The Cape Peninsula in the southwestern corner of South Africa is surely the country’s– and one of the world’s– most beautiful places. Jagged mountains thrust into an ocean so blue you have to see it to believe it, and tucked up in hidden valleys and byways are unexpected blazes of flowers and wildlife. Birdwatchers and flower sniffers love it here: for diversity, color and sheer numbers, it will knock your socks off!
Between the mountains and the deep blue Southern Atlantic Ocean, on a shelf beneath the fabled Table Mountain, lies Cape Town, South Africa’s Mother City and the cosmopolitan hub of the Western Cape Province. Rough Guide says “Cape Town is southern Africa’s most beautiful, most romantic and most-visited city. Indeed, few urban centres anywhere can match its setting…”
The part of Cape Town that gets most of these raves is the former “Whites Only” section of the city, with its beautiful waterfront and fine suburbs. Indeed, you need to have lots of film when you visit here, plus a good appetite and your walking shoes. The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, a favorite among locals, will delight you with its shopping, dining and entertainment opportunities. And it’s a feast for your eyes, as well. Be sure to take the tram up to the top of Table Mountain, where the views will leave you stammering.
An absolute must is a visit to the penguin colony at Boulders Beach near Simonstown. And six miles north of Cape Town lies the infamous former penal colony Robben Island. Robben Island has over the years become synonymous with the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa. It was here that activists like Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki, Ahmed Kathrada, Robert Sobukwe and Neville Alexander, among many others, were imprisoned because of their opposition to apartheid.
Driving south of Cape Town you will find yourself on the extremely picturesque Chapman’s Peak Drive, 6 miles long and potentially a little hair-raising for the timid. At the end of the drive, the long and beautiful beach of Noordhoek is visible.
Located between Hout Bay and Kommetjie on the Cape’s Atlantic coast, Noordhoek is a quaint country village and artist’s mecca, full of studios and galleries that are home to everything from paintings to bronze sculptures to stained glass to ceramics. It’s easy to see why artists love it here, and so will you. You will also find here some interesting restaurants and coffee shops and a village pub. Be sure to visit the Red Herring Trading Yard, and the Silvermine Reserve.
One Sunday a month this town plays host to visitors from near and far who visit the “Noordhoek Art Route”, going from studio to studio in the village where visitors can talk to the artists and study and/or buy their work.
Noordhoek attracts those who love nature and wide open spaces, beaches, peace, security and privacy. And it’s all only 30 minutes from the center of Cape Town and just 5 minutes from a nearby supermarket and shopping mall. Fish Hoek, with its schools, shops and train station, is only 10 minutes drive and another 5 minutes further is an excellent 18 hole golf course.
Just outside of Noordhoek, tucked almost invisibly into a rare milkwood forest overlooking a 7-mile white sand beach, is a wonderful little RCI-affiliated resort named Monkey Valley Resort. The resort offers 2- and 3-bedroom cottages, each hidden in private alcoves within the forest, ensuring complete seclusion.
The 2-story thatched log cottages are decorated with antiques and each has a superb view of the beach and sea. There are Victorian fireplaces in the bedrooms, telephone and TV, well equipped farmhouse kitchens and private decks overlooking the sea (where you can barbecue, if you want to, while you watch the southern constellations roll across the night sky). You will fall asleep to the sound of the waves, and awaken to birdsong. Long walks on the beach are a must.
And, especially around September, pods of Southern Right Whales can be seen lobtailing and skyhopping just outside the shorebreak.
Quoting from the resort’s website: “At the heart of the resort is the treetop pub and open deck, always popular for evening sunsets and chilled sundowners of choice and a meeting point for guests and locals. The ambient sun warms the wooden panels of Thorfynns Restaurant, a natural preference for divine dinners and wonderful wines and a short stroll from your bed.
“A healthy farmhouse breakfast will prepare anyone for the myriad of activities available from Monkey Valley Resort. From beach walks to horse riding, lazy days around the swimming pool to hiking the mountains, the welcoming and efficient staff can point you in the right direction or arrange your daily activity.”
But you mustn’t think you will be really cut off from the world in this remote and lovely spot. Monkey Valley Beach Nature Resort also provides full business facilities: Computers with MS Word, Excel, Windows, Microsoft Publisher, Bubble Jet and Laser Printers, Photostating, Faxing, eMail and full Internet facilities. Other amenities include:
- an excellent restaurant, candlelit at night with fires in winter, and decks over the sea. The food is mostly free range and bar and restaurant orders can be delivered to cottages if required
- a quaint treetop pub
- a herbal sauna set in the treetops
- two swimming pools overlooking the sea
- hot and cold outdoor showers in each cottage
- massages, aromatherapy, reflexology, body stress release on appointment
- conference in a treetop thatched hall overlooking the sea and many unique smaller venues
- Absailing, golf, tennis, horse-riding, camel-riding, fishing, boating – all nearby
- baby-sitting services
- children’s playground
- volley ball
- direct access to an unspoiled 8 km beach
Also available are car rental and Chauffeur service, with personal attention and knowledge of beautiful Cape Town and its ambience, venues and activities.
So you can do as little as you like, or as much as you need. It will be entirely up to you.
Some websites you should visit for more information on South Africa, Cape Town and Noordhoek:
- http://www.monkeyvalleyresort.com/ –The resort’s website
- http://www.southafrica-travel.net/westcape/capen_noordhoek.htm –Noordhoek – Cape town and the Peninsula
- http://www.noordhoektourism.co.za/ –Noordhoek Tourism
- http://www.noordhoekvillage.co.za/ –Noordhoek Farm Village
- http://www.southafrica.net –Official South Africa tourism site
- http://www.sa-venues.com/westcape.htm –An excellent site for general info
- http://www.cape-town.net/ –Just what it says.
- http://www.waterfront.co.za/ –Website for the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront of Cape Town
"On the Road" is a compilation of destination ideas, resort reviews, videos and more gathered from a variety of sources that includes our readers.
The purpose of "On the Road" is to showcase some of the magnificent places in the world to visit, to give you an idea for someplace to go that you might previously not have thought of or known about. In most cases, but not all, we have provided a brief overview of a timeshare resort in the spotlighted area. Most of those resorts are either RCI Gold Crown or I.I. 5-Star quality. However, these resorts are not usually the only timeshare resorts in the area; be sure to check in your exchange catalog for a complete listing of available resorts. Check it out--- enjoy yourself, go somewhere new this year!
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