Cape Town and South Africa recommendations
We are having a hot christmas this year!
Me and the wife, plus all her family are flying out to SA for 2 weeks over Christmas and New Year to visit her grandparents. We will be mainly based in Kysna whilst there but the wife and I are having a few nights in Cape Town before Christmas to do some touristing, so first off suggestions for things to do with 2.5 days in Cape Town. We thinking Table Mountain and Penguins? Other things and places to eat and drink?
We are then over in Knysna for 10 days. Have booked cricket tickets in PE for one day but that’s about it. Any riding about? Other things to recommend near there? We will have a car for the duration so can take a day trip!
ThanksPosted 3 years agonickjbSubscriber
From Cape Town: Robben Island. The aquarium. There’s biking round the other side of table mountain but apparently its not the safest place in the world.
On the way to Knysna or day trip from Cape Town: Whale watching at Hermanus. Not sure about the time of year for that. Shark dive (some ethical issues). Theres a few nature reserves. There’s a few adrenalin things like bridge swinging and bungy as well as tubing.Posted 3 years agodannyhMember
Knysna Riding is either Harkerville Forest or the point to point route called Petrus Se Brand. I have done the Harkerville Loop twice and it is a really nice ride for the scenery and trails. Nothing techy just a really enjoyable ride with one or two slightly testing bits.
We have been to Plettenberg Bay a few times – the Robberg Peninsula nature reserve and long walking route is really good – don’t underestimate the going, though. I did it in sandals (despite the warning) and it was harder than I’d anticipated. You also can’t go at certain times due to the tides.
There is a snake sanctuary on the road to Port Elizabeth about ten minutes east of Plett. That is a really good little trip for the money.
Also, you have to eat at Enricos on Kettle Beach at the end of Keurboomstrand (probably mis-spelt) – again a few minutes out of Plett on the main road to PE – great food (especially the fish) and a beautiful small beach.
I love this area – since the kids came along we haven’t been able to afford to go again(!)Posted 3 years agohofnarMember
You made the wrong choice the lovely riding is mostly on the outskirts of Cape Town.
The riding close to Cape Town is Tokai Forest reasonably safe during daytime.
Lovely mtb stuff in under an hours drive Jonkershoek, contermanskloof, hillcrest Welvanpas, oak Valley, Lebanon forest, Thandi and Paul Cluver, Delvera Meerendal
Scenic drive/road ride) around the peninsula on the cape argus cycle tour route. Especially chapmans peak renowned for beautiful views.
Around Knysna as said Harkerville(there is some promising walking paths around as well though would avoid as you are in peak holiday time stay to trail). There is also http://www.gardenroutetrailpark.com/ nice riding avoid after big rain(their berms don’t drain properly yet.
Lovely scenery around Knysna though. There is a bungy jump not too far away if int this. Good seafood a plenty in Knysna as well.
Good food a plenty especially as you are a meat person, lovely fruit salads with breakfest often as well.. If into a quick burger ignore Mac Donals or Wimpy’s have a Steers its on another level.
Just got back after a two month trip there. Watch for the heat that time of the year as it can be quite hot, sadly peak holiday season so some places are gonna be crammed. And watch you speed, the wider Knysna reagion is full of fixed and mobile speed traps.Posted 3 years agohofnarMember
Indeed robben island is often fully booked in advance especially that time of year. Same for table mountain.
Didn’t find Robben island really worth the time when I was there ten years ago.
Table mountain never been up there though I have been to Cape Time at least 20 times. Preview alternative plans as they might not run with wind or views may be useless if clouds. Do take the cable car as the hike is long and there are/where safety issues on the hiking trail.Posted 3 years agonotmyrealnameSubscriber
There’s some fantastic riding around Cape Town and apparently Stellenbosch as well.
I went a couple of years back and got a guided tour and hire bike from irideafrica.com good bikes a the guide was great too. We went out round Tokai Forest which has some great trails. I think that all in the bike hire and guided day were less than £100. Well worth it.
Next time I’m there I’ll be doing a few days in Stellenbosch. Apparently the riding there is awesome!Posted 3 years ago
Unless you really really feel the need to tick it off the list, I’d give Robben Island a miss. Having lived there a few years (Cape Town that is- not RI :wink:), every one of the ppl I know who visited us and did the RI trip found it quite disappointing and erm…a little boring. Most say the boat trip is the best part 😕 You’re very constricted on the island and basically herded around by the guides. I’d do a township visit instead (based on your view of this ethically).
Get up the mountain of course, but bare in mind with only a couple of days in CT, you’re not guaranteed to get up there. Summer is Cape Dr time- mental SE wind that shuts the cable car if above a certain speed.
Definitely visit a wine farm or two- I personally think Franschoek is the nicest area. We used to live out Bloubergstrand way, so Durbanville was on our doorstep too.
Maybe see if you can drop in at Kirstenbosch at the weekend if your there for one of the famous summer music performances they hold on Sunday evenings.
Head up the West Coast to Langebaan (where my In Laws live), and drive thru the National Park. Wildlife and stunning beaches.
Definitely try check out ze Pingus but I fear you may be there the wrong time of year and they’ll be out at sea rather than post-breeding and on land which is the best time to visit them.
Shark diving is great, but you got to pick a good company or else there’s too many ppl on the boats.
If you fancy spoiling yourself food wise, 91 Keerom is very nice. Me n the Saffer wife ate there once and it was v nice. Gordon F@!$%g Ramsey only walked in half way thru the night too! Wife nearly fainted.
Camps Bay? Pretentious and you get hassled to death on the beaches. Avoid.
Sunset on Signal Hill- definitely. take a picnic, bottle of wine and watch the best sunsets in the world.
Just chill- head up to Bloubergstrand and walk along the beaches, watch the kitesurfers and gawp at the best views of the Mountain you can get. If you head a little north of Bloubergstrand towards Melkbosstrand, Haakgat is a much quieter beach with the postcard vista of Table mtn and Robben Island.
A word of warning if you don’t already know. Cape Town at Xmas time is to be quite honest, a nightmare. I hope you have your accoms and car hire booked! You generally get armadas of taxis from the townships ferrying people to the beaches- it’s just what they like to do at Xmas. Just a note to be even more vigilant of shocking driving standards from these taxi drivers.
Just don’t waste your precious time lolling around the V&A if you only have 2-3 days in what is (in my opinion), the best place in the worldPosted 3 years agobatfinkMember
If you are based in Knysna, check out Tsitsikamma national park, it’s pretty close. We did the canopy tour (link) which was good fun.
If you’re going to be in the PE area I’d also really recommend Addo Elephant park. It’s not a “kruger” safari experience – but I was blown away. More elephants than you can shake a stick at and having a glass of red outside your traditional Rondavel (round hut thing) as the sun is going down, watching baby rhinos, lions and elephants at the watering hole is pretty special
Posted 3 years agonasherMember
When I was there in 2001 I did loads of things
Table mountain you can climb up…no need for the cable car.
On long street there are many offices that can book you on escursions etc.. I did quad biking (proper race ones), A brai on a sailing yacht overlooking the bay, we then got picked up in a semi inflatable and ragged that on the sea chasing dolphins and then clubs and strip joints..
Grear white shark diving was one of the most incredible things I have ever done…..but this is now frowned upon as there are many people with boats doing this causing problems.
Robben Island was a bit meh, so if you cant go dont worry about it..
Then you have cape point great beaches etc..
Stelenbosch and the wine regions are great, there is one with some cheetahs and you can pay to go in the pen and stroke them..
On the garden route, the bungie jumps was a laff, also there are some caves and dont forget to go to the ostrich farm and have a go riding one…I nearly got killed, but ostrich burgers are ace.
EnjoyPosted 3 years agoskellnonchSubscriber
These guys are great, I went with them a few years ago…. they do a single track tour of Capetown & surrounding area over christmas & new year, they will hook you up with some great riding – you can string a few days together or just go for the odd day. They have a good hire fleet tooPosted 3 years agokonagirlMember
Lots of good suggestions above.
For nights out, it depends where you are staying. Each suburb has its own centre, and they will all be busy during the holiday season. There are three main parts of the city bowl for eating / drinking. Around Long Street is a big drinking area with cheap and cheerful places to eat. 91 Keerom and Carne are just around the corner and are highly recommended and very affordable because of the exchange rate. Further into Gardens there are a number of restuarants that are decent and the area is a bit quieter. Otherwise most tourists end up at the V&A waterfront which has a huge selection. There are a number of other highly recommended places if you want to treat yourselves (just look at TripAdvisor), but you might not get a reservation this close to Christmas!
I disagree with “Do take the cable car as the hike is long and there are/where safety issues on the hiking trail”, the hike up Platteklip Gorge is easy to navigate and get to and from, its about 2 hours straight up, the issue is if the cable car is closed on the way down then you have to walk back down too. But if you get a good day of weather it would be top of my list.
If you want to do a township tour, I was recommended Laura by an ex-work colleague who now lives in CT and does some work with her. I personally thought the Robben Island tour was well worth doing. Alternatively you could visit the District 6 museum if you are interested.
The great thing about the Cape Town area is the proximity of wild places and wildlife. Unfortunately I think the whale season will be over by the time you get there, but there should still be some penguins about, just not as many during the breeding season. I would recommend Betty’s Bay (Stony Point) as a detour when driving to/from Cape Town via the R44, which is as pretty as Chapman’s Peak drive, IMO.
I would usually recommend doing a drive to Cape Point for one of your days in Cape Town. You get to see baboons and sometimes ostrich, antelope and zebra, as well as the stunning scenery. But since you are spending more time in Knysna, I would personally do at least one night in Addo National Park. Though you would need to book asap if you can get in the park, or stay outside the park so you can get in as soon as the gates open and stay until the gates close.
Route 9/12 from George into the Klein Karoo is really nice – you go from the lush greenery of the garden route to the arid ostrich farming area. This is also where the Cango Caves are which have an adventure tour which is fun. You can pay lots of money to spend a day with some habituated mongeese in this area. Within an hours drive of Knysna there are lots of ‘attractions’ like bungee jumping and animal parks as well as the more natural places like Storm’s River.
Enjoy it, very jealous!Posted 3 years ago
Far better places to watch the sun set than Camps Bay beach.
The hawkers here as about as bad as it gets, the bars are overpriced and full of pretentious twonks half-the-time (coked-up to the eyeballs at the weekends).
You wont get a better place than Signal Hill for the sunsets. Some nice wine, blanket down, picnic…
…or if you’re feeling energetic, park up at Signal Hill and hike up Lions Head!
Agree on the Platterklip Gorge walk up/ dn the mtn. It’s steep n rocky in places, but perfectly do’able. Maybe get cable car up and walk down (or vica-versa).
Maybe check out Mzoli’s too for authentic township bbq experience. Its so popular now, there’s no real issues with heading out there (before dark at least).Posted 3 years agocrispoSubscriber
Thanks a lot all for the comments and suggestions. Great to hear some recommendations for places to eat and drink in Cape Town. I think a hike up Table Mountain and trip around the Cape and the Penguins (if there’s any there) will be on the cards.
Anyone any ideas on the drive from Cape Town to Knysna for a lunch stop?
Will do some more research into the biking around Knysna, don’t think a ride in Cape Town is on the cards, only there a few days and will feel bad ditching the Mrs!Posted 3 years ago
Plenty of places to stop off between CT and Knysna, although I don’t think there’s that many places worth spending more than a cpl of hours other than maybe Hermanus. It’s really more just the incredible drive and scenery rather than the places to stop off at along the way.
I would highly recommend doing both routes though- do the Garden Route one way, and do the return journey via the inland Route 62 thru the Klein Karoo etc. that way you’ll get to see the ocean scenery, and also the arid side. I actually prefer a Route 62. It’s bloomin stunning…
In fact, I’d do the trip to CT on Route 62 and return via Garden Route. I think you’ll get the best views that way. Climbing up over the Franschoek Pass, and dropping down into Franschoek is stunning…Posted 3 years ago
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