Jazz up your trip:
This would be amazing as an experience in your home city, let alone in a country that is as dynamic and musical as South Africa. If you need any evidence of this, just look at the way the nation embraced vuvuzelas at the 2010 FIFA World Cup. South Africans need little excuse to make a tuneful noise and dance along with the beat. So when high quality jazz musicians come along it's quite the party.
Tour operator Coffeebeans Routes offers a Cape Jazz Safari that takes guests into the personal lounge rooms of jazz maestros around Cape Town. It feels like a privilege to be welcomed into their homes and combines all the elements of a great night – music, conversation, home-cooked food, intimacy, history and dance. Cape jazz is a genre all to itself, combining the American jazz we are most familiar with and melding it with local African Khoisan rhythms. The tour takes in the townships and ends at a local jazz club. This is not an experience you could ever hope to find without the insight of an astute tour operator. The tour takes a maximum of twelve but will take just one if you are travelling solo.
Tap into hipster Jo'burg:
Johannesburg has become a creative hub as well as the nation's financial capital. Cape Town might have the beauty, but Jozi – as the locals call it – has a gritty street-inspired creative scene that extends to architecture, fashion, design, performance and art.
The Maboneng precinct is a trendy neighbourhood of street-level independent design stores, eateries and galleries like Arts on Main. Here you will find Black Coffee, a renowned local brand with one-off designs and LoveJozi, which is a socially aware unisex t-shirt brand. For the ultimate in hipster chic, there's even a bicycle shop called Whippet Cycling Co that specialises in obscure vintage parts. Then there's the cheeky gallery space that is I was shot in Joburg, a community project that arms street children with disposable cameras and displays their work. "We learnt how to search for beauty, composition and interesting subject matter where we thought there were none," founder Bernard Viljoen said.
Market on Main is a weekly market also found in Maboneng. Plus there are free weekly art tours in the precinct of AREA3 taking in street art as well as the historic Jewish suburb of Doornfontein. The Orbit Jazz Club, meanwhile, is one of the trendiest nightspots in town, serving up local jazz performances to audiences from Tuesday to Sunday.
Check out designer Cape Town:
Cape Town is a World Design Capital for 2014 and is pulling out all the stops to woo the designer crowd, from hipster hangouts to arty spaces. Cape Town was awarded the design honour thanks to a campaign to use design for social transformation with the tagline "Live design. Transform life."
The city will run 460 change-themed projects throughout the year. A way to get to grips with the large-scale event is to take a tour with Coffeebeans Routes who were part responsible for Cape Town being chosen for the honour. They packaged an itinerary for the World Design Capital judges and now offer a four-day tour that visits the city's creative nexuses. Guests can see the design projects and then meet the minds behind them as part of the tour.
One project that epitomises design as change is the Lynedoch EcoVillage which is sustainable and socially aware. The village has subsidised housing, a school for the children of local workers as well as an environmental institute. The Old Biscuit Mill is literally that; with the shops and restaurants needing to pass the criteria of being original and innovative. Then there's The Exposure Gallery, a store dedicated to quirky photography brands like Lomography. On Saturdays the Mill holds the Neighbourgoods Market, which has more than 100 stalls serving up fine-food, organic fare and baked goods. It's very much a paddock to plate philosophy embraced by the Cape Town community.