We love spending weekends in different parts of our beautiful country. These are a few of our favourite weekends. I hope they inspire you to experience South Africa like a local when visiting these cities and the bush!
Cape Town a.k.a The Mother City
If we’re in Cape Town, I like to stay centrally so that we can do a hike up Lion’s Head or a run along the Sea Point Promenade to start the weekend. After some exercise we might head out for brunch at Steenberg Vineyard’s excellent Sixteen82. Since Muizenberg is close by we’ll spend the afternoon with our friends who live out there. They like to surf, so we’ll hang out at the beach, watching the kids play in the sand and perhaps swim. If we have time, we’ll stroll along the boardwalk linking Muizenberg and Kalk Bay to have a drink at Cape to Cairo. In the evening we’ll go out to one of the many fine restaurants in Cape Town, hopefully meeting up with friends and family who live in the city.
On Sunday there are plenty of options to choose from. An easy and universally enjoyed activity is to spend the day in the spectacular Kirstenbosch Gardens or if we are in the mood for something more energetic we could take a hike up Table Mountain or around Silvermine. We might take a drive out to Franschhoek to have lunch at our favourite place, La Petite Ferme, or Haute Cabriere where we were married… If our mood is ‘slow down’ we’ll drive out to Strandloper on the West Coast for a 10 course feast of fish, casually served right on the beach. I’m always on the lookout for new places to recommend to clients, so if I hear of a hot tip, I will set aside some time to check it out, and I’ll visit old spots to make sure their quality standards haven’t dropped. To end the weekend we might have some sushi at Kyoto Garden Sushi or Willoughby’s before catching an evening flight back to Joburg to begin our week of school and work.
Johannesburg a.k.a Jozi/Joburg
The perfect weekend would begin with a visit to one of Joburg’s markets. My favourite for the kids is the Field Market or otherwise, the Neighbour Goods Market in the recently rejuvenated Braamfontein district is brilliant! If we have out of town visitors staying with us, I like to take them to Constitution Hill or the excellent Hector Pieterson museum in Soweto. For shopping, Amatuli Artefacts is my favourite, and we’ll usually stay for lunch or coffee at Razor Charlie’s. A game of tennis or a hike with the kids is the perfect way to spend the afternoon. Saturday evening is for dinner with friends. Joburg has a vibrant nightlife and we love to go out for dinner or drinks, but with young kids, these days we mostly stay at home and invite friends around. We’ll cook something simple but delicious, or do a traditional South African braai (barbeque) with lamb and boerewors (beef sausage) from Braeside Butchery. We love South African wines, and drink mostly local wine, but if we’ve recently been to France we might open a bottle of Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Evenings are spent around the table, French style, and we’ll likely end the evening with a digestif such as my husband’s favourite Guatemalan rum, Zacapa.
My perfect Sunday would start with a run around the suburbs, followed by some stretching in our beautiful garden while my husband cooks breakfast. My husband is French and lived in Spain for some time, so his cooking draws on these influences which are exotic and foreign to me. If the weather is good, as it invariably is in Joburg, we’ll eat outside and take our time over cups of coffee while the kids play in the garden. Sundays are lazy days for us, so if we have nothing on, we’ll spend the day playing with the kids and reading. If we’re lucky we might get a short siesta in the afternoon followed by a game of tennis in the late afternoon when the sun is not too hot. Sunday evening will be a simple supper, like soup, and a family film, before we head to bed ahead of Monday school and work.
On Safari a.k.a Weekend in The Bush
A weekend in the bush is one of my favourite ways to spend a weekend! Saturday morning will begin before sunrise with a hot cup of tea or coffee and a rusk (dry biscuit, usually dunked in tea). We’ll get into the open vehicle, cover ourselves in blankets against the cold, and set out on a game drive. There is always a sense of excitement and anticipation at this moment as we don’t know what wildlife we’ll see. If we’re lucky we’ll see some big cats (lions or leopards) returning from the night hunt. The elephants will be waking up to begin their day and the bush is usually alive with the sound of birds. Groups of antelope, giraffes and some smaller mammals will likely make an appearance and I always enjoy seeing my favourite warthogs. Hopefully we’ll return to camp satisfied and with a healthy appetite for a good bush breakfast!
We’ll spend the hottest part of the day at the pool, reading or taking a nap. In the late afternoon we’ll head out for another game drive, perhaps self driven, or with a guide and tracker. If the guide is good, he or she will add lots of interesting information at each sighting. The evening will be spent around the campfire, chatting about the day’s sightings. We’ll tell stories about past weekends in the bush and memorable sightings like a lion kill, or being surrounded by elephants on a drive, or walking among zebra and wildebeest. For dinner, we’ll braai (barbeque) meat on the fire, or make a traditional potjiekos.
On Sunday we’ll do another early game drive and enjoy a peaceful day in the bush, slowing down and enjoying the change in rhythm and pace. Reconnecting with nature is such a good way to restore balance in life and I always leave feeling rejuvenated. I try to remain connected to this feeling as we drive back to the city to start our week.