vacation in cape town

Vacation in South Africa - My stay in Cape Town

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Hello my Aviator, I spent the first two weeks of the new year in South Africa. A country I have fallen in love with after my first stay two years ago. It was fantastic to escape winter in Germany and to enjoy summertime in South Africa. In this blog post, I take you on my journey and I will recap my vacation in Cape Town with you. In case you are planning to visit this amazing place I have some great tips for you. 

 

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Vacation in Cape Town - why again?

I have been to Cape Town already two years ago and I could have visited a new place on my bucket list, but I just could not resist. I enjoyed my first time down there so much that I wanted to come back as quick as possible. Additionally, lots of friends of mine were in Cape Town as well.

I am not a big fan of the cold season. That is why I like to escape winter. Sout Africa is the ideal destination since it lays in the southern hemisphere which means it is summer at that time. Flying in from Europe has the big advantage of omitting a jet lag.

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Magical sunsets in Camps Bay

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Not only the landscape itself is beautiful but also their people. They are super friendly and I really like the relaxed atmosphere they embody.  As you know I am a foodie pilot and I am really picky when it comes to food. South Africa offers amazing cuisines for everyone's taste for reasonable prices.

From this stay, I have learned to avoid the peak season End of December/ beginning of January. It is difficult to get reservations in restaurant and hotel availability is low in combination with high rates. March, which is still summer, is supposed to be a good month to visit.

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Beachwear by Mey

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Clifton Beaches Cape Town

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Where did I sleep?

On vacation, I usually stay at hotels, because it is convenient and more comfortable. But this time I searched for an alternative since hotel room availability was already low and the rates high. That is why I booked an apartment on Airbnb.

The first week I stayed at a beautiful apartment in Greenpoint. I really enjoyed the modern place with two bedrooms and a huge balcony. The location was great because all hotspots were in close proximity.

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Lovely apartment in Greenpoint

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After my little road trip (blog post soon), I stayed the last four days in Cape Town at another place in Waterkant. It was a townhouse with four stories, an atrium with a tree inside and a rooftop with a plunge pool. The bedrooms and the living room offered amazing sea views. A truly exceptional unique place to live in.

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Townhouse from the outside

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Rooftop terrace with pool

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Luxury Airbnb in Waterkant

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Where did I eat?

Food is tasty in Cape Town. It is hard to find a place, which does not offer delicious meals. I tried several healthy eating options from the App "Happy Cow". Here is a list of all the places I went to:

Oranjezicht city farm:  A market every Saturday located close the V&A Waterfront, all kinds of vendors selling groceries, also a good place for breakfast and lunch

V&A Waterfront Food market: all kinds of little shops and cafés, a lot of healthy options

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Oranjezicht market Cape Town

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Nu healthy food cafe: several outlets in different parts of town, smoothies, bowls, wraps, great for breakfast and lunch

Raw and Roxy: new place in town which only serves raw food, try the sushi and the ice tea

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Breakfast at Nu healthy food cafe

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Gold restaurant: touristic place, but worth visit, an extensive African menu is served which is accompanied by a show of drummers and dancers

Hussar Grill Camps Bay: for all meat lovers

Asoka: trendy place with live DJ, good for cocktails and dinner, small menu, but food on the point

Kloof street house: trendy and busy place, good for cocktails and dinner

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Gold restaurant with show

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What did I do on NYE?

I flew into Cape Town on the 31st of December without a fixed plan for the evening. Unfortunately, the weather was cloudy and sometimes even rainy. So I did not go to the beach party which was recommended to me. Instead, I was invited by German friends to celebrate NYE in a penthouse. The fireworks were really cute when I compare it to the craziness in Berlin. So it was a rather relaxed evening, but still with a lot of Champagne and good company.

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My first radio interview - Thanks Eloise for the invitation

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What fun activities did I do?

Cape Town is a fantastic place to spend a vacation. Besides a beautiful scenery, friendly people, good food and nice beaches, there are many fun activities you should not miss out.

A helicopter flight

I love going on helicopter flights. Even though I am used to flying, taking off vertically always gives me goosebumps. HelicoptersCapetown offers all kinds of different tours. I did the oceans flight which takes you around table mountain. The views are just spectacular.

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Helicopterscapetown.com

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Paragliding

For the first time ever I went tandem paragliding. It is was an unforgettable flight taking off from Signal Hill and landing in at the promenade in Sea Point. Carlos my pilot from Icarusparagliding called the flight a ride on a magic carpet. Flying without an engine and just the noise of the wind is a feeling I haven't experienced before. Over the water, we flew some awesome maneuvers which felt like a rollercoaster ride. Watch the 360° degrees video of the flight.

https://www.facebook.com/pilotpatrick/videos/1677430235655899/

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Lions Head

I am not a big fan of hiking, but the way up and down on Lions Head is a lot of fun. It takes about an hour to get up and you need to climb up ladders and chains. In the end, you will be rewarded with spectacular views.

 

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On top of Lions head

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On top of  Table Mountain

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Table mountain

A must is Table Mountain. This time I hiked up table mountain from the back side. The Skeleton Gorge starts in the beautiful Kirstenbosch potential garden. The way up is quite challenging. On top of table mountain, the hike continued along dams and beautiful vegetation. Two years ago I went up table mountain using the Platteklip Gorge. This route starts past the cable car station in Cape Town and is quite steep, but offers amazing views

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Skeleton Gorge up to the top

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Dam on top of table mountain

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Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden

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Constantia Valley

Nestled beneath the National Table Mountain park lays the valley of Constantia. Only a 25 minutes drive from Cape Town city center you indulge idyllic lifestyle in a picture-perfect landscape. The Constantia Wine Route is the oldest one in the southern hemisphere, and Beau Constantia is one of the 9 farms to call the Valley home. Besides exceptional wines, its restaurant, called Chefs Warehouse, is the 4th best restaurant in the country.

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Lunch at the Chefs Warehouse

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Wine estate Beau Constantia

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Beau Constantia oldest winery southern hemisphere

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Do you need a guide?

I am so happy that Jared reached out to me when I asked for recommendations in South Africa. He is a writer, influencer and tour guide, who calls beautiful Cape Town his home. He not only gave me helpful tips before I started my journey, but he also took me to hidden gems during my stay in Cape Town. Follow him on Instagram (@jaredincpt) and visit his blog: www.jaredincpt.com.

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Bokaap colorful houses

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I hope you enjoyed the time with me in Cape Town! Unfortunately, the Western Cape is suffering from a water crisis. As it appears right now they will run out of water soon. So please save as much as you can when you are in Cape Town.

On my bucket list:

  1. Brazil
  2. Iceland
  3. Bali

Please comment below with your top 3 destinations on your bucket list and subscribe to my newsletter with your email.

Happy landings and safe travels!

Your PilotPatrick

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my stay at sanbona wildlife reserve

My stay at Sanbona Wildlife Reserve

I recently published my first airline review of the flight with Lufthansa to Cape Town. Now I want to share with you my first hotel review about a very special place, which is more than just a hotel. During my three weeks of vacation in South Africa, I stayed two nights at Sanbona Wildlife Reserve .

I had a lot of activities and places on my list. One of my top once was to do a safari, on which I would have the chance to see the big five. The african travel agency "Going to Capetown"  recommended to overnight at a lodge, which is located inside a wildlife reserve and offers daily game drives. The photos of the Sanbona Wildlife Reserve looked stunning. At first I was not convinced, because of the the high rate. But in the end every penny was worth spending.

Sunset vibes - Open Land cruiser for the game drives

The Main Gate of the Sanbona Wildlife Reserve is about 270 km (approx. 3 hours) away from Cape Town. The landscape changes from green valleys to a more rough and mountainous countryside. A little bit of Jurassic Park feeling kicked in when waiting the big gate to be opened. A short drive on a gravel road took us to a Welcome Lodge, where we had to leave our car behind. After a warm welcome of the manager and some refreshments a transport took us to our lodge, where we would stay for the next two days. The ride lasted about 45 mins and we already got some amazing impressions of the landscape.

Insider Tipp: Try to manage to use the earliest pick up time at the Welcome Lodge, so it will be more relaxed and you will have the chance to go on a game drive in the evening.

Main lodge in the middle of the rock formation

The lodge

The reserve consists of three different lodge categories. We stayed at the most exclusive and luxurious lodge, called Dwyka Tented Lodge. The location is truly impressive. The nine tented rooms are concealed by striking rock formations. The roof of the "room" reminds of a tend but the inside can keep up with a five star hotel. The design of the tents invoke the feeling of a pioneering adventure with a modern touch. Luxury safari at its best!

"Hotelroom" of Dwyka Tented Lodge

A tented room for two adults features:

  • private deck with heated jacuzzi
  • outdoor shower
  • big comfortable bed
  • ensuite bathroom with bath tub
  • air condition (hot and warm)
  • private mini bar
  • amazing views (leave the TV off)
Luxury tent with a own private deck and amazing views Dwyka Tented Lodge with a private deck and jacuzzi

In the centre of the tented lodges is the main building, which features a cozy lounge, the reception and the restaurant (also open air). In the lounge is a telescope to watch the stars. I highly recommend to use it since there is only little artificial light. Adjacent to it is a smaller tent, which features a relaxation retreat. I booked a full body massage.

Total of nine tented lodges at Dwyka Tented Lodge

Wifi: You do not really need it. It is a good feeling not to be reachable from time to time. In the main lodge is Wifi provided with decent speed. The signal reached only some rooms.

Insider Tipp: Do not leave the jacuzzi cover open with the lights on after sunset. A lot of animals will join you in the water.

Game drives

The interactive game drives last up to three hours and take place in the tranquil moods of sunrise and sunset. Since it was summer in South Africa the day started at 05:00 am with a nice wake up call of the ranger. The game drive starts at 05:30 am in a comfortable open Land Cruiser.

Game drive with a comfortable Land cruiser last 3 hours (shot with my gopro)

In think we had the best ranger I could imagine. Owen explained everything in detail and was able to show us all major animals really close. We got to see the big five: elephants, rhinos, buffalos, lions and leopards. Additionally we got to see giraffes, zebras and many more. In all situation we felt safe, even when we stepped out of the Land cruiser to watch the cheaters eat. This experiences I will not forget in a lifetime! The Sanbona Wildlife Reserve aims to restore the ecological balance, that is why the animals are protected by a fence. Therefore the probability to see many animals in a short time is relatively high.

Elephants crossing our path Guided safari with an experienced ranger

Evening game drives offer a spectacular sunset over the Little Karoo. With a glass of gin tonic we enjoyed the amazing colors on top of a hill while the sun was setting. After arriving back at the camp you we offered a wet towel and drinks in the lounge to reflect the experiences of the day together.

The display of lights when the sun sets are spectacular

Food and Service

As you know I am a "Foodie Pilot" which means I am really picky when it comes to food. Keeping in mind that the next supermarket is definitely not around the corner, the menu offered a good variety. I really liked the south african cuisine, which was  tasty. I especially liked the BBQ evening, which offered many flavors and dishes I never had tasted before. The atmosphere during dinner was cozy since there are only a maximum of 18 guests in the lodge at the same time.

The staff was really friendly and the service during meals was really good. The manager of the lodge was really caring and we had some good laughs with her.

Lazy white lion - It was amazing to see them live in nature On the way back to the lodge. Little bush fires due to the dryness in summer

What to pack for the adventure:

  • Safari hat
  • Binoculars
  • Outdoor shoes
  • Camera
  • Warm clothing
  • Sun screen

It is not solely a classic hotel review. It is more a review of an adventure in the wilderness. I recommend to stay at least two days at Sanbona Wildlife Reserve. I really enjoyed the time and I was sad to leave this unique place on earth.

The price during high season was over 800 Euros (night/room), which included meals, accommodation, game drives and much more. Nevertheless I had high expectations, which were surpassed. In the end every penny was worth spending for this amazing experience.

Have you been on a safari before?

Your Pilot Patrick

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what is in my bag

What's in my bag? - My packing tips

In my last blog post I shared my experience in Lufthansa’s Business Class to Cape Town with you. On this flight I was allowed to have four pieces of luggage. But who takes so much on a journey? You will be surprised about the number of pieces private jet customers take on a flight. One person with eight suitcases is no exception. In this blog post I will show you what is in my bag and additionally I will reveal my packing tips.

My home is where my suitcase is!

My Rimowa luggage 'Topas' in front of the Private Jet Citation XLS

Now I want to show you what I have in my bags and give you some advices when packing!

Through my profession as private jet pilot I became a professional traveler, who knows who to pack correctly. I am usually on duty for about seven days in the row and I sleep 15 days in a month in different hotels. Everyday I have to unpack and pack, unload and load and carry my luggage from one place to another. That is why the quality and the weight of my suitcase it vital.

Travel in style - aluminum case during a stay in Wildlife Reserve in South Africa

I am really convinced of the products of Rimowa. It is a German company founded in 1898. They put a lot of emphasis on the quality and practicability of their luggage. Especially their products with four wheel are handy. I currently use two products of the ‘Topas’ series, which are made of aluminum. They are little heavier than the once out of polycarbonate, but I prefer this design and they are almost indestructible.

In my hand luggage:

My travel essentials

My checked luggage:

  • Clothing (essential clothing which are easy to combine)
  • Wash bag (organic products of Lavera and Speick)
  • Two pair of shoes (one for sports)
  • TRX suspension trainer (perfect tool for a quick workout in the hotel room)
  • Cocktail shaker to prepare rice protein shakes
Home is where my suitcase is - What's in my bag?

My packing tips:

  • Use the space between the handle bar on the bottom of the suitcase, perfect to place socks or underwear.
  • Do not put valuables in your checked luggage to prevent them from theft. For example electronics, which can be easily detected by the x-ray.
  • Put important documents and essentials for the first day in your hand luggage in case your suitcase gets lost.
  • When taking shirts, I suggest to put them folded in a plastic or fabric bag. This way they stay flat and you do not need to iron them again
  • Put your wash bag in a plastic bag, so in case something leaks your clothing stays clean.
  • I take testers instead of heavy perfume flacons to safe weight.
  • I fill up small containers with the organic shampoo from home so I do not have to take the whole bottle.
  • When packing a suit I recommend to carry it in a clothes bag so the fabric does not get crumbled. An additional small personal items, like a purse or clothes bag, is usually free in economy on all major airlines.
  • Always put your items in the same spot. This saves time when packing and searching.
  • Use a suitcase with an international TSA lock when traveling by plane.
After landing in Rostov an Don with the Citation XLS

My bags

Besides my two silver cases I have a food bag for my journeys. In which you will find fruits, nuts, humus, carrots, couscous salad, coconut water, whole wheat bread and boiled eggs most of the time. Some colleagues think I am crazy, that I carry all this food with me. But this way I can have good food while on duty and I can omit the unhealthy catering on board and in hotels. Read in my blog post “I am a Foodie pilot” more about my healthy eating habits.

Me packing my small Rimowa - healthy food always on board

Happy landings and a well-packed suitcase for your next journey!

Which personal items do you always pack when you going on a journey? I always pack swim shorts. ;-)

Please do don't forget to subscribe.

Your Pilot Patrick

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business class review Lufthansa

Business Class review - with Lufthansa to Cape Town

I decided to publish my first airline review, because you were interested in my opinion as private jet pilot about a flight experience in a higher booking class.

Business class review Lufthansa

This year I spend three weeks of vacation in South Africa. I had an amazing time and I felt in love with South Africa. The flight made this vacation special as well. Months in advance, I was excited to go on this flight. One reason for this was, that I flew in Lufthansa’s Business Class on the A340-600. But the flight almost did not depart…

A340-600 at the parking position in Munich prior boarding to Cape Town

I want to give you a brief review of my experience on board of Lufthansa, one of my favorite airlines. This might help you when booking your next flight, maybe to Cape Town.

My flights:
Berlin Tegel – Munich
Munich – Cape Town (night flight)

Cape Town – Munich (day flight)
Munich – Berlin Tegel

Welcome on board!

On the flight to Cape Town seat 3D was mine. Right after I stowed my hand luggage and took a seat, I was offered a welcome drink. Overall the service was excellent. The flight attendants were really friendly and gave a personal touch to their service. The front cabin of the A340-600 was quite spacious, but I noticed right away that there is not much privacy when seated. Nevertheless I really liked the modern design and the interior.

Welcome drink on board of Lufthansa's A3400-600 in Munich. Seat 3D

Take off thrust set in Munich. Reaching about 120 km/h the four engines spooled down and the brakes were applied. I said quite loudly: “Aborted take off!" I was right. The aircraft vacated the runway. Interesting fact: In 6 years as pilot I never had to reject a take off. Fortunately the pilots could solve the technical problem, so that we attempted for another take off 30 minutes later, after the brakes had cooled down.

Seat

Lufthansa Business Class Configuration 2-2-2

I was surprised about the versatility of the seat. It felt comfortable when eating, watching a movie and especially when in the sleeping position. A flat bed on a long-range flight is luxury. I am 1,86 m tall and I had enough space in length. Additionally you can adjust the degree of hardness of the cushion through air. Unfortunately I had the impression that the seat width was a little bit too narrow and the pillow a little bit too thick.

Food

Dinner in Business Class shortly prior landing in Munich

As I mentioned in my recent post “I am a foodie pilot”, I am really strict and picky about my food. That is why I am definitely not a benchmark. But I have to admit, that the selection and the taste of food were really good. Great wine and drink menu. I missed some snacks in between meals on a 12 hours flight. Fantastic was have an espresso above the clouds.

Inflight Entertainment

A huge selection of movies, series, documentaries, games, music and so on in up to eight languages were offered. The headsets were comfortable to wear and the interface was easy to control. I used Wi-Fi during flight to keep you up to date on my snapchat. :-)

Flat bed in Business Class, Seat 3D good while in sleeping position

My recommendations:

  • If possible reserve a seat in the first row. The seats in row 3 (A340-600) at the window give you some kind of shelf and the seats in the middle give you some extra legroom.
Seat 3D to CPT and seat 3A on the return flight
  • When traveling alone I recommend to take a window seat, because the seats in the middle section are angled a little towards each other. Those ones I rather recommend for couples.
  • During night flights I suggest to take a middle seat, since each seat has direct aisle access. Find your seat map on Seatguru.
  • Choose a seat in the front of the Business Class, because during boarding only Business and First Class passengers will pass you in the aisle.
Overhead Africa on the way from CPT to MUC

Following extras can you expect:

  • Amenity Kit (including socks, ear plugs and cosmetics)
  • Cosmetics in the lavatories
  • Water bottle at the seat
  • USB and power plug at your seat
  • Free newspapers and magazines
  • Big pillow and a blanket
  • High quality headset
Leaving Cape Town on Lufthansa's A340-600 overflying Camps Bay

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSga1AL2q5w?rel=0]

The price for a Lufthansa Business Class ticket can be quite expansive, but the investment is totally worth it. This way the vacation already starts on board and you are looking forward to your flight. Especially on the way to Cape Town, which primarily takes place during the night, the flat seat is fantastic. Since their is only one hour of time difference, you can enjoy the day fresh and fit.

My rating

My rating of the flights in Lufthansa Business Class, where 5 aircrafts highest and 1 lowest:

Business Seat    ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️
Privacy                 ✈️ ✈️
Aircraft                ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️
Service                 ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️
Food                     ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️
Entertainment  ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️
Extras                  ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️

My Rating:         ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️

Which airline has the best Business Class for you? Please comment below.

Read my next blog post: "What's in my bag?"

Your Pilot Patrick

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