Cape Town guest house help & advice

Jan 22nd, 2003, 07:39 AM
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Cape Town guest house help & advice

Now that we have our itinerary nailed down for our Sept.-Oct. '03 trip to the Cape (thank you Selwyn for your advice there!), we need help from you all on where to stay in Cape Town (although we are Americans, we do like staying in B&Bs) and how to deal with the car (we are a little nervous about this driving on the other side of the road!)
We are looking at coming into Cape Town on Sunday evening, about 1800 from the Rovos train from Pretoria, so we need a room for that night, and we are planning to leave for Hermanus the next morning, and we thought we would rent a car the day we leav. Our first set of questions are:I'm assuming it will not be difficult to get a taxi from the rail station to wherever we stay, is that correct; (3) any recommendations for guest houses close to restaurants we can walk to that evening for dinner; and
(4) what is the best way to go about arranging for a car on a Mon. morning?
Guest houses I've at least investigated a bit are the Acorn House, Parker Cottage, Cape Colonial and La Villa. Any thoughts?
Our plan is to go to Hermanus, Knysna, Oudtshoorn, Franshhoek, West Coast National Park, and then back to Cape Town to stay for 5 days until we leave to go back to Philadelphia. So, my next set of questions are: what is a good area of the city to stay in for 5 days of exploring Cape Town; is parking a problem at most guest houses, as I think we probably would want to keep the car for at least part of the time we are in Cape Town; should we keep the car to get around for our entire stay in Cape Town; and what is the best way for us to drop the car off and get to the airport?
Also, any ideas for things we should definitely do while in Cape Town would be most welcome!
Jan 22nd, 2003, 11:27 AM
Lisa waverley
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KT, I would definitely recommend keeping your car while in Cape Town. Cape Town is a city where the attractions are spread out and you will want the flexibility of a car. Also, it is quite easy to drive around Cape Town, even on the other side of the road.

My own personal recommendation for somewhere to stay in CT is the Sir Francis which is a block of apts converted to a hotel. It has a spectacular view of the waterfront and Table Bay and is a one bedroom apt with a kitchen living and dining area nad bathroom. As Selwyn has mentioned before, it is self catering but they do have a full Breakfast for a nominal extra charge. I find the staff there excellent.

I just want to point out that while I recommend the Sir Francis a lot because we have stayed there a number of times and have been very satisfied, I have absolutely no affiliation with them and get no discounts or kickbacks or anything for recommending them. I just find the rates very reasonable, the place comfortable and spacious and it is well located.

I defer to Selwyn with his expertise of guest houses. He obviously knows what he is talking about. I cannot help you any information on them as I have never stayed at any or investigated any.

With regard to getting to the airport, you can drive there and return your rental car. It is really easy and straight forward.You access the highway at the waterfront area and is it well sighposted. I forget which highway number it is, but someone local will be able to tell you.

BTW, I live in Philadelphia too and if you want to e-mail me with any specifics. I'd be happy to try and help. I grew up in SA and travel back there frequently.
Jan 22nd, 2003, 10:49 PM
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We stayed at a wonderful place called Romney Park Luxury Suites. What I really liked about the place, is that for a very reasonable extra amount, they give you a garage door opener and you drive yourself directly into their secure parking garages. It is no more than 5 minutes to the Victoria and Albert Waterfront, where restaurant choices are plentiful. We took a two bedroom suite, and it was very nicely done, very clean, and the staff helpful. They have a broshure there with many restaurants that will deliver to the hotel. We had some of the best Indian food I've ever enjoyed delivered one night. Friends of ours took the penthouse and it was awesome. Next time, we will try and rent it for the duration.

While in Cape Town, plan on visiting the Botanic Gardens--awesome with a very nice restaurant on the grounds. We loved S. Africa so much, we are returning for two months this summer!
Jan 24th, 2003, 02:21 PM
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I am checking out the site for Romney - please give me more details?

We are thinking of booking the presidential or ambassador suite - which one of these is the penthouse?
What are the views like, etc.?

How much tax do they surprise you with when you pay the bill?

Jan 27th, 2003, 03:50 AM
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About the tax and hotel rooms, VAT is 14% and applicable to hotel rooms. Prices are usually quoted inclusive of VAT, but it should be specified. In addition there is a 1% per room per night tourism levy.
Jan 30th, 2003, 10:46 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 987
When driving in towns, you'll be fine in traffic, but you're likely to revert to old habits at intersections if you make a turn, so it's a good idea to have the navigator remind the driver "keep left" when making a turn. Watch out in parking lots, where there aren't lane markings. If you miss a turnoff and need to "go around the block", remember to make 3 left turns, not right turns.

If you've driven in Europe, you'll find the road signs to be the same as there. You'll also be used to roundabouts, which are very common in SA.

With all the car's controls on the "wrong" side, you'll find that you turn on the windshield wipers a lot when you intended to turn on the turn signal.

Traffic lights are called robots!

Tip the man who pumps your gas (petrol). Gas stations don't take credit cards, only cash.

Celia is offline  
Feb 10th, 2003, 01:41 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 3
When visiting Cape Town area we always stay at a place called Froggs Leap in Hout Bay. Its about 20 mins from the centre of Cape Town but we find it a good base to travel about. If you want lovely B&B's its worth looking at the greenwood guide to South Africa.
There's loads to do in Cape Town Area: Cape Point, penguins at Simons Town, Table mountain, Stellenbosch, Kirstenbosch gardens etc etc

Hope this helps
Woody1 is offline  
Feb 12th, 2003, 06:49 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 612
Hello Lisa Waverley,
I recently got back from south africa and I just loved it. Lucky you! Where in south africa are you from? I'd love to go back.
Patricia(aka pattysuericia)
pattysuericia is offline  
Feb 14th, 2003, 06:38 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 132
For some reason, my old screen name no longer works. Thanks to all of you for your responses, especially Lisa, Pat, Woody and Celia. We are really looking forward to this trip and everything we've heard about South Africa, and particularly the Cape, has just gotten us more excited about this. Celia, I am definitely feeling a little less anxious about the driving thing. Lisa, what is your email address and where do you live in Philadelphia? I used to live in Manayunk (still have a house there I'm trying to decide what to do with), but we are now in Bryn Mawr.
The Kirstenbosch Gardens sound wonderful, as well as the penguins at Simon's Town. We both like to hike (just day trips or less). Any suggestions for good hikes from anyone for anywhere along our route? What about Table Mountain? Good idea or not to hike up as opposed to the cable car?
KT_Tomlinson is offline  
Feb 14th, 2003, 11:05 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 144
Patricia, I grew up in Johannesburg and my husband grew up in Cape Town.
KT, we are almost neighbors. My email address is [email protected]. Email me. I can meet you for coffee at Kosi's.

Everybody really enjoys the hike up Table Mountain but you do have to be reasonably fit. There are a few different routes.
Waverley is offline  

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