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Capetown is a very interesting city to visit, it has beautiful beaches, a gorgeous harbour, and stunning countryside. It is a wonderful place to explore anytime of the year..
The airport is located 20kms from Capetown. The MyCiTi bus rapid transit system provides a shuttle service connecting the airport to the city. the trip takes approx 30mins depending on traffic conditions & costs R50.
" For safety and security, arriving passengers should only use Touch Down Taxis, the officially authorised airport taxi company."
Getting around Cape Town is easy especially if you use the open top hop on/ hop off bus which stops at all the major attractions in Capetown, you can catch the bus from the waterfront the whole tour lasts around two hours.
The Public transport system in Cape Town include city buses, taxi's, Rikkis, trains and mini buses.
Most tourists and locals use the minibuses they are very reasonable and good value. You can stop them like you would a cab ,you'll also see Rikkis in the center of Cape Town, they are small brightly colored vans that operate like taxis.
The trains run to all the suburban areas and they go as far as Stellenbosch and Paarl in the Winelands. The commuter train to Simons Town is a must do just for scenery.
Catching the train can be a fun day out if you travel on the Southern Line Rail Route which goes from Capetown to Simons Town as the train captures some stunning coastal views & stops of at numerous villages like Simons town / Kalk Bay / Fish Hoek/ Muizenberg & Newlands Rugby Stadium.
I know this area is very touristy but on a lovely spring day walking around the waterfront and watching seals sunbathe on the wharf, is truly enchanting and wonderful. There are heaps of cafes/restaurants/shops and tours to tempt any traveller. This is the place to go if you want to book a tour.
Now, if you have a problem with heights, then I suggest you stay on the ground. Catching the cable car up Table mountain is really something else...but the views are awesome, Cape Town's Table Mountain is a must for any visitor and provides breathtaking views over the city and its beaches. The panorama stretches from Table Bay to False Bay and around the mountain to the Hout Bay Valley and Kommetjie. On a clear day one has a magnificent view across the Cape Flats to the Hottentots Holland Mountains...be brave and just do it.
You can either catch the open top tour bus to get there or a taxi from the city. It costs R130 return on the cable car. You cannot book as its subjected to the weather conditions.
First Car Up 08h30
Last Car Up 17h00
Last Car Down 18h00
The gorgeous gardens of Kirstenbosch are situated on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain. Roughly 6 000 species of Southern Africa's flora are represented, particularly that of the Cape floral kingdom, known as fynbos. This a perfect way to spend a lovely Spring day.
To see Robben Island one must book a ferry ride at the waterfront, there is a large complex which houses all the information about this haunting island. This tour is really a full day experience and one not to miss if staying in Capetown.Apart from visiting the concentration camps in Poland, this Island has the same amount of appalling history. ..but at least after 27 years in imprisonment Nelson Mandela was set free...unlike those of the WW11 victims.
The normal tour to Robben Island takes approx 3.5 hours , including the two half-hour ferry rides. Ferries depart at the Clock Tower precinct at the V&A Waterfront. Ferries depart at 9am onwards every hour on the hour.
There is a small shop on the island for buying refreshments and souvenirs. Take a jacket as the sea breezes can get chilly crossing over the harbour.
This winery is situated dramatically against the backdrop of the Groot Drakenstein Mountains. The impressive Dutch buildings are situated in tree-lined avenues, with the most gorgeous rose and herb gardens. We sampled the wine sitting underneath a beautiful old woody tree and later had lunch in their wonderful restaurant.
The towns of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek are extremely beautiful, with seventeeth-century building; dappled avenues of 300 year old Oak trees makes these towns inspiring and inviting to visit.
Make sure you visit the Cabriere Estate cradled by the mountains in the scenic Fransechoek valley. The estate is deeply rooted in history dating back to 1694. The restaurant overlooks the Pinot Noir vineyards.
Langa is a suburb on the outskirts of Cape Town.
"It was established in 1927 interms of the 1923 Urban Areas Act. Similar to Nyanga, Langa is one of the many areas in South Africa that were designated for Black Africans before the apartheid era."
You can do a walking tour of Langa Township which takes approx 2.5hr whixh gives you a wonderful overview of the daily local lives. There are plenty of tours available - check out the tourist information centre for more information.
If you want to hang out in the most cool and hip place in Capetown, well this gorgeous village has it all. Fabulous restaurants, cafes and lovely old buildings. De Waterkant Village is located between Signal Hill and the Waterfront, between the CBD and Green Point.
www.daytours.co.za - has a list of excellent tours available.
www.waterfrontboats.co.za - for water tours
www.34southtours.com - for private tours.
www.andulela.com - for shanty town tours.
We hired a private driver to take us around Capetown. Our driver was fabulous and we ended up taking her out for dinner...this is a good way to see the city, expecially if you have a few friends with you...to split the cost. Most of the hotels can arrange this to be done.
Capetown has beautiful beaches (Nearly as good as Australia! ) There are 15 Blue Flag beaches along the Western Cape. Beaches are patrolled by life guards during the months Dec - March from 9am -4pm.
"blue flag eco-label is given to beaches that meet 14 criteria spanning three aspects of coastal management: water quality, environmental education and information, and safety and services, which include excellent life-saving standards, top-rate parking and sparkling ablution facilities."
Blue Flag beaches in Capetown :-
Clifton / Camps Bay / Mnandi / Muizenberg / Strandfontein
Another wonderful seaside fishing village to stroll through & around the harbour. There are plenty of antique ,bric-a-brac, books, pottery & other interesting shops & restaurants.. the best is watching the boast come in with their catch of the day !
Boulder's Beach is home to the African Penguin and its a fabulous day trip from Cape Town. The beach is close to Simon's Town on False Bay Coast. There are wooden walkways and viewing platforms for watching and observing the penguins. It cost R15 entrance fee.
If you want to stay in the area there is plenty of accommodation available the best being the Boulder's Beach Lodge located 70mtrs away.
SEALS. - can be seen up close at Duiker Island of Mariner's Wharf in Hout Bay. A boat tour takes approx 30mins. If your lucky you can often see seals at the waterfront.
This is definitely a must do on everyone's bucket list. The scenery is absolutely gorgeous not to mention all the wildlife, beaches & hundreds of bird species. If you don't have a car it's very easy to get to by using the Green Bus which offers a return shuttle from Cape Town Tourism in Burg Street to Cape Point. There is a 35 min stop at the Noordhoek Farm Village included plus entry fees into the park & a ninety minutes stop at in Cape Point. The bus leaves at 9:30am & returns at 3:30pm which is ideal for a day trip.
Cape of Good Hope opens at sunrise & closes at sunset. If you have a car book to have lunch at the Two Ocean Restaurant & ask for a window seat as you won't be disappointed. If wanting to totally indulge then book Ollifantsbos Guest House which is located right on the beach. There are also three stores to buy souvenirs, food or drinks located just near the Flying Dutchman Funicular & across from the main parking area.
Now, I certainly didn't do this but I know heaps of tourists would find this activitity filled with adventure & its certainly not for the faint hearted. However, one can still do the tour & just watch from the boat.
The tour includes pickup and return to your city hotel. The best time of year to view the Great White is between the months of April to October.
Great White Shark Diving Company
3 Van Dyk Street Kleinbaai - Cape Town tel: +27 21 461 6583
White Shark Africa -Quay 4 Commercial Slipway-Mossel Bay Harbour
Bookings +27 (0)44 691 3796 - www.shark africa.co.za
The 45 mins boat ride into Gansbaai takes you to "Shark Alley" - where the waters are frequently visited by the great white sharks on the cruise for food.
The drive from Capetown to Gansbaai takes approx 2hrs.
Whale season starts between the months of June and November. During these months its very common to see sightings of mother and calf.
The town of Hermanus is the Whale watching haven which also offers excellent cafes, restaurants & boutique shops. Accommodation is also available.
A cliff walk also allows you to watch for whales within the coves. The Southern Right Whale is most common while Heavisides dolphin, Bottlenose dolphin and Common dolphins. are also easily seen in these waters.
For information of the tours - http://hermanus.com/ whalewatchbooking.mv
Just near Stellenbosch you can trails for mountain bike riding which is totally suited for all ages. You can hire the bikes, kids BMX track . & elevated trails.
For more information : www.dirtopia.co.za
For those who want to learn to surf or if you just want to know where to surf. The business is a mobile surf school which caters for all different types of activities relating to surfing. There are group lessons lasting two hours providing wetsuit, & surfboard. Surf camps & surf trips can also be organized if wanting to know where the best breaks are located in Capetown. For more info look on their webpage.
Most restaurants can be found at the waterfront..It would take days to eat through them. Here are some I found to be good.
The Famous Butchers Grill - great steaks.
Brasserie Den Anker - Belgian cruisine - waterfront...this is a fab restaurant.
Maria's - Greek. Dunkley Square
Tank- De Waterkant
Belthazar- best wine bar in the world...great seafood and steaks
Cape Grace Hotel - for a good whisky.
Coffee - Giovannis 103 Main Road, Green Point.
Vida e Caffe Kloof Street.
Cafe Caprice in Camps Bay-if you want to be apart of the hip scene.
Green Dolphin - Fabulous place for serious Jazz Lovers.
Beluga and Sevruga - fine dining and trendy on the waterfront.
Showroom, Ginja Restaurants are also good too.
Mama Africa - traditional African food with live music - city long Street.
Afro Cafe - excellent coffee/snacks in front of the markets - long street.
Fine Dining -
The Greenhouse - with Chef Peter Tempelhoff' - 93 Brommersvlei Road, Constantia.
Hemelhujs Restaurant - Chef Jacques Erasmus - 71 Waterkant Street, City Bowl.
Woodlands Eatery - 2 Deerpark Drive Vredehoek
Societi Bistro - Chef Stéfan Marais - 50 Orange street - www.societi.co.za
La Colombe restaurant is one of the worlds leading restaurants & is located in the Constantia Uitsig winery 20 minutes from the heart of the city. If driving through the Constantia Valley then stopping off overnight here is an excellent option if your budget allows some fine dining, good wine & luxury accommodation.
If you are looking to buy some art & crafts the Greenmarket Square Flea Market is excellent. Located in the CBD (Central Business District) of Cape Town between Short and long Market Streets. They is plenty of stalls selling local art, crafts, fabrics and artifacts. Its fashionable to banter & haggle over the price. The Greenmarket Square is edges by some lovely outdoor cafe & restaurants - a fab spot for people watching.
This is a fab place to shop if wanting anything African & slightly funky or different. The shop is located in the hip De Waterkant village in Green Point.
Now if looking to buy a diamond in Capetown or even learn a little more information about diamonds then head to Shimansky showroom located in Clock Tower at the V&A Waterfront. I went into the store with a friend & had heaps of fun trying on some beautiful diamond rings. A tour is also available through the museum. Cape town airport also has a store so check to see if their prices differ as sometimes they have sales.
The V & A Waterfront is another terrific place to stroll around for shopping. There are plenty of upmarket boutique stores, Art & crafts too.
Cape Quarter is a unique place for shopping due to its Cape Malay architecture. Its located at 72 Waterkant Street, Green Point,. There is also an array of fab cafes & restaurants.
Cavendish Square - is located in the upmarket suburb of Claremont on Main Road. There are over 250 stalls which cater almost everything. The centre also has sixteen cinemas & heaps of restaurants & cafes. http://www.cavendish. co.za/
Woodstock - North-west of Capetown - Neighbourhood Markets in the The Old Biscuit Mill featuring over 100 unique shops - every Saturday between 09h00 and 14h00.
A beautiful luxurious hotel overlooking Table Mountain & the Harbour & a short stroll into V. & A Waterfront with plenty of restaurants, cafes & shops at your fingertips. If not staying here make sure you at least have afternoon tea or a drink at the Bascule Whisky Bar.
These hotels are situated in wonderful position just two minutes walk down to the waterfront. The hotels are connected to each other, and both are in outstanding positions.We stayed at the Portswood, the foyer is small and appealing with fast, friendly check in service. Staffs seems to be plentiful and welcoming. Down two steps is the bar and restaurant area. Breakfast is served overlooking the pool, with a lovely European flavour and ambiance. The only complaint we have of this hotel is the size of the rooms.You could stay at the Cape Grace Hotel with it's wonderful views but really I do not think you can go past this hotel for value and position.
We did have drinks at the Commodore in the gardens overlooking the pool, and it was delightful. The Commodore is the more upmarket of the two, so really it comes down to your budget, but both offer excellent accommodation, location and service.
This hotel is perfect to stay at if exploxing Gordon's Bay and the Camps Bay beaches.It is Capetown's newest seaside development. It is positioned beside a huge mountain, which makes this small town unique. The mountain meeting the sea makes a dramatic statement, one of nature's wonderful talents.
Gordons Bay is approx 40km from Capetown and can be reached by bus.
There are plenty of car rental companies operating from the airport or pickup from the city. Major car rentals are Hertz / Thrifty/ Europcar/ National / Honk / Sixt / Dollar / Avis / Budget & first.
Drivers must have a valid driving license, which displays his/her photograph upon it, or carry your passport with you as positive identification to verify you as the legal holder of the drivers license.
All the normal car companies operate from the airport - Avis / Budget/ Thrifty etc..
Parking in Capetownn can be tricky regarding security so make sure you use the friendly car guards in the parking stations or lots who will watch over your car whilst your away. The fee is very small & your helping out the locals at the same time. Always lock your car when driving in Sth Africa.
The normal rule regarding tipping in Sth Africa is to leave a 10% tip & a little more if you think the service was excellent.