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Question for ekscrunchy or anyone that has worked with Charlie Ratcliffe in South Africa

Question for ekscrunchy or anyone that has worked with Charlie Ratcliffe in South Africa

Old Jan 20th, 2008, 01:26 PM
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Question for ekscrunchy or anyone that has worked with Charlie Ratcliffe in South Africa

Hi ekscrunchy or anyone that has worked with Charlie Ratcliffe-

I have some questions for you about Charlie Ratcliffe. My husband and I, both 31, have 3 full days to spend in Capetwon and are debating between a private tour guide or group tours through Ilios---we are open to other tour companies though. I am confused about Charlie operates-----I e-mailed him directly and he responded saying that he could work with us on the dates we are traveling to SA in August 2008. I know that he works for Southern Destinations---does he do this private stuff on the side or through Southern Destinations? Also, what was your experience with him? We are debating between the group vs private tours b/c we are not sure that we want to have to "entertain" a provate driver vs being on a group tour where we can talk with each other. Any thoughts? We are looking to do a full day Winelands Tour, a full day Cape Peninsula Tour, and a half day Table Mountain/City Tour. Thanks so much!


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Old Feb 1st, 2008, 04:53 AM
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Charlie is a freelance guide, so he works for Southern Destinations or anyone who books him. He is an outstanding guide and will give you the experience of your lives. Much better than a scheduled tour as you can do anything you want and not have to worry about 10 other people.
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Old Feb 1st, 2008, 07:04 AM
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I responded to this question about a week ago on another post, but to summarize:

I give Charlie my highest recommendation. I am not sure what you mean by having to entertain a private guide, but our experience (3 of us last fall) was that Charlie became more like a friend than a hired driver. He is in his 30s and was born in CapeTown. He is a very cool guy with a good sense of humor, smiles a lot, is most considerate...he went above and beyond the call of duty with us during the week we spent with him. Of course, you could do the trip on your own, but we thought that Charlie added immeasurably to our experience and I would hire him again if I am fortunate enough to return to CapeTown..

If you do meet him, please say hello for me (just say ekscrunchy from New York who was with the people who temporarily lost their cans of prune juice)
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Old Feb 7th, 2008, 04:43 AM
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Hi ekscrunchy-

What I mean by entertaining a private guide is that my husband and I were thinking that we would have to converse with him all of the time vs being on a group tour where we would not feel obligated to talk to other people the entire time. We are social people and want to talk to others, but are concerned about Charlie (or any other private guide) not being that exciting and us having to "hang out" with him for 3 days stright vs being able to go out on our own for meals, etc throughout the day. Charlie seems young and very cool---we just don't want to make a mistake. Over the three days, we want to do the Cape Peninsula one day, the Winelands for a day, and Table Mountain/City on the third day. Our fourth day is going to spent going shark diving. What day trips did you do with Charlie? Have you done any group tours there as well? If so, who did you use? Thanks.
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Old Feb 7th, 2008, 04:46 AM
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Ekscrunchy-

Did you book directly with Charlie or through Southern Destinations? Thanks.
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Old Feb 7th, 2008, 05:13 AM
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I booked with Southern Destinations. I had never before used a travel agent as I have traveled extensively throughout the world on my own. But using them was a joy and they (Liesl was my agent) handled everything including hooking us up with Charlie. You an also book him on your own. I can't talk you into using Charlie but I would bet that if you do decide to go with him you will not be sorry. If you don't want to include him in your conversations, he is cool enough to just keep quiet and you will not risk offending him. We liked speaking with him to get more of an insight into SA than we would have on our own...and believe me, one of the two people I traveled with really put Charlie through his paces with the questions. He is also far more educated than the usual "city guide" and e thought of him more of a friend than our guide, but I have already said that!

We had 6 nights in CapeTown and 3 in the Winelands and Charlie took us around most of that time. From CapeTown (we stayed at Kensington Place) we drove one day to Hermanus to see the whales. One day was devoted to CapePoint, the penguins at Boulders, and the Hout Bay seal trip. You can read the details here and feel free to ask more questions. Again, you can likely do all this on your own; we were glad we had been introduced to Charlie.

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=35088021







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Old Feb 7th, 2008, 05:17 AM
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Oh...we did not do any group tours as we had Charlie to take us around. I do not take group tours as I hate schlepping around with a big group in a bus; I have seen enough of those kinds of tours over the years and always thank goodness I am not involved. Either I wing it myself (most of the time) or use a private guide...... But that is just my own opinion...
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Old Feb 7th, 2008, 02:27 PM
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hi, en,

IMHO you don't really need a guide for the maority of trips you are contemplating.

table mountain etc. [don't forget about the Kirstenbosch gardens] are easily accessible on the hop-on hop off buses or taxis, and you can self-dive to the cape.

the only one where I would like to have a guide is the winelands, so that you can subcumb to the temptation to swallow instead of spitting.

regards, ann
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Old Feb 14th, 2008, 01:02 PM
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ekscrunchy or enlehman, Do you have an email address for Charlie Ratcliffe?

Thanks
cj
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Old Feb 14th, 2008, 01:38 PM
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Charlie's e-mail is:


[email protected]

You can also book him through Southern Destinations in CapeTown:

www.southerndestinations.com

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Old Feb 14th, 2008, 03:32 PM
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Thanks ekscrunchy, I will contact him.

cj
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Old Aug 4th, 2011, 04:11 AM
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topping for recent poster
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