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Garden Route vs Kruger Park Trade Off

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We have organized a last minute trip on January 28th, total of 8 days maximum, from the Philippines and we will be flying in via Cathay Pacific airways Johannesburg and flying out from here too. we are a couple in late 30s and this is our first time in Africa. we can only travel for a short time and i have checked out all possibilities for SA. we are considering Simbavati River Lodge for Kruger. Upon checking, Kruger is difficult to get to from Johannesburg, leaving me with the question:

Should we just skip Kruger and instead go for Cape Town and the Garden Route? if yes, can you pls recommend Lodges, places, itinerary for doing Capetown and Garden Route? Should we drive or join a group tour? we are very active but we have not much time for researching itineraries and your help will be greatly appreciated.

we really want to go to Kruger, but given the time constraint, maybe the Garden Route will make more sense since we want to go to Cape Town too

Thank you in advance

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