Travel Postcard: 48 hours in World Cup crazy Cape Town

Fri Jun 25, 2010 7:47am EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Wendell Roelf

CAPE TOWN (Reuters Life!) - Overshadowed by Table Mountain and teeming with soccer fans here to watch the World Cup, Cape Town is a vibrant city at the tip of Africa where the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet.

Reuters correspondents with local knowledge help visitors to get the most out of a 48-hour visit to a city in the feverish grip of Africa's first World Cup.


6 p.m. - Kick off your stay with sundowners or hot chocolate at Wakame Asian sushi restaurant in Beach Road, Mouille Point, enjoying an uninterrupted vista of the ocean as the waves break meters away. Even in winter, the sun pokes out its brilliant head periodically and this is an ideal spot to relax as the fading light becomes one with the ocean darkness. Call them on +27 21 433 2377. If raw fish isn't quite your fancy, then try the sophisticated Aubergine restaurant where diners enjoy their meals as a fireplace provides warmth and ambience during the cold winter nights. Situated in the former 19th century home of the Cape's first chief justice, the restaurant offers innovative twists to culinary classics, with wild boar and geranium scented sauce among the favorites. The restaurant is found at 39 Barnet Street, Gardens or could be contacted on +27 21 465 4909.

7:30 p.m. - It's soccer World Cup time and the inner-city undergoes a regular metamorphosis as streets are blocked or opened to assist thousands of fans attending matches at Green Point Stadium. The stadium, within walking distance of the city's central business district, is adjacent to the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, a mega-mall that offers something for everyone. Having whet your appetite earlier, why not grab a succulent Ostrich (the world's largest flightless bird) fillet with red wine sauce at Belthazar Restaurant (Shop 153, +27 21 421 3753) or for those with a wilder palate, a game kebab typically featuring meat cuts from Kudu, Springbok, Gemsbok and Impala buck. Also situated at the V&A is Nelson Mandela Gateway (+27 21 413 4217), where you can buy tickets (200 rand p/p return) to visit Robben Island Museum and see the cell which held South Africa's first black state leader for 26 years. There are usually four tours a day during winter ending 3 p.m. daily, (including Sundays and holidays). To cater for increased demand during the World Cup tournament, there are an extra two boat trips at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. The island is a World Heritage site and a former leper colony. All trips are weather dependent.

10 p.m. - Cape Town is a tale of two cities, and for a truly different experience, join a guided tour and visit one of the largest Rastafarian camps situated in the poor Phillipi township. Leaving at 10 p.m. the Rootz Reggae tour, run by Coffeebeans Routes, is a blast of fun where "ital" (vegetarian food) and respect abound in a smoke-filled haze as patrons jump to the beat of Marley and Tosh in a packed dancehall. The cost is 550 rand and patrons are dropped at their lodgings at about 2 a.m. Call Coffeebeans on +27 21 424 3572 or visit If you prefer things a bit more upmarket, try Hemisphere nightclub and cocktail lounge to catch some of Cape Town's beautiful clubbers. Situated on the 31st floor of the ABSA center (corner Riebeek and Adderley streets) the venue offers great views of Table Mountain as dancers groove to commercial house and R&B tunes of the 70s, 80s and 90s. A strict dress code is enforced, although this is being relaxed during the soccer tournament.


9 a.m. - If the weather forecast is good, the more adventurous can try a tandem paragliding flight off Signal Hill or Lions Head, offering amateur pilots a bird's eye view of the city, before landing at the trendy Camps Bay or Sea Point suburbs. Call Manu, a qualified flight instructor, on +27 76 892 2283 for bookings or try Alternatively, take a scenic drive about 45 km (27.96 miles) along the False Bay coast, dotted with coastal towns each with its own idiosyncratic appeal, to the Cape Point Nature Reserve. Use the "Flying Dutchman" funicular to reach amazing vantage points just below the lighthouse overlooking the meeting point between the mighty Indian and Atlantic oceans, or read a map to track some of the shipwrecks dotting the infamous Cape of Storms, such as the French pirate ship Le Napoleon which was wrecked after being chased ashore by the Royal Navy frigate Narcissus on Christmas day, 1805.   Continued...