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Cape Town: Best Travel Tips

FIRST-CLASS WINES, beautiful beaches, powerful history—how do you take it all in when visiting one of Africa’s most vibrant and cosmopolitan cities? At the Silo, a new hotel perched atop the continent’s largest modern-art museum, concierge Hoon Kim has a plan for your Cape Town trip.

Emerging neighborhood: Woodstock used to be quite industrial, with lots of factories, but it has become an area filled with interior designers, graphic artists, artisanal breweries, and contemporary galleries like SMAC and Whatiftheworld. There’s a famous Saturday market at the Old Biscuit Mill, which started Woodstock’s renaissance a few years back. We call it the Brooklyn of Cape Town.

A weekly food market in Woodstock. Per-Anders Pettersson—Corbis/Getty Images
Per-Anders Pettersson—Corbis/Getty Images

Best new restaurant: At the very cool Janse & Co., chef Arno Janse van Rensburg is all about local produce. The food is experimental and creative—I recently had a sensational grilled leek dish with cream cheese and almonds—but it’s not fine dining. The restaurant is very simple, with dark walls and candles on the tables. There’s a wonderful courtyard, too; sometimes I go there just for a nice glass of chilled wine.

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Janse & Co.’s Chef Arno Jansevan is all about the local food. Courtesy of Jessamy Hindle
Courtesy of Jessamy Hindle

Urban escape: Franschhoek—Afrikaans for “French corner”—is about an hour from Cape Town and is known as the culinary capital of South Africa. It’s where the Huguenots first settled around 1600 and today is home to some of the country’s best restaurants and wine estates. Everything in this quaint town has a French feel, which is really weird and wonderful in the middle of South Africa. Haute Cabrière is a familyowned boutique wine estate here.

Terrace of restaurant at Haute Cabriere Vineyard Estate, Franschhoek Pass, Franschhoek, Cape Winelands
Terrace of restaurant at Haute Cabriere Vineyard Estate in Franschhoek, the wineland of South Africa. Blaine Harrington III—Getty Images
Blaine Harrington III—Getty Images

Beach break: Because of melting icebergs from the South Pole, the South Atlantic Ocean surrounding Cape Town is actually colder in the summer than in the winter. Most people here prefer suntanning to swimming, but surfing is definitely very popular. Camps Bay and Clifton Beach are famous surf beaches, but I like Muizenberg Beach on the southern coast for its sand and milder water temperatures.

Locals’ secret: Reverie Social Table is a proudly South African farm-to-table eatery located in the quirky Observatory neighborhood. The chef, Julia Hattingh, is young and ambitious; I’ve never seen anyone as passionate about local produce and wine. She creates the five-course menu around a rotating wine selection. It’s served at a long table that accommodates maybe 12 people max, so you have to like sitting with strangers.

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Reverie Social Table has one shared table to create the ultimate dining experience. Courtesy of Adrian Beck
Courtesy of Adrian Beck

Must-have souvenir: South Africa is famous for leather goods, especially ones made from ostrich. Cape Cobra Leathercraft is a boutique whose owners, the Schafer family, make everything by hand, from belts to credit card holders to fabulous handbags, using very high-quality local leather.

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Family owned boutique Cape Cobra Leathercraft offers local, handmade leathergoods. Courtesy of Cape Cobra Leathercraft
Courtesy of Cape Cobra Leathercraft

Things to avoid: Tours of Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, are government regulated and not the best run. To learn about the painful memories of the apartheid era, try the District Six Museum instead.

The $10,000 Day

We asked Kim to plan us a special, singular day in Cape Town: The day would begin with a dramatic, scenic helicopter trip over the Cape Peninsula, affording jaw-dropping views of the waterfront, Table Mountain, and the Cape of Good Hope. Upon the guests’ return to the city, we’d whisk them off in a Maybach limousine for a tapas lunch at Chef’s Warehouse Beau Constantia in the heart of wine country. After lunch, guests would return to Cape Town for a luxurious sunset yacht excursion aboard the Only One, where, in between sips of South African bubbly and bites of gourmet canapés, they could go for a swim before zipping out for a spin around Table Bay. And to conclude the day: a relaxing full-body massage under the stars on the rooftop of the Silo hotel.

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Guests enjoy the infinity pool on top of the Silo hotel. Courtesy of the Silo Hotel
Courtesy of the Silo Hotel

A version of this article appears in the August 1, 2018 issue of Fortune with the headline “South Africa’s Mother City.”