Table Mountain. Robben Island. Boulders Beach. The V&A Waterfront. There are so many “don’t miss” things to do in South Africa’s Mother City and now there’s another one to add to the list: the Cape Town Fynbos Experience.
On paper, this might not sound like the sort of thing that you’d normally seek out on a holiday. But in reality it’s utterly fascinating and a brilliant introduction to the city via something that’s totally unique to this part of the world.
‘A beautifully fragrant totally unique introduction to Cape Town’
So what is it, exactly?
Fynbos (pronounced “fayne-boss” and meaning “fine bush” in Afrikaans/Dutch) is the term for thousands of ancient plants indigenous to the southern tip of Africa. From a distance they don’t look like anything special (someone described fynbos to me as “the heather of South Africa”), but get up-close and… well, actually, even then some of them aren’t that exciting to look at! Some others, however, bear pretty flowers or bright and waxy or lovely and furry leaves. But it doesn’t really matter what they look like; it’s the aromatic flavours and medicinal values of fynbos plants that set them apart, and the Cape Town Fynbos Experience will show you why.
Hosted by The Cape Town Heritage Trust, the experience is completely gorgeous. It is a beautifully fragrant totally unique introduction to Cape Town. It all takes place in the historic Company’s Garden, South Africa’s oldest formal garden. Dating back to the 1650s, this beautiful oasis is located in the heart of Cape Town, close to such city icons as St George’s Cathedral, the South African National Gallery and the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel. Be sure to leave time to explore the stunning gardens after your fynbos fun.
‘It’s like laboratory of loveliness and is an Instagrammer’s dream’
Upon arrival, you’ll be ushered into a charming building – the home of the garden manager back in the day – where a table of delights awaits. Covered with a beautifully curated and displayed selection of fynbos plants, the table also gleams with light reflecting off endless glass beakers, jars and dishes. If they don’t already contain infusions they’re ready for the concoctions you’ll be making during the workshop. It’s like laboratory of loveliness and is an Instagrammer’s dream.
For around 90 minutes you’ll explore the incredible flavours of fynbos in the form of herbal tea infusions, sweet cordials, infused oils, aromatic vinaigrettes, edible naturals and salts. Sweet treats like Turkish delight and digestifs such as brandy, gin and vodka complement the experience. As well as the famous rooibos, so beloved by South Africans as their morning cuppa, you’ll taste lesser-known plants such as rhino bush, snow bush and buchu. A couple of the flavours might seem familiar, but the majority are totally unique – and uniquely South African.
Tasting South Africa’s botanical heritage in this way is a gorgeous, one-of-a-kind experience that’s sure to be everyone’s cup of (infused) tea.
Totally unique introduction to Cape Town details:
Visitors’ Centre, Company’s Garden, 19 Queen Victoria Street, Cape Town, South Africa.
Tel. +27 (0)6622 55722
Schedules and tickets are available online at www.capetownfynbosexperience.com
Rate: R1,200 per person, including 15% VAT