The In's and Out's of Cape Town

Jun 29th, 2010, 06:27 PM
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The In's and Out's of Cape Town

My mother and I will be spending four nights in Cape Town this October before moving on to our safari. We will be staying at the Westin. Am I correct in assuming that a taxi is the easiest/fastest way to get to the hotel?

Is anyone familiar with the area around the Westin? Is it all businesses or are there any little restaurants/shops? We are also looking for restaurant suggestions - cafes that serve salads, sandwiches, pastas etc. I am not an adventurous eater (meaning I seek out American/European food) and usually eat a vegetarian diet when I travel. A suggestion at the waterfront would also be great.

Finally, we are planning on a trip to Robben's Island, to see the penguins and to go on a whale watch. Any other must-do's?
kcapuani is offline  
Jul 1st, 2010, 05:56 PM
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Any suggestions?
kcapuani is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2010, 10:23 AM
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Make sure you book Robben Island in advance of your arrival; we neglected to do so and therefore could not visit.

How are you planning to get around?
ekscrunchy is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2010, 10:49 AM
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ekscrunchy - Thanks for the advice on Robben Island - We will be sure to buy tickets in advance.

As for transportation, we figured we would take cabs. If there is a bus system that is easy to use, we'd be open to that is well. I do know that the Westin has a free shuttle to the waterfront.
kcapuani is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2010, 12:31 PM
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Presuming you mean the Westin at lower Long Street, the waterfront is walkable in about 20 minutes, but if you have a shuttle then it would be silly not to use it.

There is a hop on, hop off tourist bus that you may enjoy if restricted for transport.

The point that I repeat ad nauseum about Cape Town is that if you arrive, and the mountain is clear, get to the cable station and go up it because you may not get another chance.

There is a great deal to do in Cape town, and it obviously depends on your tastes. I love the drive down around Camps Bay, Hout Bay, Chapmans Peak and down to Cape Point (I am sure you can find a tour), I find the Scenary around Stellenbosch and Franschoek and all the vineyards quite spectacular.

Helicopter tours over the mountains are spectacular but expensive. The views of the Mountain from either a sunset cruise (or from the boat to Robben Island) are breathtaking (if you are unable to do either, then by October possibly the rapid bus network out to Milnerton and towards Blaauwbergstrand will be ready)

The famous "Penguin colony" is at Boulders Beach, which is the other side of Simonstown - a lovely drive if you have a car, but difficult otherwise (other than organised tour)

There are numerous restaurants at the Waterfront, although at a guess, you might be more likely to find a Vegetarian restaurant in town, nearer your hotel than at the waterfront.
willit is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2010, 05:12 PM
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We were in Cape Town in May last year, and we loved it. Am not familiar with where you are staying, but I second the idea to visit the penguin colony. We made arrangements in advance with Rhino Africa to pick us up at the airport, and for them drive us several different places on different days. The penguins were one of our favs. Rhino was very reasonably priced and both of the guides we had were very knowledgable. Would highly recommend them. Also had them take us to Table Mt., and we had a wonderful hike around. They also took us on a tour through town, dropping us off (our request) at a local market, Greenmarket Square, where different people sold their crafts. We also went to Cape Point-another beautiful spot, plus it was interesting to get out of town and see the countryside. We did not go to Stellenbosch (sp),the wine country-but I heard lots of good things about it. Not a vegetarian so can't help there.You will have a great time. Our hotel did not want us to walk around much, and not at all at night, even tho it was in a fine area, so they would drive us to the waterfront or a local restaurant at night, fyi...
karn is offline  
Jul 4th, 2010, 01:41 AM
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The Westin is in a nice location, but do use the shuttle bus to and from the waterfront. Don't walk back to the hotel especially after dinner, once it's dark.

We were in CT in October last year and did all the things that others have listed. Book Robben Island from the office at the Waterfront. Cabs might a bit expensive to do Hermanus, Simonstown etc. so maybe think about hiring a car. It's easy to find your way around, but keep your doors locked once you're in the vehicle.

I don't want to appear overly cautious, but it doesn't hurt in SA. Get out to Stellenbosch as well if you have time, but 4 nights won't give you too long to see everything.

You'll have no problem foodwise. there are plenty of veggie options everywhere.
Lifeman is offline  
Jul 4th, 2010, 11:07 PM
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There's a great new inner city loop bus service called MyCiti - check it out at It costs R8 per ride, and the loop runs in both directions. Right now during the World Cup there's a bus every 10 minutes, but that's likely to be changed to 20 after 16 July.

The new bus service also runs to and from the airport directly to the centre-city transport hub (Civic Centre) for R50 per person each way. This is MUCH cheaper than a taxi and the buses are new.

For the penguins at Boulders, you can take the Southern Line train from the newly revamped Cape Town train station to Simon's Town (runs along the False Bay coast - stunning!) and either walk to the penguins or take a taxi locally to get there and back. Note that Simon's Town is the end of the line, so you'd need to make arrangements to get to and from Cape Point, for example. The train ticket is hop-on, hop-off, so you can get off at Muizenberg, Kalk Bay, wherever, on your way to or from the penguins.

Vegetarian options: Ethiopian at Addis in Cape (Church Street between Long and Loop), Zucchini's (Loop Street) for lunch, Lola's on Long Street for the hipper vegetarians, and Masala Dosa also on Long Street for Indian vegetarian. Many more mainstream restaurants (and chain restaurants - try Kauai) in town cater for vegetarians - you'll find that Capetonians are generally sensitive to dietary preferences (Halal, Kosher, vegetarian, etc.)


kurt_a is offline  
Jul 5th, 2010, 06:43 PM
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Thanks everyone! We will definitely exercise caution while in S.A. Perhaps we will take the train to see the penguin colony, but otherwise I think we will take tours. We discovered that Viator offers tours around Cape Town (my mother used them in Italy). We'll also look into Rhino Tours.
kcapuani is offline  
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