The door to our submarine slammed shut as the big screen in front of us began to tick down. We had 60 minutes to ready our torpedo for launch and locate our fellow sub before all was lost.
Frantically, we began our hunt, opening any cupboards, doors and chests we could find in search of something that might help our team of 6 piece together the baffling mystery that might eventually lead to our escape. With every minute that passed, our pulses accelerated as our quest became more frantic, until at last, a clue! Clinging onto the sign of hope we slowly began to unravel the story, solving puzzles and working together to make our way out from our quandary and closer to freedom. And all the while, the clock continued its relentless countdown.
HintHunt is a live ‘escape the room’ challenge and very possibly the most intense mental adrenalin rush you might hope to experience. Described as ‘CSI meets Big Brother’ by Stephen Schutte, one of the co-owners who brought the brain-teasing, code-cracking challenge from the UK to South Africa in 2013, HintHunt quickly made its way up the TripAdvisor.com ranks until it was voted the No.1 activity in Cape Town just 1 year later in 2014.
Fast-forward a couple of years and the team at HintHunt, located at The Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock, have expanded their offering, with four different escape scenarios to choose from. The original ‘JM’s Office’ puzzle is a 1950’s style murder mystery and perfect for first-time players, while the ‘Zen Room’ and two newest, high-tech Submarine Room challenges are a little more mentally straining and suitable for advanced or very confident players. Ideally, teams are 3-6 members strong, but if you’re coming with a bigger group, you could split up into two and race to see who makes it out first (if at all), as each room is duplicated and placed side by side for such occasions. There is also a fully stocked bar and conference centre for team-building events.
Having plunged ourselves into the Submarine Torpedo Room, we could understand why so many locals and visitors alike rated the activity as tops. The experience is completely immersive, the décor and props genuinely evoking the feeling of being miles under the ocean. But more than the surrounds and pressure of having to crack head-scratching codes before your time is up, the exhilaration stems from having to work as a single unit with your teammates – a fact stressed by the enigmatic hosts who watch you play from mounted cameras. Of course, while some take the game more seriously than others, a healthy dose of humour is needed as the success rate is a measly 20-50% depending on the scenario. That’s not to say that you’re completely without help. It is called HINT hunt for a reason, as the game masters move teams along with well-timed clues that appear on the screen just when one needs them most. We learned not to ignore these as they made all the difference.
With just minutes to spare, our Cape Grace Concierge Team secured the last clue, cracked the final code and made it out the room – the sound of victory music capping our rush and triumph!
As Cape Town’s HintHunt is just one of seven in the whole world, don’t miss out on the opportunity to book your spot and put your logical dexterity to the test. It’s the perfect winter activity for a family or group of (slightly competitive) friends.
Book Your HintHunt Escape the Room Game
- Prices start at R684 for teams of three (minimum) and go up to R1368 for teams of six.
- Bookings can easily be made online here.
- Location: A304, The Old Biscuit Mill, 375 Albert Rd, Woodstock, Cape Town, 7925, South Africa.
- Phone: +27 21 448 9864.
Grab a Bite at The Old Biscuit Mill
Mystery solving is hungry work, but the Old Biscuit Mill has you covered with some excellent dining options. Of course, Luke Dale Roberts’ Test Kitchen and Potluck Club are both located here, but for a more casual experience, we’d recommend the delightfully light and crispy pizzas, not to mention the superb wines, at Burrata.
Blog post by: Tarah Darge