day 3: the waterfront & robben island
Another early morning is well worth it. Clients will want to head straight to the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, past the giant Coca-Cola dude made out of soda crates, and hop on a ferry to Robben Island.
If you don’t know the history of the island, you might wonder how it hasn’t been developed to death, as it’s a beautiful, tranquil place with little brown penguins canoodling on its beaches. But Nelson Mandela called this island home for 18 years during his 27-year imprisonment and planned, along with other political prisoners, the future of South Africa as he was forced to work in the quarry day after day. Today, the island—also a former leper colony—is a museum and World Heritage Site. This is a very popular site, so tickets, which include to/from ferry rides and a tour of the island, need to be booked in advance; they can be purchased through the Robben Island Museum website.
After they return to the mainland, visitors will get a lift from a few hours at the modern waterfront. There are tons of great boutiques, eateries and bands playing live music here, plus the Two Oceans Aquarium. This is also the place from which to hop on a helicopter or a sailboat for different views of Cape Town—but there’s plenty to do in this area to keep them busy all day.
One more memorable experience in the city: dinner and a museum visit, rolled into one. The historic Martin Melck building on Strand Street is home to the Gold of Africa Museum, which has shiny displays of Western and Southern African gold objects and explores the relationship between the metal and the continent. Past the exhibits is Gold Restaurant, which celebrates African traditions through delicious dishes representing different countries. While they wait for dinner, have clients sit down for a fun group drumming lesson on a djembe drum.
For clients who’d rather go at it with a tour operator, African Travel offers a 6-day Cape Town & Winelands itinerary that includes a full day of private sightseeing on a trip across the Cape Peninsula to the Cape of Good Hope, past quaint seaside towns and colonial Cape Dutch estates, as well as a day sightseeing in the Winelands. Accommodation options include Cape Cadogan in Cape Town and D’Ouwe Werf in Cape Winelands (rates are $1,895); Table Bay Hotel in Cape Town and Franschhoek Country House in Cape Winelands (rates are $3,195); and The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa in Cape Town and La Residence in Cape Winelands (rates are $3,795). All rates are pp dbl and good from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31, 2012.
Meanwhile, Goway’s 4-day Cape Town itinerary is ideal as it includes ample leisure time in the city as well as pre-planned excursions to Cape of Good Hope and Robben Island; hotel options on this trip include 15 on Orange. You also can recommend a Wineland tour extension. Call for rates.
South African Airways (SAA) offers nonstop flights from JFK and direct flights from Washington Dulles to Johannesburg, as well as many daily flights from Johannesburg to Cape Town. Those who are fortunate enough to fly SAA’s Premium Business might not soon forget the enhancements that have been rolled out in recent months, including lauded chef Reuben Riffel’s dining elections and the mattress pads that now bring added comfort to a flat-seat slumber.
The award-winning SAA has certainly conquered the world of leisure travel—last month saw the long-awaited launch of regional partner SA Airlink’s new service between Johannesburg and Maun, Botswana, the gateway to the Okavango Delta and its many safari options. Now, says Tood Neuman, SAA’s executive v.p. for North America, the airline is seeing a strong emergence in business travel as South Africa’s economy continues to develop and drive commerce within the country and throughout sub-Saharan Africa. “We’re seeing more and more companies that are investing in South Africa or other areas in the African continent, establishing operations in South Africa as well, so that all transcends into additional business travel traffic for us. So we’re seeing our mix of business, which was predominantly leisure—and which still is very strong leisure—but we’re seeing a growing segment coming from the business travel as well,” he says.
archived related article
Safaris, Reinvented (July 2012)
15 on Orange: 15onorange.com
African Travel: (800) 421-8907; africantravelinc.com/agents
City Sightseeing Cape Town: citysightseeing.co.za
Goway Travel: (800) 557-2841; gowayagent.com or goway.com
Le Quartier Francais: lqf.co.za
Robben Island Museum: robben-island.org.za
South African Airways: (800) 722-9675; flysaa.com
Waterford Estate: waterfordwines.com