If the recent Jenman Product and Marketing experience is anything to go by, out of office on a team building event is the definite answer. After running through a host of suggestions and options, all of which fell short for one or other reason, we finally hit on a sure fire winner. The red bus with City Sightseeing!
Starting off with a somewhat brisk walk from Constantia Nek up the contour path, we braved the wet into Kirstenbosch Gardens, to experience the newest attraction in the gardens: the Boomslang. Not recommended for those with vertigo, the aerial suspension bridge gives one an amazing view over the canopy of the gardens and the perfect setting for those touristy photos.
A quick coffee stop at the Kirstenbosch Tea Room and we were ready to board our bus for the first leg of our tour. We chose to do the Blue Mini Peninsula tour (with a free Purple Wine Tour) and given the size of our team, choosing which of the 19 stops we would hop off at was a feat of logistics in itself. Luckily planning such things is our business and we quickly had our day set out. With 4 different tours and routes to choose from, the red bus is an amazing and relaxing way to learn more about Cape Town and surrounds. The commentary, which is offered in more languages than I can ever hope to speak, is very informative and covers a vast range of subjects; from history, horticulture and local geography to economic structure with a humorous bit of local slang thrown in. Thankfully the fickle Cape Town weather chose to work in our favour and what had started as an over cast morning had cleared nicely by the time we reached our first hop off of the day: Beau Constantia.
The 22 hectare wine farm, set on the steep slopes is beyond picturesque and the tranquil setting soon had us forgetting that this was in fact a work day. On arrival we were quickly set up in the tasting room and our much anticipated wine tasting had begun! My personal favourite, being a Merlot fan, was the Beau Constantia – Lucca; although I am in full agreement of the general group consensus that the Pas De Nom Rose; the 2013 addition to the range of wines created in tribute to farm manager Oom Japie Bronn, was too good to not take a bottle or two home. Given the relaxing atmosphere and no doubt enhanced by the wine tasting, we over stayed our planned departure time but this is never an issue with the Red bus as pickups are 20 to 25 minutes apart, depending on your route. Leaving behind our two fallen comrades who drew the short straws of Murphy’s law and did the obligatory locking keys in the car during a group outing manoeuvre , we hopped back on the bus and continued our tour down Valley Road into Hout Bay where we chose to stay on the bus, despite all the obvious attractions. Our next hop off was Camps Bay were we chose to have lunch on Victoria Road, overlooking the beach, on what has started to become a perfect summers day.
We allowed for spontaneity and selected Ocean Blue Restaurant for lunch, as the offering of seafood, steaks and pasta chartered to our diverse little group and what a good choice it was! With the slightly rustic décor and excellent service; even with such a large group all meals were delivered at the same time, we quickly settled down to the serious business of unwinding. I could have stayed for a much longer visit, but unfortunately had to catch the last bus of the day back to Constantia Nek to collect vehicles, while the remainder of our group continued on the Blue Tour to the Waterfront, the perfect setting for end of day sundowners.
With the informative commentary, the helpful attendants at all stops, who ensure the bus stops for all guests and readily provide you with information, to the convenience of the timetables and flexibility to plan your own day, not to mention not having to drive one’s self or worry about parking, the Hop on, Hop off Bus has proven a splendid way to plan an enjoyable day out in and around Cape Town!