We’ve been hopping in and around Cape Town now for the past two months. We’ve spent our time traipsing in and out of cafes, hiking various points, and eating a plethora of incredibly delicious food. However, there is a side of it that you haven’t seen. The side that explains why we are in this gosh darn city so long.
That side is the work, preparation, and planning of our entire African trip. Between the adventure activities and the sushi lunches, we have actually been hard at work in front of our computer and making countless runs to the Department of Transport trying to obtain a car to overland Africa in. So, when the opportunity arose for us to have a luxurious and relaxing weekend in Cape Town, we jumped with joy!
Luxurious Accommodation in Cape Town at the Tintswalo Atlantic
We made our way to Hout Bay to start the weekend off right at the beautiful Tintswalo Atlantic. If luxury has a name in Cape Town, then it’s definitely Tintswalo. The Tintswalo Atlantic is known as Cape Town’s “hidden gem” as it is hidden within the Table Mountain Nature Reserve, hidden just below the famous Chapman’s Peak drive.
As an outsider, you can barely see the property unless you are looking for it. We knew we were in for a secluded weekend when we parked our car at the drive and we have soon whisked away down to Tintswalo Atlantic. We made our descent to the shores and arrived in tranquility. With a greeting of fresh lemonade, smiles, and the sounds of the ocean waves we immediately forgot our current worries.
The Tinswalo Atlantic Experience
There are only 10 Island Suites and one Presidential Suite at the Tintswalo Atlantic and they are all named after islands around the world. We were shown to Robben Island – the only South African island represented at Tintswalo. For those that don’t know Robben Island is where Nelson Mandela spent 18 years of his life in prison. So fittingly enough the room was decked out in the classiest prison memorabilia and Mandela portraits we had ever seen.
Each island room here features a massive bathroom, fireplace, cloud-like bed, and of course every room faces the ocean. Every night and morning can be spent listening to the smooth sounds of the sea carrying you away. It’s safe to say that this is one of the most characteristic rooms we have ever stayed in.
Stepping into the giant bathroom that I mentioned feels like what Queen Elizabeth may get ready in each morning. The toilet is conveniently hidden down a long, but open corridor. There are his and her sinks complemented with dozens of seashells and deluxe soaps and toiletries.
Then I saw it, the bathtub overlooking the sea. Next to the tub was all the salts, bubbles, and oils I could ever want to relax in. I don’t get to take baths often, so I knew this was going to be heaven.
We stay in a lot of rooms and it’s pretty hard to get excited about a hotel room, but believe me when I say it was easy with the Tintswalo Atlantic. I still haven’t gotten to the best part, and that is the patio overlooking the ocean, Hout Bay harbor, and Sentinel Peak.
This is where we spent the majority of our time. Relaxing, reading, and overlooking the stunning Cape. Every suite here has a balcony and is only steps from the ocean. The sun sets over Sentinel peak every day and the beauty is something I will always remember.
Each evening just as the sun is setting guests can make their way to the charming and characteristic lobby to mingle and have canapés The main building is also where dinner is served every night. After dinner, guests can relax next to a large fire while relaxing (or dozing off) to the sound of crackling firewood.
Room service is also available if guests don’t want to leave the comfort of their room for the night or have a romantic evening in. We got so caught up with the sunset one night that we couldn’t be torn away from Robben Island. The wonderful staff at Tintswalo graciously brought us some snacks to the room without us even asking, so that we could catch the views with no stresses.
We were incredibly impressed by the attentiveness, care, and mood of every single staff member at Tintswalo. Every member here cared about making each and every guest happy from morning to night. My favorite personal touch was the messages written in seashells we received every day from the housekeeping staff, had me smiling every time!
Besides hanging in the room, the Tintswalo has an amazing heated pool at the end of their boardwalk. We had two beautiful days to get tan by the pool and enjoy some of their signature island-themed cocktails served.
Now, we knew when we got to Tintswalo that we just wanted to hang out and lounge around the property the whole time in complete relaxation. We had been exploring Cape Town for almost two months prior, so we have checked off many of the bucket list items. The Tintswalo Atlantic was the perfect location for those wishing to explore the “Mother City” and her surroundings. If you are looking for a place to celebrate your honeymoon in Cape Town, you can’t go wrong with this place.
As Tintswalo is located at the foot of Chapman’s Peak, visitors are just a drive away from the top attractions around. The fishing town of Hout Bay is a close 5-10 minute drive away, as well as the most picturesque Chapman’s Peak Drive.
Moving on by Helicopter
After a wonderful couple days in paradise, our time at Tintswalo had come to an end. We didn’t want our luxurious weekend to end there though! So we decided to take a helicopter ride over Cape Town for the best views of the city! We’ve each have been wanting to ride in helicopter ever since we were teased in the Seychelles earlier this year. We finally got the opportunity on our luxury weekend with NAC Helicopters.
Although we have been in the city a few months now we realized we still hadn’t seen Cape Town at her best. So we decided to take the Atlantico tour with NAC Helicopters which would take us around the main part of Cape Town and over to Hout Bay. Seeing the city from 2500 feet up was a breathtaking experience. I’m not so sure there is a better city in the world to see by air. The mountains, city bowl. and crystal clear waters all together doesn’t even look real and is something that should be seen in person by everyone traveling to Cape Town.
While taking these striking views in I couldn’t help, but think what the Dutch were thinking when they first arrived in this part of the world. Surely, without all the buildings that are currently there they had to know they were viewing one the most beautiful parts of the world? I guess I will never know what went down when the Dutch arrived, but I’m going to envision them having a braai on top of Table Mountain and declaring Cape Town paradise.
We were sad when our flight was over, but those babies take a lot of fuel! To ease our sadness the staff at NAC brought us two glasses of bubbly to enjoy. Ah, this weekend of luxury seemed to never end.
We strolled along the V & A Waterfront until it was dinner time. When you are seeking out a romantic meal for two in Cape Town the restaurant possibilities are endless. Being here two months we have tried at least one restaurant in just about every part of Cape Town. From Reuben’s to Gold Restaurant, to Salushi in Claremont we went all over in search of all the great cuisine. On this particular luxurious weekend we were both craving sushi, so we made way to Sevruga Restaurant on the waterfront and finished the weekend off with a mountain of creative and funky rolls.
Thank you to the Tintswalo Atlantic and NAC Helicopters for hosting us, as always all opinions are our own.
Travel Tips for South Africa
- Languages Spoken: The most widely spoken language is Zulu, then Xhosa, followed by Afrikaans. However, just about everyone speaks English.
- Capital: South Africa has no legally defined capital city. Instead, there are three South African capitals. They are Pretoria (executive capital), Bloemfontein (judicial), and Cape Town (legislative).
- Currency: South African Rand 4 (ZAR) – $.
- Visa: Some nationalities are issued a 90-day visa on arrival. Check with your embassy for the best information. The visas are consecutive, not concurrent, don’t be like us and get kicked out.
- Weather: Hot and humid especially during the summer months.
- What to Pack: Depends on the season and where you are at. Definitely bring hiking shoes, a bathing suit, and a jacket.
- Malaria: Not a major threat in South Africa. In the rainy season, areas around Kruger and the north are at mild risk of malaria.
- Stay Connected: Vodacom, Telcom, OneCell, and MTN are the cell phone and internet providers. Check here for more information.
- Adaptor: You’ll need this adaptor in Southern Africa.
- Tipping: This is a tipping country and visitors should expect to tip for anything from a lunch out, to gas station attendants, to security guards in parking lots. Tips to car guards can be anything between 2 and 10 ZAR while 10% is the norm for waitstaff.
Book A Safari Near Cape Town
Traditionally if you wanted to book a safari you’d have to go to a travel agent and have them book your safari for you. They made suggestions for camps and lodges then presented you with a large bill. Most of the industry still operates in this fashion.
However, Timbuktu is a new platform that allows you to select the lodges you’d like and see the pricing per day that way you can select the best itinerary for yourself. They will then contact the lodges and help you through booking your safari. With experts on staff, they can also provide suggestions and arrange the little details much like a travel agent.
When is the Best Season to Travel South Africa?
High season (November and March)
This is the high season in South Africa, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the best time to visit South Africa. The weather in South Africa really starts to warm up starting in November, some may say it gets unpleasantly hot in some places. December and January are particularly busy because of the holidays. If you can manage it I would generally try to avoid travel during this time.
Shoulder Season (April-May and September-October)
The weather throughout most of South Africa is pleasant during this time. Not too hot and not too cold. April and May are some of the best times to go on safari in South Africa. Crowds are low, and the wildlife still gathers around the watering hole, which makes for easy viewing.
Low Season (June-September)
This is South Africa’s winter season meaning low numbers of tourists and cooler weather. We traveled around South Africa in August and September and still had a fabulous time. The weather was cool, but only really at night did we need a jacket. Winter means the middle of the dry season making game viewing on safari generally quite good. This is also the time when you’ll be able to score deals across the country!
What Camera Gear Do We Use?
- Fuji X-T3 – Main Travel Camera
- Fuji X Series Lenses
- Sony RX100 V
- Fuji X-T20 – Backup Camera
- GoPro (on B&H)
- DJI Mavic 2 Pro Drone // (on B&H)
- Lowe Pro Whistler 450
- Peak Design Camera Sling
- Peak Design Travel Backpack
- For Cinematic Shots: Zhiyun Crane V2
- Peak Designs Tripod
- For Storage: LaCie Rugged 4TB USB-C
- For Editing: Macbook 15″ Pro Retina
What to Pack for Cape Town
Overland Tour in Africa
Traveling Africa on your own can be daunting to many travelers. However, there is no need to fear with overland tour companies who will show the ropes and a great time. You can check out some of them here to compare the different companies and possibly score a discount.
Travel Water Bottle
Plastic pollution is a problem in Africa so it’s best not to contribute to the problem of buying plastic water bottles everywhere. The tap water in Tanzania is generally not safe to drink, but a water purifier, like the Grayl waterbottle, works well!
However, we also love filtered water bottles in areas we’re uncertain of the water supply. Read more about our favorite water bottle for travel in our post.
Chances are you’ll want a camera for your trip to Africa. Our favorite pocket-sized point and shoot camera for quick trips are the Sony RX100V. It takes fantastic photos and videos and is the size of your palm.
For more professional photographs we use our Fuji XT-3, and LOVE IT.
A good hat is both stylish and functional. In peak dry season there is little to provide shade, UV rays are intense and can easily burn the unsuspecting traveler. Check out our full break down of the best safari hats here!
Lightweight pants that are made from synthetic material are tremendous to have in your pack. It’s what we wear most days when traveling around Africa as they’re comfortable, antibacterial, and protect our legs from mosquitos (malaria).
You’ll want a safari shirt while on safari. They are lightweight and keep the bugs away. Plus they look ideal in photos and blend into the environment around you!
Sometimes it’s nice just to have a real book in your hands when traveling. We recommend picking up a Lonely Planet to get you through the wireless nights. Are you going on safari? We always carry our Robert’s Southern Africa Bird Book and a good mammal guide.