Swakopmund or Cape Town/Western Cape for Christmas
Replies: 4 - Last Post: Apr 13, 2013 12:56 PM Last Post By: lindaandsuch
Apr 8, 2013 12:29 PM
Swakopmund or Cape Town/Western Cape for ChristmasMy family, including two kids (aged 6 and 8), will be in Namibia or South Africa over Christmas 2013. My husband will be on a film shoot in Namibia for which we hope to join him.
Should we be spending the holidays in Swakopmund or Cape Town/the Western Cape? We will just have spent a couple of weeks in in a desert just south of the Angolan border and might want a change from rustic and hot. So, I am thinking about the sea, first and foremost.
I know that Cape Town and surroundings get very busy over Christmas. Is it the same for Swakopmund? And - are things/shops/restaurants open over the holidays in both those places? (We have been in European cities before over Christmas and it gets very quiet...)
Thanks a lot,
Apr 10, 2013 4:38 AM
1December is Southern Africa’s busiest holiday period, especially from the 16th of December. Swakopmund and surroundings will be fully booked and busy. You have to make reservations, even for campsites! Shops are doing a roaring business as well and all will be open. Take note that German owned shops will be closed from lunch till 3pm, no matter what season!
Cape Town will also be very busy and you need to make early reservations for accommodation as well. Personally, coming from the very north of Namibia, I will spend my time at Cape Town surroundings, great contrast to the dry and desert regions of Kaokoland! The kids will enjoy it also.
Apr 10, 2013 7:13 AM
2Hmm... My husband is not convinced that Swakopmund is the right place for us. He, having been to Cape Town and the Western Cape before, wants to go directly there. I am thinking that we are going to miss out not seeing more than the desert of Namibia. However, you sound as though you might be in agreement.
While we are in the Western Cape, I was thinking of going to Citrusdal, Clanwilliam, Tulbagh, Calitzdorp, and Oudtshoorn. Is that a good route or are they too similar? And will it be too hot inland? We are planning on staying in family-run guest houses "in the middle of nowhere" for most of these places. We would like to do some hiking (reasonable hiking, with kids), swim in the creeks, enjoy the quiet of the guesthouses, perhaps do some horseback riding.
Which villages/towns would you recommend along the sea front? I don't want to stay in an overrun resort town although some times there is a reason why a resort time is popular... I would like to find places with calmer water. I think my oldest would really enjoy boogie boarding (we just did it in Tofino, Vancouver Island where the water was bloody freezing!), but the youngest would prefer calmer (and warmer) water. Have you any recommendations?
Apr 12, 2013 12:28 AM
3The west coast - be it Namibia or South Africa is not really sunbathing on a beach territory. More pounding surf and dramatic coastlines. This is the Atlantic and it is cold water. If you want more temperate water then you have to head right up to the north east eg Sodwana Bay. This is where the coral reefs start (though the water can still sometimes be cold).
Swakopmund could be fun for a few days with kids as there are lots of activities. For example you can go on a desert safari up through the dunes in a Unimog to find weird and wonderful snakes and lizards. They would also enjoy kayaking to find seals and dolphins which you ca do out of Walvis Bay. Plus lots of "extreme" activities eg sand surfing, quad bikes and so on. There are lots of stunning places to stay in the desert and the scenery is awesome.
There is obviously loads to do around Cape Town and you won't be bored there by any means.
The towns you have mentioned pass through wonderful scenery. It is pretty low key though ie not much in the way of actual activities for the kids. Perhaps google Greenwood's Guides. They specialise in "special" places to stay eg guest farms and small B& Bs and have a whole section on things for kids to do. You might get some inspiration there.
Apr 13, 2013 12:56 PM
4I think we are not going to explore more in Namibia until the kids are older. So much I want to see but such a hot time of year and so far between things.
Instead, I have made a plan for traveling the Western Cape with the help of Greenwood's Guide.
Dec 22-24 Darling (Darling Lodge)
Dec 24-27 Paternoster (Farr Out B&B)
Dec 27-29 Biedouw Valley, Clanwilliam (Enjo Nature Farm)
Dec 29-31 Rawsonville (Eensgevonden Vineyard Cottages)
Dec 31- Jan 3 Swellendam (Rothman Manor)
Jan 3-6 Hermanus (Sumaridge Vineyard Cottages)
Jan 6-10 Cape Town (Derwent House Boutique Hotel)
How does that look? The emphasis is on not having to travel too far between places, always having a place to swim (creek, lake, pool, sea), going upscale to rustic and back, seeing moutains and seaside, town and countryside... What do you think? Am I missing out on something obvious?
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