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What to do in a Cape Winter.

Winter is coming. 

While Cape Town is definitely one of those cities which comes alive in summer, I think far too many of us are hibernating to notice all the fun and festivities on the go when its cooler. Even the dorps, and farms nearby have so much on offer during this season. So whether you’re in search of a fire place, comfort food, wine or adventure, I challenge you to leave the warmth of your home and go experience winter in a new way.

1. Comfort Food

One great reason to celebrate winter is the ushering in of soups, bredies, stews and hot desserts. South Africa has mouth-watering food on offer during every season, but winter is a time to hide the scale, forget the calorie counting and enjoy hearty home-made dishes. If you’re not in the mood to stand at the stove for ages, jump in the car and head to…

– Markets

Cape Town has quickly morphed into the capital of markets offering gourmet meals, artisan goods and handmade products. One of my favourite markets is the Bay Harbour Market in the working Harbour of Hout Bay. Offering everything from renowned fish and chips, Prego rolls and espresso. You can shop, eat and enjoy live all under cover when the rain comes down. @bayharbourmkt

Photo Credit: Bay Harbour Market

– Restaurants with fireplaces

1. Galbi in Long Street
This Korean Barbeque spot brings back memories of tasty marinated meats which we cooked ourselves over the grill in Seoul. Bring friends as most of the Asian fusion side dishes are meant for sharing and enjoy succulent meat (including local game) after you’ve grilled it yourself. Eating and keep warm becomes a lot more fun! +27 (0)21 424 3030

2. Societi Bistro
With a menu that’s adapted seasonally, look forward butternut salads, pastas and risottos, pork neck, sirloin, fillet and every wine to pair perfectly with your meal. Plus a fireplace to keep you toasty in this cosy restored Georgian style home. +27 (0)21 424 2100

3. Polana
Perch your cold self down on the couch beside the fire whilst sipping cocktails, listening to live music and watching the wave’s crash on the rocks just outside the window. Other than Harbour House upstairs, there is no better view of Kalk Bay’s torrid ocean, seals or whales served with a side order of fresh seafood or cuts of prime beef fillet, rump or sirloin. +27 (0)21 788 7162

Photo Credit: Gale Mcall.

– Good Food & Wine Show 2014 from 29 May – 1 June.

For the culinary and wine experience, don’t miss out on this extravaganza of baking theatres, tasting hubs, food trucks, ‘Meet the Chef’, regional wine tasting tours and Around the World restaurants. Follow them on Twitter @goodfoodSA

– Robertson Slow 2014 from 8 – 10 August

Mosi on down to the Robertson Wine Valley and look forward to dinners in the homes of winemaking families, learn to make pasta, cook traditional Robertson country cuisine of Karoo lamb and Waterblommetjie Bredie, “melktert. Join vineyard tours, horse riding o boat cruises.

2. Wine & Winter

Groot Constantia, Franschhoek, Stellenbosch and Paarl are all premier wine producing regions right on our doorstep who boast alluring vineyard views, wine tasting to suit your palate and gourmet food to pair it with.


This winter look forward to The Franschhoek Bastille Festival 2014 on 12th and 13th July and Franschhoek Uncorked 2014 on 27 and 28 September.


Come celebrate Franschhoek’s centuries–old French Huguenot Heritage at the Bastille Festival. Bring your berets and enjoy all that this award-winning food and wine capital has to offer. Watch the barrel-rolling competition, visit the Farmer’s Market and enjoy the musical performances. @Franschhoek_SA.

3. Outdoor Adventure

After all the soul food and wine, it’s a good idea to throw some exercise in the mix too. In cooler temperatures, outdoor activities are often more pleasant, so get that body moving.Visit the new ‘Boomslang’ Walkway at Kirstenbosch which will give you a new vantage point to enjoy the green beauty below. Go trail running in Table Mountain National Park and enjoy the crisp fynbos-scented air.

For the brave; head to Standford ( @visitstanford) for shark cage diving which continues in the winter albeit in colder waters. All surfers know that the waves only get better in Cape Town when rain falls and the temperature is cooler. It can get quite chilly, but if you’re set on bigger waves, grab a thicker wetsuit and enjoy.

– The Gravity Adventure Festival 2014 from 15 – 17 August

For the fit and adventurous join in the Black Diamond Night Run, Turbo Rocky River Night Swim, Spur Trail Series or the Sportsmans Warehouse MTB. Even if outdoor exercise is not for you, there’s plenty of action to view, a Film Festival and live bands to watch and great food to eat.

– The Pick ‘n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival 2014 from 4 – 13 July

Challenge yourself and join the Knysna Forest Marathon, Knysna Cycle Tour or Triathlon, Canoe Relay and Junior Golf event for teens. Perhaps your talents lie elsewhere, like the Oyster Shucking and Oyster Eating Competitions. Either way, Knysna is beautiful even when its misty and rainy.

Photo Credit: Pick n Pay Knysna Oster Festival 2014

4. Day Spas

Spas often offer winter specials during the months of May until August. And who doesn’t want to bathe in warm ingredients to moisturise your skin or have a massage and body scrub to heat up to absorb your tension? Keep an eye on @healthspasguide for winter specials.

Photo Credit: 12 Apostles Hotel & Spa

5. Fashion, Design and Comedy.

Feast your eyes on the latest creations by local designers at the Mercedes – Benz Cape Town Fashion Week 2014 24 – 26 July. Creative Week hits Cape Town from 15 – 21 September as well as the Cape Town Fringe Festival from 25 September to 5 October. Follow @CreativeCT to find out more about which exhibitions, markets, art classes and street performances are happening.

Cure your winter blues with a bit of laughter at the The Cape Town Jive Funny Festival 2014 from 26 May – 22 June.

Photo by Per-Anders Pettersson at Cape Town Fashion Week 2012.

6. Day trips, Safari’s, Wine tastings & more.

This may apply mostly to foreigners but when it comes to day tours in and around Cape Town ( including the Overberg and Garden Route) we recommend Godfrey at Cape Impressions. (This isn’t an advert but rather an awesome insider recommendation.)

Contact him on +27832619597 or email

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