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  • lynnehamman's Profile Photo

    The Cape Doctor-Hang onto your hat

    by lynnehamman Updated Apr 3, 2009

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: The Cape Peninsula has a Mediterranean climate with well-defined seasons. In winter, which lasts from May to September, large cold fronts come across from the Atlantic Ocean with heavy precipitation and strong north-westerly winds. The winter months are cool, with an average minimum temperature of 7 °C (45 °F).Most of the city's annual rainfall occurs in wintertime, but due to the mountainous topography of the city, rainfall amounts for specific areas vary dramatically. The suburb of Newlands which is to the south of the city is the wettest place in South Africa.This, of course, makes for some exciting Rugby matches, which are played at the famous Newlands stadium.
    Summer, which lasts from November to March, is warm and dry. A very strong wind from the south-east arrives, and is known locally as the Cape Doctor, because it blows away pollution and cleans the air. . Summer temperatures are mild, with an average maximum of 26 °C (79 °F). The only times when Cape Town can be uncomfortably hot is when the Berg Wind, meaning "mountain wind" blows from the Karoo interior for a couple weeks in February or early March.

    Fondest memory: I have a small build, and weigh 48kg. My fondest and funniest memory is trying to make my way along the main city street (Adderley Street) with a Cape Doctor blowing hard- I was having to run from street pole to street pole, hanging on for dear life- while trying to keep my skirt from blowing up.
    MAIN PHOTO- We lived in St James, which is a beautiful seaside suburb on the False Bay coast. Our house was perched upon the cliffside, and we had this magnificent view of the bay. When the weather was wild, we loved to watch the sea- grey with whitecaps, and huge waves crashing onto the beach below.

    The street where we lived-lovely view
    Related to:
    • Backpacking
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel

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  • CatherineReichardt's Profile Photo

    Some suggested itineraries in Cape Town

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Jan 1, 2013

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Drat, I thought that I had already written one of these itinerary tips for Cape Town, but as I couldn't find it when I looked for it the other day. Clearly I only wished that I had already written it, as although putting together this sort of tip is great fun, it's also rather a lot of work!

    Cape Town and the surrounding area offers a bewildering range of options for tourists, and despite the fact that I have been visiting there for over 20 years, I am still finding new and exciting things to do, as well as happily revisiting old favourites. There's literally something for everyone, spanning virtually the complete range of interests and budgets, so chances are that your biggest problem will be deciding what to leave out!

    MAJOR ATTRACTIONS
    The most touristed (some would maintain 'touristy') part of Cape Town is the Victoria and Alfred (V&A) Waterfront, including the Robben Island ferry terminal (to get the best out of this experience, I suggest that you visit the Slave House for their exhibit on Nelson Mandela before you go), the statues of South Africa's Nobel Prize laureates, Two Oceans Aquarium and the resident seals. There are also boat rides and a canal trip (neither of which I have got around to doing) and watching other people working hard in the active dry docks And, if all else fails, there are a whole range of restaurants and cafes to retreat to.

    The Cape Town CBD is probably the most disappointing aspect of the city, as it is blighted by hideous 60s concrete. Nonetheless, there are some lovely spots and interesting things to do, including a wander pass Parliament and a stroll through the adjacent Company Gardens. The Slave House and the Cape Town Museum are also well worth a visit and the District Six museum also gets rave reviews (which is still on my To Do list). The Castle of Good Hope is also underrated and surprisingly interesting.

    Travelling further inland, catching the cablecar up Table Mountain is an absolute must - so long as the mountain isn't covered by the 'tablecloth' of cloud. If you're in this area, don't miss the stunning Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, which are located at the foot of Table Mountain and are an exquisite place to pass a couple of hours. In summer, try to catch one of the
    open air concerts on Sunday evenings.

    One gem that very few tourists experience is the utterly brilliant Heart of Cape Town museum at Groote Schuur hospital - for my money, the most original of Cape Town's museums.

    WHEN THE WEATHER TURNS FOUL
    Cape Town's weather is notoriously changeable, and so it's always advisable to have a few foul weather options up your sleeve. The general rule of thumb when in Cape Town is not to plan too rigidly and to do the weather dependent activities (such as Table Mountain or Robben Island) whenever the weather is good,as there's no guarantee it will stay that way!

    Good wet weather options include the stunning Two Oceans Aquarium, the Cape Town Museum, the District Six museum and the Heart of Cape Town museum.

    There are also excellent cinemas in the shopping malls, including the V&A Waterfront. Plus almost infinite shopping options in those malls - so please feel free to contribute to our GDP!

    CAPE TOWN FOR KIDS
    Cape Town is the perfect destination for family holidays (as evidenced by the mass invasion by local tourists over the long summer holidays in December). Some of the options include the stunning Two Oceans Aquarium, the Cape Town Museum, firing of the Noon cannon on Signal Hill,
    the Science Centre, the penguins at Boulders Beach and World of Birds in Hout Bay.

    The Cape peninsula's staggering variety of beaches are a surefire winner with kids of all ages.

    My kids also love the train ride between Muizenberg to Simon's Town which hugs the False Bay shoreline.

    Check out the online version of Cape Town's Child magazine before you go for up to date information on child friendly events and activities.

    THE PENINSULA AND FALSE BAY

    The most obvious attraction of the Cape peninsula is Cape Point itself, as well as the lovely nature reserve that surrounds it.

    It is almost impossible to understate the charm of the many beautiful drives that the peninsula and False Bay coastline offer if you're willing to self drive. Some of the most beautiful include:
    Peninsula drive
    The iconic Chapman's Peak drive
    Boyes Drive above on the western shoreline of False Bay
    Ou Kaapseweg, which traverses the spine of the peninsula
    Red Hill Drive from Simon's Town over the peninsula to Scarborough and
    The drive from the Strand through Gordon's Bay to Betty's Bay, which skirts the eastern shore of False Bay.

    Some of our favourite beaches include Noordhoek, Llandudno for sundowners, Soetwater, Kommetjie, Seaforth and our all time favourite, Boulders Beach in Simon's Town (complete with free range penguins)

    Simon's Town is a gorgeous little town which has housed a naval base since the early 19th century, whose most famous sailor was Able Seaman Just Nuisance, a Great Dane. It is also home to the famous penguin colony at Boulders Beach and the glorious Historic Mile boasts among the best preserved Victorian architecture in South Africa.

    Kalk Bay is a gentrified but vibrant coastal village which is home to an active fishing fleet, as well as corporate commuters to Cape Town.

    CAPE TOWN FOR THE SPORTING
    For the actively sporting, Cape Town offers arguably the most scenic ultramarathon and cycling events, the Two Oceans ultramarathon and the Cape Argus cycle tour.

    There are myriad other outdoor activities including sea kayaking at Simon's Town, hiking at Silvermines and hiking up Table Mountain (which I have yet to do).

    Those who prefer to spectate rather than participate can take in a game of rugby or cricket at Newlands.

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  • glennkasner's Profile Photo

    Claiming yout VAT back

    by glennkasner Written Apr 19, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: How to Claim your Tax Refund

    Documentation

    Simply identify yourself as a tourist to shop assistants, and request a Tax Invoice for the goods you have purchased.
    A valid Tax Invoice must contain all the following information:

    The words "Tax Invoice"
    A Tax Invoice number
    The seller's VAT Registration number
    Date of Issue of the Tax Invoice
    The seller's name and address
    The buyer's name and address
    A full description of the goods purchased
    The cost of the goods in Rands
    The amount of VAT charged, or a statement that VAT is included in the total cost of the goods

    Inspection

    Goods in respect of which a VAT refund is claimed must be presented for inspection on departure from South Africa.

    Remember: No Inspection - No Refund!

    When departing from Cape Town International Or Johannesburg International Airports the following procedure is to be followed.

    Procedure
    Produce goods prior to check-in at the VAT Goods Inspection Desk or Customs Counter clearly sign posted in the Departure Hall. Hand luggage may be inspected at the VAT Refund Office situated after immigration control. Claims are received at the VAT Refund Office. Cheques issued may be cashed for foreign currency at the airport banking facility.

    For further info call at the VAT refund desk in the Clock Tower precinct of the V&A Waterfront or go to www.taxrefunds.co.za

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  • glennkasner's Profile Photo

    Claiming yout VAT back

    by glennkasner Written Apr 19, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: How to Claim your Tax Refund

    Documentation

    Simply identify yourself as a tourist to shop assistants, and request a Tax Invoice for the goods you have purchased.
    A valid Tax Invoice must contain all the following information:

    The words "Tax Invoice"
    A Tax Invoice number
    The seller's VAT Registration number
    Date of Issue of the Tax Invoice
    The seller's name and address
    The buyer's name and address
    A full description of the goods purchased
    The cost of the goods in Rands
    The amount of VAT charged, or a statement that VAT is included in the total cost of the goods

    Inspection

    Goods in respect of which a VAT refund is claimed must be presented for inspection on departure from South Africa.

    Remember: No Inspection - No Refund!

    When departing from Cape Town International Or Johannesburg International Airports the following procedure is to be followed.

    Procedure
    Produce goods prior to check-in at the VAT Goods Inspection Desk or Customs Counter clearly sign posted in the Departure Hall. Hand luggage may be inspected at the VAT Refund Office situated after immigration control. Claims are received at the VAT Refund Office. Cheques issued may be cashed for foreign currency at the airport banking facility.

    For further info call at the VAT refund desk in the Clock Tower precinct of the V&A Waterfront or go to www.taxrefunds.co.za

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  • camilo74's Profile Photo

    Republic of Hout Bay

    by camilo74 Updated Mar 9, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: The story says a guy faked his passport and travelled around the world with his Republic of Hout Bay Passaport, I don't know if it's true, but if you come here you can buy your own passaport, i didn't do it, just stopped here to see the seals in my route to Cape Point

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  • glennkasner's Profile Photo

    Strand Street

    by glennkasner Written Dec 15, 2003

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Strand (meaning Beach) Street gets it's name from the fact that when the Castle was built the shoreline ran where this street is now.
    Gradual reclamation of land (probably out of habit due to the Dutch ancestory of our city fathers) has moved the sea back a few kilometres to where it is at present

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  • cokes's Profile Photo

    Winter in the Cape

    by cokes Updated Nov 9, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Hey guys , just a general tip about the winter season. Well Cape Town`s rainy season is in winter so you just imagine how miserable it is.

    It rains all day , very misty in the mornings , there is strong winds that blows and the one thing that I hated most is the fact that the sun takes so long to rise there compare to JNB.

    The sun rises after 7am which I hate it because if you live there you go to bed when its dark and you get up to go work went its dark....... Don`t like waking up when its dark.

    Typical Winters Day

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  • glennkasner's Profile Photo

    St George's Mall

    by glennkasner Updated Nov 22, 2003

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Take a stroll up St Georges Mall. It starts at Thibault Square near the Station and runs up all the way to St George's Cathedral. There you can cross the road turn left for a few metres and continue up into the VOC Company gardens.
    Continue up Government Avenue to the Natural History Museum and Planatarium.
    The sights & sounds you'll see on the way will be entertaining.

    Mad Hatter?

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  • glennkasner's Profile Photo

    Will it Rain?

    by glennkasner Written Oct 30, 2003

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: The locals have a very accurate way of forcasting whether rain could be expected within the next few hours.

    Simply look at Lions Head, that's the peak to the right of Table Mountain.
    If there is a cloud obscuring the tip of Lions Head you can bet your bottom dollar that rain is well in it's way. If no cloud, leave your brolly at your hotel!

    Lions Head

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  • mvtouring's Profile Photo

    Good Food & Wine Show

    by mvtouring Written Jun 22, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: The Good Food and Wine Show is hosted at the CTICC and it seems like it is becoming a bi-annual event. The retail group Pick 'n Pay sponsors it and they bring a few celeb chefs out to come and do demonstrations. The last one I went to see Anthony Warrel Thompson and he was absolutely fab. Afterwards we bought some of his cook books and did a 'photoshoot' with him. He is such a darling.

    Anthony signing books
    Related to:
    • Women's Travel
    • Festivals

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  • city_guy's Profile Photo

    Planet Hollywood Cape Town

    by city_guy Updated Dec 23, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing:

    Well, it was there, so I had to go take a look. At the timewhen I went there in 1999, there was some bombings at the Wharf and some lives were lost.

    So, when I walked into the Planet Hollywood, I was bag-searched and body searched. It didn't upset me as I knew they were facing threats.

    Most of the other places like clubs and bars even eateries had to conduct these searches. Another funny thing was that there was no sign of a dustbin all over the wharf. I guess it was some kind of prevention.



    Fondest memory:

    What I miss about Cape Town? The little kids following me and asking or money in the city :)

    Planet Hollywood Cape Town
    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Family Travel
    • Business Travel

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  • canuck68's Profile Photo

    Living and Learning in Cape Town (Residency)

    by canuck68 Updated Dec 6, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: I don't live in South Africa but I think you are in for an amazing experience.
    Careful research should allay your fears. I do know that Groote Schuur is well known throughout the world as an excellent teaching hospital. It is situated in a beautiful location.
    The South Africans can give you good advice. I have visited three times and never been the least bit afraid. Good luck. Our little town in Canada has many South African doctors and I think every one trained at Groote Schuur.

    This was a response to a question in the South African Forum

    Fondest memory: The beauty of Cape Town is my most lasting memory. You can look in any direction and see something wonderful......the waterfront, Table Mountain and so on.

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  • rachel_sun's Profile Photo

    Table Mountain has great views

    by rachel_sun Written Feb 25, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Table Mountain ...i did not go up Table Mountain by cable car as there was a huge que.We walked up instead.The views are fantastic.I saw loads of beautiful plants flowering.There are over 1400 species of plants on Table Mountain.We also saw these strange rodents(related to elephants)at tho top the the mountain,which we fed.
    Because the mountain is 1000m high,the views are great.I enjoyed the restaurant and shop at the top too.I found the marked walking routes good.The Cape Doctor is a south-easterly wind which blows on the cape and forms a cloth like looking cloud over Table Mountain.It looks quite strange.

    Fondest memory: Ariel view of Cape Town

    Related to:
    • Spa and Resort

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  • rachel_sun's Profile Photo

    Take a cable car up Table Mountain

    by rachel_sun Written Feb 25, 2003

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    Favorite thing: The cable car only goes upTable Mountain when it is not windy and cloudy.Its best to go early morning or early evening to avoid queuing.You can book to go up and avoid the queuing too.Captour(Tourist Rendevous)at the lower cableway station or at the Waterfront information center.
    When i go back,i will book the cable car so i dont have to que.

    Fondest memory: Me after a nice meal at The Strand with Table mountain in the distance.

    Related to:
    • Spa and Resort

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  • rachel_sun's Profile Photo

    Lovely Wine ;-)

    by rachel_sun Written Feb 25, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: There are lots of small towns near the coast,on the atlantic side,Camps Bay being one of my favourites.It is a 10 minute trip by car from Cape center. The Cape Of Good Hope ,which is almost the most southernly tip of South Africa is about 70km from Capes center.There is a nature reserve here too.I enjoyed Cape Point.

    Fondest memory: Here is a bottle of my favourite Cape Wine.

    Related to:
    • Wine Tasting

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Cape Town Favorites

cleocat's Profile Photo

A great itinerary written by one of VT's valued members, Catherine. If you are looking for ideas on what to do or where to go, have a look at this.

Map of Cape Town