My first home was with Carin in Green Point. When I arrived from a hectic month in Asia, I had tons of photos I needed to take care of and blog posts to write. But none of that for Carin.
– Come on, you have to see this…let’s go… And off we went. She went over and beyond to show me amazing places that I would never have found myself. So my first thanks is to you Carin. Thank you for showing me both hidden and not so hidden gems. And also for showing me some great contemporary African design. And of course for your lovely company!
Carin’s home is itself wildly and wonderfully creative. It’s a veritable cascade of colours and made me feel that yes, I’m in Africa now. A small Victorian house, it has been opened up and felt spacious with it’s high ceiling, loft and large glass doors leading out to a very private courtyard, where the sound of water pouring in a small wall fountain was relaxing to listen to. Lots of interesting small details and knick-knacks that interior designers like me love. More about Carin’s and all the other homes I visited in my upcoming book about homes around the world.
We had lunch one day at the Gardens Tea Garden in Company’s Garden in the middle of town. They grow vegetables here that they later use in their dishes. This is by the way what started Cape Town in the first place. Members of the Dutch East India Company were sent here to found a halfway station, the first European outpost, for passing ships traveling to and from Asia and provide them with fresh water, vegetables and meat. And it’s in this very place at Company’s Garden that it all started, where they laid out their vegetable gardens and orchards.
I don’t know is their long tradition of preparing food is the reason or not but I did eat unbelievably well during my entire stay here in Cape Town.
One gem Carin took me to was Montebello. I love this place!
They have a really nice shop with contemporary African handicraft, called Montebello Design Centre.
Beside that is a little restaurant called Gardeners Cottage in Newlands, that was so sweet and hade great food.
And there was a pretty little garden centre as well as artists workshops spread out in and around in the former stables.
De Waterkant was another area she took me to. She introduced me there to Gavin Terblanche who owns the lovely shop Baraka, on Dixon Street, together with his partner Belteshazzar Raubenheimer. We got talking and ended up becoming friends. They are the sweetest couple I think I have ever met. Unthinkable that their love would have been banned by the apartheid laws only twenty years ago…
One day we went to a really hidden gem. A small but super exclusive hotel up in the hills at Camps Bay called Camps Bay Retreat. Way way out of my league to stay there, but it was nice to nose around and dream for a short while. We had a glass of wine and watched the sunset from the terrace.
This place was full of old world opulence and felt more like a private home. Interesting things in every nook and cranny. I could have snooped around there forever. Liked the fact that even though it cost an arm and a leg to stay there, there was a friendly and relaxed ambience to the place.
Here is the Mediterranean style rock pool at the bottom of the steep garden. I seems that it has seen better days. But as pools go and a private pool as that…wow, I would like to have seen it in action in it’s heyday. It wouldn’t have been out of place to see Anita Ekberg walk down the steps into the pool in a stunning long dress.
We also went to an old industrial building that houses the interior store, Weylandts, in the corner of Alfred & Hospital Streets in Green Point. They have really a nice collection of furniture. Unfortunately my camera died on me there…
One day Carin took me to Groot Constantia. It’s the oldest wine estate in South Africa. Root by the way means great, as in large, in Dutch and Afrikaans.
A beautiful place with houses built in the traditional Cape Dutch style, mostly found here in the Western Cape of South Africa. A typical feature is the rounded gables.
We looked into the cells were the slaves were kept. That gave me creepy feel. But I was delighted to read about one of the former owners of Constantia, Oloff Bergh. He actually married a slave girl he made pregnant. And after his death in 1724, his wife Anna de Koningh, became the owner and ran the farm by herself until her death in 1734. Like that!
I end with a stroll down to The Waterfront to the musicians playing there. Please play it if you want to get a feeling of being here!
Copyright and photo: Anita Martinez Beijer