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Getting Bang for your Buck when Travelling to Cape Town
How much value is your Cape Town tour operator really offering?
To embark on an international holiday is a big expense and often a once in a lifetime experience. Cape Town is one of those great cities that should definitely be on that list of places to visit in a lifetime. In order to make the best memories possible it's important to take various aspects into consideration when booking a tour in Cape Town from abroad. Investigate what your tour operator is offering and insist on getting 'bang for your bucks'!
Although the Cape Town tourism industry offers competitive prices you should also take the following aspects into consideration, in order to make sure you choose a tour that offers real value:
Cheaper tour operators are not necessarily the best, as many tour operators exclude entrance fees and lunch. To avoid having to fork out for unexpected expenses or get caught without your wallet, choose a tour operator whose prices are all inclusive.
Check what types of meals are provided on your tour as many operators only offer a 'brown bag lunch' with a sandwich and small fruit. Choose a tour operator that offers a memorable gourmet picnic lunch, according to your preferences and dietary requirements. Cape Town is a foodie city; you may as well be treated to the complete experience. If on a hiking trip for example, your tour guide should be prepared to scale Table Mountain with nothing short of a restaurant on his back.
Last minute cancellations
Companies offering scheduled tours need a minimum number of guests (often 4) to operate the tour and may cancel trips at the last minute if they can’t fill the quota. In order to avoid being disappointed at the last minute, book a private tour with a guaranteed departure.
Private versus scheduled tours
A private tour will also guarantee a personalised and superior experience, whereas scheduled tours may include any number of guests. Always check the maximum number of guests when booking a scheduled tour before making a decision based on the number of people vs. your budget.
Delayed transfers may occur on scheduled trips, which can be a hassle. It takes at least half an hour to an hour for the tour vehicle to pick up all tour participants from various hotels and guest houses. As a consequence you'll end up spending half of your holiday in hotel lobbies waiting for your tour vehicle to arrive. On private tours the collection time is often flexible and dependent on your needs.
Check out how long the tour company has been in operation for as there are many fly by night operators that are not properly certified and are using illegal guides. SATSA and Cape Town Tourism have a stringent certification process and guarantee tour deposits.
Check to see what the tour operator’s responsible tourism policy is. By booking through a Fair Trade and Tourism Certified tour operator you will be assured that your money goes towards improving the livelihoods of the employees and the community the tour is intended to.
Ensure that you are accompanied by an accredited tour guide who can advise you on the safety aspects of the particular area. Do not carry unnecessary valuables around with you and familiarise yourself with the emergency numbers of the area. A reputable guide will have completed a first aid course, will carry a first aid kit, will have emergency contact details and will carry sufficient bottled water for hydration.
For inspiring things to do in Cape Town, be sure to read our Things to do Section . We enjoyed AWOL's Table Mountain Hike and their Cycling Tour in the Cape Peninsula.