Cape Town...self drive or tour?

Jun 4th, 2003, 07:00 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 69
Cape Town...self drive or tour?

Part of my planned vacation to South Africa in October 2003, will include a five or six day stay at Cape Town. Not sure if rent a car or take daily tours from hotel (maybe Commodore Hotel) to places like Cape of Good Hope, Chapman's Peak, Hermanus and Wine Country, etc. How easy or difficult is to self drive to these places? What would you do if you have four full days?

Thanks for your help
Gilberto is offline  
Jun 4th, 2003, 07:51 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Hi Gilberto,

I have answered this question quite extensively in a thread of the past viz. "private guide and driver". As it is a long response all I am going to do is I am going to cut and paste from this thread and then modify my answer to suit your question

At the outset of this answer may I point out that I am one of those private drivers in the area that you could be touring with (or should I say tourguides as opposed to private driver). With that said I am going to answer you with an enormous amount of experience.

In a nutshell in answer to your question my answer to you would be that if you can afford it then it certainly is worth having a private guide or joining a tour group.

My reasons for saying this are:

1. You will save an enormous amount of time seeing the area as you will not be wasting time travelling from spot to spot trying to find your way ? that is if you have chosen a knowledgeable guide )

2. Both you and your partner will REALLY see the area as you will not be in a position of one of you driving and the other one nagigating; oops I mean navigating )

3.If you drive with a good tourguide you will more than likely be travelling in a way that you will see all the little hidden secret places that locals frequent as opposed to the normal touristy places that all the tourbooks suggest. In actual fact you should see the REAL South Africa

4. Depending on your guide for the journey you should be able to walk away from your visit to our country with a very good idea as to what we are all about in South Africa and furthermore how truly beautiful our country is.

The drawback to all of the above is that it will generally cost you more than if you drive yourself or tour on a group scheduled tour but then you have to ask yourself after investing so much money and time to simply arrive in South Africa is it not worth your while investing slightly more and obtaining a close to perfect holiday for your extra investment???

In your Fodors mail you ask the question:

"Not sure if rent a car or take daily tours from hotel (maybe Commodore Hotel) to places like Cape of Good Hope, Chapman's Peak, Hermanus and Wine Country, etc. How easy or difficult is to self drive to these places?"

My answer is that if you want to see the country qualitatively then my suggestion is that you drive with a tourguide or tourgroup, whereas if you simply want to travel from place to place and see all around you in a skimpish manner then hire a car. The reason as to why I say this is because tourguides are qualified to show you the country (and believe me the qualification is not to be sneered at) while when you hire a car it will get you from point A to B and thats it. In terms of ease of travelling to the areas that you mention all I can tell you is that I, as a qualified tour professional, battle to complete some of the journeys that you talk about in the daylight hours of one day so you can make up your own mind if you can do it from this statement.

All in all the final decision of what to do lies in your hands.

No matter what you decide I can assure you that you will be visiting wonderful new terrain and I am 100% sure that you will have a great holiday in our wonderful country. Enjoy.

Selwyn Davidowitz
[email protected]
Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa

Selwyn_Davidowitz is offline  
Jun 4th, 2003, 12:14 PM
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Selwyn - "Nagigating" - I like that!
Thankfully, when we have adventured to drive on our own in a foreign lands, i.e., Australia, I'm a great "navigator" and he actually isn't adverse to "asking for directions". He must have been born with the wrong gene!!!!

But I'm sure most situations are "nagigating".
Jun 4th, 2003, 12:36 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
One thing I will not do when I am on vacation is drive. My wife asks me to rent a car sometimes and I simply "I'm on vacation."
Roccco is offline  
Jun 5th, 2003, 04:17 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 69
Thanks to all who posted replies to my questions. The reason I was planning a self-dirve in Cape Town is because I like to spare time in places I really like and take time for photography (one of my hobbies). When you are on tour, sometimes you are rushed in precisely the places you want to stay longer (i.e. mountains, coast and beach vistas). I have not considered a private driver, but it seems that is a good alternative to what I need. I will considered David's recommendations and look at his website.

To all,thanks again
Gilberto is offline  
Jun 9th, 2003, 08:06 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 49
We've been to Capetown twice and rented a car both times. The roads are just like the ones in the states and are well marked. The rates are also cheaper than they are in the states. We personally like the freedom of having your own transportation for those unexpected spur of the moment on an extremely clear afternoon, taking a quick trip to the top of Table Mountain for your photos...we were there 2 weeks and only a few days were good for this.
maadimom is offline  
Jun 14th, 2003, 06:24 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 11
You can always have the best of both worlds by arranging a "tour" with a company that provides for small groups, which can often result in a private tour. You can take in the usual sights, Cape of Good Hope, Botanical Gardens, Winelands, Table Mtn, etc., then follow up with excursions on your own to re-visit or extend your previous experience. I have found this works well in many of the cities I have visited. I have stayed at the Commodore and found it very pleasant. The staff is wonderful. The location is perfect, just a short stroll to the Waterfront. Among others, I have used Legend Tours in Cape Town which was very good at personalized excursions.
Sly is offline  
Jun 19th, 2003, 05:43 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 8,585
Having just returned from Cape Town and surrounding wine country, I assure you that it is very easy to drive. The town of Stellenbosch was crazy- trying to find road signs, etc...but the roads are fabulous, well-marked and there was ample parking in Cape Town. There are nice stops along the route to Hermanus for photo-ops and it's breathtaking! We saw some tours at the big wineries, not the smaller ones. I'm sure you could tailor your tour, but I liked having the freedom to stop whenever one looked interesting. We found gems such as Rustenburg and Louisvale this way. You might want to consider staying a few days in the peace and quiet of wine country at one of the manors- you'll love it!
LLindaC is offline  

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