Monday, February 15, 2010

Cape Point funicular closes for upgrade

While in enjoying your holiday in Cape Town have you visited the Cape point nature reserve; have you stood at the tip of Africa which is Cape point, and looked out across the sea where the two oceans - Atlantic and Indian meet and you can easily imagine that you are at the very tip of the world? No visitor to Cape Town should miss the opportunity to visit Cape point and the Cape Point nature reserve. The drive there must be one of the most spectacular and beautiful scenic coastal drives to be found anywhere in the world; irrespective of whether you drive through Simonstown along the False Bay coast or whether you have been residing in Noordhoek at affordable holiday accommodation and have come from the Chapman’s peak side through the sleepy coastal village of Kommetjie, past Scarborough and along the magnificent Atlantic coast.
Visitors who do not wish to undertake the short, but quite strenuous walk to the observation point at the old Cape Point lighthouse have always enjoyed riding in the funicular ; particularly those with children and older parents. The views from the funicular are truly awe inspiring! The current funicular – the only commercial operation of its kind in Africa – has been ferrying tourists up the steep incline from the bottom station to the old lighthouse for the past 13 years.
SA National parks board has announced that the popular “Flying Dutchman” funicular at Cape Point in the Table Mountain National Park will suspend its operations for the next 3 months. Tourists wishing to undertake this spectacular ride will be pleased to know that there will be a temporary bus service put in place until the new, improved, “Flying Dutchman” will put the “fun” back into “fun-icular” when it reopens for business on April 24, 2010, well ahead of an expected influx of tourists arriving in Cape Town for the 2010 soccer World Cup. You can find more information on the website of the National Parks board :
In the past a diesel bus, also named after the “ Flying Dutchman “ of legend was used to transport passengers until the environmentally friendly funicular was opened in December 1996. Before being taken out of operation there were two funicular cars which travelled from the parking lot to the view site, just below the lighthouse, each of which can carry 40 passengers and which runs up a track based on the old bus route running for 585 metres ; curving both vertically and horizontally as it followed the old bus track. As the road was only wide enough to accommodate a single track, a passing loop was incorporated at the midway point. This made the ride very interesting , but we will have to wait and see what the new funicular will offer.
Whether you ride or walk to the viewpoint, you will be able to take in truly awesome views of the Cape of good Hope, as well as the beautiful beach of Buffels Bay below. Looking back towards Simonstown you will be rewarded with the most magnificent vista of False Bay and the coastal village suburbs of Fish Hoek, Kalk bay and Muizenberg, all offering splendid clean beaches, and a wide choice of Cape Town holiday accommodation.
The Flying Dutchman is open daily from 09h00 to 17h00 from April to September and from 09h00 to 18h00 from October to March. The original bus and the funicular is named for one of the Cape's most famous legends which involves a sailing ship named the Flying Dutchman. It is told that in 1680, the vessel was foundering whilst rounding the Cape in heavy weather, and the headstrong Captain, Willem van der Decken, was determined to sail around the Cape during the raging storm, against the advice of his First Mate. Declaring that even if God would allow him to sail until Judgment Day, he would pass the Cape, he threw the First Mate and his Bible overboard, at which point, the storm subsided and God declared that he would sail until Judgment Day. Following these events, his crew mysteriously died one by one until van der Decken was alone, and it is told that continues to sail the waters in his ghost ship, unable to round the Cape of Good Hope. Many claim to have seen this ghostly vessel under sail, struggling to round the Cape at night.
Since the early days of the Dutch East India Company, many ships have been wrecked on this coast, which can be frighteningly stormy and treacherous , and one will observe a number of these wrecks including the well-known shipwreck of the Lusitania which struck Bellows Rock in thick fog at midnight on 18 April 1911.

One can easily spend the entire day, and more, in the reserve because there is much to tempt the visitor to tarry, including a fine restaurant at Cape Point. Beautiful clean white sand beaches and a variety of hiking trails, fishing off the rocks for the game fish that frequent the entrance of False Bay or simply enjoying the wonderful plant and animal life , and notably abundant baboon will seduce your time away. During the months of June to November there is plentiful opportunity to observe the migration of the whales which enter False Bay to mate.

These wonderful attractions and many others are a short but spectacular scenic drive away from our affordable self catering accommodation , so please contact us at for enquiries or reservations.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Chose your Cape Wine lands experience

Cape Town Tourism reports that most guests enjoying stay in our fair city, whether in a Cape Town hotel , Guest house, or self catering cottage, schedule a visit to the Cape Winelands, with its beautiful scenery and majestic mountain backdrops where rolling vineyards with historic Cape Dutch farmsteads afford a glimpse of our history.
Just a short drive over the mountain from our affordable self catering accommodation is the lovely Constantia Valley; often overlooked by visitors who instinctively travel further afield. Here you will find some of the oldest wine estates historic homesteads including Groot Constantia and Klein Constantia, along with many award winning wines.
The winelands are divided into various different regions, each offering their own 'wine route'. The most popular and well-known are Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Wellington and Paarl.

I recently came across a new website not only offers holiday accommodation in Cape Town, on Cape wine farms, but has paired this with wine sales and restaurants on the wine farms. I must congratulate Charles Lourens for his innovative approach to providing a service that is bound to be used by many visitors on a holiday in Cape Town as well as those of us who live and love our beautiful Cape.
If you are wanting to go wine tasting (BOTTLE), eat out on a wine farm (PLATE), or spend a night in the winelands (PILLOW) – all the information you need is right at your finger tips with Bottle, Plate and Pillow.

The website will allow you to browse for wine sales by region or by cultivar; and offers an amazing variety of choice. At the same time it will provide you with the opening days and times of any of the estates on the various wine routes .
If you want to combine your visit to the Cape wine lands with a gourmet meal or just a picnic, the website will enable you to select a restaurant of your choice by type of cuisine; by location and many other choices that would satisfy the need of anyone looking for a way to further enhance and enjoyable outing to this most beautiful part of South Africa.
You can even find out which days have special offers for pensioners

The website offers many videos of interesting related topics including how wine is made and also illustrates some of the many wine festivals that take place in this area throughout the year.
When planning a visit to the Cape wine lands as part of your South Africa, Cape Town holiday, you can find maps of the wine routes that will enable you to plan your itinerary.

For visitors who have chosen to stay at our affordable self catering Cape Town accommodation, a visit to the wine lands can be a most enjoyable day's outing, as Stellenbosch is just a 30 minute drive along the False Bay coast past the popular surfing beaches of Muizenberg and Strandfontein; a scenic coastal drive next to the beach that is always an enjoyable experience even if you do not have a fixed destination. At the end of this road you cross over the highway into Stellenbosch where your wine lands adventure can begin.

If you are visiting for the eagerly anticipated football World Cup 2010, do try and locate a couple of days for a visit to this lovely area. You should also remember that Cape Town has the so-called secret season which follows immediately after the World Cup when you will find that accommodation rates are more affordable, and the city will be less busy so please contact us at if you are looking for cheap accommodation in the winter.