Advice on Must see/do Capetown through Garden Route

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Feb 20th, 2004, 08:41 AM
  #1
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Advice on Must see/do Capetown through Garden Route

I was wondering if anyone can advise me on what are the absolute must sees/dos for Capetown and the Garden Route. This is our first trip to SA so we need as much help as we can get. I am traveling with my husband and two children (ages 21 and 23). Our budget is mid range to low given the 4 of us. Here is what we have so far:
4 nights Capetown
2 nights Fransschhoek
2 nights Hermanus (booked white shark diving with White Shark Project)
3 nights Kynsna
2 nights Addo elephant park (self catering)
Then off to Sandton for 2 nights then Gomo Gomo (2 nights) and Nottens bush camp (3 nights).
Any thoughts? Comments? Thanks very much.
Alisonv is offline  
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Feb 20th, 2004, 09:38 AM
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When I read the age of your children, I was going to recommend shark diving, but I see that you have already signed up for that. Its absolutely great, and I'd suggest that you buy before you leave one or two inexpensive underwater cameras. Other things that are interesting -- Cape Town (climb table mountain, or at least tram to top, and definitely visit Robben Island, where Mandela and others were imprisoned) and try to visit Soweto when in Johannesburg.
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Feb 20th, 2004, 10:31 AM
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While you're doing the Garden Route (Knysna, etc.), a nice side trip would be Oudtshoorn (Cango Caves and ostrich farms).
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Feb 20th, 2004, 10:37 AM
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My sister, who is going to CT on Wednesday, has signed up to abseil down Table Mountain, after taking the cable car up it!!
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Feb 20th, 2004, 10:40 AM
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By the way, Alisonv, I see from your previous posts that you'll be going in May 2004. Just thought this might be a pertinent piece of information for people to know. It might help them to tailor their advice.
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Feb 20th, 2004, 10:47 AM
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Thanks, Judy. You are absolutely right, I should have included my dates. We are going to be there from may 7 to May 29. I have jotted down the Cango Caves and the Ostrich Farm. I saw them on some of the tourism sites but wasn't sure we were close enough.
Thanks Thit_Cho for the advice on shark diving. I will definitely buy those cameras. I am glad to hear that it is worthwhile. I will also plan a Soweto excursion.
Kavey, thanks for abseiling info. I had never heard of it so I checked out some web sites. we will be looking into that for sure.
Any advice on ballooning? It is super expensive. Is it worth it?
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Feb 20th, 2004, 12:29 PM
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>>>>>have jotted down the Cango Caves and the Ostrich Farm. I saw them on some of the tourism sites but wasn't sure we were close enough.<<<<<

Alison, I normally don't like one-night stops on vacation. Oudtshoorn, however, deserves a night, in my opinion. Aside from the Cango Caves and ostrich farms, which I consider to be worth visiting, the change of scenery en route from the coast to Oudtshoorn is interesting.

If you want to follow up on this suggestion, you could "steal" a night from Knysna and devote it to Oudtshoorn instead. There's a recent thread in which Kavey compared B&B establishments in Oudtshoorn, in case you're interested.
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Feb 20th, 2004, 03:32 PM
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Hi Alison,

Your present tour plans are:

4 nights Capetown
2 nights Fransschhoek
2 nights Hermanus (booked white shark diving with White Shark Project)
3 nights Kynsna
2 nights Addo elephant park (self catering)

While in Cape Town I would suggest that you don't miss out on the following:

A trip down to Cape Point taking in the penguin colony, a walk in Kalk Bay. and Kalk bay harbour. Here's a great tip ; While on the Cape of Good Hope Nature reserve take the turn off to Buffalo Bay or Bordjiesrif. Definitely worth the short ride. Try and make it to this beach area by lunch time and have a light picnic lunch at the sea. Great experience.

On returning from Cape Point travel via Scarborough an Kommetjie. Wonderful coastline. Also cross over Chapmans Peak which is now once again in operation. Fabulous drive

Other things to do in Cape Town.

Obviously ascend Table Mountain. Try and do this at sunset

Visit Robben Island

Visit the aquarium

Visit Kirstenbosch gardens

Walk through the Company Gardens

Dinner picnic on Signal Hill while watching a sunset

Here's a great hidden secret tip. Visit the daily shooting of the Noon Gun on the Lions Battery at midday.

Take a walk through Bo-Kaap

Don't miss the Africa Café for Dinner and after your meal visit Mama Africa so as to listen to the percussion band at the venue.

Spend an hour one evening at the Drum Café. Unique experience

The Cultural History museum is an interesting venue to visit. The District 6 Museum is also very interesting

Spend some time in the Waterfront but don't overdo it as it is nothing other than a shopping mall. If however you visit the Waterfront on a Sunday this will be well worth the visit as there is always great entertainment and a wonderful vibe in the area.

Visit the Pan African market in Long Street. Interesting experience

Stop in at Zoerienas for a typical Cape Malay lunch in a very local setting. You had better look up the address when you are in Cape Town as many don't even know about Zoerienas

Visit the Mount Nelson Hotel for high tea. 14h30-17h30

I reckon that the above should keep you going in Cape Town.

Franschhoek
-----------
Amongst others don't miss out on the following in Franschhoek

A visit to Haute Cabriere Wine farm. If you are in Franschhoek on a Saturday leave this visit for the 11H00 visit on this day when the most wonderful character who is passionate about his wine viz the winemaker on the farm, Achim von Arnim, will take you around himself. Amazing tour where a sword will start having you think that it has many more uses than you ever knew about.

Fabulous dinner at Klein Olifantshoek http://www.kleinoliphantshoek.com/default.htm Booking essential

Visit the Huguenot Chocolate factory

Visit the "Old Corkscrew" antique shop and enjoy one of the BIGGEST hidden secrets on the Cape Winelands. (Find out about this secret yourself.


Hermanus
--------
You seem to have this town under control with the shark dive day.


Knysna
------
Firstly I would travel from Hermanus to Oudtshoorn spend a night in the town at the expense of one of your nights in Hermanus. It is my own opinion that the Cango Caves and an ostrich farm visit is very commercial however with that said I advise you to travel to Oudtshoorn for one reason and that is the AWESOME Swartberg Mountains. Stay at Rooderandt Guesthouse (fantastic venue) and have dinner at Jemimas restaurant in the town. You will never forget this restaurant as it is so good.

http://www.showcook.co.za/jemimas.htm

http://www.showcook.co.za/new_horizons.htm

http://oudtshoorn.com/rooderandt/

Now that I have upset the apple cart slightly let me tell you about the Swartberg Mountains. It is WITHOUT A SHADOW OF DOUBT one of the most underrated tour events in South Africa and in my opinion should be an ABSOLUTE MUST on anyone's journey if they are crossing through the Garden Route or Karroo regions. It is a most exhilarating ride. You are unlikely to ever see a mountain pass like this in your life again. The iconoclastic rock formations are unique and the colors of the mountain simply have to be seen to be believed. When you travel up a mountain that is 1500 Metres high on a single lane gravel road that was built by the master builder Thomas Baines you will initially get feelings similar to those of my visitors who have travelled up the Swarberge with me of "this is insane" yet once they have ascended and descended the mountain they all come out saying "WOW" that was a most amazing ride! I would suggest that you start early 08h00 as you need a full day to ascend the Swartberge from the Oudtshoorn side so as to leave you sufficient time to get back to Knysna that evening. Spend a while in Prince Albert (go look at the golf course ? UNIQUE) and return to Oudtshoorn via Meiringspoort which is in its own right an amazing 12 km canyon through the Swartberge via Meiringspoort which is in its own right an amazing 12 km canyon through the Swartberge and eventually travel on to Knysna

Knysna
-------
Visit the village of Belvedere

Visit "The Heads"

Go to the hidden NSRI aquarium near to the Paquita Restaurant on the edge of the lagoon. You will have to ask locals where this hidden aquarium is as they will be the only ones who will be able to tell you about it. (Otherwise phone me on my cell and I will tell you how to get there)

Enjoy a picnic at Jubilee Creek (ask your hosts at your place of stay about this venue)

Take a boat cruise across the lagoon.

Enjoy an evening of dinner at La Loerie

Get up early (06h15). And visit Brenton on Sea's beach. This is an unobstructed 6 km (3.5 Mile) stretch of beach that is amazing to walk on in the early morning. Fantastic to walk on before breakfast. Ask you hosts at your place of stay for help in this regard

Visit The Wilderness and find the Map of Africa (incredible)

Visit Scarab in Sedgefield and see how paper gets made from Elephant Dung (I kid you not)

When travelling down to Addo DO NOT take the National Road. Drive on the old National Road through Natures valley and the Bloukrans valley. Amazing ride in a real jungle setting. When you get to the Stormsriver Village turnoff go to this little outpost and do the Treetop Canopy Ride (AMAZING) http://www.treetoptour.com

Addo
----

Book an Eyethu guide from the office at Addo. http://www.addoelephantpark.com/ This is a fabulous upliftment project where local young people have been taken out of the nearby township and trained to be wonderful ranger guides. You pick up your Eyethu guide and he stays with you for 2 hours in your car while you travel across Addo. These guides are fantastic as they tell you all about the terrain and also how they were trained etc. All in all a fascinating experience all for the sum of R100 ($15) + I would say a tip of R50 ($8) Amazing value and great fun.

Two days in Addo is quite a lot so I would spend one of my afternoon/evenings on the Schotia tooth and claw game drive. Fabulous experience. www.schotia.com

Alison please note that I have not included tips about the events that we as a Fodors group will be doing on 8 May such as a township vsist, wine farm or Moyo restaurant. Btw I have a solution to our car seating problem and will write to you Kavey and Dianne soon so as to show you the solution.

I reckon the above should keep you pretty occupied planning wise for the next day or two. Lots of what you have just read will NOT be found in guide books as they are some of the very many hidden secrets that I have personaly discovered while touring the Cape Town and Garden Route regions.

Enjoy your planning.

Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa

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Feb 21st, 2004, 05:56 AM
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Selwyn
That's a great list and I've learned a few new ideas from you such as the trainee guides for Addo - should these be booked in advance for a May visit?
Can't wait for our 8th May date, look forward to your email.
Kavey
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Feb 21st, 2004, 07:34 AM
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Kavey,

You can book an Eyethu guide about 2 days in advance.

Hope this helps.

Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa

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Feb 21st, 2004, 10:51 AM
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Thanks for this great information, Selwyn. I printed it our for our upcoming Western Cape tour in April.
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Feb 21st, 2004, 05:35 PM
  #12
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What a terrific list! There are so many ideas here. I will definiltely look into these. I will book the Eyethu guide before we go. There is nothing like a local to show you around.
So much you mention is not in the guide books. Thanks!
I will watch my emails for your message.
Alison
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Feb 23rd, 2004, 01:03 AM
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Hi there Alisony.

Have a look at the webapge: www.aboutcapetown.com
It gived you a nice idea of what to do and see in Cape Town and environment. It gives you also some price indication.
Enjoy Cape Town and surroundings!

Regards
Stern
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Feb 25th, 2004, 01:18 PM
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Hi, Stern
Thanks very much. I looked up your suggested link and found it most useful. You are right. It is nice to get an idea about prices. Good descriptions too. I have book marked it for future reference.
Alison
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