South Africa, Table Mountain, Western Cape

Cape Town, South Africa – more than just a mountain

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Cape Town has a famous landmark said to be one of the official Wonders of the World

Yes, Cape Town has a famous landmark said to be one of the official Wonders of the World, and yes, it is the backdrop for many “wish you were here” moments, but there is so much more to this vibrant powder keg of design, art, cuisine, scenic majesty and culture than a postcard can convey.

Cape Town is a city with a wavelength all of its own. Just look at the diverse array of people who traverse her streets on a daily basis. From the modern metro business tycoon to the colourful minstrel, getting ready for the Second New Year Carnival; the Rainbow Nation decks out in full regalia in Cape Town.

The Cape Town city bowl is a meal of top-notch theatres, galleries, world renowned restaurants, secret gin joints and an eclectic collection of bars and hangouts. There is something for everyone’s taste. Recently, the city launched an exciting new concept promoting art, creativity and City Bowl culture. First Thursdays is an event that takes place on the first Thursday of every month and is absolutely free. It invites people from all walks of life to see the City Bowl’s galleries, eateries, retail stores, bars and cultural events on foot and at night. Most establishments stay open to 9pm or later to allow visitors and locals alike to experience the night time magic of a city set alight with the talent and scope of its artists – culinary, visual, structural, you name it.

The art on First Thursdays are also not limited to gallery walls. You merely have to peak into the Commissary, the latest gastronomic wave from one of South Africa’s greatest culinary exports, Luke Dale Roberts, to see the incredible graffiti lining the entrance all the way to the upstairs bar area. Situated next to sibling restaurant, the Shortmarket Club, two of the finest dining experiences in Cape Town can be found in the hub of the First Thursdays gallery district. The 99 on Loop Gallery as well as Chandler House are some of the many worth-while spots to visit, while the Labia Theatre offers short films put together by a guest curator monthly.

Art and expressionism and the definition of art has taken on a life of its own and has become quite the buzzword on social media platforms. This is clearly depicted with the variety of “protest art” installations that you meet head-on in the middle of the walkways – non-confrontational, but bringing their point across in a powerful way.

The vibe in the Mother City is electric and all around you, you will experience sights and sounds of Cape Town. I walked by an unassuming shop front only to be drawn in by the rhythms of a drumming circle creating art; not with a brush or clay, but in the form of powerful African movement and beat.

More than a mountain? Absolutely. With First Thursdays, Cape Town has set the table, ready and waiting for a new breed of guest to come and explore the treasures laid out.