Four Days to Spare

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Aug 25th, 2005, 07:23 AM
  #1
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Four Days to Spare

We are doing a safari in Botswana and have three to four days at the end of our tour to spend as we wish. We are interested to fly to Cape Town and explore for a few days. Do you have recommendations on best places to stay and favorite sights visited? I am also keen to visit the Penisula and the wine country with a rental car. Any ideas or suggestions you may have would be most appreciated. How much time should we spare for CT? Is it worth it to focus on areas around CT rather than CT exclusively-aside from the penisula. Many thanks,
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Aug 25th, 2005, 07:32 AM
  #2
 
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Hello,

You could easily spend 4 days in Cape Town itself -- there is plenty to see! If you go to the peninsula (to see Cape Point) that will take the better part of a day, and while the winelands can be done as a day trip as well it is much more enjoyable to spend a few days there. So you need to decide what you're most interested in doing.

For accommodation, try the Portfolio Collection, www.portfoliocollection.com -- there are lots of great options for Cape Town and the Winelands. Be aware that if you opt to stay on the coast in Cape Town you will definitely need a car, whereas if you stay in the City Bowl (Tamboerskloof, Gardens, De Waterkant) you can manage without one.

There are lots of different activities in Cape Town -- the ones you choose will depend on your interests. Here are a few of my personal favourites:

A visit to Robben Island

Riding or walking to the top of Table Mountain and abseiling off the mountain

Tea at the Mt Nelson Hotel

Visiting the penguins at Boulders Beach (make sure you stand up-wind!)

Staying for a night at a B&B in the townships and visiting some of the local empowerment initiatives during the day

The best restaurants are in the winelands -- if you can, have dinner at Le Quartier Francais.

Cheers,
Julian
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Aug 25th, 2005, 07:38 AM
  #3
 
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As Julian has said there is so much to do in Cape Town and it's environs that you could easily spend a week or more in the area and have plenty to do every day!

So if you only have three or four days you'll need to make a list of all the options and then narrow it down quite extensively according to your personal interests.

Once you've done that you'll better be able to work out whether to stay in Cape Town itself, outside it or split the stay between two locations.

As well as everything Julian has listed you may also enjoy the Kirstenbosch Gardens, shopping in the large Sunday craft market at Greenpoint, visiting the penguins at Boulders Beach (during your peninsula tour) and tasting wine in the winelands.

Ascending Table Top Mountain was a must for us (via the cable car, not on foot, though you can do it on foot if you prefer) as was our visit to Robben Island.

Whatever you choose to do you'll certainly enjoy it.

Do a search on Cape Town using the search box above and you should find lots and lots of threads full of advice and trip reports from those who have been as well as from Selwyn, a regular contributor here who lives in Cape Town and takes visitors around the area.
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Aug 28th, 2005, 03:22 PM
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Adventuredays,

Great to hear that you will be visiting our city. In response to your questions firstly I would say that if you have the option of spending 4 days in Cape Town (Cape Town is definitely worth 4 days of exploration) then I would stay in the city for the full 4 day period and not think about breaking up your journey with maybe a 2 days stay in the city and a 2 day stay in the Winelands. I am only mentioning this because a lot of people take this route. The idea works however you will already be doing much in and out packing of bags that I suggest you stay in one place at all times while in Cape Town.

In terms of where to stay I would gladly offer you suggestions however to do this I minimally need to know what type of accommodation you will require. If you respond to the Fodors board I will help you further in this regard.

In terms of what to do in Cape Town forgive me but I am going to cut and past part of another thread that I answered quite a while ago so as to answer your question:

While in Cape Town I would suggest that you don't miss out on the following:

A trip down to Cape Point taking in the penguin colony, a walk in Kalk Bay. and Kalk bay harbour. Here's a great tip ; While on the Cape of Good Hope Nature reserve take the turn off to Buffalo Bay or Bordjiesrif. Definitely worth the short ride. Try and make it to this beach area by lunch time and have a light picnic lunch at the sea. Great experience BUT be aware of baboons in the terrain if you do decide on having a picnic..

On returning from Cape Point travel via Scarborough an Kommetjie. Wonderful coastline. Also cross over Chapmans Peak which is now once again in operation. Fabulous drive

Other things to do in Cape Town.

Obviously ascend Table Mountain. Try and do this at sunset

Visit Robben Island

Visit the aquarium

Visit Kirstenbosch gardens

Walk through the Company Gardens

Dinner picnic on Signal Hill while watching a sunset

Here's a great hidden secret tip. Visit the daily shooting of the Noon Gun on the Lions Battery at midday.

Take a walk through Bo-Kaap

Don't miss the Africa Café for Dinner and after your meal visit Mama Africa so as to listen to the percussion band at the venue.

Spend an hour one evening at the Drum Café. Unique experience

The Cultural History museum is an interesting venue to visit. The District 6 Museum is also very interesting

Spend some time in the Waterfront but don't overdo it as it is nothing other than a shopping mall. If however you visit the Waterfront on a Sunday this will be well worth the visit as there is always great entertainment and a wonderful vibe in the area.

Visit the Pan African market in Long Street. Interesting experience

Stop in at Zoerienas for a typical Cape Malay lunch in a very local setting. You had better look up the address when you are in Cape Town as many don't even know about Zoerienas

Visit the Mount Nelson Hotel for high tea. 14h30-17h30

I reckon that the above should keep you going in Cape Town.

Franschhoek
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Amongst others don't miss out on the following in Franschhoek

A visit to Haute Cabriere Wine farm. If you are in Franschhoek on a Saturday leave this visit for the 11H00 visit on this day when the most wonderful character who is passionate about his wine viz the winemaker on the farm, Achim von Arnim, will take you around himself. Amazing tour where a sword will start having you think that it has many more uses than you ever knew about.

Fabulous dinner at Klein Olifantshoek http://www.kleinoliphantshoek.com/default.htm Booking essential

Visit the Huguenot Chocolate factory

Visit the "Old Corkscrew" antique shop and enjoy one of the BIGGEST hidden secrets on the Cape Winelands. (Find out about this secret yourself.

While in the winelands may I suggest that you visit Stellenbosch and enjoy all that the wonderful quaint village town offers. Visit the town museum which comprises of a number of buildings that take you through Stellenbosch's history. Drive on the wonderful campus of the university.

If you are looking for some interesting winefarms to visit I would not miss out on the following winefarms:

Rust en Vrede
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Continuously have wines in the Win Spectator top 100. Wonderful farm to visit with magnificent old Cape Dutch houses

Ernie Els
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The wines on the farm (owned by the golfer) are excellent but ridiculously outpriced however if you want see to what is probably the most spectacular winefarm in the Western Cape then visit this new farm on the block. Its a MUST!

Middlevlei
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Specialists in Pinotage and when you come to SA you just have to drink our very own Pinotage. Ask the staff on the farm to introduce you to Delilah (Community worker on the farm) so that she can show you how this farm is uplifting its staff. A wonderful surprise awaits you.


In terms of eating out here is a list that I suggest that you look into. Please note that quite a number of the restaurants that I am going to mention in this mail are totally unknown to most and I have always frequented these establishments as special eating places for my own visitors to Cape Town.

If you are looking for a fish restaurant my suggestions would be:

Willoughby's in the Waterfront (no pre-booking at this restaurant)

Panama Jacks in the harbour is worth going to but I would not run too quickly to eat at this venue as there are much better in town when it comes to fish.

Baia in the Waterfront. 4210935) Excellent fish restaurant and first class dining facility however on the expensive side (by local standards).

The big hidden secret fish place in Cape Town is Tangos (7126631) This is a venue that locals seem to have kept to themselves. You will hardly ever see tourists at this local family type fish venue. It is rather far out of the city center (25 minutes away in Kendall Road) but imho this is the very best fish restaurant in Cape Town. When you are in this restaurant you soon realize that fresh fish is being brought through the door minutes after being caught in the local Kalk Bay harbour. Furthermore if you want to find great varieties of local fish Tangos is the place to eat. My favorite fish that I generally eat at this venue is musslecracker. You will have to go hunting all over Cape Town for to find in another local restaurant serving this delicious fish variety.

If you have a lunchtime restaurant opportunity may I suggest that you stop at Kalkies in the Kalk Bay harbour. Now here’s a real typical Cape Town experience to want to savor with fresh fish being served that was caught on the day in the Kalk Bay harbour. Furthermore you wont find tourists at this venue as it seems to be too down market from the outside so what you finds is that all the locals eat there because it is such a treasure. Try and experience this great culinary experience when in our city.

Btw when it comes to eating fish most establishments will serve you local fish in the form of Cob (Kabeljou, Kingklip (Local to Cape Town, Cape salmon, Yellowtail and if you are lucky Musslecracker. When it comes to the shelled variety of fish you will be able
to find crayfish (smaller than American lobster but definitely more substance to the meat and sweeter), prawns (Shrimp in the USA) and maybe giant prawns (prawns in the USA). All in all when it comes to shelled fish I say again be forewarned against being ripped off and DONT think in Dollar terms when ordering, think in Rand terms relative to what you will have already learnt as far a local values are concerned. I am telling you all of the above so as to help you when it comes to eating fish in our city but also because amongst others Panama Jacks have been found horrifically guilty with overcharging and ripping visitors off by some local newspapers in Cape Town


Spicy foods in Cape Town could land you up in many places:

Biesmiellah is a great Cape curry restaurant

Wangthai is a Thai restaurant that serves very spicy foods.

Another great little secret is Zoerinas in Loop Street. This is a little take out selling Cape Malay traditional food. Few know that they have a little restaurant next to the take out where the rootis and samoosas are the best in the Cape as far as I am concerned. Note Zoerinas is closed at night and can only be visited during the day.

The big secret for wonderful spicy food is Bibis (7618635). This is the restaurant I would recommend most of all. Fabulous Indian cooking. Once again this venue is about 25 minutes out of the city centre and is situated in lower Kenilworth This is where our local Hindu community eat and the food is simply out of this world. Fair warning, no alcohol is served or allowed in this establishment.

A restaurant that I love going to and would advise visitors to go to is the Africa cafe. All in all a wonderful culinary experience that is hard to describe but a must to do. Whatever you do if you go to the Africa Cafe then make sure that you do not leave before 21h30 as something special happens in the cafe at this time. It is also my opinion that the shop at the Africa Cafe is the best shop in town for the purchasing of African type articles. They are not cheap but their quality has to be of the highest order in our city. For more shopping move around on the Green Market Square or pay a visit to the Pan African Market in Long Street.

Make no error there are many other wonderful restaurants in Cape Town that are well worth visiting. The above restaurants are NOT the normal run of the mill recommendations that will be made in most "eat out book" recommendations. Willoughbys and Panama Jacks could well come in for mentioning in some of the travel books available or possibly by others writing to this page. The restaurants mentioned in my list are the ones that locals frequent and my advice always remains "when in Cape Town do eat what the Capetonians eat".

So Adventuredays as you can see there is much to do in Cape Town and its surrounds and when you do some of the above activities you will soon find out why I love my city so much.

Hope the above helps you

Enjoy our great city when you visit us


Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa

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Aug 28th, 2005, 03:41 PM
  #5
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 592
adventuredays:

Though I have never been to South Africa or Cape Town I did meet a fascinating lady visiting at Elephant Watch Camp in Samburu, Kenya this month.

Patricia Evans is a professional pilot who lives in Cape Town and takes people up in her biplane to view the gorgeous scenery around Cape Town. I saw a video one of her passengers took and it was mind blowing.

She is on her way back to South Africa now. If you are interested you can reach her at [email protected]. It would be a fantastic half-day for you.

Jan
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Aug 29th, 2005, 06:07 AM
  #6
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Thanks to all of you for your informative, and at times passionate, response to my query. I am getting increasingly excited and still have 11 months to go before we are off.

Selwyn, your comments on things to do in Cape Town certainly leads me to think that four days in Cape Town would be far too few. Alas, we are both working people and therefore limited in the amount of time we can spend away. I suppose most either have the time or the money to travel but rarely both at once. We would like to make the best use of the short span of time that we do have to see beautiful places and learn about a different culture.

Regarding accomodation, it is difficult for me to say what we are looking for as I am only just beginning my research of the area. Typically, we enjoy staying in those places where residents of a city/area actually live and eat. We are not too keen on staying in the heavily touristy locations. We like good, simple eateries, neighbourhood bakeries and the such and relatively easy access to those places that we will be visiting during the day. Can you recommend neighbourhoods that might fit this description?

We also plan on renting a car to visit Cape Point but understand that a car is not necessary when visiting Cape Town proper. Would you suggest renting a car for a day trip out to the Point?

Thank again for taking the time to help us with our trip planning. Talking to all of you is infinetely better than getting all of my ideas from a book.

Best,
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Aug 29th, 2005, 06:24 AM
  #7
 
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Hello,

If you want to stay a nice neighbourhood where you won't need a car to get around, I suggest somewhere in the City Bowl - Tamboerskloof, Gardens, or Greenpoint/De Waterkant. There are a few hotels directly in the town centre, but most residents live out in the suburbs. There are lots of nice little restaurants and shops in both the Tamboerskloof and DeWaterkant/Greenpoint areas. DeWaterkant/Greenpoint has the edge in terms of location -- it's much closer to the museums, etc.

Take a look on the Portfolio website and search for places in the DeWaterkant/Greenpoint areas. These two places are particularly nice:

www.dewaterkant.com
www.dewaterkant.co.za

Cheers,
Julian
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Aug 29th, 2005, 11:37 AM
  #8
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Thank you Julian. I went to the following link to investigate your recommendation of De Waterkant Lodge and found this message "De Waterkant Lodge is currently closed as we concentrate on De Bergkant Lodge and Red Mountain Nature Reserve." Do you have other favourites you might recommend? In the meantime, I will explore portfoliocollection.com.

Thanks again.
Best,
Lisa
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Aug 29th, 2005, 12:02 PM
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Hi Lisa,

Sorry to hear abouy DeWaterkant Lodge -- did you send them an email to see if the cottages are still open?

DeWaterkant Village is still open for business if you want to stay in that area. The DeWaterkant guest house is an option at the village if you prefer not to stay in an apartment. Rooms are R500-R900 per night (R250-450 pps).

Cheers,
Julian
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Aug 30th, 2005, 01:37 AM
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I can certainly recommend Greenpoint - it's a nice, residential suburb and very easy to get around from there.

And there are numerous excellent bed and breakfasts there which will really allow you to stay in residential areas rather than touristy hotels.

I used Portfolio Collections to narrow down a shortlist but then contacted the guesthouses directly to negotiate discounts/ specific room reservations.
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Aug 30th, 2005, 03:21 AM
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Adventuredays,

Firstly a couple of comments.

1. The Green Point area is a really nice one to stay in however I do want to warn that the museum side of town is NOT on the Green Point side it is on the Gardens side.

2. De Waterkant Lodge closes down officially today (Aug 30) and will not be operating anymore.

3. When going to the De Waterkant Village and Life website as per Jasher's suggestion whatever you do I would suggest that you do not book into De Waterkant House. Every apartment in the complex is like a jailed fortress and they are all very small. Booking in at any of the other apartments on V&L's books would be fine however I must tell you that where I used to support this operation quite a lot in the past I now am reluctant to do so. I say this because in the past 2 months they have changed their website and where they used to give one an option to choose an apartment in the past they now do not let you do this anymore. You simply have to take what you get relative to the category that you order in. I know that this could be deemed as standard procedure but in the past one could select an apartment and generally book it (V&L always gave themselves the right to change the apartment if need be but they generally never did this). In my case I like to know what my visitor will be finding when they arrive in Cape Town apartment wise so the system does not suit me however it might well suit you.

In terms of where to stay as already has been advised by Jasher and Kavey, Porfolio is an excellent guide to follow. Other suggestions would be:


Davids
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http://www.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.


Cape Standard
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http://www.capestandard.co.za/home.htm

Well located. Lovely guesthouse with super friendly host. Great value for money and certainly not expensive. Rooms are done up in a rustic manner with all conveniences available. Great breakfast area.



Romney Park.
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http://www.romneypark.co.za/index_02.htm

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

If you prefer to stay on the museum and city side of town i.e the Garden area then I would suggest the following places:

Cape Cadogan
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http://www.capecadogan.com/

Relatively new in Cape Town and close to the city. Rooms are fabulously appointed. Very comfortable living close to the city however far from the sea. Must say I loved the venue when I did a recognizance there a couple of months ago. Do not let the next factor deter you but one small point is that a couple of the rooms have open plan bathrooms and toilets thus removing bathroom privacy. If this does not suit you then specify that you do not want open plan bathroom accommodation and I can assure you that management at the complex will help you accordingly.


Heres a great little find in the Gardens area that I made about 6 months ago:

http://www.stopford.co.za/index.html

This apartment is well located relevant to the city and previous visitors of mine have used it with great success. It is phenomenally well priced and is perfect for the needs of someone who wants to close to the city and is prepared to self cater.

Hope the above helps and if you need any further advice or suggestions just ask.

Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa


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Aug 30th, 2005, 08:53 AM
  #12
 
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Hello,

I didn't realise things had changed so much at DeWaterkant Village -- in that case, I would hesitate to recommend it. I really liked being able to pick a specific apartment and know exactly what I was getting.

Selwyn, do you know if someone else will be taking over DeWaterkant Lodge? What happened to the cottages associated with that lodge -- are they being run by someone else? Those cottages were lovely...

Cheers,
Julian
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Aug 30th, 2005, 03:09 PM
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Julian,

Firstly I must comment on the fact that for someone who has not been to Cape Town for a while you sure keep up with what is happening in my city. Pretty impresive in my opinion.

As far as De Waterkant Lodge is concerned it seems as if the past owner viz. Charles Fourie has had enough of the establisment and that is why he is simply giving up and continuing with his other projects viz. the Bergkant Lodge in Prince Albert and the Red Mountain Nature Reserve in Ladismith. See www.dewaterkant.co.za

As far as the extra apartments that he used to hire out are concerned to my knowledge they were not owned by him and he simply hired them out on behalf of their owners. It would not surprise me to see these places fall under the Village and Life umbrella in the near future.

In terms of the V&L change in policy re booking certain apartments heres an important trick. If you go to the Village and Life website at http://www.villageandlife.com/ you will see that you cannot select individual apartments anymore. If however you go to the V&L site at
http://www.villageandlife.co.za/dewa...ommodation.asp there you will find the old site with the apartments listed. Please note this list is not up to date; it is the old list however it will give any Fodorite an idea of the V&L product and if you like a certain apartment there is no harm in your asking for this specific venue as a place to stay. Please note this listing only exists for De Waterkant apartments, it does not cover Camps Bay or The Waterfront areas.

Just my twopence worth.

Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa





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Aug 30th, 2005, 05:15 PM
  #14
 
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I recently returned from a 3-week stay in Cape Town, and enjoyed some lovely accomodations in the Southern Suburbs (Newlands/Claremont area). It felt a lot like being a local, and the guest house is a wonderful retreat after a day out sightseeing. Full modern kitchen, spacious bath and daily maid service.

http://www.lynwoodapartment.co.za/

Good luck and you will love Cape Town!
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