Testing a great guide
DID you know that there is a pair of breeding peregrine falcons nesting in the cooling towers of the Athlone power station? And that the birds can dive on prey at speeds of up to 288km/h? Not fully convinced, I checked Google and came up with the same answers. Also, in 1908, the Cape Town horse-driven cab drivers staged a protest against the use of motor cars on Cape Town roads. I learnt this and other facts this past weekend while testing a greatguide GPS.
We recently met Brian Segal, MD for the greatguide, which he described as the ultimate tourist guide available on hire for any visitor, especially on their first visit to Cape Town. It can also be set in several languages. He described the instrument as a navigational and advice guide offering a personal itinerary.
On several occasions in Europe we made use of an electronic guide while touring historical buildings and have used a GPS on the road but have never had a dedicated GPSbased guide.
We collected the GPS on a Friday and had the organisation programme in a random three-day itinerary, which I intended to test over the long weekend.
It is easy to use and we plugged it into the cigarette lighter socket, stuck it on the windscreen, switched it on and set off. Because I had business in Somerset West, I selected the map and put in an address.
I am used to the boring, and sometimes irritating, voice prompts that direct on an ordinary GPS, but this is not so with the greatguide. As we passed various landmarks, I – as a Capetonian of more than 40 years – began to learn more and more about the city I live in. The voices changed constantly as the talking guide described areas of interest.
This is where I learnt about the falcons, as well as plenty of other facts. Amusing to the locals but of note for visitors are the hints and tips that are randomly related while on the move. It hinted at how to deal with the plethora of taxis and how to avoid a confrontation, as well as what to do at a traffic light when the many beggars and on-the-hoof salespeople approach. The guide has battery back-up and can be used away from the car while walking the city streets or surrounding towns. In fact, the guide advises that the real way to get to know the city is to walk.
So the ordinary journey to Somerset West and back became interesting while the greatguide explained the various townships and how they came about plus an interesting snippet that by 2020 the population in greater Cape Town will double in numbers. It also feeds different information every time you pass the same point, helping to keep up interest without repeating itself.
The greatguide is available at www.greatguide.co.za and can be used on the route from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth via the Garden Route, from Johannesburg to Nelspruit and the Kruger Park, and from the Kruger Park via Swaziland to Durban. At a hire rate of R99 a day it is even worthwhile for locals to hire a unit for a day and learn more about our great city and the Boland.