Ask Joan

From Cape Town to the Caribbean via Amsterdam

My husband and I are visiting Cape Town for five days in early December, arriving by cruise and departing by air, and would appreciate suggestions on what we should see and do. Also, what is the best area to stay, particularly from a safety point of view? Because of our limited time would a safari be out of the question? – LM, Waterford

You will be arriving into Cape Town in summer and it will be nice to explore it in fine weather. Five days is just about enough time to enjoy the city and sights. When it comes to accommodation, there’s a big variety of hotels in Cape Town, and many upscale guesthouses and B&Bs.

It is high season and prices will reflect that, The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront area is an ideal place to stay with hotel prices from about €70 per night to a soaring €470. Green Point, next to the Waterfront area has more reasonably priced hotels. The Protea hotel group has a number of nice properties in these areas. Book online at but also check, and for better deals.

Things to do include taking the cable car up Table Mountain, the views are terrific and you will get to see how big the city actually is. Take the guided city tour and if you can, visit Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years.


There are many tours you can take from the city. Your time limits the possibility of a full safari, but you could take a day trip to Aquila private game reserve. See

My wife and I are considering a holiday in the Caribbean from late January. We are interested in two weeks in Martinique in a luxurious apartment/villa. We would like to be near a coastal town with restaurants, opportunity for walks/cycling. Our budget is approx €6,000 including flights – BM, Dublin

January and February is high season in the Caribbean as the weather is perfect for winter escapes. Martinique in the Lesser Antilles islands and as a department of France uses the euro and the main language is French.

The best way of getting there is with Air France, with daily flights from Paris Orly. Allow enough time to change airports. Prices early next year are about €1,034 from Dublin. You could upgrade to premium economy for some extra comfort from €1,546. Sign up for the Air France newsletter, as they have sales every week to different destinations, you may get the flight a bit cheaper.

Martinique is a tropical island, with the northern part having the highest peaks and most rainfall. Tourist accommodation is concentrated more in the south of the island where there are pretty villages, towns and seaside resorts. There are many walking and cycling trails around the island. Places to consider for renting accommodation are Diamant, Les Anses d’Arlets and Trois Ilets. has more than 100 holiday rental properties in Martinique with prices from €750 per week upwards with pools.

You can also email Martinique tourism for further details of properties to rent on and see also, where there are some luxury villas to rent.

I wish to send my brother and his wife for an overnight trip to Amsterdam, from London, to include a visit to the Rijks Museum for his 80th birthday. I would like the air tickets, hotel and museum ticket to be open so they can chose their own dates. How do I get the information about this? – LA, Cork

Open tickets are the most expensive way to travel, but you could buy travel vouchers which can then be used to pay for a trip to Amsterdam. Superbreak. com is one of the biggest UK travel firms arranging short city breaks and an overnight with flights will cost from £300-£450 for two, depending on which airport and type of hotel. Have a look at the website and you will see the possibilities.

You can buy tickets for the Rijks Museum online. They cost €15 and are valid for a year. See
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