Back from Western Cape

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Oct 18th, 2005, 02:35 AM
  #1
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Back from Western Cape

We have just enjoyed a wonderful holiday in and around Cape Town; our only complaint was that we needed twice as much time to see everything. The scenery on the West Coast, the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve, the Winelands and around Hermanus is just stunning and we found it painful to leave.

We started our trip in Cape Town, staying at O on Kloof in Bantry Bay for 5 nights. This is a new hotel, designed by Olaf Dambrowski who was also responsible for the original Olaf's. All I can say here is WOW.Take a look at a couple of photos on the following link to get an impression of this place.

http://www.kodakgallery.com/BrowsePh...1&sort_order=0

What the photos cannot show is the standard of service; nothing was too much trouble for the staff. They phoned the cable car station at Table Mountain a few times for us, to check if the car was running. One evening we fancied a takeaway so Pauline (one of the charming staff) ordered our choice for us, then laid a table and put out wine glasses for us. Imagine a hotel in London doing that!!
Our stay in Cape Town was frantic - there was so much we wanted to see. Although we "did" some of the must-do's (Robben Island, Township tour, Waterfront, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens)there was still a lot more exploring left in us when we left for the Wine Region.
Our base for the next 2 nights was the River Manor in Stellenbosch.This is a delightful pair of listed buildings, set on the banks of thr River Erste and about 5 minutes level walk to all the shops, bars and restaurants.
We can definitely recommend Die Wijnhuis, where we ate on both evenings. Food, wine and service was excellent, with a great atmosphere to the place.
Our initial ideas of the Wine Region were of gentle rolling green hills, similar to Kent or Sussex here in the UK; not so; the scenery is dramatic, with exhilarating drives between Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, over Hellshoogte and all around are the mountains. One of the highlights of our trip was driving around the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve - (a tiny bit like being on safari!) where we managed to spot bontebok, some lizards, baboon and....a very large Cape Cobra!
Our final stop was the Lavender Manor Guest Lodge at Hermanus. This is a delightful place, with a first floor honesty bar with french windows leading on to a balcony where you could see for miles in either direction.There was the old harbour on your right, with Gansbaii and much of Walker Bay to your left, behind us the mountains of the Fernkloof Nature Reserve. As I'm sure I've said before...stunning.
We ate breakfast both mornings facing a picture window, through which we could actually see two or three playing Southern Right Whales - it was awesome.
My wife and I intend to emigrate to South Africa in the next couple of years, and this trip has only served to make us more determined than ever to do just that.
However, in the meantime we have a slight change of plan. My wife (RuthieC) has been offered an assignment in India (near New Delhi)for about one year starting in January 2006. We will both be going out there in a couple of weeks to look at accommodation and to get a feel for the general area. Although we've been to India 4 times on holiday, living there will definitely be more taxing for us. Nevertheless, we are both very excited at the prospect and we're doing lots of research on the various websites devoted to expats.
If any of you Fodorites have any good advice, we'll be happy to hear it.
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Oct 18th, 2005, 05:32 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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WELCOME BACK PHIL AND RUTH!

Your trip really sounds wonderful, thanks for the report and pics!

And how exciting that you're planning to move to South Africa! We were certainly tempted by the wonderful properties on sale in the Cape Town region but we just felt that SA is too far from home, even with the direct flights. Our heart is still set on France though South Africa certainly gave us pause for thought.

Congratulations on Ruthie's job offer in India - have you been before? Will you in in Delhi itself or elsewhere?

I'll be visiting New Delhi in March/ April next year so, depending on where you are based, perhaps we can meet for a coffee...

Can't wait to hear more about that adventure!

In the meantime, again, welcome back!
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Oct 18th, 2005, 06:38 AM
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Kavey - Hi!

Yes, we've been to India 4 times on holiday, including Delhi, Agra and Jaipur.

Ruth's office is based in Gurgaon, which I understand is 32kms south west of Delhi.

I plan to post regular items on Fodors about living in India, so keep watching.
You never know, by March/April we may even know our way around Delhi, so the coffee house can be carefully chosen as the best!!
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Oct 18th, 2005, 06:59 AM
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I have family living in Gurgaon!!!!!

As this visit is primarily to attend the third festival of wildlife I won't be visiting Gurgaon itself - rather I'll suggest that any family members who want to meet up come and visit me in Delhi one evening...

Keep me updated on the plans and let me know if I can ask my family any questions for you in advance of your move (or after).
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Oct 23rd, 2005, 05:15 AM
  #5
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ttt
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