In an effort to reacquaint ourselves with our Cape Town Big 7 partners and, simultaneously, introduce them to some of the Mother City’s top hotel concierges and booking agents, we recently joined The Gallivanting Goose for a two-day, Amazing Race-style adventure across the peninsula.
Bright and early on a Thursday morning, we were divided into five groups of seven or eight participants each and given backpacks containing all the informative flyers we may find handy on our quest to complete the challenges set before us.
Starting in the CBD, our very own City Walk was the first Big 7 attraction to serve as a playground for the competing teams and everyone set off at an energetic trot to finish within the 45-minute time limit.
Pre-loaded onto an iPhone provided by The Gallivanting Goose, the challenges for the City Walk leg of the race included snapping shots of the teams jumping over canals in the veggie garden, posing in front of the oldest cultivated pear tree in South Africa, high-fiving each other at the entrance of Mandela Rhodes Place and reenacting an anti-apartheid protest in front of the People’s Cathedral.
Thoroughly warmed up and ready to roll, we boarded one of Hylton Ross’ luxurious coaches for a scenic drive to our next destination: Kirstenbosch, followed by another to Groot Constantia and finally, rounding off Day 1′s activities, Cape Point.
Friday dawned with more of the same, as we headed to Table Mountain for an early-morning cableway ride through the clouds, skimmed across Table Bay for a tour of Robben Island and traversed the V&A Waterfront’s Food Market, Watershed and Two Oceans Aquarium.
Even though each leg of the race was subject to a severe time limit and we didn’t have a moment to relax and look around, the main objective of the game was to help us see Cape Town’s 7 biggest tourism exports through fresh eyes and this was definitely achieved.
With each of the challenges requiring us to answer tough questions about the various locations in a creative manner, we were forced to double-check facts, discover new information and find good photo opportunities.
Here are 14 interesting facts (two for each Cape Town Big 7 property), garnered during our wild goose chase:
- The irrigation used in the vegetable garden is based on the original lei-water system used by the Dutch. Originating from the Table Mountain spring, the water is distributed through this quadrant of the garden through little cobblestone canals.
- On one of the lawns outside the South African National Gallery, you will find two bronze soap boxes conceptualised and constructed by local artists Rose Shakinovsky and Claire Gavronsky. While, at first glance, these boxes may seem like an untouchable art installation, Shakinovsky and Gavronsky intended them to be a platform for the public to speak, perform and gather, which is exactly what they’ve become. Over the past few years, the soap boxes have been used as podiums for protest, improv stages and even makeshift tables for celebratory dinners.
- Kirstenbosch is home to a truly impressive collection of no less than 37 of the 40+ southern African cycad species. Rare and endangered in their natural environments, these Jurassic-era type plants are highly sought-after garden features and constantly under threat from unscrupulous collectors – even in Kirstenbosch. In fact, the base of a Wood’s cycad in this section of the garden has been protected by a large cage after its basal sucker were cut off in 1980. Furthermore, SANBI has also ensured that the rest of the cycads in the collection are protected with increased security patrols, advanced sensors and microdot technology.
- If you aren’t able to make it to the West Coast or Namaqualand for flower season (usually August to October), you can get a little taste of the iridescent magic when you visit Kirstenbosch’s vygie beds.
- As the oldest wine producing farm in South Africa, it’s hardly surprising that Groot Constantia is home to some impressive historical relics. None so captivating, however, as an 1821 bottle of Grand Constance that was returned to its place of origin in the Cloete Cellar, last year, where it is now on display. Grand Constance, the French translation for Groot Constantia, received international acclaim for its superior quality in the 1800s and had quite a few high-profile fans. Before his death in 1821, Napoleon had 30 bottles of the dessert wine shipped over to St Helena Island every month to ease his exile. Charles Dickens celebrated it in Edwin Drood, Jane Austen’s character recommended it as a cure for a broken heart to heroine Marianne Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility and Charles Baudelaire compared Constantia wine to his lover‘s lips in his most famous volume of poems, Les Fleurs du Mal.
- The Jonkershuis bistro is Groot Constantia’s flagship restaurant and is famous for its delicious array of Cape Malay-inspired dishes. Able to seat between 300 and 315 guests at a time, guests can choose between a variety of settings – from cosy fireside dining to family-sized picnic lunches on the front lawn. Despite being able to accommodate so many people, it does tend to get rather busy (especially during peak times), so be sure to make a booking!
- While this is probably not a fact, those who’ve tried counting the stairs leading up to the old Cape Point lighthouse agree that this is practically impossible. Somehow every recount yields a different result and no consensus can be found with fellow counters. Who knows, maybe there’s something more mysterious at work here? It is a coastline of marvels after all!
- Which brings us to our next point: the Flying Dutchman. The local ghost story reached international fame a couple of years ago when a ship by the same name became a central feature in Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean saga. According to nautical lore, the VOC vessel was headed home to Holland from Batavia in 1641 when they approached the infamous Cape of Storms at her worst. The ship’s sails were shredded and the decks flooded with water. The terrified crew begged their stubborn captain, one As van der Decken, to turn back, but he refused, stating that he had rounded Cape Point on many an occasion and that this would be no exception … even if it took him ’till doomsday.
- Well, Van der Decken’s wish to round the Cape was granted that night, but he and his crew were doomed to sail these waters forever more. Over the past three-and-a-half centuries a ghostly galleon, that glows red in the night and has a mad, bald captain, has been sighted by a number of mariners. The Cape Point funicular has been named in honour of the Flying Dutchman and will help you skip those nasty stairs at R65 per adult and R25 per child/pensioner for a return trip.
- Did you know that guided tours take place on Table Mountain every day on the hour between 09:00 and 15:00? So if you want to brush up on your knowledge about our very own Wonder of Nature, show up at the Twelve Apostles Terrace and join in for an informative stroll.
- Keeping up with the times, Table Mountain is also home to a Wi-Fi Lounge offering free connectivity and a range of delectable treats to purchase while you work, surf or share your adventures.
- We all know Robben Island as the offshore prison, where the apartheid government detained Nelson Mandela and a number of other prominent political prisoners during the 1960s and 70s. However, the island has a long and dark history that precedes this modern era. It was the Dutch who first started using it as a convict station in the 1670s, with Autshumato (more widely known as Harry the Strandloper) being the very first prisoner to be held there and also to escape. In the 1800s it became a convenient location for the British to send their undesirable citizens – lepers, paupers, the chronically ill and later also the ‘insane’ in an asylum. Nowadays, the island is no longer being used for any of these unsavoury purposes but has instead been transformed into a living museum. There are about 200 residents on the island, of which the adults are all in the employ of the museum and the kids take the ferry to school every day.
- A tour to Robben Island will generally take you between 3.5 and 4 hours including the return journey on the ferry, so be sure to factor enough time into your schedule!
- If you haven’t spent much time at the V&A Waterfront recently, you may be forgiven for thinking that it’s all about high-end shopping. But, hey, there’s actually so much more to it! Over the past few years, a huge amount of effort has gone into developing the area into a welcoming and attractive space that incorporates a wealth of experiences. Two of the most popular recent additions to the V&A Waterfront offering are the Food Market, where you can find a huge array of gourmet goods and delicious delicacies, and the Watershed, a one-stop destination for shopping some of South Africa’s best designer goods. If you haven’t visited either of these, we’d highly recommend them.
- Whether you’re 9 months old or 99, a visit to the Two Oceans Aquarium is bound to fill you with absolute awe at the endlessly fascinating exhibits and the magical creatures that inhabit them. The jewel in the crown of the aquarium, however, is the magnificent I&J Ocean Exhibit that was officially opened in August 2016. With a depth of 6-metres, it is able to hold 1.6 million litres of seawater at a temperature of between 20 and 24 degrees Celsius and houses a mesmerising mix of creatures – from Yoshi the legendary loggerhead turtle to a school of grumpy-looking Steenbras. It is the first exhibit of its kind in South Africa to boast a full 10-metre long tunnel and the main viewing window is a continuous 9 metre-wide, 4 metre-high panel that weighs 22 tonnes.
A whirlwind exploration of the Cape Peninsula can hardly be considered dull at the best of times, however, getting to explore it from a competitive and gamified angle with The Gallivanting Goose certainly amplified the fun.
Founded by Larissa Sparg, The Gallivanting Goose is an app-based, treasure hunt game aimed at exploration and team building activities.
How it works
Games consist of a number of challenges that teams need to complete in certain amounts of time in specific locations. Since it works through a smartphone app, there’s an emphasis on providing correct answers through creative photography, videography and captions. The relevant game is pre-loaded onto smartphones and handed out to teams before the fun begins. Instructions are really easy to follow and navigating the app is a dream.
How to choose a game
There are a few existing games that companies can opt to use for their team building purposes, or they could have one created to suit their specific needs. If they want to go for the latter option, they can contact The Gallivanting Goose team for a quote.
Check out The Gallivanting Goose website for more details.