Wonderful Cape Town

While in Capetown I enjoyed visiting the Waterfront, Table Top Mountain, the Cape of Good Hope, Hermanus, Robben Island, and participated in a penguin project.

Wonderful Cape Town

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Norman on July 28, 2008

Cape Town is a wonderful travel destination with many nearby places to visit. You will see the Atlantic Ocean or Table Bay to your east with mountains to your west. In winter, the weather is mild, with the possibility of a bad weather day.
You will find the prices reasonable compared to those in the United States with most meals in a nice café around 100 rand. Taxis cost 9 to 12 rand per kilometer.
Many visitors stay around the waterfront, where you can shop and find every type of restaurant, from the mall food court, pubs, dockside eateries, to nice cafés. From Capetown, there are many possibilities for day trips to beautiful nearby areas, cities, and attractions. Some people couple their trip to Capetown with a safari in Kruger National Park, requiring a flight from Cape Town.
Three must see attractions are Robben Island, Table Top Mountain, and the Two Oceans Aquarium. Nice day trips include Hermanus for whale watching from the shore (late winter), the Cape of Good Hope, and the wine country. For those more adventurous, you may swim in a shark cage to view great white sharks.
Safety: I felt comfortable walking around the waterfront, and found the people friendly.

For more information
Cape Town http://www.capepoint.co.za/ Information and day trips Rhino Africa http://www.rhinoafrica.com/destinations/cape_town_travel
Robben Island Museum http://www.robben-island.org.za/
Kruger National Park http://www.rhinoafrica.com/destinations/kruger_park/kruger_park_facts_and_info
${QuickSuggestions} The weather can change quickly, a cool day in July may become chilly and windy.
Taxis are relativley inexpensive. Use them to break up a day of walking or at night. The fare from the waterfront to Table Top Mountain is about 80 rand, a 15 minute drive.${BestWay} From the airport, check with your travel company to see if they provide transfers. An airport shuttle to the waterfront is 160 rand.
Walking is fine, if you are nearby to your destination. Taxis are always available, and do range in price from 9 to 12 rand per kilometer. The price is printed on the door. I was advised to only take taxis with the price printed on the door, assuring that these taxis are registered and checked for safety.
There are many travel companies in the area which offer a variety of guided tours. I recommend Rhino Africa, with toll free phone numbers for the U.S. 888 2156 556 and UK 0808 238 0044. Do note you will be calling Cape Town, so be aware of the time difference. http://www.rhinoafrica.com/destinations/cape_town_travel/cape_town_tours/cape_town_day_tours/

A Nice Place to Stay

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Norman on July 30, 2008

The City Lodge is a wonderful hotel, providing quality accommodations and fine service. It is one of the closest hotels to the waterfront, a 10 minute walk.
The rooms are spacious and modern. My room with one king bed had a couch, coffee table, a large counter and chair which could easily be used as a desk, nice size television, coffee maker, and nice lighting. The bathroom had a separate tub and shower.
The service was always cordial, willing to help or answer any questions. There is a travel desk in the lobby which provided a nice local map and all the brochures and necessary information to help decide on the day’s activities.
The nicest surprise is the breakfast buffet. The Continental Breakfast (60 rand) had a large array of fruits, juices, breads, yogurt, cereals, cheeses, meats, and included pancakes and quiche. All delicious. You are served coffee, tea, or hot chocolate at your table. A Full Breakfast is available (80 rand) which include the above buffet and eggs prepared to order, bacon, and sausage. The breakfast was a convenient and tasty start to my day.
Another plus was a large bowl of gourmet muffins in the lobby for you to take one as you leave. The bag said, "Nuffin better than a muffin." Apples were also available.
I highly recommend the City Lodge for your stay in Capetown. For reservations and further information: http://www.citylodge.co.za/cl10.htm#
City Lodge V And A Waterfront
Cape Town, South Africa

Something for Everyone at the Waterfront

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Norman on July 29, 2008

The Waterfront is an area of stores and restaurants where you can spend an hour or a day. From there you can travel to Robben Island, take a variety of boat tours, and even tour the area in a helicopter. The Two Oceans Aquarium is just three blocks inland.
Shopping includes a 3 story modern mall that has a wide variety of stores and restaurants. There is even a large grocery. There are many stores along the waterfront, selling souvenirs, clothes, and needed supplies. You will find several banks here and ATM machines.
You can eat in the food court, dockside (I ecommend ‘Fisherman‘s Choice‘, south of the big mall), or in a cafe.
The nicest part f the waterfront is the local performers showing off their abilities. During the early evening and all day on the weekends you can listen to singers and musicians, and watch many different street performers. The better performers attract quite a crowd.
To learn more about the waterfront visit http://www.waterfront.co.za/ Here you will find everything you need to know.
Victoria and Alfred Waterfront - Alfred Mall
Dock Road
Cape Town, South Africa, 8001
+27 21 408 7500

Robben Island: A Place of History and Nature

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by Norman on July 29, 2008

Robben Island is 7 kilometers off the coast of Capetown, and is reached by a ferry available at the Nelson Mandela Gateway, next to the Clock Tower. From there you can take the 20 minute ride across Table Bay to tour the island and its prison. The island is a World Heritage Site (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/916) due to its history, most noteworthy, the prison that housed many South African political prisoners including Nelson Mandela.
The 3.5 hour tour includes the round trip ferry ride, a guided bus tour of the island, and a guided tour of the prison. There are stops during the bus tour where get a closer look at penguins, and take pictures. The prison tour guides are all former political prisoners, making the tour come alive based on their personal experiences. From the World Heritage site, "Robben Island and its prison buildings symbolize the triumph of the human spirit, of freedom, and of democracy over oppression."
I highly recommend this activity.
Be aware: 1. The ferry, and thus the tours, can be cancelled due to poor weather. The ferry cannot make the crossing during high seas.
2. The tours can be crowded with over 250 people per ferry, so arrive early and reserve your ticket. You must go through security to ride the ferry.
For more information: Robben Island Museum http://www.robben-island.org.za/
Robben Island http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robben_Island
Robben Island/Robben Island Museum
Table Bay
Cape Town, South Africa, 8002
+27 (0)21 409 5100

A Must-See for Anyone Interested in Nature or Sea Life

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by Norman on July 30, 2008

The Two Oceans Aquarium is a great facility presenting marine animals from the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, the oceans of South Africa. There are numerous smaller tanks showing many types of sea life. You can see and learn about many fish, seahorses, jellyfish, lobster, octopus, beautiful reef fish, and many more. My favorite was the tank shaped like a large doughnut that you could walk into and have the fish swim around and above you. All the tanks and displays have good informational signage. I am sure that you will learn something new. Conservation is an overall aquarium theme.
There are two large tanks, over two stories high, one with a kelp forest and fish, and the ’predator exhibit’ with sharks, large fish, rays, and sea turtles. You can wind your way around the shark tank through a tube to get an excellent close-up view of the animals. There is a feeding in the large tank by divers. Visitors who are certified scuba divers may dive the large tank.
Finally, there is an area with African and rockhopper penguins. Daily feeding ‘shows’ include great information.
Younger ones will enjoy the touch tank and play area.
Adjoining the aquarium is the Shoreline Café, a family restaurant with basic meals, deserts, and a children’s menu.
A visit here is a must for anyone interested in nature or sea life.
For more information: Two Oceans Aquarium http://www.aquarium.co.za/
Two Oceans Aquarium
Alfred Basin, Dock Road
Cape Town, South Africa, 8002
+27 21 418 3823

A Beautiful View

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Norman on July 31, 2008

Table Mountain is a flat top mountain rising 1086 m (3563 ft) above sea level. It is a great destination for both young and old. The mountain is a prominent site from almost anywhere in Cape Town
There are numerous trails for the avid hiker to walk up the mountain; however, most visitors take the aerial cable car to the top. The car is quite different than most, as it has a floor that rotates 360° as it ascends the mountain. This way, no matter where you stand, you have an equal panoramic view from many different angles looking up the mountain, down to the waterfront and Table Bay, and vistas in each side of the mountain. If you prefer, you may sit or stand in the middle of the cable car and not make the circle.
At the summit there is a the flat plateau with several small trails for walking. As you walk, you will see unusual plant life. You could walk all the trails in about 45 minutes. For your convenience there is a coffer shop, restrooms, and gift shop at the top.
Table Mountain is about a 15 minute taxi ride from the waterfront.
Travel Tip: It can be cold at the top, dress accordingly. During my July, midwinter, visit it was cold due to heavy winds. Of course, there is always the possibility that the cable car will not run due to heavy winds.
For more information:
Table Mountain
Cape Town 7848
Cape Town, Western Cape, 7848
00 27 21 7156136

South African Penguins Project - Earthwatch

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Norman on July 30, 2008

During my visit to South Africa I participated in the South Africa Penguins Project as an Earthwatch volunteer. During this 12 day project 5 volunteers worked with researchers to gather information on the South Africa Penguins and other animals on Robben Island.
The primary focus was to monitor penguins, their nests, and the growth of chicks. Penguins had to be identified by physical features, sometimes a difficult task. All observed birds that were banded were noted. From selected nests, older chicks were measured. Each chick was weighed and its head and flipper measured.
For more information about Earthwatch and the project :
Earthwatch www.earthwatch.org/website
South Africa Penguins Project www.earthwatch.org/expeditions/barham.html
www.SpotThePenguin.com Project information: www.spotthepenguin.com
Robben Island/Robben Island Museum
Table Bay
Cape Town, South Africa, 8002
+27 (0)21 409 5100


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