Before I packed up for South Africa, I had a different impression about South Africa. I thought South Africa was more of a Wild Life Destination, until I learnt about the Springbok Rugby team, the flamboyant vineyards, the exquisite golf clubs and breathtaking mountain peaks such as Lion’s Head and Table Top. Add to it, the backdrop of the misty mountain ridges, golden sunrises, and enchanting sea shores. And as you keep wondering what more to expect, it leaves you spellbound with its livelier smiles and warmth. I am exploring the port City of Cape Town for a week and will not be surprised if I leave some part of my identity here. Here’s the Trawellblogger’s Guide on how you can plan your trip in this port city.
Planning Your Flights
The best way to connect with the Cape is by Ethiopian Airlines, via Mumbai or Delhi. There is a fare difference of almost INR 30k on the higher side when we consider flying via Delhi. The cheapest rates are available via Mumbai. The Ethiopian Airlines is gradually becoming the most preferred airline to fly South Africa because of faster connecting times and cheaper flight tickets.
Another reason is the of course the Miles earned for your trip. The Sheba Miles program comes with a Welcome bonus of 1000 Miles which you can earn by simply opening an account with them. You get another 1000 Miles for booking your first flight with them. You can earn approximately 20%- 22% of your return flight fare as miles which can be used for all the sectors where the flight operates.
Weather and What to Pack
The weather in Cape Town is clear usually in the summers but in the rainy season is unpredictable. June is typically a month between the end of summers and beginning of the rainy season, when the weather keeps fluctuating between rainfall and clear weather.
Accordingly, the weather remains relatively colder with temperatures between 14° C and 20° C. Carry warm clothes as it gets misty during the day. You might need your warm clothing especially in the evenings.
The sunrise timings typically vary between 08:00 am to 08:45 am in the rainy season while it is earlier during the summers.
Where to Stay
The city of Cape Town usually has the culture of more “Guest Rooms” and you may not be surprised to see more of them than the hotels when you are here. Typical colonial styled guest rooms have facilities almost as good as hotels and are a great way to connect with the city. Some of the areas where you can consider staying here are:-
V&A (Victoria and Alfred) Waterfront is the most prominent historic landmark of the city. The area bustles in the evenings with tourists from all over the world. This is one of the places which can connect you easily with the other parts of the city. The area bustles with tourists 24 x 7 for shopping, eating, enjoying activities, or simply sit down and enjoy the one of the many live bands over beer in the evenings. No matter what your reason is, you will find all that a traveler needs to quickly settle down here.
Tamboerskloof is another neighborhood that is well connected with the rest of the city. Located at the foothills of the Signal Hills, the Tamboerskloof street is at the heart of important historic points such as the Bo-Kaap Museum, Iziko South African Museum and District Six Museum, art galleries such as the Cape Gallery and South African National Gallery, the 17th Century Military Garrison – Castle of Good Hope.
Camps Bay Area
If you have already checked out my post on Camps Bay Area, you will know you are in the most chic and modern neighborhoods of Cape Town. Lined with several rows of Cottage Styled Villas with the Atlantic Landscape at the backdrop, this breezy and laid back area is where you hop in for a sun soaked afternoon by the beach or savor awesome food over exotic sea-views or may be just take a walk along the upbeat and vibrant street full of tourists.
Where to Eat
Cape Town has a never-ending choice of multiple cuisines from local to International, and Street Food to Cheap Dine outs. The food is not too expensive on this part of the country and you can easily try out various cuisines here. Here is a list of some restaurants to start with, although you can always try out some more depending upon the areas you are exploring.
Best of Asia
Not very far from the Kloof Street is the intersection where you will bump onto Best of Asia, serving authentic Asian Cuisine, that includes, Thai, Chinese, and Malaysian Tastes. Although not a very large restaurant,you can drop in here for a just another evening grub here.
Royale Cafe, Long Street
The Royale Cafe on the Long Street is where you drop in for your size of burger and fries. I bet your idea of a burger will change forever once you decide to eat in here. If you are a beer lover like me, (you will occasionally find me with one of those, port beer is my favourite), there is nothing better than handpicking one of those just like your choice of coffee. And when you are in the wine capital of the world, can you miss out on its brewing?
Maharajah Restaurant, Kloof Street
This is another restaurant with a history of almost three generations. The Maharajah Restaurant has been serving Indian food to this part of the continent for more than seven decades and I can put my hands down to admit that this would be one of the oldest Indian Restaurants in Cape Town.
Asoka Restaurant and Lounge, Kloof Street
Come evenings and the Kloof Street bustles with travelers filling up hordes of restaurants in the area. You can hear the music beats slowly thumping inside these restaurants and the evening is all vibrant. Asoka Restaurant comes with an unconventional combination of taste and ambiance. Grab a corner seat here on one of the evenings,
Raj Indian Restaurant, Camp Bay
The Raj Indian Restaurant on the Camps Bay area is bang across the Camps Bay beach; a great combination of delectable Indian Food served with Indian hospitality and sea views in front. Drop in here if you are looking for a sumptuous eat-till-you-drop North Indian Cuisine.
Things to Visit and Do
City Bus Hop On Hop Off Tour
The City Bus Tour is a great way to orient oneself quickly with the Cape Town city and get a glimpse of the important historic facts. The bus seats come with interactive headphone system that puts you through an automated guided audio tour of the city, as you view the sights from the terrace.
The city bus tickets are available opposite the Two Oceans Aquarium from where the tour starts. The ticket prices start from R 190 onwards. There are essentially four routes traversed by four colored buses namely:-
- Red – City Tour | Schedule – 08:40 – 17:55 | Loop – 120 minutes | Frequency – Every 20 minutes
- Blue– Mini Peninsula Tour | Schedule – 09:00 – 15:25 | Loop – 135 minutes | Frequency – Every 35 minutes
- Yellow – Downtown Tour | Schedule – 09:05 – 17:15 | Loop – 30 minutes | Frequency – Every 20 minutes
- Purple – Wine Tour | Schedule – 09:55 – 16:25 | Loop – 30 minutes | Frequency – Every 35 minutes
If you are a history buff, I would recommend that you take the ‘Walking Tours’ as you can take your time to explore the places of interest one at a time. The walking tours are generally concentrated over certain parts of the city such as the V&A Waterfront, the Townships, the Cultural Insight Tour, Mouille Point, Sea Point, Bantry Bay, Clifton and Camps Bay Area. These tours usually stretch for about 2-3 hours and is a perfect way to take your time exploring the city without a hurry.
Harbour Cruises to Robben Islands
Robben Islands is a reflection of years of racial struggle between the blacks and whites and also the prison where the legendary President Nelson Mandela was kept in life imprisonment. Regular cruises run from the V&A Waterfront and this is one of the must-see places of Cape Town. Typical trips start from R 150 to R 250
Cape Point & Peninsula
The Cape Point Peninsula has tours by both by cars and bicycles. The tickets for bicycles is R 120 and that with the cars start from R 150. At the Cape Point Peninsula, you should go prepared for the scenic Voet Pad Trail and the visit to the Cape Point Watch Tower, from where you can view the spectacular blue waters of the Atlantic Sea.
It will be truly an incomplete journey if you do not visit the wine capital of the world. Located in the Constantine Valley, the Steenberg vineyards are among the the oldest in the The Cape Town dating to the late 16th Century. Carpeted with several thousand acres of vineyard creepers, the Constantia Valley contributes the finest blends and colours of wine exported worldwide.
At the Steenberg Vineyards, you can attend a vine making workshop where you not only walk through the traditional process of preparing the finest vines but also learn the various ways you can select your best vine. Who knows, by the time you leave, you would have become a professional vine taster. There is no entry fees into the vineyard and you can enjoy one of the many wine tasting tours along with the food at the restaurant.
The Cape Town city also surrounds itself with a vibrating nightlife, and the GrandWest is a testimony to it. From the V&A Waterfront area, the GrandWest is a journey further into the Cape Town and is essentially a nightlife land with Casinos, resto-bars, 3D theaters, children playhouses, live concerts, and indoor ice skating.
Finances and Trip Costs
The usual conversion rate between Indian currency and SA currency is 5:1. The rates generally fluctuate between 4.5 INR to 5.0 INR. Here’s what your trip plan should look like:-
(a) From Delhi
(b) From Mumbai
|Booked at least 2 months in advance|
|2.||Accommodations – 3*||2400/-||12,000/-||@INR 3500 per night|
|3.||Food||2400/-||12000/-||Costs between INR 2000 and INR 3000 per day|
|4.||Transportation||600/-||3000/-||INR 500 – INR 750 per day|
Practical Information & Tips
- The Visa to South Africa is ‘Gratis’ (Free), however the application takes time.
- Make an application at least 45-60 days before your trip.
- Get more information about the entire Visa application procedure here.
Health and Safety
Yellow Fever Vaccination:-The most important concern for travelers visiting South Africa is entering into regions with Yellow Fever. The only way to get along with this is to get vaccinated. The travelers who do not get vaccinated for ‘yellow fever’ have increased risks of contracting the lethal and incurable disease. Also, with your Visa Application, you will also need to submit your ‘Yellow Fever Vaccination Card‘ issued by the W.H.O and is a mandate for issue of visas before leaving the country.
If you are entering more than once, make sure you retain a copy of the previous vaccination as the originals get submitted to the South African Consulate while issuing Visa. The vaccination lasts for one year from the date of prophylaxis and in case you have already crossed that zone, better get re-vaccinated.
In case, you are caught without vaccination, you will be quarantined for a week with no movement and no one to contact you and eventually deported. The vaccination is done at limited centers in India. You can download the list of authorized vaccination centers here.
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