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Old 12.03.2013, 12:01
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What to see/do in South Africa

I may well have a trip to South Africa (Capetown) coming up, and may be able to add a couple of days to do my own thing.

I actually know very little about South Africa, so I'd like to pick your brains on anything I should be doing while I'm there. Is it worth travelling around in the whole of South Africa or should I concentrate on the immediate Capetown area? What about safety / criminality? Is it as bad there as the rumour mill suggests?

My interests are more geared towards historic places and things of cultural and historic significance, as well as nature and wildlife - not so much the hyper-organised tourist trails that are polished to ultra-tourist sissyness, or sitting on the top deck of a bus listening to tour guides droning on about something, but the sort where I can wander around by myself and discover things and absorb local culture more through osmosis than disneyesque presentation.
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Old 12.03.2013, 12:52
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Re: What to see/do in South Africa

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I actually know very little about South Africa, so I'd like to pick your brains on anything I should be doing while I'm there. Is it worth travelling around in the whole of South Africa or should I concentrate on the immediate Capetown area? What about safety / criminality? Is it as bad there as the rumour mill suggests?

My interests are more geared towards historic places and things of cultural and historic significance, as well as nature and wildlife - not so much the hyper-organised tourist trails that are polished to ultra-tourist sissyness, or sitting on the top deck of a bus listening to tour guides droning on about something, but the sort where I can wander around by myself and discover things and absorb local culture more through osmosis than disneyesque presentation.
The Cape Town region is not SO bad. Quite lovely in fact. And VERY geared for tourism.

BUT ..... if you love nature and would like to do the Table Mountain route, and NOT stand in hour long queus jammed with tourists waiting for cable cars, may I recommend you drive around to the back of Table Mountain, to the Botanic Gardens (which are also fabulous), and walk up the back of T/Mntn.

Take a bottle of water because it`s a long climb, and most interesting.
The views once there are spectacular!
There`s a dam up there. And an ancient train that was used when they built the dam, also a small museum with artifacts from van Riebeeks time around the 1600`s.
You`ll eventually, after a long walk, find the restaurant and cable way, and can ride back down.

Just make SURE you inform someone reliable that you are walking up the back, and report yourself back once safely down - as thick mist can suddenly arrive and you will be endangered (the fabled "Tablecloth" that hides the mountain).

AND FOLLOW THE SIGN POSTS! I missed one sign post once and wandered around for hours not able to find my way to the cable car, and it`s almost impossible to climb back down.

There`s lots to see in Cape Town. You can drive along the West Coast and see the deserts, or the East Coast and pop into all the small(ish) fishing villages - or further to the Tsitsikama Forest.

Go to Bloubergstrand (Blue Mountain Beach) and look back at the classic view of Table Mountain, and enjoy a really nice beach (with windsurfing).

Drive out to the Penninsula, walk to the very end tip of Africa, and see the two different colours of the oceans as they meet - the Atlantic/Indian oceans

A little warning that a lot of folk don`t receive ..... if you stop at any roadside view places, rivers, etc, take your time getting out of auto, as there can be wild baboons enjoying themselves - and they post a big bull as look-out, he may threaten you. Just don`t panic, don`t run, and don`t turn your back, just backtrack slowly the way you came, and he`ll leave you in peace.
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Old 12.03.2013, 14:32
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Re: What to see/do in South Africa

I spent 5 days in Cape Town recently & I loved the place. We walked everywhere in the city center and never once felt threatened or unsafe, the locals are a very friendly bunch, but you do have to be aware of what is going on around you just like in any big city.

If you want to get out of the city the drive down to Cape Point via the penguins at Boulders Beach is really good. The Cape itself is very beautiful with some stunning beaches but you would want to make sure you go down some of the side roads to find them. There are surprisingly few tourists away from the Lighthouse.

I loved the place so much I can't wait to go back!
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Old 12.03.2013, 15:40
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Re: What to see/do in South Africa

Absolutely just stay in the Cape Town area. There's tons to do and see. Not all of it is over-touristy, especially right now in low season. If you have some more specific ideas of things you enjoy, OH and I can give you plenty of tips.

Overall it's pretty safe in the CPT area for tourists. The most you encounter is petty theft, although to be honest it's never happened to us. You just have to be smart and not leave obvious items in your car, flash your jewelry, etc. And don't spend time after dark in remote areas. I highly recommend hiring a car, as it offers you more flexibility for seeing the sites and getting cheaper accommodation outside the city center.

To clarify what Smoky said: The Cape of Good Hope is not technically where two oceans meet. The waters do mix it up a bit, as they don't care what labels humans put on stuff, but the "official" meeting of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans is Cape Agulas - the southernmost tip of the African continent. It is a few hours east of Cape Town in a really remote area. To be honest Cape of Good Hope is prettier. You can visit the sign at the oceanfront or you can climb up to the lighthouse at Cape Point, and you can also enjoy the flora and fauna in the national park.

Love the CPT area!!
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Old 12.03.2013, 15:47
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Re: What to see/do in South Africa

Agreed, a wonderful place. OH was born there and we still have lots of relatives. Make sure you visit the Malay quarters and eat at one of the great restaurants there. The Cape is a must, and so is the Botanical Garden. Lucky you For a first visit I defo stay in the Cape area. If you have time, go to the wine making area around Stellenbosch and Frenchhoek - and visit a couple of wineries, perhaps Boschendal - and have their wonderful picnic hamper on the lawn - and also Vergelegen, one of the best. Go to the fabulous fish restaurant at Fishermanswarf near Simon's town.
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Old 12.03.2013, 16:09
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Re: What to see/do in South Africa

A wine farm visit is great too, i went tho this one which was fantastic. http://babylonstoren.com/
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Old 12.03.2013, 16:14
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Re: What to see/do in South Africa

Thanks for all your suggestions.

You're really makling me excited about this trip.
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Old 12.03.2013, 17:24
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Re: What to see/do in South Africa

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...nature and wildlife ...
Don't miss the red-crested bustard. Has sometimes been spotted outside its natural habitat (flogging investments for cluless tits...)
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Old 12.03.2013, 17:26
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Re: What to see/do in South Africa

When's the trial on?
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Old 14.03.2013, 00:00
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Re: What to see/do in South Africa

I'm just back from 12 days in an idyllic cottage (milestone.co.za) near Simonstown . Not too much to add. You'll love it. It is really quiet there now. If you tour the Cape, check out Scarborough on the Atlantic side - amazing watching the kitesurfers on a breezy day. Two great restaurants: The Black Marlin at Miller's Point - the closest to the Cape Park - beautiful fish. The Food Barn at Noordehoek - fancy three course lunch for 25CHF. The beach there is spectacular - huge and deserted.
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Old 14.01.2014, 22:05
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Re: What to see/do in South Africa

Anyone on your visit to game parks in South Africa please don't take example of those hopelessly stupid tourists.

Terrifying moment teacher was gored by an elephant through her door as it flipped CAR and flung it 40 yards in Safari park rampage

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...-leg-tusk.html
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Old 14.01.2014, 22:20
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Re: What to see/do in South Africa

Adventure holidays in sa are available 24hrs a day everyday.. just walk down the street flashing jewellery, satisfaction guaranteed or your money back.
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Old 14.01.2014, 22:26
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Re: What to see/do in South Africa

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Adventure holidays in sa are available 24hrs a day everyday.. just walk down the street flashing jewellery, satisfaction guaranteed or your money back.
They call it "liberate" nowadays ... they will definitely liberate you from your jewelry hanging so heavily on your neck. No satisfaction and no money back
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Old 15.01.2014, 10:00
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Re: What to see/do in South Africa

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Anyone on your visit to game parks in South Africa please don't take example of those hopelessly stupid tourists.
I missed the tourists' stupidity in this bit of news. They seemed to have done just what all tourists are supposed to do in most ZW parks: Sit in the car, stay on the road and watch animals in their habitat. Nothing indicates any wrongdoing by the tourists such as provoking the animal, honking etc.
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Old 15.01.2014, 10:27
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Re: What to see/do in South Africa

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I missed the tourists' stupidity in this bit of news. They seemed to have done just what all tourists are supposed to do in most ZW parks: Sit in the car, stay on the road and watch animals in their habitat. Nothing indicates any wrongdoing by the tourists such as provoking the animal, honking etc.
Probably way too close to the elephant to start with, then when challenged, it may have helped to reverse. Instead, they sat there, then did a time-consuming 3-point turn??

Try to think like the elephant, see what they do amongst themselves. Backing up is submissive, turning around seems to invite attack. They even said it was most likely seasonal aggression due to breeding season.

Really shameful that the official solution always seems to be to shoot it after the fact.
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Old 15.01.2014, 11:32
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Re: What to see/do in South Africa

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Adventure holidays in sa are available 24hrs a day everyday.. just walk down the street flashing jewellery, satisfaction guaranteed or your money back.
It's even worse in Barcelona so you just need to be sensible
with your valuables.
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Old 15.01.2014, 15:13
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Re: What to see/do in South Africa

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I missed the tourists' stupidity in this bit of news. They seemed to have done just what all tourists are supposed to do in most ZW parks: Sit in the car, stay on the road and watch animals in their habitat. Nothing indicates any wrongdoing by the tourists such as provoking the animal, honking etc.
Maybe they weren't hopelessly stupid, but having done several of these trips myself in SA, I have to think they probably didn't behave properly. You should not get too close to the animals, always watch them carefully, and be ready to move at a moment's notice. You have to be aware of your surroundings, and how you plan to get the heck out of there if an animal comes charging at you.

A few years ago we were stopped at a watering hole observing some elephants and warthogs. An elephant bull came charging from behind us toward the watering hole. We check our mirrors regularly, so saw him coming even before we heard his trumpet or felt his rumble...and our car was started and out of the way before he got there. The people right in front of us were glued to the watering hole and never noticed the bull was coming until he knocked into their car as he charged a competitor at the watering hole with the ladies. They probably needed new shorts after that.

It's easy to get entranced by the whole thing, but you must remember you are surrounded by wild animals .
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Old 15.01.2014, 15:28
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Re: What to see/do in South Africa

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You should not get too close to the animals, always watch them carefully, and be ready to move at a moment's notice. You have to be aware of your surroundings, and how you plan to get the heck out of there if an animal comes charging at you.



It's easy to get entranced by the whole thing, but you must remember you are surrounded by wild animals .
This also serves as excellent advice for newbies who have joined the forum.
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Old 15.01.2014, 20:07
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Re: What to see/do in South Africa

I would say its best to stay in the Cape Town area if you have a limited amount of time. A recommendation would be to hire a car so you can get around easier. Try to get a GPS as well because there are some places you dont want to get lost in.

Spend a day going around the city, there are quite a number of things there to check out. There is the Rhodes Memorial close to the university; Kirstenbosch gardens are amazing and a walk around there can be a great experience; there is Long Street Market which is worth a look for curios and gift, but make sure you haggle a bit for a better price (sometimes it works sometimes it doesnt); the Greenpoint stadium is also a nice place to go see; and then Simon's Town with a naval base and the penguins. If you do a little research there are loads of cultural places to visit depending on your interests (ie the Apartheid museum) There is obviously Table mountain and from the top you get an amazinh view, but the lines to go in the cable car are epic and not at all worth it. You could do the climb up Lion's Head the peak next to Table mountain and its a bit easier but still awards you an epic view of the mountain and the city.

There are also a number of private game reserves in the surrounding areas and if you wanted to do the safari thing you could do some investigation. Typically these are not on the cheap side, but depending on the reserve you go to, the wildlife can be quite stunning.

The ocean also offers many entertainments. The water, even in the height of summer is quite cold but the beaches are very nice. Clifton and Camps Bay are prime spots but also very full of people including many local and international celebrities if that is your thing. But there are other more quiet but equally nice beaches all along the coast line. Muizenburg is a good surf spot also for beginners and there are loads of surf schools and such if you wanted to try it out. There is also Shark cage diving. It is costly but its an experience.

A wine tour is a lot of fun and a great way to acquire some really good wines at decent prices. There are loads of different tours, so the best bet would be to ask for info at the front desk of your hotel, or just google it.

Always be sensible about your surroundings and you should not run into any trouble. Crime is a problem there, especially petty crime, but you just need to be aware. Try not to look like an obvious tourist and dont leave anything lying around.

There is a lot of fun to be had and South Africa is a great country despite its history and current issues. Have a blast.
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Old 15.01.2014, 23:09
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Re: What to see/do in South Africa

If you walk around the waterfront you will see people touting for a game park called aquila... DO NOT go, its just a day trip zoo and not a real park at all.. It's a total tourist trap.
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