Tourism Boot Camp

We launched T.B.C. – Tourism Boot Camp – at the PG TOPS HQ in August 2017.

The first intake of five interns commenced on Monday 31 July, and are following a rigorous 6 week program aimed at rapid upskilling and critical thinking in a framework of Cape Town bespoke touring.

Interns are chosen on the basis of having a base education in tourism from some form of tertiary institution, but are not yet gainfully employed. T.B.C. aims to leverage the core skill sets in the PG TOPS full time team, coupled with assistance from industry partners, to introduce these interns to the competitive environment of tourism.

Once trained over six weeks, the interns will complete their training in job shadowing roles either at PG TOPS or at industry partners. The aim is to produce motivated, technically skilled and systems prepared individuals that can easily slot into any establishments environment.

For further details on this program, please contact Pieter Geldenhuys on 021-380 0266 or


Fine Dining Cape Town: Top of the Pops

Previously published on the Luxury Safaris blog.

Over time, four spots have established them as the trendiest fine dining spots in Cape Town. In trendy industrial Woodstock at the Old Biscuit Mill, Luke Dale Roberts has established the iconic Pot Luck Club and Test Kitchen. On the other side of the mountain in lush Constantia, La Colombe and the Green House are the traditional favourites.

I tend to run, cycle and chase my dog around a lot just to burn off the calories from all this good eating. I have personally tried all four spots with the missus this last year, and here’s my cheat sheet to help you decide which ones you want to shoot for during your holiday in Cape Town.

I have rated the four of them 1 to 5 on the following key criteria:

  1. Risk of narcolepsy
  2. I like my extras
  3. I don’t know what I’m eating
  4. I come here often
  5. I want to take pictures of this food
  6. I’m fancy but I’m also kinda tight
  7. This place is harder to get into than Augusta
  8. I’m a vegetarian
  9. I want to show up in shorts
  10. Where the hell did my waiter go?

Ready? Here we go. Notes to follow:

ITEM La Colombe Test Kitchen Pot Luck Club Green House
1.       Narco 3 1 5 3
2.       Extras 4 5 1 4
3.       What? 4 5 3 4
4.       Return 3 1 5 1
5.       Pics 5 5 3 5
6.       $$$ 2 1 5 3
7.       Booking 5 1 3 5
8.       Fussy 3 3 5 3
9.       Casual 1 1 5 1
10.   Service 5 5 4 5
TOTAL 35 28 39 34

Importantly, everyone except Pot Luck do set menus with tasting options as a standard. Pot Luck wins hands down in terms of access, vibe and flexible menu. But it depends on what your goal is. Test Kitchen might be top of the ratings, but it’s the one of the four that I’ll only go back to in a couple of years. Just takes too long…  In terms of the other criteria, let me elaborate:


TO the chagrin of my girlfriend, I like to take power naps in the middle of conversations. This is a very detrimental quality when you are in the middle of a 4 hour dining extravaganza at the Test Kitchen, but can be somewhat better managed at the tapas style dining at Pot Luck. You can be in and out of there relatively quickly, usually about 2 hours.


I didn’t even know what an Amuse-bouche was before I started hitting these high-end places. All of the spots do the little bits and pieces well, but Test Kitchen knocks the lights out with their two-room-lets-do-cocktails-we-serve-almost-everything-with-foam-now approach. Its more a show than a dinner. At Pot Luck you get what you pay for. The Constantia spots do it well, but less of a production than Test Kitchen.


If we assume the goal is to give you a heavenly meal made up of ingredients you’ve never heard of and starring a bird or a fish caught in some obscure rockpool in southern Denmark and crossbred with a local trout, then Test Kitchen comes out on tops. As the night progresses and the tasting menu kicks in, and depending on the amount of foam you get hit with, it becomes harder to even remember what you were eating. La Colombe consistently does basics well, Green House and Test Kitchen are more challenging for the journeyman. Pot Luck is less intimidating, but they still do chickpea fries instead of just chips. Delicious though.


Pot Luck sees me a lot. But the I suffer from massive food envy, and it doesn’t matter what I’m eating, I always want your meal. So tapas style dining works for me. Also, it’s the only one of the four with that trendy-city-lights-have-a-craft-beer-while-you-wait vibe. Elevated on the 6th floor it offers more of a view, which is always something I look for. La Colombe is where I will take the missus on the anniversary, Test Kitchen and Green House sees me about once every two years just so I can check out their latest menu.


Yep, in the age of Instagram, twits and tweets and Facebook bloggers, we now whip out the smartphone to capture the magnificence of our meal so our mates can be jealous.

I sometimes want to just go print out 10 pics of my beautifully presented port shavings with foam starter and hand deliver it to a few mates. Would make more sense, but they’d probably slap me.

This is a hard one. Everyone does it well, but the standard of presentation is so high at the others that Pot Luck does fall short.


Look, if you’re jetting in from the Big Apple you will probably still giggle at the quality/pricing ratio and order another bottle of champers. For us mere mortal South Africans, the Test Kitchen including tip equates to minimum wage for a month in this country. La Colombe and Green House tasting menus are about 40% less, and Pot Luck is the most affordable. But it does depend on how heavy handed you are on the vino, I suppose.

If you want to have some great food but aren’t that hungry, Pot Luck or La Colombe (you can also do a la carte here). Pot Luck, due to the nature of the menu, will be your cheapest date.


One day I will tee off on the hallowed fairways of distant Georgia. In the meantime, I am prepping for that mission by trying to regularly get a booking at the Test Kitchen for clients.

This is the way it works: At 8am sharp on the 1st of the month, you hit the online booking engine with all your resources. You get your consultants, your friends, your retired mother and the dog to all jump online and try to secure bookings, because the Test Kitchen sells out for the next month within 5 minutes. You can only book one month in advance. And of course because everyone in the world and Cape Town wants to get themselves or their clients into the number 22 rated restaurant in the world (no 1 in South Africa) the site keeps crashing. You get a booking you put down some cash by credit card.

The others all have booking systems as well- but Green House and La Colombe you can book way in advance, and Pot Luck has two seatings in the evening so generally more availability.


I’m a carnivore, but lots of my clients are not. I’ve checked in with my veggie friend Chantelle, and we’re on the same page here: Pot Luck is the best for this. The others with set menus do a good job of accommodating vegetarians, but you do feel like you miss out.


Cape Town is generally quite a casual place, and for lunch you could probably wing it at all of them. But for dinner, the only one of these spots I would dare to show up with anything less than my skinny jeans is Pot Luck. And even there, I generally err on the side of caution.

Having said that, the guys aren’t strict on this. The St Anton mafia were my guests a few years ago, and these chaps have long since passed the point of caring what people think of them. So yeah… you can show up in shorts…


Service is sharp at all of these spots. Pot Luck I had an average server experience the other day, but this was just a slight anomaly. To their credit, the manager saw our guy was struggling and stepped in.


If I had to recommend one, I still favour La Colombe for pure dining pleasure and bang for your buck. If you want full experiential, Test Kitchen is quite special. But Pot Luck comes out on top in terms of my points criteria, simply because the food is delicious, you have more flexibility in options and the view is spectacular.


Cape Town December buzz



Cocktails & Burgers at Cafe Caprice
Deciding on witch restaurant to eat at this weekend? Well decide no longer. Cafe Caprice is the place to be, it’s one of Cape Town’s most sought after beach bar.
Located in the vibey Camps Bay, Café Caprice combines retro cocktails were the latest trends in mixology are discovered. It has a unique café style menu and a buzzing atmosphere all year long.

Restaurant Review-Sundowners and Dinner at Cafe Caprice in Camps Bay, Cape Town.

First, the location does not get better than this. For me the view is a big bonus in the pocket when eating out and boy is it a score to eat while watching the sun sets and getting to see the golden tan the sun provides for the beach nearby.


Whether it be for  artisan cocktails in the summer months or for a great burger special, Café Caprice never disappoints. I had their Gelato 155. It’s a fat man’s dream I’d say, this grown up deluxe burger is topped with a bacon, feta cheese, avocado and caramelized onions. A real eye and tummy pleaser.

Fact: Burgers taste better with  milkshake. Throw in some alcohol to that Ron Zacapa rum which includes vanilla ice cream, condensed milk and fresh orange zest. you’ll have this cocktail calling your name all year round


Bartending talent and the latest trends in mixology are discovered.



Caprice sure is a great ambient venue for people to  wash down  a glass or bottle of wine, it’s a fascinating watch when the bartenders get there game on. Discover new flavors mixed in to your drink and learn a thing or two watching the bartenders mix up your jazzy drink.

As the suns set the place gets more and more packed and the cafe filled with the sounds of laid back music from a live DJ, I loved the diverse group of people. My suggestion is to start off with a bottle of their Jordan Chardonnay wine, it’s a real win.

One thing I loved about Cafe Caprice is that no matter how full the place got, the staff were quick, friendly and efficient. Good Service you won’t just get at any hustle bustle restaurant

I definitely enjoyed my little night out!


Tel: 021 438 8315
Admin Tel: 021 438 8321
Address: 37 Victoria Road, Camps Bay

Open 7 days a week, house DJ playing from Thursday to Sunday.

Fair Trade Accreditation

FTT HOLIDAY FOR WEBOur association with the Fair Trade label indicates our continued commitment to fair wages and working conditions, fair purchasing and operations, equitable distribution of benefits and respect for human rights, culture and the environment. It also ensures that the people who contribute their land, resources, labour and knowledge to tourism are the ones who reap the benefits.  and respect for human rights, culture and the environment. It also ensures that the people who contribute their land, resources, labour and knowledge to tourism are the ones who reap the benefits.

Pierneef a La Motte – A foodie’s delight!

La Motte Blog1

Have I mentioned before how much I love the tourism industry and my job? If not, you will soon understand why.  I had my first large group transfer to the winelands on a beautiful toasty summers evening.  A group of 30 OLX professionals from around the globe were taking an outing to La Motte in Franschhoek for dinner.  Kenny from Future Coaches was our very professional bus driver and I had the privilege to be the hop-on guide.

After navigating through traffic and introducing the guests to the history of South Africa and the winelands, we arrived at La Motte.  The guests had an amazing evening lined up including canapés and MCC under the trees in the garden, a wander through the museum where a large collection of the famous SA artist Pierneef’s works are kept, a wine tasting hosted by the winemaker himself and an amazing dinner and wine pairing.

I wondered whether I was not going to be bored being there for such a long time, but I soon realized that this would not be the case!! The friendly coordinator, Inge Hugo, welcomed me and Kenny as warmly as their VIP guests, which made me feel quite special. 🙂

I was really impressed by the restaurant manager Pierre Theron, who welcomed us at Pierneef a La Motte Restaurant.  He exudes a perfect balance of professionalism and warmth, and really knows his wine! I had the heavenly pleasure of enjoying a glass of 2013 La Motte Pierneef Syrah Viognier – there was not an inch of free space on the bottle due to all the stickers from awards it has won.  Upon tasting the wine, I also understood exactly why.  Not being a red wine drinker, I was very surprised by the how much I enjoyed it, pure seamless silk in my mouth.  This is definitely a must for any wine tasting at La Motte.

La Motte Blog2

Come dinner time, Chef Michelle Theron (not related to Pierre by the way) started us off with a selection of breads and spreads, all done with excellent artisanal skill.  Kenny and I chatted away while nibbling on the delicious offering.  Next up was a seasonal grilled salad with quinoa and heaps of flavour.  No offence Mom, maybe if my veggies had tasted like this, I would have had more as a child!

The main event (yes, this is not ordinary dining folks, each course is a celebrated event of its own) was roast free range pork belly, fynbos honey carrot, grilled potato and chorizo salad, soft steamed chicken egg, mustard and malt emulsion.  Keywords here – rich and fabulous!  I never thought I would get lyrical about potatoes, but wow – insert Beethoven’s 9th symphony here.

Dessert was all about chocolate: Hazelnut dacqoise, chocolate marquise, chocolate chip parfait and coffee ice cream, but alas – I had accidentally eaten into my “dessert stomach” and had no space left to my own dismay.  May the gourmet gods forgive me!

Back at the bus, Kenny and I welcomed a group of very happy wine infused clients that were all suffering from a severe case of puppy syndrome – tummies full and eyes about to close!  Satisfaction all round indeed.

Thank you so much to all the staff at La Motte, we all had a very memorable and special evening and you definitely made an advocate out of me!

An unexpected noble penguin mission


As a newbie consultant and guide, I decided to take a trip out to Gansbaai and put some names to the faces I have been emailing since working for PG Tops. Upon arrival, I was greeted by the hustle and bustle of the Marine Dynamics headquarters, excitement was definitely in the air, as is expected from a Shark Cage Diving and Marine Eco-tour operator. A friendly lady welcomed me, and when it downed on us that we’ve been “pen pals” for a while now, it was hugs all round like long lost friends! Aletta was as amazing in person as over the phone or via email. As it was a Sunday, I had my fiancé join me for the day, to brag about what an awesome job I have! We spent some time exploring the Marine Dynamics facilities and chatting to some of the personnel, all very warm and professional. I was blown away by how well everything was set up and organised, as well as the infectious positive attitude of everyone we met. Heading back to the parking lot right by the boat launching area, we noticed some action at one of the Marine Dynamics boats – personnel gently loading boxes onto the boat while being filmed. This indicated that something cool must be going on, so we took a closer look. That’s when we met Wilfred, owner of Marine Dynamics. He asked whether we had time, as this boat was heading out to Dyer Island to reintroduce some rehabilitated penguins into their natural habitat. We didn’t think about it twice and couldn’t believe our luck to be part of such a momentous occasion!

We headed out to sea, man and penguin, side by side – the little fellows safely in their protective cases. The mood was very cheerful and the rather choppy ocean added to the sense of adventure with a thrilling boat ride! The Marine Dynamics penguin team whizzed behind us in our wake on their rubber duck like knights on their horses heading out to save the day. They took all the penguins to the island while we cruised around just off shore waiting for the big moment, and what a big moment it was! They set all the penguins in their cases down in a row on the beach and opened them simultaneously, and I swear I could hear Chariots of Fire playing somewhere in the background. The little suited black and white birds ran out to the water and all jumped in as if they were competing in a swim gala! Laughter and cheers filled the air as the penguins headed further out in the ocean, all too happy to be back in the water, where they belong. It was an experience that will never be forgotten! Thank you so much to Wilfred and his team, their hospitality and making us part of this noble mission!


P is for PG that begins a good read
It’s been a big year for PG and TOPS, to 2016 we lead.
P is the letter that promotes what we do
Private Tours to the Point and the Penguins, that’s us through and through.
P is the concept that brings us great joy
Pictures of Cape Town sunsets, Petting cheetahs or baboons playing coy.
P is the reach of our touring range
Port Elizabeth, Pretoria or Prisons on Islands ain’t strange.
P is the wine that we like to drink
Pinotage is a blend from Africa –  like us Afrikaners – won’t that make you think?
P is the Parks for safari where we like to go
Sabi Sands, the Kruger, Sanbona, you know?
P is the People of this great little team
The consultants the guides the support staff I mean.
P is a thank you, to the Person that supports us so well
The agent, the partner, the contractors are swell.
P is for Pride in this, our great land
We keep being POSITIVE even when the news ain’t that grand.
P is for Pleasure, in this wonderful city of mine
For Cape Town brings mountain-and sea-and food-and sights-and culture… and of course the sunshine.
P is for Playtime, and that you can see
As long as work is still fun – life is just grand – I’m sure you agree!
P is for Panic, a feeling no fun
There is no P for bye, but my poem is now done.

Too cute

5 Star Shark Cage Diving

Just two and a half hours’ drive from Cape Town, you’ll find a company called Marine Dynamics, situated in Kleinbaai… the hub for the Great White Sharks. Upon arrival, my two colleagues and I received a very warm welcome from the Marine Dynamics team and they directed us to the restaurant where a delicious breakfast was ready for us. Kelly, the Marine Biologist from Australia, then briefed us on the company and the work they are involved in. She was very enthusiastic about the work they do and it all resonated in the manner in which she delivered the information to us. She ensured us that we would be safe and there was no need to be afraid. Apparently the most dangerous part of our day was our drive to Kleinbaai!! LOL

Marine Dynamics logo

As we left the restaurant, we started feeling nervous, but quickly ‘convinced’ one another that “we got this”! The crew members assisted us with our life jackets and water jackets before heading out to the boat, Slashfin that was awaiting us for our diving experience. Slashfin was purposely built for shark cage diving. This means it contains similar qualities of the Great White Shark such as “its sleekness, elegance, power and steadiness in order to Dyer-Island-Cruises-Logoenable the boat to slice through water and to endure extreme sea conditions” (Marine Dynamics, 2015). Off we sailed and along the way we experienced great views of the sunrise as well as different birds flying over the boat, pure magic!


Quickly we arrived at our diving location which was within close proximity to Dyer Island that is renowned for its Cape Fur Seal colony, with approximately 60 000 seals on this Island.


With our wet suits on, it was time to decide who would get into the cage first. As soon as Kelly had suggested we should get in first, my immediate response was “yes, of course!”, but my colleague Sofie said “no ways, we’ll rather be part of the second group”. She sounded a little frightened… I must add. While waiting for our opportunity to get into the cage, sea sickness got the best of me and thus I was unable to stand upright. While my other colleague Thami, and Sofie were enjoying watching the other people and their 20150513_SF_Trip1_KBaker_IMG_00220fearful faces, I sat in a corner trying to be strong. After drinking a glass of water, I then told myself, “shake it off Nela and get into that cage!”

20150513_SF_Trip1_KBaker_IMG_00062 (2)

We did it!!! The water was extremely cold, but THAT was the least of our concerns. We had roughly 10 shark encounters with one female and the others were all juvenile male sharks. What an amazing experience to see those wild ocean creatures up close! Once one of the sharks slammed into the cage with its tail and we all jumped backwards as we were frightened from the sudden knock. It was simultaneously scary and awesome! After 45 minutes in the cold water, we were more than ready to warm up. I remained at the front of Slashfin for our return trip as the sea sickness crept up on me again. According to Thami and Sofie, viewing the sharks from the top deck was awesome! Needless to say, I was a tad bit jealous as I could not make it up there. However, the Marine Dynamics team took really good care of me and I appreciated their efforts.


Before heading back towards the harbour, our skipper Pieter steered the boat towards Dyer Island, for a close up of the Cape Fur Seal colony. Upon our return to the Great White House, warm soup was waiting for us in the restaurant, which was really delicious after being in the cold for four hours. During that period we were able to watch the video of our experience, which was so surreal!


Before departing to Cape Town, the team also introduced us to their Penguin and Bird Sanctuary, which opened February 2015 as a marine bird rehabilitation centre for diseased, injured, oiled, abandoned and displaced marine birds and African penguins.


Until our next adventure! Nela20150513_SF_Trip1_KBaker_IMG_00002

Feeling the “Africa”!!

Safari Cape Town Big Five!

A very early morning start to our day it was indeed… I was more excited than ever as I would see Elephants and Giraffes for the very first time in person!!! The drive to the game reserve was picturesque and makes you appreciate nature so much more. One would literally snap copious pictures before even reaching the Big Five.


Upon arrival at Aquila Private Game Reserve, we received a very warm welcome. It was freezing cold there as the reserve is situated in the Little Karoo, the semi desert part of South Africa. The safari experience started with a scrumptious breakfast buffet and we definitely looked forward to it as the variety was plentiful and… we were starving!!! Before embarking on the game drive we had an opportunity to explore the surrounds of the game reserve and the views of the adjacent mountains are truly breath-taking. My colleague, Thami immediately spotted the elephants from afar and with my other colleague Sofie and I’s bad eyesight, Thami had to explain several times before we both got a glimpse of those beauties. This happened throughout the entire duration of our game drive as he spotted most of the animals before anyone else.


Finally the game drive was underway. Our ranger Freddy started our game drive with a visit to the Animal Rehabilitation Center (ARC), as the game reserve highly accentuates wildlife conservation in order to re-introduce the wildlife such as Cheetahs, Crocodiles, Leopards and Lions within the Cape Region. It was sad to see this wildlife in confined areas and not in their natural environment, but I do understand the cheetahs are a captive bred and are thus controlled to ensure the worldwide cheetah survival initiative. As for the Lions, they have been saved from a heart-rending destiny whereby these animals were placed within small areas and hunters would be granted permission to shoot them.

As the game drive continued to the main reserve Freddy stopped the vehicle, he would then pick up animal manure and ask us all which animal within the reserve did we presume it could belong to and of course there would be one or two individuals who would get it right. I thought it was a great way to obtain knowledge about the wildlife on the game reserve and made us use the knowledge we had about the wildlife. Freddy had a great sense of humour as he would occasionally engage in jokes and it helped us all loosen up and feel more at ease during this experience. We then continued our drive along the waterhole where we came across Hippos, my colleagues and I named them the “lazy ones” as they laid in the same position we had left them. There was a moment that were Freddy stopped our game vehicle in the middle of nowhere as our refreshment stop, we hopped off the vehicle looking up to the beautiful African blue skies, mountain views, the wildlife within a distance and of course some sparkling wine! This was truly an incredible moment… “time stood still” for a little while here.


Before game drive Freddy stated that there was a possibility we might not see the Big Five or the other wildlife on the game reserve, however we were fortunate enough to see the Big Five (Buffalo, Rhino, Elephant, Leopard & Lion) as well as the other wildlife on the game reserve (Elands, Giraffes, Hippos, Ostriches, Springboks & Mountain Zebras) .


After our game drive we indulged in a delightful lunch and yes…it was just as marvelous as breakfast! With such a fantastic day behind us a little snooze on a way back home to Cape Town was essential.

Welcome to Africa!!!

Video of Pieter and Clive’s epic MTB event