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Western Cape and Cape Town - please help

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Western Cape and Cape Town - please help

We are planning an 18 day holiday this Feb flying in and out of Cape Town. We aim to stay in Cape Town for 5 nights but then would like advice on where to stay around the western cape. Would like two or three stop overs getting a good variety of scenery. We are hiring a car and like to be off the beaten track - therefore not opting for the Garden Route. Do we need to book B&Bs outside Cape Town? Any advise welcome - thank you.

Germany
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1. Re: Western Cape and Cape Town - please help

What kind of holiday are you looking at, when you say off the beaten track? Personally, I also wouldn't "do" the Garden Route again, but driving most of the N2 is the only way from Cape Town to other places (Wilderness, for instance) on the coast that makes any sense. There is plenty to do and look at on the Garden Route that isn't completely touristy, if you just want to avoid the crowds?

There is also Route 62 thought the Klein Karoo, semi desert, but there's not much to see scenery wise in February, apart from watching the, stunning mountains on the way past. There is plenty to choose from activity -wise, though, farm stays and Port wine tasting, ostrich farms and hiking, just like the Garden Route.

Edited: 07 January 2012, 09:45
London
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2. Re: Western Cape and Cape Town - please help

thank for your quick response. As we are both 60 our ideas of a holiday are more take in the surroundings and the people. We have travelled independently on several occasions around India by train and love the country. However friends have recommended South Africa and we really wanted to visit Cape Town. We enjoy walking, farm stays/home stays sound great. Hate anywhere there are coach parties and really touristy. Have already been on a superb safari and want to live with that memory. Would like two or three centres to stay that contrast e.g. mountains/ plains / coast. perhaps 3 nights in each area where we can relax and take in the surrounding area. We don't want long drives getting there and then having to come back. . When I say coast we like quiet spots- fishing villages not into hours of laying on a beach, can do that closer to home. Is this asking too much! thanks for any help offered.

Germany
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3. Re: Western Cape and Cape Town - please help

Me again-:)

If you like mountains, then Franschhoek (about an hour's drive from Cape Town) is interesting, with the added bonus of lots of lovely "wine farms" and very good food. Personally, I would stay here ( or in Stellenbosch, see below) rather than make it a day trip from Cape Town, to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere to the full, maybe make it a base for a couple of nights. It is a little more expensive than other areas, but is a lovely little town in the hills, with wonderful mountain passes to and from. Here you can walk, hike, bike, people watch and window shop. The wine farms are wonderful for tasting and you don't have to go to the big and crowded ones, although some of those are still worth a visit: Graham Beck for the wine quality, Boschendal for a picnic on the lawn..

Stellenbosch, only 45 mins from Cape Town is a pretty university town and good for just hanging around, again wine tasting and picnic at a wine farm. It is a little cheaper than Franschhoek and also makes a perfect base for a few nights. Warwick for the wine and picnic, avoid Spier which is far too touristy, small and wonderful Kanonkopp, Muratie for the genuine cellar door experience, Ken Forrester for his wonderful white wines and next door is 96 Winery Road for dinner, or the Wijnhuis in town, both excellent.

If you're looking for peace and tranquility on the coast, then Cape Agulhas, about 3 and a half hours from Cape Town is so small and peaceful (out of the main holiday season, which in February, you will be), is surrounded by wonderful nature reserves for bird watching and sea-life spotting, is also the southernmost point of Africa and where the two oceans really meet. Be warned, there is really very little in the way of evening entertainment, having only three restaurants, if my memory serves me right.

If you're willing to drive a little further, then there is also Wilderness, about five to six hours east of Cape Town. A little piece of paradise just past George. Canoeing in the lagoon, or the river up to the waterfall. Walking along the beach, which is a nature reserve for hours on end (don't forget to check the tides, though). And to top it all off, Serendipity the best B&B, which also has the very best restaurant on the garden route. Bliss. If you come here from Cape Agulhas, it's really not that much of a drive and driving from here inland towards Cape Town on Route 62, makes a lovely round trip, if you fancied a farm stay in the Karoo on the way back, I've heard some very good things about one or two. Haven't any personal experience, though.

I hope that gives you a little food for thought? Best of luck planning.

Rachel

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4. Re: Western Cape and Cape Town - please help

Hi Rachel

this is really helpful, thank you for your time and effort. This has given me food for thought - looks further on the map than I was planning to drive.

is there a great deal of difference between Cape Aquilhas and Wilderness as they are both beach resorts?

tricia

Cape Town Central...
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5. Re: Western Cape and Cape Town - please help

Hi Tricia

Both is very good holiday destinations and you will love it. Both are along the coast with many things to do but very far apart from each other. I would prefer to visit the Garden Route with the Wilderness included or via Cape Agulhas.

Regards

Hank - Owner - Ulungele Tours

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6. Re: Western Cape and Cape Town - please help

thanks for this input - one query - Are you thinking we should choose between either Cape Aguilhas or Wilderness. Is there anywhere north of Cape Town we should visit?

Germany
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7. Re: Western Cape and Cape Town - please help

Hi Tricia,

I was planning to go north this year, but had to decide against as the friends I was meeting were east, so can't really advise on that. I have heard that two parks, West Coast National Park and Columbine Nature Reserve are beautiful, but not sure if you'd be visiting at the best time of year for those, I'll let someone with more experience than me answer that.

As to Agulhas vs. Wilderness; I would do both, but only a day or two at each, Agulhas followed by Wilderness and back throught the klein Karoo, or the other way around. My impression is that Wilderness has more independant things to do, such as the canoeing, walking, hiking, as well as fantastic restaurants and Agulhas is more geared towards walking and wildlife, without much evening entertainment, but also there was quad biking in the area, if you're into that.

Edited: 08 January 2012, 12:29
Stanley, Falkland...
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8. Re: Western Cape and Cape Town - please help

Try up the West coast, and visiting the Cederberg mountains . Clanwilliam is a lovely town. With the time you have you could go to Augrabies National Park and beyond. Lovely scenic park, and empty roads.

London
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9. Re: Western Cape and Cape Town - please help

Okay, confused!!! getting lots of help from forum and friends - now to make decision with the help of this forum

option 1

Cape Town 6 nights, Swellendam 3 nights, Wilderness 3 nights, Franschoek 3 nights.

option 2 Cape Town 6 nights, Paternoster 3nights, Clanwilliam 3nights

Wellingto /Tulbagh 3 nights and the Franschoek 3 nights.

Help please

Tricia.

McGregor, South...
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10. Re: Western Cape and Cape Town - please help

Let me complicate things and suggest the Breede River valley and McGregor in particular as I think it would be an ideal inland destination for you. I would perhaps combine it with Paternoster as your costal destination.

"“Founded in1861 and counted as one of the Cape’s best preserved 19th Century towns, the quaint country village of McGregor is situated in the valley of Wine and Roses, 2hours drive from Cape Town on the ‘road to nowhere’. Home to wineries, excellent restaurants, Donkey Sanctuary, potters and many talented artists, McGregor is a gentle unspoilt place surrounded by mountains and reminiscent of a bygone era – crystal clear air, star studded nights, the old stone lei water channels still supplying water to timeworn whitewashed thatched cottages silhouetted against cloudless bluer than blue skies.”

(See: www.tourismmcgregor.co.za and www.mcgrregorvillage.co.za for more information on McGregor)