We have recently returned from our first trip to the Western Cape and while we didn't venture too far we did give ourselves a marvellous taster of the area. We spent 3 nights in Hermanus, 3 nights in Franschhoek and 8 nights in Cape Town and I was happy with this division. The only thing I would maybe do differently is take a couple of the Cape Town nights and put them in Camps Bay. I know it is easy enough to taxi between the 2 but I am a firm believer that you don't really get a proper feel for a place unless you sleep there.
It was too long a holiday to do too detailed a trip report but I have written up loads of reviews which have all been published now and are available to read here.
I am putting all prices in £ so this might be more useful to other first time UK visitors.
Our flight (KLM via Amsterdam just under £700) brought us into Cape Town at 10.35 pm and by the time we got through customs and collected our luggage it was 11.30 pm so I was pleased with my choice of staying at the Hotel Verde (£57) which is just a free 5 minute shuttle ride across the road. So comfortable and luxurious we were all refreshed to be picked up the next morning by a driver to take us to Hermanus.
We chose to do this rather than hire a car straight away as we were a bit nervous. We wouldn't really need the car in Hermanus anyway so I thought the £49 or 800 zar was great value. John was a lovely driver who gave us lots of information on the way and when he was driving us around Hermanus on our arrival to give us our bearings we saw a whale breach twice in the harbour. What a greeting. We loved Hermanus and saw so many whales we felt really blessed. We really didn't need to go in a boat to see them (which was lucky as they were all cancelled because of the windy weather) -we could even watch them from our balcony at Quarters Hotel. We had a suite there for 2 nights (£125 p night) and it was gorgeous well worth pushing the boat our for. Our first night we stayed in Hermanus Boutique guesthouse which was only £65 a night as I wanted to experience both categories.
After 3 days we picked up an Avis hire car from the outskirts of Hermanus. (£80 for 5 days ) It was 8 km from our hotel but they sent a driver to pick us up (arranged by our lovely receptionist at Quarters.) We felt relaxed enough tackle the car by then and we had a brilliant drive via Betty's Bay to see the penguins, the coastal road to Gordon's Bay and then the glorious Franschhoek pass to The Maison Chablis guesthouse in Franschhoek. (£98 a night) A very tiring drive but unbelievably beautiful and we saw 2 sets of wild baboons.
I am glad I chose Franschhoek over Stellenbosch as it is just the right size. Very user friendly and very very pretty. I also think we had our best food of the holiday here. Our main activities were wine tasing, the wine tram and the wonderful motor museum. (the wine tram was about £10.50 and the motor museum about £4 each) - which you can read about in my reviews.
Next was an extended stay at an apartment in The Rockwell Hotel in Cape Town. I booked this on flip key and haven't done a review yet but I think I chose well and it worked out at about £74 a night. We had a huge wrap round balcony and we could see Table Top Mountain, the Lions Head and Signal hill from it (albeit over a school car park. :) ) but it was very windy at times so we couldn't sit out there as often as we would like. It was ideally situated for getting around. Just 15 minutes walk to the V and A Waterfront , 10 minutes from Bo Kaap and 20 minutes from Green Market Square. We felt safe enough walking around during the day and we just used taxis at night.
We still had the car for a days drive round Cape Point but unfortunately it was heshing it down by the time we got to The Cape of Good Hope and we couldn't see a thing. We still had a great day though doing the Chapman Peak drive and stopping at Hout Bay and Scarborough. (my husband is from Uk Scarborough so it had to be done. ) The rest of the time we used the HOHO bus (£15 p p for 2 days and 2 routes) and walking to see all the sights. We actually got a taxi to the cable car (£5 or 70 zar) rather than use up valuable time on our bus tour.
I still have a few restaurant reviews to do but most of the attraction ones are up but if anyone has any questions about their own trip I am more than happy to answer them here. As you can see I have all the facts and figures. :) To sum up my husband and I had a fabulous holiday - it was all we dreamed it to be, we saw some of the most stunning scenery we have ever witnessed, saw loads of whales, tasted loads of wine and ate loads of good fish and meat. I was a little nervous about the trip but as long as you keep your wits about you you will be as safe as anywhere. Thank you South African people for your friendliness and hospitality.