Tag Archives: capetown

Get 10% to 25% off at restaurants in Cape Town

Last night I tested out Diners Delight – a new service in Cape Town.

I always try to support Cape Town startups so I was very pleased that everything worked so well. And it’s a great service.

The idea is simple:

You get a discount at restaurants in return for filling out a survey on your dining experience.


Simple as that. We got a 10% discount last night. Even though I booked a table of four (the discount applies to the whole bill).

Today they emailed me a reminder to fill out the survey which took about 4 minutes to do (multiple choice questions).


That’s a great return. I effectively got paid R40 to fill out a quick little survey. Awesome.

The best thing is that the discounts get better. Next time I eat at that restaurant the discount will be 15%. Then 20% and then 25%!

Check out their explanation of how Diners Delight works.

The service currently applies to 35 restaurants but more are being added regularly. The site includes a full menu and details about each of the restaurants.

I recommend giving Diners Delight a try. Quick, easy and saves you money.

Nazi U-boat off Sea Point

A few weeks ago I was running on the promenade when I was absolutely stunned to see a U-boat (German submarine from WW2) just off shore.

Since then I’ve seen the U-boat regularly. It’s often surrounded by life rafts and often has stacks of people standing on the deck.

That was all too much for my notorious curiosity.

Short Answer

A two-part BBC drama called “The Sinking of the Laconia” is being shot in Cape Town at the moment. The ‘submarine’ I have been seeing is a prop constructed for the filming (see photo below).

U-156 prop being constructed in Cape Town

Long Answer

The movie is about the Laconia Incident which is a fascinating story from World War 2.

Map of the Laconia IncidentOn 12 September 1942 the armed troopship RMS Laconia was off the coast of West Africa. There were well over 2,000 people on board – mostly Italian prisoners of war.

At about 10PM the Laconia was spotted and torpedoed by the German submarine U-156 under the command of Werner Hartenstein.

The German crew surfaced and were amazed to find so many people in the water. Remarkably Hartenstein ordered a rescue operation and sent out the following message:

If any ship will assist the ship-wrecked ‘Laconia’-crew, I will not attack providing I am not being attacked by ship or air forces. I picked up 193 men. 4, 53 South, 11, 26 West. – German submarine.

Before long U-156 had rescued 400 survivors with 200 crammed onto the deck (see picture) and 200 being towed in life boats. Two other U-boats also turned up to help in the rescue operations.

U-156 with Laconia survivors on deck

Soon all of the submarines were displaying red cross colors and transporting hundreds of survivors to safety.

In a remarkable twist an American B-24 bomber spotted U-156. Seeing the red cross flags and life boats the pilot radioed his base – a secret airfield on an island.

Fearing that the vital secret base would be discovered and attacked the base commander ordered the pilot to “sink submarine”!

In panic U-156 cut the life boats loose and dived leaving the survivors to fend for themselves. Fortunately due to earlier radio messages other rescue ships soon arrived and many were rescued.

As a result of this incident Dönitz, the chief of the German navy, understandably ordered that U-boats should no longer rescue survivors of attacks.

After the war Dönitz was convicted of war crimes for this order even though the American navy made the same rule in the Pacific ocean!

Werner Hartenstein, commander of U-156Hartenstein (pictured alongside) and the rest of the U-156 crew were killed the next year when they were sunk by another American warplane (this time a Catalina).

Strange ship off Sea Point – Petrobras 10000


This ship has been sitting off Sea Point for a couple of days.

It has an unusual structure and looks like a large building at night. I was curious so when I managed to see the name this morning I did some research.

According to Rigzone (there is a site for everything) it is a drillship on the way to explore possible deep sea oil fields off Angola.

A drillship is a bit like a very mobile oil rig. They are used for exploring deep sea oil fields because they can move around far faster than a normal oil rig.

Drillships use dynamic positioning systems to stay exactly stationary while drilling. Using a combination of GPS, wind and motion sensors and a sophisticated computer model the ship can stay absolutely stationary while drilling. Pretty cool stuff.

Devils peak fire – a little too close

Fire burning above Vredehoek on Devils Peak

Last night was pretty exciting/intense. We woke up at 01h30 to hear sirens outside. I got up and went out onto the balcony to see what was going on.


There was a huge fire raging on Devils Peak behind the house. The police were driving up and down the streets using a loud-speaker to tell people to evacuate and move away from the fire area.

Cars and people were streaming down from the higher blocks. There was stacks of smoke blowing down the hill and even burning embers landing in the street.

We cruised around for a while but the smoke was too hectic to stick outside for long. At one stage it looked as if the Western most of the Disa Park towers might burn down.

Thank heavens the fire fighters managed to beat the flames off and by this morning the choppers were making sure that everything was out.

An exciting evening indeed.

Bat Run 2009

There are many great trail running events in Cape Town – we must be one of the best cities in the world for trail running.

One of my favorites is the Bat Run – a mad race that I took part in this Saturday evening.

The Bat Run is run in the mountains at night (hence the name) and includes running:

  1. Up and down Devils Peak
  2. Up Table Mountain, across the top and then back down again
  3. Up and down Lions Head

That’s over 2000m of climbing and descending and a total distance of more than 25km – in the mountains and at night. Mad.

It’s a tough event but it favors the good climbers – like me. Last year I surprised myself by coming in 6th position and finishing in under 5 hours.

This year I went even better and managed to come in second at 4:03 which is under the old record. I just managed to hold off the guy who came in second – he was only about a minute behind me near the top of Lions Head so I had to push my body a little too hard.

Leo Rust set a new record at 3:46 which I won’t ever come close to.

This picture (by Eric Tollner) shows me reaching the top of Platteklip Gorge on Table Mountain. Real deer-in-the-headlights expression – I was pretty tired and quite surprised.