Considering that I have lived in Cape Town for almost seven years, it is pretty hard to get me excited about activities in the city. Don’t get me wrong, I do things all the time but they usually revolve around meetings with friends, dinners, going to the beach, doing yoga – regular stuff you do when you live somewhere. While I like the concept of a staycation I don’t usually venture out to see museums, do cooking classes or try a new sport. Those things are reserved for when I travel, Cape Town to me is not traveling, it is home.
Mind you, there is nothing greater than experience new and exciting things when I go on a trip and so I was actually very excited when Gummie contacted us to get me off my beach towel and do just that: experience new things in my hometown.

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Gummie started as an online magazine about all things hip and happening in Johannesburg and has recently branched out to bring you the best experiences in two cities. Keen for wine tasting and sharing a glass with the viticulturist while doing a chocolate pairing? No problem! Want to discover hidden neighborhoods and be led by a local to find their gems? Sure thing! Want to get wet or travel with your kids? Gummie has you covered with activities that offer something for all tastes and ages. Whether you are in Johannesburg or want to discover the Mother City, they offer locally led tours for thrill-seekers, art and history aficionadi, gourmets, and everything in between.

When I read their offers I was hooked and spent a good amount of time (read: way too long) trying to decide which activities to pick. In the end, I chose the Cape Town Cuisine Tour and – drumroll please! – paragliding! The latter is something I have always wanted to do ever since organizing it for a client of mine.

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Paragliding in Cape Town is done either from the top of Signal Hill or Lion’s Head, depending on the wind. The wind in Cape Town is notoriously fickle so I am not surprised that on the morning of my glide I am first told we would have to postpone. I have just settled in for a day at my desk when I get called back – the wind has changed and can I go now. I jump in an Uber and meet my own fan club on top of Signal Hill: A flock of tourists is standing around the paragliding base, cheering and taking pictures of each person who takes off.

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I meet Klemen, my partner in crime, who runs me through the procedure. I can’t resist asking him how long he has been doing tandem glides and get promptly punished for asking when he tells me has been doing it for just over two weeks. I swallow hard. I’m sure it will be fine. I was my diving instructor’s first student and I lived to dive another day. Surely, it’s okay. He sees my face and starts laughing. “Don’t worry, I have been doing this for 20 years, I have done thousands of jumps.” I hate to admit it, but I do feel a bit better and, in any case, there is no way to turn around now. The people in front of me have swiftly taken off and it is my turn to be strapped into the harness, put a helmet on, and get tied to Klemen – it’s not called tandem for nothing.

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I have no time to get nervous because we’re off immediately: I am to walk quickly so the chute will open, then Klemen tells me to run and I feel like Forrest Gump. All of a sudden I run over the edge, my feet tread air, and then we fly. Or glide. I don’t even know.

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I sit back and take a big breath. Where is my cocktail? It is comfy and quiet up here. Sea Point is directly below us, Lions Head to the left, the Stadium to the right, and the very blue Atlantic straight ahead. I don’t know how long we are in the air, we twist and turn and dance it seems. After a minute or after an hour we descent to the promenade; my legs are stretched out and I land softly on my bum with the biggest grin on my face. “Can we go again?” I ask Klemen.

My second experience with Gummie is of a very different kind, but also very dear to my heart: eating. While I am well traversed in the Capetonian restaurant scene, it is time to up my game of local, home-cooked South African cuisine. Ever since attending a talk by Anna Trapido introducing her book about Nelson Mandela’s life and his favorite foods I have been keen to learn more.

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We start our tour in the Bo-Kaap, the typical Cape Malay area in the heart of the city that is bursting with colorful houses. After apartheid ended it was a sign of freedom for the homeowners to finally be able to paint their houses however they liked and they took full advantage: orange, bright yellow, deep purple and vibrant turquoise – Bo Kaap is not shy.

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First our guide Michael takes us to the famous Atlas Trading, a spice emporium that has been a neighborhood attraction for decades. Here you will find anything a chef’s heart may desire and what made Cape Town famous: spices, spices, and more spices. While the old store, which was located just a block further south invited visitors to smell and taste from big barrels, the new store offers neatly packed bags in various sizes that make for perfect souvenirs.

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Some in our group actually had breakfast which clearly was foolish decision, made only apparent as we entered the home of our host Hamida, just opposite of Atlas Trading. Hamida shows us the best of Cape Malay home cooking and we learn about samosas, chili bites and a whole lot of history. Hamida has also prepared daal curry with rice for us and we learn the art of eating it with our right hand only.

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Needless to say, we are already stuffed and that is before she presents desert: koeksisters. A traditional sweet donut type desert glazed in sugar. I’ve always hated it and am hesitant to try. But Hamida tells the story of her struggle to master koeksisters and how she would always ask her mother to make them for her in batches. Only after her death did Hamida finally manage to find her very own koeksister recipe that worked for her: the dough is partly mashed potatoes, the sugar syrup warm, and the little fluffy bites are sprinkled with coconut. I hesitantly taste and I’m immediately sad that there is only one for each of us – they are amazing!

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After saying our goodbyes, we move on to Langa, a township a short drive from the city along the N2. Here we eat some fat cakes or Amagwinya as they are called, a favorite amongst school children and a yummy snack on the go. Licking our oily fingers, we drive by houses, a church in a shack, and food stalls.

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The infamous sheep heads are on sale on the roadside, but their owner doesn’t take kindly to us taking pictures of her and her wares. I don’t blame her and feel a bit embarrassed for my fellow travelers. While I appreciate a look into this life that is so very different from my own, I do remember that this is not a zoo.

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In Gugulethu we are invited to lunch with Sheila and Blackie and are to experience a feast of Xhosa food: chicken livers with chakalaka and steamed bread to start with. Then we get Umleqwa (free range chicken), Umxhaxha (sweet corn and butternut), and Umfino (pap with spinach) all accompanied by Sheila’s delicious homemade ginger beer.

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After lunch she introduces us to her brewing secrets and shows us her family photos; she chuckles comparing Blackies’ full hair back then to his bald head now. Mind you, she says, she still thinks he is very handsome and young looking. I can only agree and I take another big sip from my glass. Because who knows, maybe good genes are at play or maybe it is Sheila’s great ginger beer.

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Gummie.co.za