Cape of Good Hope

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Mar 6th, 2006, 06:32 PM
  #1
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Cape of Good Hope

I have only two days in Cape Town and want to squeeze in as much as possible. My # 1 priority is the Cape. Is this a full day's trip or can it be done in less time? Also, would it be preferable to rent a car and self drive or are the commercial bus tours worthwhile?
Any other "must sees" in such a brief time? TIA.
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Mar 6th, 2006, 07:57 PM
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santharamhari
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Hi! If you only hv 2 days, i would definitely drive to stellenbosch/wine country.......if you dont hv seperate time allocated for it.

Cape of good hope can be done in 3 hrs, if you self drive. Other stuff.....evenings/dinner you can go to either camps bay/bantry bay......

Table mountain is a must do.....seal point.....i can't remember where, but you must go see the African jack-ass penguins.......

It's tough to squeeze everything into two days, but can be done, i think.
 
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Mar 7th, 2006, 01:16 AM
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Hello Panecott,

I'd definitely recommend hiring a car and self-driving. You can travel on your own schedule and stay as long as you want, rather than being herded from place to place on someone else's timetable, particularly if you want to do a bit of walking on the Cape -- most bus tours won't allow time for this as many tourists aren't interested.

Boulders Beach in Simon's Town is where you'll find the penguins Hari mentioned. They're adorable and make for great photo opportunities -- though if you have a sensitive nose you may want to stand upwind!

Alternatively, if you only have two days, you may want to look into hiring a local guide to really maximise your time there. Several people from Fodors have given excellent reviews of tours with Selwyn Davidowitz, a native Capetonian. His email address is [email protected].

Cheers,
Julian
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Mar 7th, 2006, 04:21 AM
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Thank you, Hari and Julian.

Can a drive to the Cape be combined with a drive to wine country or is wine country a full day's trip?
Also, can Simon's Beach be reached by public transportation, or should that be done by car? Thanks.
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Mar 7th, 2006, 05:06 AM
  #5
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wine country is a full day trip......i recommend doing a seperate full day, and you can find a vineyard to spend the night......fabulous food also. If not, then you need to drive for atleast a half a day to Stellenbosch and do some vineyards and you can do some sampling etc etc., it's not far from CT just that, you may not be able to do everything........

Public transportation....i'm not sure. Honestly, to make the best use of the two days, i would email that guide Julian mentioned and ask him for his recommended itinerary and his rates. Sounds logical.......dont do the tourist trap things like V&A waterfront. It reminds me of Pier 39 in San Francisco. very touristy....
 
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Mar 7th, 2006, 06:32 AM
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Hello,

Some people do the Cape and the Winelands in one day, but I don't recommend it -- you risk spending more of your time in the car than you will actually enjoying the places you came to see.

I love the winelands and they always feature prominently in my trips to Cape Town, but with only two days you may feel that you'd rather spend your second day in the city itself, seeing Table Mountain and Robben Island.

Cheers,
Julian
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Mar 7th, 2006, 10:08 AM
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Looks like I'll put off wine country for another time. It sounds like it's worth more than a day and I would like to see some of the city.

Any hotel recommendations in Cape Town in a convenient area? I was looking at the V&A Hotel at the waterfront -- thought this would be a convenient area -- but after reading Hari's comment I'm having second thoughts.
I don't need 5 star luxury but do like convenient location and pleasant atmosphere. Thoughts anyone?

Also, any recommendations for a good car rental agency? Something similar to AutoEurope? Thanks.
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Mar 7th, 2006, 10:21 AM
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I just stayed at the Victoria & Alfred Hotel at the Waterfront and found it to be nice and well-located. The staff was quite friendly and even the doorman greeted me by name. If you want to do some shopping for gifts, etc., the Waterfront is a fun place to do that. There are lots of restaurants, as well.

Being from the US, driving on the left wasn't something I wanted to try in Cape Town traffic. We took tours with a local guide, which I really enjoyed. Not only did he negotiate the traffic well, he filled us in on all the local history. We even visited a family that had been relocated back to the new housing units in District 6.
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Mar 7th, 2006, 11:31 AM
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I also stayed at the V&A Hotel on my last visit, and found it very well located. I stayed at the Mount Nelson on my first trip and didn't find it as well located.

The waterfront is fine, if touristy, but its safe, plenty of restaurants, and easy to get to ferry to Robben Island. You can also walk to Long Street, my favorite part to wander, but the hotels on Long Street tend to be more for backpackers and aren't as nice as the V&A.

Michael
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Mar 8th, 2006, 04:33 AM
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Thanks for the input.
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Mar 8th, 2006, 02:58 PM
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Hi Panecott,

Will you have a car in Cape Town? If so, then where you stay matters less, and this will give you the option of staying out on the coast.

If not, I'd recommend Tamboerskloof or Green Point/De Waterkant. These are local rather than tourist neighbourhoods, where you can walk to excellent neighbourhood cafes and restaurants and local shops.

I'd also recommend staying in a smaller boutique hotel or guesthouse over a large tourist hotel. They have bags more character and will be less expensive to boot. I've stayed at An African Villa in Tamboerskloof and highly recommend it.

http://www.capetowncity.co.za/

Cheers,
Julian
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Mar 8th, 2006, 08:11 PM
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Panecott,

I would agree with most of what has been advised to you in this thread. In your case Julian's advice has been very sound especially with him advising you NOT to try and do a Peninsula and Winelands tour day in one day. In the tourism industry we call this day a "Ferrari safari" Enough said!!

I would also back up the ideas of rather staying in a guesthouse or a mini boutique hotel as opposed to a large hotel and strongly support the idea of NOT visiting or staying in the Waterfront purely because it is nothing other than a big shopping mall and in two days in Cape Town there just is too much else to want to see than having to waste time on what you can probably experience at home anyway. If you are hiring a car (as it seems you will be doing) staying in the upper city bowl areas like Tamboerskloof or the Gardens is a great idea. I would also suggest the Green Point area in this regard. Take a look at the following venues as they offer great service, good location, quality, safety and very helpful hosts:

Redbourne Hilldrop
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redbourne.co.za

Great venue. Very well appointed. Friendly staff and hosts. In upper part of Cape Town meaning that you will need a car to get around or otherwise you could quite comfortably use taxis. In actual fact the venue is a short taxi or bus ride away from all. Away from all the action yet close to it. Excellent prices and great value for money.

Davids
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davids.co.za

Wonderful venue with fantastic hosts. Close to city as well as the Green Point strip where there are many restaurants. Well appointed and has to be amongst the best value in Cape Town. Highly recommended.

Romney Park.
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romneypark.co.za

Excellent venue at excellent prices. Well located. This is a mini boutique hotel which is exquisitely laid out. Once again you would need a car or the facility of taxis at this venue so as to get around

Graeme Hotel
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hotelgraeme.co.za

Another mini boutique hotel that is located in Green Point. Outstanding value for money. Rooms are well appointed. Venue is superbly located and very close to many restaurants and city. Operation is run by a very hands on manageress for whom no problem is too big to handle.


Cape Codogan
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capecadogan.com

Outstanding venue which is very well located and has excellent, classy accommodation.

You asked about taking public transport to Simonstown (you called this area Simons Bay). There is a rail system to the area but I do not recommend that you use the facility purely because of safety.

In terms of car hire if you are going to stay at any of the above guesthouses you will need to hire a car and in this regard may I suggest that you book this through Value Car Hire, valuecarhire.co.za. This companies rates are the ones to beat in Cape Town and their cars are always in an excellent state.

Hope the above all helps make your stay in Cape Town a better one and if you need any further advice or help just ask away on this board as somebody, if not my own self, will always be around to help you.

Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa



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Mar 9th, 2006, 07:43 AM
  #13
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Thank you both for the feedback and lodging suggestions.

If I rent a car, it will only be for a drive to the Cape, so I will need to stay right in the city. I'd like to be able to walk to as many places as possible. I enjoy wandering around and exploring, altho' I know there won't be too much time for this in just two days, but I do want to be in a convenient location.

Unfortunately, the African Villa is undergoing renovations during the month of May, but they recommended the Liberty Lodge, which also looks lovely. This seems to be well located--yes??
Are there any areas in Cape Town that should be avoided as far as walking around?
BTW, I'll be there on a Sun. and Mon. -- presumably the better time for a drive to the Cape, trafficwise, would be Sunday? Thanks, everyone.
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Mar 9th, 2006, 09:00 AM
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Hello Panecott,

Sorry to hear about the renovations at An African Villa! Liberty Lodge is their sister property a few streets away, and is also a lovely place to stay. It's slightly more homely than An African Villa, but has the same superb hosting and service. You can see pictures on their website:

http://www.capetowncity.co.za

I'd highly recommend Liberty Lodge. If you stay there, say hello to Louis and Jim and pet The Sausages (Button and Zip) for me!

Cheers,
Julian
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Mar 9th, 2006, 09:03 AM
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Hello,

Sorry, forgot to answer your other questions. I'd avoid walking around downtown at night -- it can be a bit dodgy. Otherwise, normal city precautions are all you really need.

Taxis are plentiful and cheap, so you'll be able to get around quite easily. The end of Long Street near Liberty Lodge and An African Villa has a lot of very nice restaurants, bookstores, and little shops within easy walking distance.

Cheers,
Julian
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Mar 13th, 2006, 04:30 AM
  #16
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Thank you, Julian.
I have booked the Liberty Lodge and am looking forward to my visit! I will pet "The Sausages" for you.
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Mar 13th, 2006, 05:10 AM
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I beg to differ with those who proposed a trip to the wine region. Certainly if you're only there for 2 days.

As a matter of fact; we were there for 3 days, on a tour where all day-trips could be ordered separately, and guess what; our own guide advised us not to book the trip (that was against the company policy, but she knew us a bit better than most other people on the tour, so...)

I mean; you need a full day for that trip. And what do you get? Visit a couple of estates and taste some wines? You can taste a lot more (and probably better) wines if you go to one of the big wine-shops on the Waterfront.

There's just so much better things to do in the cape area. A few things that come to mind:
- table mountain is a must
- an evening visit to the waterfront (and dinner; make reservations thru the hotel if needed)
- the national park at the very tip of the continent. Great walk. Great nature.
- The penguins (some beach nearby)
- Mandela's prison on Robben island.
- A boat trip to a "real robben island" (full of seals, if you catch my drift).
- The botanical gardens; certainly worth it in spring! You won't believe your eyes.
- And if you DO rent a car and really want to get away from the city, leave very early and take a 300km trip to Mossel bay or Knysna; in Mossel bay you can do a whale-trip or visit the museum. In Knysna is another great NP. Close to Mossel bay is Oudtshoorn; a great town to visit, and in the neighboorhoud you can visit ostrich farms and/or a cheetah farm. Also, inbetween Mossel bay and Cape town is Swellendam; again a great town to visit!
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Mar 13th, 2006, 05:12 AM
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Oudsthoorn; I also forgot the Cango caves! Duh...
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