Dear Friends,

I love this quote which I was reminded of recently: “The Cape is the stateliest thing and the fairest cape we saw in the whole circumference of the World” by Sir Francis Drake, English sea captain and explorer, on seeing the Cape for the first time, 1580.

Yet another year has passed here in Cape Town and what a year it has been! After the water problems, this past winter was back to normal as far as the weather was concerned and, we are happy to report that the reservoirs are close to full and water restrictions have been lifted somewhat. The World can learn from Cape Town that has become a city of water savers against all odds. The effects of global warming are manifesting all over the World telling humanity that it is time to conserve the gifts of nature. Fresh water amounts to less than 3% of the World’s total and should be used carefully. This is about more than just water – Cape Town is a world-renowned travel destination, so sustainability is always going to be a focus in our unique attractions.

Our garden at Jambo did take some strain but we were nevertheless rewarded with our usual array of Spring flowers from the Clivias, the Wisteria growing over the front fence with its heavily scented flowers looking like bunches of grapes, the Port Wine Magnolia with its tantalizing scent and the Petrea over the front gable, all burst forth in bloom to tell us that Winter was over!

In our Waterfront, The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA) is fast becoming one of Cape Town’s top tourist attractions having opened on September 22 last year.

“There are not just a hundred visitors a day, but thousands.” says Mark Coetzee, Director and Chief Curator. Tour operators have informed Coetzee that they have seen clients extending their stay, just for the museum, mentioning that Cape Town is rapidly becoming an international cultural destination. Audio tours are in English and Afrikaans now, with other languages to be introduced soon. The live tours are available in German, French and other European languages. Zeitz MOCAA offers a range of activities, such as lectures, temporary exhibitions, and children’s readings. If you are pressed for time, there is a highlights tour that visits two out of the museum’s nine floors. These floors are home to Zeitz MOCAA’s permanent collection, and best represent African art and culture. Furthermore, there is an architectural tour and an educational tour, averaging around 40 minutes. The gallery is housed in what was formerly grain storage silos and is an architectural masterpiece.

Take a look at the progress in Cape Town! Building operations are taking place everywhere! Not surprising as everyone wants to come and to be here. There is so much to do and see. Jambo Guest House is truly centrally situated. Our guests can walk to the V&A Waterfront (1 km) Next to the Waterfront, on Saturday and Sunday they will find a superb food market – catering for all – vegetarians, vegans, and chocolate brownie lovers! Cheryl Ozinsky, the market founder, announced that whales could be seen in the distance and we were lucky enough to spot them while sitting with our coffee and snacks. A rare treat for December!

The Green Point Urban Park is directly across the road from Jambo where on weekends many celebrate their children’s and grandchildren’s birthdays in grand style. At the cafe in the park one can relax with coffee and a snack or even a slice of their excellent baked cheesecake! The children have a lovely and secure play area, can ride their bikes and scooters and watch the multitude of fish, coots, geese and ducks, hadeda ibis and of course seagulls. On the other side of the biggest lake one can watch the golfers and weather permitting, see the para-sailors flying from Signal Hill. The park is open daily from seven to seven and is patrolled by helpful guides. Halfway down the main path is the Virgin Active Fitness Centre and it continues to the beachfront at Mouille Point Lighthouse.

The Hop-on, Hop-off busses have increased their routes and are more flexible and we have thoroughly enjoyed a day touring the inner city and the blue, mini peninsula tour. This tour includes a visit to wineries some of which we have never visited before and being on the bus we could enjoy tasting wines. We are now official agents and can now organise your tickets for you at breakfast, before you start your day of sightseeing, we can check the weather and advise you on which is the most suitable for that day.

This year South Africa has been voted as one of the top travel destinations by both luxury travel network and Lonely Planet, the largest travel guide book publisher in the world. In Virtuoso’s 2018 Luxe Report, South Africa shone in the categories of Top Global Destinations, Top Millennial Destinations and Top Adventure Destinations, based on insights from travel agencies across the globe. Lonely Planet selected South Africa as one of the top ten countries to visit in its Best in Travel 2018 list, saying: “Beaches and mountains, wildlife and wine, and let’s not forget vibrant culture and cosmopolitan Cape Town – South Africa has long been one of the world’s most alluring countries…With more to see than ever, and favourable exchange rates offering great value, 2018/19 is a phenomenal time to visit South Africa.”

While it may be one of this year’s hottest travel spots, a whole lot of celebrities have long had a love affair with South Africa. Here’s what some have had to say:

Celebrity chef, Heston Blumenthal: “The South African cuisine you see today is refined, balanced and quite modern in terms of its lightness, but showcasing South African produce. They have beautiful fish and seafood down there, from hake and yellowtail to the west-coast mussels and oysters from Knysna. The meat is also exceptional.”

Tennis champion, Roger Federer is so enamoured with South Africa that he even owns a home in Knysna, his favourite childhood holiday spot. He says: “My heart is in South Africa, through my mum. My mum being from here and me spending a lot of time here as well, I feel most connected to this part of the world”

Hollywood actor Leonardo di Caprio loves South Africa after experiencing amazing animal encounters here. “South Africa’s natural beauty is unmatched”

It is now easier than ever to get here with Edelweiss Air having added an extra flight to its Zurich-Cape Town route, taking the number of weekly flights to four and Austrian Airlines now offering two weekly flights between Cape Town and Vienna. The Austrian Airlines service to Cape Town offers a Premium Economy Class, which until now has only been available on Lufthansa aircraft.

The Western Cape is now becoming more well known for its countless craft beer and gin-making options. There are almost 100 artisanal gins now available in South Africa and the number is steadily growing. Craft beer is even bigger and covers all nine provinces.

One of my favourite gins is Inverroche, produced on the Garden Route is Stilbaai, not too far from us. It has become one of the best-known South African gins. If you happen to be passing there, they offer a combination of a distillery tour, gin tasting and a fascinating gin school.”

Whilst on the subject of drinks, Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky (one of my personal favourites!) has clinched the title of World’s Best Grain Whisky and founder distiller, Andy Watts was awarded the title of global Icon of Whisky Master Distiller/Master Blender for 2018. These awards held annually by the UK’s Whisky Magazine attract a lot of competition from well-known Scottish, Irish, American, Japanese, Taiwanese and other whiskies from around the world. Watts attended a gala dinner held at the Waldorf Hilton Hotel in London to receive the awards and says the win was overwhelming news for the brand and SA: “We have overcome the odds against the perceived perception that only traditional whisky producing countries can be taken seriously … Our industry in SA is only 40 years old and although we’ve had many hurdles along the way, we have become innovative in our approach to manage our unique warmer climate, found creative ways to use home-grown raw material to our best advantage and constantly strive for crafting exceptional whiskies.”

Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky, the only whisky in the world to be made from 100% South African maize (mielies), is incredibly smooth due to its rather unique double maturation over a five-year period in casks previously used for Bourbon. The warmer climate is also a contributing factor which accelerates the interaction between wood, spirit and air during maturation, resulting in a much smoother whisky at a younger age usually associated with more mature whiskies. It took Andy 10 years to develop Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky before it was released in 2009 and since then, this whisky has created a tidal wave of interest for its unique taste. The whisky was first named World’s Best Grain Whisky in 2013 and has received gold and double gold at all the major international whisky competitions.

So, let us raise a glass to your next visit!

In case you were thinking of a trip to the “Fairest Cape” keep in mind that there is still a very favourable exchange rate so your Pounds, Dollars and Euros will go very far.

We hope you had a wonderful festive season and we wish you a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2019.

– Posted 2019-01-01