Capetown plans

Mar 20th, 2004, 06:20 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 45
Capetown plans

Hello All-
I will be in Capetown April 14-20. As of now the plan is to stay at the Fritz Hotel in the Gardens area for the entire time and take day trips from there. Iam now thinking we should spend a night or 2 somewhere else in the cape area- such as Simon's town, Stellenbosch or Camps bay.
We don't want to rent a car the entire time but plan to for at least a day or 2 . We're on a bit of a budget and really want to focus this portion of our trip on just the cape area (with Table Mountain, Robben Island & Cape of Good Hope reserve as musts!). Any ideas or suggested itineraries are welcome.
Thanks very much!
mo261 is offline  
Mar 20th, 2004, 04:13 PM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3,501
Hello Mo261,

My experience of Cape Town is not that current, and I would be happy if someone with recent experience would step in and help out here. However, my sense is that it's unrealistic to expect to do very much in Cape Town and its environs without a car. Yes, if you were centrally located, you could visit places in the city centre and perhaps even the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront on foot. But, beyond that, you would need a car.

You would need a car to get to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, for example. You'd also need a car to get to the cable car station at the base of Table Mountain, to do the Chapman's Peak drive, and to visit Kirstenbosch Gardens. I don't know where the boat leaves for Robben Island. That might be a spot to which you could walk, but I'm not sure. You certainly would need a car to visit Stellenbosch and the rest of the wine region.

I advise against moving hotels. Checking in and out of hotels would use up precious time. Also, if you didn't have a car, you'd need to use a taxi to get from one hotel to the other.

Places like Simon's Town and Camps Bay are not that far from the centre of Cape Town. You would see them while you were out and about sight seeing, on your way to and from Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve and so on -- if you had a car.

The one area to which there might be merit in moving for a night or two would be the winelands (Stellenboasch - Franschhoek area). But of course you'd need a car for that.

In another thread you asked about a private game reserve in Mpumalanga. If you're on a budget, perhaps you can go to a government-run game reserve, such as the Kruger National Park. As I understand it, the government-run wildlife parks usually are less expensive than the private ones. I think this might allow you to re-allocate some of your budget to a rented car in Cape Town. Just a thought.

April strikes me as a good time to visit South Africa, by the way. It will be autumn there, and you have an excellent chance of encountering good weather both in the Mpumalanga game parks and in Cape Town.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Mar 21st, 2004, 05:43 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 45
Thanks for your reply Judy in Calgary!
Our hope to not rent a car for the whole trip probably has more to do with my fear of driving on the left side of the road, in a busy city that I've never been to, than our budget! I was hoping that we would be able to do V&A waterfront (where I believe the ferry to Robben is), Table mountain and other central Capetown sights either on foot or taxi, maybe take an organized winelands tour and only have to rent a car to drive the peninsula. Does this sound realistic? Is a day trip enough time to drive from Capetown to the nature reserve and make stops at Boulders beach and other sights along the way?
As for Kruger, we will be spending 3 nights at Nkorho- a small, relatively inexpensive game lodge in Sabi Sands.
I thank you again for your advice. Anyone else have any thoughts? How much driving time would a trip around the peninsula back to Capetown be? Is it worth it to spend a night on the peninsula so as not to be rushed through all the sights?
Thanks again!
mo261 is offline  
Mar 21st, 2004, 08:39 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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We were in Cape Town this past Sep.. We didn't have a car either for the same reason you don't want to drive. We did however have a guide to take as around.We did go to the Cape point in a day.It was a long, but, great day.

We stayed at the waterfront and took a taxi to Kirshenbosch Gardens from there;on one of our days.The taxi driver was great and even came back to pick us up at the gardens at a time we set up with him.

You do indeed catch the tour to Robbin Island from the waterfront.You might also consider taking one of the day tours that go to Table mountain, then you won't have to worry driving there.
Dottie is offline  
Mar 21st, 2004, 08:58 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Interesting that Judy mentioned Selywn. That was our guide, and he is great.He can show you Cape Town as the locals view it. Wonderful guide! Worth the cost if you can manage it. If he is booked he can recommend a good guide.He does a Township visit that will stay with you forever.It was the highlight of our trip.We visited the Township and saw some of the winelands on one of our days.Awesome day!
Dottie is offline  
Mar 21st, 2004, 09:27 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
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> I was hoping that we would be able to do V&A >waterfront (where I believe the ferry to Robben is), >Table mountain and other central Capetown >sights either on foot or taxi, maybe take an >organized winelands tour and only have to rent a >car to drive the peninsula. Does this sound >realistic?

Yes, very. It is how we did it. And you can get a day tour for the peninsula and Boulders, etc. as well. We looked at the cars and were very happy not to be driving. And by using a tour guide you get the advantage of meeting an interesting, highly educated South African and learning so much along the way. Unlike some countries in other parts of the world, here many of the guides have had previous careers and do this because they enjoy it and I found them all to be people we'd have made friends with in the states. We had three different guides, each with different specialities and of course personalities, so it made it interesting.
Clematis is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2004, 05:59 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
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I was just in CT in January for about the same amount of time you were. It was the last leg of a 3 week trip. We did have a car for the whole trip including CT which gave us freedom but looking back I just don't think it is absolutly necessary. We stayed in 3 different places while in CT to get a different feel. First 3 days was in Constantia in a B&B. Which was beautiful but you DID need a car to get around. Then we were in the city centre at a fantastic boutique hotel called the Cape Heritage. Very centrally located to the market, a variety of excellent restaurants and easy to get to other daytime activities. The V&A waterfront if fine, I really couldn't imagine spending more than a day around there. You book ahead for the Robben Island tour and if you plan it right you can be at the V&A for lunch or dinner afterwards which is nice. Table mountain is a must...go at least an hour before sunset and go on the first clear day you can...the weather there is very unpredictable and you really want to go when it's clear. You can take a taxi there and a taxi's easy and affordable. The last place we stayed was the Whale Cottge in Camps bay. We wanted to stay on the water..make sure you stay in a place that has a deck or patio with a water's very pretty. Both the Cape Heritage and the Whale Cottage are about $150/night. Definately worth it...we were in B&B's or with family the rest of time and it was a nice change. While we were in the City Centre we did not use our Camps Bay we only used it to meet people in town. As far as the winelands, I would have really like to stay there for an overnight. Stellenbosch is nice... the town is a little bit bigger that Fransehook. I thought Fransehook is more like paradise could not tell you where to stay though as we were on a private guided tour. Which was wonderful...more than happy to give you the name of our guide. It's a little pricey but worth it as you get picked up at your hotel driven around all day by a knowledgable wine guide who knows all the vineyards and then returns you safely to your hotel. 9am - 5:30....a full day. I am sure you will find your own rythm...but these where some highlights of my trip. Also if you like food...there is a good restaurant guide magazine that we followed all the way from the Garden Route into CT...the guide is great but again I would be more than happy to tell you my top choices. Hope you have a nice time.

d43 is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2004, 07:56 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
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So, Mo261, you now have a variety of opinions, which is great. I'm glad some other posters came and shared their experiences with you.

I can't imagine doing what D43 (Nicole) did, spending 3 nights in this part of Cape Town and then 3 nights in that part of Cape Town. Once I'm settled into accommodation I like to stay there.

The only moves that I would consider worthwhile in Cape Town and its immediate environs would be (1) a move to the winelands and (2) a move to Hermanus (but you will not be venturing as far as Hermanus, so that remark is not applicable to your case).

Anyway, all this goes to show that there are different travel styles. You know yourself and your family members better than we know you, so you ultimately have to decide for yourselves. I hope that the various opinions, although they may have made things more confusing for you in some respects, have clarified things for you in other respects.

The bottom line, when it comes to Cape Town, is that it's a delightful place. I believe you will like it whatever choices you make (whether you stay in one spot or move around or whatever). I sure hope you have a great trip.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2004, 08:36 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 45
Thank you all so much for your advice. This message board has been such a great source of information in planning my trip. Our plan now is to do what we can on foot/taxi and rent a car for the rest (probably 2-3 days). Thanks again everyone!
mo261 is offline  

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