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Trip Report Cape Town and Kruger National Park reviews

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South Africa was wonderful--definitely one of the top five trips we've experienced to date. The areas around Cape Town are beautiful, the animals in Kruger abundant and varied, and the people we met were great. I've posted some reviews below but if you want to see some photos and read more details on our trip check out my blog at http://bloggingsouls.wordpress.com/.

South African Airways- The planes are nice but we had problems with our flight from JFK to Johannesburg and our flight from Nelspruit to Johannesburg. With the former, our flight was delayed by over 16 hours because of a mechanical problem with the plane and we lost a day in Cape Town as a result. They offered to compensate us for the taxi ride back home and return to the airport for the delayed flight but only by contacting their customer service department. They did not update the flight status information on their website and gave us the wrong rescheduled departure time when we went there for our originally scheduled flight so we had to wait around in the airport for three plus hours as a result.

Our flight from Nelspruit to Johannesburg was cancelled due to fog conditions by the airport and they said because it was weather related, they would not cover the cost of accommodation and transportation to and/from a hotel. When I contacted SAA’s customer care department after we returned home they only offered to reimburse us for the extra taxi rides to and from JFK and to give us credit towards a future flight.

Cape Town:

Parliament Hotel- good hotel with a computer with free internet access and good breakfasts, central location but location within the Central Business District means the surrounding area is pretty empty during weekends and on weekday nights which means taxis during the evenings are recommended

Karibu Restaurant- I was disappointed with my trout dish which tasted more like smoked salmon than trout, the side dish, which was compared to couscous was dry and crumbly, not like couscous at all. Fortunately, they exchanged my dish at no cost to the fish of the day—a grilled kingclip which was good.

Bizerca Bistro- Everything we ordered was excellent (I believe the menu changes daily but we shared two appetizers- the tuna tatare with wasabi and guacamole and the oxtail ravioli, my braised beef cheek entrée was also very good) Tucked inside a plaza, it’s little hard to find.

Myoga- A 20 to 30 minute ride from downtown Cape Town, Myoga is housed inside an upscale hotel. They have a R195 7-course tasting menu—we both agreed that some dishes were well executed while others were lackluster.

Valora- Mediocre food

Pamela, Cape Fusion Tours- I was delighted to find a fellow food blogger who lead tours of the winelands outside of Cape Town and Pamela was fantastic. She corresponded with me for the two months leading up to our trip and always shared a lot of information with me. She’s extremely well-versed in the local restaurants and wineries and shared a lot of insight into the local politics within Cape Town and South Africa. She was very accommodating and agreed to take us to a local craft fair I wanted to check out. Consider yourself fortunate if you get to tour the winelands (or book another tour) with her!

Mariana, Cape Eco-Tours- Mariana is an excellent bird and wildlife guide—she is extremely knowledgeable and did a great job spotting birds. We did the Cape Peninsula and Hermanus day trips with her but she also does wildflower tours. Her rates are reasonable and she’s very accommodating. If you go to Hermanus, ask her if she can take you to see blue cranes—the fields where she took us were quite scenic and the blue cranes are lovely.

Kruger National Park:

Bushwise Safaris- Their rates are reasonable compared to other comparable safari lodges and the lodge itself and location is nice. The food is good and their resident guide is very good. The one drawback, and I don’t know if this is because we were the only guests there for the majority of our stay, was that the owners were rarely there so it was a challenge to make arrangements with them. Make sure to go on a walk along the Kruger Park fence—it’s a nice walk and there’s a good chance you’ll see some animals!

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