Cape Town Travel Guide
The Table Bay Hotel, in Cape Town, South Africa, is getting involved in the community by helping to restore several streets in Langa, one of the Cape's oldest townships, and they are asking their guests to help too.
The initiative is part of the “One Street at a Time” project which aims to build Langa into a sustainable tourism destination. The first street they are tackling is Harlem Avenue, a historic boulevard lined with shops and historic homes, including the home of Chris Hani, the influential anti-apartheid activist. Volunteers will help clean up the area and make needed repairs to homes and businesses along the avenue, which adds a nice positive, active slant to a South Africa vacation.
Movie Set Travel / Sports Travel / Matt Damon / Rugby Travel / Clint Eastwood / Morgan Freeman / → All Tags
Clint Eastwood's soon-to-be-Oscar-nominated film Invictus opens nationwide today. In the movie, Eastwood takes on the daunting task of telling the story of the first few months of Nelson Mandela's South African presidency, including his struggle to get the country's black majority to rally around the nearly all-white Springboks national rugby team, in the hope that it would unite the nation. Mandela (played by Morgan Freeman) first made an example of himself by befriending the team's captain, Francois Pienaar (played by Matt Damon). He then cheered along with the rest of the country as the Springboks went on to defeat the New Zealand All Blacks and win the 1995 World Cup.
The Springboks are still a big deal in South Africa and are currently the holders of the Rugby World Cup and the Tri-Nations Championship. Even though it's off-season, the team is taking their trophies on the road. The tour will start in Cape Town on Friday, February 5 and make its way through all 14 provinces with over 116 stops, including 50 schools as well as clubs and shopping centers. You can get a schedule of the tour and ticket information for next season on The Springboks' official website.
Listen up, animal lovers in need of a vacation! Keen Footwear is giving away a volunteer vacation in which one lucky winner will travel to South Africa to help out at a local animal shelter. The trip is valued at $4000, which includes airfare on South African Airways to Cape Town, accommodations (most likely a shared dorm room in a volunteer house) and the experience of working with neglected animals for up to two weeks. The winner will also have plenty of down time to explore Cape Town on their own.
Once in Cape Town, Keen will put the winner in touch with i-to-i volunteer vacations who will introduce them to TEARS, a local animal shelter that provides pet food, veterinary treatments and pet education to Capetonians. The organization also rescues dogs and cats from neglect or abuse and offers shelter to abandoned animals. Volunteers at TEARS not only help care for the animals, but they also work with local children to help them understand how to look after their own pets.
To enter Keen's contest, go to their website before August 21st and enter for a chance to win. Even if you don't win, you can still contact i-to-i travel about volunteering at TEARS or a number of other nonprofit organizations they work with around the world. Most of their excursions last between 2 to 4 weeks and cost between $2000 and $2500.
· Win a Volunteer Vacation to Help Rescue Animals in South Africa [About.com]
· Animal Welfare [Charity Guide]
· Volunteer Travel [Jaunted]
[Photo: Social Investment Exchange]
Eat cookies, win trip. That's a no-brainer if we ever heard one, so the marketers at the Khaya Cookie Company might be on to something. They've started up the Quest for Cape Town competition and the winner gets a 10-day trip around the Cape Town area in South Africa, choosing from food and wine, eco-tourism or sun and surf themes.
Khaya Cookies include various shortbreads and granolas that are made with organic materials sourced from the winelands area near Cape Town, and the "cranberry rooibos shortbread" sounds like the most delicious one to us. If you buy a pack, you get an automatic entry into the competition to win the trip, or runner-up prizes like a Kindle, or extra boxes of cookies.
You can even check fellow cookie-addicts at the contest's stats page - when we checked, the leading entrant had scoffed down 22 packets of cookies so far. Entries close on July 15, after which time buying extra packets of cookies will become a slightly more "guilty conscience" action – although at least these cookies say you're helping create local jobs in South Africa. Eat up!
Do you love travel contests? Enter the Jaunted-Competitours Contest here!
Yesterday we told you about the South African Brandy tastings that you must experience when you make the trip to South Africa. But we can't forget about wine tours, can we? At the top of our list of Things To Do Around Cape Town still remains a tour of the wine farms in Stellenbosch and Constantia.
Did we say wine farms? We meant tourist farms. The two dozen or so farms who are fully kitted out for international visitors with industrial tasting rooms, restaurants that could feed the whole of Africa, international shipping options and marked up wine prices.
Okay, we take it back. Some of these places are pretty gorgeous – colonial-style white houses overflowing with summer roses and surrounded by fields of vines. Here's a few that you should stop by and see.
It doesn’t sound as if our last South African embed, Jill Nawrocki had such a good time on her hike up Table Mountain. And so we have to ask: why bother hiking up the thing when you can get a cable car and save yourself the legwork? Unless you’re a proper hiker and pick one of the weird back routes, you’ll only end up at exactly the same place as the sensible buggers who took the cable car – the mountain’s (excellent but expensive) panoramic café restaurant.
In the summer, the Platteklip Gorge route is Bloody Hot – take it from us. If you do fancy it, do the decent thing and get your lazy butt out of bed at 6am, ready to start at 7am. Or the sweat pouring off your forehead will make the front pages of the Cape Times. (Possible headline? "New Saltwater River Discovered on Table Mountain.")
Either way you do it, you're gonna want a place to rest and relax after you've done it. It just so happens we've got a few recommendations fo you.
The best Best View in Cape Town, of course, is Table Mountain. But pick a clear day or you’ll be looking down at cotton wool (above). The weather does funny things around here and you have to get out slightly further afield for other "Best Views." That's where we come in. We've rounded up three more of Cape Town's best views in case the whole Table Mountain thing doesn't work out.
We learned our lesson the hard way on the trip to Table Mountain, so when it came time to voyage out to the Cape of Good Hope, we weren't taking any chances. Our de facto tour guide Kev booked us two seats on the Baz Bus tour for R435 ($53) each. The deluxe minibus runs daily tours that include all of the Cape Peninsula highlights, as well as hiking and biking--in case we didn't already get our outdoor fill.
Cape Town may be the second largest city in South Africa, but despite the crowded streets, killer cuisine and unique shops there's still a huge scene for outdoorsy types.
Being on a budget can really narrow down your choices. But luckily, Cape Town is a big city with lots of options when it comes to accommodations and dining. (Even for those who are broke!)
Photoblogs document a locale differently than text blogs do obviously, but the impression they give of a place can be just as informative. While we don't have the scratch to head to Cape Town just yet, we have CherryFlava, a South African photoblog based in Cape Town, to show us snapshots of one of the world's prettiest cities.
South Africa is another country that was under the travel radar for Americans for a long time, but in recent years has become a much-discussed destination for jet set travelers looking for that special blend of chic exoticism that only Africa can provide. All we know is that those models and I-Bankers better watch out for pirates the next time they're in town.