12 days Cape Town and Pilanesburg Itinerary help

Old Mar 27th, 2016, 08:42 AM
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12 days Cape Town and Pilanesburg Itinerary help

We are a family of 4 and are planning a trip to South Africa and Seychelles for 14 days.
Basic idea is to consume our timeshare points and have a relaxing holiday.
My Itinerary is as follows:
Fly to Mahe, Seychelles 12th may 2016
Rent a car for 2 days
2 nights- Mahe
Fly to Cape Town via Jo'burg- 14th May 2016
Rent a car for 6 days
6 nights cape Town- Timeshare apartment Suite
fly to Jo'burg- 20th May 2016
Rent a car for 6 days
Drive to Pilanesburg national park
Kwa Maritane bush Lodge- timeshare

1.Haven't chosen to drive down the garden route but stay at Cape Town and do some local sights seeing and some day trips. Need some help here.
2. What climate do I expect in Mid may at both places. Have seen that internet data can be different than reality.
3. Any safety precautions to be taken while driving?
4. Is it possible to visit the Sun City Palace hotel on a day trip and visit the casino and the wave pool, without staying there?
5. Not planning visit Kruger, but I feel Pilanesberg has a possibility of seeing the Big 5 and much more. Any suggestions on the safaris or day trips?
please help..
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Old Mar 30th, 2016, 12:04 PM
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Awiting a response...
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Old Mar 30th, 2016, 04:18 PM
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That's a lot of flying for two days in the Seychelles.

Pillanesberg is not a national park. See www.SanParks.org for the national parks in S Africa. Kruger is much bigger, much more diverse. There are lodges in every price range. For 6 days, I'd go to Kruger - you can stay in the park and a private reserve. I wouldn't stay outside any parks - you miss the early mornings and late afternoons when the wildlife is best seen.

There are casinos in Johannesburg close enough to the airport to be convenient. Sun City is just a cheesy version of Las Vegas - not someplace I'd recommend. Visit the Cradle of Humankind and the caves, the Africa Museum and/or the Apartheid Museum instead.

The weather in Cape Town will be much different than Joberg. Joberg will likely be chilly and sunny. Dress in layers. You'll have to check on Cape Town, but it will likely be warmer.

Lots to do in CT - Robben Island, Table Mtn, the Cape of Good Hope and penguins, the aquarium. We used the HopOn HopOff bus in the city, got a driver for the Cape of Good Hope and the winelands. Driving is easy if you are comfortable driving on the left.

This May?! You're running out of time.
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Old Mar 31st, 2016, 06:31 AM
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christabir, thanks a lot for the reply. You are right.
I understand that Kruger is a bigger draw and has more diversity.
But from what i studied is that the concentration and variety of animals per acre is equally good in Pilanesberg, though it is much smaller. We also cannot see the entire Kruger.

Best availability of my timeshare resorts as per my plan, which was my main idea.
Driving on the left is not an issue for me as we have the same system in India. Am much relieved by your comment on the driving.

Yes, 2 nights in Seychelles is a bit hurried, but am taking it as a bonus stopover since I am travelling Air Seychelles.

Thanks a lot for the Capetown tips.
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Old Mar 31st, 2016, 08:03 AM
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Hello,

I live in Joburg and have been to Pilanesberg and Kruger many times. I don't agree AT ALL that they are equally good. Pilanesberg is nice for a day or 2 if you cannot get to Kruger but on several trips I have never seen as much as I do in Kruger (I have never seen Wild Dogs in Pilanesberg and I have on almost every trip to Kruger, lions only once in Pilanesberg as well). You don't need to try and cover the entire Kruger Park. For 6 days, I would stay in 2 camps, one at least in the South of the park (Lower Sabie if possible) and then either a private reserve in Sabi Sand for 3 nights or move up to Satara in Kruger. Have a great trip.
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Old Mar 31st, 2016, 10:31 AM
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I agree entirely with kellyee21. The point is not to see all of Kruger but to have the best holiday. 6 nights would be too long at Pilanesberg.

Unfortunately you are focused on using timeshares and not having the best experience. That's really difficult if you want to see wildlife - no timeshares in game reserves (well, there are a few). The accommodations in Kruger Park are surprisingly nice and very affordable.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2016, 10:07 AM
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kellyee21, christabir..
Thanks a lot for those replies. That is the difference between Fodors Forum and any other Travel websites. I was relying on the info on the web, but got a first hand report from you all.
Will try and change my plan.
One worry is a lot of travelling time to and from Joburg.
My return flight is around 2 pm on 26th May.
I guess I will have to travel on 25th and stay at a hotel near Joburg airport.
Can anyone tell me what is a private reserve?
Should I look for a Lodge in Sebie and Satara?
Thanks again.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2016, 08:36 PM
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There are airports in/outside Kruger. MQP, Skukuza and HDS. You could fly to JNB in the morning to catch a flight home. That won't work well at a private reserve because the morning game drive returns about 9 am, not sure that could work. Might be a possibility if you stay in Kruger and leave early. There are car rentals at all airports.

Private reserves are privately owned land/lodges adjacent to or near national parks like Kruger. They are all inclusive, including all food and game drives. Sometimes drinks are included. They are more expensive than self drive and self catering in Kruger. I keep my costs down by doing both. You could two-three nights at each. Since you are looking at last minute accommodations, it will be difficult to get the most affordable options but try Gomo Gomo.

How old is everyone in your family? If very young, self drive can be much easier. Private reserves do game drives that start before dawn and another that ends after dark. Dinner is very late. It can be difficult for kids and it's an expensive stay if you miss game drives. Many lodges don't take kids either. The rest camps are surprisingly nice and many (the main rest camps) have shops, restaurants and take away. You will need bungalows with beds for four and I prefer an ensuite bathroom and kitchenette. Look for BD4x or cottages at main rest camps at www.SanParks.org, click on Kruger. When you figure out which rest camps might suit you, click the travel pull down menu, accommodations:availability for your dates. Something in the southern part of the park (unlikely anything available at Lower Sabie!) and Satara as kellyee21 suggests is good. Skukuza will be your best bet for availability. It's the main rest camp so very big. It has a museum, pool, lots to do besides just game drives.

Have fun. Kruger really is wonderful, no matter how you see it.
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Old Apr 7th, 2016, 06:42 AM
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Hi there,

You have been given great advice, especially about the differences with Kruger and Pilanesburg. There is no question that the wildlife is more diverse and plentiful in Kruger. I have been to Kruger 6 times and not seen it all. Plan for specific locations within the park based on your budget and itinerary needs.

Children are now welcome at a lot of lodges and they even have special walks and activities for them. I took my kids on safari for the first time in SA when they were 2 and 4 years. They are now 13, 11 and there is an 8 year old now too. We have now been back to Kruger multiple times and have gone on safari in Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania and Namibia! Some lodges, but not all, will ask you to have a private vehicle based on the ages of your kids. If you choose one of these, your costs will go up for sure. Believe it or not, even at a very young age my kids have never missed a game drive, even rising as early as 5:00 am. They have loved stopping in the bush for hot chocolate and snacks and arriving back for a big breakfast. Dinner has also always been a highlight too, especially if singing and dancing is involved. But however you choose to do it, self drive or a private concession, the wildlife is the star and you cannot go wrong in Kruger.

In Joberg, take time to take a tour of Soweto. Visit Mandela's house, the Hector Pieterson Museum, and eat at Wandies or Sakhumzi in Soweto. There are lots of ways to tour Soweto, but you may not want to drive yourself. The Cradle of Mankind is a highlight as mentioned above -- so interesting and the Apartheid Museum is a must in my opinion. I love the eating scene is Capetown, but Joberg really has a lot of great restaurants too. Some are in great squares with shops and hangout places that are fun to wonder around in for a few hours.

You got great advice on Capetown, one of my favorite cities in the world! Look up trip reports on SA and you will read a lot about what people do in Capetown and the surrounding areas. Craig just wrote a really good one.

Skip Sun City! Too long a drive for one day and completely Vegas in Africa. And if you want Vegas, the real Vegas does it much better! If you like to gamble, visit the Montecasino complex in Four Ways. There is a casino, restaurants, movies, shops, a theater with live performances, book stores, bars, and a great exotic bird park. It's an indoor/outdoor mall which I like because you see a mix of South Africans of every age,race and ethnicity all enjoying a good time together.

Happy planning!
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Old Apr 12th, 2016, 01:31 PM
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Thank you so much Lolazahra and christabir.
Am working on the details. Shall come back if I require any details.
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Old Apr 12th, 2016, 01:39 PM
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Would like to add that My wife and me are 50 years old, both Architects and our grown up daughters are 22 who will be a doctor by the year end and 19 years, who is studying Architecture.
We wish to celebrate my elder daughter's 22nd birthday on 19th May when we will be in Cape Town. Any suggestions for a nice way to do it?
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Old Apr 13th, 2016, 12:11 AM
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Nothing beats a Champagne, sunset cruise or maybe a dinner cruise,with a setting sun on one side and the glittering lights of town with backdrop of the Table Mountain.

In Cape Town tomorrow.Planning on one.
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Old Apr 14th, 2016, 12:32 PM
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Inquest, that sounds very romantic. Thanks
Do let me know how was your evening.
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Old May 30th, 2016, 01:01 PM
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Dear Fodorites,
Am back from a wonderful holiday in South Africa.
Thanks to you all for your advice.
We spent
Seychelles- 2 days- 2 nights
Capetown- 6 nights- 5 days
Pilanesberg- 6 nights -5 days

All went as planned.
met several tourists from South Africa and around the world.
I could not cancel my booking at Pilanesberg. Am am glad I didn't cancel.
After speaking to many veteran local tourists, I realized that,
Kruger is vast and varied. One needs to drive a lot and sometimes may not see much on a particular day. Sighting Lions and Leopards is not very frequent.
Pilanesberg is compact,
has small bush like thorny trees as water is scarce.
has large savanna type grasslands.
Has about 7000 animals.
Density of animals over this 55000 hectares of park is relatively high.
All these factors give almost a sure shot chance of sighting the 4 of the big 5 and many more.
Out of the 5 days, we went on 4 days into the park, self driving into several different areas and many areas again and again, like the large Mankwe Dam and hide out, Hippo Loop, Tshepe drive.
Saw a family of lions 3 times. Once they, 2 cubs, 2 lionesses, 2 lions- crossed the road in front of my car at a distance of 15 feet. Saw a lioness going for an unsuccessful attempt o kill. Came across several herds of elephants, Zebras, Rhinos, Hippos, Giraffes, Jackal, Kudus, Blue wild beests, Impalas, antelopes, crocodiles, several colourful birds including an African eagle.
I had a feeling as if I am moving through a dream into a wonderland where all the animals are playing and passing by.
It was probably better than a private game reserve, as we could drive on our own and wait for whatever time we liked. Self driving safari is 100% advisable here. Our resort Kwa maitane was top class and is inside the park.
We spent half a day in Suncity, had a wonderful dinner at the Palace of the Lost City.
Bought some wooden masks outside BAKUBANG GATE.
Cape Town and Peninsula is amazing. More European than African.
Lots of Penguins and Seals too.
We had our dream Lunch to celebrate my daughter's birthday at a 150 years old restaurant in a vineyard of Groot Constantia.
Driving in South Africa is very easy and a pleasure. All roads are sign posted and very easy even without a GPS. We used Gogle Maps and Here Maps on our phones as GPS.
Other drivers follow traffic rules and laws. Right hand drive is what I am used too, but it would not be any problem even for people who are used to left hand drive cars.
Car rentals is very cheap at almost 22 Euros per day with a limit of 200 km/day including CDW and super CDW as refundable excess for a Toyota Corolla. Petrol is cheap too. I booked through Economy Car Rentals which booked through Europcar.
We followed basic precautions. Left home by 9 at cape town and were back by 7 pm after sunrise. At pilanesberg we did 2 safaris at 7 to 12 and 3 to 6 every day. Did not walk on the roads after dark. Never felt threatened anywhere. People were nice and warm.

Overall, it was a fantabulous trip. my wife and both the daughters loved it too.
Shall post a detailed trip report. But thought, it was very important to thank you all who helped me here and also to those who posted other questions and answers here.
Thank you so much...
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Old May 30th, 2016, 01:04 PM
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Weather was great 12-23 degrees centigrade throughout at both places. Bright sunny. it drizzled only once at Cape Town.
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