I rode horses,
I climbed mountains,
I played in the waves,
I smelled the roses
And watched them die
And then danced under their petals.
I laughed some more,
I cuddled naughty faces,
I lost friends,
I made friends,
I kayaked in the sea,
I watched dolphins and whales, accidentally,
I gawked at sunsets,
Here’s a great find, guys, and my first ‘Cape Escape’. Beaverlac is an unassuming camping spot just 2 or so hours outside of Cape Town in the Cederberg. Please don’t freak out – I’m not the biggest camping fan but I can do it for a few nights if it’s a beautiful spot and the facilities are good. This spot has both, so we’re all good. There are chalets to rent as well, if you can’t bring yourself to do the tent thing. I won’t judge you.
The main attraction at Beaverlac is their beautiful natural rock pools.
The Main Pool is a great swimming and ‘lounging around on a lilo’ spot. The best part about this pool, though, is the sheer rock face that allows for fantastic fun jumping into the pool. It’s more of a mind game than anything else and it looks easy from the bottom, but when you get up there and peer over the edge, it starts to get a bit hairy. It’s not that far to jump and the pool is so deep that you won’t hit the bottom, but it’s still a game of coaxing yourself over that edge because your mind all of a sudden tells you that you have rocks in your head.
The Secret Pool is not that much of a secret, but if you’re wanting a free natural massage, the secret is to head on to the waterfall and let the water give you an organic head, neck and shoulders massage (trust me to find a way to have an exclusive spa treatment in the middle of nowhere!).
The Totem Pool provides a nice adventure too. I didn’t manage to get to these (because of my stooopid back preventing me from hiking), but a hour or so hike and you get these pools all to yourself with even higher and crazier jumping opportunities, if you feel that those rocks in your head weren’t heavy enough the first time. (Image cred: cape-hike.co.za)
It’s great for a weekend getaway and cheap as chips. Note that booking is required and you can also bring your pooch along for an extra R50 per day! All info here.
If you’re wanting to get away from it all, and I mean REALLY away, then carry on reading.
I’m not actually going to say much about this holiday destination because I’d rather let the pictures do the talking, but what I can say is that there is a certain kind of peace in the Transkei that is difficult to find elsewhere. Rolling green hills that open up into long stretches of untouched private beaches, roaming cows and horses, fireflies, bonfires and stars as far as you can see. No signal, no electricity. The more difficult it is to get to, the more beautiful and tranquil it will be, I assure you, so don’t pick the easiest spot.
These pictures were taken on a recent short break in a spot near the Ntafufu river mouth, only accessible by 4×4 and a boat (we all took normal cars, not realising how bad the last stretch of road really was and had to be towed out – well worth the adventure, though!). They don’t call it the Wild Coast for nothing, hey 😉
Be ready to rough it, but also be ready to find your peace in the process.
It is such a glamorous idea, working for yourself – waking up late, working in your PJs, jetting off wherever you want without taking leave and just rolling in the cash in the process. Right? Right. Except that is not what it is. There is a misconception of how this whole ‘Be your own Boss’ thing works and it’s almost like people think that because you’re not chained to a desk and trying to stay out of office politics that affect your career, you’ve got it easy.
I made the great escape from corporate and started out on my own and have been at it for nearly 3 years already. I’ve often been asked by friends how to do it and if they should give it a go and I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while now, so that you all know.
South Africa is rife with entrepreneurship and my brother once told me that if you’ve got something to sell/provide and you’re confident that there are enough people that will pay you for it, then you can start your own business. This is true, but there are very unique obstacles to working for yourself that you have to be prepared to accept and be strong enough to deal with, else you should just stay in that little corporate bubble and count your blessings because if you fall, you fall pretty hard and take an emotional beating along the way.
I love my current setup and the way that I work, I love my clients and how I handle them, but it is not an easy game and here’s the cold hard truth as to why.
You need money to start
Even if you’re not starting a business that requires a capital outlay, you will need money to live while you get things up and running and find people who want to give you their money. Gather this up beforehand so that you don’t have to stress about covering your expenses while you’re starting to find your feet. Have the finances covered and then you can focus on what you need to do to start making some regular money.
Clients don’t just fall into your lap
Unless you are incredibly well connected (with no restraint of trade) and are the only provider of air to humans, this is going to be a really difficult step. Just because you’re good at something or have something to offer doesn’t mean that this will attract clients through wind pollination. You will have to get out there, go to stupid networking events, cold-call, phone in favours, research and schmooz. And you’re going to have to do it over and over again until you are in a position where you’re getting enough money in to be comfortable. You will be shot down and messed around and just take it in your stride.
Once you’ve done it, you’re well on your way. It’s far more rewarding to have done this on your own than to have relied on corporate structures to give you what you need.
Working in pyjamas is overrated
There will come a time when you wake up one day and head on over to your desk and realise that if you wear another pair of yoga pants in your life you’re going to die lonely and suffocated by all your cats.
There’s nothing better than snuggling up under a blankie with your laptop in the middle of winter though, no self-respecting humans should be out in that weather.
It can be isolating
When you’re no longer in an office full of people all day every day, you’re suddenly faced with your own self, all the time. I am well aware that I am awesome, but nobody else is going to tell me that. You also won’t be invited to Johnny from Accounts’ braai and find yourself trying to find an excuse not to go. Bouncing ideas can be tricky and there’s no such thing as a year-end function with free champagne.
Self-discipline is a real thing
You’ve got to be the kind of person that is self-motivated, self-disciplined and have skin as thick as a rhino, naturally. You’ve got nobody to pat you on the back when you’ve done a good job and also nobody to kak you out if you’ve done a bad one. It’s all you, babe. You’ve got to focus and not play with the neighbour’s cat instead or go ride horses on the beach because it seems more fun (I really have done these things, it’s no joke).
You don’t get a holiday
You can GO on holiday, for sure, but your work goes with you. You’ll quickly learn how to multi-task so that your work fits in with whatever you’re doing and doesn’t make too much of a fuss on your holiday, but you’ll never really be away from it unless you have someone you trust to cover for you while you’re gone (this is rare to find and when you do, hold on damn tight).
You need emergency funds, all the time
Pack away some savings and keep it replenished. There will be times when your clients pay you late, or pay you at the last minute with a cheque that only clears in a week, just for fun. You’ll need emergency funds to cover your important expenses while you wait for them to get their shit together.
You are everything
You are everything to your business. You need to understand marketing and sales, tax (vomit) and finances, business development, IT, admin, project management, client relationship management, data analysis and whatever else is thrown your way. Also remember to be a normal human being too and have a social life and some fun.
Opportunities are endless
All that being said, if you can jump over all those hurdles on a daily basis and enjoy the challenges of each new day, you will find a freedom that you won’t get anywhere else. (I can neither confirm nor deny having worked while lying on the beach). Opportunities really are endless and you can shape things however you see fit. That’s worth any amount of hard work, I tell you.
I often find myself muttering that I’m not a fan of humans and run off to the stables to be loved by horses and the stable yard dogs instead. Animals are the best.
It’s on this note that I introduce Buster.
This sweet guy is about 4 years old and is in need of a loving home. He is a Labrador X breed, and by the look of his regal nose, possibly some greyhound heritage. He was rescued from a breeder and is currently in kennels in Cape Town until 10 December and so needs a home quite urgently!
Buster has overcome some hard knocks in life, and now he would like to settle with a human or human family who will appreciate him for all he has to offer. Buster is committed to people, he loves his foster Mum to the point that he would defend her against anyone who looks suspicious. But sadly, Buster does not appear to get on with other animals, and needs to be an only pet. He would be perfect for a single pet home, a person or a family who will manage a walk, provide a place to splash in a kids pool, and generally be committed to a big “softie” who prefers his own company with his human family. He is thriving on Positive Reinforcement and clicker training, so he won’t suit a person or family who train with chocker chains or other harsh methods. Buster gives unconditionally, and would appreciate an owner who will do the same for him. Buster is young, vaccinated, neutered and has a team of behaviour experts, a foster mum and Labrador rescue looking out for him at the moment.
He is big and strong, smart and loves with all his heart, but has just had a really crap time so far with life.
If you know anyone who is interested in fulfilling Buster’s Christmas wish list (it’s only one item, really), please pass this on and contact the Lab Rescue guys as soon as possible to arrange a meeting.
Feisty, yes. I sit here on a plane to go and help my dad while he goes for an operation on his prostate tomorrow. Yep – prostate cancer popped up and he’s going to have radium implants that will save him. (Side note: Fuck Cancer). My mom is no longer around because she died of breast cancer 2 years ago so I’m sure he’ll appreciate the support through this whole thing. (Back to the side note: Fuck Cancer).
So here’s my gripe. I’m not a fan of facial hair at the best of times. Movember is like one long torturous 30-day hell of boys growing ill-fitting snors, all supposedly in the name of beating prostate cancer (but more likely terrifying parents with their paedophilic grins and scaring off perfectly eligible single women). Moving along. How many of you have actually had your prostate checked? How many of you can say that your erratic facial pubes have actually contributed to the cause? These kinds of things become a fad that lose their meaning (what was the ice bucket thing for again?) and although the initial intention was to get donations for your efforts and give them to the fight against men’s health issues, mainly prostate cancer, how many of you actually do?
Awareness is a huge part of the fight and I’ll give you that, but I bet your trophy ‘taches that you’re not going to take it seriously until it happens to you, or your family, or your friends.
Shave it off, clean it up, look like a lovely human being and just go get your prostate checked regularly. You (and those around you) will be far better off, I guarantee you that.
Nonetheless, I appreciate the awareness efforts and the worldwide reach that Movember has gained over the years. It’s a step in the right direction, if you actually do something more than just grow a stupid mo.
House of Machines and El Burro host a Sunday brunch every weekend with the El Burro food truck and House of Machines as hosts. They’ve got 4 delicious Mexican-style breakfasts (breakfast burritos are a thing) and space out in the Sunday morning sun on the streets of beautiful Cape Town.
Woodstock is an interesting place in Cape Town. I’m never quite sure how I feel about it. It looks at you with those old, dirty eyes and then smiles sweetly as it hands you a sweetie out of nowhere, for no reason. At least that is how I see it.
Woodstock handed me a little sweetie the other day in the form of Raw and Roxy at the Woodstock Co-Op in Victoria Street. Having played around with vegetarianism for the past 7 years or so and recently added loads of fish and seafood back into my diet (because Cape Town), I’ve become lazy with my creative vegetarian cooking.
I popped into Raw and Roxy for lunch to try out their ‘vegan special’ displayed on the chalkboard outside and was very pleasantly surprised. All fresh, organic and raw, each dish is a treat in itself and a health kick of note. A dollop of each dish is piled onto your plate and called a ‘vegan special’.
The thing with cooking without meat is that you need to take texture, interesting flavours, taste combinations etc. a whole more seriously in order to create a delicious and satisfying meal. This is even more so in raw vegan food preparation and the creativity levels shoot through the roof. E.g. How would you create a lasagna without meat, eggs, dairy and without any cooking?
Well Raw & Roxy did it quite majestically and it was incredible. Add some fresh juice to your lunch and you’re well on your way to food heaven. This was my ‘small’ vegan special (more than enough for a hungry, healthy human):
Also, kale chips are a thing. They’re incredibly high in protein, carb and fat free and yum. They’re also stupid to try and make at home as you need a dehydrator or about 12 hours oven time. Raw & Roxy pump out bags of them and they’re delicious.
*Side note: What really baffles me is that people always say to me that they would really love to have a healthy vegetarian diet, but it’s just too difficult to cook delicious meals. Yet this banting bullshit comes along and they’re suddenly spending over an hour on a meal, transforming every day veggies into carb replacements and buying expensive ‘banting-friendly’ goodies. Apparently being part of a craze is more appealing than clean eating that doesn’t involve animal slaughter. Baffled.
Another thing worth trying (mostly to see how crazy you can get) is the Hot Tonic. This is a nutrient rich drink created as an alternative to caffeine. They should rather call it the Hot Rocket because you will shoot off into outer space, I swear. You can buy it ready made or grab a bag of the mixed powder to make at home. It’s mad.
In usual PopcornCandi style, my first time up Table Mountain in daylight where I can actually see the view (the first time up was a 5am trek up Platteklip Gorge in the rain and mist to try find snow. There was no snow. And no view.) was for the sole purpose of attaching myself to a rope and tipping backwards off of it to abseil off Table Mountain.
Abseil Africa host daily abseil trips off Table Mountain and offer a 112m abseil at just over 1000m vertical, making it the highest commercial abseil in the world. At a cost of R750 and the priceless adrenalin rush, you get to experience the mountain in a very different way.
It’s not so scary until you are tipped off the edge at 1000m, putting your life in the hands of some ropes and some crazy guys at the top. One of the reasons I decided to do this was to experience the literal sense of letting go and placing trust in someone/something else. And that is exactly what you have to do. When you tip over the edge, they ask you to release everything and lean back, arms in the air. Trust the rope, trust the people operating it all at the top and just let go. It’s all about accepting it all and just letting go. It was a fantastic feeling.
Granted, I spent a lot of the time on the abseil focusing on the rock face, trying not to look down and remembering to breathe, but once I jumped past the overhang and knew that there was a ledge somewhere underneath me (still pretty far away, but not 1000m!), just hanging out and looking around at the crazy views was unreal.
Looking back, it was a walk in the park. Table Mountain National Park, but just the mountain bit. And literally a walk down it.
*If you’re afraid of heights, this is NOT the activity for you!
If you’re going on a weekend, go at least 2 hours before the time as the queues for the cable car up can be excruciating and you could miss your slot, particularly in peak season. Alternatively, try and book the earliest slot to try and get in before the mad rush. Book your tickets for the cable car online and use that queue as it moves quicker.
Wear lots of sunscreen. When you get to the ledge at the bottom of the abseil, you still have a 20-30min walk back up to the top in full sun.
Wear pants that are quite thick. The harnesses they use are not padded and not very comfortable, so will cut into you if you’re hanging around too long with thin pants. If you’re a rock climber or that kind of guy, you can take and use your own harness
Take your own food and have a picnic afterwards. The restaurant at the top is overpriced and busy busy busy. Annoying when all you want is an ice cold drink and to sit and chill after your adventure.
Exploring this beautiful city does not need to cost you money. We are lucky enough to have all of this nature and culture and opportunity around us constantly, so it’s easy to tap into when you’re on month-end 2-minute noodles (or anytime, really). Since I moved to Cape Town just under 7 months ago, I have managed to explore the crap out of it without even making a dent. What is even more exciting is that a lot of what you do here doesn’t have to cost you much, or can cost you nothing at all.
I’m constantly doing something fun (and posting my pics to Instagram as proof – ha ha) and my Facebook album “Exploring Cape Town” has become too full to manage anymore. It’s time I started sharing this stuff with you in categories, I guess! So here’s the top things to do in Cape Town for under R100, based on my experience in the past 7 months of living in and loving beautiful Cape Town!
Picnicking on Chapman’s Peak
Here’s a familiar scenario for you. Sunday afternoon, lazy, month-end and no money. Bored.
Option 1: Catch up on series and eat home made popcorn
Option 2: Nap
Option 3: Grab a book, a picnic blanket, a bottle of wine and a friend and go chill on Chapman’s Peak. You’re likely to see something in that water. I’ve often sat and watched dolphins playing in Hout Bay and on this day, caught a pair of whales having a frolick in the bay!
Cost: Nothing. Only a bottle of wine out of your wine rack.
One of my favourites! There are so many hiking trails to choose from that you can find one to suit your specific needs and abilities quite easily.
If you don’t have buddies who are into that, join Meetup and join a hiking group already organised, planned and ready to rock.
Cost: Nada, zilch, niks.
Failed at running due to back issues and trying to strengthen up again with regular walking, biokinetics, blah blah blah. That doesn’t stop me from joining the local races. My favourite is the Park Runs, which are timed 5km runs in various spots all over SA. It’s at 8am every Saturday and if you’re on Discovery, you earn Vitality points for them too! Walkers are welcome and so are dogs. It’s super-chilled. I mean, that is not even my dog. And I just met that other person at the run.
Grab your bike and go somewhere
Another favourite thing to do is just grab my bicycle and ride somewhere pretty. This is Lower Tokai Park and the route is about 6km and flat. Easy to peddle around a few times and easy to jog around. Kids and pets and horses and bicycles all welcome.
Cost: Zero again. See, I wasn’t lying!
Hit the waves!
Cape Town water is fecking cold. And I’m a little scared of waves. But there’s only so much I can keep myself occupied with on the beach so I decided to try body boarding! Blouberg’s Big Bay and Muizenberg are great places to rent some gear and get into the waves. It’s so much fun, I thought my heart was going to explode. I don’t care that I was partying it up with the 7 year olds in the sea, I was happy as a pig in mud.
(I’ve since upgraded to “real” surfing and the fun factor increased substantially)
Cost: R100 for wetsuit and body board rental for 1,5 hours at Surf Emporium in Muizenberg. Surf board hire: R70.
Picnic in Kirstenbosch Botanic Gardens
Kirstenbosch Botanic Gardens is breathtakingly beautiful and their new Boomslang Walkway is pretty rad too. Take a walk and picnic basket and have a nap on the grass.
Cost: R50 entrance for adults
Get your culture on at the National Gallery
You really should get all that culture on if you’re going to be in Cape Town. A good start is the South African National Gallery in Company Gardens. Take a journey through the years with art.
Cost: R30 for adults
Chill with the squirrels in Company Gardens
They’re so cute. Daring, but cute. I try and chase their tails because they feel like fluffy bottle washers. I probably shouldn’t but I do.
GREAT spot, guys, GREAT spot. Super chilled and beautiful. You can braai here too, which is pretty cool. And also tan without getting covered with sand, if that’s what you’re into. The rock pools are freezing, but worth a daring dip.
Cost: R30 for adults. Free for Wild Card holders
Visit the local seals in Hout Bay and devour the fish and chips
Hout Bay has their own little seal community, who hang around the harbour waiting for fish offcuts from the fishing boats. They’re pretty cool. Often angry at being disturbed, but mostly just pretty cool.
Fish on the Rocks is a great spot for some local fishy goodness and the outside area has a beautiful view of the bay. You’ll probably have some seals swimming around in front of you there too.
A glorious day out also calls for a boat trip out to “Seal Island”. It’s heavily touristic but is actually quite fun being out on the open water, seeing the bay from a different perspective. As a bonus, you’ll feel like you’re in another country because you’ll be the only South African on the boat 😉
Cost: Your fish and chips will cost you under R100, I assure you. A Seal Island cruise on the “Calypso” is R65 per adult.
Walk/jog on the Sea Point promenade at sunset
Because if you don’t, you are wasting your life. Just saying.
Wine tasting in Constantia
Okay, so this one barely makes the cut merely because you won’t go to a place for just one wine tasting. You’ll likely order something to eat as well (I highly recommend the cheese board at Constantia Glen) or move on to another farm for another tasting. If you’re clever, you can make it work nicely for you, though.
Most people head out to Paarl, Stellenbosch or Franschhoek for wine days, but the Constantia Wine Route holds some gems as well and is nice and close for those in the Southern Suburbs. Beau Constantia‘s tasting room view is phenomenal.
Cost: R30-R50 for tastings. Beau Constantia charges R30 for three wines, Constantia Glen charges R50 for 6 wines.
And there it is, folks! I will explore some more and write another one of these in the near future I’m sure! If you have any ideas of your own, please send them my way too by commenting on this post.