1st timer cannot decide where to go!

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Feb 18th, 2013, 08:32 PM
  #1
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1st timer cannot decide where to go!

My group of 3 will be going to SA for the 1st time. We have 14 days and want to see whales, wine, Table Mountain, Cape and wild life. To go to Kurger and then travel to the East thru the coast look like having a lot of driving to do. Will the experience at Addo Elephant Park be as enjoyable so that we can save a lot of driving! Please give some alternatives. Will flying part of the way help?
Thank you in advance.
Ray
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Feb 19th, 2013, 01:22 AM
  #2
 
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Which month do you plan to visit ?
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Feb 19th, 2013, 02:07 AM
  #3
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My schedule is flexible. Can be April,May,late July or Sep 2013.
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Feb 19th, 2013, 03:09 AM
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Whale season only starts late in June, top = August. Make sure to go around that time.

And indeed, if you want to do all those other things in that neighborhood as well, then Kruger is a bit far from the rest. I would certainly not drive there, but rather fly from Port Elizabeth to Hoedspruit and back to Cape Town (car rental agencies don't mind if you leave the car in another city when you end your trip).

Note that Hoedspruit is the best airport to get to Kruger, and not Nelspruit. Because from Hoedspruit, you can get to a lot of private reserves quickly; Klaserie, Timbavati, Manyeleti and even Sabi Sands. Perhaps only the bottom lodges (Sabi Sabi etc) are closer to Nelspruit than Hoedspruit.

Of course, I assume as well that you'd rather go to private reserves (good guiding, ability to do night drives & go off road, no crowds) instead of going to the main national park.

There ARE alternatives to the Kruger private reserves, but imho Addo NP itself is not an alternative to Kruger NP.

This map shows all private reserves (and their lodges) near Addo NP: http://www.sunsafaris.com/south-afri...n-reserve-map/ Amakhela and Shamwari are the best (also the biggest, so the "feel" of being in a total wilderness area is best there).

Ciao,

J.
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Feb 21st, 2013, 12:59 AM
  #5
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Thank you J. If I were to choose Shamwari, Can I go on day tours to see the animals or I have to stay at their lodge? What are their prices like for a guide?
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Feb 21st, 2013, 05:12 AM
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With your line-up of things to do, I'd suggest going in late September to get the best combination of weather, whale watching and game viewing.

During July/August weather on the Cape can be wet and cool, though it's weather and nothing can be guaranteed. But September would be great for game viewing and whale watching (a place like Hermanus, only 1-1.5 hrs from Cape Town, is perfect for land-based whale watching; peak months are August to November, with calving peaking in August and numbers peaking in October).

There are alternatives to Kruger but I always figure it would be a shame to make a trip to South Africa and not spend time up in Greater Kruger, which is one of the prime safari destinations in Africa.

So, I would suggest something like 4 days in Cape Town exploring the town and the Cape Peninsula, then moving east to wine country and the Garden Route for about 4 days and then heading up to Greater Kruger (fly from George or PE, depending where you end up) for the remainder of the time (whether in the park or an adjoining reserve). I would do it leaving Kruger for last because given my interests that would be leaving best for last.

Good luck with your planning.
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Feb 21st, 2013, 05:21 AM
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Whatis the weather like in April?
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Feb 22nd, 2013, 05:02 AM
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what sdb2 says is true; if you take eather into consideration as well, then August is not the best month. It's colder at that moment.

About Shamwari (or any other private reserve); no daytrips of course. You need to stay in one of their lodges to be allowed onto their land.

That is actually one of the most important differences between the two main safari types:
- Either you go to national parks, must stay on the roads, must be out of the park again before sunset (and can only enter after sunset), and get (on average) a guide with less credentials / knowledge level. In this case you stay in a lodge outside of the park (at least in most cases). This is the cheaper option.
- Or you go to private reserves, where you are allowed to go off road for big 5 animals, where sightings are never crowded (max 3 vehicles rule), where you can get to sightings in "golden light" hours, where you can do night drives, where you even can do foot safaris and where the guiding is excellent. In this case your lodge is located on the grounds of the private reserve. This is more expensive, but imho worth every $.

Of course; you need to shop around. For example, Amakhela has cheape options than Shamwari. If you don't know the places yet, a good strategy is to contact a TA, give him your max budget, and see what they come up with. For example, Sun Safaris compiled a Cape-to-Elizabeth itinerary for friends of mine (this was last year), and they included Hilsnek Safaris in Amakhela Reserve. They loved every minute of it.

Ciao,

J.
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Feb 28th, 2013, 10:16 PM
  #10
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I take your suggestion to go to Kurger. If my choice is between SUDWALA or Crystal Spring. What will be your views?
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Mar 25th, 2013, 09:10 AM
  #11
 
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Are you tagging the Garden Route on there?

As a route, I would suggest lying into JHB, spending 3 days in the Kruger.

Then fly from JHB to CT, spend 4 or 5 days in CT and then meander up the Garden Route, flying home from Port Elizabeth,

Best,
Jem
http://www.rentalsincapetown.com/
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Mar 25th, 2013, 10:37 AM
  #12
 
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How about this itinerary:

Overnight in Johannesburg after arrival, catch the next morning's flight to Richard's Bay (east). 4 days in Hluhluwe Unfolozi Game Reserve (Phinda - especially known for cheetah experience), or at a less expensive lodging option if you are watching your budget. Stop or stay in Sodwana Bay on Indian Ocean (part of St. Lucia Weland Park - World Heritage Site).Transfer to Richards Bay for the flight via Durban to Port Elizabeth. Pick up a car and enjoy 3-5 days along the beautiful Garden Route, stopping at Knysna, Mossel Bay, Swellendam, Hermanus. Arrive to the Winelands and stay 3-4 days in Stellenbosch, enjoying the wine estates and the Cape-Dutch architecture. Drive to Cape Town, drop the car off and stay at a hostoric hotel in the center of Cape Town - Cape Heritage Hotel. You can do this leasurely in 12-14 days.
This would give you a an excellent SA experience.

Enjoy your planing
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Mar 26th, 2013, 09:14 AM
  #13
 
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So many ways to see everything you want to, and very easy to do it. You don't want to rush anything. Whales and wildlife are unpredictable and even when you are in private reserves, you aren't guaranteed viewing, so you need to spend at least a couple of days at each activity.
For whales, there is an area that has prolific whale activity (breeding ground of the Southern Right whales) which is NOT the tourist-heavy Hermanus - it is a private nature reserve called De Hoop. Visit www.dehoopcollection.co.za They have a wonderful selection of accommodation, from fully catered 5 start to self catering 3. It is a relaxing 3 hour drive from Cape Town, up the East coast, with some prime wine farming area on the way, an area with prolific fruit farms and also delightful small town stops along the way.
My strong suggestion would be to then fly to Hoedspruit and go to the Thornybush private reserve. This reserve is brilliantly run, in terms of veld and animal management and in all the reserves I have travelled to in South Africa (I am a travel writer), this one ranks way above the others for sightings. It is a big 5 reserve and pristine. You have lodge options here: for something luxurious I would try Royal Malewane (www.royalmalewane.co.za) and for an eco and budget friendly option, I would go to Tangala Private Camp. (www.tangalathornybush.co.za) Either way you get to see the same animals! And animals you will see.
If a trip to Kruger is a must-do, you can arrange a day trip from Tangala or Royal Malewane: Kruger's Orpen gate is a short 30km away. While in the area you can visit rehabilitation centres, cheetah breeding programmes and Bourkes Luck. Jane Goodall's chimp Eden is also an hour's drive from there.
You have been given great advice, above, on Cape Town. Everything there is geared towards tourists and wonderful. Bon Voyage and in advance, welcome to our sunny shores!
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Mar 26th, 2013, 10:33 AM
  #14
 
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An added suggestion - for a wonderful tour guide who personalizes your trip, contact Sandra Savadier at Thandeka travel www.thandekaafrica.com
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