Cape Town
by Tim Johnson

Tim Johnson has always loved to travel. Growing up in a family that packed up the car and hit the highway every summer on epic, cross-continental road trips, a desire to explore in his very DNA.

How to get there

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The first museum of its kind on the continent, the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa was opened to considerable fanfare last year. Occupying 42 former grain silos—rooms were cut inside using razor-sharp diamond-mining technology—MOCAA is on a mission to exhibit 21st century art from Africa and its diaspora. It’s a vast and fascinating place, encompassing more than 100 galleries spread over nine floors, with pieces ranging from traditional visual art to animation and film, all of them with a story to tell about Africa, and being African.

Robben Island

This year, South Africa is celebrating the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth, and on Robben Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you can follow in his footsteps. Take a short ferry ride across Table Bay to this, the “Alcatraz of Africa,” and see where Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years of incarceration. It’s a sombre place, to be sure, but a hopeful one too, as you learn about the Nobel laureate and first democratically elected president of South Africa from former political prisoners, who lead all tours, knew him personally, and can recount how this beloved figure led his nation peacefully forward from the apartheid era.

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South African wine is famous all over the world, and you don’t have to drive far to taste some of the best. Constantia—a suburb of Cape Town, just 15 kilometres from the city centre—is part of the country’s “winelands” and home to almost a dozen vineyards and a wine route, with tastings at every turn. You can also pair your glass (or bottle) with some excellent cuisine, available at places like Simon’s at the 300-year-old Groot Constantia estate, where you can dine on the patio, overlooking the valley from whence your wine came.


Four years ago, Abigail Mbalo was just another reality show contestant, trying out for—and then becoming a finalist—on South Africa’s edition of Gordon Ramsey’s Master Chef. Now, she’s taken the skills that propelled her to television fame back to her home in the township of Khayelitsha, just outside Cape Town, first setting up a food truck, and now 4Roomed, an acclaimed bricks-and-mortar restaurant. While she says many black professionals move from the townships to the suburbs once they make a little money, Mbalo is proud to serve up township cuisine, with a twist, cooking the dishes she grew up eating, with fresh, healthy ingredients in a sunny space that seats just 40.

Crypt Jazz

Located in the basement of historic St. George’s Cathedral—where Desmond Tutu once presided as archbishop—The Crypt Jazz Restaurant stages live music, everything from Dixieland to cool jazz, five nights a week. They also serve up surprisingly good food and wine, with steaks sourced from a nearby reserve and dry-aged for almost three weeks, and cheeses made by 65 local farmhouse cheese makers. Dine, then dance.

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