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newbie..and a little worried

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I’ve been lurking for a while and this forum is an excellent source of ideas and information, now our trip is coming up fast and I’m starting to panic

Has anyone had experience with booking on the fly in Southern Africa? I’m traveling there in a couple of weeks to meet up with my husband’s parents. His parents kind of like to figure things out as they go but I tend to have things figured out long before we go. We are going to have four weeks there, and I have managed to hammer out what we will do for the first 5 days but other than that it’s all open.

Does anyone have experience driving from South Africa through Botswana or Zimbabwe? Is it worth it?

Has anyone had experience scuba diving in Mozambique? How does it compare to other places you been on diving trips?

What things would you say should not be missed?

Any suggestion or advice would be much appreciated and I apologize in advance if these are questions that have been answered before


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    Don't worry about making plans on the fly; it's very feasible. All the towns and cities in South Africa have tourist offices and travel agents who can fix you up on short notice. We've done it several times.

    Driving throughout South Africa is great. Good roads, maps available at CNA and other stores, petrol stations and garages easily available. Swaziland and Lesotho are almost as good. I've never driven in Botswana or Zim, so can't comment.

    As to what shouldn't be missed, that's hard to say. Tell us a little more about where in Southern Africa you'll be, and what your interests are. I'm sure all the readers of this forum will have suggestions.


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    Well, we are landing in jo – burg and spending two nights in the area (bryanston?) where we will be visiting a family friend. Then we are going to Mkuze Falls for three days this is as far as the planning has gone. The family friend has lent us a vehicle (but no one here in Canada seems to know what kind of vehicle and his father is overseas)
    On our to-do list is:
    Cape Town
    Wine Lands
    Garden Route

    My Partner would like to go to Chobe, Okavango and spend a few days in Mozambique (hopefully diving but hanging out on a beach would be great too) and I’m game for that as well. He has also mentioned that he is interested in going to Zambia. His mom wants to see animals. No one is sure what his dad’s plans are.

    So I guess at this point I’m looking for just about any advice that comes my way,

    Does anyone know of a driving distance website that I can calculate the distances between places (that includes Botswana and Mozambique)?

    Any can’t miss things in the Cape Town area or jo-burg?

    I would say that our interests are in: great food and wine, diving, art, game and we need some R&R…..

    I look forward to hearing any suggestions any of you may have


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    Your interests are all over the map. First off, it is the rainy time of year and the distances involved would take a significant % of the trip. You also should find out the type of vehicle as it would affect your activities and routing if you want to see animals. Also, during that time of year, Moz can be affected by the rains and you may need a 4x4, depending on where you want to go. So to include Moz and Botswana/Zim together is a bit much in a month. Suggest you drive to Mkuze Falls and Kruger, Moz and then down the coast to Capetown.

    Personally, I prefer traveling without reservations normally in Africa. If I like a place, then I can stay longer. At that time of year, it should not be a problem finding accomodations of your choice on the go. Get a couple good guides and your covered. Get some must see/stay places in route and call ahead on the cell phone you can rent at the airport. I think it is easier then the states. Many towns as said have tourist offices for accomodations on arrival. I have had good luck with this as a local in the office will usually point out some nice places.

    If you have Google Earth, download the latest updates, you can zoom in on the roads you can drive. Its a good start to making a plan. In GE, you can also measure distances to drive under Tools- Ruler. Then make place markers on the places you want to go to. Then you can connect the dots sort of speak in advance, get a general consensus from your fellow travelers. The beauty of this is if everyone has GE on there pc, you can email the a flexible proposed itinery/routing by sending in a folder the placemarks and path you made in GE.

    If you have a Garmin gps, there are some excellent digital maps you can download to use to navigate your routes. Check again with your friend with the vehicle. It is very common tool in SA now adays. Tracks4Africa is one.

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