Take A Few Free Off-Season Days And Venture Out to Cape Town
MAY TO SEPTEMBER: The Southern Hemisphere winter is the perfect time to explore Cape Town, South Africa. Temperatures are mostly moderate, and visitors can take on the city without having to brave crowds of tourists or shell out for the peak pricing markup.
Winter in Cape Town serves up a smorgasbord of more affordable tasting menus and available tables at some of the city’s top restaurants. Chef-owner Harald Bresselschmidt creates menus featuring seasonal ingredients at Aubergine in the historic Gardens district. “South African black truffles lend themselves to veal and springbok dishes, perfect for winter,” he says. At French hot spot La Mouette, chef Henry Vigar prepares a special winter six-course tasting menu that includes mushrooms with salt-and-pepper chestnuts and house-barbecued beef brisket with fermented car-rots and cauliflower-cheese puree.
Stay in a Silo
Cape Town will welcome its most exciting new hotel in years when the Silo opens at the V&A Waterfront in March. The 28-room accommodation will reside on the top six floors of a historic 1924 silo complex that also houses the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (due to open in September). Rates will start at 12,000 rand (about $850) in May (versus 18,000 rand/$1,274 in the high season).
Winter Wave Rider
“Because of the shape of the peninsula, we always have waves in Cape Town,” explains the owner of Gary’s Surf School, Gary Kleynhans. “But winter is when we get all the swell because of the cold fronts.” So suit up, since water temperatures hover around 60 degrees, and head to Muizenberg Beach in False Bay, where the waves are big enough to be thrilling, but gentle enough for beginners.
There are more options for flying to South Africa than ever before. South African Airways flies nonstop to Johannesburg from New York JFK and Delta flies nonstop from Atlanta. Discounted business-class fares (around $2,400 round-trip versus the $6,000-$10,000 norm) on a variety of carriers are also periodically available if you can get to a Canadian hub such as Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver.