Sout Africa - Cape Town

(29 Posts)
ruby1234 Sun 22-Dec-13 16:05:27

MY DS is in the military and has been picked to go on a cricket tour to Cape Town next year. We are hoping to go and be able to watch him play, together with seeing some of the local area while we are there.
Don't know much about SA at all - we are planning to go for 2 weeks or so, like nice hotels etc.

Any ideas welcome!

bakingtins Sun 22-Dec-13 16:21:17

It's fab. We stayed in guest houses, picked fairly randomly out of a guidebook, but they were all nice. You want to hire a car.
A drive down to Cape of Good Hope is a must, stopping off to see the penguins at Boulders Beach. Also allow a day trip to Robben Island, a day in Kirstenbosch botanic gardens and Table Mountain. We drove the garden route to Addo safari park (you need a few days to do it at a leisurely pace) and particularly loved Plettenburg Bay. You also want a couple of days to visit the wine lands. There's a guy who does meercat safaris (try googling meercat man cape town) which was amazing.
It's a fab holiday wistfully recalling last decent holiday before children

ruby1234 Sun 22-Dec-13 16:23:38

Oh, thank you! Sounds to be lots of things we would like.

Probably a soppy question, but did you feel safe driving around yourself?

LifeTooShort Sun 22-Dec-13 16:25:14

Its amazing. Agree with everything bakingtins has said and don't forget fabulous beaches and great shopping / restaurants at the Waterfront.

It might also be worth looking into renting a flat or villa. We rented an amazing house in Camps Bay which is one of the places to be. Mmmmm.....dreaming about it now.

chestnut100 Sun 22-Dec-13 16:30:15

Cape town is one of my favourite cities. May I suggest going diving with great white sharks? One if the few places in the world you can do it, and it is an utterly amazing experience! Not sure exactly when you are travelling but check out when the whale season is at nearby hermanus too.

I second camps bay. Absolutely gorgeous with some lovely beach front restaurants and bars.

You have to fit a safari in. We took a short flight to port Elizabeth and went to shamwari private reserve. In not exaggerating to say it was one if the highlights of my entire life to date!

bakingtins Sun 22-Dec-13 16:34:13

yes, perfectly safe. We did always have a chat with B&B owners about if there were no go areas etc but it was fine. The only time I was slightly uneasy was on a tour of the township areas (there's a regeneration organisation that does tours and explains the history of apartheid) and there was some sort of demo happening, but we just changed route to avoid it.

bakingtins Sun 22-Dec-13 16:37:00

Meercat tours were with meerkat magic in ooutshorn.

bakingtins Sun 22-Dec-13 16:43:42

Also, really recommend De Hoop National Park. You drive quite a long way off the main garden route and can stay in a little cluster cabins on stilts in the wilderness. The park is pretty much deserted and the dunes are a.maze.ing.

MissusMck Sun 22-Dec-13 16:47:25

If you do want to stay in a hotel, consider the "Foreshore" area of the city - somewhere like the Cullinan hotel which is in the costs around GBP150 per night with very good facilities / concierge. The area is very close walking distance on pedestrian route to the Waterfront which has dozens of restaurants / shops / tourist boat charters / helicopter tours etc.
You might want to spend time in different parts of CT area. For eg, about 3 hours away just outside Swellendam you'll find the most amazing getaway called Frog Mountain. Bliss.
what time of year will you be coming? Kids ages? There is so much to do here

ruby1234 Sun 22-Dec-13 16:53:09

Wow! Thanks everyone for the great ideas and tips. Do please keep them coming!

We'll be going early March, no kids (well, apart from army DS22).

MissusMck Sun 22-Dec-13 17:31:41

Early March will still be quite hot but also windy making the beaches a bit miserable on certain days. Bakoven (near Camps Bay) is tiny and sheltered although getting parking nearby is a pain. Boulders beach is also sheltered but further out (at least an hour drive from the city centre) but on the upside you can swim with penguins grin Being sheltered, both are fairly shark safe too but make sure you know the flag status at beaches http://sharkspotters.org.za/

Table Mountain will close due to high winds, so don't leave it til your last day

Leisurely weekend brunch at The Old Biscuit Mill
Fancy dinner and dancing at Pigalle or yum calamari and chips from the takeaway at Hout Bay harbour

District Six Museum and Robben Island.

Cango Caves are beautiful and you can visit the ostrich farms (and ride one if you're brave enough). They're near the town of Oudtshoorn around 5 hours from CT

Fluffy40 Sun 22-Dec-13 17:36:10

It's a lovely place . I was only 10 when I visited. Still remember the cango caves

Alwayscheerful Sun 22-Dec-13 17:39:31

Marking place.

Creamycoolerwithcream Sun 22-Dec-13 17:47:29

Omg Cape Town is just so beautiful. We stayed at the Hotel Protea President in Bantry Bay which close to Camps Bay 3 years ago. It was a brilliant base for exploring the area. We visited cape of good hope, stellanbosch, Simons town, boulders beach to see the penguins, the V and A waterfront about times, cape town castle and planetarium, kirtensbosch botanical garden, cable car up the mountain, robben island, spiers cheetha outreach centre and winery, camps bay, 2 oceans aquarium and an amazing drive along Chapmans peak. There is so much to do and see, the people, food, scenery and climate were all amazing. Definetely my best holiday ever. Have a great trip.

Creamycoolerwithcream Sun 22-Dec-13 17:49:44

I went Feb half term and the weather was perfect for sightseeing and relaxing. Probably about 23 to 28 degrees. Do get yourself up Tabke mountain the first Sunny day you get.

smartiepantsgirl Sun 22-Dec-13 19:01:16

So jealous. Love Cape Town

Echo the other suggestions...take a picnic to the top of table mountain and watch the sunset, drive down Chapmans Peak Drive to Cape Point, Robben Island, drink wine and eat amazing seafood on the Waterfront. We stayed in The Winchester Mansions - well worth a look. Have fun!

HRHwheezing Sun 22-Dec-13 19:10:19

I'm very jealous of you all. I could have gone a few years ago when my husband had free flights with BA but we went to New York instead.
I thought SA showed itself to be wonderful during the week of mourning for Mandela.

I was worried about the safety aspect. Anyone flew internally in SA?

smartiepantsgirl Sun 22-Dec-13 21:00:56

We flew between CT and Port Elizabeth, and PE to J'burg. No issues on any flights. It was a few years ago but after 9/11 and the security was a lot more lax than international flights (less checks, cockpit door open!) but I guess you could say that about a lot of internal flights around the world. The only place I felt less safe was J'burg. No issues as such but it felt different. Only stopped over in a hotel overnight between flights but there were def signs that it was a troubled place - the cabs from the airport for example put your luggage in detachable traitors behind the car in case the get car jacked and so can release the bags without getting out if the car.

Saying that though, it's a beautiful country, don't be put off. Stay safe, take advice and be sensible, just like you would in any big city.

Personally, two weeks is just too short a time to be considering flying around SA.

I would really try to spend as little time as possible in Jhb.There are so many fab places in and around Cape Town I don't see much reason to travel too far.

I would ensure I had good travel insurance, only drink bottled water and just have your wits about you. It is Africa and things are different.

Just have fun ...

Creamycoolerwithcream Sun 22-Dec-13 21:29:47

I so agree with that. We had nine days in Cape Town and there was so much to in and up to about an hours drive away. If you had longer time you could spend some time driving along the Garden route. I felt safe but did stick to touristy places.

firstpost Sun 22-Dec-13 21:48:59

It's gorgeous smile recommend albertinia for a safari (short drive from ct) and Hermanus oceans eleven guesthouse .. Best holiday ever. Do wine tasting and boulders beach for sure. Camps bay and bantry bay are great but Clifton is the better beach, especially Clifton 3rd beach.

Jealous !! envy

broadsheetbabe Mon 23-Dec-13 19:12:40

I'm loving this thread! We booked our flights months ago as soon as they were released, and now it's finally coming around and we are just weeks away from our February holiday.

We've never been to South Africa before but, after reading this thread full of positive comments, I'm getting excited smile

Until now, whenever I mention where we're going to friends and family, the first reaction is a funny look followed by a comment about keeping ourselves safe. I was starting to get worried about all the negativity.

We're flying to Cape Town and, after three days staying in Simons Town, hitting the road. Our route seems to follow most of the places mentioned on this thread - Oudtshoorn, Knysna, Addo, Plett, Albertina (Garden Route Game Lodge) and Hermanus.

Thanks for such positive comments about SA. Now I can't wait smile

[Envy]

That's all.

Emoticon fail. I'm too jealous to type properly.

Salbertina Mon 06-Jan-14 13:09:39

Bottled water?!! Lived here for years and yet to die from the clean running water, perfectly drinkable!
cT beaches lovely but COLD water unlike Plett, worth bearing in mind unless you're particularly hardy.

blueberrycupcake Mon 06-Jan-14 13:21:12

I love Cape Town. One of the best places I've ever visited.
I stayed in an apartment at Camps Bay. There are lots of lovely restaurants and cafés along the Camps Bay waterfront.
I'd recommend hiring a car. We drove to the cape of good hope and also to the vineyards (Franchook). We also went on a safari for a couple of days in the Aquila game reserve and visited the vineyards on our way back.

The water is better in SA than England!

Kalk Bay for the Harbour Tavern - fresh fish, amazing sea views, as in glass walls overhanging rocks with seals. Saw whales breach last time!

MillyMollyMama Mon 06-Jan-14 15:59:39

I agree there is so much to see and do within about 1-2 hours drive of Capetown. Chapmans Peak is a must as well as the beach towns such as Camps Bay. Love Stellenbosch and Franschoek in the winelands which are only about 45 minutes drive from Cape Town. Lots of wine estates open for tasting and some have restaurants. Particularly recommend Tokara as a great wine estate and lunch venue plus Constantia in the Cape region. Many have web sites. We stayed at Four Rosmead in Cape Town (and another one but I forget the name right now) but would recommend you look at the Greenwood Guide to South Africa books for recommended guesthouses, or Trip Advisor. So many are absolutely wonderful places to stay. Knysna on the Garden Route is extremely attractive as is the Klein Karoo and the Swartberg Pass/Prince Albert area.

Always know exactly where you are going in South Africa and do not go into townships or shanty towns. Do not ask random people where to go. Get directions and advice from the guest house owner. This is the big advantage of a guest house over a hotel I think. They are smaller, personal and usually lovely.

Game reserves in the Cape or Garden route are private reserves and not the same as Kruger. Quite a lot are converted farms with animals reintroduced. However, viewing animals is good but not completely natural. Usually malaria free though. I prefer Kruger or Sabi Sands but I recommend you do not try and do too much in one visit as the distances are huge. Have a great trip.

Mabelandrose Thu 16-Jan-14 20:33:22

Hire a sat nav if you are driving around in a hire car. The roads can be very scary and as others have said, you don't want to be pulling over for directions or to get a map out.

Enjoy. I love SA

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