TRIP REPORT: Cape Town (and Joburg), Dec-Jan 2017-18

The rest of my family (2 tween boys and my wife) left for Joburg a week before X-mas and stayed with family and friends for 4 days, then they traveled to Cape Town and did a 2 day side trip to a game park near Mossel Bay…. I joined them in Cape Town on Saturday, just before New Years Eve, which is where my trip report begins……………………

I arrived late Saturday evening at our AirBNB in Camps Bay…. Next day (Sunday), we chilled, then headed down to Camps Bay Beach…. The boys always seem to make friends at beaches, and that day was no different… We pulled out our American Football and ran plays on the beach (very common here at home) and a local boy came and joined us…. We taught him the basics, and despite a language barrier, he caught on pretty quickly! That evening (NYE), we UBER’d it to Kirstenbosch Gardens for a New Years Eve concert featuring Hot Water and Goldfish….. What an awesome venue!! We had pre-paid tix, but unfortunately the weather didn’t cooperate….. Despite a severe drought, of all the days it had to RAIN, it had to be that evening…UGHHHHH!!!!! We did enjoy about an hour of Hot Water rain-free, but after 2 bouts of rain, we had enough…. However, Hot Water put on an AWESOME show…..i’m gonna keep an eye on them if they ever come to the States… Goldfish is coming to Chicago soon, but it’s not our cup of tea….

Monday, we picked up our car hire and drove south to Chapmans Peak Drive (thankfully, lite traffic both ways) and spent some time at Noordhoek Beach—what an awesome, vast beach! These are the type of beaches we like–wide open, vast and uncrowded…. We then headed to Boulders and had a late lunch at Boulders Beach Lodge………….see my review….. We explored the walking trail along the shoreline and encountered many penguins and hyraxes…..see my review… We returned to Camps Bay via Chapmans and enjoyed the stunning views along the way… We made supper at home.

Tuesday, we hit the road going south again and headed towards Cape Point….. We stopped in Scarborough for lunch at Camel Rock…see my review… We continued thru St. James and Kalk Bay….BIG MISTAKE——got snarled in traffic for nearly an hour, and when we finally got to Cape Point, there was a line of cars all the way out to the highway….NO THANKS! So, we turned around and headed to the Slangkop Lighthouse where we climbed to the top… My kids freaked-out at the top and came back down, but i love old machinery, so i loved seeing the old mechanics of this historic lighthouse…. We then enjoyed a nice walk along the boardwalk….

Wednesday, was the hottest day of my entire visit at 34ºC… All the previous days were pleasant, and when i left home only several days before, it was -12º C, so i was boiling!! We went to the World of Birds for a good part of the afternoon….see my review…. At home, i made supper for myself, but the boys were absolutely loving the fish n chips they were getting in SA, so they ate at Ocean Basket in Camps Bay (no review cuz i didn’t eat there, but they LOVED it).

Thursday, we headed south to Llandudno Beach…. It was a hot day, but not as bad as the day before… Of all the urban/semi-urban beaches in the area, i liked this one the best….. A nice mix of beautiful scenery, good sand, clear water and not crazy crowded….. We spent several hours here, then headed to Hout Bay where we had a late lunch at the Wharfside Grill…..see my review (Note–it’s taking forever for TA to post this review, and i think i know why, so pasted it at the very bottom of this trip report)……. We then headed to The Waterfront where my wife did some shopping, and the boys and i watched a hired street musician play some very interesting World Music on the plaza by the X-mas tree…. We then met family for supper at The Press Kosher Restaurant in Sea Point……see my review…

Friday, we started our journey home… Flew up to Joburg, then spent a coupla nights in Sandton where we went to Nelson Mandela Square and the Rosebank Craft Market….see my reviews…. The weather was really hot again, but at least we were a little better acclimated… Then we flew home Sunday evening…. Thankfully it was much milder than -12 upon our return!!

We visit SA fairly often (this was my 5th visit—wife and kids go even more), so we didn’t fret over missing Cape Point as i’ve been there before (at least we got to see the baboons along the road!)…. But the beaches, Gardens, lighthouse and World of Birds, as well as Sandton, was new territory for me, so that was all good to see…. Thanks all for your inputs regarding NYE!


PS-i was home no more than 12 hours when “Biko” from Peter Gabriel came on the radio…. I haven’t heard that song in 5-10 years. Moving.


Cape Town Reviews:……………


Joburg Reviews:……………


Wharfside Grill Review:

Last time we ate here was about 5 years ago, and like back then, the Wharfside Grill delivered on great food and great service…. We always try to get seated outdoors whenever we eat out, and the outdoor deck at the Grill is the place to be—great views overlooking Hout Bay and the beach…. The overall ambience is great…. I got a fish dip platter which was great….

The one thing that turned me off and was a bit disturbing was as we were leaving, i noticed a cockroach crawling around in a display case right next to the kitchen… I’d hate to think what’s going on right IN the kitchen…yikes! Thus, i gave it a 3 instead of a 5….


VERY beginnings of a plan. SA or Kenya

OK, so I know that my questions at this point are going to be VERY broad, so don’t lambaste me on here… I just need a bit of a nudge in the right direction to get started. I am planning a trip for myself, husband, and our two teens who will be 16 an 19 at time of travel. We will likely be going over Christmas break for 2 weeks (so end of Dec into very beginning of Jan). We definitely want to do a couple of safaris (I THINK we would prefer the comfort and convenience of private but again… I really have JUST started looking into all this so am quite open to suggestions). If SA we would also like to see Cape Town, the penguins, where Mandela was incarcerated, and probably a zillion other things I’ve just started reading about but know we won’t be able to see all of:) If Kenya we would like to visit the Elephant orphanage, and possibly Giraffe Manor. TBH I currently have less info on Kenya than SA because this whole trip idea came about when we were approached by Go Touch Down Travel re their SA trip. We kind of shut it down immediately as a time-share thing we were not interested in, but the more we looked into it the more we realized that even if not with GTD, we REALLY want to visit Africa. Kenya had already been on my map of places I want to visit thanks to a friend who adored her trip there. So now.. we need to make some plans and some decisions. As far as budget, we certainly can’t afford the highest end luxury accommodations, but at the same time, this will likely be our last big vacation as a family of 4 before everyone schedules will never allow this much time off together, so we want to do it right and make it very special. I expect a 2 week vacation for 4 in SA or Kenya to be roughly $10,000. Is this way off? Can anyone offer any suggestions of reserves either in Kruger or other, or in Kenya? I am fully assuming that on the SA forum most will steer me to SA and on the Kenya forum most will steer me to Kenya, but that’s ok. Maybe reading their place will strike a cord with me more. I really appreciate any beginning help or guidance on here, and promise to narrow my questions to more specific ones once I’ve made some of the bigger decisions:)