Looking for something fun and different to do this Easter weekend in Cape Town? If you haven’t yet taken a turn past the Silo District, do so. It’s not only an art and design lover’s dream, but it’s the place to stay at and be seen.
For many, the V&A Waterfront was perceived as good for tourism, but not so good for the city’s cool factor (edgier neighbourhoods like Woodstock claimed those bragging rights). However, in recent months, with the launch of The Silo hotel as well as the contemporary art museum below it, the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA), the fashionable set are visiting in droves. And, loving it!
Not only is The Silo a luxury hotel (it’s built in the grain elevator portion of the area’s historic grain silo complex, hence its name) but cleverly, as to make it a destination property, the experience is what a visit to the building is all about.
A drink at the very top of The Silo is de rigueur, but make sure you book a table at The Rooftop (if you aren’t a hotel guest) so you can gaze down on the city while you eat and drink alfresco. To add to the culinary offering, there’s also the Willaston Bar and the Granary Café, the latter serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as Sunday roasts and even ‘The Royal Tea’ experience for those who are fond of delightfully posh afternoon get- togethers. And both have magnificent views!
And then there’s the spa. Opulent and tranquil, it’s a haven of crème de a crème skin and body conditioning (think infused caviar algae and refi ned golden millet oil). Treatments may cost up to R4 800, but super manicures and pedicures are available at more accessible price points.
Now let’s talk art. No visit is complete without perusing the Zeitz MOCAA. This wondrous and edgy space, dedicated to contemporary art from Africa, is the continent’s rival to the likes of the Tate Modern in London and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City. Various pieces from the Zeitz Collection as well as the museum’s permanent works are on display. In addition, different loans and travelling exhibitions will be featured throughout the year. Artists on display include Andrew Putter, Mohau Modisakeng, Edson Chagas, Nicholas Hlobo, Wangechi Mutu, Chris Ofi li and Rashid Johnson. The museum’s curator, Mark Coetzee, explains its concept: ‘Zeitz MOCAA will constitute a reimagining of a museum within an African context: celebrate Africa preserving its own cultural legacy, writing its own history and defining itself on its own terms.’ It’s a must-see!
Enjoy a snack at one of the many restaurants peppered around the entrance to the museum. We love Si for their eclectic decor and delicious tapas.
Add a little culture to your visit and enjoy the Cape Town Opera and Cape Town Philharmonic orchestra perform outside the museum in the open courtyard. Sit on the steps with a blanket and sip cocktails while listening to Cape Town’s culture clubs perform under the stars.
For lovers of fashion, round off your Silo experience with an injection of some more local creativity. Kat van Duinen, a South African luxury fashion and leather house, now has a boutique within the district and we certainly recommend a turn past shop 5A2, Silo 5 Building, to gaze at the bespoke collection of statement bags, and so much more.
Venture a bit further, and browse around The Watershed (adjacent to the Two Oceans Aquarium), another ode to top-notch South African design. This space houses a host of creatives selling their beautiful pieces – fashion, homeware, and art and crafts. The food trucks and stalls, too, mean you get a real feel for the country’s proudly South African initiatives presented with a global look and feel.
By Helen Clemson