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14 days in south Africa with family - advice for itinerary

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Jan 19th, 2013, 11:59 AM
  #1
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14 days in south Africa with family - advice for itinerary

Hello we are planning a trip in July.
We would like to spend some time on safari - around 4 days plus see Cape Town and spend some time on the coast - possibly Garden route and ideally a bit of whale watching? Don't want to spend the whole time travelling but would like to experience South Africa as much as possible. having looked on the forums here have investigated a couple of safari lodges - Elephant Lodge and Mohalabetsi Lodge which both look lovvely, but need to plan our route before we can book anything.
Children are 16, 13 and 10.
Any advice gratefully received.
mapleg is offline  
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Jan 21st, 2013, 12:24 AM
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Yes Mohlabetsi is fantastic and what a great time of year plus your children are old enough to really appreciate Africa. I got married at the lodge and what a wonderful experience. We are also going again in July. Saw a leopard kill Warthog last visit. I posted an itinerary on both Cape Town and the Garden Route in one of the other posts. Unfortunately there is no whale watching at this time of year though. You will have to come back in September.
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Jan 23rd, 2013, 05:53 AM
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Thanks Claire that's really helpful. Could I pick your brains then a bit more? What's the best way to travel between Mohalabetsi and the coast? To drive? Will we spend the whole time ddriving? Should we fly to Jo burg go on safari and then make our way to Cape Town via the coast?
thought we might not see any whales - shame but school beckons in Sept!
thank you for all your help - I am getting completely bogged down in info
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Jan 23rd, 2013, 09:55 AM
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We haven't stayed at Mohalabetsi but have stayed at two other lodges in the Balule reserve, Pondoro and Ezulwini. (LOVED Pondoro, Ezulwini meh, but nice people.) We've also stayed at Elephant Plains, and frankly I'd recommend EP over the others, simply because the Sabi Sand reserve seems so much more species-intensive than Balule, which is a younger and less well-developed area. Some say Sabi Sand is too much so, and they have a point, but for first-timers it's much more of a guaranteed "wow" experience than you're likely to get in Balule.

With your party I'd do a two-part trip. Fly into Joburg and either rent a car and drive up to Sabi Sand (or Balule) OR fly into Hoedspruit (Balule) or Nelspruit (SSGR) and either pay for a transfer or rent a car and drive to the lodge. (With a car you could extend your stay in the area by a day and see some of the Panoramic Route sights, like the Blyde Canyon, God's Window, or the Three Rondavels, all fairly close to Kruger Park and the private game reserves like Balule or SSGR.)

Then I'd fly from Joburg, Hoedspruit or Nelspruit to Port Elizabeth and get a car there. Visit Addo Elephant National Park (self-drive through the park) then down the Garden Route to Cape Town.

In terms of time allocation, I'd give one day for landing and recovery, 4 days in the Kruger area (three safari nights and one for the Panoramic Route) five for Addo and the Garden Route, and the last four for Cape Town. Easy peasy, a great cross-section of SA, and you'll be deciding on which kid to sell in order to come back asap .
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Jan 23rd, 2013, 12:59 PM
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Thanks so much all this is really helpful. If we arrived in Joburg early morning after an over night flight would you recommend staying in Joburg ofr a night or driving straight up and resting? Not that fussed about Joburg to be honest - rather get out into the country, but not sure how knackered we will be.
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Jan 23rd, 2013, 01:22 PM
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And on another note - South African Airways??
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Jan 23rd, 2013, 01:32 PM
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Assuming you're coming from the UK (your spelling and language) then the "wrong-side-of-the-road" thing won't be off-putting. Depending on the actual time of your arrival (remember July is midwinter in SA, with short daylight hours) you might consider getting on the road and aiming for someplace in easy striking distance to the reserves the next day.

(The lodges all offer a morning and an afternoon game drive. There's no way you can make it from JNB to the lodges in time for the afternoon drive, so you'd essentially be paying for a night at high cost with no game drive to show for that "day." By staying in cheaper accommodations the night before - but fairly close to Kruger - you make the most of your lodge stay by arriving in time for the afternoon drive the first day. When you leave, it's always after the morning drive, so you end up with a full complement of drives, rather than "down one.")

We like to stop in Graskop on the Panoramic Route. The Graskop Hotel is affordable and artsy/fun, and Harrie's Pancakes next door is a national treasure. Graskop is around 5 hours' drive from JNB, on excellent roads for the first 3 1/2 hours, decent for the last 90 min. Graskop is within 2 hours of the majority of game reserves on the edges of KNP, so it's an easy drive the next morning.
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Jan 24th, 2013, 10:29 AM
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thank you so much for your help with this - really appreciate it.
Unfortunately EP is booked - they suggested another place but that looks a bit cosy and for couples rather than families. So probably look at Balule if I can get the dates - I am supposing that it is better to end our trip in Cape Town and start with safari rather than other way around?
Graskop Hotel looks lovely - thank you for the tip.
I hadn't realised that my use of language made me so obviously from the UK!.
Really grateful for all your help and advice - everything is fantastic. We're realy enjoying planning - I know it is winter but probably still warmer than England in the summer!
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Jan 26th, 2013, 03:47 AM
  #9
 
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Whales start to arrive from June so you should see them somewhere along the coast. I also agree with getting on the road straight away on arrival & Addo even for a day visit.
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