Saturday, January 8, 2011

Cape Town, one of the World’s Most Affordable Destinations

A survey carried out by International survey publishers is reported by the Irish Fin Facts portal as having found that Cape Town is one of the most affordable cities in the world for expatriates. The 2010 survey is the world’s most comprehensive cost of living survey and is used to help multinational companies and governments determine compensation allowance for their expatriate employees who work in other parts of the globe. The survey covered 214 cities across five continents and measured the comparative cost of over 200 items in each city which includes housing, food, alcohol, transportation, entertainment and accommodation. New York is used as the base city for the index and all cities are compared against New York. Cape Town has ranked as one of the most affordable international destinations.

For the first time, the ranking of the world’s top 10 most expensive cities includes three African cities as Mercer has said that the growth potential in Africa has led to greater interest because of the increase in demand for information on African cities from across the business spectrum – mining, financial services, airlines, manufacturer, utilities and energy. Luanda in oil-rich Angola has become the world’s most expensive city in the world for expatriates, with Tokyo in 2ndposition; Ndjamena in Chad in 3rd place. Moscow is 4thfollowed by Geneva in 5th: London and Paris jointly rank 17th , while Tel Aviv (19) is the most expensive city in the Middle East, followed by Abu Dhabi (50) and Dubai (55). New York; the benchmark city for the survey (27) is the most expensive US city followed by Los Angeles (55). Cities in Brazil are amongst the most expensive locations in the Americas with Sao Paulo (21) ranked as the most expensive city in both North and South America, as a result of the strengthening of the Brazilian Real against the US Dollar, and Rio de Janeiro (29) is the second most expensive city. Full details of the findings can be read at :

In South Africa, Johannesburg and Cape Town rank 151 and 171 respectively, outshining the affordable holiday destinations of Hanoi, Vietnam and Bangkok in Thailand (both at 121); destinations that often compete for South African holidaymakers as exotic and affordable.

Although the survey did not focus specifically on the tourism and leisure industry, the commodities that have been surveyed in these international cities are those that affect the cost of a holiday and should be of interest to prospective tourists, as it shows that South Africa remains one of the world's most affordable holiday destinations, in spite of the strengthening of the South African Rand. This very up-to-date survey has taken into account currency fluctuations against the dollar and should be heartening news to all of us in the hospitality industry in South Africa.

Another interesting survey was recently carried out of construction in the hotel industry in Cape Town. It revealed that there had been substantial growth in new hotels and the number of rooms in the 4 and 5 star category during 2010. The survey, however, found that there has been almost no new construction in the affordable range which is the three star and 2 star hotel accommodations. It drew the conclusion that the sector of the market had “stagnated “which is why there had been no significant new construction. I think what they have missed is that the extensive network of Western Cape accommodation, including good quality and professionally run guesthouses, B&Bs, lodges and self-catering accommodation has successfully cornered that niche of the market from the hotel industry. While some of the non-hotel accommodations are undoubtedly in the luxury bracket, the majority of those listed as members of Cape Town Tourism definitely cater for those who seek good quality, comfortable but affordable Cape Town holiday accommodation.
Cape Town tourism has advised that its members are looking forward to 2011 with “cautious optimism”. When looking at the tourism prospects for 2011, I believe that all of us in the business of offering guest accommodation, in the non-hotel sector, can look forward to an exciting year because there are so many factors in our favour. Local tourism, which accounts for a large segment of our market, is not adversely affected by the strong South African Rand, since prices for them remain unchanged, and when one compares the high cost of the usual competing south-east Asian cheap holiday destinations, accommodation in Cape Town still offers the best value for money holiday accommodation available. Visitors from our traditional European and UK markets are sure to still find Cape Town to be a desirable and economical holiday destination, and it is to be hoped that we can grow the enormous potential that exists in the USA.

Best wishes for a succesful 2011 to all in the industry from Horizon Holiday Cottages in Noordhoek. 

Friday, December 31, 2010

Tidal pools of Cape Town

So many of our visitors enjoying a holiday in Cape Town with their families seem to be setting out from their holiday cottages looking for information about safe swimming for the children, and tidal pools seem to feature prominently in searches on the Internet this summer. This article gives some information about the tidal pools found on the popular False Bay coast of Cape Town, where the water is a little warmer for bathing than the Atlantic side of the peninsula. All of these pools are enclosed by stone walls and offer protected and safe bathing for children. In addition they are well maintained by the City, which places a high priority of tourism in Cape Town.

St James Pool : There is a small beach here, with a large tidal pool that is surrounded by brightly coloured Victorian era bathing boxes which may make this the most photographed beach in Cape Town. The tidal pool is popular for child friendly bathing as it is quite shallow for most of the length although one can dive from the rocks into the deeper end. The pool is surrounded by a relatively low wall, which keeps the water refreshed but keeps children safe. There are plenty of rocks with little tidal pools to explore, full of marine treasures which will keep the kids occupied for hours when not swimming. There is a nice wide sand beach, but St James is very popular on weekends and holidays so it would be best to arrive early if you want to spend the day here. There are toilets, showers and changing rooms at the beach. A pleasant diversion is the walkway along the shore between St James and the beach at Muizenberg that will make an enjoyable meander with the children from where they can admire the ocean and some of the interesting and historic buildings facing the sea.

Dalebrook Pool : is a little further on the main road before one gets to Kalk Bay, and is not as well-known to visitors from outside of Cape Town. This is a great pool where one can swim quite energetically. It is also surrounded by a stone wall, but one which is low enough for the waves to break over the end and keep the pool clean. If taking the children, be sure to let them take their goggles and snorkels because there are plenty of little fish and marine plants in the pool that will keep them amazed. Access to the beach is through a subway under the railway line opposite Dalebrook Road. Toilets, a shower and changing room are available, and it is close enough to Kalk Bay should you need to purchase refreshments or snacks.

Glencairn Pool : on the main road between the popular family beaches of Fish Hoek and Simonstown is another large, walled tidal pool which offers perfectly safe bathing for kids. The pool is a little distance from the beach itself and is situated just below the railway station. It is also a good place to grab a sunbathing spot when the beach itself becomes overcrowded on the weekends. The beach is directly in front of Black Hill Road coming over the mountain from our affordable Noordhoek holiday accommodation and the GPS coordinates are : latitude: -34.15, longitude 18.41667

Miller’s Point municipal resort is a caravan park, boat launching site and tidal pool on the road between Simonstown and Cape Point. It is less popular and not as well-known as many of the other pools, probably because of the distance that one has to travel, but it has a really great tidal pool for children, surrounded by expansive green lawns on which the adults can relax. Although there is not much of a beach here, there are quite a number of small sandy coves where you could enjoy a private family picnic. GPS coordinates : S25.74446 E028.21735

Boulders Beach at Simonstown may not, strictly speaking, be a tidal pool, but it is a beautifully sheltered little beach with gently sloping sands, surrounded by massive boulders which enclose and protect the beach from wind, waves and even predators. The added advantage for children of bathing here is that it is also a sanctuary for the African Penguins who will share the beach and the water with them. Unlike most of the Cape Town beaches, there is an entry fee which contributes to the cost of running the Penguin sanctuary and information centre. It is not only a great spot for the kids to bathe, but they will have hours of fun climbing the boulders as well as ducking beneath them to get to the coves on the other side. It is a very popular beach and crowded at weekends and holidays, so it is best to arrive early as numbers are limited in order to preserve the peace of the penguins

No matter where you chose to stay during your affordable cape holidays, these tidal pools are at most 30 min drive from the city but you can access most of them by train either from Cape Town or from the quaint Victorian station at Muizenberg. Our Blog contains more information about safe bathing beaches of cape town.

By : Affordable Cape Town self-catering accommodation - Fully equipped self catering Cape Town beach Cottages and chalets.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Go Topless in Cape Town this summer

Cape Town’s popular City Sightseeing topless red double decker busses are a familiar sight, particularly at the ticket office in the V&A Waterfront, and have been carrying visitors on holiday in Cape Town on a journey to explore the city’s heritage for some 10 years. The Open Top Red Tour Bus is an easy way to explore the sights, history, sounds and attractions of Cape Town.
This summer they have introduced an innovative new attraction; a “Magical Night Tour, departing at 6 pm only from the V&A Waterfront each evening until February. The 2 hour tour winds through the city, and will stop on Signal hill to view the sunset. This side of the Cape Town peninsula faces west, with the prospect of a spectacular, colourful, sunset over the sea every evening, before returning amongst lovely views of the city lights at night. The adult price per ticket is R80. Kids 5 - 15 years R40 and under 5 Free; but the night tour does not operate on 31 December 2010 and 2 January 2011.
If one buys a 2-Day Ticket to enjoy both the Red City Tour and Blue Mini Peninsula Tour, you will get a FREE Night Tour Ticket to be used on either one of the 2 consecutive days of travel.

The topless bus tours offer a convenient hop on hop off service to explore Cape Town starting at the Waterfront, but you may board the bus at any of the stops with a bus coming your way again about 45 minutes later. Choose from 2 tours:

The Red Route City tour offers the best way to see the City, and to get to the Table Mountain Cableway, the V&A Waterfront and Camps Bay. The tour departs from the Waterfront and winds its way around the City Centre stopping at the most important museums and the Cape Town Castle, before climbing to the lower Table mountain aerial cableway, some 350m above sea level. From there you drop down to the beaches of Camps Bay and Clifton before following the Atlantic through Sea Point and back to the Waterfront. There are 13 stops for your convenience.

The Blue Route Tour is really an inexpensive mini tour of the Peninsula with 10 stops to choose from; each with its own attraction. It offers a spectacularly scenic route outside the City Centre along Devil's Peak to the renowned Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens; then through the Cecilia forest and down Constantia Neck to beautiful Hout Bay where you can visit the world of birds in a tropical setting with 3,000 birds and small animals, and enjoy fresh seafood at Mariner’s wharf. From Hout Bay, the coastal road goes past the majestic peaks of the 12 Apostles and a spectacular coastal drive takes one to Camps Bay Beach, reputed to be Cape Town’s own Riviera, followed by Clifton Beach en route back to the Waterfront.

You can hop-on and off as many times as you like aboard the open top double decker bus, and each entire route takes approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes, with the bus departing every 45 - 60 minutes from each stop. What a relaxed way to enjoy Cape Town, with no hassles about driving and parking. In the Cape Town summer the weather is ideal for enjoying the great views from the open top of the bus, and includes interesting commentary and anecdotes about the rich culture and colourful history, in a 14-channel multi-language system for enjoyment of visitors from all over the world, as well as a dedicated channel for children. Kids are more than welcome; and not only can they can plug into their own onboard channel, but they will receive an activity pack to provide hours of entertainment.

You can conveniently book tickets on line and save having to stand in line at the website
The website also has a range of special offers that will enable you to see even more of the city which include:

• A 2 day tour with free night tour: adults R180. Kids R120; kids under 5 free.
• The Go Cape Town card is a great affordable family tour option as it includes the Red City Tour, a tour up Table Mountain on the Cableway and admission to the Two Oceans Aquarium in the Waterfront: Adults:
R 375; R190; Kids under 4 free.
• Tour and Boat ride : Combine a 1-Day Ticket for the Red or Blue Tour with a 1 hour boat cruise in the bay with the Waterfront Boat Company; depart from Quay 5. The adult price per ticket is R200.
• Enjoy a really exciting aerial view of one of the world’s best loved cities in a helicopter: Combine a 1-Day Ticket for the Red OR Blue Tour with a 30 minutes flight over Cape Town. The adult price per ticket is R1050.

Get the wind in your hair and the sun on your face and make the most of this interesting and affordable Cape Town holiday touring opportunity.

By  : Affordable Cape Town self-catering accommodation - Fully equipped self catering Cape Town beach Cottages and chalets.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Best Cape Town Picnic Spots

The wonderful summer is here and, with blue skies and plenty of sunshine, visitors on holiday in Cape Town and locals alike are sure to anticipate with pleasure planning a family picnic or just a romantic picnic for two. Cape Town's wonderful beaches and stunning scenery present many opportunities for a relaxing outdoor meal. Just be warned that the beaches of Cape Town enforce a "no alcohol" rule for good reasons. Not everyone, however, wishes to have sand between their teeth while eating, so here is a list of beautiful picnic spots that cater specifically for those wishing to have a picnic or a barbecue known locally as a “braai”, all within a short distance from our Noordhoek self-catering accommodation . These spots have been chosen because they allow you to pack your picnic basket and cooler box with your own choice of delicacies, instead of having to pay for an expensive picnic hamper.

Silvermine Nature Reserve
The Silvermine reserve is part of the Table Mountain National park, and is just a few minutes’ drive from our self-catering Cape Town accommodation. At the top of the mountain road is a clearly marked National Parks sign denoting the entrance to the Silvermine reservoir trail. There is a nominal entrance fee, but toilet facilities are provided at the parking area. A pleasant and easy walk to the Silvermine reservoir will be sure to enjoyed by the whole family, along a trail that winds through indigenous flora alongside a bubbling stream with boardwalks to cross the stream, until the trail circles the wall of the dam. Along the walk are panoramic views across False Bay. There are a number benches and tables made out of stone set under leafy shade, where one can picnic or make use of the braai (bbq) pits. The cool, clean blue waters of the dam will entice you to enjoy a swim on a warm day.

Chapman’s Peak Drive
Motor down the road from our Noordhoek accommodation to Chapman’s Peak Drive, which is undoubtedly Cape Town’s most spectacular coastal scenic drive. It is a an opportunity for photographers for great pics, with the road skirting the rocky coastline of the Atlantic Ocean far below, while hugging the slopes of the mountain. Chapman’s Peak drive has more than 100 curves and bends and offers magnificent views from the white sand beach of Noordhoek to the sheltered bay nestling under the imposing Sentinel, which is Hout Bay. Along the drive will be found a number of designated picnic spots, each equipped with concrete tables and benches, most of which are situated on spectacular view spots, and at least one next to a bubbling waterfall. These are lovely secluded spots to enjoy your picnic and, if you plan it for the late afternoon, you will be rewarded with one of the spectacular sunsets enjoyed almost every evening on this western side of the peninsula as the sun sinks into the sea.

Oudekraal is located between Camps bay and Llandudno on the way from Cape Town to Hout bay, and is possibly the best kept secret picnic and bathing spot of Cape Town. It is located under the majestic 12 Apostles range, and offers a number of sheltered coves situated between massive granite boulders with small, safe bathing beaches sheltered from the waves. Some have braai (barbecue) sites sheltered by Milkwood trees, whilst others enjoy fantastic views of mountain and sea. Be warned, however, that there are enough local people who know of this almost idyllic location that it might be difficult to get access on the weekends.

Perdekloof Picnic Site
Travelling from Noordhoek along the coastal road to Cape Point, is a very large picnic spot located in a sheltered growth of pine trees at the foot of the mountain just after the beach village of Scarborough. There are numerous concrete tables and benches and well maintained braai (barbeque) facilities. Perdekloof offers an opportunity to enjoy that "away from it all" feeling, whilst being easily accessible. Right opposite is an open air showroom with great opportunities to purchase stone African carvings from the local people. Entrance to the site is free.

Cape Point Nature reserve
In the Cape Point Park are picnic spots at both Buffels Bay and Bordjiesdrif, with clean white sand beaches, tidal pools, and lovely grassed picnic and braai spots which make it ideal for a family outing. Buffels Bay is often preferred for swimming because it enjoys the warmer waters of False Bay. Cape Point nature reserve presents an opportunity to view the mighty meeting of the oceans at Cape point, the high cliffs above the sea, and a variety of wild animals including baboons, Cape Mountain Zebra and various antelope. There are many other bird and animal species and some 1,100 species of 'fynbos' (Cape indigenous flora) The reserve is open between 6am to 6 pm in the summer months. An entrance fee of R55 per adult and R10 per child is payable.

Seaforth beach is an ideal venue for a family picnic; it has sloping green lawns that overlook the sheltered bathing beach, enabling parents to keep an eye on the little ones at play. The beach is sheltered from waves by massive rocks and offers safe swimming for kids. Entrance to the beach is free. There is a good restaurant at Seaforth Beach, with lovely views from their deck.
Boulders Beach, a little further on, was recently voted the best family beach in the world by a leading UK journal. Here, too, is a safe sheltered beach, nestled amongst the massive boulders for which the beach is named. The whole family will enjoy strolling along the boardwalk past the penguin colony where the cute black and white birds waddle along the beach or swim in the waves. This is a pay beach to limit the numbers. Further on the road to Cape Point one will find a delightful small beach at Froggy Pond ; situated right next to the road opposite the Fresh Air camp, where green lawns invite one to unpack a picnic and enjoy the sound of the waves and the fresh air.

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens
The Gardens are renowned for the diverse floral kingdom and displays of Proteas and fynbos, with a magnificent setting against the Eastern slopes of Table Mountain. This is an ideal spot for a family picnic with plenty of space for the kids to play. In summer there are open-air concerts presented on Sunday evenings, so bring along a blanket, a picnic basket and some Cape wine to enjoy the gardens or the concerts. The Silvertree Deli and Restaurant offers a selection of picnic baskets if you want to take the easy way out. An entrance fee has to be paid to the Gardens.

Tokai Forest
Situated on the edge of the Tokai forest is a spacious picnic site shaded by pine trees, set in the beautiful Constantia valley. There is plenty of space for families and for kids to run and play; as well as walking trails through the forest. Tokai forest is a close forest of pine trees, and, indigenous forest as well as Cape Fynbos; an ideal spot for weekend family picnics. There is a nominal entrance fee payable.

Although strictly speaking located just outside of Cape Town, Spier Estate can reached along the spectacular coastal road that fringes False Bay from Muizenberg beach and I have included it only because it is one of the prettiest picnic spots set alongside a river, with manicured rolling lawns, tables and benches amongst shady nooks, and rippling trees. Picnic baskets can be purchased but the most enjoyable option is to create your own gourmet picnic from the Spier Deli, choosing from the delectable range of cold meats, cheese, salads, delicious fresh bread, and homemade produce as well as dessert display. The family will enjoy packing their own picnic and then set out to nab a spot at the river bank.

No matter which is your choice you will be sure to have an enjoyable day out, but when planning your picnic it is good to remember that if the South East wind is blowing it may be better to have your picnic away from the False Bay side of the peninsula.

By Affordable Cape Town self-catering accommodation - Fully equipped self catering Cape Town beach Cottages and chalets.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Holidays in Cape Town more affordable this Summer

We find that our affordable accommodation in Cape Town is usually booked for the peak holiday season of Christmas and New Year more than six months before the start of the summer, by people who can easily afford to pay the required advance deposit to secure their Cape Town holiday accommodation. Things are definitely looking up in the travel accommodation business and we have been experiencing a steady increase month on month since the early part of the year of enquiries for self catering accommodation cape town. What has puzzled us is that so many requests for reservation are not confirmed in spite of the fact that the person making the enquiry has obviously viewed our accommodation and the rates on the website before submitting the enquiry. We have drawn the conclusion that the requirement to pay the 50% securing deposit which is standard in the industry becomes a problem for ordinary working people.

During the month of November as well as early December we have been experiencing a flood of enquiries from the website as well as telephone calls for people looking for affordable cape town accommodation during the peak season after having tried without success elsewhere. It seems that most South Africans from upcountry are determined to have their annual holiday at the seaside but have left the booking too late to take advantage of their expected annual bonuses. We have also noted in the search terms used by visitors to our website that large numbers of people are looking for budget accommodation in Cape Town, cheap self catering accommodation in Cape Town and similar terms. No one in our industry, particularly those who have been graded by the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa or other associations that bestow status upon accommodation want to be associated with the term “ cheap accommodation” and all that it implies, but we used the knowledge that was gained on the market to offer prospective guests the opportunity to pay the securing deposit for a reservation in monthly instalments to suit their budgets and also to similarly pay the balance of the accommodation fee in monthly instalments before the start of their holiday.

Those who have taken advantage of this opportunity have said that being able to take advantage of this flexibility has meant that they will have their annual bonus available to spend during their holiday in Cape Town instead of having to use it to pay for accommodation and dig into their savings. In their latest newsletter Cape Town Tourism has reported that the survey amongst their members showed “cautious optimism” about the summer season ahead. One of the factors that is undoubtedly resulting in reservation about the prospects for a bumper season is the strength of the South African Rand. Luckily for many of us in the non-hotel accommodation sector, the largest numbers of our guests are from within our own country and they are not adversely affected by rates of exchange.

Horizon holiday cottages plans to take advantage of this by offering its clients an instalment plan to make holidays in Cape Town more affordable by allowing guests to book up to 12 months in advance and pay any amount that suits their budget and circumstances. We have no doubt that the fact that we have experienced record numbers of bookings for the summer months; stretching right into the Easter school holidays is due to this flexible and innovative payment plan, for securing affordable accommodation in Cape Town .

By : Dennis : Horizon Holiday Cottages

Monday, November 22, 2010

Safe bathing beaches of Cape Town for this summer

Seaforth Beach, Simonstown

 By now the award of Blue Flag status to some of Cape Town beaches has been well-publicised and blogged about. This coveted award will certainly help to further improve the reputation of our beautiful city as a desirable international holiday destination, but we note that many up country visitors who are searching for cape town beach cottages for the summer holidays are also questioning whether it is safe to swim in Cape Town. For many who will holiday and enjoy the relaxing lifestyle of False Bay and the southern peninsula, the concern is whether bathing will be safe for the family this holiday season. The good news is that the city of Cape Town's recreation and amenities department has made every effort to ensure that the beaches of Cape Town will be ready for influx of visitors for the summer season, with a special focus being paid to beaches and tidal pools. In addition, the city has renewed a contract with Lifesaving Western Province for another three years to provide safe bathing and management of the beaches during the summer peak season, which means that 250 trained and accredited lifeguards will be deployed to render life-saving services at all beaches between 10 am and 6 pm daily from 01 December 2010 to mid-January 2011 when the schools re-open.

Shark-spotting measures will remain a priority for this holiday season, with Shark-spotters being deployed to Glencairn and Clovelly beaches during December, long weekends and over the Easter holidays. Shark-spotters will remain in place throughout the year at Muizenberg Corner, Fish Hoek, St. James, Kalk Bay and The Hoek in Noordhoek. The City’s Sport, Recreation and Amenities Department has been conducting regular checks of all of its beaches to ensure that they are clean and that all infrastructure is maintained including :
• All bathrooms and showers are clean and in working order
• All braai areas, paving, and grassed areas are regularly maintained and weeded
• All railings are maintained and some are being painted
• The tidal pools are managed according to the tidal pool management plan, which includes regular removal of algae
• Attention has also been paid to water quality at beaches and in tidal pools, which is tested and monitored by the Water and Sanitation Department’s Scientific Services, and action taken where necessary.

Horizon Holiday Cottages is a popular family and child friendly accommodation resort, and it seems that many are looking for beaches where the family will be assured of being able to enjoy the sun, surf and the beaches in complete safety. Whilst there are many beaches to choose from in the greater Cape Town area, the beaches of nearby False Bay offer warmer waters and a number of completely safe family swimming options. Especially suitable for holiday visitors with children are the following beaches all within a few minutes’ drive of Horizon Holiday Cottages:

Glencairn beach is the closest of the False Bay beaches; and is just a 5 minute drive from our accommodation. This lovely, clean, sandy beach remains largely overlooked by tourists even though it lies between the more popular beaches of Fish Hoek and Simonstown. The beach forms a small bay that is quite sheltered from the South East winds that prevail in the summer, although there is quite a strong backwash on the beach, particularly when the tides are high. Kids are bound to prefer the spacious tidal pool that juts into the bay, just below the railway station. Although beach amenities are sparse, there are a couple of good restaurants nearby including ”Flukes” at the Southern Right - a pretty, restored Victorian beach hotel.

Seaforth Beach, Simonstown is another great family beach, popular with children and their parents for safe bathing; Seaforth Beach is almost completely surrounded by large boulders with no waves and it is almost like an enormous tidal pool. The beach has gentle sloping sands, making it ideal for toddlers at play, although further out it is certainly deep enough for those who want to engage in more energetic swimming. The gentle sloping lawns that overlook the bathing area offer an ideal spot for a family picnic, and where adults can relax under the shade of old palm trees while keeping an eye on the little ones. The restaurant at the beach offers dining on the deck with spectacular views across False Bay.

Boulders beach has a deserved reputation as one of the world’s best family beaches and can be reached by a pleasant walk from Seaforth beach or, by car, from the parking lot just opposite the unusual golf course at Simonstown. In summer it is best to arrive early since numbers allowed access to the beach are limited in order to prevent overcrowding. The sheltered beach gets its name from the massive boulders that surround it, and which form sheltered coves in which you may will encounter some of the cute African penguins that have made this beach their home. Kids love this beach because the Penguins will come waddling past, or may even be sharing the water with them as they swim.

Boulders beach
You may be assured of your family being able to enjoy our beaches in complete safety at these great beaches. For further information about some other of the best Cape Town beaches with walled tidal pools see our website information, and for shark spotting measures at the beaches consult our blog :

By : Dennis Cook
Affordable Cape Town self-catering accommodation - Fully equipped self catering family Cottages and chalets on Noordhoek beach.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Sharks in Cape Town may not be in the water

It is that time of the year when it seems that all the rest of South Africa is looking for affordable holiday accommodation in Cape Town. We at Horizon Holiday Cottages have been booked since June for the middle of December to the end of the first week in January. In spite of this we receive dozens of enquiries every week for people searching for accommodation between the peak period from about 20 December to 5 January. I notice that the search terms often include “cheap holiday accommodation “ “family holiday accommodation” and the like. Most of us in the accommodation business do not exploit the peak Christmas season of about two weeks, preferring to maintain seasonal rates over the summer period and those visitors who have the foresight to book early are able to take advantage of our competitive rates.

Quite why everyone wants to be in Cape Town over Christmas and New Year for their annual holiday, I have difficulty in understanding. At this time our city is frenetic. The traffic at any time of the day is heavy, the malls crowded, and most visitors intending to holiday over the Christmas period may not be aware that construction is still in progress on the main road between Muizenberg and Fish Hoek, and you can be sure that they will not enjoy travelling along the beautiful coastal road with the traffic stalled for long periods of time. It will be difficult to get into most of the popular attractions of Cape Town and one will have to wait in a long line just to get a seat at many of the popular restaurants while the prices of almost everything, including eating out are raised for this holiday period. The beaches will all be crowded and parking impossible to find.
The 2011 school holidays extend right until the middle of January and prospective visitors to Cape Town with families should consider planning their holiday after the New Year period when they will enjoy Cape Town in a more relaxed state. For those who do not have children at school, consider that the months of February and March are the two most beautiful months in Cape Town. It is the middle of summer, but is often less troubled by the south-east wind and the city and its attractions is not so busy.

I read an article in Times Live titled "Holiday sharks on the prowl", subtitled “Con man collects deposits, then goes missing”.
 It reported that two Cape Town families were conned out of thousands of rands after booking a luxurious home on the Internet for their Christmas holiday. It seems that scammers use free advertising websites to post pictures of a luxurious beach cottage, collect what seems to be a reasonably small deposit, and go missing resulting in these families losing their deposits. We hate to hear of such incidents and advise visitors when booking to ensure that they are dealing with an established and reputable accommodation provider. Cape Town tourism of which we are a member inspects the accommodation of all of their members who are registered as providers of tourist services. We are proud to display the AA Travel “quality assured “ sign on our accommodation because that, too, was preceded by a comprehensive and thorough inspection which is renewed annually . The Tourism Grading Council of South Africa has very stringent requirements of its members before awarding a grading. If you are looking for luxury accommodation you require 4 or 5 star accommodation or, if it is affordable accommodation that you are looking for, this is usually graded, like ours, as 3 star. Almost every year during the peak Christmas/New Year period we receive telephonic enquiries from guests looking for last minute accommodation after finding that what they booked was of such poor quality that they were prepared to forfeit what they had paid just to find suitable accommodation. This misfortune can be avoided if you deal with accommodation establishments that are quality assured.

Fortunately for those of us in the Cape Town accommodation business, our city has more than one peak season, in addition to the Christmas and New Year period. Accommodation at Easter time is sought after because of the school holidays and the Easter long weekend. Looking at the calendar there is a great opportunity to take advantage of off-season rates at the end of April. Then of course we are fortunate to have major events that bring visitors including the Argus Cycle tour 13 march, and the Two Oceans Marathon which will be held on 23 April. Because these times are so sought after there will be a high demand for accommodation and those intending to holiday in Cape Town should be careful not to be deceived by advertisements for cheap accommodation at these times.

By  Affordable Cape Town self-catering accommodation - Fully equipped self catering family Cottages and chalets on Noordhoek beach.