Postcard from Cape Town

Cape Town Harbour, South Africa, SlimPaley

Firstly, Happy September Everyone! Hope you had a great, relaxing Labour Day Weekend.

I know it’s already Thursday, but if you’ve read my ahem, “Daily-ish Paleys” or Instagram lately you’re aware I’ve just returned from a splendid family holiday in South Africa. As per usual, jet lag is always a little harder to deal with upon return.  And by ‘a little harder’ I mean someone hit me over the head with a baseball bat. On top of that, I loaded so many ‘raw’ photos (that’s high resolution, not porno) on my laptop I encountered a little space ‘issue’ yesterday, which landed me at the local Apple store “Genius Bar” (an oxymoron if ever there was one)   Plus, having gained even more weight on holiday I’m trying not to eat… or drink. I know what you’re thinking- pretty random Slim-but have you ever spent the entire late afternoon at the Genius Bar severely jet-lagged, starving, dead sober and trying to make sense of what a 20 year old computer technician is saying?? Talk about Survival of the Fittest. And yes, we did go on Safari on the trip and it was incredible and then some.

coastline Cape Town slimpaley

We flew from LA to London with Younger Son, met up with Older Son there, then London to Cape Town. May I add it takes almost 3 hours from Santa Barbara to LAX  on a Friday afternoon and with arriving 2 hours before an international flight and a delayed boarding, my husband was already suffering jet-lag. 🙂

Cape Town architecture  slimpaley

It was our first time visiting the Southern region of the continent and certainly worth the wait. We lucked out with the weather 2 of the 3 days we spent in Cape Town.  A beautiful city, tucked tightly between mountain and sea, it reminded us very much of Santa Barbara. As our climates are comparable (except they actually get rain and right now we’re like, what’s rain???) the flora is also strikingly similar.

blue skies over Cape Town

We hit the ground running upon our early morning arrival as the skies were exquisitely blue, the temperature  close to 80 and rain was forecast for later in the week.

cape town

We strolled through the Harbour Centre, enjoyed a deliciously fresh seafood lunch and walked almost 4 miles along the coastline the first day. I highly recommend it as a way to counter sleep issues your first night!  Cape Town also boasts a huge park in, what appeared to me,  the heart of the city.

beach, Cape Town  slimpaley

We stayed at Ellerman House, a small, beautifully appointed 11 room hotel located in the hills above the harbour.  Extremely quiet and cozy, with a spectacular view, great service, excellent food and a stellar collection of South African art, it’s like staying at someone’s private home while they’re away.

Someone with a very impressive wine cellar.

Cape Town hotelsRoom with a view

great wine cellarsCheck out this collection of brandy in the gorgeous wine cellar of Ellerman House.

Drive to Table Mountain

The second day we drove up to Table Mountain and took the rotating gondola to the summit. Naturally this is a MUST do on the Cape Town Visitor’s List.

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at the summit of Table Mountain  slimpaleySo glad this guy was neither my husband or sons. geez.

The Art Museum, Cape Town

I would also strongly recommend a visit to the Cape Town Art Museum-We all loved it, just fabulous.

Unfortunately, on the 3rd morning, we woke to pewter grey skies, whipping wind and rain. Our younger son wasn’t feeling 100% and I was also lagging so we opted to stay back while my husband and older son bravely stuck to the itinerary; a drive to the Cape of Good Hope- the very lowest tip of South West Africa.

lighthouseThese 3 photos taken by my son.

Cape of Good HopeThe very end of it all


Arrgh.  BAD decision on my part but a good lesson- push yourself to get up and out, especially when you’ve come so far.

I  love lighthouses.


and penguins! Baby penguins too!

In the late afternoon, younger son and I rallied, visiting the famous old Mount Nelson Hotel for high tea. Well, I sipped tea, he had multiple espressos. The coffee is awfully good in Africa. We enjoyed our civilised little moment, still blissfully unaware of what we were missing out on at this point.

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 11.37.36 AM photo via website


 The Mount Nelson Hotel


The flowers were beautiful in the Mount Nelson.

Did you know that the King Protea is the National Flower of South Africa? Well it is…

Sigh. I fricking LOVE penguins.

 pork belly, The Test Kitchen, Cape Town  slimpaleyPork Belly at The Test Kitchen, Cape Town, South Africa

We spent our last night in Cape Town having dinner at “The Test Kitchen” A highly adventurous tasting menu offered in a very casual setting, it was recommended by many and didn’t disappoint.

*Note; they don’t accept American Express (file under ‘Awkward Travel Moments’)

view from Ellerman house slimpaleyThe sun breaking through the clouds on the afternoon I didn’t see the penguins. Some consolation…

I was sorry to say good-bye to Cape Town so soon.  I would definitely love to return some day.

890A3160Sunset, no filter, from the terrace of Ellerman House.

Next stop; The Wine Country…

Rose wine, Slim Paley


xx SP



PS. I have no affiliation/agreement/hanky-panky with any of the hotels or restaurants linked to in this post.



  1. Your sunset picture is exquisite.
    I live on Maui and proteas are my favorite flowers. Your King Protea is beautiful!

  2. That sunset picture is beyond fabulous….truly one of my very favorites. Awesome post, I also truly love your blog!

  3. Slim, Spent two weeks last Xmas in Cape Town and the wine country on our way home from two years in Australia…loved it and The Test Kitchen was Great! Can’t wait to see more.

  4. Gosh, I love what you did! I stayed in the Mount Nelson Hotel so long ago, and what a delicious old place it was then! Wonderful South Africa, where I long to return! The wine was fab!

  5. It is a “realization” flight going down there, you realize just how big our planet is, i love that! The mount Nelson looks wonderful. The “jackass” penguins are a kick to see, but I’ll bet you’ll see them another time. I was just in Santa barbarba for a wedding, what a wonderful place.

  6. I travelled to South Africa a little over 10 years ago to see a friend. When visiting the penguins (Hout Bay), the tour guide specifically told us not to touch them. Of course, there’s always one–a guy put his hand out to pet one and was greeted with a nasty bite! Thanks for refreshing my memories.

    • Well, truth be told Kristi, it’s complicated. Some of my very dearest memories are of our family’s two trips to Africa. And I’m completely in awe of the beauty, the wildlife, diversity and sheer magnitude of the continent at every level. There is SO much to behold and appreciate, but much sadness, poverty and political corruption juxtaposing all the natural beauty.
      Getting back to your question, It’s actually Sri Lanka, not India (though I loved my adventures there too) that holds a special little place in my heart. If I believed in past/future lives (and I still haven’t answered that question myself) I’d venture there’s a connection there 🙂

  7. Fab post Slim. You brought back all the memories I had when I was in Cape Town two years ago. I agree Table Mountain is a must if you are not afraid of heights. Spectacular photos especially of the sunset. I too love Penguins. I hope to return to Cape Town next year on Business and pleasure. I hope you get over your jet lag soon.

  8. What a lovely post! The photos were stunning! I do hope you will do another post on this trip. I’m sure you have more beautiful photos!
    I so enjoy your blog!

  9. South Africa, WOW! I REALLY envy you now. Right now, I do not have the dough or the guts to visit a country like South Africa. 🙁

  10. We stayed at the Mount Nelson a couple of years ago…I though Cape Town was GORGEOUS! And so were the penguins!
    We also went on Safari from there and am curious to see the next part of your trip.
    For us, the most sobering part of Cape Town, were the miles and miles of shanties outside of the city.
    The poverty is overwhelming.
    As always, love your humor and perspective.

  11. How I would love to visit these places with you. I could relax and let you decide everything. What a vacation THAT would be. Welcome home, Slim!

  12. Love seeing all these lovely pics of the beautiful South Africa.

    The South African cricket team is called the proteas.

  13. Well, darn it anyway – had no idea I wanted to go to South Africa. You’ve talked me in to it! Your photos are beyond good!

  14. Slim, your photos are so beautiful, and I echo what everyone else writes that I really want to go there myself now!
    Just one question though, the brandy in those free-form bottles has me confused. Are they hanging from a wall? Are they open on the top? sealed? Very different looking…please tell us more if you know.

    • The brandy bottles are full of real brandy and are hanging horizontally on the wall. Unfortunately, I’d hoped to have the Full Monty tour, but time didn’t allow. You should see how the wine is displayed- that is coming up on a future post!

  15. wonderful photographs (especially the sunset) and lovely to know you were at the tip of our beautiful continent! thanks for swinging by ngorobob and leaving a comment. THANK YOU! x janelle

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