questions about cape town

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Jan 11th, 2006, 06:42 AM
  #1
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questions about cape town

Hi Everyone
I am an ex Capetonian who left SA at the age of 14 nearly 30 years ago...I have been back once but that was 18 years ago.
I will be visiting Cape Town with my family for a family reunion in April and from everything I've read , I feel I will be going back to a completely new city - so much seems to have changed.
I therefore have a few questions:

1] We are going to be 15 people in all [7 adults and 8 kids]. Can anyone recommend a nice self catering apartment/villa that would be suitable [ for a week]

2] driving - we will be renting cars - are there specific areas that we should avoid, is it safe to drive at night, should we always stay in a group or can single cars go off by them selves?

3] walking around - the main areas that we will be visiting are: Camps Bay, Sea POint, Bantry Bay and Hout Bay. Are these areas safe for walking around during both days and nights?

4] Waterfront - this didn't exist when we lived in CT - is it safe at nights?

5] Any special warnings for women or kids alone?

6] any special suggestions of what not to miss?

I realise these are a lot of questions and I thank you in advance for your time and answers.

Totsiens


elanatene is offline  
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Jan 11th, 2006, 07:43 AM
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I can suggest that you get a villa in Camps Bay - they can be pretty expensive but some of them quite large and you get to be in a great location near to the beach. Just google 'camps bay villa' and you should get a few.

I live in Camps Bay and would say it is pretty safe to walk around down by the beach 'strip' of shops and restaurants at night. I avoid walking anywhere unlit or with no other people at night.

During the day no problem. Same with Bantry Bay & Hout Bay & Sea Point. Sea Point is probably the riskier of all the areas you mentioned. stick to the well lit areas with restuarants and you should be fine.

Waterfront Mall is very safe.

Just always be aware that you could get your bag snatched anywhere in broad daylight or at night so hold on tighly to all valuable possessions.

I avoid driving the airport road at night...as do most people i know.

Quite a few tourists have been robbed walking on the lower slopes of Table Mountain lately & Signal Hill. Rather just take the cable car up. The criminals are too lazy to climb the mountain to the top!

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Jan 12th, 2006, 12:52 AM
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thanks, your answer about the airport road at night worries me as we arrive into CT from JHB at about 10 p.m. - what is the safest way of transport from the airport at this time of night?
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Jan 12th, 2006, 01:21 AM
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i think that if it's more than one person in the car it's fine. I just wouldn't drive that route on my own at night. If I was on my own I would get a taxi.

Things not to miss: you should defnitely go to Kirstenbosch. With 8 kids i'm not exactly sure about activities except the beach. In Hout Bay there's the World of Birds which can be good with children. I would also go to Cape Point for the beautiful drive. But I'm more of an outdoorsy person. For those that like shopping malls there's Century City & the Waterfront.
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Jan 12th, 2006, 06:16 AM
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thanks, do you have any info on any markets and arts and crafts fairs - I would like to enrich my collection of masks and also the kids will want to get all sorts of African bits and pieces?
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Jan 12th, 2006, 06:32 AM
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definitely the market next to Greenpoint stadium on a Sunday. Very good for African stuff like masks
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Jan 12th, 2006, 07:22 AM
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Goeiedag elanatene!

As you know, once you had African dust on your feet, you just have to have that fix again every so often.. Glad to hear you will be back!

I know of an excellent place for your group, and it's in a beautiful setting in Hout Bay - large gardens, koi ponds, man... you'll feel the african vibe all over again! (see thetarragon.com) Of course there are many, many stunning places like that in our village (Hout Bay), but a group the size of yours is more difficult to find space for in one spot. If you don't get sorted, contact me and I can try to make a few more enquiries for you!

I have to say, having lived in a few countries in the world, SA is no more dangerous than anywhere... just keep your valuables out of sight, and practise normal safety rules.. lock your car doors, ask the locals about places you "shouldn't" go and go happily everywhere else. As with every city, there are criminals looming, but don't let it spoil your holiday - the ones you should be worried about are the opportunistic criminals, i.e. petty crime where they see something in your pocket/car that seems sellable... and if you practise common sense, you should not fall prey to that. South Africans, as you should know, are of the most hospitable people around, so ask your hosts or local tourism offices for guidelines of the areas you are planning to visit.

The Waterfront... well, it's a huge shopping mall on the water in the harbour... it's as safe as that can be... probably more unsafe for your credit cards than for you!

I can wax lyrical some more about the place, but I think you have made a great decision to come here already! Tkae the kids to see the Penguins at Boulders Beach in Simons Town, and as someone else mentioned.. the World of Birds in Hout Bay.

Have a great time!
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Jan 12th, 2006, 07:33 AM
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thanks everyone
Leanapayne - re the green point stadium on Sunday - I am not going to have a Sunday - we arrive Sunday night and leave Sunday afternoon - so unless i can zip there first thing in the morning I might miss that market - any other suggestions
Roly - thanks, have sent you an email
Cheers everyone and any more info and input would be greatly appreciated
Elana
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Jan 12th, 2006, 10:46 AM
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Do not miss the market. You can go quite early and actually get great prices. I went there at about 8 am with some friends who didn't want to go and they waited for a while in the car. (All they wanted to do was get to the wineries) When they saw my purchases they actually spent more than I did. You just need an hour of shopping and plenty of time to get to the airport. Of course the only problem will be getting the stuff home. Most of the merchants will wrap the stuff for you and just bring an extra duffle to check on the plane. Remember that most of the crafts are from West Africa as South Africa itself doesn't have that many "native" handicrafts. Most of the crafts will be wood. The only crafts I would avoid for breakage would be the soapstone sculptures. I spent a lot of time glueing mine back together again!
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Jan 13th, 2006, 02:04 AM
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thanks kimwhits, you are getting my juices flowing - I absolutely love African wood art and am really looking forward to buying some new stuff - I've already asked my travel agent to check if she can get me on a later flight on Sunday to give me more , less pressured time there....
Are there any other interesting markets that we can visit?
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Jan 15th, 2006, 07:48 AM
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All the West Africans have stores in town where the prices are higher. I have a feeling they bring duplicates to the market or ones that are slightly damaged. I myself don't mind a few chips on "antiques." I actually bought a pair of gazelles (male and female) that I saw the exact same thing in the Afria Museum at the Smithsonian. Mine are moldy but nothing that a bit of vinegar won't cure.I really think you have enough time if you haggle quickly. My friends and I bought about $3000 worth of stuff in about 2 hours, no kidding. They have furniture stores that they put them in as accessories and quickly sold them for double the price. Mine are gracing my Durban house that I am selling in a few weeks. I just have to decide which objects I am taking back with me to the States.

In any case, after the Market next to the stadium (I am never sure if this is called the Green Point Market...I think they are different) you wll have no need to go anywhere else. YOu can also buy extra stuff and sell it on Ebay. I don't think the Ebay mask market is as good as it used to be, but you might check that out.
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Jan 15th, 2006, 07:57 AM
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thanks for all the info and good luck on your return to the States
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