South Africa: Cape Town: Art and Craftwork
Located along the shore of Table Bay, Cape Town is recognized as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The city was originally established by the Dutch East India Company as a supply station for Dutch ships along trade routes. Cape Town’s fascination is found in its culture, architecture, creative talent, and cuisine.
Upon arrival, check into your boutique accommodation. A Georgian and Victorian building that was originally a farmhouse, your hotel offers a luxurious yet comfortable atmosphere, with bright, beautiful rooms, a cozy lounge with a fireplace, and a lush garden and pool area.
Your first afternoon and evening are spent at your leisure. We will provide you with suggestions for dinner.
Step out today in the company of an engaging guide whose insights into the city’s history, architecture, food, and art is rich, and presented with anecdotes and authority. Cape Town is bustling with creative talent, offering a broad scope of craftwork commemorating the many aspects of South Africa’s past and present. Design is used for economic and cultural development, and some of the most interesting craftwork in the area is “project” work, initiated by an artist or designer who designs a business structure and teaches the necessary production skills to a poor community.
This morning, visit a community-based design studio for an interactive workshop in the uniquely African genre of wire art, followed by a mid-morning coffee, where you’ll learn a bit about the history of the Bo-Kaap area.
Next, you’ll visit a manufacturer specializing in innovative, contemporary, and uniquely South African designs for the kitchen and home. Afterwards, enjoy a typical Cape Malay lunch at The Noon Gun, a family-run restaurant serving some of the best Malay cuisine in the city, a fusion of Asian, European, and African foods, with an extensive use of curries, chili, and spices.
After lunch, you’ll head to Woodstock, Cape Town’s oldest suburb, now a thriving hub of creativity inhabited by emerging artists and creative professionals. Numerous studios and galleries line the streets. You’ll stop to see a talented contemporary ceramicist at her studio, where you’ll have the unique opportunity of viewing her ready-made tableware and pieces inspired by West African textile design and the African landscape.
This evening, you’ll experience a guided visit to the Kalkfontein township, an eclectic community where South Africa exists in microcosm: a veritable cultural melting pot. You’ll meet poets and storytellers from the area, and enjoy a traditional dinner in a private home, after which you’ll stop for a drink at a lively shebeen (local pub).
After breakfast this morning, you’ll begin your day with a visit to an up-market shop located in the Cape Quarter, which offers an extensive array of crafts from all over the continent. Meet with the shop’s owner or manager, with whom you’ll discuss the impressive collection, considered “New African” craft. Before leaving, check out another shop offering a collection of fabulous jewelry conceptualized and created in Cape Town.
As lunchtime nears, you’ll visit another gallery under the direction of a remarkable woman, which features an inspired, carefully curated collection of South African arts, design, and craft. Stroll along the waterfront overlooking Kalk Bay Harbor, where you’ll have a lunch of fresh fish and chips.
In the afternoon, visit a design center, home to a wide range of designers and artists as part of a project to promote craft and design in South Africa. Here, you’ll have tea under the trees, with time to wander around the historic complex where former stables and cowsheds house craft shops, jewelers, potters, and weavers.
Continue your exploration of the arts with a drive along the Atlantic coast to Hout Bay, where you’ll visit the T-Bag Initiative, which employs women who use recycled tea bags as canvases, and create greeting cards that are then sold locally. Next you’ll visit a ceramic atelier which employs talented yet disadvantaged artists, and provides them with further training in the arts. These high-quality ceramics are directed towards an overseas market, and profits provide support for local South African communities.
The peaceful return drive along the coast will include tea or a cocktail at a boutique hotel featuring fabulous views, perfect for sunset viewing.
Today begins with a guided walking tour of Bo-Kaap, the historic Malay township of Cape Town, which boasts picturesque cobblestone streets lined with unique architecture. Perched on the slopes of Signal Hill, overlooking Table Bay, Bo-Kaap has played an important role in the development of the language and culture of the Cape Colony, as descendants of people from Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, and Malaysia have inhabited the area for centuries.
First you’ll visit the Bo-Kaap Museum, located within a house that dates back to 1760, for an intimate look at the tradition and history of the area. Afterwards, immerse yourself in the scents of ginger, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, and chili during an informal cooking workshop in a Bo-Kaap family home. For lunch, you’ll savor your hard work over a full-course traditional Malay Meal.
This afternoon, stroll 15 minutes down to The Company Gardens, after which you have the option of a guided tour of the South African National Gallery. The SA Museum is opposite the Gallery, and the SA Jewish museum is adjacent. A visit to the Jewish museum, officially opened by Nelson Mandela in 2000, is recommended, as it traces the history of the Jewish community in South Africa in an interactive manner.
Return to the airport by private transfer today to meet your departure flight, or to continue on to your next Willing Foot South African destination.
This is just the beginning.
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