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Aimee
Jan 2, 2007



Checked through the most recent few pages of the forum and found nothing so here we are.

My boyfriend and I are going to South Africa in a couple of weeks to stay for an entire month and are looking for ways to make it awesome.

For the first 2 weeks (though maybe the whole time, not sure yet), I'm going to have a car and will be staying in a house in Kommetije, about half an hour south of Cape Town.

I've got hiking Table Mountain, bike/wine tours, and penguin-watching on the agenda... but what else is worth doing there? I'm very physically active so I'm open to anything, even things that sound crazy.

Second two weeks, I'll be in (or near) downtown Cape Town.

Is there anything I should know to avoid crime/carjackings/etc? I've read a lot of stuff about not driving at night, not actually stopping at stop lights, and pretty much being paranoid, but is there anything I should know that goes beyond just common sense? I've heard everything from, "You're definitely going to get raped and get AIDS and get shived in a carjacking by a roving gang of glass-laying criminals!" to "It's totally fine and you'll have a great time." I'm more likely to believe the latter, given that I've traveled abroad tons and have generally had a great time. Advice?

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Saladman
Jan 12, 2010


Aimee posted:

Checked through the most recent few pages of the forum and found nothing so here we are.

My boyfriend and I are going to South Africa in a couple of weeks to stay for an entire month and are looking for ways to make it awesome.

For the first 2 weeks (though maybe the whole time, not sure yet), I'm going to have a car and will be staying in a house in Kommetije, about half an hour south of Cape Town.

I've got hiking Table Mountain, bike/wine tours, and penguin-watching on the agenda... but what else is worth doing there? I'm very physically active so I'm open to anything, even things that sound crazy.

Second two weeks, I'll be in (or near) downtown Cape Town.

Is there anything I should know to avoid crime/carjackings/etc? I've read a lot of stuff about not driving at night, not actually stopping at stop lights, and pretty much being paranoid, but is there anything I should know that goes beyond just common sense? I've heard everything from, "You're definitely going to get raped and get AIDS and get shived in a carjacking by a roving gang of glass-laying criminals!" to "It's totally fine and you'll have a great time." I'm more likely to believe the latter, given that I've traveled abroad tons and have generally had a great time. Advice?

Cape Town is the safest / nicest city in South Africa, not that it doesn't have crime, but it's not any worse than going to Philadelphia or whatever, as long as you stay out of the desolate townships, which you wouldn't go to anyway. One of my best friends from high school (female) spent a year there after college and never had any troubles. Lived near the university and commuted by car with her flatmates to work every day downtown. Carjacking has gotten passť in South Africa, at least compared to how incredibly rampant it was in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Lock your doors (and obviously don't drive through or near townships) but that's it. Don't drive through a red light unless someone is literally approaching you and looking threatening, which is unlikely to happen. South Africa's gun murder rate is something crazy high, like 5x the United States's, but it's almost entirely destitute idiots killing each other in their apartheid-era hovels over $5 worth of meth (meth is to 2012 cape town as crack is to 1982 NYC).

You can pet and hang out with tame cheetahs somewhere around Cape Town. If that's your thing I can find out where my friend did it.

Stellenbosch is the biggest vineyard area, not that there aren't other similar options. Also there's Robben Island is there which was probably also already on your agenda. Also Cape Agulhas which I hear is really not that cool but at least you can say you've been there.

PS: You can also ride ostriches if you want. There are several places, but one is near Knysna. Your boyfriend is probably too heavy though, I think the weight limit is like 60 kg.

Saladman fucked around with this message at Feb 14, 2014 around 18:18

mr_cardholder
Jun 30, 2009

Oh well. It's humanity's problem now.

Aimee posted:

I've got hiking Table Mountain, bike/wine tours, and penguin-watching on the agenda... but what else is worth doing there? I'm very physically active so I'm open to anything, even things that sound crazy.

Glad you phrased it like that because Shark diving!

I was in Cape Town about 5 weeks ago for work and did a lot of the things you mentioned. I wholeheartedly recommend all of them. However, the one which made the biggest impression (metaphorically speaking, thank god) was diving with the great whites. You get in a cage a la Jaws and pray that you don't become the prey. It's absolutely incredible. If that sounds outside of your comfort zone, there are also shark tours to watch the sharks literally jump out of the water but nothing compares with going face to face with one.

Beebubbles
Dec 19, 2007

Brush yo' teef.

Yes! this place has such a special place in my heart! so happy you'll be going! I was a volunteer teacher about a year ago in the same place. it was wonderful! You picked an excellent time to be in Cape Town and RSA.

Definitely look into the hiking paths instead of the trolleys of Table Mountain. Also take your time up there. It felt magical to up so high and see all of the city bowl including Robben Island. You might spot some of the wildlife up there or some base jumpers.

If you're into history and politics, check out the museum for District Six. A lot of the people who lived there work there as curators and guides. It's a haunting experience even if some of the people I met from town thought it was boring.

Go to every open air market. Seriously.

Oh, and Truth Coffee House. Steam punk coffee roasters cafe.

Phaeoacremonium
Aug 7, 2008


You guys are almost guaranteed to have a good time, please don't worry too much. Be sensible and you'll be fine. I think all the main highlights have been covered but here are a few more.

Also consider driving up to West Coast national park for a day trip; I just had a first timer from the US here for a couple of weeks and she enjoyed it immensely.

Do yourself a favour. On Sunday afternoons there's the Kirstenbosch summer concert series going on until April. Highly recommended. You basically take a picnic basket and go chill in the park. Gorgeous views. Remaining highlights for the year would be Hugh Masekela (9 March) and Desmond and the Tutus (23 March).

If you're coming wine tasting, try and avoid the corporate touristy wine farms (I'm looking at you, Spier). Those places are just indescribably tacky and awful and their wines are poo poo to boot. Not all the large famous wine farms are bad (Constantia, Kanonkop, Meerlust and Tokara can be quite fun) but have a closer look at the local wine guides to find real gems. Also bear in mind that the farms have the most bizarre tasting room business hours and basically operate 9-5 on weekdays and short hours over weekends.

If you're up for that sort of thing, rent some boards and go surfing or bodyboarding. There are some good spots close to Kommetjie and it's still pretty warm right now (not the water, though, the water's always cold).

Have fun!

Edit: If you haven't organised any bike trips yet, my friend does wine tours and nature tours in the Franschhoek or Stellenbosch areas and he's pretty good at it.
http://franschhoek.org.za/wp-conten...ycles-Tours.pdf

Another thought. Paragliding off Lion's Head is supposed to be the best thing ever, so if the weather's nice while you're in the city you should check it out. There are also really cool night climbs up the head at full moon.

Phaeoacremonium fucked around with this message at Feb 22, 2014 around 06:54

Sub Par
Jul 18, 2001

Hi. I'm Mitt Romney, and I make way more than you.

Dinosaur Gum

Hope this doesn't constitute thread necromancy but I didn't want to start a brand new SA thread when there was already a recent one. My wife and I are in the midst of a year of traveling around and our next stop is 6 or so weeks in South Africa (we arrive May 26). We have a lot of what we want to do nailed down but I have some questions that I feel like you guys will do a better job with than Google is currently doing for me.

1) Can you buy bedding on the Shosholoza Meyl Tourist Class trains? I'm hearing conflicting reports of a dispute between the train company and the laundry company resulting in no bedding as of at least January 2014, but can't find info on whether that's resolved. SA Railways website continues to claim that bedding is available, but not sure if that's out-of-date or not. Anybody know?

2) Has anyone done any short-term volunteering or WWOOFing that they enjoyed and can recommend? We're looking for 1-2 weeks of work or volunteering. If volunteering, preferably something that includes room and perhaps some food for not too much money (we'd be looking to spend maybe 400 rand/day max).

3) Any preferred tour companies to get up to Victoria Falls? We're currently thinking the 9-day BazBus thing but would love to know if anyone else has made it up there in a way they enjoyed that we can emulate. Oh and any recos for where to get a Yellow Fever vaccine for not too much money would be great.

Thanks a bunch. We're really looking forward to SA - shark diving, wine, climbing mountains, and seeing huge animals? Gonna be cool as gently caress.

Sub Par fucked around with this message at May 3, 2014 around 14:59

caberham
Mar 18, 2009


Grimey Drawer

There's a South African Goon from Cape Town. Nowadays he's too busy working in China but he makes Cape Town sound very very fun.

His name is BadAstronaut and he has PM's.

BlueBull
Jan 21, 2007


I would recommend you call PRASA directly to find out about the Linen, as I doubt you'll get an answer on this with the few Saffas we have on the forums.

Honestly, I haven't heard much (anything) good about these trains, with a lot of complaints on a popular talk radio station called 702. If this isn't about the "journey" for you, and you just want to get to Johannesburg for example, you can get airline tickets for pretty close to what you pay for that train ride.

https://www.kulula.com lists CPT to JNB at just over 880 bucks early June, so R 280 more than the train ride, and far less drama.

I can't help you on the volunteering side of things, but Cape Town is tourist central for South Africa, and you will easily be able to hook up a tour into Vic Falls. Also, with winter coming, Kruger National Park will be very nice as the elephant grass will be dead and you can actually see proper animals if you're into that kind of thing.

Google Yellow-fever vaccinations in south Africa, there's tons of places and you can ask around for the best price. I have my vaccinations done at Netcare clinics and don't have a bad word to say about them.

Anyway, I can help out with things to do around the country, good places to eat and so on if you need more info.

I'm a bit of an old fart, so cheap hostel accommodation, clubbing and that kind of things are outside my area of expertise.

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Sub Par
Jul 18, 2001

Hi. I'm Mitt Romney, and I make way more than you.

Dinosaur Gum

Interesting, I've heard plenty of good things about the trains, although I just spent 3 months in India and took 23 overnight trains so my definition of "good" is probably a little warped. I think we're comfortable taking this train, though it is long. At least there's booze and a dining car!

We're old farts in young fart bodies so no clubbing or barhopping for us, though cheap hostels are still on the menu because we're traveling on a budget. Right now we're in the process of nailing down which dates we'll be in which cities and trying to figure out if we want to take some time to drive up to Namibia. Once we get that settled I'll probably have more questions. Thanks for you help!

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