Friday, October 29, 2010

The Sharks in Cape Town may not be in the water

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

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

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

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

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

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