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Insider secrets: Constantia

Insider secrets: Constantia

Want to know where Constantia locals eat, drink, go for walks and buy fresh flowers? Here are the inside secrets.

The serene Constantia Uitsig Spa Lounge.

 

There’s nothing like getting the insider scoop on a suburb. If you’re wanting to feel like a Constantia local, here’s all you need to know.

Best freshly cut flowers?

Drive down the sandy lane next to Peddlars on the Bend and you’ll find buckets of scented blooms in the little wooden hut next to the chickens. Generations of the Jafta family have grown flowers in these fertile fields.

Best wine shop?

Constantia Uitsig’s wine shop, next to the River Café, is a favourite with locals, but insiders reckon that wine tasting at Constantia Glen is not to be missed, nor is the view from Beau Constantia .

Walks in and around Constantia are filled with beautiful views.

  • Lane’s Riding School has always given Constantia the rural edge, with outrides taking children up the magnificent green belt, which is also a haven for dog walkers.
  • Instead of driving up to the stately Groot Constantia for breakfast or tea under the oaks, park at the kramat in Klein Constantia Road and walk up through Groot Constantia’s vineyards.
  • Make like Cape Town’s local chefs and go mushroom foraging in Cecilia Forest, or take a walk from Constantia Nek up to the Light from Africa Foundation to see what’s on at their ceramics studio under the watchful eye of creative director Anthony Shapiro.
  • Jo Massie, GM of The Cellars-Hohenort, spent years spotting whales from her daily cliffside walk in front of The Marine in Hermanus, but the green belt became her beat when she moved to Constantia. ‘When I can’t get there with Mac, my cocker spaniel pup, I love to walk through the beautiful gardens and vineyard of the hotel before returning to greet guests in front of the fire and enjoying a glass of local Constantia red wine.’ It’s all about celebrating country living so close to the city.


Where to eat and drink?

Constantia houses some of the country’s hottest hotels and bars.

 

Tough decision! There’s no shortage of talented chefs in the valley, from the internationally renowned Relais & Chateaux Grand Chef Peter Tempelhoff at The Greenhouse to bistro dining, tapas and oysters by Brad Ball at Bistro Sixteen82  on the slopes of Steenberg or a bottle of bubbly at Gorgeous, Steenberg’s chic sparkling-wine bar.

In March, Baz Dreisinger of The New York Times visited 5 Rooms by default: ‘Informed by the concierge that I was, alas, number six on the waiting list for La Colombe at Uitsig – one of the top-rated restaurants in the Cape – I instead dined at 5 Rooms at the newly renovated Alphen Boutique Hotel. Entering the restaurant is a delightful surprise; its 18th-century Cape Dutch manor house is a national monument, but the decor is Alice-in-Wonderland funky: animal print rug, playfully ornate crystal chandelier, TV in guilded frame, dub-music soundtrack.’

But on Friday evenings the who’s who of the horsey set can be found at the Alphen’s Rose Bar. ‘You won’t be able to sit,’ says Luxury Brands CEO Jeremy Nel, ‘and the cars outside make it look like a Bloomsbury showroom,’ but it’s the place to stop on the way home.

And anyone for coffee and pastries? Buitenverwachting’s Coffee BloC is the new spot. Think freshly baked scones, heavenly Sacher Torte and delicate pastries.

So, who lives here?

Those who love a discreet country lifestyle, including royalty and celebrities who enjoy their privacy. And we’ll keep it that way…

Text: Meg Wilson

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