A couple questions about the Western Cape...

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Jan 31st, 2005, 08:25 AM
  #1
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A couple questions about the Western Cape...

1. Am I sacrificing anything by staying during the week, for example arriving on a Monday and departing on a Friday?

Will certain restaurants and attractions be closed during the week and only open on the weekends?

2. In Hermanus, is there also the opporunity to view the whales by Zodiac boat, or is it limited to land based whale watching?

Hermanus would be a must on my list if I could get up close in a Zodiac (small inflatable rubber boat), but I am not so sure if it would be so great if I had to stand side by side one hundred other tourists.

Thanks.
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Jan 31st, 2005, 09:36 AM
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Roccco, I've been to Hermanus several times, but have never gone out in a boat for the purposes of whale watching (although such boats are available, of course).

My whale sightings have varied enormously, all the way from the whales appearing as tiny specks in the distance to whales that were frolicking 50 feet from me.

Hermanus has a lovely, long cliff path, which is a nice place to walk in its own right, but it also affords views of whales when one is fortunate.

As luck would have it, some of the whales' favourite spots, where they sometimes can be seen 50 - 150 feet away, are in the "downtown" section of Hermanus. I'm thinking of the oceanfront that runs more or less from the Old Harbour to the New Harbour.

The Marine Hotel is well situated to take advantage of this phenomenon.

The catch is that whales, being wild animals, breach close to land when THEY feel like it.

The Fernkloof Nature Reserve, on the hillside behind Hermanus, is a very fine example of fynbos vegetation.

It's a pleasant town to visit with or without whales.

After many visits to Cape Town, I'm not aware of too many places that close during the week. Possibly there are some restaurants that close on Monday nights, as is the custom in many other cities.

The Greenpoint Market, which I have never seen, but have heard about here at Fodors, apparently only operates on a Sunday.

All in all, I do not see any downsides to visiting CT during the week. If anything, my experience in the SW Cape has been similar to that in the Canadian Rockies, namely, that week days are good times to visit spots that locals frequent during their leisure time on weekends.
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Jan 31st, 2005, 09:50 AM
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Hi Rocco,

I visited Cape Town and the Winelands in August 2004, so I can only speak for those areas.

Arriving during the week should be fine -- in fact, it's much preferable to arriving on a weekend. A lot of places (museums, exhibits, restaurants) are closed on weekends rather than weekdays, so you should be fine.

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Jan 31st, 2005, 12:04 PM
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Most restaurants have one night closed so if there are any that are integral to your holiday plans it might be worth checking in advance...

Also check things like opening days and times for any attractions you want to visit - I don't recall if the Treetops canopy tour is closed one day of the week for example.
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Feb 1st, 2005, 02:04 AM
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The only problem I ever experienced was that the wine estates were closed on a SUNDAY.
christophe is offline  
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Feb 1st, 2005, 06:03 AM
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Thanks for the help. I think that I better see the wildlife of Zambia and Zimbabwe while it is still around.

To paraphrase another Fodorite as stated in a different thread, Cape Town will always be there, but, unfortunately, the wildlife may not be.

Therefore, I will probably go with 16 nights safari in Zambia and Zimbabwe, with an obligatory night in Victoria Falls at the Victoria Falls Hotel, and ending with two nights of luxury at the Westcliff Hotel in Johannesburg. It's not like Cape Town will be very pleasant, weather-wise, in September, anyway.

Cape Town is a great city, but the wildlife in Zambia and Zimbabwe are in much greater need right now.
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