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LIVE! trip report....

In cooperation with: Cape Town Tourism
Manchester, United...
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LIVE! trip report....

Hi,

I'll hopefully keep this up to date as we go. For my benefit to remember what we've done and where we've gone and hopefully some small help to anyone reading this who is coming to South Africa....

First - big thanks to all contributers to this forum, especially DE's... your advice has been a great help.

Background - me (41) and the better half, D (37) from Manchester, UK. Two weeks in South Africa - Cape Town (5 nights), Port Elizabeth (1 night), Shamwari Game Reserve - Long Lee Manor (2 nights), Plettenberg Bay (2 nights), Hermanus (2 nights), Paarl (2 nights).

Arrived in Cape Town after a decent flight from London.... departed on time, arrive 30 mins early, BA were good (this time!)....

Picked up hire car... long queue at Europcar (and all the other car rental places)... staff nice and friendly though... got a brand spanking new Mercedes C180 auto... nice.

Drive into Cape Town was very easy. Some mad driving going on (not me!)... reminded me of Italy. Not a problem though... certainly helps that the sensible people of South Africa drive on the CORRECT side of the road ;)

Easily found the Madela Rhodes Place hotel. Checked in to huge 2 bedroom suite over looking the pool. Modern and new, but very nice and comfortable.

Drove to the V&A waterfront, stumbled into the Cape Grace car park. Nice man told us that we could park there if we "helped him out"... very convenient and 20 rand later it was all OK (now realise that we've being very generous with our car parking tips!).

V&A is huge... lots to see. Very pleasant to just wander around.

Back to the hotel and an hour by the pool as the sun went down.

I'd booked Fork for our evening meal - close to our hotel and thougt it was best to book for Saturday night. Restaurant was quiet when we go there, but was pretty fully by the time we left. Food was very nice and service excellent.

Up early the next day. Breakfast was good (outside by the pool). Weather was good, so over to the cable way and up to Table mountain. Views are stunning. I don't have the words to describe how beautiful it was, but it's a must for any trip to Cape Town (wind/weather permitting of course).

Back down and a quick drive to Camps Bay. A lovely beach in an amazing setting with Lions Head and the Twelve Apostles as a background. Coffee at one of many cafes along the beach front.

Drove along the coast back to the V&A Waterfront. More wandering around there before lunch at Belthazar. Very nice. Amazing wine list. Calamri and Escargot to start. Snails were as good (probably nicer) than anything we've had in France. Chicken kebab and bably kingklip form mains. Both good.

Back to the hotel for an hour or two by the pool. Couple of beers.

Snooze and showered and ready for something to eat. Nothing planned, but had spotted Haiku across the road from the hotel - "Asian Tapas"! - very very nice. 'Tapas' (like Fork the night before) is great, gives you the taste of lots of different dishes. Beef fillet cubes, scallopes, 'angry' duck and sizzling Ostrich were particularly good.

Worth mentioning at this point that the waiters at all restaurants have been very good, particuarly with their wine knowlege/recommendations.

Back to the hotel to another bottle of S.blanc (from WineSense - wine shop/restaurant at the hotel). Very nice.

Moving to the Pennisula tomorrow for our last 2 nights in Cape Town.

Cape Town is ridiculously stunning. Whilst being aware of the security/safety issues we haven't felt concerned about safety at any point. Everyone, without fail, has been incredibly friendly and genuine.

Apologies for any spelling/grammar mistakes (I'm 2 bottles worse for wear!).

Cheers

Pete

Cape Town
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1. Re: LIVE! trip report....

Hi Pete

Welcome to Cape Town!

Thanks ever so for the Live Trip Report gives everything a real immediacy as you learn about the country as you go along not just post an analysed, and maybe realigned, review after you get back. Hopefully really useful to those planning to come - and you can ask more questions as you go along.

Glad things have started off OK. The weather was a little odd today and I'm glad you got up the Mountain early before the clouds built up a bit. Should be a bit less cloud tomorrow and a bit warmer but it will certainly be windy down the peninsula, so hold on to your hat - and it would be a good idea for D to wear jeans or trousers and not a skirt!

Keep having a great time!

Manchester, United...
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2. Re: LIVE! trip report....

Thanks Van de Caab.

Yes, very pleased we got up Table Mountain before the clouds.

Happy to report that there's very little wind today - even at the Pennisula - makes you feel the heat though!

D is a bloke and just hasn't got the legs for a skirt!

Manchester, United...
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3. Re: LIVE! trip report....

Checked out of the Mandela Rhodes after another good breakfast. Wandered up through Kompany Gardens (very nice) to the South Africa museum. We were intending to go to the National Gallery, but it is closed on a Monday.

Stroll down Long Street. Nice to see it busy after the weekend when it’s pretty quiet. Picked up the car and headed off to the Pennisula. Still 2 hours before check, but thought we’d at least drop the bags off. Room was ready thoug, so straight up. The hotel is pretty dated, but the lobby seems well maintained. Our room is even more dated, but clean and comfortable. It’s all about the ocean views I guess. Very pleasant on the balcony and there’s a bottle of rose in the fridge waiting for the sunset.

Decide to check out the Cape Quarter for shops and lunch. 5-10 minute drive over there. A very nice place, although still undergoing some finishing touches. Some quality shops selling stuff you don’t really need ;) We had a very nice lunch at Vanilla. Excellent confit duck salad and lamb burger followed by Taste of Vanilla for dessert (creme brulee, swiss roll andstrawberry and sugared mint leaf) – shared. A lovely Sauvignon Blanc rose to wash it down. Shame I was driving, I’d have happily sat and had a bottle of two....

Another wander around the shops at Cape Quarter and bought 3 prints from Galleria Gibello.

Back to the Pennisula for a spot of sunbathing – very hot today – not too much wind.

Going to the Opal Lounge tonight, based on the rave reviews here, so looking forward to it. The food has been on of the many highlights so far.

Tomorrow, our final day in Cape Town, is Cape Point / Chapman's Peak Drive / Boulder or Betty's Bay / Simons Town etc....

Harrow, United...
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4. Re: LIVE! trip report....

Pete - this is fantastic, thanks; please keep the reports coming they are so interesting. We will be there for 5 days mid month and just can't wait.

Manchester, United...
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5. Re: LIVE! trip report....

Well the Opal Lounge exceeded expectations. Gorgeous restaurant split into several different rooms. Extremely comfortable.

Started with cocktails in the lounge bar - Peanut Butter Dream for D and Goddess Mojito for me - both very good.

Into the dining room (Persian room) and an amuse bouche to start - ostrich with a mustard cream sauce.

We shared our starters - pan seared scallopes with various things - can't remember it all - but a foam of some sort, pea and a chirizo crisp. Very nice. Venison dim sum - including a chocolate sauce and more foam. Again very nice.

Mains were - tender beef fillet and lamb shank - superb.

Wine was a very good blend Eikendal (2005 Stellenbosch I think).

Desserts were catalana custard and tiramsu brulee - again pretty much perfect.

Back into the bar for an expresso martini for me and a goddess mojito for D.

Service was spot on. Attentive, profeessional but still relaxed and not too formal. Portion sizes were perfect for us and nice to enjoy three courses and feel satisfied, but not stuffed.

A brilliant evening. Easily one of the best meals we've had and probably the nicest restaurant I've been to in terms of setting, decor and service.

Excellent, 10/10!

Cape Town
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6. Re: LIVE! trip report....

Pete

First of all apologies to Pete for the gender confusion. On the other hand there is no worse sight in Cape Town than a scotsman in a kilt, in a Cape of Good Hope high gale!!

Also got a bit confused by peninsula (small p - the place) and Peninsula (large P - the hotel) - sorry!

Hope the trip down the peninsula (small p) today goes well. It should actually be a good day as the wind has dropped although a little hazy. Will look out for you in Hout Bay!

Glad you liked the Opal Lounge - still definitely my favourite restaurant in the City Bowl.

Off to see the Lions and Elephants tomorrow - make sure you set your alarm for the early PE flight!

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7. Re: LIVE! trip report....

You've no idea how invaluable this is for those of us who haven't travelled yet. Thank you so much!

Manchester, United...
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8. Re: LIVE! trip report....

Even hotter today! OK breakfast at the Pennisula, then set off for Cape Point. Followed directions as posted by Van de Caab a week or two ago – circular route – Chapman’s Peak Drive to Cape Point and then back via Simon’s Town, Fish Hoek etc...

Chapman’s Peak is a great drive with the expected stunning views. Hout Bay looking particularly impressive.

Up to Cape Point – lazily took the finulcular (sp) up and then walked up the remaining steps to the light house. Great views. Walked back down and timed it perfectly for lunch at the Two Oceans restaurant - got seated with an outside table in the shade before hordes of people from the coaches arrived! Decent enough food (calamari for us both) and certainly worth it for the setting – again stunning.

Drove back and bought a few gifts from the sellers at the turn off for Cape Point – enjoyed the haggling – all good humoured. Thanks AGAIN! to VdC for the tip on this one as well.

Back on the road and headed towards Simon’s Town and Boulders Beach to see the penguins. It was busy there, but we took the right hand boardwalk and were the only ones on that viewing platform. Only slightly further away from the penguins than the other platform where there were probably 100 plus people.

I was getting a bit tired by now, so just enjoyed the drive home. Back here now and about to head for the pool to try and cool down!

Camps Bay for dinner tonight then early flight to Port Elizabeth in the morning (iPhone alarm set and wake up call booked - 4am!!!!!).

Edinburgh, United...
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9. Re: LIVE! trip report....

excellent trip report Pete - we arrive on Sunday!

Enjoy your safari

Manchester, United...
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10. Re: LIVE! trip report....

Some pictures to go with the words (ignore the ones of us - just check out the views!)

www.facebook.com/album.php…

www.facebook.com/album.php…