South Africa

Must Eat Restaurants in Cape Town

On our recent trip to Cape Town, I took the responsibility of eating very, very seriously. Here are a few of my favorite restaurants in Cape Town.

1. The Flagship: The most incredible dining experience of my life. Chef Bruce, the incredible owner and chef, has since passed away, but his legacy carries on through a new head chef.

2. PotLuck Club: Highlights were: PotLuck Club Fish Tacos (featured above with Yellowtail), Truffle Quiche, Mussels, Beef Short Rib and Steam Buns and the Korean Fried Chicken.

3. Test Kitchen: 10 courses, a culinary adventure, totally insane.

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I'm still full from my trip over two months ago! The food scene in Cape Town is just incredible and I highly recommend eating as much as you can while you are there!

Finding the best bar in a new city

Every time I visit a new city, I like to try and find the best bar. This is an extremely subjective topic as there are obviously a million amazing bars in every city. I really like to find the bar that is either 1) unique 2) historical or 3) just really fun. Here are a few of my favorites.

1. Austin, TX- The Driskill Bar. The bar in the Driskill dates back to 1186 and is in the oldest hotel in Austin. The bar has a beautiful copper ceiling, huge couches and unique chairs. They also make a few special Austin-centric drinks.

2. Cape Town- Cape Grace Bar. In Cape Town the Cape Grace hotel has an underground whiskey bar. It's a great place to try a new whiskey and see a little bit of the Cape Town vibe. It didn't seem like there were many tourists in the bar, despite its location within a hotel.

3. Barcelona- Chupitos. This is definitely a bar you only go to once ;), but it is unique enough that you have to experience this Spanish shot bar.

In Barcelona, this bar has hundreds of shots available to order. Your bartender can definitely help you pick out one you will like. It's worth going for the unique experience and for the laughs.

What are your favorite bars around the world? I would love to know where I should hit up next!

Visiting South Africa's Wine Country: Stellenbosch

You can't visit South Africa without checking out the wine region of Stellenbosch. Besides being an overall beautiful place to visit there are some incredible wineries there. We visited four wineries, but I can only remember three so I am going to share those.

1. Stark Conde: This was my favorite winery of the four we visited. Stark Conde has won multiple awards for having the best Cab in South Africa. I can't say I disagree with this. The winery is also very personable and the staff is very knowledgeable.

2. Waterford: Waterford not only had great wines, but they offered a wine and chocolate paired tasting! The chocolates were beyond amazing and of course we loved the wines.

3. Delaire Graff: We ate an awesome lunch at Delaire Graff and also enjoyed their wines. It was winter when we went so we had to sit indoors, but this place had the best view and would be amazing to sit outside during the summer.

It rained the whole day we were there, but we heard that the town and area are nice for walking around too. Overall, we had a very nice day in Stellenbosch. Where is your favorite wine region? Where should we visit next for great wines?

Must Do: Safari at Londolozi

If I'm being honest, I've been putting off writing a review of our safari at Londolzi ever since we returned from South Africa. The entire experience was so transformative for me that I didn't know if I could do it justice by just writing a list of my favorite things. All I can say is that if I had to go back anywhere in the world right this second, I would head straight there.

Every second, every moment, every experience at Londolzi was the most unique, exciting experience of my life. Can't thank enough our tracker/ranger duo Derick and Sean for leading the way.

The entire amazing experience reminded me of one of my favorite travel quotes: "I have to say that although it broke my heart, I was and still am glad I was there."

Packing for a Safari: Five Must Haves

We just returned from the most incredible Safari ever, but before we left I had a lot of anxiety about what clothing to pack. Did I HAVE to wear khaki? Did I need a hat? Could I wear my leopard scarf while we were out spotting leopards? (Quick answers: no, yes, yes). Now that I have completed my safari, here are my five packing must haves for enjoying yourself!

1. Wear layers- It was pretty cold in the morning and pretty warm in the afternoon and the only way to be comfortable on a safari is to wear layers! I was fine wearing long pants the entire day, but I wore a short sleeve shirt, with a cardigan over it, a fleece, gloves and scarf. I was able to really easily remove layers and keep them in the truck.

2. Wear a hat- It doesn't have to be a wide-brimmed hat (which I love), but I highly recommend packing a hat. It is very sunny, there is no shade and you are open to the elements.

3. Wear neutral colors- Don't wear bright colors on your safari. You'll want to be in more neutral khaki, white and green. Of course, I'm not entirely sure that it really matters what colors you wear (some do attract bugs so avoid those), but in general those are the right colors to pack!

4. Bugspray and Sunscreen- Our safari provided both of these items, but you will definitely want to pack them. The bugs were not bad at all on our safari, but I felt better wearing it anyway. I obviously needed sunscreen over my entire body. Also my shirt pictured above is a special bug-away shirt from REI. It was also light-weight and perfect for safari.

5. Binoculars and Camera- Get a better set of binoculars and a better camera than you think you will want. Trust me on this.

Unique Experience: Devil's Pool and Victoria Falls

Just a few weeks ago I was hanging on the edge of the world's largest waterfall. Today, I'm just back in my office...sigh. Of course, just going to Victoria Falls in Zambia wasn't enough for me, I HAD to go to Devil's Pool. If you aren't familiar with Devil's Pool just Google a few videos of it and you'll get the point. Devil's Pool is a natural pool at the edge of Victoria Fall's that is SOMETIMES safe for swimming. They had just opened the pool for swimming a few days before we arrived, which made my nerves just a little bit more active. We arrived on Livingston Island for a VERY rushed tour of the Island. Then our tour guide had us begin the swim to Devil's Pool (yes, you actually have to swim there!). He was really nice and helped us swim our way to the pool (FYI if you aren't a strong swimmer, definitely use your own judgement in doing this). Then we got into the pool and hello!!! We are on the edge of a waterfall.

It was breathtaking and scary, but definitely worth doing. After about a million photos from the edge, we carefully swam back. Super exhilarating, super fun, Devil's Pool is a must-do unique experience in Victoria Falls.

Must Eat: PotLuck Club in Cape Town

One of my favorite dining experiences in Cape Town was our lunch at PotLuck Club. We had heard great reviews, so we decided to stop in for lunch. The area where the restaurant is located is called The Biscuit Mill and there are tons of cute little shops around there. There is also a spectacular view from the restaurant. We ordered a bunch of dishes to share. Highlights were: PotLuck Club Fish Tacos (featured above with Yellowtail), Truffle Quiche, Mussels, Beef Short Rib and Steam Buns and the Korean Fried Chicken. This is a great place to go with a group for shared plates and the food is spectacular. I would definitely go back for dinner (we ran out of meal times, which is why we went for lunch). Overall, PotLuck Club was a great meal in Cape Town!

Unique Experience: Uthando Tours in Cape Town

One of the things I love most about traveling is the ability to see a place I love through new eyes. When I founds out we would be going to Cape Town, I knew I wanted to take a township tour. Townships are home to a huge percentage of the South African population and were built during Apartheid times. I was a little nervous about visiting a Township because I didn't want to go on an invasive tour where I gawked at people who are less fortunate. Luckily we found Uthando Tours and they provided us with an incredible, unique experience of visiting a township. Xolani, our tour guide, took us to the Khayelitsha township, which is the largest township in Cape Town. We visited three amazing non-profits within the township: a school, an old folks home and a women's empowerment program. I was so inspired by the work of these non-profits, which are supported heavily by Uthando. In fact, it was great to see that the money we paid for our tour went to help so many amazing programs. Also, the people...just incredible.

I highly recommend using Uthando for a Township Tour in Cape Town. Don't be afraid about the idea of visiting a Township. It's so worth it.

Must See: Robben Island in Cape Town

One of the most interesting parts of our recent trip to South Africa was our visit to Robben Island. Robben Island is home to the political prison where Nelson Mandela was a prisoner for over 25 years!  My husband and I arrived in Cape Town ahead of our traveling partners and we added this tour to our schedule on as a whim. It was super easy to find the tour operator on the V&A Waterfront and we boarded the boat for the tour.

You first tour the island by bus, followed by an in-depth tour of the prison by a former political prisoner. It was fascinating to learn about apartheid from his perspective. I really admired the people who were political prisoners during this time for their perseverance and desire for improvement. This is a must do tour if you are in Cape Town. The entire tour takes about 3 hours including the boat ride.

After the tour we grabbed a bite to eat at the V&A Market on the Wharf, which is a really cool little market place for local vendors. I highly recommend you stop and try a few things on your back from your tour.

This was one of the most interesting tours I have ever been on and a great way to frame up our entire trip to South Africa.