Saturday, May 29, 2010

See Cape Town's False Bay beaches by train

Very few visitors enjoying a holiday in Cape Town know about an economical and unique way to experience a tour of the southern peninsula of Cape Town and the coastal suburbs of False Bay. The suburban rail service that serves the suburbs along the line from Cape Town to Simonstown is not just for commuters. It is an inexpensive and relaxing way to travel and see so many of the attractions from a perspective that you might not otherwise enjoy. Although it is an interesting trip for adults, your kids will really love you if you take them on a train journey from Muizenberg to Simonstown.

At the start of your journey you will board the train at the historic Colonial red brick and stone faced station building with a teak clock tower, built around 1913. It houses a couple of antique shops and a popular restaurant overlooking the sea. The train journey offers a unique viewing opportunity, as you travel along the spectacular False Bay Coast where the train travels right along the shore, passing beautiful beaches, tidal pools and at times skirting the sea with just a line of rocks between the rail and the sea. Open the carriage window so that you can inhale the fresh sea air, as you marvel at the spectacular view that you will have across the whole of False Bay. Look out for Cecil John Rhodes Western Cape beach cottage as the train passes. At St James you will see the colourful bathing boxes on the beach and watch the bathers at play in the tidal pool. As the train proceeds you will undoubtedly see surfers riding the waves as they speed towards the rocks, and Kayakers paddling across the bay. Further down the line is Kalk bay; still a working fishing harbour, but a popular destination with both locals and tourists because of the main road being lined with galleries, restaurants, antique shops and other delights for browsers and collectors. There is an ice cream shop in the main Road that is so popular that even Jamie Oliver has eaten there. You are bound to delight in the colourful fishing boats bobbing at their moorings in the harbour, and perhaps succumb to the temptation to alight for a shopping and photographing opportunity.

As the train rounds the corner towards Fish Hoek, it runs right along the sea and affords a marvellous opportunity to watch the whales basking and at play. You may be lucky enough to spot one just a few metres from the the train line. Clovelly station comes up just before Fish Hoek – look out for the unusual sign- it is the only station in the world with a sign prohibiting fishing from the platform. The train will continue along Fish Hoek beach where you might spot fishermen pulling their catches in. Continue the journey, hugging the shore of Simon’s bay, with plenty more opportunities for whale watching as the bay abounds with these magnificent creatures between June and October each year. Simonstown is the home of the South African Navy and it is not unusual to see one or more of the warships or submarines manoeuvring in the bay, which will undoubtedly delight the children. At your journey's end in Simonstown you will find another historic station building. There is much to keep you in this Naval town, and you might want to spend the day here before making the return journey. A walk to the centre of the town will take you through the interesting historic mile with its eclectic selection of historic buildings. Perhaps you might want to take a cab to visit the famous African penguin colony at Boulders Beach which was recently rated by a UK magazine as the best family beach in the world.
Whilst you can purchase your train tickets at Muizenberg station, Metrorail Southern Line Tourism Route also offers a hop-on hop-off ticket from Cape Town to Observatory, Newlands, Muizenberg, Kalk Bay and Fish Hoek Stations for just R30 per one day ticket OR R50 for a 2-day ticket. You might want to take advantage of this great opportunity to stop at one of these charming beach towns and spend the night in one of the many affordable family accommodation establishments before continuing your journey. If you purchase the hop-on-hop off ticket you will also be provided with a map showing all the attractions of each of the suburbs within a 2 km walking distance . You can find the details at this URL

A further innovative partnership project between Cape Town Tourism, Metrorail Western Cape and The Green Cab, known as the Rail and Ride initiative, was launched at Noordhoek Farm village on 27 May 2010. It will offer tourists a scenic travel opportunity by rail and eco-friendly cab from Cape Town to Simonstown, commencing in the first week of June 2010, in time for the World Cup. The route will include a Southern Line train ride from Cape Town to Fish Hoek, followed by a “Green Cab” taxi ride along the scenic coastline to Cape Point, with a return to Simonstown. The tour can be pre-booked and visitors travelling on the Southern Line Tourism Route will travel in a designated carriage accompanied by informed tourist guides and dedicated security guards. Green Cabs are available at Simonstown station to take you on a guided tour through Simonstown by way of the famous African penguin colony at Boulders beach to the spectacular Cape point nature reserve. The cost of ZAR 600 (US$80) includes transport, tour guide, security as well as entrance to Boulders Beach Penguin Colony and Cape Point Nature reserve, making it excellent value for money. The Rail and Ride service will be offered on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, departing from Platform Five at Cape Town Station.

For more information about the tours contact Metrorail : : or the Green Cab +27 (0)86 184 3473 or call Cape Town Tourism on +27 (0)21 487 6800.

For affordable self catering family accommodation convenient to all of these wonderful attractions, take advantage now of the low “Secret Season” winter rates at Horizon Holiday Cottages in Noordhoek.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Accommodation rates in Cape Town lower for the World Cup 2010

A recent survey conducted by by CapeInfo and affirmed by the Western Cape’s destination marketing organisation Cape Town Routes Unlimited amongst the local accommodation industry, has found that almost 50% of Cape Town’s accommodation establishments have been booked out for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Due to the expected numbers being much less than anticipated, many hotels and other establishments had changed their pricing approach from seeking above peak season rates to normal peak season rates or lower.
The survey found that 46% of Cape Town’s hotels, guesthouses, B&Bs and self-catering accommodations were fully booked for the month of June, compared with 38% for the same period last year and 57% in 2008. Hotels received the most bookings, followed by guesthouses and self-catering accommodation. Naturally the suburbs closer to the stadium, in the city surrounds, and along the Atlantic Seaboard have proved to be the most popular. It has been fund that there has generally been an increase in occupation compared to a normal winter season. One thing is very clear from the survey , and that is the bonanza that the accommodation industry had expected will not materialize. Good news for visitors for the World Cup 2010 is that you can now obtain affordable accommodation in Cape Town.

Lower Accommodation Prices
According to CapeInfo’s April 2010 survey, the hospitality industry has been compelled to adapt a more reasonable pricing approach. A total of 45% are now charging the same or less than current peak season rates, compared with 26% in January this year, with 12% charging their usual off-peak rates compared to January’s 6%.
Alan Winde, Western Cape Minister for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism: stated “Almost two thirds of expected World Cup visitors said that they would be heading to Cape Town. To them and others we want to say: we have a variety of affordable accommodation available for you – from five-star right through to backpackers – and a million ways to make the most of the game.
With matches at the Cape Town Stadium almost sold out, visitors can catch the Cape carnival atmosphere for free at the FIFA Fan Fest™ with Table Mountain as their backdrop, or they can match-crawl the rest of the city’s public viewing areas for a jol with the locals. Between the games, we have a colourful mix of tourist attractions and activities available for international visitors as well as our domestic travellers to make part of their World Cup memories.”

Look to the Southern Peninsula
An informal survey was recently conducted amongst the members of the Noordhoek Tourism Association and it was found that very few bookings had been received for accommodation in this beautiful coastal valley lying at the foot of the Table Mountain range and facing a wonderful beach with 7 km of pristine white sand. Noordhoek is known as Cape Town's best kept “ secret destination”. It is a country village where most properties are zoned agricultural and where conservation is a concern of all residents. The large properties, where many keep horses, make this unique in the Cape Town area. Visitors looking for affordable accommodation in a restful village suburb will find plenty of choice at prices much lower than they can expect to pay closer to the city. Those who will be attending matches in the stadium can enjoy a spectacular drive to the city on Chapman’s Peak drive- said to be one of the most beautiful coastal, scenic drives in the world. Noordhoek lies right at the start of Chapman’s Peak drive ; just a 30 minute drive from the stadium.

Horizon Holiday Cottages in Noordhoek, which offers self catering family cottages in studio Cabanas, has decided to slash their prices by 50% for visitors who stay for 4 days or more during the World Cup in order to encourage people to get to know Noordhoek and the attractions of the Southern Peninsula. Contact them for reservations or further information.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Park and Ride facilities for FIFA World Cup 2010

The city of Cape Town has announced final details of Park-and-ride facilities which have been upgraded to encourage soccer fans and daily commuters to use the extended public transport services available during the 2010 soccer World Cup. Cape Metrorail provides passenger rail services to Cape Town’s population of 3.5 million through 119 rail stations. The following stations with park-and-ride facilities will feature event information, branding and additional security until the last train has left:

Fish Hoek – beach parking area
Ottery – parking at Youth Care Centre, opposite church
Retreat – parking at station
Claremont – on Palmyra Road, east of the station
Goodwood – parking at Grand West Casino and Entertainment World
Century City Cape Town – parking at Ratanga Junction with a shuttle service to the station
Oosterzee – parking at Settlers High School
Brackenfell – parking at station
Kuils River – parking at station
Strand – parking at municipal building opposite the station

Parking in regular parking areas around rail stations will generally be free of charge. Temporary parking areas, however, will mostly be situated on private land, where a nominal charge may be levied. Eersterivier, Heideveld, Khayelitsha, Kraaifontein, Langa, Lansdowne, Monte Vista, Muizenberg, Nyanga, Philippi and Plumstead will also be branded and have additional security. Holders of a match ticket are ensured free rail transport into the city centre before kick-off and on the return trip after the match. This is only applicable to match ticket holders on the day of the match. On match days bus park-and-ride facilities are available at:
Kronendal Primary School sports field, off Andrews Road in Hout Bay
Camps Bay High School sports field in Maiden’s Cove, off Victoria Road
University of Cape Town’s Upper Campus in Rondebosch

These facilities will operate from four hours before kick-off until four hours after the final whistle. Parking at the University of Cape Town will be free, while a nominal charge will apply at the other venues. There will be no general spectator parking available at the Cape Town Stadium or its immediate surrounds, and parking in the city centre is also severely limited. All spectators are thus encouraged to use the identified park-and-ride facilities outside the city centre. The best way to avoid congestion and frustration is to use the public transport systems.

Enjoy the matches even without a ticket: If you haven’t bought a match ticket, you can still be part of the World Cup action by going to the official FIFA Fan Fest at the Grand Parade in the centre of the City , opposite the City Hall and the historic Castle, or at the various venues within the V & A Waterfront.
Recent surveys have shown that , with actual numbers significantly down on forecast , there is still plenty of affordable Cape Town accommodation available- so enquire now.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront is ready for the World Cup 2010

The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront is one of the most visited attractions in South Africa. With less than a month before the kick off of the 2010 World Cup, CEO of the V&A Waterfront, Mr. David Green, said in a press release that the Waterfront was fully prepared for the influx of visitors for the FIFA 2010 World Cup 2010 tournament to be held from June till July, with about 100,000 visitors per day expected at the Waterfront. With that many visitors expected, Green said that security and infrastructure measures have been improved in the build up to the World Cup. "On match days there will be a 50% increase in security and non-match days there will be a 25% security increase above what we currently have. 60 Waterfront ambassadors have been recruited to be available for tourists throughout the 300 acre campus. “We will be open as usual from 9am to 9pm, although food and beverage outlets can trade till 2am and in some cases we have increased the hours to 4am," he explained.

Scenic access routes
Green said there were two safe, yet scenic , routes which visitors can use to walk to the Waterfront; accessed at the Clock Tower and at the West Quay past Cape Grace and Bascule Bridge. However, in line with FIFA regulations, certain access routes around the stadium will be closed on match days and fans and visitors to the stadium and the V&A Waterfront are strongly encouraged to make use of public transport and Park-and-Ride options.

Spectator Zones :
To enhance the World Cup experience for the anticipated 350,000 visitors to Cape Town during the football tournament, the V&A Waterfront has organised four prime-site Spectator Zones:

· Quay 4, diagonally opposite the Amphitheatre, will seat 400 spectators and will be open from 10am till 1am. Entrance is free and TV screens will be in place to view matches.
· The MTN Spectator Zone at Clock Tower Square offers free admission and also has a capacity of 400 ; it opens at 11am; all the games will be aired on flat screen TV’s
· The Hyundai Spectator Zone will be situated opposite the Caltex Service Station and has a capacity of 2,000 with a cost of R100 per person. The game will be viewed on 1 large screen.
· The V&A Waterfront Lookout Point is situated above the Breakwater Parking Garage also with a capacity of 2000 with a cost of R150 pp. This venue will feature two activities specifically for the USA and UK supporters, entitled “Eagle's Nest” and “Lion's Den."

Wheel of Excellence
Another exciting attraction arriving at the end of May will be the Wheel of Excellence, a Waterfront exclusive for the World Cup. This will be fully illuminated giant observation wheel 50 metres in height, and featuring 36 fully enclosed luxury cabins that will treat visitors to a unique sightseeing opportunity; with spectacular views of the City as well as Table Mountain and Robben Island. It will be situated at the Canal site, opposite the Caltex Garage. The wheel will be fully operational from June 8 and will remain at the V&A Waterfront for an extended period after the World Cup matches. Ticket price to the Wheel of Excellence is R70 per person.

Safety and security :

The Waterfront’s CEO provided details of improvements in safety and security, cleaning, lighting, access routes and parking facilities, following comparative risk assessments based on valuable lessons learnt at the World Cup in Germany. "We have increased our security presence by 50% on match days and 25% on non-match days, to ensure we are covered to handle any unexpected eventualities. This includes employing additional full-time security personnel during the World Cup. All additional security personnel have worked with the area during the test match period, so are familiar with the site and proceedings. In addition, we have reviewed and updated the positioning of our 1000-plus CCTV cameras in all common areas” he said.
Information centre upgradedThe new Information Centre (alongside Ferryman’s Tavern on Dock Road) has been upgraded at accost of R5,5 million, and aims to be the first stop to welcome local and international visitors to the V&A Waterfront. In addition to general tourist information, services include reservations for accommodation in Cape Town and tour bookings in and around the V&A Waterfront and surrounds.

Visitors should be exited at these developments aimed at enhancing their enjoyment of the World Cup 2010 in South Africa. Good news for fans is that there is still plenty of affordable Cape Town holiday accommodation available, so book now.