As Head Concierge at the 12 Apostles Hotel, to say that Nardus Buys has an impressive knowledge of Cape Town attractions would be an understatement. Whether you prefer to be out exploring the natural landscape on a scenic hike, sampling the best bobotie in town, finding the city’s coolest galleries or planning a day trip further afield, follow Nardus to his favourite places in Cape Town and you’re guaranteed to see the best of this buzzing city.
Describe Cape Town in three words
“Indescribable Natural Beauty”
How long have you lived in Cape Town?
“I’ve lived in Cape Town for four years. Before that, I lived in London but I went to school in Gansbaai many moons ago and that was when the “Fairest Cape” got into my blood!”
Please can you describe your ideal day in Cape Town?
“I’ve got a young family and we love to go hiking and camping in and around Cape Town. The Reserves are always a favourite for us, and with numerous entrances it never gets boring exploring the wild!”
When it comes to local cuisine, what Cape Town specialities do you recommend visitors try?
“That’s an easy question for me to answer! A few local specialities that guests must try are Bobotie (spiced mince with an egg based topping), Malva Pudding (a sticky, sweet dessert), and the sweet, fried dough snack, Koeksisters. I recommend visiting restaurants like Bo-KaapKombuis and Biesmiellah to experience these traditional dishes.”
Where do you go to relax in the city?
“I like to take a moment for myself by reading the daily paper at Green Point Lighthouse, but I also find that Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens or Company’s Garden have a wonderfully serene atmosphere”
Are there any attractions outside of the city that you think are worth making a detour to see?
“For me, Namaqualand is well worth visiting in flower season, during August and September, for its incredible wildflowers. I also recommend Cape Point and Hermanus for whale watching, which happens between June and November. Cape Agulhas, the most southern tip of Africa, is also worth making a trip for.”
What’s your favourite walking route in the city?
“Every route in the city is full of historical and cultural insights, so I wouldn’t say I have a specific favourite. However, the walking tours in the tunnels at The Cape Castle are very special.”
What locally made items should guests buy whilst in Cape Town?
“The local community work extremely hard making our tourists happy, and I love to support them. Look out for things like wire art, which is getting really famous now, and is a lot lighter and more suitcase-friendly than the typical giraffe wooden sculptures!”
When’s the best time of year to visit Cape Town?
“Cape Town is wonderful all year round, even if it the weather can be a little wet! I’d suggest September – November as the perfect time to visit, as it’s not too hot so it’s the ideal time to make the most of all the summer activities that the city offers.””
What essential items should visitors remember to pack when visiting Cape Town?
“Our south-easterly winds can pick up sometimes and it does get a little windy, so I suggest packing a windbreaker jacket. I’d also say remember to bring extra memory cards for your cameras because there are so many fabulous photo opportunities here. And, of course, a smile is essential because the locals will want to know that you are enjoying your time in Cape Town!”
Can you tell us any local secrets that visitors don’t usually know about?
“The first secret I’ll let you in on is that there are hundreds of Water Tunnels under the city that one can visit with a guide, which makes for an interesting and unusual day out! I’d also mention that we have First Thursdays, which take place, as the name suggests, on the first Thursday of every month when art galleries and museums stay open late. Art lovers should also check out the Woodstock Exchange, which is home to some amazing galleries.”
Allow Nardus to let you in on a few more local secrets when you visit the 12 Apostles Hotel.
Image Credits:Lead image © iStock/spooh. Nardus Buys portrait © Red Carnation Hotels. Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens © iStock/EcoPic. Namaqualand wild flowers © iStock/Aberson. Whales at Hermanus © iStock/oversnap.