We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Visiting July/August

In cooperation with: Cape Town Tourism
Nottm, UK
Level Contributor
57 posts
33 reviews
Save Topic
Visiting July/August

We are visiting in July/August this year & are staying in Cape Town for 4 days, we then have 7 days to do as we please (thinking of driving along the Garden route) before we stay in the Kariega Safari Lodge so we need suggestions of things to do. Thinking of a wine tour or maybe staying in Stellenbosch? Trip to Robben Island? Scuba diving with seals/sharks? All suggestions welcome! Also if anyone could help with a guide to the weather at this time of the year that would be great! Thanks!

Cape Town
Level Contributor
209 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Visiting July/August

OK, it's not the best time of the year for weather. In fact, it's the worst time of the year for bad weather (kind of like the UK in early autumn!) That said, with only 4 days in CT, you'll easily fill your time, regardless of possible inclement weather. I would consider all your ideas sans the shark diving - this place is not called the Cape of Storms for nothing :-) Driving up the Garden Route is a fine idea - it's spectacular at any time of the year.

Tempe, Arizona
Destination Expert
for South Africa, Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Level Contributor
8,360 posts
55 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Visiting July/August

I live part of the year in De Kelders - not on the map, but next to the town of Gansbaai.. and we have B&B's and guest houses there that are a good base for seeing the Southern Right whales - from the shore (yes, they are just right there next to the shoreline!) and for the shark cage diving, which is based in Gansbaai. From there, it's easy to return to the N2, and continue east.

Cape Town
Level Contributor
733 posts
1 review
Save Reply
3. Re: Visiting July/August

I put this post onto the forum some time ago, it may help.

Hi, I have seen quite a few posts on various travel forums asking for advice about what to see and do in South Africa. I am a tour guide and tour operator based in Cape Town and I thought it would be useful to those of you who are thinking of visiting this wonderful city to give you an idea of some of the most popular things to see and do here.

Do your research before coming. Try and get as much info as possible before planning your trip. Find a local tour operator and give them as much information about your interests as possible. Don’t just rely on one source though, read guide books, visit forums like this and try to get as broad a picture as possible. You will get a lot of conflicting opinions but in this way you will be able to filter them and see which opinions seem most objective and informed.

Choosing a time of year to visit South Africa depends on your interests and budget. Most hotels and game lodges cut their rates dramatically between May and September (our cooler months) so if you are looking for value this is the best time to come. There are also lots of things to see at this time of year: The only problem is the weather. Although we can have lovely sunny days, Cape Town has most of its rain during these months and many of the most popular activities in this area are not very pleasant if it is raining so it is a bit of a gamble

If you want a better idea of what type of weather to expect; here is a link to some statistics:

weathersa.co.za/Climat/…CapeTownStats.jsp

Just remember the old saying: ‘there are lies, dam lies and statistics’!

If you can afford it, make use of a tour guide. I am biased of course but you really will get more out of your tour this way particularly if you hire a private guide and let them know what your specific interests are. It will give you an insight that just would not be possible if you were travelling on your own and it will allow you to relax and enjoy the magnificent scenery (and wine if you indulge). A good guide with a vehicle that can accommodate up to seven passengers should cost you about $250 per day (more if they are travelling with you) at current exchange rates and I think it is worth every penny. The best way to find a guide is of course from a personal recommendation but if you find a guide on the internet check out their references or testimonials. One word of warning though. If you do want a guide, find out what kind of vehicle you will be touring in. If it is a Quantum ask for a different vehicle! They are not suited to the job as they are cramped and have very small windows so it is hard to see anything.

Things you should see.

Well this of course depends on your interests but this is what I would recommend:

A city sightseeing trip on the open top bus. This is probably the best value tour in Cape Town. It is a hop-on-hop-off service which gives you a good introduction to the city. The tour goes through the city with stops at The Castle of Good Hope, Greenmarket square, quite a few museums, Table Mountain, Camps Bay Beach and the V & A waterfront (more too but these are the highlights).

Table Mountain. The weather in Cape Town is VERY unpredictable. Someone once told me that if you don’t like the weather here just wait 10 minutes! The first chance you get when the mountain is clear, phone the cable station to find out if they are open AND GO! This is something you do not want to miss.

The Cape Peninsula. Make sure you allocate a full day for this and try to do it on a day without rain. The trip will take you right to the tip of the peninsula and normally includes an optional boat trip from Hout Bay to visit an island covered with seals (45minutes), Cape Point which is the tip of the peninsula, the Cape of Good Hope, the Penguin Colony at Boulders Beach and Kistsenbosch Botanical Gardens. This is a very long day but well worth it.

Robben Island. Try to book this trip as early as possible. There have been times when it has been booked for weeks in advance. This is a three and a half hour trip (including the ferry rides) to the island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years. Once you get to the island, you will be taken on a guided coach tour of the island and learn about its history. Then you will do a tour of the prison itself with a former political prisoner and see the cell in which Nelson Mandela stayed.

Wine Tour. This tour is not just for wine lovers. The areas visited are VERY beautiful and offer a dramatic contrast to the scenery you will see on a Peninsula tour. This region is also steeped in history and for lovers of architecture, will give the chance to see some of the best preserved Cape Dutch buildings in the country. For food lovers, this area has some of the best restaurants in the country and as part of your tour; I would highly recommend having a large, leisurely lunch.

If you are really interested in wine then I would recommend staying a couple of nights in the wine country and touring from there.

A Township tour! Many people who visit Cape Town see only the things that I mentioned above but one of the things that most characterises our country is its contrasts! South Africa is a land of incredible scenic beauty and (for a few) great wealth. Unfortunately, due to our past, it is also a land where many people live in poverty and I believe that visitors should see the whole picture. This tour will give you the chance to interact with the people that constitute the majority in this country. It can be hard but it can also be surprisingly uplifting to see the spirit and humanity of the people that have suffered most from the Apartheid system. It is also one of the few ways in which the money from tourism can filter down to the people that need it the most. Many visitors are reluctant to do this tour as they feel it may be seen as voyeuristic but the people in the townships welcome visitors (sometimes literally with open arms) and realise that people are there because they care. I would advise though that you choose your guide very carefully as it is important for your guide to have an intimate knowledge of the areas and people you visit. Do not do this without such a guide.

Wild Flowers. Between the months of August and October, there are spectacular displays of wild flowers in the area North of Cape Town. It is easy to do a day trip from Cape Town to see this but if you really do have an interest in botany, you can travel a bit further and spend some time exploring. There are some wonderful places to stay in this area. It is also a great area for hiking, photography and to see San (Bushman) rock art.

Whale watching. South Africa is one of the best places in the world to see whales, particularly from the shore. Huge numbers of Southern Right Whales come here during winter to have their babies and mate. The best time to see them is between August and November. They are often seen VERY close to shore and it is quite common to see them on a Peninsula tour but if you really want the best chance to see them you can take a day trip from Cape Town to Hermanus, which is reputed to have the best land based whale watching in the world.

Shark Cage Diving. Very close to Hermanus is the town of Gansbaai. This is probably the best place in the world to see great white sharks. The best time to see these awesome creatures is during our winter. Unfortunately we get a lot of storms at this time of year so you may want to leave a couple of days open for this.

Walk with Baboons. Many people spend thousands of dollars to get close to primates in their natural habitat. In Cape Town you can do it for less than fifty dollars! There is a wonderful organisation called Baboon Matters http://baboonmatters.org.za/index.html that organises these walks and helps to protect the last surviving baboons on the Cape Peninsula.

Mark

4. Re: Visiting July/August

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 04 October 2009, 08:20