Tourists Can Enjoy All That Jazz with Musicians

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BYLINE: Bianca Coleman VERSATILE: Hilton Schilder plays almost every instrument.

ALL this time doing this annual gig I've been banging on about how great it is to be a tourist in my own city. And it is.

But meeting some real tourists last week, I have been put to shame by how much hard work they put into it.

When your time in Cape Town is limited, you have to fit in as much as possible.

Kevin from Canada had been to Robben Island that day; and the family from Ohio, I think it was, had been to Kirstenbosch, Kalk Bay and Boulders.

We were all finishing a busy day by going on a "jazz safari", one of the tours offered by Coffeebeans Routes.

The company "creates experiences around the stories of Cape Town... contemporary, urban, African experiences that provide travellers deep insights into the city."

Besides the jazz tour, Coffeebeans can take you on a number of excursions including townships, fashion, beer, cuisine, hip hop, reggae, theatre, wine and more.

Some are during the day, others in the evening. They don't actually do a coffee tour though.

The reason for this, says Iain Harris of Coffeebeans is that unlike wine, which you can taste quite a bit of over a period of time, after three espressos on the hop, people tend to get way too wired on the caffeine.

The jazz tour provides a very special opportunity to meet musicians in their homes, followed by a visit to a jazz club for a live performance.

For a genre that is so popular in Cape Town it's quite shocking how few dedicated venues we have for this. If you go on a Monday, they'll take you to Swingers in Wetton, otherwise The Mahogany Room in the city.

But first, the home visit.

Coffeebeans works with several musicians, but we were incredibly lucky last Friday night because we spent time in the company of the legendary Hilton Schilder. He welcomed us into his house with the fine custom of cracking open a few quarts of Carling Black Label, which our overseas visitors enjoyed very much. Especially Kevin from Canada, who refilled his glass several times. Good for him.

Hilton is a generous host, who regaled us not only with displays of his immense multi-instrumental talent but great stories about his personal life both musical and otherwise. His wife Tesna, who has been Hilton's muse and inspiration for 30 years and for whom he has written some 40 pieces, prepared us a delicious and very traditional Cape meal of chicken curry, rice, lentils, roast potatoes and tomato and onion salad. …