We could easily stay at Ellerman and never feel the need to leave, but when guests are ready to head out, the hotels private car is available to make the 10-minute trip to the heart of the city (chauffeured airport transfers and trips around Cape Town in a luxury BMW are included as part of a stay at the hotel — Sam van Rooy is the driver to request; he’ll ferry passengers home from dinner with a special stop at Table Mountain to take in the views). Popular Cape Town activities include shopping at the V&A Waterfront, taking the cable car (or, for the more intrepid, hiking) to the top of Table Mountain, visiting Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was held during Apartheid, and exploring the colorful Bo-Kaap neighborhood.
When visiting Cape Town for the first time, travelers expect to see culture and arts, but perhaps not wildlife until they head off on a safari. This needn’t be the case. On our privately guided tour of the Cape Peninsula arranged by South African native and president of African safari and tour company Premier Tours, Julian Harrison, we spotted wild ostrich, baboons, impala and zebra at Cape Point, and, even more uniquely, the large sanctuary of endangered African Penguins (also known as Jackass Penguins for their loud braying) at Boulders Beach (yes, penguins on a beach, amazing!), just 20 minutes from Ellerman House.
Another surprise for visitors to Cape Town comes in the evening, when they can explore the contemporary offerings at some of the best restaurants on the continent.
To start, sample some of the culinary fireworks of modern cuisine-meets-authentic African flavors at the three sister restaurants that share the renovated Old Biscuit Mill in young, hip and cool Woodstock: perennial favorites Test Kitchen and Pot Luck Club and newly opened Shortmarket Club (Ellerman House can assist in booking these trend-setting spots with advance notice of at least two weeks). During the day, Woodstock is the place to find innovative galleries, coffee spots and boutique shops. Another popular dining location for those in the know is Bree Street, where Chefs Warehouse, a no reservations foodie-magnet; and newly opened Mercer & Prince, a small plate, BYOB, are top draws.