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Week in South Africa in febraury

(23 Posts)
1busybee Mon 31-Dec-18 17:20:31


Has anyone ever spent a week in South Africa in February? I want to go with my three kids ages 6,11 and 13. Want warmth, beach and stuff to do!!

OP’s posts: |
MissFritton65 Mon 31-Dec-18 21:42:54

Hi We are going on 20 January for 3 weeks for the second time. We adore it. I'm not an expert but have done loads of research and a Cape Town based travel agent. What would you like to know?

greendale17 Mon 31-Dec-18 21:44:00

I wouldn’t bother going for just 1 week

Stroller15 Mon 31-Dec-18 21:46:01

It's a long trip for only a week and Feb is hot as hell there so maybe not ideal? I'm from there. What would you like to know?

PenguinPandas Mon 31-Dec-18 22:00:42

Went to Cape Town for 2 weeks in March. Lots to do but do take care with safety, we stuck to escorted tours initially. We did Table Mountain, penguins on beach, Aquila safari to see big 5 etc then hired car to see wine route etc.

dapplegrey Mon 31-Dec-18 22:28:43

Please be careful op - it’s very dangerous.

1busybee Tue 01-Jan-19 11:32:34

Hmm maybe SA in February isn’t the right place and time. Wanted a sunny week away that would be warmer than the canaries and somewhere a bit different!!! Back to drawing board! Thanks everyone for help

OP’s posts: |
LoniceraJaponica Tue 01-Jan-19 11:34:56

Had some friends round last night who have spent a lot of time in South Africa (they travelled around a lot while they were there), and they were saying just how unsafe it is there.

What about Cape Verde?

Muddlingalongalone Tue 01-Jan-19 11:37:08

I can't help with the Feb element but I've just been to Cape Town for just a week & it was fabulous. You fly in and out overnight so maximise time on the ground.
I flew with Thomas cook from Gatwick because it was direct (and ba was too expensive) - not amazing but ok.
My only word of warning for you with Cape Town for beach is the beach is awesome but the sea is freezing! There are pools though.

kirinm Tue 01-Jan-19 19:19:27

We went to Cape Town for a week. Perfectly doable as I think it's pretty much in our time zone and is an overnight flight.

I'll be honest, Cape Town didn't feel as dangerous as we were expecting- it didn't feel dangerous at all but we were sensible. I love CT and would go back in a heartbeat.

BubblesBuddy Tue 01-Jan-19 20:40:33

If you stick to “tourist” areas it’s perfectly safe and, as it only has 2 hours time difference, it’s very doable for a week. Sleep on an over night flight both ways! Cape Town is your best bet and head to one of the beach enclaves. Plenty to choose from.

Regarding safety, don’t take bling, keep to tourist areas and keep your money close! Don’t go into the wrong areas at night. You will always get advice from South Africans about safety so take it!

Touring in a car is easy and safe so doing the garden route would be good. You can come home via Port Elizabeth. Personally though, I’d do the holiday at Easter and go for 2 weeks.

There are companies that specialise in family holidays (family adventures ) and I’d see what they have for Feb. Morocco, Jordan and Turkey spring to mind. They have more to the holiday than just a beach.

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 01-Jan-19 21:33:29

You will need to take the long version of your children’s birth certificates with you to South Africa, the abridged versions are not accepted. They will be checked at the airport.

As an alternative I would consider the Canary Islands. Cape Verde is very
much underdeveloped

PenguinPandas Tue 01-Jan-19 23:37:27

I think Cape Town is amazing and would recommend even for a week as long as you are very careful re safety. Safest way is probably escorted tours though once you know local safety guidelines car hire is pretty safe - don't flash cash etc (leave wedding ring at home), don't leave any valuables in car and make it obvious even boot is empty so take back shelf off, don't go out not in daylight etc but check when there.

In a week you could do tours to Boulders Bay to see penguins on the beach - this is magical, Table Mountain, and big 5 at Aquila - this is inbetween wild and safari park but no anti malarials required and can see animals very close up. If you want after this can hire a car.

Weather was beautiful in March. It's a holiday you will remember for a long time. If you are really concerned about safety and want somewhere different if the focus is beaches then maybe Carribean - we we've been to Martinique, St Lucia and Cuba, all felt safe though not a big Cuba fan. Check how much is to do for kids. Not sure how you get to Martinique from UK, have French DH so flew from Paris, the French govt. subsidise the flights a lot too (or at least they used to) so excellent value. Costa Rica is a match for SA in terms of wildlife and also has rainforest - loads of kids activities though more aimed at 10 plus so some 6 year old may not be allowed on. The beach was pretty empty but not the most beautiful beach as active volcanoes nearby so blackened sand. Think there are some good beaches though but wouldn't go there if you are planning on say half your time lying on a beach, its very much an active place.

BubblesBuddy Wed 02-Jan-19 15:02:12

The problem with the Caribbean or Central America for one week is the time difference. South Africa has the edge on recovery time! It’s just as safe as many other counties for tourists. Safety is more of an issue for the SA people, hence the strong opinions on it. It’s also a constant source of conversation in SA!

We have always hired a saloon car with a self contained boot. No problems and we use guarded car parks where available. Having stayed at Knysna and other towns on the garden route, they are laid back - in South African terms. Not much obvious security and it felt safe. Little evidence of broken glass on walls, armed response signs and other deterrents you see elsewhere. Just strong gates.

We stayed at a hotel in St Lucia in the Caribbean where a beach side room was broken into and guests assaulted to get their belongings and money. In broad daylight. There are such minded people about in nearly every country. You just pare down what you have with you. As a South African once said to us, “if they want your car, let them take it”. We have been told never to ask for directions, keep windows closed at traffic lights, park in lit and guarded areas and never, ever, stray into a township. We have been more adventurous and driven off the beaten track but in general Cape Town and the garden route are as safe as it gets and you don’t need organised trips. We have never done this and have always felt safe.

I would also recommend guest houses over hotels. They look after you very well and are incredibly helpful. They know where you should go, how to organise it and where is safe and where is less so!

PenguinPandas Wed 02-Jan-19 23:08:58

That's true about the time difference, we always go for 2 weeks and get up late so going back in time is better for us. SA just made me even later grin

DH's boss was from SA and told us about a friend who had been killed for their car so we were a nervous about hiring one. It was fine once we need following few basic rules. I loved the escorted tours there, they were cheap only about 10 of us and a lovely girl took us who told us all about her life in Johannesbury and Cape Town, which she said was much safer. I find always worth following FO advice on destinations which says SA has very high crime but attacks against tourists are low. Felt like somewhere you need to be very careful but not dangerous - when I was in Rio only staying in good hotels and escorted tours could hear people being shot and prostitute buying discussions. Wouldn't take kids there but would now older to SA.

1busybee Thu 03-Jan-19 08:58:10

Thanks everyone. I’ve now decided against SA and considering US but trying to stick to our time zones - ie getting up early bed early! We ll see.....maybe I’ll cancel my annual leave and use it another time!

OP’s posts: |
minipie Thu 03-Jan-19 09:03:58

Try Marrakech - easy flight and time zone and plenty to see

dapplegrey Thu 03-Jan-19 15:14:38

We have been told never to ask for directions, keep windows closed at traffic lights, park in lit and guarded areas and never, ever, stray into a township.

leave wedding ring at home), don't leave any valuables in car and make it obvious even boot is empty so take back shelf off, don't go out not in daylight etc

I’ve never been anywhere where I’ve been told to leave my wedding ring and to not go out at night. Doesn’t sound much fun to me.

FangTasticBeast Thu 03-Jan-19 15:19:39

I have family in Cape Town. It is very hot in Feb. I’ve never known anyone to leave their wedding rings at home or not to go out at night . Unless you are planning to wander through a township in the middle of the night it’s fine.

BubblesBuddy Fri 04-Jan-19 13:07:58

So my advice (he first para quoted) is spot on. I’ve always worn my wedding ring, gone out at night and haven’t wandered into a township! Honestly, it’s mostly common sense but going over the top is not necessary.

All South Africans are paranoid about safety! It’s just the way of life there.

isthismylifenow Thu 10-Jan-19 11:12:17

I am South African, don't live in CT unfortunately but just returned from being there for the last few weeks.

I think a week is not long enough to be honest. There is so much to do, and remember that distance is an issue so getting from one place to another can sometimes take a good few hours. As mentioned, the Garden Route from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town has to be up there on the most scenic routes ever, and so much do within the route. But you need a few days at least to do it I think, stopping over at different spots.

I am not married but when i was I never took off my rings, i go out quite regularly at night, and yes I have been in townships, but its not where I would go at night for a bit of a trip. In Cape Town we walked mostly as where were were based it quite close to a lot of places. You would need a car though if you wanted to visit the Waterfront, Table Mountain, and lets not forget the best bit, some wine farms. Up the West Coast is incredibly beautiful as well, think old style homes all brightly coloured with beach views in small towns. THen there is Hermanus where you can spot the whalesbut only after about June July time.

Feb is mid summer so yes its hot. But also its a good time as it is out of peak season here so cheaper and less busy. Schools are back now so you would be blending in to the normal way of life instead of busy holiday time, which CT can be a bit busy for as its an amazing place to go.

So although maybe this time you have decided against it OP, but i think one day perhaps you should reconsider.

Hope you have a great holiday where to you choose to go.

OKhitmewithit Thu 10-Jan-19 16:20:54

OP we are off to Miami (to see family) for a week in Feb. The weather will be warm, sea warm, pool warm, beaches amazing

The fine difference is fine going out, but a bit of a bugger coming back - you can’t help adjust a bit when there.

dryskinfeethorror Wed 23-Jan-19 21:02:31

We went for a week to Cape Town .
It was as others have said wonderful and no time difference.
We stayed at the Addison Victoria waterfront they provide transport but we walked out for dinner every evening no problems. Watched dolphins while we were eating breakfasts!,
We hired a car and went to all the usual tourist spots no problem
Also did an organised wine tour to stelkenbosch absolutely fantastic
The only scary things were the baboons and they were still wonderful to watch
I'd love to return fantastic place wonderful people, landscape, wildlife, history, food and wine.
Just go you won't regret it

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