SAY CHEESE There is so much to do in Cape Town, the author and his wife were spoilt for choice PHOTO: Sbu Mkhwanazi
Every day was a day of discovery for seasoned Gautenger Sbu Mkhwanazi as he explored Cape Town, learning new snippets of the city’s history.
The trick to enjoying the Mother City is knowing that it’s all about experiences, and Cape Town’s City Bowl is the perfect place to spoil your loved one, but in a slightly different way.
My wife and I are regular travellers and decided to look for slightly off-centre activities, something to suit a romantic couple's escape
First up was a couple’s tour of the city, but instead of taking the hop-on-hop-off bus, we relied on the expertise of the Taj hotel’s private walking tour guide, Charné Davids. She is a living, breathing encyclopaedia who is ready to dispense facts and historical nuggets that few visitors and residents know about the city.
I had no idea why so many Xhosas and Cape coloureds have “unusual” surnames such as Grootboom and January – it turns out that, when the Cape was colonised, slaves would be assigned surnames based on their surroundings. If there was a big tree in the vicinity, you’d be given the surname Grootboom. Slaves would also be assigned last names based on the month they arrived.
SEE: Walking the streets of Cape Town
Talk about a serious juxtaposition!
A literal stone’s throw away from the Taj is the Iziko Museum of SA – a national monument that houses much of the Cape’s history.
On show until the end of this month is My Naam is Februarie: Identities Rooted in Slavery. The exhibition uses the descendants of slaves to tell their tales using audio and engaging images.
Psychologists will tell you a well-known but not often practised secret – having new experiences together will keep your relationship going for eternity. Although my wife and I had been to the city numerous times, the Taj hotel allowed us to view the inner city differently.SEE: Cape Town attractions soar as Table Mountain welcomes 26th millionth visitor
On one of the days, the famous Cape Doctor wrote a prescription that ordered us to stay indoors, something that could have been a death sentence during our romantic getaway. We decided to go on a journey of discovery and stumbled across art, nature, people and the most exhilarating experiences – all within the confines of the hotel.
The Gallery at Taj Cape Town hosts monthly exhibitions of various art forms, and this kept us absorbed for hours. Situated on the ground floor of the Taj, The Gallery is made up of two adjacent rooms in which local art is displayed and is available for purchase.
In our aim to reach 10 000 steps for the day according to our Fitbit devices, we decided to go on an unguided tour of the hotel and take part in the many activities on offer.
The hotel’s Bombay Brasserie is where premium dining meets the finest Indian cuisine. It was a gastronomic cultural event as I ate apricot and potato tikki cakes with mango chutney, and my wife tucked in to roasted corn soup with turmeric popcorn.
After getting intimate with mains in the form of Karoo lamb cubes simmered in a saffron curry and chicken masala with pickled shallots (love was in the air, so we shared), we made ourselves familiar with the baked yogurt with fennel seed biscotti, as well as the Malai kulfi, which is a frozen dairy dessert that is absolutely scrumptious.
*Disclaimer: Mkhwanazi was hosted by Taj Cape Town. The hotel’s luxury mountain-facing double room costs about R5 500 per night, depending on when you book