Jochen Zeitz’s Favorite Places in Cape Town
(Bloomberg) -- If Cape Town is becoming the next global destination for itinerant art aficionados, it’s largely thanks to Jochen Zeitz. The philanthropist and ex-Puma chief executive officer recently christened a new home for his enormous African art collection in the Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Mocaa), housed in a historic grain silo in the city’s iconic V&A Waterfront district. “Cape Town is a great way to start and end any travel into Africa,” said Zeitz, “though Africa has a lot more to offer than just Cape Town.”
If you’re one of the millions of travelers visiting the Mother City in the coming year—either en route to another African destination or just to see its epic, new art scene—here’s the skinny on Zeitz’s favorite local experiences.
Out in Nature
“I'm a nature lover, and the uniqueness and biodiversity of the Cape region really fascinates me,” said Zeitz. “You have penguins on one side and wild mammals on the other side, and incredible flora and fauna.” The easiest way to get outdoors in Cape Town is to hit the hiking trails: looping around the conical Lion’s Head peak offers alternating views over the city, mountains, and ocean. The best paths up Table Mountain (the city’s postcard-topper) are the beginner-friendly Patteklip Gorge trail and the super-steep India Venster—or you can just take the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway.
Zeitz heads to Chef’s Warehouse on Bree Street’s restaurant row for a laid-back meal: “They don't take reservations and serve street-food delights on a daily changing tasting menu, along with great wines and lovely service.” Chef Liam Tomlin’s shared platters—entrecôte with charred eggplant purée and truffled celeriac, yellowtail with Cape Malay vinaigrette and pineapple sambal—have earned such a cult following that he’s become a symbol of Cape Town’s culinary renaissance.
Oranjezicht City Farm
“Oranjezicht City Farm has a weekly Saturday farmers market facing the ocean in Granger Bay, walking distance from Zeitz Mocaa. It has the freshest vegetables and fruits, some local arts and fashion, lots of food stands and juice bars, and a young, local crowd gathering to welcome the weekend,” said Zeitz. Even if you aren’t looking to pick up bunches of rhubarb and loaves of sourdough for your pantry, you can browse stalls laden with made-to-order kebabs and crepes and enjoy them on tables overlooking the water.
On the first Thursday of every month, Cape Town bars, galleries, and restaurants extend their hours and host festivities that spill into the streets. “It’s a brilliant initiative to engage artists, Capetonians, and visitors,” he says. Zeitz likes to get a drink at TjingTjing Rooftop Bar and then gallery-hop along Bree and Longmarket streets.
DV Artisan Chocolate
“It’s a must for me!” Zeitz says of DV Artisan Chocolate, known for its handcrafted treats. Anyone with a sweet tooth should visit the outpost at the Spice Route estate in Paarl, a large suburb in the Western Cape, 45 minutes northeast of downtown. The shop offers colorfully packaged chocolate in such flavors as coffee and cardamom, honeycomb, chai, and sea salt and caramel—great souvenirs for gifting. The shop’s neighbors make the trip even more worthwhile. They include a pizzeria; a beer, burger, and biltong joint; and a modern South African dining spot by Bertus Basson, one of the country’s top chefs.
“If you go to the Winelands, you want to stay at Babylonstoren,” declares Zeitz. The historic resort, an hour east of Cape Town, is a revival of a 17th century Cape Dutch farm; its fragrant gardens are planted with native species such as spekboom, clivia, prickly pear, and quince. Stay the night in one of the estate’s chic suites—they’re scattered between an old manor house and a clutch of whitewashed farmhand’s cottages—or go just for dinner. Most of the ingredients served at its award-winning restaurant, Babel, are sourced directly from the estate. Zeitz’s favorite dish? The Red Salad, bursting with plums, tomatoes, pickled beets, radishes, and watermelon and drizzled with a pickled-beet vinaigrette.
For visiting friends, Zeitz was long loyal to the cliffside setting of the Ellerman House in Bantry Bay. Now he prefers Silo hotel—which shouldn't come as a surprise since it sits on top of the Mocaa museum. The 28-room, high-design spot is owned and operated by South Africa’s Royal Portfolio hotel group, best known for the ultra-exclusive Royal Malewane safari lodge near Kruger National Park and the flamboyant La Residence in Franschhoek. Selling points include deep, egg-shaped bath tubs (though they’re currently out of use, due to the city’s drought); in-room sitting areas with Table Mountain views; and a complimentary minibar with house-made sweets and a self-serve decanter of brandy.
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