I love guidebooks and was really excited to receive a copy of Secret Cape Town for review. I spent my first 28 years growing up in Cape Town , with parents who were like myself today and then , very much urban scanvangers and a tourists in my own backyard . After reading with amazement and wonder Justin Fox and Alison Westwood's Secret Cape Town, I hang my head in shame and renounce my right to be called an ex Cape Townian.
In mitigation many of the tourist sites and other attractions listed in this wonderful book were renovated and opened to the public ahead of and for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. To be honest I have never visited over 100 of the 120 beautifully described with superb photography.The attractions are broken up into five categories
- City Bowl
- Atlantic Seabord
- Southern Suburbs
- South Peninsula
- West Coast & Cape Flat
Some of the unusual attractions include Historic Tram Tracks in St Andrews Square , Preswich Memorial and The Slave Church Museum in Long Street. I must have traversed Long Street thousands of times in search of the illusive book or pre19th century antique and never once dis I notice this church .The Great War Memorial, Lightfoot Memorial Fountain , The Heritage Vine dating back to 1771, the Old Granary Building in Buitenkant Street, "We Are Still Here " Memorial behind the Cape Town Public Libray , tthe Wooden Cobbles uncovered in 2010 during construction of a bycle lane outside of the Groote Kerk .... hey I have been there ... so that is a double reprieve ( I left Cape Town in 1986 after reciving a banning order for anti-Apartheid activity ) but never have I seen the Seven Steps Remaining Flagstones in the District Six Museum . I am amazed by the picture of the Pump Tree in the VOC Company Gardens , the Centre of the Book now part of the Mational Archives . There is now a Quagga Foal in the greatly expanded South African Museum ;only one of 23 specimens of this extinct type of Zebra in existence.The list goes on and on and on of places that were not earmarked for a visit or even a cursory glance prior to the 2010 FIFA World Cup held in Cape Town and other cities.
The book includes inexes and a map of central Cape Town ( City Bowl) with attractions marked on it. This book is a must for anyone considering visiting Cape Town and I am sure would come as a surprise to both current and ex Cape Townians alike. I loved it. Very highly recommended .
About the Authors
Justin Fox is an award-winning writer and photographer based in Cape Town. He's a former editor of Getaway International travel magazine. Justin was a Rhodes Scholar and received a doctorate in English from Oxford University after which he became a research fellow at the University of Cape Town, where he now teaches part-time. His articles and photographs have appeared internationally in a number of publications and on a wide range of topics, while his short stories and poems have been published in various anthologies. He is a two-time Mondi journalism award winner. His recent books include The Marginal Safari (Umuzi, 2010), Whoever Fears the Sea (Umuzi, 2014) and The Impossible Five (Tafelberg, 2015). He was long-listed for the 2011 Alan Paton Award for non-fiction, the 2012 Olive Schreiner Prize for Literature and the 2014 Etisalat Prize for Literature.
Alison Westwood grew up in Johannesburg, but was fortunate enough to find her way to Cape Town in 1999. She immediately decided that it was the best city in the world. Although she's travelled extensively on five continents since then, she hasn't yet found any reason to change that opinion. Alison has a degree in journalism from Rhodes University and has worked as a travel writer and photographer for print and online publications for more than a decade. Her preference for the unusual, the interesting, and the just plain odd made the task of tracking down Cape Town's untold secrets particularly exciting and, if possible, made her love her adoptive home even more.