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Flights to Cape town; best flights & top tips please

(17 Posts)
Chinwag Fri 03-Jan-14 14:48:58

We are wanting to fly to Cape town next Christmas to see friends (with 2 DD's in their teens). At the the moment, the flights don't seem to be released. But can you recommend a good flights company (But not hugely expensive)? Probably from Manchester. Any tips about booking?
Also, any top tips for Cape town? How to keep safe, where to visit, places to stay?

Creamycoolerwithcream Fri 03-Jan-14 15:01:56

I flew with Virgin but that was from Heathrow and found the flight very good. Stayed in Bantry Bay which is quite close to Camos Bay a d that made an excellent base for exploring Cape Town. Flights are normally released 11 months before flying. Cape Town is absolutely amazingly beautiful. I went with DH and DS's, we visited Table Top mountain, V&A Waterfront, stellanbosch, spires cheetah outreach centre and winery, Simons town and then boulders beach to see the penguins, cape of good hope, cape town planetarium, castle, botanical garden, Camps bay and had an amazing drive along Chapmans peak. Regarding safety we just stuck to things in the guide book and ate out at either Camps Bay or V&A Waterfront in the evenings. Although the flights are quite expensive it is very good value when you get there. Have an amazing trip.

higherhill Fri 03-Jan-14 23:32:48

We flew klm from man to cape town via Amsterdam in oct 2012 which we booked with trailfinders in the march of that year. We hired a car and did all the sights mentioned above also went to Hermanus for the whale watching. We did self catering in a small apartment in LLandudno which is a suburb in Capetown with gorgeous beach, which we booked through holiday lettings uk. We have 2 young boys and felt safe at all times, although didn't go anywhere that was off the beaten track. Eating out very cheap, petrol cheap, fantastic scenery, it's such a shame that it seems to get such bad press.

MillyMollyMama Sat 04-Jan-14 00:31:20

I think you have to go from Heathrow if you want to go direct. We have used BA as well as South African Airways. BA is better. Car hire is just outside the terminal building and driving is easy. The golden rule is do not go anywhere that is a township area, stay on the tourist trail and never leave luggage or belongings in your car. Always stay in a well lit area and be wary of being approached at traffic lights when driving, for example, and keep your windows closed. Try and avoid bling! Do not take anything worth stealing and keep belongings close to you, not in a back pack. Don't ask random strangers for directions. Also, tourists are generally not targets but South Africans fear crime like no other nation on earth. Everyone has a story to tell and advice to give!
We stayed at 4 Rosmead in Cape Town which is a guesthouse. Fantastic. One of the best places we have ever stayed in. Extremely helpful staff. We did all the Cape Town trips as mentioned by Creamy but also recommend the Kirstenbosch Gardens and Robben Island where Mandella was imprisoned. Stellenbosch and Franschoek are great for food and wine with wonderful wine estates or guesthouses or restaurants with rooms to stay in. We saw lots of whales in Hermanus and again stayed in a guest house right on the coast with whales just below us. We also went along the Garden Route where Knysna is lovely. We stayed at Kanon Cop guest house when there. The quality of guest houses is stunning in SA and you get fabulous attention to detail from the owners who go out of their way to be helpful. I don't think I would stay on the Waterfront area in Cape Town as, frankly, you could be at any waterfront development.

Chinwag Sat 04-Jan-14 11:23:40

Thank you. It sounds amazing. MMM, was the guest house expensive? I would LOVE to see whales!!!!

Creamycoolerwithcream Sat 04-Jan-14 12:03:21

Don't rule out looking at packages. We booked a Virgin package and it only worked out £250 cheaper than booking the flights by themselves and included 8 nights in an ocean facing family suite with an amazing breakfast each morning and transfers. We then hired a car for a week with car hire 3000 and had it delivered to the hotel.

ranoutofnames Sat 04-Jan-14 21:07:21

Sorry to hijack the thread. I'd LOVE to go to South Africa but DH is very wary of going. We have a young DS too. Can you say anything that will help me convince him to go? Also, is July a good time to go? (We would like to see whales but do other stuff too, like a few days on safari) Thanks

lekkerslaap Sat 04-Jan-14 21:31:28

Like the others say, stick to the tourist trails. Cape Town, Stellenbosch, the Garden Route, Hermanus, Wilderness and Knysna are all amazing. If you're into the great outdoors there are some amazing places to go.

If you're sensible you'll be fine. Steer clear of the informal settlements. You can't miss them, they are shanty towns and virtually every town has one on the outskirts. Also, do not use the white minibuses (or black taxis) as although they look okay it's highly likely that the vehicle is uninsured and not roadworthy.

Joburg is far more troubled than Cape Town. I really don't think you'll have any problems.

lekkerslaap Sat 04-Jan-14 21:35:04

ranoutofnames, July is winter in SA. Cape Town is fairly mild all year round but if you venture further afield the weather is more extreme. It can get very hot and very cold! A lot of South Africans don't have central heating either and ceramic tiled floors so the low temperature feels even lower!

Spring in September is a nice time to go. Lots of flowers at that time of year too...

MillyMollyMama Sun 05-Jan-14 19:10:49

The price at many guest houses goes down from 1 May but weather is still good in Cape Town but not necessarily beach weather. I do agree that tours can be good but we quite like putting an itinerary together to suit us. We went 2 years ago so cannot quote up to date prices but all the places I mentioned have web sites and you can book direct. Kanon Kop was a lot more expensive but was my husband's choice! There are many places in Hermanus and whale watching is guaranteed in September/October. It is better to look from the shore rather than from a boat. The whales are close and have calves too. Look at the Hermanus website for properties along the cliff path. Also look for the Greenwood Guide to South Africa, Namibia hand-picked accommodation book. It is FULL of great places to stay. I will be honest and say the places we stayed were not the cheapest but you can stay at lovely places for under £100 a night per room if you choose wisely. The places that ooze wealth and charm will cost more! However, the Pound is really good value against the Rand at the moment so a great time to go.

When you drive from Cape Town airport into the city, it is quite clear where you should not go. It is to South Africa's shame that this type of shanty town is still there! But it is and it is not a tourist destination. Keep your eyes open and keep to the well kept areas with plenty of people about. Having said that the wilderness of the Swartberg pass is something else. I have never met anyone who did not enjoy South Africa and it is good value when you get there.

Salbertina Mon 06-Jan-14 13:04:56

Whales winter/spring only so roughly Aug- Nov.

iwantavuvezela Mon 06-Jan-14 13:12:43

I have always found flight centre really good for looking at ticket prices to sOUTH aFRICA. IF you do find something cheaper online they will usually match it.

You can fly via a european city as well to make it cheaper (usually madrid; amsterdam etc).
I have also used Kenyan airways, however the stop over on the way back is a bit long and at a strange time, but these flights usually save you a couple of hundred pounds.

Kalk bay is one of my favourtie spots ... you can drive there or catch the train, lovely to spend a day looking at some old vintage shops; good book shops and some great clothes shops; olympia cafe for their famous breakfast, one of the seaside restuarants (waves crashing up to the glass windows) for lunch ...... perfect!

If you want to do a bush trip, then you will probably leave from JHB to go to the Kruger National Park, you can do it much cheaper by booking in to the camp sites which are government run. Three to four days in teh Kruger would be awesome.

Check the SA school calendar as well, as they have different school times and good to be aware of this.

There are lots of local airlines in southafrica (mango, kulula, one time,0 and you can book internal flights on tehse which are quite cheap.

There is so much happening in Cape Town, lots of delicious food, markets, music and amazing sites .....

Yamyoid Mon 06-Jan-14 13:14:25

Flying on Christmas Day cuts the price a lot.
We went with BA who were fine.
The night flight was good as ds slept most of the time but I didn't so was quite tired the next day.
Boulders Beach near Simons Town has penguins, which is well worth a visit. But check tides beforehand as there's no beach when the tide's in.
We've been several times and hired a car. Never encountered any trouble.
It's an amazing part of the world.

Kellogs1964 Mon 24-Feb-14 13:09:40

We have been there on many trips to S.Africa with our children at various stages and ages. Our favourite two places are Bettys Bay (1 hour from Cape Town on the beautiful Overberg Coastline) and Oudtshoorn. We stayed at in Bettys Bay. This is a lovely spacious family beach house. Its next door to the Harold Porter Botanical gardens, near to the beach and there's a lovely Lake, as well as the beach to swim at. I particularly enjoyed going to the freshwater lake with my babies and toddlers, as it has a gently sloping floor and a nice grassy bank to sit on. The restaurant at the Harold Porter serves breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea, so you hardly need to cook if you don't want to. Stunning mountain view from the restaurant & buggy friendly walks in the gardens and hikes up the mountain for all abilities. Red Stone Hills on the outskirts of Oudtshoorn is also a great place to stay - a family-friendly guest farm. Breakfast is served by the pool, so our toddlers had a lovely time splashing around and we had a leisurely breakfast. Now the kids are all a bit older and we have found that even with pre-teens both these places work really well for us. We have three active boys.

Kellogs1964 Mon 24-Feb-14 13:13:39

Lufthansa via Munich was the most affordable flight last Christmas and I think its well priced again this year.

aaronraz Sat 17-May-14 12:29:01

There are local airlines in southafrica mango and kulula etc. and you can book internal flights on these which are very cheap.

Me and my family have visited Cape Town last year and booked our trip with the following company

The whole of the trip was lovely and wonderful.

ruby1234 Wed 21-May-14 11:02:53

We went in March, flew Virgin Atlantic Manchester>Heathrow, then Heathrow>Cape Town - this combination was cheaper than just flying Heathrow>Cape Town.

We stayed at the Cascades on the Promenade - a lovely small boutique guesthouse, was wonderful, nothing too much trouble. Also stayed a few nights at the Winchester Mansions - was ok but a bit like a very posh old peoples home.

Had a half-day tour of the townships - really informative and not at all what I had imagined - very well worth the trip. Also a day touring the winelands, Stellenbosch, Franschoek etc, really good and lots of wine to taste (hic).

Did a safari day at the Aquilla safari, around 2 hours from Cape Town, really good, champagne breakfast on arrival, morning jeep tour where we saw elephants, zebra, rhino, lions etc, nice lunch, then an afternoon horseback safari which I enjoyed while my DH lounged by the pool.

The excursions were booked via Ed at he was really helpful.

We had a hire car and visited lots of nearby places, liked Camps Bay, Table Mountain, Kalk Bay, Chapmans Peak, Cape Point etc. All in easy driving distance.

One great tip we had was to purchase in advance a South African Rand prepaid credit card - got ours from Sainsbury's, you load it with , say, £1000, it is converted in SA Rand, then you can use it in SA without any currency fluctuations, can pay for things or draw cash out without any commission, we found it really helpful.

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