I'm travelling with my brother to Cape Town (from the UK), in mid January for 14 days, to get a quick burst of warm weather. We are keeping aound the Cape Town area for 5 or 6 days to cover the peninsular, and then perhaps a quick tour around the winelands and head South East/ East towards perhaps Swellendam - Littel Karoo - George to Plettenberg. In such a short time is it worth covering the this route, and from there to Port Elizabeth, or is it better to stick around the area to the south of Cape Town and the the Whale Coast. Any suggestions?
My brother's a photographer, and interested in landscapes, historic and early buildings, and portraits, so is obviously keen to find some suitable material.
We have accomodation in Anchor Bay to start with (for R&R) but will then get on the road. Any thoughts on whether to stick with the main car hire companies at the airport, or find a local company in Cape Town? Also, has anyone any tips about the insurance issues (CDWs), as they can frequently be penal.
This is my first post - so I'm looking forward to see what happens!
Firstly, I would recommend using Avis car hire at the airport, they provide really good service and an extremely comprehensive insurance that basically covers everything from theft to the car being written off. They're also the cheapest for extra mileage that you may do above the free 200km a day they provide you with.
You can also take a drive up to Oudtshoorn, Worcester and Riebeek Kasteel and surrounds to see some early and historical buildings, and generally the smaller arteriole roads (like the R62, close to Swellendam) will take you through some very interesting small towns that still has that old fair.
The road to Port Elizabeth, the famous Garden Route will take you through really beautiful indigenous vegetation (fynbos and forests) and spectacular views as the road winds through the eastern limb of the Cape Fold Belt mountains, this route also takes you through the highest commercial bunjee jump spot, off the Boukrans Bridge, some ~300m high!
I think to start you should consider whether you want to chill out, in that case i would say hang around the Peninsula and close areas, or weather you want to get a taste of everything on offer and see alot, which in that case I would say hitting the roads is a good idea!
Hope that helps!
I think that is enough time to spend in CT, and to do some of the Cape. As said above, it depends if you want to 'tick' things off, or chill out. You'll have to make that call.
From a photographic perspective, I'd take the R62 - I just did it 2 weeks ago, and have also done the N2 roadtrip several times. The highlights for me were starting in the wine region (I went to Franschhoek - great wine-tasting vineyards there), Robertson area including McGregor, and Outdshoorn - plenty to do there. This is the drier, hotter, more open route.
The N2 is also beautiful - the beaches are stunning along the entire Garden Route. My favourites are Storms River, and Wilderness, both for sheer tranquility.
Remember - you dont have to do the entire Garden Route, you could turn back if you start running out of time.
Its going to be hot in January. Take sunscreen and get air-conditioning in the car. Many an Englishman has been burnt in SA!
Lastly, avoid relying entirely on Garman's and GPS units. A roadmap is often easier.
I've used the same company twice in Cape Town, you can pick up yourself or they will deliver to your hotel at no charge, i found them cheap and reliable,and not too fussy.www.aroundaboutcars.com. Best thing to do with insurance is get super cdw with zero excess, dosen't cost that much extra
Everyone has given great advice. I just wanted to add though that about the car companies, my opinion is that if you use any of the big names (Avis, Budget etc which are at the airport and in CPT itself) you should be fine in terms of level of service, insurance cover, pick-up drop-off options, free kms etc. It might be good to have a look at what promotions each might have on at the time and chose the one that suits your needs. As with hiring a car anywhere in the world, read the fine print of the contract and ensure you understand the implications of what you are and are not adding as an extra. Consider hiring a GPS with your car as well if you don't like using physical maps.
Enjoy and good luck.