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Nov 9th, 2004, 08:31 AM
  #1
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Hi All, I am new member to this site.I am planning a trip to South Africa in early feb with some friends. Plan is stay in CT 7night and drive up to one of the winelands either Stellenbosch or Franschoek. Any recommendations? I have never been to a wineyard before not sure what to expect. Next we plan to travel to either Plettenberg Bay or Knysna for 1-2nights. What do u think is nicer and then finally to Shamwari for 3nights. I have had mixed messages about Shamwari? Is 3 night too much ? Is it worth fitting PE in ? we plan to only go for 14nights. Hope your can help
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Nov 9th, 2004, 12:38 PM
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Kensington Place in Cape Town is one of my favorite hotels in the world. Eight rooms all very classy and a great location. Visit wineries in Stel, Paarl and Fran, the area is not that big. Franschoek is prettiest. You must see the goats at Fairview (Goats do Roam).
Plet is very close to Knysna and both are nice. Skip PE nothing there. Though if you are following the Garden route to Plet you will probably need to overnight in PE then on to Joburg. Consider the Swartberg pass for bare knuckle driving and a night at Oudtshoorn to see an Ostrich farm and the Karoo area. Personally I would go to Sabi Sand for a first safari, the game viewing is usually spectacular. My favorite place is Mala Mala, but there are many excellent alternatives in the area.
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Nov 10th, 2004, 12:26 AM
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Hi Winomatt. Thanks for the advice. You have given me some ideas. However I won't be traveling to jo'bug or kruger which is why i was thinking ofShamwari. Is there another alternative better than Shamwari close by? I will have a look into the Swartberg pass sounds fun!
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Nov 10th, 2004, 04:52 AM
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I'm glad you're giving Cape Town the time it deserves - we spent 6 nights there and that was just right.

We stayed in Jambo Guest House in their Garden Suite - we liked the room and the location very much indeed. We were disappointed that the owners were not there and had not let us know this in advance (as the friendliness and personality of owners plays a huge part in our choice) but they did apologise for that later and if you could ensure they would be around I think you'd have an even better experience. The gentleman they left in charge was perfectly pleasant and helpful.

In Franschhoek we stayed at the Plumwood Inn (if you do a search in this forum you'll find my feedback). Nice room, nice guesthouse, delicious breakfast and very helpful and friendly owners.

In terms of visiting vineyards - it's just a case of selecting the ones you want to visit (we looked at tourism lists that indicated which kinds of wine each vineyard produced and also took advice from Selwyn) and then drive up and do a few tastings. Some places charge (a small fee that is then returned if you buy any wine) and others don't charge at all. You'll usually be offered tastings of only certain wines/ vintages even on the paid tastings it's unlikely you'll get to taste anything older than 1-3 years. It's a pleasure to see the various buildings and estates and some offer eating opportunities too. Cottage Fromage was a Selwyn recommendation we very much enjoyed.

In Swellendam we stayed at Aan de Oever and were VERY impressed with the room we got for the price we paid. Not much to see in this town but it's a beautiful drive to and from it and it breaks up the journey. Very nice guest house indeed.

I won't recommend our Oudtshoorn guesthouse though we enjoyed visiting the Cango Caves and wildlife ranch too.

We stayed in Knysna and stayed in the centre of town - which is sadly little more than a backpackers meeting point. The area around it is beautiful but I'd recommend staying in a suburb outside of town. We visited Plettenberg Bay and didn't really like it at all - to us it felt like an anonymous international beach resort town - on a beautiful beach but hardly what we came to SA to see. Really glad we didn't stay there overnight.

We also stopped a night in Tsitsikamma to enjoy the Tree Tops Canopy Tour which we loved before going on to Addo which we self drove.
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