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Cape Town Tips - holiday

Cape Town Tips - holiday

Old Feb 21st 2014, 12:52 pm
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Default Cape Town Tips - holiday

Hello Africa from the Sandpit (Dubai)! Ededed has sent me here,

So, I am adventuring to South Africa for a friends wedding, so I would appreciate your pearls of wisdom on must sees and dos please- Im travelling on my own so single girl friendly. I fly into Cape town, currently stay in the V&A waterfront area for 4 nights, currently 3 nights unaccounted for but looking at Camps bay (and maybe sharkcage diving-http://www.sharkcagediving.net these guys have good reviews but would be interested in any other companies that you could recommend) and then end with 3 nights in Hermanus, then back to the airport. Im travelling end of April time. I'm hiring a car so am mobile.

I like culture/history, art, fashion, markets, wildlife- fluffy/scaley ones as well as water based ones, scenic stuff, food and drink of course- but places I'd be comfortable on my own so won't be dolled up.

And if any of you aren't too odd then I'd be happy to buy you a drink for your trouble if you can give me some advice.

Anything i should avoid/saftey tips etc would be much appreciated.

Thanks In advance

Kittycat
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Old Feb 21st 2014, 1:27 pm
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Default Re: Cape Town Tips - holiday

Originally Posted by kittycat1
Hello Africa from the Sandpit (Dubai)! Ededed has sent me here,

So, I am adventuring to South Africa for a friends wedding, so I would appreciate your pearls of wisdom on must sees and dos please- Im travelling on my own so single girl friendly. I fly into Cape town, currently stay in the V&A waterfront area for 4 nights, currently 3 nights unaccounted for but looking at Camps bay (and maybe sharkcage diving-http://www.sharkcagediving.net these guys have good reviews but would be interested in any other companies that you could recommend) and then end with 3 nights in Hermanus, then back to the airport. Im travelling end of April time. I'm hiring a car so am mobile.

I like culture/history, art, fashion, markets, wildlife- fluffy/scaley ones as well as water based ones, scenic stuff, food and drink of course- but places I'd be comfortable on my own so won't be dolled up.

And if any of you aren't too odd then I'd be happy to buy you a drink for your trouble if you can give me some advice.

Anything i should avoid/saftey tips etc would be much appreciated.

Thanks In advance

Kittycat
Hi Kittycat, and welcome to Africa.

Firstly, I bought you here (didn't send you anywhere ). You are very welcome and I hope you have a great time on your trip. CT is a great place to visit (slightly dull place to live IMHO) - but lots to do.

My 2c (and others will be along to provide guidance I'm sure)

You have to get up Table Mountain - but wait until it's clear blue skies - one of the days will be glorious (don't go when it's cloudy) - so don't pre-book. A bit of a queue sometimes but worth the trip. The views are brilliant. Also a visit to Cape Agulhas is worth it too (Africa's southern tip), and Boulders Bay if you like getting close to Penguins. The Aquarium isn't bad either if the weather's bad. Shopping - Canal Walk is about the best mall (according to Mrs E). Robben Island is also an experience - if you like that kind of thing.

I went with sharkcagediving.net and they were first class. Photos I took with an underwater camera are attached...it was a brilliant experience but be prepared to hurl your breakfast over the side - very choppy - some people will say it's cruel. I can't comment on that but it is a hell of an experience.

If you like wine, get yourself on a wine tour too - depends on what you like as to which one (and if you can take some back with you).

Anyone else want to offer an opinion?

Enjoy, Ed
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Old Feb 21st 2014, 2:26 pm
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Default Re: Cape Town Tips - holiday

Hi Ed,

Thank you for bringing me here then and for your reply

Well it looks like a fab break from Dubai (also boring if you live here in my opinion- so a change of scenery and escape from the shopping malls is just what I need).I'm actually starting to get excited which is great - yay holiday!

So Table Mountain- is that doable in a day from Cape Town or do I need to stay overnight somewhere? and the same goes for Cape Agulhas and Boulders Bay ( excuse me for being lazy and asking rather than googling you are now my fountain of knowledge source ( and Im a lazy fooker). Robben Island - sounds like you're not too impressed?

OK so shark diving is a go, photos look amazing- did you actually crap yourself? I'm not sure I would have the nerve to get in the cage to be honest- depends whether Im in a what the hell mood or a self preservation mood! was it scary or just awesome? why would some say its cruel? (reminds me of a comment made about the Tiger retreat in Thailand where all the tigers are doped up- but I'm guessing thats not the case here so am interested in this comment). Noted no brekkie and take the sick bag. Also on their website it says to allow a few days just in case the conditions are bad, so is there enough to do if I stay in Camps Bay for a few days in case sharkything is delayed?

Thanks very much again and sorry for even more questions!

KC

The wine thing I would probably give a miss on my own, as much as I enjoy a drop Im not sure getting trollied on my own is the wisest thing in a strange country. but I shall bare it in mind.
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Old Feb 22nd 2014, 4:59 am
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Default Re: Cape Town Tips - holiday

Hey KC,

I lived in Dubai for 6 months in 2001 - went back for 2 weeks last year. I'd swap tomorrow...

Right - Table Mountain is a 29 minute drive from CT city centre so you can absolutely do that in a day. Boulders Bay and Aghulas are a little further but you can do both from your base in Hermanus. Cape Town is north of Hermanus and those 2 are South - so you're in the middle.

Robben Island is ok if you are interested in South African history. You take a boat trip across the bay and get driven round on a bus with a few stops and a guided tour by an ex-prisoner (who all seem to be Mandela's ex-cell mates, despite him being kept in solitary confinement ). It's interesting if you enjoy history but not a great museum as such.

Shark diving - I didn't crap myself - it wasn't scary at all, just violently sea-sick, but a brilliant experience. I did mine in gaansbai (pronounced kinda "handsbuy" - soft G at the front). That's 2 hours drive from CT - but close to Hermanus if you are staying there so you can drive there in less than an hour. I didn't know they did it in Camps Bay? It's worth checking where they launch from. You go on a boat and have to get into a wetsuit in this little room near the engine - so it's full of fumes, pitching left and right and you will struggle to stop hurling into the bog - throw up over the side and you'll attract sharks - big great whites. The cage gets thrown over the side and you hop in - then the put a roof over it. You drop below the water with a mask on and bob up for air every minute or so. It's ace, trust me - you will love it. Very safe(ish).

Getting trolled on wine is how we survive Africa. Try it - you'll love it.

Everyone else is still sleeping - sure more ideas will spring forth. Shout if you have more questions. Only a pleasure,

Ed
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Old Feb 22nd 2014, 6:16 am
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Default Re: Cape Town Tips - holiday

Hi Ed,

Thanks for the geography lesson- may arrange one more night in hermanus then. Think ill give Robben island a miss as well unless anyone else perks up and says it is an absolute must see.

Ok I am going to check the sharky thing as I may have got overexcited and confused as to where the pick up is. Just one more thing with the shark cage, I'm a bit clumsy, I mean I can slip over in a 1ft square room, my concern is the getting in and out of the cage, I can envisage me slipping, waving arms around and falling head first into Jaws mouth and my untimely death making the daily mail front page. How likely is that to happen?

Ok noted the wine- any good local sauvignon blancs you'd recommend?

Thanks again Ed you are a superstar!
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Old Feb 22nd 2014, 6:38 am
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Default Re: Cape Town Tips - holiday

Would you advise carrying cash or as little cash as possible?
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Old Feb 22nd 2014, 9:02 am
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Default Re: Cape Town Tips - holiday

Originally Posted by kittycat1
Would you advise carrying cash or as little cash as possible?
Hi Kittycat! Just carry a few hundred rand for incidental stuff and use a card for everything else. Mastercard and Visa are accepted nearly everywhere, Amex and Diners Club can be a problem though.
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Old Feb 22nd 2014, 1:23 pm
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Default Re: Cape Town Tips - holiday

Thanks Martyn :-)

I've had a friend recommend me driving over to Kruger Park for a couple of nights, she tells me its a 3 hour stunning drive. Baring in mind I have a ford Focus not a 4x4 -I may at this point be trying to cram in too much but just weighing it all up before i confirm everything.

Hm have just googled the drive and it says its 17 hours- I think my friend may be confusing driving with flying!

Thanks again everyone

Last edited by kittycat1; Feb 22nd 2014 at 1:37 pm.
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Old Feb 22nd 2014, 2:54 pm
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Default Re: Cape Town Tips - holiday

Originally Posted by kittycat1
Hi Ed,

Ok I am going to check the sharky thing as I may have got overexcited and confused as to where the pick up is. Just one more thing with the shark cage, I'm a bit clumsy, I mean I can slip over in a 1ft square room, my concern is the getting in and out of the cage, I can envisage me slipping, waving arms around and falling head first into Jaws mouth and my untimely death making the daily mail front page. How likely is that to happen?

Ok noted the wine- any good local sauvignon blancs you'd recommend?
Boschendal do an amazing SB - that's worth checking out.

Getting in and out of the cage is easy - if you fall in when doing that you deserve to be eaten. But the Daily Mail won't care unless you are an immigrant, so don't worry.

Originally Posted by kittycat1
I've had a friend recommend me driving over to Kruger Park for a couple of nights, she tells me its a 3 hour stunning drive. Baring in mind I have a ford Focus not a 4x4 -I may at this point be trying to cram in too much but just weighing it all up before i confirm everything.

Hm have just googled the drive and it says its 17 hours- I think my friend may be confusing driving with flying!

Thanks again everyone
The Kruger is a 4 hour drive from Johannesburg - which is a 12 hour drive from Cape Town. I don't think it can be done in 3 hours unless you are averaging 900kph - which is tricky given the state of our roads and the number of toll gates. If you manage it, let us know. We'd be impressed!

The end of April is moving into late Autumn here - so it's likely to be cool and potentially wet too - just so you know.

Another top tip - get your bag wrapped or locked very tightly before you fly in - the airports are known for pilferage of valuables from suitcases. There are some obvious ones too - get a Garmin to make sure you don't get lost, plan your route and stick to it (main roads are absolutely fine, keep away from Townships), keep mobile phones and cameras off the front seat and out of view, try and keep lots of 5 rand coins with you for tips (it's the only place in the world where you pay for free parking), don't give money to beggars - same story in most major cities.
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Old Feb 23rd 2014, 8:45 am
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Default Re: Cape Town Tips - holiday

Yip. Kruger is about 4 hours from Joburg, depending which gate you're going to. It's about 350 kms north - south, so this does make quite a bit of difference. The first part of the route is pretty dull, but it gets a lot more scenic once you pass Belfast. A Ford Focus is fine, you don't need a 4 x 4 for Kruger. The roads are dirt/gravel but they're reasonably well maintained - compared with the main roads anyway - and you're not allowed to leave them.

Cape Town to Joburg is a very long day's drive. 12 hours is possible, but pushing it, and most of us reckon on about 14 hours with a couple of breaks. It's more comfortable to do it over two days, if you have time, and stop overnight. I'd suggest Graaff Reinet. This involves a detour but it's small, interesting, and one of the oldest towns in SA. The view over the Karoo from the top of the Valley of Desolation (nearby) is stunning.

One tip for long distance driving in SA. Start early, by 5am. You'll be driving in the dark for an hour or so, but you can cover a lot of kilometres before you stop for breakfast and the journey just seems to pass more quickly. Trust me on this. I've been doing it for more than 30 years!
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Old Feb 23rd 2014, 9:26 am
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Default Re: Cape Town Tips - holiday

Thanks guys, but sod - that I'll fly to joburg and then little plane to the smaller airport by Kruger. If I was there for longer I'd be tempted but for now Ill fly.

What's Joburg airport like for transfers- am I likely to get raped, murdered and pillaged in the airport?
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Old Feb 23rd 2014, 10:57 am
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Default Re: Cape Town Tips - holiday

Originally Posted by kittycat1
Thanks guys, but sod - that I'll fly to joburg and then little plane to the smaller airport by Kruger. If I was there for longer I'd be tempted but for now Ill fly.

What's Joburg airport like for transfers- am I likely to get raped, murdered and pillaged in the airport?
Ha! No. It's actually a very good airport - comparable with most European ones (apart from bag pilferage). It's very safe, and transfers are slick and easy, usually.

The flight to Kruger is usually in a very small plane - and they are known to slice the heads off giraffes when landing at night.
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Old Feb 23rd 2014, 2:17 pm
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Default Re: Cape Town Tips - holiday

The flight to Kruger is usually in a very small plane - and they are known to slice the heads off giraffes when landing at night.
Please tell me you're joking?!?!?!?!

Ok, so that means small luggage and bumpy ride I guess?
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Old Feb 24th 2014, 11:48 am
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Default Re: Cape Town Tips - holiday

Originally Posted by kittycat1
Please tell me you're joking?!?!?!?!

Ok, so that means small luggage and bumpy ride I guess?
Don't worry, the giraffes are trained to duck when they hear the plane approaching........

Yip, tight luggage restrictions. Just check the ticket or ask the airline. The risk of thunderstorms and a very bumpy ride is greater in the afternoons, so try to avoid that if it's a concern.
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Old Apr 22nd 2014, 11:47 am
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Default Re: Cape Town Tips - holiday

Having an absolutely awesome time- would move here in a heartbeat - thanks for all the help guys :-)
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