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To Selwyn and the other CT experts: CT an Garden Route

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Oct 26th, 2004, 04:47 AM
  #1
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To Selwyn and the other CT experts: CT an Garden Route

Dear Selwyn and all the other experts on this board:

Sorry, but this is kind of long. I would really appreciate some help, since I am not sure I made the right decisions about our itinerary etc.


My boyfriend and I (both in our early 30s) will be in Cape Town and on the Garden Route Nov 22 to Dez 14. For the first week, we have already booked an appartment in Camps Bay, at the Brighton Court Complex. We really want to relax at the beach and hang out for the first week and generally take everything slowly.

For the second and third week, we plan to rent a car and go (in this order):
Second week: for a day or two to Langebaan (really want to go to Strandloper), then on to Boulders Beach for maybe two nights (and explore from there), then on to Hermanus and George/Knysna.

For Monday, Dez. 6., we have reserved accomodation at Botlierskop Game Reserve. We want to seee some wildlife, but not go as far as Addo. Is Botlierskop a good idea? Or is it more like a little-bit-larger-than a zoo-experience?

For the third week, we plan to drive back to Cape Town (which route should we take there, really not sure, also not about where to stay. I don't realy want the drive back to take longer than two days. Maybe it is even possible to do it in one day?

The last few days we would like to spend in Stellenbosch or Franchoek. We would prefer to stay somewehre wehre we can walk to wineries We have not reserved anything there yet.

Other than the itinerary questions: Since we really only want to spend the first week in Camps Bay and Cape Town, we decided to not rent a car for that week. Did that make sense? We figured it would be cheaper to go to town by taxi. I also read somewhere that there is a bus from Camps Bay to the waterfront thtat one can safely take even at night?

And now -sorry again this so long - should we use a local company to hire a car? We would prefer automatic, since we are not used to drive on the left side of the road.

Thank you everyone for reading this and maybe find some answers for me. Time sure is pressing and I am not sure if I made the right choices.

Maybe I should add: our budget is limited.. We don't want to spend more than 800 Rand per person a day for accomodation and food (except for something special like Botlierkop and, if we acan find it, a really nice place in the winlands for the last few days.

Thank you so much!

misskris is offline  
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Oct 26th, 2004, 04:50 AM
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Sorry, I just noticed all the typos
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Oct 26th, 2004, 05:43 AM
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kris, Selwyn is traveling to Italy and Croatia through the 31st of October and is off the board till then..am sure tho, he can help you with your itinerary ? o/a Nov 1st...r/we
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Oct 26th, 2004, 07:58 AM
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Hello Misskris,

As Colonelwes says, Selwyn is travelling. Obviously I am not Selwyn, but your trip will coincide with South Africa's summer school holidays, which start at the beginning of December. Coastal resorts and game reserves get very booked up, so I don't think you have any time to waste. Given that that is the case, I'll try to help you out.

Although I would not like to do it that way myself, you probably could get by without a car for your first few days in Cape Town. Yes, there are buses that connect Camps Bay with other Atlantic beaches like Clifton, with the city centre and with the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront (which also is the departure point for the boat trip to Robben Island, if you're interested in that).

I strongly recommend catching a cab at night, though.

I also recommend that you get a rental car for your last day in Camps Bay (maybe even your last 2 days in Camps Bay). Then use the car to do a day trip to Cape Point, returning via Chapman?s Peak Drive. You could visit the Kalk Bay penguin colony or the Boulders penguin colony en route to Cape Point.

A highly recommended activity is the cable car ride up Table Mountain, especially at sunset. The view from the top is wonderful. The cable car runs only when weather permits, so you have to grab the opportunity when you can. Although it is possible to get to the lower cable car station by bus, it's easier to get there by car or cab. If you want to do it by bus, I understand you need to catch the Camps Bay bus to Kloof Nek. It then is a 1.5 km (1 mile) walk uphill from Kloof Nek to the lower cable car station. Although sunset is a good time to see the view from Table Mountain, I would not recommend returning to your lodgings by bus after dark.

Moving to Langebaan before you go to the Garden Route would be inefficient, IMO. Langebaan is north of CT, and the Garden Route is east of CT. Also Langebaan, being 2 hours' drive from CT, is a feasible place to visit on a day trip from CT (or as a day trip from the winelands). I'm not sure that it warrants an overnight stop. Since you in any case will need a car when you're in the winelands, you might consider visiting Langebaan from there.

Also, I don't see the point of basing yourself at Boulders Beach. It's in the Greater Cape Town area, and whatever you can explore from Boulders Beach, you could have explored from Camps Bay (especially if you had had a car during your last day or 2 at Camps Bay).

The most efficient thing to do after leaving CT would be to do a circular drive, either clockwise or counter-clockwise. If you are renting the apartment in Camps Bay for a week, I assume you'll set out from CT on Nov 30. If you drive counter-clockwise, you could consider the following.

To be continued ......
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Oct 26th, 2004, 08:04 AM
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Nov 30 - Drive to Hermanus along the coastal route, visiting the Betty's Bay penguin colony on the way.

In previous threads, Uhoh_busted has recommended Avolon on Sea B&B http://www.avalononsea.co.za/ . She said she got an off-season rate of R250 per person per night. Since you will be going in-season, I expect the rate will be higher.

Dec 1 - Hermanus

At this point in your proposed itinerary you wanted to go to Botlierskop. I've never been to Botlierskop. But, at 2,500 hectares, it's about 3.5 times the size of the San Diego Zoo. So, yes, I do think it must have its limitations, just based on its size. However, Fodorites and their family members who have been there do seem to have enjoyed it. My own opinion is that you would be better off going to Addo. With the amount of time you have at your disposal, it would be more than feasible to visit Addo.

Dec 2 - Drive to Knysna.

Selwyn consistently recommends Overmeer Gueshouse in Knysna. http://www.overmeergh.co.za/ (R550 per person per night during the high season).

Also, do a word search to find Kavey's various comments about Inyathi.

Dec 3 & 4 - Explore Knysna's surroundings. See Selwyn's recommended activities in this thread:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34477003

Dec 4 - Drive to Storms River and do the Treetop Canopy Ride in the Tsitsikama Forest. http://www.treetoptour.com/

For accommodation in Storms River Village, see Kavey's recommendation in this thread:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34517236

Note Selwyn's recommendation to avoid crowded Plettenberg Bay during the December school holidays.

Dec 5 - Drive to Addo vicinity. Take a look at Jeffrey's Bay on the way.

Dec 6 - Drive through Addo Elephant National Park. It is waaaaay bigger than the private game reserves along the Garden Route and, with an entrance fee of R80 per person per day, it is much better value for money. See Selwyn's recommendation, in the previously mentioned thread, to hire an Eyethu guide for R100 per day + R50 tip.

Dec 7 - Schotia Tooth and Claw Game Drive.

Dec 8 - Drive through Meiringspoort to Oudtshoorn. In different threads Selwyn has recommended Rooderandt Guesthouse and La Plume. He used to recommend Shades, but no longer is doing so.

Dec 9 - Drive through the Swartberg Pass to Prince Albert, then turn west. Consider spending the night in Matjiesfontein.

Dec 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - Winelands.

Kavey recommends the Plumwood Inn in Franschhoek. In high season the rate is R850 per room per night (in other words R425 per person) for a stay of 1 - 2 days. For a stay of 3 - 4 days, the rate drops to R750 per room per night, and for a stay of 5 days or longer it drops to R650 per room per night.

Selwyn often recommends Cathbert Country Inn, which is set amongst vineyards 16 km from Stellenbosch. The rates are R495 - R650 per person per night. If you want to end your trip with a splurge, Cathbert might be the ticket.

If I were you, I would visit Langebaan as a day trip from the winelands. However, you also could cut your stay in the winelands down to, say, 3 nights, and end your vacation with a couple of nights in Langebaan.

To be continued ......
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Oct 26th, 2004, 08:18 AM
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I don't know if you're aware that the water off South Africa's Atlantic beaches is quite cold, owing to the influence of the cold Benguela Current. That includes all of Cape Town's western suburbs, such as Sea Point, Clifton, Bantry Bay, Camps Bay, Hout Bay, etc. It also includes all of the places further north along that coast (Langebaan et al).

The Indian Ocean side of South Africa has warmer water, owing to the influence of the warm Mozambique Current.

How cold you actually will find the water will depend on where you live and what your reference point is.

Cape Town's western beaches are very pretty. However, because the water is not all that warm, they are not the sorts of beaches that lend themselves to lazing and swimming for days at a time, IMO.

I didn't know if you realised that, and I just wanted you to be aware of it before you invested yourself so much in Camps Bay and Langebaan.

You'll notice that I keep quoting OTHER posters' accommodation recommendations. I have family members in South Africa, and I usually stay with them. Consequently it's been a long time since I've stayed in commercial accommodation in South Africa.

Anyway, I hope this helps.
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Oct 26th, 2004, 09:19 AM
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Judy, super answers, thanks for taking the time, am sure Kris can use your insights..r/wes
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Oct 26th, 2004, 03:18 PM
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Just a note to add: please keep your rental car for touring the winelands -- you can not walk between them. Well, I suppose you could...but you will be there in the summer heat and I really can't see hiking for hours between wineries. Driving is much easier than I thought it was going to be (expecially if your boyfriend drives, then you just need to try not to look at the left shoulder of the road and scream as he gets too close) No, really traffic isn't heavy out there in the country side, and not frightening at all. You are going to have a lovely trip.
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Oct 28th, 2004, 10:00 AM
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Thank you so much for your help everybody!!!

I certainly will have to reconsider a few things I suppose. I will let you know about my further planning stages (I might have the one odd other question as well)


Thanks again, Misskris
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