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Off the beaten path in Cape Town

Although not much to look at, the guardians of a sparkling secret are hidden down our side streets

Venture off the well worn path and away from the usual haunts of Long and Kloof Streets and you will be sure to find a side of Cape Town that the locals keep a closely guarded secret. Tucked into the side streets and in the valleys of the Mother City, these dens may not easily be found and may not even be much to look at. But they are the guardians of a sparkling secret, one that rumbles quietly beneath the surface. Here are some insider tips, to help you find some of Cape Town’s hidden spots.

Cape Town’s hidden eateries:

Torino Chocolate:
Tucked away on Kloof Nek Road, just past Rafiki’s, this splash of majestic red and gold is quite the chocolate lovers boudoir. It stocks over 100 artisan truffles and creams, manufactured on site. The delightful Brenda will assist you in your choice. More information at Torino Turns Tamboerskloof Chocolatey

Kloof Nek Road | Tamboerskloof | Cape Town

C’est La Vie:
If you can wade through the mass of tourist and antique stores in Kalk Bay, you will find a blackboard, pointing down a cobbled street. Down this street you will find a rustic, Parisian-style café, with an uncomplicated menu, that brings the village to life. What makes this place unique is it’s freshly baked bread and mean cup of coffee (voted as one of the top ten coffees in Cape Town by Elle Magazine, no less).

Rosemead Road | Kalk Bay


Cape Town’s hidden food market:

Porter Estate Produce Market:
Enlighten the senses of touch, taste and smell as you select from fresh produce, or tuck into a hearty, farm-style breakfast. This user-friendly market was designed by some of Cape Town’s most prestigious restaurateurs and is packed full of produce that you won’t find at the supermarket. Catch brands such as, Superfoods and African Butterfly, every Saturday, from 09:00-13:00.

Chrysalis Academy | Tokai | Constantia Valley

Cape Town’s hidden daytime excursions:

Clay Café:
Go quackers with a paint brush, in this quaint Hout Bay café, and unleash your inner Van Gogh on a ceramic duck. The gorgeous thing about this little pot of washable paint, is that they clearly have a passion for making things. Eat, for instance, one of their homemade cakes, served on handmade pottery. The view isn’t half bad either - stunning mountain ranges accompany your creative afternoon. For more information, be sure to read Show me the Way to Clay Cafe

Main Road | Hout Bay | Cape Town

Crystal Pools:
A mere 45 minute hike will be rewarded by a series of beautiful rock pools and waterfalls – an ideal spot for a picnic or a cooling swim. So, what’s unassuming about this place? The baboons, that’s who! They won’t think twice about holding you at twig point to steal your sandwich. They’ll be even angrier if you don’t have a visitors permit. Obtain one from the Crystal Pools Car Park or from the Department of Parks and Forests, Cape Town City Council. Why not combine the Crystal Pools hike as part of a day trip, including whale watching in Hermanus?

Take the N2 from Cape Town | Gordons Bay

The African Odyssey Exhibition:
This photographic exhibition exhibits distilled moments to ignite a memory or remind you of a sacred place in the magnificent South African landscape. Currently, the Raw Vision Gallery are exhibiting the first five of their internationally acclaimed, fine art photographers.

89 Sir Lowry Road | Woodstock | Cape Town

The train to Simon’s Town:
Once a naval base, the charming village of Simon’s Town is home to historical buildings, a number of coffee shops and of course, 1000 fluffy African penguins at Boulders Beach. But what many people don’t know is that the journey to Simons Town is one of the most scenic train rides you will ever take. As you leave the city, you are whisked past beautiful beaches, fishing boats and even the odd whale.


Cape Town’s secret shopping:

Shelflife
Shelflife, opened in 2006, is a cult for sneaker collectors and graffiti artists. The store carries the widest and most sought after range of sneakers nationwide. We are talking collectors items here – the store recently released the Kanye West shoe and experienced three hour queues of Capetonian followers, hoping for a slice of sneaker action.

119 Loop Street | Cape Town

Eddie Zoom:
Owner, Eddie Zoom, has injected his passion for buying and finding into this eccentric 50’s and 60’s inspired furniture and lighting store. Eddie has built up quite an awe inspiring array of collectors items such as, the red Tecno Adjustable Lounge Chair, which can be arranged in 486 different positions, for approximately R28,000, and a genuine Sarrinen Table, also priced at R28,000. For Eddies inspirations, read Eddie Zoom Keeps the 60's Alive in Cape Town

39 Kloof Street | Tamboerskloof | Cape Town

Mungo and Jemima:
Arguably this place is not so hidden, considering it’s smack bang in the middle of Long Street, but then so are a lot of boutiques. What makes this little gem of a store stand out is its girlie range of well cut, innovative and stylish pieces that are made well. They support local designers such as, Sway, Missibaba, Skermunkil and Superella.

108 Long Street | CBD | Cape Town


Cape Town’s hidden hairdresser:

Scar:
Ever noticed Cape Town’s cool cats of hair couture, parading around with their brightly coloured do’s, and wondered which wizard of style played a pair of sheers in this? The answer is: head stylist of Scar, Andrew and his team, who have chopped Die Antwoord and amassed a two month waiting list in the process (so, book ahead).

22 Kloof Street | CBD | Cape Town

Cape Town’s hidden nightlife:

Julep:
A nightlife haunt that Long Streets revelers tend to overlook, Julep is quite the unassuming watering hole in the wall, Julep is a speak-easy cocktail lounge that works simply because it isn’t trying to be something it’s not. Expect soft lighting and live music that makes you want to get up and dance and the cocktails are nothing short of fabulous, darling (the Moonshine or the Watermelon Ling come highly recommended). Read more about old friends and first times at Julep

Vredenburg Lane (off Long Street) | CBD | Cape Town

Tagore:
In the midst of Observatory’s nightlife, Tagore is a maze of small rooms, decked out in bohemian and Moroccan chic, with a friendly, multicultural crowd draped over it. Unwind with red wine, board games and thought provoking conversation, accompanied by live music. Check out the bedroom, in the corner upstairs.

42 Trill Road | Observatory | Cape Town

Looking for the best steak, coffee or baked goods? Be sure to check out our Best of Cape Town section.

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