10 fun facts about Cape Town’s top horserace: the J&B Met

1. The oldest horse race in the country, the Metropolitan Mile, was originally run on the Green Point Common. The jockeys were English soldiers attached to the Cape Garrison.

2. Only one horse has won the J&B Met three years in a row. Pocket Power, trained by Mike Bass, won the J&B Met in 2007, 2008 and 2009. Prior to that, the record was held by Politician, a horse trained by Syd Laird that won the J&B Met in 1978 and 1979.

3. Kenilworth Racecourse, where the J&B Met is run, is unique in that it has three racetracks that all finish in front of the grandstands with one pull-up area. The racecourse is also situated on a 52-hectare nature reserve that is home to the most preserved section of Cape Flats Sand Fynbos in the world and hundreds of fauna species, including 20 on the endangered list.

4. The event has been postponed twice — once in 1986 due to equine flu, and once in 2004 as a result of African Horse Sickness.

5. J&B has been sponsoring the J&B Met since 1977. At first glance, 39 years may not seem like all that much, but this is actually the longest running sports sponsorship in the world!

6. The J&B Met packs quite an economic punch. Wesgro, the official destination marketing, investment and trade promotion agency for the Western Cape, estimated that the economic impact of the 2013 J&B Met for the City of Cape Town and the region was a whopping R68 million.

7. Over 300 different stores in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban get involved in promotional displays for the J&B Met. The event gives the South African fashion industry a big boost in what is traditionally one of its quietest months. Many South African designers dedicate entire ranges to the J&B Met.

8. Every Met Day each of the grooms at the Kenilworth Racecourse is given a special J&B Met overall, which is worn with pride for the rest of the year.

9. The numbers are superlative: the J&B Met attracts up to 50 000 guests, who arrive in approximately 20 000 vehicles. The J&B Met Hospitality Village provides over 2 500 guests with lunch and dinner.

10. In 2002, the gates were closed halfway through the afternoon and ‘house full’ signs were put up because no more people could safely be admitted to the venue.

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10 easy steps to use Uber

1. Visit www.uber.com and sign up for an account or download the Uber app on your smartphone.

2. Fill out Uber’s member form with your name, mobile number, email address and billing information (credit card or VCPay).

3 .Read the terms and conditions (wink wink) and know what you’re getting yourself into. No really, read it.

4. Once you click the “Sign Up” button, you’ll be sent an email to confirm your information and activate the account.

Whew. You’ve done the hardest part — it’s all smooth sailing from here. To request a ride, first select the type of ride you’d like:

– UberX: an everyday car (the cheapest option) for up to four people

– UberBLACK: Uber’s original service delivers a high-end sedan for up to four

– UberXL vehicles for larger groups up to 6 people.

5 .Next, enter your pickup address (or use a pin to mark the spot) and hit the “Set Pickup Location” button. Confirm your payment details are correct and watch your designated driver approach via GPS. A fare estimator tells you how much you can expect to pay.

6 .Be ready and waiting for your driver as he or she arrives — there’ll be a number you can call if you need to give them any special instructions. Moving to another spot creates confusion. If there are no Uber drivers available, try again in a couple of minutes.

7. If you need to cancel your reservation, do it quickly — your card will be charged if you wait more than five minutes.

8. Hop in and head to your destination.

9. While the Uber sign-up process is fairly seamless, we recommend doing it before you head out for a night on the town so you’re not trying to input billing info when it’s 02h00 and you’re balancing your phone and a drink in your hands.

10. Be sure to rate your driver with five stars if you’re happy with the service. Remember: a four-star rating or less will damage your driver’s reputation and he or she may not be allowed to drive for Uber again in future.

Find out more about how Uber works here

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10 incredible dive spots in South Africa: beginner to pro

Need a place to start? Try Aliwal Shoal off the coast of KwaZulu-Natal. Regularly rated as one of the top 10 dive sites on the planet, this remarkable spot has something for everyone, from The Pinnacles (at just 15 metres) for the novice to the wreck of The Nebo in a more challenging 30 metres of water.

Speaking of challenging: Protea Banks is one for advanced divers looking for excitement. Plunging down to 40 metres, this site is famous for its sharks: expect to find Zambezi, Tiger, Hammerhead, Dusky, Ragged Tooth and Black Tip sharks hunting on the Banks. If you’re lucky you may spot manta rays and whales cruising past. It’s a deep dive with a strong current, so it’s for experienced adventure divers only.

Sodwana Bay is more forgiving, and home to the southernmost coral reefs in the world. The pristine coral teems with a huge variety of marine life and, if you’re lucky, you could spot turtles, dolphins or even a whale shark.

Sharks of a different sort are the drawcard at Gansbaai, just two hours’ drive from Cape Town. Billed as the Great White Shark capital of the world, the 60 000 seals resident on Dyer Island and Geyser Rock just offshore from Gansbaai draw in these impressive Apex Predators. There are a number of cage-dive operators in Gansbaai, but White Shark Projects is one of the best. In False Bay, closer to Cape Town, Apex Predators offers responsible cage-diving excursions.

If you’re feeling brave, you can leave the cage behind and roll into the warm(ish) False Bay waters in just a wetsuit. Experienced divers should hop on a charter boat and head for the wrecks of Smitswinkel Bay. The five ships scuttled here were sunk in the 1970s to form an artificial reef, and are today covered with marine life.

Not far from “Smits”, A-Frame and Windmill beach are great options for novice divers. Easy shore entries and shallow waters allow you to relax and search for the resident dogfish and pyjama sharks. Close by, the dives with seven-gill cow sharks are also memorable.

If you’re feeling brave Whittle Rock in the middle of False Bay is an outstanding site, but is also popular with great white sharks so a quick descent is essential!

In the summer months you’ll want to dive on the icy Atlantic side of Cape Town, where the prevailing south-easterly wind ensures crystal-clear waters. Add a dash of glamour to a day of diving by suiting up at Justin’s Caves, an underwater playground of jumbled granite. The 12 Apostles Hotel across the road is perfect for an after-dive drink.

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10 reasons Cape Town is the best city in the world

1: The mountain

Let’s get this one out the way first. Table Mountain defines Cape Town. Locals give directions by it, the city is shaped by it, and tourists can’t help but admire it from all angles. If you don’t ascend it, by foot or by cableway, you’re missing out.

2: The ocean

Contrary to popular belief there’s only one ocean – the Atlantic – around Cape Town, but with water on three fronts the big blue defines the city as much as the mountain. Swim in warm False Bay, get glamorous on the beaches of Clifton or admire it from the plentiful scenic cruises leaving the V&A Waterfront.

3: The city

Few African cities have a downtown city centre as cosmopolitan as Cape Town’s. Markets, cafés and pedestrianised streets throng with tourists and locals day and night. Leave the car behind and take a walk.

4: The Test Kitchen

The full gourmand menu at The Test Kitchen – the best restaurant in Africa, and Number 28 in the world – will set you back R1,200. Sound like a lot? Consider this: a similar dinner at Number 29 on the list, Tokyo’s Nihonryori RyuGin, will sting you for R3,700.

5: The food

Speaking of food: Cape Town is the culinary capital of the continent, no question. You’ll find buzzy city centre bistros and chic seaside eateries, cult dive bars and laidback pavement cafés. You’ll never go hungry here.

6: Past and present

Cape Town lives its history. The working harbour that gave birth to the city remains an integral part of daily life, while the Company’s Garden that fed the earliest sailors survives to this day. From the District Six Museum to the colourful streets of the Bo Kaap there’s no shortage of living history to discover.

7: Designed in Africa

Home to the annual Design Indaba, a world-renowned design conference, you’ll find incredible design and products across the city. Pan African Market offers Afro-centric goods from the continent, while the Watershed at the V&A Waterfront precinct showcases top local designers. Also look out for Imagenius, Heartworks and Stable.

8: Arts, Cape

Cape Town will soon be home to arguably the finest art gallery on the continent, when the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art (MOCAA) opens at the V&A Waterfront precinct in September 2017. A dramatic architectural conversion by starchitect Thomas Heatherwick has made a fine home for Africa’s leading collection of African artworks.

9: ‘The Prom’

Few cities in the world embrace their ocean setting as well as Cape Town does. The Sea Point Promenade is the place to join the locals in admiring the big blue. This five kilometre promenade is filled with locals throughout the week, and gets especially busy on weekends.

10: Green spaces

Aside from Table Mountain, Cape Town prides itself on its abundance of green spaces. The Company’s Garden is the city’s (much smaller) answer to Central Park, while the likes of Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden and the Green Point Urban Park make wide open spaces easily accessible.

Want more reasons? Just keep surfing this site!

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