by A. Gesuelli
The ocean breeze has blown away the clouds and the sky is intensely blue. From the top of Table Mountain you can see all of the city of Cape Town, on a narrow strip between the green hills and the sea. Table Mountain has a shape that can be recognised from far away and it is without a doubt the symbol of South Africa. A UNESCO World Heritage landmark it is a natural wonder in a country where in just a few miles you can go from contrast to contrast and intense emotion. Somewhere between Europe and Africa, Cape Town has the dynamic and creative character of a modern city and is the perfect image of the future of South Africa and the entire continent. It’s a real surprise for anyone who visits it for the first time. It’s a laidback city where it’s nice to sit at one of the chic cafes in the centre of town and to look at its exclusive shops. But it’s also the ideal base for hiking and exploring nature along the coastline.
If you chose not to take the aerial cableway to the mountaintop you can do It In a three-hour hike. It’s tough, all uphill, but beautifully suspended between the sky and the sea. Cape Town has seen many historical events and is one of the oldest cities in South Africa. Company’s Garden is now a public park where you can walk in the shade and enjoy the perfume of the flowers. In the XVII century these gardens were the first plots of land that were cultivated by European settlers.
The Dutch have left their mark both historically and culturally in this part of the country. They arrived here on large ships in the mid 1600’s, working for the Dutch East India Company, Cape Town was just an outpost, but later, with the construction of the Castel of Good Hope in 1666 to 1679, it became the company’s base for a long expansion. The earth was fertile and the climate favourable for crops. So a long history of colonisation began, a story full of contrasts and difficulties that is told in the museum that is housed in the Castel today. Traces of one of the first farms can be seen today in one of Cape Town’s iconic buildings, The Nellie, the nickname that the historical hotel Belmond Mount Nelson is known by. The hotel’s pink shapes can be spotted almost at the centre of Company’s Garden. This property is now a favourite meeting spot for tourists and locals alike, English style Afternoon Tea in the garden at the Nellie is a rite for locals when they have the chance and they can sip tea while admiring the sculptures in the garden.
Cape Town is also South Africa’s art capital and the most important international art market in Africa. There are lots of privately owned art galleries and design shops, mostly on Kloof Street, running past Long Street. An important public institution has opened recently and that’s Cape Town’s Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa or the Zeitz-Mocaa. Located in a former grain silo along the Victoria & Albert Waterfront, the project has transformed the building into a hub for shows by contemporary artists from all of Africa and the African diaspora.
The Zeitz-Mocaa is also a production centre and a lab for new talent thanks to commissioned projects and scouting for young talent in all of the continent. The Victoria & Albert Waterfront has shops and restaurants and also has the Watershed, a showcase for about a hundred South African designers, perfect for buying furniture. From the melting pot of races and cultures that is Cape Town, a special local food culture has been created that mixes African flavours and ingredients with the most refined European techniques. Young chefs have contributed to helping the world discover this unique aspect of South Africa and make the city a gourmet destination.
Luke Dale-Roberts Is the chef from The Test Kitchen, the only African restaurant to be part of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. In the ex Industrial area of Woodstock, in what used to be a cookie factory, you’ll find his restaurant where reservations are a must. Here you’ll find gourmets from the world over who come to taste modern African dishes. Dale-Roberts’ food Is best with some good South African wine from nearby Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, the principal production areas In the country. Just an hour from the city, here you’ll find rolling hills covered with vineyards and can sip an excellent red wine on a terrace overlooking countryside that looks Ike Chianti. You can visit the wine cellars underneath old Dutch-style houses, another pleasant surprise In this area of the country.
The word “Cape” in the name Cape Town was added by sailors to recall the feared yet desired point of arrival and departure for their seafaring adventures. Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point have been centres for communication between Europe and
Africa but are also important stops on the way to Asia. Today this area Is a natural park and protected area of
great beauty. The low, windswept shrubs are home to ostriches and baboons, You can whale watch from the high cliffs in the right season.
The Cape Point lighthouses are spectacular, built on the tip of the continent. There is a popular and iconic lighthouse from the 1800’s and right under It there’s another one from 1919. You reach them by walking along a winding cliff path that overlooks False Bay and the ocean. Between wild flowers and shrubs and far away from the crowds, the and area Is spectacular.
Western Cape is less touristy but a favourite spot for locals with its small Dutch style houses. A house called Paternoster has recently become a favourite destination for gourmets above and beyond the usual surfers and beach lovers thanks to chef Kobus Van Der Merwe and his restaurant Wolfgat. Just a few tables, an intimate atmosphere and a beautiful terrace over the sea in this former fisherman’s house that has been remodelled with grace a style. Kobus has brought foraging to South African cooking and his curiosity about nature meets food. In the menu you’ll find wild herbs gathered in the Fynbos Biome fields that will help you discover ancient ingredients and flavours. It’s a different way to discover the area’s incredible biodiversity and to go back to a time before European peoples arrived. You can have a full Immersion In the Fynbos In bloom nearby at the West Coast National Park, where you can take lovely walks or ride mountain bikes or swim In the Langebaan lagoon. Here the waters are calm and clear and shark-free and are a wonderful place to swim on the South African coast.
So come and discover the surprises of the Rainbow Nation: it’s a real kaleidoscope of colours, music, peoples, and cultures between the savannah, the desert, fertile fields, mountains, downs and cliffs over the ocean.
It’s no surprise that South African artists are among, the biggest names in the expansion of African art in the contemporary art market today. Many African artists are getting unprecedented attention at prestigious art events such as the Art Basel shows in Basel, Hong Kong and Miami, and Documenta, the international exhibition of contemporary art which takes place every five years in Kassel, Germany, Record prices have been paid in the past two years at Sotheby’s and Christies for works by African artists. We are open to creativity in contemporary art and are fans of all things African, For these reasons and because we feel it can be a good investment for our owners, Southern Wind has begun to propose the work of African artists to our owners as part of their yacht’s decoration. Thanks to a collaboration with Mariella Franzoni, an expert art curator and advisor with in depth knowledge of the local art scene. The SW96 Sorceress has a selection of six works by South African artists from the abstract painter Penelope Stutterheime to the pop artist Khaya Witbooi, who did four works for the yacht. Themed around the sea and navigation in a political, postcolonial key, Witbooi’s work creates a visual dialogue using symbols in pure pop style that he combines with elements from local Xhosa culture.