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Three weeks in South Africa - your best recommendations!(47 Posts)
We're planning to go to Cape Town in early January. DH and me, plus 6 other friends (3 couples). We're all 60+, so don't have to take into account the needs of children.
We're planning a week in an Airbnb to start with, and then have different plans - some of the couples are staying for 2 weeks and some for 3.
Never been before, so any suggestions are very, very much welcomed!
Do take the boat trip to Robben Island. Also do tour round the cape, go and see seals and penguins.
Botanic gardens are lovely.
Do visit winelands (Stellenbosch etc).
Table mountain could be good, we didn't get the opportunity as too much cloud.
Also, don't know if any of you are into cricket, but if so, see if you can get tickets to a match at Newlands. We went in 2000 on a cricket related tour, saw 3 one day matches at Newlands, it's a fab ground.
We spent 3 weeks last January - it was fab!
First week we took our time and drove along the coast / garden route almost along to Port Elizabeth then headed back via the mountain route to Franschoek where we had an AirBnB with pool just to unwind. Then we hit Cape Town for a week and loved all of the area south to the tip.
It was all completely scenic and the food and wine, people, service, everything was lovely. The only thing I didn’t like is that the centre of Capetown isn’t safe at night so I’m glad we hadn’t booked to stay right in the city.
Depending on what you like doing, there’s something for everyone.
PM me for more chat about it as I’d be happy to give some good pointers - not least to take an unlocked phone and buy a Sim at arrivals - I got 20Gb data for £21 with some calls which was enough for phoning ahead for accommodation, restaurants, etc. but invaluable for google maps and the security of making local calls and having a SA number for locals to call me (as opposed to my UK phone number) The other major difference is they have massive plug pins so you need completely different adapters (from Amazon - I took 6 for all of our chargers)
Also, would add that SA (in Cape Town anyway) has loads of fresh fish, meats, salads etc. So low carb eating will be easy.
Oh and don’t book Table Mountain til you get there (and check the forecast) in spite of what you read!
This will be amazing. Cape town is small but it's worth staying different places if you are there for so long. So maybe a week city centre/Atlantic side, week in winelands, week false bay side.
Previous suggestions good. To take further:
Sunday night concerts at kirstenbosch botanical gardens are a classic. Book a picnic and pick it up beforehand. Fabulous atmosphere, wine, food etc with great music. Sometimes big local bands, sometimes orchestra's etc. Quick Google will find options.
13 Apostles Spa is insanely expensive but amazing. The rooftop bar is also great. Treat yourselves to a treatment, some.time in spa and a drink (and dinner).
Hout bay is incredible. Do some quick googling because I can't remember which days but there are a couple of fantastic markets that are worth a visit. Plus you can't move without finding an amazing restaurant/pub with great sea food. Mariners wharf is my favourite.
You can also take a boat from.hout bay to see seals etc.
There's also a good market at kirstenbosch (outside gardens) on a Sunday.
If you want to hike table mountain get a guide. If you aren't local, it's better. If you don't want to, stick with well known "easy" routes like constantia nek. Climbing lions head late afternoon to watch the sunset is incredible. But I haven't done it in years and suspect a guide is essential.
The waterfront is popular for shopping and tourists but for more "normal" shopping try one of the suburban malls. Cavendish square in Claremont, or there are a loads the northern suburbs.
If you enjoy cricket, see if there are any games at Newlands. It's an incredible ground.
Kalk bay is great for lots of arty stuff and a more funky edge. Fancy amazing restaurants (do visit Harbourhouse) sit side by side with Kalky's which is basically a fish and chips shop but where the fish is caught by the owner manager and the variety of options and quality will blow your mind!
Not great with specifics but definitely spend time in the winelands. Stay at one of the farms (or more than one), where accommodation, food, scenery and wine will all be amazing.
If you want to try shark diving (cave), there are options slightly up cost.
Boulders Beach - penguin watching
Cable car ride up to the top of Table Mountain
Cape Point - popular for bird watching and great coastal views - capepoint.co.za/
Castle of Good Hope - oldest building in SA. Museum - castleofgoodhope.co.za/
Victoria & Alfred Waterfront - www.waterfront.co.za/
Constantia wine tours - theconstantiawinetour.co.za/
Greenmarket Square - nowadays it's a market for local goods. Used to be a slave market. Near to V&A waterfront.
District 6 Museum - explains history of apartheid.
Whale watching tour - www.whalewatchsa.com/
Safari - you can do a daily tour if you don't want to stay overnight - www.aquilasafari.com/
Gold restaurant - goldrestaurant.co.za/
Cape Town red bus tour - hop on, hop off as you please. www.citysightseeing.co.za/destinations/cape-town/categories/open-bus-tours-cpt
It will be busy in January but you'll love it. The weather will be good and I'm very jealous - I'd love to live there again. Enjoy your trip. Always use recognised/official taxis!!
Thank you all!
Yes, I forgot to say that we're arriving in early Jan so that we can go to the cricket. Although that will only be for one day I think.
And just to say thank you all so much - so many great suggestions!
Use the red hop on hop off bus to travel, it's really effective even as a bus! Camps bay is beautiful. Stop for cocktails at the one and only. Aquila game reserve is a must for the day. Spend a few days in wine country. Enjoy!
And yes to penguins! Most hotels will organise you a private driver for boulders beach, do cape point the same day! Also shark diving, we did an eco trip and was well worth it
Would echo all pp suggestions and add Franschoek to the list - wonderful vineyards, amazing food, horse riding over the hills - it's wonderful. We also enjoyed the Hout Bay Area just outside of Cape Town. The Garden Route is well trodden for a reason and is a good introduction to SA. Hermanus offers whale watching but I think Jan is out of season for that.
The Portfolio Collection has amazing bed and breakfast/hotel accommodation options.
I agree to the Portfolio Collection. In SA Guest Houses are best. We stayed at a central guest house and we were perfectly safe. We don’t go wandering off and we stick to the safe areas. Also you must have drinks at The Silo. Art gallery thrown in!
I would then do the Garden Route. Schools go back in SA on 20 January so be aware some of these places will be busy. Kynsna is beautiful and Plettenberg is great too.
The Winelands are a must and I would add in Kruger or Sabi Sands for wildlife viewing. A must see in my book. I would crack on with booking though!
central guest house in Cape Town!
Stellenbosch vineyards is lovely, nice deli where you have a basket and pick your own picnic lunch. City Lodge in Cape Town centre is a short taxi ride to the V&A, lots of nice restaurants in the V&A. Check out if there's any concerts at Table Mountain, I saw a fab S African band there and the atmosphere was brilliant. Robben island and the Cape for a picture is a must too! Enjoy!!
Zeitz Museum in Cape Town is spectacular (near the waterfront).
Garden route is obviously beautiful - but last time we went we visited the "other side" and stayed in the West Coast National Park. Absolutely beautiful
We stayed in Thorn Tree Cottage in Churchaveb (booker on Airbnb). It was (very remote despite only being less than 2 hours drive from CT, but very) gorgeous
Beware the penguins really smell
Franschoek is the best spot in the wine lands in my opinion, amazing food and wine of course.
Are you only staying in Cape Town or travelling elsewhere too?
I'd try to get an air B and B with a pool, the sea is freezing.
Gardens (in town) is lovely for a stroll.
The waterfront is good for shopping (whereas century city is a rather hellish shopping centre).
Botanical gardens a must as is robben island.
Lucky you! South Africa is an amazing country, so prepare for the holiday of a lifetime .
My tip : Take the first opportunity to go up Table Mountain in clear weather. You may not get another.
Also, you don’t need to be paranoid about security, but you do need to be sensible. SA is a developing country with high levels of deprivation, inequality and crime. Expensive watches, jewellery, handbags and smartphones should not be flaunted if you want to keep them...
Just wanted to say I've travelled a lot and Cape Town is easily one of my most favourite places. I most enjoyed a wine tour, Robben island and seeing the penguins on the beach.
It's just magical. Enjoy!
Such an amazing part of the world. Don't have anything to add on Cape Town, but Franshoeck (sp?!) is a must visit. So many amazing places to eat, and the wine train for visiting up to 7 vineyards in a day (hic!). Much better base for winelands than Stellenbosch IMO.
We also went to Sanbona reserve for 2 nights - an incredible place. We did 4 game drives and had a fabulous time. The drive there was stunning. Hermanus was great too. Lovely coastal walking.
Driving is very easy there, but stick to main routes/roads. Download Google maps before you go so you don't need to use data to navigate.
I am going for 2 weeks on the 26th of November! Staying in Cape Town so will keep an eye on these suggestions. 🇿🇦
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