Saturday, December 12, 2009

World Cup 2010 Accommodation -will you get cheated?

The countdown begins-- will you get scammed while booking accommodation??
The final draws for the matches have been done, amidst great celebration in Cape Town and the question in the minds of many, particularly our prospective visitors from overseas , is whether there will be a problem finding suitable accommodation at an affordable price?

Recently, the Western Cape office of the Consumer Protector (a watchdog organisation over consumer rights ) issued a warning to the South African public to be on their guard against scams from people offering holiday accommodation for the approaching festive season. Whilst this information was intended for the hundreds of thousands of our local tourists that flock to the Cape, we think that the same information should be available to prospective visitors from overseas. We are proud of hosting this first world cup series on the African continent and we are determined that visitors will leave with a good impression, not only of our ability to successfully host the event, but also of the friendliness of our people; convinced that South Africa is a tourist destination which offers good value for money, and filled with determination to return. Prospective visitors should therefore heed this advice.

"Consumers are urged to exercise caution when booking holiday accommodation especially if it is done via the internet and email," the Consumer Protector said in a statement. The Protector said it had seen a steady increase in the number of false advertisements placed mainly on free classified ad websites: "It is therefore crucial that consumers be aware of the risks posed when responding to offers without having applied a measure of caution."
The Consumer Protector warned that money should never be deposited into another's bank account without confirming the property existed and was available for rent. Consumers should not to be swayed by "photographs that show a stunning property". "Scam artists often forward false photographs in the hope of further enticing unsuspecting consumers”.
The consumer protector went on to advise consumers to be cautious of advertisements that supplied only an e-mail address or a cellphone number ; pointing out that the mobility of the Internet allowed such advertisements to be placed from anywhere. "Also, be careful if the deposit requested is substantially lower than the accommodation rental industry charges." The Consumer Protector said in most cases a 50 % deposit was requested by genuine accommodation service providers.

Firstly, let us give all those seeking accommodation reassurance that they are unlikely to have a problem finding accommodation and therefore one should not be hasty in this initial stage in making your choice of where to stay. On 8 December a statement was issued by the Minister of Tourism, Mr Marthinus van Schalkwyk while briefing the media in Cape Town stating :
“South Africa can confidently say that it has enough accommodation for the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup,… after an extensive accommodation audit undertaken by the National Department of Tourism.”
“The results of the audit show that South Africa has more than 202 000 rooms available across the country and I am very satisfied that this will be enough to provide for the approximately 450 000 visitors we are expecting for the world cup. The audit was undertaken in cooperation with stakeholders from all nine provinces, the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA) and South African Tourism (SAT). He noted that the results of the audit showed the following:
* there are at least 202 712 rooms in the country, of which 107 119 are graded and
95 593 are ungraded
* there are at least 7 520 accommodation establishments in host cities (within a 50 kilometre radius of stadiums) with 100 853 rooms
So- now that you know that finding accommodation is not going to be a problem , please let us give you a few tips that will ensure that you get good value for your money and deal with reputable accommodation establishments. Firstly South Africa has an excellent process of grading of tourism accommodation establishments, which is conducted by the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa, which is your guarantee of quality and standard. The distinctive star logo is your assurance that the establishment has been graded- the renewal of which is done annually. The website of TGCSA states
“ star grading is an independent assessment of what our guests can expect to find at our accommodation. It is based on the overall quality but also takes into account the services and facilities you'd expect to a company that that particular star graded establishment. You may use the website of the tourism grading Council to look for suitable accommodation in whatever area you wish to stay.” Their website is
Visitors, both local and overseas who have spent a great deal of money travelling to Cape Town, or any other destination, would be well advised to choose an accommodation establishment, like 3 star graded Horizon Holiday Cottages, run by professionals with an appropriate grading to ensure that they do not encounter disappointment. For almost a year the press has been full of reports about the expectations of private property owners expecting to make a fortune during this windfall month. Unfortunately such persons have no experience in dealing with tourists or providing suitable accommodation and you may be disappointed if you deal with these individuals.
You might note that in the village suburb of Cape Town which is Noordhoek, where you will find inexpensive and affordable self catering accommodation, that out of some 55 establishments offering tourist accommodation, only 13 have been graded, together with our one hotel. Many of those offering accommodation, including bed and breakfast, do this as a sideline from a guest cottage or even a converted garage and may disappoint overseas tourists who expect to receive professional service. If you are dissatisfied with such accommodation there is nowhere for you to voice your dissatisfaction; if you deal with an accommodation establishment which has been graded by the Tourism Grading Council you have the opportunity to submit comment or complaint directly to them or leave a review of the establishment on the website.
We have just had guests from overseas who booked some of their wedding party in our affordable, self catering cottages, whilst they had booked themselves in a villa let privately in the neighbourhood, although they ended up spending most of the time at Horizon Holiday Cottages, where their guests enjoyed a relaxing stay and prepared for the wedding. This is the feedback that they gave us about their experience:
We were paying 3 times the price for this place per day; on the 3rd day the electricity ran out, and we were told to buy our own, because it was a prepaid system. The fridge did not work properly nor did the washing machine, all of which was advertised on this wonderful website, and it turn out to be nothing but a nightmare. The garden looked like something out of Africa and the whole place was just untidy
Chose wisely and be sure that you are dealing with an establishment of repute. The websites of professional accommodation providers , such as Horizon Holiday Cottages, usually have guest feedback on their websites, and belong to other associated organizations, such as the AA (Automobile association, GHASA (Guest house association) or Tourism Cape Town.
Finally we wish to let you know that we still have some accommodation for the World cup 2010.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Save with Go Cape Town card

You must have seen the red “topless” tour busses showing excited tourists the interesting sites of Cape Town and its environs? This is a great way to see Cape Town, in summer enjoying the open air views from the top of the City Sightseeing Open-Top Tour bus. You can chose from 2 tours which allow you to set your own pace by hopping off to explore over 33 attractions at the different stops - you've got all day to do it with one ticket.

The popular Cape Town V&A Waterfront needs no introduction as it is already world famous- but have you and your family visited the Two Oceans aquarium? Our southern tip of the African continent is the meeting place of two mighty oceans, the Indian and the Atlantic. The Two Oceans Aquarium at the V&A Waterfront showcases the wonderful diversity of marine life found in these two oceans. The Aquarium is one of the top attractions in Cape Town; with over 3000 living sea animals, including sharks, fishes, turtles and penguins to be seen in this spectacular underwater nature reserve.

Now there is more great news for visitors to our beautiful city: three of Cape Town's top attractions have teamed up to offer a discount card that will save you money and because it can be purchased on line it will save you having to queue.
City Sightseeing Open-Top Tour, Table Mountain Cableway and Two Oceans Aquarium have joined forces to launch the Go Cape Town Card, an all-inclusive ticket for the three popular tourism attractions. The card is available from 1 December 2009. Visitors pay only R360 per card, which includes a return trip on the Table Mountain Cableway, a visit to the Two Oceans Aquarium and a ride on an open-top City Sightseeing Bus. Children under 18 years pay R180 per card.
“The beauty of the card is that visitors no longer have to stand in queues at any of the attractions; as well as the three-month validity, allowing for more flexibility in planning your itinerary,” said Jillian Grindley-Ferris, brand and business manager of Two Oceans Aquarium.
The Go Cape Town card can be purchased at any of the three attractions, or online at from Tuesday December 1 this year. The cards are valid for three months from date of purchase. Avoid queues and save on your holiday by getting 3 great experiences in 1 with the new Go Cape Town Card. Marvel at the Two Oceans Aquarium, glide up Table Mountain Cableway to enjoy the awesome views
and marvel at beautiful Cape Town in comfort on the City Sightseeing tour bus!

If it is comfortable, self catering family accommodation that you are seeking for your Cape Town holiday please visit the website of affordable self catering Cape Town accommodation:

Sunday, November 22, 2009

World Class Cape Town beaches

7 of Cape Town's beaches have been awarded Blue Flag status this year, with Big Bay Beach in Blouberg attaining this prestigious status for the first time. Blue Flag status means that beaches meet 33 criteria, spread across four areas: environmental education and information; water quality; environmental management and safety and services. The Blue Flag programme is a voluntary international campaign and award scheme that guarantees tourists that the beaches they are visiting are clean and adhere to international safety standards

Blue Flag is a prestigious, international award scheme which acts as a guarantee to tourists that a beach or marina they are visiting is one of the best in the world.
It is awarded to coastal destinations which have achieved the highest quality in water, facilities, safety, environmental education and management. Over the years it has acted as an incentive to many beach managers to improve the quality of the coast and their hard work has led to a revival of the coastline and beaches around the world. Only beaches that are selected by the respective municipalities are submitted for grading.

A total of 29 South African beaches have been given Blue Flag status this year, which is good news for tourism as it increases the country's desirability and reputation as a world-class destination, said Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk. He added that apart from Morocco, South Africa is the only African country which implements the Blue Flag programme, reinforcing the status of our country in the International Tourism market.

Cape Town's Blue Flag beaches, all of which are in easy reach of our conveniently located affordable self catering accommodation are:

• Big Bay beach, Bloubergstrand ; known for its spectacular views of Table mountain across the bay
• Clifton Fourth Beach ; the place where beautiful people go to be seen, and to see
• Camps Bay ; popular family beach and the “in “ place to be seen
• Muizenberg ; with its shallow slope and long rolling waves, an deal beach for surfers as well as bathers
• Strandfontein Beach ; so long that it is seldom crowded, good surfing and bathing as well as angling
• Mnandi Beach ; An enclosed landscaped water park, playground, picnic sites, long sandy beaches good for walking and fishing. Mainly frequented by members of the formerly disadvantaged community
• Bikini Beach, Gordon's Bay ; this small beach nestling under the mountains is beautifully sheltered from the wind and ideal for a relaxed day in the sun

South Africa was the first country outside of Europe to have blue flag beaches, which signifies a high level of water quality, facilities, cleanliness and safety. Cape Town has the highest number of Blue Flag beaches in the country.

Three other Western Cape beaches won Blue Flag status: Grotto Beach at Hermanus, Hawston beach, and Lappiesbaai at Stilbaai.

Durban , popular holiday destination for South Africans from up country , has lost out. The eThekwini Municipality had six beaches on the programme, but these lost their status after unacceptably high sewage-related pollution was detected at five of the city's Blue Flag beaches.

The Blue Flag Programme is owned and run by the independent non-profit organisation, Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), which has its head office in Copenhagen, Denmark. The Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (Wessa) has been authorised to run the Blue Flag programme in South Africa.

photo :courtesy of Tourism South Africa
Barefoot in the Sand is the Blog of affordable Cape Town self catering holiday accommodation for the information of visitors.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Google Streetview adds our favourite places

Google and South African Tourism are on a search for the top three tourist locations in South Africa this summer, to bring images of South Africa’s best rated attractions to the public using Google’s Street View application, which was launched in South Africa on September 1 this year. Google Street View is an extension of the very popular Google Maps, which will allow users to ‘go down to street level’ and see what it looks like at a particular spot on a map. This is great news for tourists and visitors and even armchair tourists, who will now be able to do a “virtual tour” of Cape Town and other great cities through the Google website This comprises a series of panoramic, interactive placed on the exact spot from which they were taken. These images become extremely informative and powerful because Google has created the ability to generate hundreds of thousands of them, each +- 10 m from the next. Strung together, the panoramic images allow you to take a virtual walk or drive down a street in New York, London, and soon, Cape Town and Johannesburg.
Because some of the best places to visit are not always accessible by car, the Street View images will be collected using the Google Trike, which comprises three bicycle wheels and a mounted camera. It weighs about 110 kg and comes with a very fit cyclist, who will be hard to miss in his branded apparel. A shortlist of 20 locations has been drawn up for the public to choose from. Now it’s up to you to vote for the places you would most like to be rated as the most popular. This is great news by the always innovative Google to publicize our beautiful country ahead of the 2010 World Cup
This is the chance Capetonians have been waiting for to show the whole country the beauty of places that one can visit from our affordable holiday accommodation, including Simon’s Town, Boulders Beach, Chapman’s Peak , Franschhoek Winelands, and more of Cape Town’s top 100 attractions. The Trike will be available for a short time during the summer. Once it has finished its journey, the images it takes will be made available on Google Maps’ Street View.
Google South Africa head Stephen Newton stated
“We want it to be a really fun, new aspect of the website. Users will be able to virtually tour historical monuments or scenic locations before visiting– or check out which side of a football stadium they need to be on before leaving the house.”
The Google website states :
We're working hard to bring Street View to South Africa, so we've created the Google Trike to go to the amazing tourist spots that can't be reached by cars. We want you to tell us your favourite 3 places that you think the Trikes should visit first. So get voting now!
For more information on this initiative and to cast your vote, visit the website and cast your vote
Chose from the list of :

Newlands Cricket Stadium
Kruger National Park
Blyde River Canyon
Cathedral Peak
Addo Elephant Park
Simon’s Town and Boulders Beach
St Lucia/iSimangaliso Wetlands
Maropeng and Sterkfontein Caves
Mandela House, Hector Pieterson Memorial and Soweto highlights
Isandlwana, Rorke’s Drift and the Valley of the Zulu Kings
Bloemfontein Houses of Parliament
Franschhoek Winelands
Apartheid Museum
Big Hole, Kimberley
Tsitsikamma National Park
Chapman’s Peak and Cape coastal panoramas
Constitution Hill
Golf course highlights
Durban Waterfront

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cape Classic Car show

The Cape Classic Car Show will be the biggest and most diverse Classic motor show ever to have been staged in Cape Town, will be held on 15 November 2009 at the Jan Burger Sports complex, De Grendel Road, Parow, Cape Town-home of the multi motor clubhouse.

Some 1000 vehicles will be exhibited by no fewer than 40 motor clubs, and will include street rods, racing cars, vintage motorcycles, military vehicles, radio controlled models and a model car show display.
Take this opportunity to meet Western province motor racing legends including Peter Gough, Koos Swanepoel, Bill Jennings and Deon Joubert. There will be an opportunity to be photographed with these greats from the past.The Cape 4x4 Club has laid out a course especially for this show and for displaying the capabilities of their vehicles.
The Franschhoek Motor Museum will be showing some of the rarest and finest classic cars in South Africa. See restored classics that you loved in days gone bay from the Marque clubs including MG, Triumph, Alfa-Romeo, Borgward, GSM, Morris Minor, Jaguar, Sunbeam, Rolls Royce, Ferrari, and many more. Stalwarts of the Early Ford Car Club and Crankhandle Club will boast a turnout of some 100 cars of yesteryear, plus many more vehicles coming from as far afield as George, Gauteng and the West Coast. The Morris Minor club will have the Cape Artillery Pipe band to lead their cars on to the display. In keeping with the theme, expect some live good old rock ‘n roll music to keep spectator toes tapping.
The family has not been overlooked as there will be exhibitions of radio controlled cars and aircraft; German Shepherd dog trainers putting the animals through their paces; exhibits of model cars and other collectibles.
For more information phone Ian little, Classic car show coordinator on 083 440 1310A location map of the venue is available on the website of our Cape Town Triumph Sports Car club- see link above.

If you are a visitor from out of Town, and require affordable accommodation please let us help you at Horizon Holiday Cottages :
Website or enquire
Entrance is R 30 per adult, and proceeds go to the Rotary Club of Hout Bay, and the clubhouse.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Table Mountain Cablecar summer sunset half price special

Wow -- more great news for tourists visiting our beautiful city and for those who love to host and share Cape Town with family, friends and visitors In addition to the visitor friendly innovation of being able to book your tickets online for the table Mountain cableway, and avoid the long lines that sometimes put visitors off , Table Mountain Cableway has announced a four-month long summer Sunset special offer which starts on 1 November, 2009, and will continue until Sunday 28 February 2010, with prices being reduced by 50%, for those who travel after 6 pm to enjoy the romantic sunsets.
Adults can now experience the thrill of travelling to the top of our iconic table Mountain at a height of 1076 metres in the Cableway’s rotating gondola, which gives every passenger beautiful panoramic views of one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The cost is now just R 80 (US $ 10) return fare for adults and only R40 four children under 18 years. This is a wonderful gesture and I am sure that it will be enjoyed during this coming holiday season when our city experiences an influx so many visitors, seeking Cape Town family holiday accommodation. The special tickets can be purchased from the Cableway’s offices from 6 pm. Do bear in mind that the Cableway operates only during good weather for the safety of visitors. Their office number is (021) 424 8181.
On the top of the mountain one can follow paths to various scenic look-outs, and make use of the telescopes provided to get a close up of the city and the harbour. There is a souvenir shop and light meals or a sundowner drink can be enjoyed the restaurant. In these coming summer months, the early evening is a great time to plan your trip as the sunsets are beautiful. For your comfort take a jacket or windbreaker , irrespective of the weather, as it usually cool on the mountain top, where the evening breezes blow.
The website says that this offer includes New Year's Eve when the last car will travel up at 11 pm, and return at 1 am. Imagine being able to see the New Year in enjoying dinner at the table Mountain Cafe and watching a spectacular sunset over the ocean.
Some facts about the cable cars that you might find interesting
· 800,000 visitors from all over the world travel the cableway each year
· The cable car was imported from Switzerland and there are only 2 other such cable cars in the world, one in Titlis in the Swiss Alps in Switzerland, and one in Palm Springs in America.
· The cable cars take about 5-10 minutes to reach the top of the mountain at 1076 meters , and they travel at a speed of up to 10 meters per second.
details of the on line booking facilities can be found in our post in the August blog

Monday, October 26, 2009

The South Peninsula of Cape Town

The South Peninsula of Cape Town

Visitors seeking holiday accommodation in Cape Town are often confused when the locals talk about the Southern Suburbs and the South Peninsula. Let me try and clarify these two small regions for you.

The southern suburbs of Cape Town are those which stretch from the city towards the coast of Muizenberg; diverse and interesting, but away from the undoubted attractions of the beaches. The South Peninsula is one of the most popular holiday regions in the Western Cape, and stretches from Muizenberg on the False Bay coast through to Simonstown, and around the Atlantic seaboard towards Cape Point from where the road meanders through typical beach side villages; Scarborough, Kommetjie and Noordhoek. In the South Peninsula the visitor will find a series of charming coastal towns all of which have quite a significant history and all of which have undoubted attraction for those who are seeking a relaxed coastal lifestyle. Here you can find an almost limitless choice of beach holiday accommodation , from self catering, bed and breakfast to the most upmarket guesthouses. Don't be surprised if you find the people, both young and old or walking barefoot in the town in their baggies, as the area is truly laid-back.

Muizenberg has a long history of popularity for beach holidays and was extremely popular in Victorian times although it deteriorated during the 70’s-90’s, but it is rapidly revitalising itself. It has village charm but you will also find seafront mansions built by wealthy Victorian businessmen. The beach is long with a shallow slope and ever rolling waves, making it very popular with both swimmers and surfers alike. You are most likely to find the cheapest holiday accommodation in this suburb. Along the beach at surfer’s corner you will find beautifully restored Victorian shops and apartments together with cheerful and inexpensive restaurants where you can breakfast or lunch while watching the surfers at play.
The pretty stone built Edwardian era railway station building at Muizenberg is a notable attraction, and accommodates both a popular restaurant and several antique shops.
From this station one can take the train down the Southern line which follows the coast of False Bay through the suburbs to Simonstown. Visitors will find this an interesting and relaxing diversion and your kids will love looking out over the sea and the tidal pools from the train window.

Rubbing shoulders with Muizenberg is exclusive St James, with Mansions and luxury holiday homes facing directly toward False Bay along a stretch which is known as millionaire’s mile. Visitors will undoubtedly have seen many pictures and postcards of the beautiful tidal pool with its brightly coloured bathing boxes at St James, as it is a favoured subject for many photographers. Here you will also find the historic cottage of Cecil John Rhodes which is open to the public as a museum.

Once you pass through you are sure to be enchanted by the historic fishing town of Kalk Bay ; so named because of the lime extracted from sea shells and used for the construction of buildings in the 1800’s. The main road of this little suburb is lined with charming Victorian shops with apartments above and has become notable not only for its unconventional and Bohamian lifestyle but also as a browsing destination for antiques , crafts and art galleries for both locals and visitors. On weekends, winter and summer, you will find it busy, although never too crowded. There are many good restaurants in the area; probably the most notable of which is the Brass Bell, situated on the sea side of the station, and which has been near for decades, becoming something of an institution. It has a selection of dining areas all of which have great views of the sea. My personal favourite is to dine in the deck area where you can eat with the waves breaking alongside. Kalk bay remains a working fishing harbour and you will find a visit to the small harbour interesting, where you might be able to buy fresh fish from the boats. In the harbour are a few upmarket restaurants, but you can also stand in line with the locals to sit on benches and eat at Kalky’s Fish ‘n Chips which is reputed to have the best in Cape Town

Around the corner is Fish Hoek which is best known as the only town in the Western Cape where the sale of liquor is not allowed. Latterly, it has permitted a few licensed restaurants and pubs. Although most of the South Peninsula became inhabited early on by settlers, it seems strange that this town with its beautiful, sheltered beach was only laid out as a township in 1918 and has very little of historic value. You should not be put off by this, however, because there is a long stretch of white sand across this sheltered bay which is an ideal bathing spot for families, young surfers, and safe for children. There is a concrete walkway that follows the shore for a long distance and makes both a pleasant walk as well as an opportunity to watch the whales when they appear in September to November for mating and calving.

Historic Simonstown is the last real town on the False Bay side, gained its name from the Dutch Governor, Simon van der Stel who personally surveyed False Bay in 1687 and recommended it as a sheltered safe alternative anchorage to Table Bay in winter. The main road of Simonstown, St George’s street, is known as “historic mile” and one can have an interesting walk admiring the selection of beautiful buildings; some of which date to the Dutch period in the 18 th century, but most of which were only built from when the British took occupation in 1806. During the days of the British Royal Navy there were many hotels in the main street and most of these historic buildings have now been converted into holiday accommodation. Simonstown’s business fathers have been very successful in attracting tourists, because of the interesting town centre and the wonderful beaches and the naval base. Sometimes it can be a little too popular as the tour buses offload the masses for a break and a bit of shopping en route to Cape Point. There are some interesting museums here, including the Simonstown Museum which is based in the old magistrates residence, dating back to about 1777; the Naval museum and the Heritage Museum. Explore also the historic small Muslim area above Jubilee Square, the town centre.

The beaches of Simonstown are generally sheltered from wave action both by the little bays and also large boulders off the shore, making this an ideal spot for families who would like their children to be able to swim and play in safety. Very few have not seen pictures or heard of the cute African penguins that now inhabit one of the best beaches, which is boulders Beach, just outside of the town. Until a short while ago it was possible to swim alongside the penguins that took over the beach in 1985, but now one will have to be content to admire them from the walk that skirts the beach.

Along the road from Simonstown to Cape Point you will see a few dotted beach cottages, some so far from the road as it climbs towards the point that you wonder how people get done to them.

From here there is a coastal road which is truly spectacular and passes through Scarborough, which is a genuine beach cottage village, popular with retirees and those who can afford to have a weekend home close to the city. You will have plenty of time to admire the sea and the beautiful beaches as you drive along the coast, before spotting the lighthouse at Slangkop, which towers above another seaside village, called Kommetjie. This village, apart from being known as a good spot for catching crayfish, is extremely popular with surfers who like to ride its rolling waves. Long Beach stretches from this village right across the bay to the last town of the South Peninsula, which is Noordhoek.

Noordhoek is quite different from any of the towns that I have described. It was originally a farming settlement occupied from about the 1700s, growing fruit and vegetables for the naval settlement in Simonstown. Over the past few decades it has grown considerably in size but properties here tend to be much larger than the average for Cape Town, as it is still deemed to be agricultural. Plot sizes average 1-2 acres, with the result that it is popular for those who keep and ride horses and the only town that I had seen which has special road crossings- not for pedestrians -but for horses. You will find many attractions here- restaurants, galleries and the like, and because of the size of the properties many owners have more than one building on their properties; the choice of holiday accommodation here is extensive both in range and in price. There are some exclusive and very expensive lodges, B’n B’s and guest houses, but you will also find affordable self catering cottages such as Horizon Holiday Cottages where you and your family will feel at home in the ideal location to explore those wonderful and interesting area.
Not for nothing is Noordhoek known as cape Town's best kept secret destination
Please see our website and book your affordable holiday accommodation today

Monday, October 19, 2009

Cape Town Annual Carnival starts 2010

More great news for Cape Town (and visitors) for 2010, Cape Town will stage its first Carnival that will not only match that of Rio, but will become an annual event. Whatever you do, book your accommodation now – whether affordable self catering Cape Town
accommodation, lodge or guest house for this exciting event.
The city fathers (or should that be mother?) have cleverly scheduled it between the famous Argus Cycle tour of the Cape peninsula and the 2 Oceans marathon. Executive Mayor Helen Zille has announced that starting 2010, Cape Town will have an annual all inclusive Carnival that will aim at bringing together the diverse communities of the city through music, dance, creative and cultural expression, culminating in a weekend of inclusive fun for Capetonians and visitors alike.
The Carnival will be held from 19 - 21 March 2010, with the aim to have the annual Carnival on the 3rd weekend of March every year, in between the Argus Cycle tour; the North Sea Jazz Festival and the Two Oceans marathon . Conveniently Sunday 21 March is a public holiday which will mean that the Monday will be a public holiday, and give you time to recover or stay longer in our beautiful city.
The highlight of the weekend will be a parade comprising 8,000 to 10,000 performers on Saturday, 20 March, and also include A fashion show by top Cape Town designers, a grand carnival ball and street parties.
The Friday night of the Carnival weekend will have Carnival balls and dancing, in a wide range of venues. Themed Balls will be held in all participating communities on the Friday evening, culminating in the Grand Carnival Ball on the Eve of Cape Town CarnivalOn the Saturday, there will be a street parade with some 1,500 and 3,000 artists including dancers, musicians, singers parading through the streets and magnificent floats; some as high as 2 stories. The participants from our wonderfully diverse communities will have an opportunity to put on their dancing shoes, fire up their rhythms and tell wonderful visual stories of diverse and common roots that span lifetimes.Throughout the day the crowds will be able to vote for their favourite group via SMS and people across South Africa will be able to watch the spectacle on TV.
There will be a competition at midday, with the groups performing for 60 minutes each.- the audience will be able to see breath-taking performances of dancers and musicians, a swirling mass of colour and creativity, costumes and movement stretching more than a kilometer. Professional judges will judge the formal part of the competition and finally the judging and voting will be combined. At the stroke of midnight, the winning group will be announced amidst joyous celebration. The top five teams will automatically be entered into the 2011 Carnival and the party will continue until the wee hours of the morning.
Professor Rachel Jafta, chairperson of the Cape Town Carnival Trustees said that following a visit to Rio- world famous for its carnival – “we identified that Cape Town has no shortage of cultural offerings combining music, dance and other kinds of creativity, however, these all seem to be catering for particular niches....we wanted to create something new, where communities interact and celebrate our uniqueness, but also unite as citizens of one of the most beautiful cities of the world.”
Currently, Cape Town's most famous carnival is the Cape Minstrel Festival, also known as the Kaapse Klopse carnival, which takes place on the second day of the New Year, when the brightly decorated and clothed minstrels and musicians parade the streets of Cape Town

Whatever your taste or interest there is something for you in Cape Town- any time of year.
The Carnival date falls at a time when the weather in cape Town is good, with little wind. For a great deal on Cape Town holiday accommodation see our website.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Chapman's Peak Drive Re-opens

Great news for tourists – both local and foreign - Chapman’s Peak Drive was reopened on Friday 9 October 2009 after being closed for many months, following heavy rock falls. This is also good news for our beautiful Noordhoek valley as the tour buses bring local business, and guest accommodation business including our own can offer something special to tourists. Chappies is a popular scenic drive for our guests. We honestly share our guest’s disappointment when they arrive and find it to be closed.
The route starts at the picturesque fishing harbour of Hout Bay. You will have arrived here either by taking the coastal road from Cape Town city through Sea point, passing Clifton and Camps Bay with its beautiful beach and strip of restaurants favoured by the in-crowd, or by approaching it from the southern suburbs of Cape Town through the exclusive suburb of Constantia; via Constantia Nek. Either way you will be able to enjoy a wonderful scenic drive even before you get there. From Hout bay the road winds steeply up to Chapman's Point, offering breathtaking views of the Hout bay and the harbour until the road reaches lower levels again where it ends at Noordhoek. As you approach Noordhoek you will see Long Beach with its remarkable 8 km of white sand, stretching across to the neighbouring village of Kommetjie, and Slangkop lighthouse. (see our heading picture) Chapman’s peak drive is highly regarded as one of the most spectacular coastal drives in the world. There has been much controversy about the privatization of its management and the eradication of alien vegetation; blamed by some as the cause of frequent rock falls. Full credit, however must given to the operators and that is that they are highly conscious of maintaining a clean safety record.
Even those of us who have always lived in this beautiful part of the Western Cape never tire of this route- which is an alternative to those who live in the South Peninsula of getting to the cape Town city centre- driving along the winding road with its many twists and turns and wonderful panoramic views. Although the road is quite narrow, since it was rebuilt and reopened in 2003, quite a number of opportunities have been provided to pull off to the side of the road, marvel at the views and take advantage of wonderful photographic opportunities. You should not be in a hurry on this road, not just because it has many twists and corners, but because it is also favoured by cyclists who wish to add both challenge and enjoyment to their exercise.
You will also find a number of picnic spots equipped with concrete tables and benches where you could spend a happy couple of hours, as many of the locals do on the weekends. During the time that the whales migrate to the Cape in their mating season, Chapman’s peak drive also offers a great opportunity for whale watching.
Depending upon whether you commence or in your drive in Hout bay, you will find many opportunities to browse in quaint shops for handicrafts collectables, arts and antiques. There are a number of really good restaurants, although my favourite spot is Mariner’s wharf where you can enjoy the view from the excellent restaurant upstairs or join the locals eating fish and chips at outside benches , while enjoying watching the fishing fleet come and go.
On the Noordhoek end of the drive you will be sure to find many attractions to seduce you to tarry. Noordhoek farm village is a browser’s paradise of galleries, collectibles, and handicrafts, as well as wine shop and delicatessen in the food barn. You will find plenty of accommodation in Noordhoek, ranging from luxury to affordable, such as ours, and B ‘n B’s or self catering.

History of Chapman’s peak drive
Chapman's Peak Drive was the brain child of Sir Frederic de Waal, the first administrator of the Cape Province. Work on the road began in 1915, although may were of the opinion that it was an impossible task. The road was blasted into the mountain side and is a masterpiece of road construction It was formally opened in 1922. Rock falls were a constant threat and a series of unfortunate events lead to the closing of Chapman’s Peak Drive in January 2000.
Due to its sensitive location within the Cape Peninsula National Park and the provisions of Sections 23 and 24 of the National Environmental Management Act, No 107 of 1998, an integrated environmental approach to the rehabilitation and upgrading of Chapman's Peak Drive was required.
This turnkey project was carried out by the Chapman’s Peak Construction Joint Venture. This joint-venture R145 million project was overseen by Entilini Concessions, the special-purpose company established by the consortium of Concor Holdings, Haw & Inglis and Marib Holdings. The project has been undertaken with full participation of the local authorities and communities.
You can find more information at their website.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Hermanus Wheels and Whales Festival

About an hour’s drive down the coast from Horizon holiday Cottages is Hermanus , arguably the whale watching capital of the Western Cape. For me; the coming of spring brings with it the Whales ‘n Wheels Festival, which is held in this charming coastal village, with the classic car display(named alongside the whales) to be held on Sunday 27 September. This gives me the incentive to clean and spruce up one of my classic British sports cars, and to join friends in this first motor show that follows the winter months. It is sheer pleasure to drive top down in a crisp Cape Town morning, through sleepy Fish Hoek, along the shores to Muizenberg , and then along the coast of False Bay, and over the mountain pass known as Sir Lowry’s pass to join the motoring throng, as well as the tourists, making their way to the festival at Hermanus. The classic car exhibition is held in the grounds of the primary school. Expect to see scores of classic yesteryear cars, even military vehicles and a spectacular display of model cars in the school hall. For a view of some of my classic cars, feel free to browse my facebook page
The Festival’s stars are, of course the Whales, themselves. I can assure you that, if you make your way down to the old harbour, you will find many easy vantage points on the rocks, where you will be able to see far into Walker Bay, and you are guaranteed to be treated to a wonderful aquatic ballet as the whales sound and flap their tails in the air to the enthusiastic clapping and cheering of the crowds.
The festival to be held from 25-27 September attracts thousands of visitors who flock from Cape Town to enjoy not only the whales and the scenic beauty, but to revel in the music and festival atmosphere of this 3 day event. Walk down to the Market square and you will be mesmerized by the array of African and other handicrafts, food and drink stalls, and vibrant African rhythms; you cannot help but being caught up in the excitement and good cheer given off by the crowds. Wander through tented stalls, stop at the beer tent to quench your thirst or sample traditional Cape cuisine. Explore the little town which has a wide variety of historic buildings, mostly now given over to Art galleries, antique and collectible shops. You cannot help but be caught up by the festival atmosphere.
If you do visit at this time don't hurry back on the highway; take the scenic coastal road through Betty’s bay, Rooi Els and Pringle Bay, and enjoy a slow drive on what must truly be one of the most beautiful coastal roads anywhere in the world. On a clear day you will be able to see right across the blue waters of False Bay to Fish Hoek and Simonstown. The winding coastal road will bring you out to the seaside village of Gordon's Bay from where you can pick up the highway again to Cape Town, but it will make a pleasant stop to enjoy a cup of tea or a refreshing drink. Be warned though, Gordon’s bay has an interesting and enormous second hand bookshop that can easily stall you for hours.
For best value Cape Town holidays do find your accommodation on our website

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Book on line for Table Mountain Cableway

Cape Town tourism advises that the Cable way on Table Mountain is introducing a new on line ticketing system, which will be effective from Monday, 17 August.
This is great news for our overseas and Gauteng visitors who have previously been unable to make a reservation, making it difficult for them to plan their holiday outings. The new system will allow visitors to buy tickets online for an additional R10 fee. Online tickets will be valid for seven days and, if not used within this period, a full refund can be claimed (excluding the administration fee). To show how customer focused this new approach is, a ticketholder may extend the ticket’s validity for a further three weeks, provide it is done within the 7 day validity period of the ticket- but then you forgo a refund. Tour operators and Guest houses will be able to benefit by being able to have tickets ready for guests so they bypass the ticket office, saving time. The cable cars depart every 10 to 15 minutes Be cautioned however that the cableway is concerned to maintain its excellent safety record and will not operate in bad weather , or in the high speed winds that are sometimes experienced in mid-summer.

Visitors to our beautiful City should not miss the opportunity to see the truly awesome panoramic views of Cape Town , clear across to iconic Robben Island, famed place of incarceration for our first democratically elected president; Nelson Mandela. The height of Table Mountain (at its highest point) is 1085m or 3560 ft . There is a self-service café (restaurant) at the top of the mountain serving both food and refreshments, which has developed innovative eco-friendly ways to conserve natural resources.
You do not have to take the cable car down, but can choose from several options to enjoy the scenery and undertake a walk. There are a number of short walks that you can take, including the Dassie Walk -with its stunning panoramic view. One could choose to spend the better part of a day hiking all the way along the top of the mountain and down to the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, one of the world’s largest and most beautiful botanical gardens, or even further along, to the Silvermine Nature Reserve, situated just above our popular self catering accommodation. For more information about this Reserve, see our Blog post about the Silvermine Reserve.
Fees for Online tickets -valid until September 30, 2009
Adult return: R145 + R10 booking fee
Child return: R76 + R10 booking fee

Fees for Online tickets -valid from October 1, 2009 to September 30, 2010
Adult Return R 160 + R10 booking feeChild return: R80 + R10 booking fee

Both visitors and locals alike can purchase Wild Cards, which give admission to all the parks at a reduced fee, and Wild card holders will enjoy a discount on the rates for the Cableway, on presentation of the Wild Card.
Opening Hours: Opening hours vary from season to season. Generally the first car goes up at 8 am and the last car comes down at 9:30 pm in the summer, when our days are extra long to allow visitors to make the most of their holidays.During winter months, the last car returns at dusk; 6 pm.
Contact information for Table Mountain Aerial Cableway
Tel: +27 21 424 0015

Directions from Horizon Holiday cottages:
It is about a 30 minute drive (outside of peak hours) rom Noordhoek over Ou Kaapse weg; at the foot of the mountain turn right to the Blue Route freeway. Stay on the freeway until you reach Groote Schuur hospital (famous for the world’s first heart transplant) when the freeway splits – left to De Waal Drive and right to Eastern Boulevard; keep left on De Waal drive, and as the road descends to the City, take the left exit lane to Gardens, (where there is a huge signboard for the Cableway) ; the road becomes Kloof Nek Road. Follow Kloof Nek Road to a traffic circle, then turn left at Tafelberg Road and keep following the signs to the cableway. It may sound complex, but it is not, as it is so well signposted.

For those who rely upon their GPS to avoid complicated directions; the coordinates: are 33°57′11.89″S 18°24′11.7″E or 33.9533028°S 18.40325°E

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Walking in the Silvermine Reserve

Our affordable self catering Cape Town holiday accommodation in Noordhoek is situated at the foot of the Silvermine nature reserve which forms part of the Table Mountain National park. It is an ideal area to explore if you want to enjoy some of the wild flora, known as Fynbos, for which the Western Cape is renowned, or just enjoy a bit of tranquil convening with nature.
There are many trails for walking or hiking and a detailed map of the trails can be purchased from the office of Noordhoek tourism at the Noordhoek Farm village for a nominal fee. The Silvermine Hiking trails allows one to see some of the world’s most spectacular coastal and mountain scenery which is rich with a variety of flora as well as bird and small animal life. There are a large number of different Proteas and other fynbos species, flowering throughout the different seasons; making this an enjoyable and interesting walk at any time of the year. We have just completed an Autumn day outing that we would like to share with you. When staying at
Horizons Holiday Cottages it is just a few minute’s drive to the top of Ou Kaapse Weg and then at the top of the mountain turn left toward the clearly marked Parks signboard with directions to the parking area. For those with GPS it is ; 34º 05' 135" South and 18º 25' 144" East. The entry fee is R 10 or production of a wildcard (limited to cape Town residents); at the parking are toilet facilities
Silvermine Reservoir Walk : One of the easiest and most accessible walks which your kids will enjoy, leads from the car park at the top of the mountain to the Silvermine reservoir. This is an easy walk with a duration of some 1- 1 ½ hours and a suitable for all members of the family. From the parking area the trailed is well marked and heads predominantly uphill though it is not particularly strenuous. The trail winds through remarkably different vegetation and you will enjoy a number of boardwalks over the streams. On a summer day you will find the wooded banks verdant with tree ferns a pleasantly cool and peaceful spot to linger. Surprisingly the trail heads through some small forest glades.
The path wends its way up well-maintained wooden walkways and the occasional rustic bridge until one reaches the dam wall itself. Stop along the way to admire the spectacular panoramic views across False Bay where on a clear day you can see clear across to Gordon’s Bay and the Strand.
Along the path are a number of quaint stone constructed benches and tables where one can picnic or also make use of the built braai (bbq) hearths. Depending upon the season however the lighting of fires may be prohibited so it would be best to check at the ticket office.
The trail leads to the large Silvermine reservoir which was built sometime in the 1890’s to supply water to Cape Town. During the warmer weather people make use of the opportunity for a cooling swim in the clean blue waters, but you may wish simply to stroll the path around the reservoir, a slow walk of some 30 minutes. At the far end will be found a rich growth of beautiful flowering water liilies under the bridge that crosses the entrance to the reservoir. During our hike in the early Autumn we were amazed at the variety of flowering plants including two different types of colourful Proteas.
On the opposite side of Ou Kaapse Weg, just after the apex can also be found another entrance manned by the Parks board where one can park and walk up Silvermine River Valley to a small waterfall, passing a number of old ruins. The waterfall offers the perfect spot to take in the sounds of nature. Like so many of the waterfalls on Table Mountain, this one is only seen in its full glory in winter, but it is also a great peaceful picnic spot.
Those with a more adventurous nature, and a good level of fitness, can hike across the mountains toward Kalk Bay where you will be treated to one of the most truly awesome views of our beautiful False Bay. make sure that you have arranged someon eto collect you or another way to return to our guest accomodation as it will be a long way back
To live in our beautiful Cape Town is to be truly blessed, but we love sharing it with our guests.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Table Mountain – finalist in the New 7 Wonders of Nature contest

The top 28 wonders of Nature from around the world have been announced by the New7Wonders Foundation in Zurich, Switzerland. The finalists include renowned sites such as the Great Barrier Reef, the Grand Canyon and the Amazon rain forests and Galapagos Islands in Ecuador. Only one other African site – Tanzania's Mount Kilimanjaro – made finals, which include some of the world's most beautiful attractions. Not surprisingly for we who live and love the mother City, Table Mountain has made it through to become one of 28 finalists in the New 7 Wonders of Nature competition, in which the world's top natural sites will be narrowed down to a final 7 in an exercise in global outreach which is expected to be supported by hundreds of millions of voters. In 2007, the New7Wonders Foundation, a Zurich-based non-profit organisation, announced the New 7 Man-made Wonders of the World after more than 100-million votes were cast via the internet in "the first-ever worldwide election". Now its follow-up campaign, to choose the "Big Seven" of the natural world, has entered its final stage, after a panel of experts led by former Unesco director-general Federico Mayor announced the 28 finalists in Zurich, Switzerland on 21 July. The panel made its selection from a list of 77 nominees that were chosen, from a list of 261 national and cross-national representative sites, by people around the world in internet voting. The final, two-year round of voting to choose the New 7 Wonders of Nature, running through 2010 and into 2011, is now open. Table Mountain will compete for a final place among the top 7 wonders to be announced in 2011. To cast your vote visit South Africans can also cast their votes at Some reasons to vote for Table Mountain 1. Table Mountain is simply stunningly beautiful. Just take a look at the 20 000-plus photos on Flickr: Table Mountain. 2. Table Mountain forms part of Table Mountain National Park, one of few conservation areas in the world that is entirely surrounded by a city, and offers hundreds of recreation opportunities for residents and visitors alike. 3. Table Mountain forms part of the Cape Floral Region, a Unesco World Heritage Site that is one of the richest areas for plants in the world. Table Mountain National Park has more plant species within its 25 000 hectares than the whole British Isles or New Zealand. 4. The trip up the Table Mountain Cableway to the plateau one kilometre above Cape Town is not to be missed; enjoy breath taking views of the City, Table Bay and Robben Island. 5. It is an ever-present part of the lives of all of us who live in Cape Town Acknowledgments to Do remember that if you are looking for affordable self catering Cape Town accommodation it is just a click away.

Friday, July 10, 2009

A Guide to World Cup 2010 Accommodation in Cape Town

With the World Cup just less than a year away, we note many Internet visits to our affordable self catering accommodation from both local and overseas visitors for accommodation, but it is obvious that people are shopping around to see what is available. It has been said that there will be a shortage of accommodation, but we think that it will depend to a large extent on what the tourists are looking for. Cape town offers a large selection of guest houses, bed and breakfast establishments and self catering holiday accommodation that far exceeds the number of hotel beds available. We think that there will be plenty of choice but, in order to get what you want, it is a good idea to book early.
In order to help you choose where to stay and where to find the type of accommodation that will best suit your needs, we thought to give you a brief guide to greater Cape Town and what it offers.
Undoubtedly, if you want to be close to the World Cup stadium and all of the exciting night life of Cape Town and the nearby waterfront, you should choose accommodation in the nearby suburbs of Green Point or Sea Point and the Cape Town city bowl. Expect however to pay higher prices than in the outlying suburbs.
City Bowl : Generally the upmarket city bowl suburbs of Tamboerskloof, Higgovale, De Waterkant, Oranjezicht and Vredehoek will offer luxury but very expensive accommodation. In the city itself however you will find backpackers lodges and other inexpensive accommodation. Green Point and Sea Point are near to the both the stadium and the famous Waterfront, and all the night life action.
Atlantic seaboard : on what is known as the Atlantic seaboard you will find the exclusive residential suburbs of Clifton, Camps Bay, Bakoven, Bantry Bay all of which are fairly close to the Stadium. The Atlantic seaboard comprises some of the most expensive and exclusive properties in Cape Town as they generally have spectacular views across the ocean and are close to the most popular beaches. If you are looking for accommodation in the top end of the market then this is where you should find it. This is also the area where the beautiful people hang out, and you will find plenty of nightlife and a wide choice of restaurants and bars.
Hout Bay : Quite a lot further out is the fishing village of Hout bay, where you will find a mixture of very expensive and more affordable accommodation and there is a lot to choose from. If you are looking for a quiet spot to relax between the matches this could be a good choice, although you should not expect to enjoy any nightlife.
Noordhoek/Kommetjie : at the southern end of the peninsula but some 30 minutes drive from the centre of Cape Town are the villages of Noordhoek and Kommetjie which are a great choice if you want to have a quiet relaxing time and also enjoy some of the most breathtaking coastal scenery to be found anywhere. Noordhoek has a wide choice of accommodation from luxury to budget and you will generally find large 1 acre properties which offer just one or two cottages, making it very “un-crowded” .It is the last bit of countryside remaining in the greater Cape Town area and easily accessible to Cape Town by road; mostly freeway. Kommetjie – a surfer’s paradise- is a little further out where one is likely to find very affordable accommodation.
Southern suburbs : There are a large number of suburbs which stretch toward the False Bay coast from the city and these include older mainly Victorian suburbs including Mowbray, Rosebank, Wynberg, and Claremont. Here you can expect to find reasonably affordable guesthouse accommodation, and if you are not planning to drive, it will be easy to get to the city using the metro rail system, and public transport from the city will be plentiful.
Further out are the beautiful valley suburbs of Constantia and Tokai. Constantia is home to the mink and manure set, and generally comprises exclusive homes on large properties. Expect to pay a higher than average price to stay here and to have to rely upon hiring a car to get around.
South Peninsula : On the coast of beautiful False Bay you will find the interesting older suburbs of Muizenberg, St James, Kalk bay, Fish Hoek and Simonstown. Muizenberg is still battling to shake off its run down reputation, although it does have a great beach. St James is known as “millionaire’s mile” and has been a choice holiday destination for the wealthy since the early days. There is not much accommodation available here nor in the more bohemian Kalk Bay nearby, and prices will be expensive. Downside - in winter when the World Cup will be on, expect to lose the sun behind the mountain in the early afternoon, and to have to go to bed early. Fish Hoek, a little further of the line has plenty of affordable choice, but has often been described as “God’s waiting room” or the destination of choice for the “newly wed and the nearly dead”.
Much more popular is the historic Naval Town of Simonstown. Although also a quiet town, the major attraction is a mile of historic buildings and the African penguins to be found on Boulders and Seaforth beaches.
Northern suburbs: There is bound to be plenty of affordable accommodation in the northern suburbs of Cape Town which include Durbanville; Bellville and Kraaifontein. Unfortunately you are bound to have to deal with heavy traffic in and out of the city and these are not only a long way from where the action is, but there is no nightlife or any other form of diversion. Accommodation is bound to be cheap, but this fringe of our city is dead.
Cape Town offers a great diversity to suit every need, so you should find what suits you. Expect a friendly welcome and some wonderful sunny days interspersed with the rainy ones. If you are looking for value for money please do try us at

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Cape Town is a safe and friendly city

We get quite a high percentage of foreign guests inquiring for accommodation or staying at our affordable self catering accommodation in the peaceful and quiet Noordhoek valley. They often ask about personal safety and crime in Cape Town before venturing into the big city.

I think it fair to say that every big city is troubled by crime to one extent or another. I can recall being warned by the police against walking in Long Beach California more than twenty years ago and similarly being cautioned in downtown New Orleans by police to go straight back to my hotel in the French quarter for my own safety. Let me reassure visitors that you will find that Cape Town is a safe and friendly city and one in which you can happily spend the day walking and window shopping. You will find its streets vibrant with an eclectic mixture of African and European cultures. Many of the streets have been turned into delightful, picturesque pedestrian malls where you can mix with the locals, purchase African handicrafts and art works from little stalls and sample all kinds of wonderful street food from almost every corner of the globe. It is an unhurried city, and unblighted by heavy traffic, except at morning and evening peak hours.
In fact I can hardly think of a better way to spend a day than walking the streets of Cape Town with its wonderful mixture of architecture ranging from eighteenth century Dutch through to ornate Victorian and twentieth century modern. Having lived here on and off most of my life, I still never tire of walking in the city. You may well be gently accosted by the odd street urchin looking for a handout or one of the quite harmless vagrants who often take shelter on the mountain and on known locally as “bergies”. One should bear in mind that unemployment in our country is high and therefore there are many people struggling to make ends meet and to find a way to put bread on the table. Whether you help out is up to you, but unlike many other international cities we seldom find that those looking for handouts adopt any sort of aggression.
Whilst the entire city, including the beautiful gardens established by the Dutch East India company, at the top of Adderley street are interesting, perfectly safe and very inviting to wander during the day, it is not a good idea to do this at night, although there would be no problem traveling to and from a specific destination such as a restaurant in the city.

Regrettably Tourists are particularly vulnerable to petty crime, including purse snatching and pickpocketing as they are in any large city. Visitors to Cape Town have generally traveled internationally and would know that it is not a good idea to be too obvious as a tourist and to avoid flaunting expensive jewelry, carrying large amounts of cash or very expensive camera equipment. If you are driving a car, I do suggest that you should keep the doors locked while driving and do not leave obvious temptation such as a handbag, purse, laptop computer or camera visible on the seats because snatching from cars, whilst not common, is not unknown. If you do have such things in the car and stop at a shopping mall, I suggest that you stow and lock them securely in the boot (trunk) of your car.
The city of Cape Town is very aware of how important tourism is and has developed an extensive safety plan in partnership with business aimed particularly at providing a secure environment for the 2010 World Soccer cup. Cape Town's Central Business District and major malls have made considerable efforts to safeguard tourists against crime. Surveillance cameras now monitor activities in the Central Business District and security guards watch over the major shopping centres. The opening matches of the Indian Premier Cricket league have been hosted in our beautiful city at short notice with no incidents reported in spite of 1000,s of foreign visitors arriving for the matches.
The U.S. Foreign Policy (FP) recently announced the names of five cities that stand in a class of their own when it comes to brutal, homicidal violence, with Cape Town regrettably high on the list. To put it in perspective however, it also found that the city's homicides usually take place in suburban townships rather than in the more upscale urban areas where tourists visit. According to the South African Police Service, most of the Cape Town area's violent crimes happen between people who know one another; this is a consequence of unemployment and drug abuse , but will not impact upon tourists.
It is a good idea if you decide to hike or walk up Table mountain to hire a guide, particularly for women on their own. Larger groups are much safer.

Noordhoek, where you will find our secure, comfortable and affordable self catering holiday accommodation is a peaceful country valley, just 30 minutes from the big city. Here we have very little traffic and if your personal safety is a concern this best kept secret destination of Cape Town is the place where you and your family can stay with confidence. People walk the streets, sharing with joggers and cyclists and crime is amongst the lowest in South Africa. Our guests enjoy strolling to the nearby shoping mall and exploring the long stretch of beautiful white sand that makes up Noordhoek’s Long Beach. It is an ideal venue from which to explore all of the attractions of Cape Town, the wind lands and go on to other destinations in the Western Cape.
In order that you should be prepared for any eventuality, the following phone numbers will be useful and should be programmed into your mobile phone.

Emergency Services Contact Numbers:
Ambulance: 10177Flying Squad: 10111Mountain Rescue: 10111Police: 467 8000Police (Tourist Assistance Unit): 418 2852

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Cape Town in Winter – our Secret Season

In these recessionary times everyone is shopping around for a good deal. Some people are searching in Google for cheap accommodation. We noted the definition of “cheap’ as “of poor quality; inferior” Our self catering Western Cape accommodation is certainly not cheap as defined, but it is very affordable.
Now we have made it even more so with our winter low season offer ; For every 4 nights booked , we will give you one free night in any of our self catering accommodation units. This offer is valid right until end November, but excludes school holidays.
If we had 100 cottages, we could let them fully in the peak summer season in Cape Town, as the December/January period is the most popular time of the year with both locals and foreigners. February and Easter are also popular months.
Cape Town has been rated as one of the top 10 tourist destinations cities in the world, and although it attracts most of its tourists during "peak" summer months, bargains are to be had in the Autumn and winter months. Cape Town has a Mediterranean climate which is temperate for most of the year. Many overseas tourists are not aware of the Western Cape's best secret - Cape Town is frequently at its best in the traditionally low season from April to October! Coincidentally, this coincides with our prime safari seasons in Southern Africa, so if you are planning a safari in the Winter or Spring, include Cape Town in your itinerary.
It surprises us that those who live in the Northern Hemisphere where the summer season in their traditional holiday resorts are packed out, don’t take the opportunity to visit Cape Town, which at this time of year is green, quiet, beautiful with temperate weather. Yes Cape Town does have a winter rainfall , but rainy days are interspersed with lovely wind free sunny days and daily temperatures warm by European and North American standards, averaging 16 degrees C or more, and can reach up to 26C (80F). To visit Cape Town in winter is to see it at its most beautiful and, in addition, you will find many bargains- accommodation is at its cheapest rate, restaurants and tourist attractions are never busy.
The added attractions of visiting in the off peak season is that one can view the Spring Wild flowers and take the opportunity to view the whales basking in our bays.
Local often joke that Cape Town does not have a climate but just “weather”- one can experience all 4 seasons in one day. A good site to check out the weather is
Horizons self catering holiday accommodation is near Cape Point, and this really useful weather site allows on to select Cape Town or Cape point just to check out any differences, even though we are just 30 minutes from the city and the famed Cape Town Waterfront
Cape Metropolitan Tourism recently launched a new “Secret Season" campaign-an integral part of the Campaign has been the identification and promotion of specific tourism routes, all of which are in easy reach of the centre of Cape Town. The Western Cape has a wealth of history, beauty and culture to boast, and these routes reflect that diversity. The routes that make up the Secret Season Campaign include a Whale Route, a Floral Kingdom Route, an Adventure Route, a Wine, Beer and Cheese Route, a Ghosts Route plus a Shipwreck and Lighthouse Route.
Remember that the rainy days need not be wasted- Cape Town has many interesting museums and then of course, there is the opportunity to relax indoors with a good bottle of the Cape's finest vintage red wine at prices that are unequalled anywhere in the world.
We look forward to seeing you soon

Sunday, March 29, 2009

SA to host the Indian Premier Cricket league

Fortune smiles on our county with the news that SA beat the UK to host the 2009 Indian Premier League cricket tournament, due to start on 18 April 2009, and lasting until 24May. The opening game will be held at Newlands in Cape Town, and the final will be contested at the Wanderers in Johannesburg. There will be a total of 59 matches in the 2009 IPL to be held in eight cities: Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban, Pretoria, East London, Kimberly, Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth.
It is unfortunate for India that security issues have made it difficult to put this prestige event on in their own country- what with elections looming and problems with neighbouring Pakistan. South Africa stands to gain so much as this event will be seen by the world as a precursor to the 2010 Soccer World cup, and we can show them just how good we can be at hosting this sort of event. South Africa will get a massive amount of International exposure, and local fans will be treated to the glamour that accompanies this prestige tournament. Lalit Modi, Chairman and Commissioner of the IPL stated when he announced the news that the entourage would require 30,000 bed nights. This is great news for the hospitality industry in these depressed economic times. Imagine, too, the knock on effect of spending by the teams and the fans that will follow them. When the UK was front runner it was reported that it would have boosted the British economy by up to $100-million – wow, a billion Rands ! We may benefit less, because we are a more affordable destination, but it will still be a Godsend at this time.
Our country has won the privilege over the UK thanks to a number of factors; much better weather, and a time difference several hours less than would have been the case if the UK had been chosen. This will allow the cricket mad Indian fans to watch their teams and matches at a reasonable time. Undoubtedly it must also be considerably cheaper for the IPL to move to SA than to the UK. South Africans, we are winners, and all the fans who follow this event will score too. Book your accommodation now to take advantage of the cheap rates that you can expect out of peak season. Satour acting chief executive Didi Moyle said in a statement.
"The Indian Premier League comes with multi-billion dollar television broadcast rights and will be screened into millions of homes, giving destination South Africa outstanding exposure not only in India, but in many of our other key target markets as well," she said.
We in the affordable accommodation industry look forward eagerly to this event and also the 2010 World Cup, but most realise that the event in itself will not bring a bonanza- what we look forward to is the visibility of our Country and particularly the fairest Cape, creating the desire for overseas tourists to visit us in the future, and boost our tourism industry.
For details of the match schedules, click on this link:

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Garden Route National Park

Garden Route National park : Great news for visitors to the Cape.
A new national park has been established along the Cape southern coast to boost tourism in one of the most visited parts of the country. Cape Town is the most favoured South African tourist destinations, but many visitors go on to the Game parks to our north. Now they can remain in the most beautiful part of our country and have a safari experience
The Garden Route, established on 6 March 2009 is located on one of the country's top tourist attractions, includes diverse and breathtaking scenery. The new Garden Route National Park, formed in part by incorporating existing smaller parks, includes indigenous forests, the Knysna estuary, the Wilderness lake areas, and protected marine areas around Tsitsikamma.
The geographical diversity of these various areas makes for an exceptional conservation model. There will be no other National Park in South Africa that will include the unique combination of marine, coastal, lakes, indigenous forests and mountain catchment areas. Now you can see bog Game, Knysna elephants and watch that massive visitor to our shore- the Southern Right Whale all in one park. This includes the otter trail, long regarded as a “must “ for avid hikers.

When staying at our affordable self catering accommodation we can provide you with further information.