent fraud, by demanding that tickets bought by credit card are verified with the actual card. If the card is not with the passenger, he/she may not board.
* ESKOM started load-shedding around the country today, without prior warning, the rain in Johannesburg allegedly wetting the coal and therefore affecting its supply! The Cape has not been spared, with electricity cuts in Somerset West, Claremont, Durbanville, Tokai, Kenilworth, Parow, Elsies River, Wellington, and Hout Bay this morning, followed by Sea Point, Camps Bay, and many other Cape Town suburbs later in the day. Our international visitors (other than those from other African countries) are shocked! (via Twitter)
* Chef Chris Erasmus will leave Pierneef à La Motte in June, to open his own restaurant with his wife in Franschhoek in September.
* The Bols Bartending World Champion Rusty Cerven chose Cape Town as one of his four world cities to visit, with Sydney, Tokyo, and Rio de Janeiro, as part of his prize when he beat 3000 bartenders from 66 countries. In Cape Town he demonstrated Continue reading →
* The City of Cape Town’s free wifi service in the Company’s Garden has had a poor response to date, with only a hundred internet users enjoying the service in 11 days since its inception, despite the excellent weather in the past week!
* Hermanuspietersfontein’s Die Bartho 2011 was named Best White Blend in the 2013 SA Terroir Awards.
* New SATSA (Southern African Tourism Services Association) President Francois Neethling plans to make his association a household name, its members offering credible travel and tourism products and services.
The movie ‘Safe House’, starring Denzil Washington and Ryan Reynolds, which was released internationally yesterday, does Cape Town proud, with most of the scenes in the two-hour film shot in the city over a five month period last year. Reynolds has expressed his love for the city in interviews, an excellent ambassador for Cape Town.
The Weekend Argus reports that Rio de Janeiro was the preferred location for the movie, the script calling for a ‘safe house’ to be as far away as possible from the USA. Cape Town was chosen above Rio de Janeiro because it ‘had more infrastructure than Rio’, said Reynolds in an interview.
During their time in the city, Reynolds and Washington climbed Lion’s Head, visited the Garden Route, lived in the One&Only Cape Town, and were spotted in numerous local restaurants. Reynolds was blown away by the beauty of Cape Town, and his favourite memory of the city was eating at Mzoli’s. The trailer and the movie open with a beautiful shot of Lion’s Head in the foreground, across Table Bay, and onto the Paarl mountains covered in southeaster clouds, to audience applause! Local actress Lynita Crofford stars very briefly in the movie.
The Cape Argus has reported that Reynolds said that Cape Town ‘is my favourite city I’ve shot in’, a fantastic accolade. He shared that he did not have much time to see the tourist side of the city, but when his family came to visit, it ‘forced me to go see everything as quickly as I could. I’ve obviously seen all the local sites’. He added that he prefers Cape Town to Johannesburg, where he filmed as well, ‘just because I’m big on the ocean and the hiking and the mountains’.
The movie is dominated by lots of action, a CIA espionage ‘skop-skiet-en-donder’ movie, with more indoor shots than outdoors, thereby limiting the opportunity to show off the beauty of Cape Town. But brand ‘Cape Town’ was pertinently mentioned five times. An incredible unbelievable car chase was filmed on the Western Boulevard (to the consternation of Capetonians last year, when this road was regularly closed for filming) and at the bottom end of Adderley Street, near the station. An unidentifiable restaurant (possibly at Lagoon Beach) briefly reflects the fantastic backdrop of Table Mountain to Table Bay; some action takes place at the beautiful-looking Cape Town Stadium, with a night-time soccer match replicated and lots of noisy vuvuzela blowing – at this point Reynolds speaks very acceptable Afrikaans when talking to the local police; some action takes place on De Waal Drive, an opportunity to show more of the view over Table Bay; a lot of exterior action takes place near the provincial building on Wale Street, another road that was closed on many days for filming; Langa is the location for more action; The ‘Standard Hotel’ in Parow is featured; a ‘safe house’, being a farmhouse on a dusty farm road near Malmesbury, shows off the beauty of the Swartland; wine is drunk, and something about Pinotage is mumbled by Washington as the movie closes, but is not understandable. The building in which a lot of filming was done on Kloof Street, near the Mount Nelson Hotel, is not recognisable in the movie.
Capetonians would be disappointed to see the movie, as there is not much recognisable about Cape Town. As a movie, there is a lot of shooting and some vuvuzela blowing, very noisy due to the surround-sound. For the ladies, Reynolds only looks gorgeous in the close to the movie. It’s not a movie one would necessarily recommend others to see, and I went to see it yesterday purely to see how the film reflects Cape Town. The movie filming will have been a welcome boost to the city’s financial coffers, benefiting the accommodation, restaurant, and film industries directly.
POSTSCRIPT 14/2: The Cape Times reported yesterday that the movie ‘Chronicle’, which was shot in Cape Town in its entirety and made to resemble Seattle, will be released this week. The filming of ‘Chronicle’ and ‘Safe House’ jointly is estimated to have generated ‘R350 million in spend to local hotels, restaurants, shops, catering services and transport’, and added to this is the spend on production companies and the Cape Town Film Studios. Mayoral Committee member for Tourism, Events and Marketing Grant Pascoe said ‘both films showcase the city not only as a premier film location, but as a destination of choice for potential visitors’, thereby indicating that he hasn’t seen either of these two movies!
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage
Cape Town received wonderful coverage in a three-part article in the UK The Guardian on Saturday, praising in particular the beauty of the city, and the gourmet and wine wealth of the near-by towns in the Winelands, which should be good for attracting visitors from the UK to our city, given the weaker Rand.
The writer of the trio of articles is Gloria Hunniford, a highly regarded mature Northern Ireland radio and TV presenter, writer (including ‘Gloria Hunniford’s Family Cookbook’,) a travel writer for The Guardian and The Telegraph, and presenter of travel guides for National Geographic. In the fineprint it is clear that the articles were sponsored by SA Tourism.
Gloria reports about her first ever visit to Cape Town, a city that she says she has never heard a bad word spoken about, and about which she had heard ‘glorious stories about the weather, the food, the wine, the people and, of course, Table Mountain’. Worried that her high expectations could be disappointed, she writes that ‘it is more beautiful, more dramatic, and more extraordinary than anything I had imagined’. She writes that she was at a loss of words on top of Table Mountain, and fell in love with a dassie.
During her visit to the Cape, Gloria saw the Twelve Apostles, Cape Point, Lion’s Head, the city centre, the floral diversity of 2000 species on Table Mountain, Chapman’s Peak (exhilaratingly experienced on the back of a Harley Davidson), and stayed at the Camps Bay Retreat. She enjoyed the Camps Bay restaurants and its strip and beach, about which she wrote: “…you would be forgiven for thinking you were on a remote, palm-fringed island, not in South Africa’s second most populous city“! She refers to Cape Town being ranked second in the Lonely Planet’s world 10 best beach cities (after Barcelona and ahead of Sydney, Rio de Janeiro, and Miami), an accolade for Cape Town I had not heard about nor seen publicised by our tourism authorities. She mentions the surfing beaches of False Bay, the ‘remote beaches’ of the South Peninsula, ‘fashionable Clifton’, and the ‘sundowner-haven of Llandudno’. She was taken to Bo-Kaap, to eat Cape Malay food at the home of Zainie. She also ate at the Cape Grace, and was served fresh fish in Camps Bay. She highlights Kirstenbosch as the perfect picnic venue, having recently been named by National Geographic as one of the top 10 places in the world to have a picnic.
In the Winelands, Gloria visited L’Omarins in Franschhoek, enjoying its Cape Dutch architecture, flower paradise, and a wine-tasting. Gloria saw a chocolate-making demonstration at Huguenot Fine Chocolates, raving generally about Franschhoek, with its ‘atmospheric shops and sampling the great food and wine on offer is a must for every visitor’s itinerary‘. She had lunch at Delaire Graff, praising it highly for its setting in the Helshoogte Pass: ‘It’s sheer bliss. To be embraced by the sheer luxury of this elegant, beautiful crafted estate, sipping on fabulous wine and indulging in the tastiest food around, is what dream holidays are made off (sic).” Then she tastes wines at Spier, calling it one of ‘South Africa’s oldest, biggest and most tourist friendly estates’, and its wines as being affordably priced and winning awards. A highlight for Gloria was stroking Hemingway, the cheetah, at Spier. She enjoyed her gourmet picnic at Warwick, writing about it: ‘Our picnic basket is filled to the brim with delicious salads, cold meats, bread, smoked salmon, and sweet treats, a far cry from the picnics I am used to…. It introduced us to more South African culinary treats, from snoek pate to biltong’.
Despite being sponsored articles, it is Gloria’s concluding paragraph that is sure to connect with potential visitors to our city, and her valuable endorsement should be of benefit to tourism to Cape Town and the Winelands: “The last few days have been happy, happy days, thanks in no small part to the people of South Africa who have been so open and friendly and made us feel so welcome. It is the people of a country who can really make an experience memorable. They are so proud of their country and it is this enthusiasm and South Africa’s sheer beauty that I will take away with me”.
POSTSCRIPT 25/10: Today Cape Town and the Winelands received further favourable coverage, this time in the Mail Online, in an interview with Suzi Perry, BBC motor sports correspondent and presenter of the Channel 5 ‘The Gadget Show’. She described her honeymoon in South Africa last year as her ‘most memorable holiday’, having stayed in Camps Bay (staying at Cape View Villa), went on Safari at Richard Branson’s lodge Ulusaba in Sabi Sands, and went winetasting in Franschhoek, staying at Rickety Bridge. She loved going up Table Mountain, recommending abseiling down it, hiked up Lion’s Head at full moon, raved about the vineyard picnics, she saw whales in Hermanus, and ‘baboons on the cape (sic)’.
POSTSCRIPT 27/10: Cape Town has been selected as runner-up as ‘Favorite City World-wide’ in the Telegraph Travel Awards announced yesterday, won by New York, and alongside Venice. La Residence in Franschhoek was a runner-up with Shangri La’s Barr Al Jissah in Oman for ‘Favorite Hotel World-Wide’, a category won by Villa d’Este at Lake Como in Italy.
POSTSCRIPT 27/10: Cape Town is basking in the spotlight, and now the New York Times has written an article “36 hours in Cape Town’, published on-line today, and to appear in print on Sunday. It opens as follows: “Cape Town overwhelms the senses. Its cultivated side, the bright lights and big buildings of the city centre, collides with its geography – the dazzle and danger of the wind-whipped mountains and the two oceans that embrace it.” Writer Elaine Sciolino writes that prices soared in the city during the World Cup, and that the ‘tourist trade since then has disappointed‘, that some businesses have closed down, and some constructions sites stand unfinished. ‘Despite the grinding poverty in the townships on the city’s outskirts, this is one of the most naturally beautiful places in the world’, she writes. Sciolino’s 36 hours in Cape Town were action-packed, and included a visit to the District Six Museum, the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, Table Mountain (stating that it is to Cape Town what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris, defining and dominating the ‘cityscape’), dinner at Marco’s African Place, followed by drinks at Café Caprice and clubbing at St Yves in Camps Bay, which has just re-opened. On Saturday it’s an ostrich burger for brunch at the Biscuit Mill, shopping at Greenmarket Square, and then off to ‘wine sipping’ at Groot Constantia, eating sushi at Sevruga in the V&A Waterfront, and then to Asoka on Kloof Street for cocktails, followed by Fiction DJ Bar and Zula Sound Bar. On Sunday morning it’s a drive to Cape Point (Cape of Good Hope), stopping at Simonstown and Boulders’ Beach on the way, returning via Chapman’s Peak. The article links to a travel guide, with accommodation (Mount Nelson and V&A Hotels strongly recommended) and restaurants (Africa Café recommended of all the 27 restaurants listed, but sadly out of date, with Jardine still listed) recommended.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage