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101 Things to do in Cape Town & Western Cape
by Itumeleng Pooe
Short bio: Cape Town Routes Unlimited's Executive Manager for emerging markets (Africa, Asia & the Middle East) Her area of responsibility also covers Domestic Marketing & Events Tourism.
Before joining Cape Town Routes Unlimited, Itumeleng headed Franschhoek Wine Valley Tourist Association as Chief Executive Officer, a multi- sector organisation which is made up of 300 members including wineries, accommodation establishments, art galleries, restaurants etc.
Prior to joining Franschhoek Wine Valley, she worked for different travel related organisations both in the private and public sectors.
Her career in the travel industry spans back 15 year after spending 10 years at SA Tourism where she was the Marketing Manager for Asia & Oceania amongst other marketing positions held.
In her work for the public and private sectors, Itumeleng has been instrumental in developing international, national and provincial marketing and development strategies. As CEO of Franschhoek Wine Valley she managed to put Franschhoek above other towns and wine routes through innovative marketing techniques. She was behind the launch of Franschhoek Champagne Festival which saw French Champagne Houses working side by side with local Methode Cap Classique producers from all over the Cape. As group marketing manager for a national tourism conglomerate, she developed an enviable and well recognised brand.
In her capacity as director in the department of economic development and tourism in the Western Cape, she spearheaded a number of programmes that actively engaged and led to effective stakeholder collaboration between public and private sectors, one example amongst other things, being the brain behind the first ever conference in 2003 titled: Safety & Security: New Driver of Tourism Economies on which the current provincial safety plan tourism is based.
Itumeleng was also awarded in the Regional Business Achiever's Awards 2007 by Business Women Association Western Cape. Some of her achievements include an award as one of the Unsung Heroes-2003 in recognition of the contribution she made to tourism growth in the Western Cape.
Itumeleng holds a post graduate diploma from a reputable tourism and hospitality international college- Schloss Klessheim in Salzburg- Austria and has also done a stint at Tokyo International Centre.
Most first time visitors to Cape Town and the Western Cape make their way along fairly well-worn paths to favourite destinations; Table Mountain, the Cape Winelands, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, Cape Point, the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront complex or Nelson Mandela's Robben Island.
Known as one of the world's most beautiful places, Cape Town and the Western Cape offers visitors gorgeous scenery and iconic attractions, but also some of the most unique and unusual leisure tourism experiences.
We originally packaged 2010 things you could do in our destination during the 2010 FIFA World Cup, but we decided to lighten the load and brewed something special for you. Some ideas are totally frivolous, others original and timely reminders. Whether it's the Cape Town International Kite Festival in Muizenberg, listening to a Cape Malay choir or parachuting over Citrusdal, at the very least it'll get you thinking.
This list is a selection of 101 experiences - some firmly mainstream, others a little left of centre.
Sip champagne at dusk on Table Mountain - best views of the city
Savour the taste and smell of Cape Malay dishes like denningvleis ('a sweet and spicy lamb stew') and pienang curry ('an aromatic curry') in the Bo-Kaap
Play 18 holes at any of the world class designer golf courses dotted all over the province
Follow the historic West Coast Mission Station Route from Mamre to Vredendal
Grab your camera or sketch pad and wander around the beautifully restored Victorian village of Matjiesfontein (in the arid Karoo), a national monument
Stay overnight on Table Mountain's Hoerikwaggo Trail - a luxury mountain trail
At Cape Agulhas stand at the most southern tip of Africa - the official meeting place of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans
Visit a food market - Stellenbosch's Slow Food market, Woodstock's Biscuit Mill and Tokai's Porter Estate are as good - and different - as they get.
Join in the countdown to the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ and take a guided bus tour onto the soccer pitch of the Green Point Stadium, currently being built at the Green Point Common, Cape Town. Be entertained by the "GreensMan" one man-show - a dynamic, nostalgic, multi-media portrayal of the history of the Common.
Cycle through the Cape Winelands in autumn - enjoy the colourful autumn shades
Be dazzled by the wild Cape West Coast flowers in spring (July - October)
Get some retail therapy off the beaten track. Step back in history at one of the rural village shops .
Get down to live music and kultuur ('culture') at the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival at Oudtshoorn
Learn to make cheese in the Cape Winelands
Take a deep breath and abseil off Table Mountain - at 112 metres, it is the world's highest commercial abseil
Don your hiking gear and follow the trail to the Maltese Cross or the Wolfberg Arch in the Cederberg
Kayak around Cape Point
Do the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour - the world's largest individually timed cycling event
Taste roosterkoek, a scrumptous, freshly baked bread at one of our cultural museums. At festivals it's also bound to be on the street.
See albatrosses and other seabirds on a pelagic birding trip south of Cape Point
Stand quietly at the kramat ('a holy Muslim site') on Signal Hill
Watch Shakespeare come alive at the annual Maynardville Fair in Cape Town
Enjoy the vibe at the most visited tourist attraction in South Africa, the V&A Waterfront
Follow a penguin on Boulders Beach or Stony Point
Eyeball a Great White Shark during a cage dive at Gansbaai
Brace yourself and cage dive with crocodiles in Oudtshoorn & pop into the Cango Caves
Take a 4x4 mountain safari trip on a legendary army truck to the spectacular Matroosberg Peak (247m -highest 4x4 route in the Cape)
Use a township B&B as your base for your stay & be enriched by the cultural experience
Ride a horse on a beach or in the vineyards
Visit the historic and iconic District Six Museum
Fish an acorn out of your wine while having lunch under the Stellenbosch oaks
Listen to the whales blowing as you drift off to sleep on the Cape Whale Coast (June- Nov) and meet the world's only whale-crier
Sample brandies in KWV's famed Cathedral Cellar or explore the Brandy Route
Picnic to live music at the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
Learn about Khoi culture at Cape St Blaize Cave in Mossel Bay, then visit the Dias Museum and view a life-size replica of the pioneering Portuguese caravel that dropped anchor here in 1488
Try one of the Cape's award-winning spas and soothe body and soul
Snap your fingers to The Cape Minstrels at the Tweede Nuwe Jaar ('Second New Year, January 2') street parade
Slurp oysters in Knysna
Feast on the local cuisine and the melt-in-mouth Karoo lamb
Stand in cell number five on the iconic freedom landmark, Robben Island (where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated)
Quaff wine at the Wacky Wine Weekend in Robertson
Take a donkey cart ride into the Swartberg
Ride an ostrich in Oudtshoorn
Muse on Khoi and Stone Age artefacts at Stilbaai or feed a tame eel
Take the Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe from George to Mossel Bay
Stomp the divots at a polo match in Plettenberg Bay
Catch your supper at Witsand, a coastal town on the Cape Garden Route & Klein Karoo
Buy seeds at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden and start a fynbos garden at home. But the really big deal are the Gardens themselves - they have to be the most magnificent in the world.
Step off the Bloukrans Bridge, the world's highest commercial bungee jump
Star-gaze in the Cape Karoo
Walk up Table Mountain's Platteklip or Skeleton Gorge and take the cable car down - or vice versa
Immerse yourself in world class jazz at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival
Get strung out at the annual Cape Town International Kite Festival in Muizenberg
Visit South Africa's famous Groote Schuur Hospital - where the world's first heart transplant was performed.
Pick your own cherries, olives, strawberries, apricots, grapes and other luscious delights all year-round
Cycle the ABSA Cape Epic (Mountain Bike Race) or the Dirtopia in the Cape Winelands
Tuck into the flavour of "bokkoms" (dried fish) on the Cape West Coast
Haggle over something handmade at Greenmarket Square Market
Hire a 4x4 and get it dirty on a trail in the Hex River Mountains
Paddle an inflatable or a canoe down the Berg River
Dress for the occasion and strut like a peacock at the J&B Met horse race
Learn to kite-surf and throw caution to the winds at blustery Bloubergstrand in summer
Slip into an old-fashioned copper helmet and diving suit and become a temporary resident of the predator tank at the Two Oceans Aquarium
Catch live music at the Paul Cluver Amphitheatre - over Sir Lowry's Pass from Cape Town, near Grabouw. It's a gorgeous day out from the city (Cluver incidentally produces some of the country's best white wines). Check out a What's On guide to see who's playing
See Cape Winelands garagistes (boutiques winemakers) at work
Enjoy a seafood meal at an open air restaurant on the beach
See in the New Year with fireworks at the V&A Waterfront
Grab binoculars and bird book and go twitching at Langebaan lagoon
Walk through the unique Cape Floral Kingdom - the smallest yet most diverse of only six in the world. Find a trail to walk; Fernkloof Nature Reserve outside Hermanus and the Kogelberg Nature Reserve - Hangklip-Kleinmond, where fynbos-covered mountains soar above crashing breakers, are worthy of mention
Block your ears on Signal Hill as the noon gun marks midday for the past 200 years. Then take a walking tour of Bo-Kaap, a colourful, culturally distinct area founded by slaves in the 17th century and inhabited largely by their descendents
Glide through the Outeniqua yellowwoods on a forest canopy - attached to a steel cable by a harness
Tuck into freshly fried fish, calamari and chips at any seaside village
Go back to school and learn to surf at Muizenberg
Feel a falconer's power with a raptor on your arm at Spier's Eagle Encounters centre
Spend a day soaking up the sun and watching beautiful people on Clifton's Fourth Beach or enjoy a sunset picnic on Third Beach. Remember your sunblock
Skinny-dip in a remote mountain stream
Take in the crisp, clean air and total silence of the Cape Karoo in the village of Prince Albert
Experience the African sound and go drumming at various venues in the Western Cape
Catch talented, emerging bands live in Obs; (short for 'Observatory')
Immerse yourself in the vibe of cricket or rugby at Newlands
Enjoy a hearty "waterblommetjie" (small water flowers) stew in the Cape Winelands
Find out where they're performing and hear a Cape Malay choir perform traditional songs, hundreds of years old
Learn to fly-fish, then catch and release a Clanwilliam trout
During the winter months stand amazed at the mating dance of the majestic Blue Cranes in freshly ploughed Overberg farmlands
Put away your map and watch, switch off your GPS and drive Route 62, the longest wine route in the world, from Cape Town to Haarlem. A week will allow you to savour small-town hospitality on the way
Stock up with fresh fruits, veggies and jams or preserves at the numerous road-stalls dotted throughout the province
Walk hand-in-trunk with an elephant on the Cape Garden Route & Klein Karoo
Listen to thousands of Cape Gannets on Bird Island off Lambert's Bay
Soak away your cares in the healing waters of a number of mineral spas in the region
On a chilly winter's night, sip port in front of a fire in Calitzdorp
Check out the so-called feather palaces, built during the ostrich feather boom at the turn of the century, like those in Oudtshoorn and Ladismith
At the Prince Albert Show, try your hand at counting sheep in a pen (not as easy as it sounds) and - if you dare - cow-pat chucking
During Bastille Week, don your tricolour, stock up on cheese and wine, and play boules in Franschhoek
Sip hot rooibos ('red bush') tea after veldskoen ('soft-skin shoe') shopping at Clanwilliam
Wander through a wonderland of geology and paleontology in the Karoo National Park and the Laingsburg Geological Walk
Travel back in time with the five-million-year-old fossils at the Iziko West Coast Fossil Park
Visit the brand new whale museum in Hermanus (the next closest one is in New Zealand)
Make the journey to dead-end Wupperthal in the Cederberg (Cape West Coast), a picture-perfect, time-stood-still village established two centuries back by Lutheran missionaries. Also once home to Louis Leipoldt, one of the fathers of South African literature.
Make your way to Knysna from Beaufort West on the N1. The road to Prince Alfred Pass (gravel road) is dead-quiet and beautiful, as is the Pass that gently ushers you into the holiday town
Feed the squirrels in the Company Gardens, near St Georges Cathedral
Take the 90 minute drive to 17th century Tulbagh, one of the first three settlements to be built in the Western Cape, and possibly the most beautiful. Parts of it resemble a period-piece village.
In case it's all too much, here's a reminder of some of our major events:
Cape Minstrel Carnival - same date every year - 2 Jan 2009
J&B Met - always the last Saturday of January - 31 Jan 2009
Design Indaba - 20 Feb–1 Mar 2009
Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour - 8 Mar 2009
ABSA Cape Epic - 21–28 Mar 2009
Klein Karoo Nationale Kunstefees (KKNK) - 4–11 Mar 2009
Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon - always the Saturday of Easter - 11 April 2009
Cape Town International Jazz Festival - 3–4 April 2009
SA Cheese Festival - 23–27 April 2009
Lamberts Bay Crayfish & Cultural Festival - 23–26 April 2009
Prince Albert Olive and Town Festival - 1–2 May 2009
Cederberg Festival - 2–3 May 2009
Riebeek Valley Olive Festival - always the first weekend in May - 2–3 May 2009
Wacky Wine Weekend - always the first weekend in June - 4–7 Jun 2009
Vodacom Funny Festival - 15 Jun–19 Jul 2009
Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival - 3–12 Jul 2009
Franschhoek Bastille Festival - 11–12 Jul 2009
Isuzu Berg River Canoe Marathon - 15–19 Jul 2009
Virgin Mobile Cape Town Fashion Week - July or Aug 2009
Clanwilliam Wild Flower Show - 27–31 Aug 2009
Darling Wild Flower Show - 18–20 Sept 2009
Hermanus Whale Festival - 24–27 Sept 2009
Cape Odyssey Trail Run - 7–11 Oct 2009
Cape Town International Kite Festival - 24–25 Oct 2009