Please note that
I have been to South Africa several times since this trip report was
written. You can find a
report from Johannesburg here and you can find a
better Cape Town
trip report here. Please get in touch on
you have any questions.
landed in Johannesburg (also know as Jo’burg) on the 31st
of January 1999. The first few days were a bit amputated due to the fact
that KLM, together with the Norwegian airline company Braathens, managed
to send my luggage to Aberdeen, in Scotland, instead of sending it to
Johannesburg. It took them 4 days to locate it and deliver it to me.
don’t think that Johannesburg has that much to offer to tourists.
The Kruger Park is not that far from the city and many use this
city as a starting point for safaris. I have to admit that I didn’t go
on a safari during my stay in South Africa. I only stayed in Joburg for
two days before moving on to Cape Town. Cape Town is in my opinion a
much nicer city compared to Jo’burg. There are many ways to get to
Cape Town of course. You can drive but it is about 1400 km each way –
so it’s quite a lengthy trip. There is a train service between the two
cities but again the train takes about 24 hours so it also takes a long
time. We chose to fly to Cape Town and that took us about two hours.
There was a special deal at the time so we paid about 1000 Rands for two
people (for a round-trip).
think that Cape Town is a wonderful city. The city itself is located in
front of the magnificent Table Mountain. There are also other
”mountains” in the “City Bowl” – the middle of the city:
Lion’s head (about 670 meter) and Signal Hill (about 350 meter). I
think that this scenery makes the city to the most stunning city that I
have ever been to.
decided to stay at Green Point. I found quite a lot of information about
Cape Town accommodation by using the internet. We decided to stay at a
place called Claridges hotel. The rate was about 230 Rand pr night. The
location was great but I think that the hotel was old and not very well
maintained. So after one night we moved out and into a guesthouse called
Dale Court which is located just a few meters away. The rate here was
290 Rand for a big room and 245 Rand for a small room. We were very
pleased with a big room here and the location is great. It was located
on Main Road so it was easy to walk to the Waterfront (about 5-10
minutes) and there were Golden Arrow buses and minibuses going along
this road so it was easy to get into the downtown area or to Sea Point.
what is there to do in Cape Town?
I think the first thing you should do is to take a bus tour around the
city. Buses leave from the train station (right outside the tourist
information) and it cost about 35-40 Rand. The bus has a guide that will
tell you about the city, the buildings that you pass, about the areas
that the bus are in and so on. The bus tour takes you around in the
downtown area, district six, Signal Hill, Camps Bay, Sea Point and then
back into the downtown area.
If you have been on the bus tour then you will know where to go to take
the cable way to the top of table mountain. The line to get into the
cable car can be pretty long so you have to get there early. The
cableway is often closed if it is too windy. The view from the top is
spectacular and it is well worth the money. You can walk up there but I
haven’t tried it. For the adventurous type, one can also go abseling
along the mountain.
Start your walk to the 669 meter high peak on the way up to Signal Hill.
The trail takes you around Lion’s head so that you get a 360-degree
view of the city and the surrounding area. It gets a bit steep towards
the end but apart from that there is a nice trail. It took us about 1h
15 minutes to walk up to the top and we walked at comfortable pace.
You can drive more or less all the way up to Signal Hill. The bus tour
drops the passengers of here for a few minutes. The view towards Sea
Point, Green Point and the downtown area is great. Capetonians sing
endless praises of the spectacular night view from Signal Hill (and
As you probably know this is where Nelson Mandela and other
political prisoners were kept for such a long time. There are boattrips
out to the island from the waterfront area. The fast boat takes you out
to the island in 10-15 minutes and on the way out they show some
information about Robben Island on the TVs on board. The trip to the
island cost 100 Rand per person but it includes a walk around the prison
with a guide and a bus tour around the island (with a guide). Our guide
in the prison was a former political prisoner at Robben Island and that
gave the guide another dimension. I think we went out there at noon and
came back at 3 pm.
Take a drive to the Cape point. It is a great drive out there and
when you get to the point you can take a ”trolly” up to the
lighthouse. Even if this isn’t the most southern point of Africa you
still get the feeling of being on the tip of Africa. Don’t forget to
take a wind breaker or jersey with you – it can get pretty windy down
The Cape area is famous for the wine production. We took a trip to
Stellenbosch and one of the wineries in this area. It is about 1-hour
drive to Stellenbosh and many of the wineries have tours that you can
join in on. And you can get to taste the wine and to buy win of course.
Time to have some fun :-). This amusement park opened recently and
it has a few good rides. There is a free bus out there from the train
station (outside the tourist information). Check out their website at http://www.ratanga.co.za/
The remains of the historical buildings of the Dutch East India Company
(VOC) are located in the middle of town. It is great to walk around in
the park and relax. The South African museum is also located here. The
museum has more information about the origin of people in Africa, about
whales and about other animals. There is also a planetarium connected to
the museum and I enjoy that show a lot.
There are lots of nice beaches around in the Cape Town area. We took
a minibus to Camps Bay one day. Camps Bay is located about 3 to4 km from
Sea Point (moving away from the city). The beaches on this side of town
have freezing water. I’m from Norway so I’m used to cold water but
this water was absolutely freezing. If you move to the False Bay area
the water is a bit warmer.
There is an IMAX theater at the BMW pavilion near the waterfront. It has
several shows during the day and during the evening and if you have to
wait you can always take a look at the BMWs.
The waterfront area is nice. It is a nice mixture between shopping
malls, restaurants, bars and a working dock. This is where you will find
Planet Hollywood, Hard Rock Cafe and the Two Ocean aquarium. The Cantina
Tequila can prove to be quite a hot spot on Friday and Saturday
Parts of the road to Port Elisabeth are also known as the Garden Route.
There are many nice small towns on the way here. Most of them have
stunning beaches and great waves. Make stops at Wilderness, Knysna,
Plettenberg Bay and Mossel Bay. Read more about this beautiful area at http://www.gardenroute.co.za/
you want more info about South Africa and Cape Town you can buy the
lonely planet guides that has been released. There is also a lot of
information on the net and most hotels have lots of folders where you
can read more about things to do in the city.