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#41
Ontario
62 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Zimbo,
We are not cruising to South Africa but doing a land based tour starting at Victoria Falls with a day trip to Chobe, then on to Kapama Buffalo Camp then to Cape Town. Hope you don't mind answering a few questions for us. We wondered if we should bring just US dollars or just South African Rand or a combination of both. We will need money for tips, meals, tour guides etc. I saw your list of things to do and places to eat in Cape Town. We are staying at the Victoria and Alfred Hotel on the V & A Waterfront and will not have access to a vehicle except during our tours. Are any of the recommended restaurants in the waterfront area? Are there any other reasonably priced restaurants you would recommend in the area? We are doing 4 days of touring to cover as many of the highlights as we can -a half day Cape Town tour with a half day Robben Island tour then a full day Peninsula tour, a full day winelands tour capped off with a full day Shark Cage Diving for the guys and a Whale watching tour for the girls. We are visiting in Sept 2014. Any information you can provide would be appreciated.
Diane
#42
Vancouver
2,066 Posts
Joined May 2008
Willoughbys in the V & A waterfront. Lots of locals eat there. Japanese food, no reservations, but the queue moves quite quickly.

We used US dollars for Victoria Falls and used rand for South Africa.
#43
Ontario
62 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Originally posted by no fuss travel
Willoughbys in the V & A waterfront. Lots of locals eat there. Japanese food, no reservations, but the queue moves quite quickly.

We used US dollars for Victoria Falls and used rand for South Africa.
Thanks! I always like to be sure and have the correct currency to avoid using credit cards and incurring exchange rates.
#44
Sugar Land, Tx.
2,564 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
We are going to arrive a couple of days ahead of our precruise safari to Sibuya Forest Camp to see Cape Town. (Wish it was longer this time)

Can you comment on a couple of things:

Transportation from the airport to the hotel (probably the Southern Sun Cullinan Hotel) which is fairly easy. My husband is 82 and I am a young 75. Probably a taxi, but we have heard nightmares about the transportation in Cape Town--true or not.

Do you know about Sibuya Forest Camp?
Suggested wardrobe? We have travelled wordwide, but for some reason, we are needing specific ideas so that all will go in Africa, where we have wanted to go for years.

A couple of other safaris we will be on are Botlierskop, Addo Elephant Park, and Tala Game reserve. Comments please.

No hurry. We don't leave until mid December, but whenever you have time, your recommendations will be appreciated.

We also only have the 2 days in Cape Town prior to our connection with our trip/cruise the first being the Sibuya Forest Camp. We thought that we would take a Hop On Hop Off for those two days. Good idea?

Thanks so much.
#45
Vancouver
2,066 Posts
Joined May 2008
We booked our transport from the airport to our hotel in Cape Town. it would have been faster to have taken a taxi. Just make sure they have their meter on or negotiate the price before you get in. I seem to recall that they had taxi booking before you exited the luggage pickup area and they had set prices to various hotels.
We booked tours with a private guide for Cape Town. One day we went out to the wineries (fabulous tour, especially since he took us to this incredible chocolate shop) and the other we drove along the coast line, went to the Cape, saw the penguins and several lovely towns. We did not go up Table Mountain as it was socked in the whole time we were there.
It is not fancy dress in Cape Town. Country casual like on board the ship.
For safari, invest in a hat with a strap to hold it on your head. Very windy while on the jeeps or vans. For the later afternoon drives, you need long pants for the mosquitoes. I wore long sleeves for sun protection while on safari. You don't have any shade to speak of. Wear non acrylic clothing, cotton is much cooler to wear. You don't need to buy anything special. For morning drives and during the main part of the day drives, I wore capris as they were a bit cooler. The bugs come out at dusk and are around till dawn.

We went to Tala and enjoyed it. Did not do any of your other safaris.
#46
Sugar Land, Tx.
2,564 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
Thanks No Fuss Travel. Gives me a pretty good idea and makes sense. Another question, kind of embarrasing for me to ask, but what about appropriate tipping and the preferred currency. Not sure about the safari tipping.
#47
Vancouver
2,066 Posts
Joined May 2008
Originally posted by spindrift
Thanks No Fuss Travel. Gives me a pretty good idea and makes sense. Another question, kind of embarrasing for me to ask, but what about appropriate tipping and the preferred currency. Not sure about the safari tipping.
For a full day tipping to the Ranger, $20 per day. For the Tracker $10 US per day.
That is per couple We adjusted when it was only one outing for the day and also if the Ranger or tour guide was not very good. We had an incredible Ranger and Tracker at Sabi Sands, and actually tipped bit higher there. The amount I am quoting you is what a South African Travel Agent gave us as a guide.
#48
Tampa, FL
2,498 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
Originally posted by Homeagain
Zimbo,
We are not cruising to South Africa but doing a land based tour starting at Victoria Falls with a day trip to Chobe, then on to Kapama Buffalo Camp then to Cape Town. Hope you don't mind answering a few questions for us. We wondered if we should bring just US dollars or just South African Rand or a combination of both. We will need money for tips, meals, tour guides etc. I saw your list of things to do and places to eat in Cape Town. We are staying at the Victoria and Alfred Hotel on the V & A Waterfront and will not have access to a vehicle except during our tours. Are any of the recommended restaurants in the waterfront area? Are there any other reasonably priced restaurants you would recommend in the area? We are doing 4 days of touring to cover as many of the highlights as we can -a half day Cape Town tour with a half day Robben Island tour then a full day Peninsula tour, a full day winelands tour capped off with a full day Shark Cage Diving for the guys and a Whale watching tour for the girls. We are visiting in Sept 2014. Any information you can provide would be appreciated.

Diane
Hi, I am an ex-Cape Tonian and hubby an ex-Rhodesian (now Zimbabwe) we now live in Tampa, Florida but in the 20 years we have lived here we still travel to SA every year (Sept & Oct) to visit family and go on safari. Some background, my husband was a game ranger at Wankie (Hwange) National Park, Zimbabwe and also Pilanesberg National Park, SA and Kruger National Park, SA. I met him in Victoria Falls where he lived for a while - National Parks move you around
Anyhow, now we tour American friends to our home countries each year. We do not have a business, nor do we charge, this is purely introducing our American friends to our African heritage. Sorry it took so long to qualify myself to answer your questions.

As a previous person suggested Willoughby's is absolutely the BEST restaurant in the V & A according to us as well, it's not really Japanese but they do make the most unbelievable sushi. We always have the prawn platters and their seafood is scrumptious! There are tons of restaurants in the V & A and lots are good, some have better views of the bay and the mountain than food. You won't be disappointed with Willoughby's. Try and eat early in the evening, typically Cape Tonians eat later, although Willoughby's also attracts people coming from work too.

US Dollars are only used in Zimbabwe and Rands are used in South Africa. I wouldn't suggest carrying too much cash on you for security reasons. We carry the bare minimum and use our credit cards everywhere … the charges are minimal.

We will be in Chobe, Zimbabwe, Kruger Park and Cape Town in September this year as well - it's the best time of year in the game reserves and at Vic Falls - you're going to love it, it's just a pity you won't be in Cape Town longer!!
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#49
Ontario
62 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Originally posted by zebra
Hi, I am an ex-Cape Tonian and hubby an ex-Rhodesian (now Zimbabwe) we now live in Tampa, Florida but in the 20 years we have lived here we still travel to SA every year (Sept & Oct) to visit family and go on safari. Some background, my husband was a game ranger at Wankie (Hwange) National Park, Zimbabwe and also Pilanesberg National Park, SA and Kruger National Park, SA. I met him in Victoria Falls where he lived for a while - National Parks move you around
Anyhow, now we tour American friends to our home countries each year. We do not have a business, nor do we charge, this is purely introducing our American friends to our African heritage. Sorry it took so long to qualify myself to answer your questions.

As a previous person suggested Willoughby's is absolutely the BEST restaurant in the V & A according to us as well, it's not really Japanese but they do make the most unbelievable sushi. We always have the prawn platters and their seafood is scrumptious! There are tons of restaurants in the V & A and lots are good, some have better views of the bay and the mountain than food. You won't be disappointed with Willoughby's. Try and eat early in the evening, typically Cape Tonians eat later, although Willoughby's also attracts people coming from work too.

US Dollars are only used in Zimbabwe and Rands are used in South Africa. I wouldn't suggest carrying too much cash on you for security reasons. We carry the bare minimum and use our credit cards everywhere … the charges are minimal.

We will be in Chobe, Zimbabwe, Kruger Park and Cape Town in September this year as well - it's the best time of year in the game reserves and at Vic Falls - you're going to love it, it's just a pity you won't be in Cape Town longer!!
Thanks so much for your reply. It's great to know that we have picked a good time to visit. My research has paid off! In your opinion, have we missed any highlights around Cape Town? We will have every evening free for dinner and whatever else may be of interest. It's so nice to hear from someone that knows the area inside out and I really appreciate any additional information and suggestions you can make. I read that we can get a boxed sandwich at Il Paninaro to take with us when we go to Robben Island - have you tried this? I have read mixed reviews about Robben Island - what are your thoughts? Any other restaurant suggestions? What is the cost of meals in Cape Town? We are not into really fancy places, just somewhere with good food, good service and good atmosphere.
Thanks again for taking the time - I enjoyed reading your background!
Diane
#50
Tampa, FL
2,498 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
Hi Diane,
Highlights around Cape Town are very subjective. For us a highlight is not to visit Robben Island - although the Nelson Mandela story is a great testimony the island itself is a little of a let down. It's not as exciting as visiting Alcatraz, so personally we don't take guests there for that reason and also because there are soooo many wonderful things to see in Cape Town, one has to choose the highlights that suit your personalities.
As you now know - we are crazy, avid, wildlife watchers …. so much of our time is taken up with Whale Watching in Hermanus, Penguins at Boulders, Seal Island off Hout Bay and a trip to Cape Point (whale and game viewing there too). South Africa has such unique animals (to Africa) and seeing them all in their own environments is such a plus. Just a side here: If you do get to go to Hout Bay, there is one of the most awesome restaurants there - Mariner's Wharf …. they serve the BEST seafood on the Cape Peninsula hands down. Also while in South Africa you must try a Dom Pedro …. it's like a double thick shake, made with ice cream but also contains either whiskey or Kahlua … you can order one at ANY restaurant that has a liquor license.
You are going to find so many places where the food is so inexpensive. Of course for us to exchange rate at the moment is pretty much $1 - R10, so we find most of the restaurants very reasonable.
You will find more restaurants at the V & A than you can imagine and they run the gamut in price. Starting with McDonalds and KFC right up to Nobu etc. But in the cheaper range here are some recommendations:
Santa Ana Spur (Spur is a chain of steakhouses in SA) - good food, good prices.
Steers - if you are looking for a burger joint, much better than Mc Donalds.
Mugg & Bean - for great breakfast and lunches
Ocean Basket - cheap seafood
Quay 4 - down on the water, you can watch the seals playing.
Moyo - for a true African experience. Although I will say we much prefer Moyo at Spier winery in Stellenbosch.
And other than Willoughby's (which you will not be disappointed in) our personal other favorite casual restaurant there is Balducci's.
Hope this helps a bit ……...
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Jackie & Tony

Diamond Plus

Upcoming:

South African Safari Oct/Nov 2017
Brilliance of the Seas Transatlantic EB 04.05.2018
Rhapsody of the Seas Transatlantic WB 12.08.2018


Completed:
Tropicale (Western Caribbean), Sea Princess (Alaska), Century (Eastern Caribbean), Maasdam (Western Caribbean), Ocean Princess (Mexican Riveira, Panama Canal Repositioning), Infinity (Hawaii), Golden Princess (Eastern Caribbean), Grand Princess (Western Caribbean), Disney Wonder (Bahamas), Diamond Princess (Alaska), Star Princess (Eastern Caribbean), Legend of the Seas (EB Transatlantic), Caribbean Princess (Eastern Caribbean), Sun Princess (Mexican Riveira, Panama Canal Repositioning), Millennium (Mediterranean) (2x), Carnival Legend (Western Caribbean), Mariner of the Seas (Eastern Caribbean) (Mexican Riviera) (2x), Emerald Princess (Eastern Caribbean), Emerald Princess (Southern Caribbean), Radiance of the Seas (Western Caribbean) (2x), Jewel of the Seas (Western Caribbean) Radiance of the Seas (Sydney, Australia to Hawaii) Majesty of the Seas (Bahamas) Freedom of the Seas (Western Caribbean) Jewel of the Seas (New England/Canada) Jewel of the Seas (Repositioning) Carnival Paradise (Western Caribbean) Royal Princess (Eastern Caribbean) Brilliance of the Seas (EB Transatlantic) Brilliance of the Seas (Scandinavia & Russia) Royal Princess (Southern Caribbean) Vision of the Seas (EB Transatlantic) Jewel of the Seas (Mediterranean) Jewel of the Seas (WB Transatlantic)
#51
Ontario
62 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Originally posted by zebra
Hi Diane,
Highlights around Cape Town are very subjective. For us a highlight is not to visit Robben Island - although the Nelson Mandela story is a great testimony the island itself is a little of a let down. It's not as exciting as visiting Alcatraz, so personally we don't take guests there for that reason and also because there are soooo many wonderful things to see in Cape Town, one has to choose the highlights that suit your personalities.
As you now know - we are crazy, avid, wildlife watchers …. so much of our time is taken up with Whale Watching in Hermanus, Penguins at Boulders, Seal Island off Hout Bay and a trip to Cape Point (whale and game viewing there too). South Africa has such unique animals (to Africa) and seeing them all in their own environments is such a plus. Just a side here: If you do get to go to Hout Bay, there is one of the most awesome restaurants there - Mariner's Wharf …. they serve the BEST seafood on the Cape Peninsula hands down. Also while in South Africa you must try a Dom Pedro …. it's like a double thick shake, made with ice cream but also contains either whiskey or Kahlua … you can order one at ANY restaurant that has a liquor license.
You are going to find so many places where the food is so inexpensive. Of course for us to exchange rate at the moment is pretty much $1 - R10, so we find most of the restaurants very reasonable.
You will find more restaurants at the V & A than you can imagine and they run the gamut in price. Starting with McDonalds and KFC right up to Nobu etc. But in the cheaper range here are some recommendations:
Santa Ana Spur (Spur is a chain of steakhouses in SA) - good food, good prices.
Steers - if you are looking for a burger joint, much better than Mc Donalds.
Mugg & Bean - for great breakfast and lunches
Ocean Basket - cheap seafood
Quay 4 - down on the water, you can watch the seals playing.
Moyo - for a true African experience. Although I will say we much prefer Moyo at Spier winery in Stellenbosch.
And other than Willoughby's (which you will not be disappointed in) our personal other favorite casual restaurant there is Balducci's.
Hope this helps a bit ……...
Jackie and Tony,

Thank you so very much for all your wonderful suggestions. We have booked a trip to Robben Island but... have been reading some reviews similar to yours so we may have to rethink that. We will be going to Hout Bay on our Peninsula tour (which is a private tour for the 4 of us) so I will ask if we can lunch at Mariners Wharf - it sounds amazing! We also can do an optional Seal Island Cruise. We are doing Hermanus for Whale Watching and Boulders Beach during our Peninsula tour as well. So, hopefully we have covered all the highlights for wildlife viewing.
Thank you for the restaurant suggestions. It seems that there were too many choices and I really appreciate you narrowing things down for us. We want to stay away from fast food joints so your ideas will really help. Looking forward to trying a Dom Pedro!
Thanks again.
Diane
P.S. Feel free to offer up any other suggestions, ideas, places to visit etc.
#52
Manchester UK
1,008 Posts
Joined Oct 2006
Originally posted by Homeagain
Jackie and Tony,

Thank you so very much for all your wonderful suggestions. We have booked a trip to Robben Island but... have been reading some reviews similar to yours so we may have to rethink that. We will be going to Hout Bay on our Peninsula tour (which is a private tour for the 4 of us) so I will ask if we can lunch at Mariners Wharf - it sounds amazing! We also can do an optional Seal Island Cruise. We are doing Hermanus for Whale Watching and Boulders Beach during our Peninsula tour as well. So, hopefully we have covered all the highlights for wildlife viewing.
Thank you for the restaurant suggestions. It seems that there were too many choices and I really appreciate you narrowing things down for us. We want to stay away from fast food joints so your ideas will really help. Looking forward to trying a Dom Pedro!
Thanks again.

Diane
P.S. Feel free to offer up any other suggestions, ideas, places to visit etc.
We have been to Robben Island (twice) and although I understand some of the negative comments, I would still recommend a visit. It is very 'atmospheric' and the photo opportunity back to Cape Town and Table Mountain is wonderful.
We usually stay in Hout Bay when in SA and can recommend Mariners Wharf, but also the calamari at the Chapmans Peak Hotel is out of this world.
On your journey down the Cape, go along Chapmans Peak Drive (toll road) for wonderful views.
Also, the Constantia wine growing area is beautiful, especially Groot Constantia - a lovely lunch stop.
If you have time, the Kirstenbosch gardens are stunning and we think the Moyo restaurant there is better than the one in Stellenbosch - reserve a table on the terrace for lovely garden and mountain views.
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#53
Manchester UK
1,008 Posts
Joined Oct 2006
Oh yes - afternoon tea at the Mount Nelson Hotel (or taking tea at the Nellie) is a lovely experience. Also, the Bo Kaap area of Cape Town, below Signal Hill, is fascinating.
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#54
Ontario
62 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Originally posted by Omega1
We have been to Robben Island (twice) and although I understand some of the negative comments, I would still recommend a visit. It is very 'atmospheric' and the photo opportunity back to Cape Town and Table Mountain is wonderful.
We usually stay in Hout Bay when in SA and can recommend Mariners Wharf, but also the calamari at the Chapmans Peak Hotel is out of this world.
On your journey down the Cape, go along Chapmans Peak Drive (toll road) for wonderful views.
Also, the Constantia wine growing area is beautiful, especially Groot Constantia - a lovely lunch stop.
If you have time, the Kirstenbosch gardens are stunning and we think the Moyo restaurant there is better than the one in Stellenbosch - reserve a table on the terrace for lovely garden and mountain views.
Thanks for your take on Robben Island. We'll probably go there to experience the atmosphere and history as well as the photo opportunities. On our Full day Peninsula Tour we do go along Chapman's Peak Drive and our last stop is Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. It sounds like we are hitting all the main attractions! We have a full day Winelands tour to Franschhoek and Stellenbosch with lunch somewhere along the way and several stops for wine tasting.
We'll be sure to check out the Bo Kaap area if we are able, we will not have a car as we are doing private tours daily.
Thanks again for your suggestions.
Diane
#55
Manchester UK
1,008 Posts
Joined Oct 2006
Originally posted by Homeagain
Thanks for your take on Robben Island. We'll probably go there to experience the atmosphere and history as well as the photo opportunities. On our Full day Peninsula Tour we do go along Chapman's Peak Drive and our last stop is Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. It sounds like we are hitting all the main attractions! We have a full day Winelands tour to Franschhoek and Stellenbosch with lunch somewhere along the way and several stops for wine tasting.
We'll be sure to check out the Bo Kaap area if we are able, we will not have a car as we are doing private tours daily.
Thanks again for your suggestions.
Diane
I'm sure you will know this, but book your tickets to Robben Island in advance (on line). We were there in February and they were fully booked three days in advance.
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#56
Ontario
62 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Originally posted by Omega1
I'm sure you will know this, but book your tickets to Robben Island in advance (on line). We were there in February and they were fully booked three days in advance.
Yes, thanks our travel agent looked after this already for us through the Travel Tour company that we are using. They will give us all of our tour tickets etc. when we land in Johannesburg as we start our trip.
Thanks again for all your tips and suggestions. It is so great to get information from people that have lived or traveled to a destination. I love to research and read as much as I can before going somewhere so I can really appreciate what I am seeing and doing.
Diane
#57
Ontario
62 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Wondered if anyone could tell me about using a cell phone in South Africa. Can we purchase a sim card to put into our own phone for use? Are there "disposable phones" available to purchase? We have several tours booked and may have to call for times of pickup and wanted to have something we can carry with us but not use our own phone due to roaming charges. Any help would be appreciated
#58
Florida
397 Posts
Joined Oct 2011
Originally posted by Zimbo
Best way to get from Cape Town to Kruger is to fly direct from Cape Town to Hoedspruit. I believe there are around 3 flights a week scheduled. Your safari company should be able to organize transport from there to your accommodation in the Kruger. The other option is Nelspruit further south, but then you would have to go via Johannesburg, which is inconvenient.

In my opinion, best time to visit is around August. This is towards the end of winter, so temperatures are largely pleasant. It is also before the start of the rainy season, so the bush is dry and the animals roam more to seek water, often gathering at larger known waterholes which do not dry up. Hence you have a better chance of seeing a wider variety of wildlife.

Most decent Cape Town hotels will be able to organize day tours to the various wine regions, and will pick you up and drop you off at your hotel. May be difficult to fit all of the wine regions into only a one day tour though. I would say it would take a good two to three days to sample all the main ones.

Hope this info is of some help!


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Thanks for the info. We chose august!
Debbie
Florida
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#59
South Africa
1,072 Posts
Joined Aug 2003
Originally posted by Homeagain
Wondered if anyone could tell me about using a cell phone in South Africa. Can we purchase a sim card to put into our own phone for use? Are there "disposable phones" available to purchase? We have several tours booked and may have to call for times of pickup and wanted to have something we can carry with us but not use our own phone due to roaming charges. Any help would be appreciated
Hi Homeagain

Try Cellucity:
http://www.capetownmagazine.com/trav...a/162_22_19067