We are proud of our Cape Floral Kingdom (Fynbos/fine bush), which hosts and boasts 8 200 different endemic plant species. One of the 6 floral kingdoms on earth, Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, is a mandatory visit while in Cape Town.
An hour’s drive away is the Harold Porter Botanical Garden in Betty’s Bay. The journey takes us on one of the best scenic drives in the world, framed by the Hottentots Holland Mountains looking downwards onto the waters of False Bay.
Our local Fynbos has inspired an unprecedented explosion of local artisanal gin production. I invite you to explore and taste the exciting offerings of our brave distillers who are foraging our plethora of wild endemism, creating exciting and aromatic infusions in our homegrown Gins and Tonics.
Robben Island is synonymous with Mr Nelson Mandela, who spent 18 years of his 27 years in prison there. The island’s history began nearly 400 years ago. Before housing political prisoners, it was a place of banishment for lepers, the mentally challenged, common criminals, and South Africans opposed to Dutch and British rule. In 1998 it was transformed into a museum, and the following year, given the honoured status of a World Heritage site by UNESCO.
Table Mountain is one of the 7 New Natural Wonders of the World and, geologically, it is 800 million years old. Today, it is an iconic tourist destination that beautifully dominates the ‘mother city’. The first Cable Car was constructed in 1929 and has entranced more than 26 million visitors since then. It offers 360-degree views of Cape Town. While imprisoned on Robben Island, Mr Nelson Mandela recalls admiring on a clear day the view of the mountain, which he said was his inspiration.
Before Mandela transformed our country from a curiosity into a place worth considering, the staple cocktails/aperitifs were a sweetish red wine, a dessert wine, brandy and coke, and beer – the latter strongly associated with ‘braai, boerewors and rugby’. (Barbeque, saucisson et du rugby). African traditional beer, ‘Umqombothi’ was drunk ubiquitously.
Interestingly enough, despite economic boycotts against us as the pariah nation, in 1964 a South African white table wine, Lieberstein, achieved the most sales globally – 31 million litres of bottled natural wine. The grape was Steen, today known as Chenin Blanc.
This signified a wine revolution in the 1960s and we are proud of this historical momentum for putting our wines on the global map, more particularly, as Chenin Blanc, in my opinion, has become the white grape which reflects South African terroir and culture. Thanks to SFW (Stellenbosch Farmers Winery) at the time.
So rather than listening to me rambling on and on, I invite you to visit Cape Town and discover first-hand the fascinating stories that have been told about this fairest Cape at the tip of Africa.
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