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Cape Town Itinerary: Suggestions?

In cooperation with: Cape Town Tourism
Los Angeles...
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Cape Town Itinerary: Suggestions?

Hello all,

I'm traveling to Cape Town in November, and dedicated advance planner that I am, I've assembled a general itinerary based on what I've read in a variety of guidebooks and here on Tripadvisor. I'd like to ask for any feedback on its practicability or if you think I might want to consider modifying it here or there, based on some of my travel likes/dislikes which I'll mention before I get into the itinerary.

I'll be traveling solo, and I'll be flying from Los Angeles (via London). I'm going to spend a day or two in London at either end of the Cape Town visit, as I can't/won't sleep on planes (the "won't" was recently solidified after a friend experienced deep vein thrombosis on a trip home from India). I'm looking forward to reacquainting myself with the British Museum and the National Gallery. Those institutions will make up for having to deal with LHR (my least-favorite international airport). I enjoy walking tours, guided minivan tours, and good food & wine (but not too upscale; I'm a jeans and t-shirt -- or collared shirt -- kind of guy). Car hire is out -- I dislike driving at home as it is. I am confident that driving a car in a foreign country *and* driving on the left would do me in. I'm a photo enthusiast, with an interest in architecture, floral photography, and informal portraits. I plan to leave my nice camera in the hotel safe when not on an organized minivan tour. (Basically, I'm approaching the safety issue as I did when visiting Rio de Janeiro a few years ago. I had a fantastic, crime-free visit.)

Day 1/Fri: Arrive Cape Town late morning. Pre-booked airport transfer to hotel. I'm looking at hotels (or even apartments) at or very near the Waterfront in order to minimize dependence on taxis and to allow me to walk safely (or relatively safely) between my lodging and cafes/restaurants. It'll be a splurge, obviously, but I'm willing to spend the extra money there than on taxis.

Day 2/Sat: City Sightseeing Red City Tour. I want to take advantage of the 2-day pass and catch the Blue City Tour on Sunday (see below). Since the City Bowl is pretty deserted on weekends, perhaps I ought to move my city tours to two weekdays?

Day 3/Sun: City Sightseeing Blue City Tour. I'm *really* looking forward to visiting Groot and Beau Constantia and Eagles' Nest.

Day 4/Mon: Based on so many enthusiastic reviews of Cape Convoy, I thought I'd take a full day Cape Point tour with them. I'm most looking forward to the scenery and the African penguins at Boulders on this one.

Day 5/Tue: Daytrippers Winelands Tour #2. (This is the one that includes bicycling between wineries -- I took my first bicycle tours while in Paris last year, and I l-o-v-e-d seeing the city on two wheels.)

Day 6/Wed: A day to relax or take another company's tour to the Winelands. The Daytrippers tour hits Augusta, Mont Rochelle, and Spier wineries -- is there another company that takes visitors to other wineries?

Day 7/Thu: Wanderlust's "Cape Town on Foot Walking Tour." This will get me into the City Bowl to get a look at some historic architecture in a small group rather than solo.

Day 8/Fri: Depart on evening flight to London. I'm thinking about perhaps arranging a VERY late check-out from the hotel so I can rest up before the long flight.

Originally, I'd budgeted time for Robben Island, but I'm torn on that now. I've read very good arguments here, pro and con, and I have to admit, I'm leaning con. It reads like the tour is rather rushed, and not nearly as fulfilling an experience as it could/should be.

Thank you in advance for any advice you care to offer!

Sydney, Australia
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1. Re: Cape Town Itinerary: Suggestions?

Doubletee does your Cape Point tour include Hout Bay and the seal colony? I was a bit sceptical about doing it because I thought it might be a bit boring and a look in the distance type thing but it was up close and personal and most informative. Not recommended if you are prone to sea sickness, your itinerary looks good and am assuming Table Mountain is included in all that.

Two lots of wine tours i.e. . Day 5 and 6 might be bit overkill unless you are a wine buff. You are covering the city and the lovely wine places pretty much but there are lots of nice walks and lovely beach side bays in and around worth seeing which you can do w/o a guide. Signal Hill, Lions head, Camps Bay, Sea Point ,Mouille Point to name but a few. Perhaps just have a nice lunch along the way and soak up the scenery. Re Robben Island tour there is certainly a mixed bag of feedback concerning it. Also it entails a boat ride again if motion sickness is a problem not a good idea. I skipped it but others will say do it. A toss up !

Los Angeles...
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2. Re: Cape Town Itinerary: Suggestions?

Thank you, stargaize!

Hout Bay does appear on the tour's itinerary, so perhaps I'll have a chance to see the colony. I'll email the company and ask if it's a drive-by or an actual stop. Fortunately, I'm not prone to seasickness. I do like being on the water, so maybe a sunset cruise one afternoon?

I do really enjoy wines, but with Constantia and a Winelands tour on the agenda as it is, I might benefit from some downtime simply enjoying a good long meal by the beach. I have no problem with taking a little vacation-from-my-vacation when traveling.

Thanks again for your feedback.

Port Elizabeth
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3. Re: Cape Town Itinerary: Suggestions?

Table Mountain should be done on the first cloudless day.

Frankfurt, Germany
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4. Re: Cape Town Itinerary: Suggestions?

Another wine tour company offering superb quality tours the Winedesk: http://www.winedesk.co.za/

Visiting Robben Island can be hit or miss. But, the best time is to go on the 9am boat and then you can be back about lunchtime.

Something different for in the evenings could be a Jazz Safari or Reggae Tour.

A helicopter ride is also something really spectacular!

Have fun Cape Town has simply too much to offer.

Regards

Michelle

Los Angeles...
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5. Re: Cape Town Itinerary: Suggestions?

Thank you both for your suggestions.

I'll be keeping my eye on Table Mountain!

Wow -- Wine Desk offers a number of tours that have caught my eye. I'll research those further, thanks for the link.

man of kent
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6. Re: Cape Town Itinerary: Suggestions?

Hi Doub We went on the cycle tour a few years back on my 50th,10 of us, some didnt want to do it but we all loved it in the end, great fun and a nice picnic lunch.You must try diving with the Great Whites, we even supplied our own chumming.Parachuting is good too, very cheap compared to England,our favorite destination for food was Hout Bay. Good Luck you will love it

Ipswich, England...
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7. Re: Cape Town Itinerary: Suggestions?

We enjoyed our meal at Hout Bay also. Good food in a picturesque setting. The blue bus route stops there.

We actually stayed in City Bowl at the Rockwell Apartment hotel. We could walk to the waterfront from there and also to the nearest stops for the tourist bus.

We looked at the weather, which was very changeable, and as soon as we saw clear sky over Table Mountain we got of the HOHO bus and joined the queue. We got about 5 minutes of clear sky with great views and good photos before the cloud came down but still a good experience.

Our combined Township and Robben Island tour, booked on line with Camissa tours, was a good experience for us and interesting to be shown round by a former political prisoner. One day there won't be any left to give real insight.. But, of course, you should decide for yourself.

The Township part of the tour was very good and also safe. Would like to have visited the school there but they were still on holiday.

Camissa didn't want money up front and if the boat had been unable to sail, we would only have had to pay for the Township part. I'm sure you could just book Township if you don't want Robben Island. Our guide told us a lot about apartheid, District 6 etc.

Take care, though. There are 2 Camissa Tour companies and I did contact the wrong one once.

We're still in South Africa touring Western Cape and having a great time.

ENJOY!

Augusta, GA
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8. Re: Cape Town Itinerary: Suggestions?

What is a Jazz Safari?

north yorkshire
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9. Re: Cape Town Itinerary: Suggestions?

You sound as if you are enjoying yourself, Eileen. Where are you now and when do you go back. We are ear constantia for the next week.

Doubletree. Your trip sounds well balanced. Look at kirstenbosch gardens - wonderful - perhaps instead of a wine day. I'm one of those that didn't rate robben island

London, United...
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10. Re: Cape Town Itinerary: Suggestions?

I'm surprised to see that you haven't built in a township tour. Having recently returned from SA, we didn't really 'connect' with the country or the people until we'd taken a tour. I'd highly recommend Vamos Township Tours.

In terms of Robben Island, we did it and would have regretted it had we missed out. Just turn up and get it done early.

Pam at Cape Fusion Tours took us on a walking tour though the city too. Not cheap (especially when compared to the township tour) but very interesting all the same.

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