When you are standing in the queue to get your boarding ticket to catch your flight out of Cape Town International, #don’tletthesuncatchyoucrying.

This is not meant for anyone who spent too much time on Camps Bay or Clifton Beach and got rather burned. Don’t forget to use your sunscreen, our African sun is treacherous for the unwary.


You will, no doubt, be unhappy at leaving this beautiful city, the glorious weather and the sights and all the wonderful experiences you have had, but what is making you feel like crying, is that you have just heard of a hidden treasure that you missed seeing, and we will be sad to see you go, knowing full well you shall be going back to the long winter months ahead of you.




Surely you will have had the trip on the open-topped red bus, around the Peninsula,

Been for, hopefully, a day visit to the beautiful Kirstenbosch Gardens.

Visited the City Gardens and the GreenPoint gardens.

A visit to the Cape is not complete without a trip out to the wine lands and there are so many wineries to visit, you are spoiled for choice.

If you were fortunate to have taken a trip to Cape Point and come back for a stop to see the penguins and the sights on the False Bay side of the Peninsula, then you can see right across to Gordon’s Bay on the other side of False Bay.

Oh my, there are so many places to visit and enjoy. Something different around every corner.


Perhaps you even had a chance to go along my favorite drive of all times, Clarence Drive, going along the Strand, through Gordon’s Bay, and along the stunning drive with the sea on one side and the mountains on the other.


It is completely breathtaking and there are so many lovely stopping places along the way. Lovely little towns and eateries.

All the way around this wonderful drive, there are places of interest, until you reach Hermanus to view the Whales. This is really what so many people come to see during (June to December) and it is such a wonderful sight but there are so many other things to see and do along this fantastic road trip.

If you are in Cape Town in June, the Hermanus FynArts Festival is between 7th and 17th in 2019. It is absolutely magical. So many functions, magnificent Art Galleries. A treat for anyone interested in the Arts. Don’t leave booking to the last minute as I can assure you, after experiencing this fantastic event this year it should be on everyone’s wish list.

Highlights of the Hermanus FynArts Festival 2018

The people were so friendly, the weather was so kind, I managed to walk the place flat with no problems for the entire week. Just became a bit footsore and weary, so went for a Spa treatment at If you want to know more, read my blog on hhtps://jillalexa.com/Highlights of Hermanus FynArts Festival 2018.


What you might have heard about and missed is the Montebello Design Centre and the lovely Gardener’s Cottage Restaurant. The setting is absolutely stunning, set among the enormous trees. It is so peaceful and once you have eaten a tasty, well-prepared meal or scrumptious tea, there is so much to see.


My daughter-in-law Janet, kindly took me to tea there recently, whilst on a trip to Cape Town from Windhoek, Namibia. We had a marvelous time and were sorry she had a flight booked for later in the afternoon as we would both have loved to spend more time exploring all the options at the Montebello Design Centre.


The number of talented people working on their various projects was mind-blowing. All the gorgeous wood carving, the animals, birds, fish etc. We had the privilege of watching them work and they were all so friendly and happy to show us what they were busy with. A lot of the Artists are from Zimbabwe who are well-known for their Artistic skills.



We were very amused by one of the Artists who carve a number of varieties of wooden birds, sold singly or as mobiles. He said we should Tweet about them and I originally thought of calling this blog Twitter, Twitter, Tweet, Tweet but the birds are not the only things on display, so changed my mind.



Was disappointed that Lesley Charnock was away when we were at Montebello as she has a lovely gallery there, which I have visited on numerous occasions and I would love to have shown some of her work Thought it would not be the done thing to take photos of her work without her permission so will do that another time.

She is a wonderful Artist who works mainly in Oils and Acrylics but also has amazing multimedia works where she incorporates fabrics into her work. They are so vibrant and bring to life the Africa she knows and obviously, loves.

Don’t miss going into Lesley’s Gallery. Absolutely wonderful paintings to take home to remind you of your wonderful Cape Town holiday.


As you will see from the photographs I am sharing there are also lovely gift shops selling really original, handmade items which you will find hard to resist. Perhaps it would be a good idea to have the purchases packed up and sent to your home as otherwise, you may have to pay for overweight, at the airport, and we don’t want that.


This piece really caught my eye and was so tempting but thought the Retirement Home would not be too pleased if I put it on my balcony and perhaps had a fire.



Wouldn’t you be tempted? #don’tletthesuncatchyoucrying on your way home, if you missed experiencing the wonders of The Montebello Design Center, eating out at The Gardener’s Cottage and watching the wonderfully talented Artists busy crafting gifts for your friends back home?

Jill Alexa

Jill of all Trades. Master of Many. Too busy to die.


  1. I would love to go whale watching, especially when its the season for it, what a beautiful idea. The beach looks so beautiful from the picture you’ve shown. That is enough to convince me, I love a pretty beach setting, especially a white beach. Thank you for showing me that whale watching in season is a thing. 

    • Hi Jayde, Hermanus is definitely the place to whale watch and there are all the added pleasures to enjoy. The beaches all along the coast are truly beautiful.

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting on my post.

  2. Cape Town has my heart! The creative energy in that gorgeous part of the world is tangible,  as and visitors we were treated to a smorgasbord – from buskers in the streets to the cartoonists and authors at the Open Book Festival, to delicious foods and treats at the Good Food Y Wine Show (sadly no more).  Oh Cape Town, the sun definitely does catch me crying every time I leave.  Thank you for sharing all this beauty, I will be back for certain!

    • Oh, Louise, That is wonderful that you have been here and really enjoyed the experience. There are so many unexpected things to come across. We have lived in so many parts of South Africa and Zimbabwe and Africa is certainly a great Country to visit.

      Such opportunity to see things you won’t see anywhere else. 

      Thank you so much for reading my post and the lovely comments.

  3. Great post and good info. 

    I had this, a very bad sunburn, second degree, it wasn’t in Cape Town, but in Belgium, but anyway, I won’t do anymore what I’ve done then. 

    Now I’m putting sunscreen every hour, staying out of the sun if I stayed more than an hour in it, to prevent problems. 

    I can imagine that in Cape Town the sun is even harder than here, so great tips you give, and they are necessary. 

    So many thanks for this and to prevent people to get heavily sunburned. 

    • Hi Emmanuel, I do hope that experience does not put you off coming to see and experience beautiful Cape Town and all that it has to offer.

      Bring, or buy your sunscreen here.

      Thank you so much for reading my post and for the comments.

  4. Cape Town is certainly the city to visit if you are traveling to South Africa. I am lucky enough to be able to visit once a year as my parents live in Fish Hoek.

    I always make a point of taking one of the open topped busses, as it saves you driving, and you get a wonderful tour of the entire city. There are various packages that you can buy and then you just hop on and off the bus at your leisure and see the places that interest you. After you have finished, you simply wait no longer than twenty minutes and the next bus is there to take you to your next destination.

    In this way you get to see parts of Cape Town that you never knew existed, but be warned, one day is simply not enough to sample all the delights the bus has to offer. You also get earphones which allow you to listen to the various interesting bits of history as you travel past the various locations.

    • Hi Michel, How lovely that you are able to come home to visit your family in Fish Hoek. Also such a lovely place to visit. In fact just around every corner  there is something worth seeing.

      The Red Open Topped bus is really a great way to travel. My son has just taken his staff on a bus tour for their Christmas outing and they had a wonderful time.

      Thank you for the great comments and for reading my post.

  5. Cape Town seems like a really interesting place to visit. I think the best part about visiting a place like this is being able to take back home with you pieces to keep the memories alive and of course souvenirs for your friends and family. These are indeed some great pieces of craft that displays how talented those people who made them are.  How can one not be sad to leave after such an enjoyable experience of nature.


    • Hi Brenda, Cape Town is so beautiful and there are so many wonderful sights to see and things to do. There is definitely something for everyone. 

      I do hope that one day you decide t come here to enjoy it for yourself.

  6. What a lovely article. I have never been in that part of the world, but it seems to have a lot to offer. I love the small shops where indeed can find treasure things. You can easily get lost and lose time track in these shops.

    I love the wood carving objects and the firepit. I have seen something similar somewhere in Scandinavia, some northern city and I love it. We also eat some local food prepared on it.

    Thank you for your article. You brought some sun on this gloomy day.

    • Hi Dany, Thank you for the great comments. Am so happy I brought some sunshine into your life. We have so much here, although had some welcome rain early this morning. 

      The gift shops are lovely and it is also so interesting to watch the wood crafters as they produce their wonderful items.

  7. Great post, I think its a very good destination to go for holidays. Gordon’s Bay reminds me of Switzerland, really, there is also a road between the lake and the mountains in Canton de Vaud…

    What is the weather there if I want to go there in December? 

    BTW I love gift shops and can spend there even half day 🙂 I always bring something home… the Montebello Design Centre looks great is that handmade products that they are offering? 

    Because of your post, I am in love with Cape Town… 

    • Hi, December is a lovely time to visit Cape Town as the weather is beautiful, but do bring sun screen as it is hot. All the gifts in the gift shop are hand made and really lovely. Well made. Am so happy that you are in love with Cape Town, so am I. Also love Switzerland, went to visit friends in Durrenash.

      Thank you for reading my post and the lovely comments. I do hope you come over for a visit.

  8. Hi Jill! It has been wonderful to find your site. I must say Kirstenbosch Gardens are beautiful! And it’s a thrill to see the whales at Hermanus. But reading your post has encouraged me to explore these other exciting things, I hadn’t become aware of.

    These hidden treasures at Montebello Design Centre are a must for our next trip.

    •  Hi Henry, Thank you so much for reading my blog and commenting on it. There are so many places to see and things to do, we are really spoiled for choice. 

      It would be lovely if you could come and explore our city and the outlying areas when you come to Cape Town again.

      Kind Regards,


  9. Cool blog! And great recommendation for a visit to Cape Town. It certainly sounds like one that many folks might skip over, but I love handcrafted art, especially made of wood. You said in your article that you got to watch them work? Were they carving by hand while you were there? Or did they use a certain sort of machinery? 

    • Hi Tucker, Thank you for the great comments. If you love craft this is a great place to visit. All the craft was hand carved and so well done. Some of the Artists in Hermanus also do great hand crafted wooden articles which are on display in their galleries but you can actually watch them at work too. Very special.

      Kind Regards,


  10. Definitely one of the places to go in my bucket list. Sounds like a beautiful and wonderful place to be. I so love nature, it’s natural beauty. I can’t wait to make my trip to this beautiful part of the world. I love those wooven mats and bags. Always fascinated with the artistic design.

    • Hi Sheilandc, Thank you for reading my post and the lovely comments. If you love nature you will find so much to do here. There is Table Mountain to either go up by Cable car or to walk up in a group. Go with a guide as it is quite easy to get lost on the trails. 

      Do hope you make it to visit our shores. 

      Kind Regards,


  11. What an inspiring article! As this place sounds as inspiring as it does breathtaking. I would  love to visit sometime, I would have to say the whale watching would have to be my main adventure but I could never pass up the chance to see all the local attractions so I can really experience the beauty of such a place. Thank you for introducing me yet another place I need to visit in my lifetime!

    • Hi Alisha, So happy I introduced you to a new place to visit. It is really so beautiful here and so many things to do and see. The Whale watching is special and of course going up Table Mountain. Do hope you come and visit our Country.

      Thank you for the great comments on this post.

      Kind Regards,


  12. Hi Jill, I have never been able to leave my country for my whole life, I have not visited other countries and I have always dreamed about it. When I read this, I added this place to the list of places I wanted to go. I hope I can go abroad and visit these wonderful places. Thank you very much for sharing such an article.

    • Hi Ali, Please put Cape Town on your bucket list of places to visit. What a lovely thing to do, make a list of all the places you would like to see. I know the first time I went abroad, part of the fun was meeting up with the couple we traveled with and researching carefully about the Country and what we would all like to see. This was done over a meal and it was such fun. Just dreaming about holidays can be so exciting.

      I do hope you get to see all you want to. 

      Kind Regards,


  13. Oh this almost made me cry, I remember when I visited South Africa, oh how beautiful it is there, I went to Table mountain, it was cold up there and I bought a very nice pink sweater with table mountain written on it. how I treasured that sweater, I have to go back there one day. and I also went to that place where its the tip of the cape where the two oceans meet( I forget the name) I wrote my name there on the wall. Beautiful place.

    I loved it very much, I loved the people and the food too.

    • Hi Rose, So happy this post has brought back so many lovely memories for you. It is Cape Point you are thinking of and the drive down there is spectacular. You are right about the food, so many cultures in the Cape so you have a big variety to choose from. Do hope you back it back to our shores again.

      All the best,


  14. Now that I’ve read your post, Jill, I want to take a vacation in Cape Town! I think it would have to be a lengthy visit to fit in all the marvelous sites and adventures you mention (it must be a glorious place to live!). I would surely want to check out the Montebello Design Center and The Gardener’s Cottage after reading your description, too. It sounds like a fun and friendly place to enjoy some refreshment and take in wonderful artistry…two things I definitely enjoy! I especially like when you can watch the artists creating their pieces and talk to them about it. It makes the experience that much more meaningful. So the Montebello Design Center must be a special place indeed! And you are right, that fire pit is wonderful! (But no, probably not so good for the Retirement Home balcony! haha). Thank you for this lovely article. You have captured the magic of the area and made me long to visit. I hope I’ll get that chance one day!

    • Hi Cheri, Thank you for these lovely comments. I am glad that I captured just a bit of the beauty of Cape Town and encouraged you to think of visiting here. It is a very special place. There really is tons to do and if you like being out in the Country it is not difficult to get the Country experience while being so close to the City life.

      Kind Regards,


  15. I’ve never been to Cape Town before, but after reading your post and seeing your pictures it looks like an amazing place I need to visit in the future.

    I really loved those wooden craft animals and objects you showed, and the ocean view is also amazing!

    What time of year would you say is best time to visit it? Also do you go there every year?

    • Hi Michael,

      Thank you for reading my post and the great comments. I actually am blessed to live in Cape Town. The best times would be anytime from September, which is our Spring, through to January or February. Although Feb. can be rather hot.

      Kind Regards,


  16. Hello,

    Wow, what a beautiful place Cape Town! This is definitely going to be a place to add to my bucket list and visit some day. My family and I will need to plan for at least a 3 week vacation to be able to take advantage of the beautiful sights and things to do and discover at Cape Town. The Montebello Design Centre and its beautiful artistry, I can only imagine how beautiful it would be at the City Gardens and the Green-Point gardens and be able to go to the Wine Lands and check out the wineries there. To be able to enjoy the beach and watch whales in their habitat would definitely be a bonus!

    Thanks so much for bringing this beautiful place called Cape Town to the forefront!.


    • Hi Diane, It would be wonderful if you could spend a holiday in Cape Town. It is truly beautiful and so much to do. Certainly worth three weeks spent having fun with the family.

      Thank you for reading my post and the lovely comments.


  17. Aah, I love Gardeners Cottage, it’s so quaint and the food is divine & so artfully presented. But I must admit, I havent taken the time to browse the lovely little shops at Montebello Design Centre yet. Must go again with you when young Benjamin’s at School one morning.

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